Last week, some of the Travel Bloggers were invited by CITI Bank at Olive Bar & Kitchen Mehrauli. Agenda of this meet was to discuss the newly created Travel Card by CITI Bank, it's features and how travelers will look at this card. Since most of Travel bloggers understand the needs of their viewers, it was a platform to discuss the facilities provided by new Travel Card and the differences between Traveler's expectations. Let us check out this PHOTO JOURNEY to know more about the event and things discussed...
Agenda of the meet was to discuss new Travel Card by CITI Bank - 'Citibank PremierMiles Card'. This event had to start at 10:30 am and many of bloggers had reached on time and I was one of them :)... Approximately 20 travel bloggers were expected for this event and by 11:15am, around 11 bloggers reached. During the wait time, there were snacks & drinks for timepass and off-course a wonderful opportunity to interact with fellow bloggers. Above photograph shows something very important about this card and the event. Four air-hostesses from different airlines.
Day started with a discussion around 'Citibank PremierMiles Card' and I may not be listing all the details. Here I would like to highlight some of the point that I could relate to and a detailed post on this card is planned when I complete my study around the comparison with appropriate Travel Cards by competitor banks. Gentleman in above photograph initiated the discussion by giving context about old Travel Cards, Cards offered by Airlines and changes happened in last few years. He explained about unpredictability in Airline business, which is becoming a challenege for customers & banks to partner with single airline. So this Travel Card will be taking care of most of the airlines in India and slowly including one of the main International Airlines.
During this, he also mentioned about the change in Airport facilities and why people used to opt for Travel Cards - as these cards used to give access to lounges. Now conditions on Airports are so good that none is worried about access to lounges, although some folks would always be there to look for such facilities. One thing which I could relate the most was about expiry of miles which happens in most of the Travel cards. Which means that you gain x number of miles by spending through your Travel card, but they would expire if you fail to use them. And there are certain conditions to use these Miles, which many times compel in expiry. E.g.- Many portals, service providers restrict the number of seats in a plane you can book through Miles and even then you have to be very advance in planning. This is one of the example. The other one is that - You can't book a seat in a flight with mix of Miles and Money, in case you have less number of miles. Such problems are overcome by this new card. CITI Bank has come up with a portal http://www.premiermiles.co.in/ which is like any other e-commerce website for Flight booking, Hotel or taxi bookings and the good part is that now Miles will work like Money for us. We will be able to book a ticket with some Miles and paying rest amount through this website. and these Miles will never expire. This is something that appealed to me. Most of my travel expenses are taken care by clients of my company. There are very less incidents when I need to book flights, which means I will earn less Miles which will definitely expire after a time. With 'Citibank PremierMiles Card' I can use less number of Miles and there is no worry about expiry.
Almost every blogger had some wonderful questions for CITI Bank officials and of course all of these were more like understanding the negatives of this Card. As we know, none of the solution can be perfect and all of us need to decide what we want. Then things are picked as per our personal needs. The main concern here was handling of multiple cards. E.g.- if someone is having HSBC MakemyTrip card then why one should go for 'Citibank PremierMiles Card'? I am working on finding appropriate pros and cons to share detailed information on this. During this I may also come across some other solution which can add more value to Travellers.
And of-course Economy travellers can't be ignored which are in high numbers in India. Does this card makes any sense for Economy travellers. Now it depends from person to person. Folks who are not using flights for travel and like to stay in budget hotels - this may not be right option to go for. Although CITI Bank will argue about Hotels available on http://www.premiermiles.co.in/ but even most of the Travel sites are failing on this front, due to various reasons. On top of that card will cost 2500 Rupees per year and most of the economy travelers would love to have FREE Credit card which can be more relevant to their needs. although traveller is getting 10K miles on first year and some good number of miles during subsequent years. Apart from 10K Miles, bank is offering two complimentary Air-Ticket vouchers.
Here is a link where you can find more details about 'Citibank PremierMiles Card' - http://www.online.citibank.co.in/portal/newgen/cards/tab/citi-premiermiles-card.htm
Since there may be few things which didn't sound me exciting, I may miss to mention them. There can be few things which can work well for you and not for me. At top level -
1. 'Citibank PremierMiles Card' offers 10 Miles for every Rs 100, for all your international transactions and hotel spends from 01 June 2012 and 30 Sep 2012.
2. Earn 10 Miles for every Rs 100 spent on airlines and 4 Miles for all other spends.
3.Redeem your miles instantly on www.PremierMiles.co.in for air tickets, hotels and car rentals.
4. Enjoy competitive pricing of air miles required for redemption in domestic as well as international sectors.
Get 10000** Miles and 2 air ticket vouchers*** as a welcome gift.
Get 10000** Miles and 2 air ticket vouchers*** as a welcome gift.
And of-course, there would be some conditions which we need to look into. (This is common in all Banks :) )
During the events, drinks & snacks were being served on our tables. I must say that arrangements for this Blogger met were best I have experiences in other Blogger meets. Food and Drinks at Olive Bar & Kitchen was awesome. Event was concluded with some goodies for Blogger and awesome lunch. At the same time CITI folks were not disciplined about timings of the event and agenda they had sent on email. In fact, some of the blogger's emails were ignored blindly. Somehow I felt that many folks were appointed to do few things, which didn't go well. I can give benefit of doubt to CITI Bank folks, as this was first event for Blogger they were organizing. But they should have been more disciplined about time frames for various activities planned. In any blogger events, bloggers can go on & on with their ideas/questions but it's something that organizing team need to handle.
During the end every Blogger had a worry about sharing this information to their readers. As a responsible blogger, we can't write any promotional blog-post for any product. So everyone had a thought of doing more research on other options available and share relevant information with fellow travellers. On same lines, bloggers had requested CITI Bank to send detailed information about 'Citibank PremierMiles Card', which we are waiting for. At the same time, I am planing to contact some competitor banks to know their offerings. In fact, it would make sense to think about all available products from different traveler's point of view. Idea is to figure out the usefulness of these cards and who can be benefited better with which kind of offerings. Probably in future, Travellers community can compel Banks to design a Traveler Card which adds more value to travelers & banks also get benefited. It should always be WIN-WIN situations for travelers & banks.
So keep an eye here about my study on Travel Cards by various banks and their comparison with 'Citibank PremierMiles Card'.