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Travel might well be the new General-purpose of what you need your cards to subsidise. A good travel rewards card earns its place in your wallet by allowing for last-minute ticket bookings without forking over the cash.

Most cards are moving from a standard miles-based system (BOM - DEL at 9,600 miles) to a variable model where the miles you need fluctuate with the actual price of the ticket at the time.

Downside is this increases what you pay in points for last-minute tickets, but the upside is, you pay fewer miles when tickets are cheap, and there are no more restrictions on number of "award seats" since you are now paying standard fare, except with miles.

Who should get a Travel Credit Card?

Everyone. No, you don't need to be George Clooney from 'Up in the Air' to need one. Assuming you fly domestically no more than 3-4 times a year for non-work reasons, a good Travel credit card can take a healthy chunk out of the costs.

Who should not get a Travel Credit Card?

No one.

What to look (out) for in a Travel Credit Card?

Avoid airline-specific credit cards for obvious reasons of being limited to them to redeem your miles. The Kingfisher and Jet Airways examples caution against being married to one airline. You're better off being able to redeem against any route / airline when the time comes.

Look for the returns on non-travel spend. They should ideally keep adding to your miles, even if at a slightly lower return than travel spend.

We analyzed 31 travel cards to arrive at our recommendations of the top few. Namely four cards, three for domestic travellers, one suitable for frequent international travelers.

Our research is completely independent. We make no commisions if you click through and sign up for any of these products.

Best Travel Credit Card

Citi PremierMiles
Read full review
citi-premiermiles
  • Joining Fee
  • ₹3,000
  • Annual Fee
  • ₹3,000
  • Joining Bonus
  • 10,000 Miles
View Card
What we like
  • Significantly lower joining and renewal fees compared to other cards in category
  • Excellent return on travel spend, specifically on hotels on yatra. Average on non-travel spends
  • Easy travel redemption on yatra
What we don't
  • Foreign currency conversion fee of 3.5% while at par with other Travel cards, adds up significantly on international spends
  • Accessing your account online and on the app can have you pull your hair out
In a tweet

Not quite the one card to rule them all, but at 4.5% rewards on travel spends, 1.8% on other spends, the Citi PremierMiles card comes close. Points to rewards redemption is uncomplicated and refreshingly free of fine-print.

Also Good Travel Credit Card

HDFC Diners Club
Read full review
hdfc-diners-club
  • Joining Fee
  • ₹1,000
  • Annual Fee
  • ₹ 1,000
  • Joining Bonus
  • NA
View Card

Also Good Travel Credit Card

American Express Platinum Travel
Read full review
amex-platinum-travel
  • Joining Fee
  • ₹3,500
  • Annual Fee
  • ₹5,000
  • Joining Bonus
  • 5,000 Reward Points
View Card

Also Good Travel Credit Card

Standard Chartered Yatra Platinum
Read full review
standard-chartered-yatra-platinum
  • Joining Fee
  • ₹ 499
  • Annual Fee
  • ₹ 499
  • Joining Bonus
  • Travel vouchers worth ₹ 4,000
View Card

Other Travel Rewards credit cards we considered:

  • ICICI Makemytrip Platinum
  • HDFC Diners ClubMiles
  • Standard Chartered Emirates World
  • Axis Bank Vistara Infinite
  • Yatra SBI Card
  • Air India SBI Signature Card
  • HDFC Diners Club Premium
  • HDFC Diners Club Rewardz
  • Axis Bank Vistara Signature
  • JetPrivilege HDFC Bank Signature
  • HDFC Regalia First
  • JetPrivilege HDFC Bank Platinum
  • HDFC Regalia
  • Axis Bank Vistara
  • Air India SBI Platinum Card
  • Axis Bank Privilege
  • Axis Bank My Wings
  • Axis Bank Titanium Smart Traveler
  • Kotak Royale Signature
  • SBI Mumbai Metro Card
  • SBI Chennai Metro Card
  • SBI IRCTC Platinum Card
  • Axis Bank Miles and More World Credit
  • Etihad Guest SBI Card
  • ICICI Bank British Airways Classic
  • Axis Bank Miles and More Select Credit
  • Etihad Guest SBI Premier Card
  • Jet Airways American Express Platinum Credit Card