Citibank and Jet Airways split: what are your options?

Did you hear from Citibank recently about the discontinuance of the 12-year old Citibank-Jet Airways co-branded credit cards? Citibank and Jet Airways are both trying to tug you into their direction. Here are some pointers to make your choice…

Citibank and Jet Airways first came together in the late 90s to offer one of India’s first airline co-branded credit cards. Airline co-branded credit cards help you by offering additional benefits on the airline such as additional check-in baggage allowance, lounge access, discount codes for ticket purchases etc.  

The Jet Airways Citibank Credit Card was one long standing partnership in this space which survived for more than 12 years. In this timeframe, Kingfisher Airlines’ partnership with American Express came and went due the bad situation the airline is at this moment, and no other international airline credit card could establish a strong brand franchise and wallet share such as this credit card.

So, last week, an email communication from Citibank went out to all the product holders for this card informing them that the partnership is being discontinued with effect from July 16th 2012. As a result, Citibank is now offering a new credit card called the Citibank Premier Miles Credit Card (Review here: http://bit.ly/CitiPMReviewML) to all the existing card holders. A special offer from Citibank has been extended to all the holders of the Jet Airways card, offering them the new product for discounted fees of Rs1,000 per annum, as compared to the Rs3,000 for all the other customers. In return, they are giving away a welcome bonus of 10,000 Premier Miles for those who sign on.

The benefits of the new Citibank card are numerous, the key one being that you can use these miles against tickets on any airline—domestic or international—rather than just Jet Airways. However, limitations also exist, something which you will be able to read in the review linked above.

If you are a current card holder, I’m sure you are receiving multiple calls from Citibank to switch over to the new product. Here Citibank is trying to rush you and retain current card holders to their best extent possible and acting desperate in a way as well. However, I just hold on to your current card till as far as you can. In a moment, I will tell you why...

Quite clearly, something did not go alright between Citibank and Jet Airways, which is why they went their own separate ways. Jet Airways is apparently working with more than one banks at this point of time to launch another product which will help you earn Jet Airways’ JP Miles on their new product. They have publicly disclosed that they will be announcing their new partnership in the next couple of months (at best by 15th July). In the meanwhile, they have sent out a communication to all the cardholders that they are offering triple JP Miles to cardholders of the Jet Airways Citibank Credit Cards, and asked them to use the current card. This means, you could potentially be earning 16 JP Miles per Rs100 spent as compared to the four JP Miles per Rs100 spent earlier.

Given this tug-of-war for the customer, what should you do? I would recommend you hold on to the current Jet Airways Credit Card for another month or so since the Citibank offer of the new Premier Miles Credit Card at Rs1,000 plus taxes is valid till 30 June 2012. Switch your card after your June billing cycle will be completed and you would hopefully receive the details of the new Jet Airways card by that time.

If you prefer holding multiple credit cards, you will then need to apply for and receive the new Jet Airways co-branded card if you like it. However, if not, you always have the option to cancel your current Citibank credit card or hold on to it. At the end of the day, the call is yours. But don’t just be pushed into making that choice without having heard what is best for you.

(AJ writes a travel and aviation focussed blog from India at www.livefromalounge.com. You can follow him at @livefromalounge on Twitter.)

Comments
Vivekanandhan Somalingam
1 decade ago
My JACP card expried on 31st May 2012. They are not giving the renewal card and I have been denied. No option of using the card till 15th July 2012. Just forcing the customers to go for PREMIER MILES CARD. Non - friendly customer policies.
Travel agent
1 decade ago
It is actually symptomatic of the way the airline industry has behaved despite its gross mismanagement. Since Kingfisher Airlines has gone down, Air India is facing internal and political issues, Jet's management has become extremely arrogant. They have in the immediate past picked fights with travel agencies, spoiled their relationship with banks and have indulged in anti competitive practices unbecoming of their status.
I hope better sense will prevail in the industry in general and with the management of Jet. Its not as if there is no competition to them. Indigo and others are likely to grab more market share in the coming months. The management must understand that such arrogance will only lead to bad blood and when times change it will leave them high and dry.
Nirav Gandhi
1 decade ago
Citibank has closed he card for all on may 15. All spends are now debited to the new card. one will not get miles on spending on jet card .
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