If you’re into the world of maximising credit card rewards, you would now know that travel redemptions (like booking flights/hotels using HDFC Smartbuy or Amex Taj vouchers) gives a higher value per point over cashback redemptions.
But what if one needs to get even more value per point? Welcome to the World of Airmiles!
While we’ve covered few articles here and there w.r.t. Vistara air miles (a.k.a. CV Points), we’ll focus on international airmiles going forward.
What is Air Miles?
Air Miles also called as Frequent Flyer miles or Airline Miles are a digital travel currency of an airline loyalty program usually given as a reward for flying frequently with an airline.
No wonder why airline loyalty program’s are also called as “Frequent Flyer” Programs (FFP).
Air Miles can also be earned by shopping through affiliate portals of the respective FFP (or) by converting reward points from credit cards.
These airmiles can then be redeemed for free flight tickets (also called as award tickets), as the airline wants to honour you for being loyal to them.
What it means to us? It means, one can earn airmiles without even flying and enjoy free flights, thanks for the ability to transfer credit card points to airmiles.
Looking at the way it works, you can very well call it as a “Frequent Spender Program”.
Why it’s lucrative?
The airmiles requirement for an award seat is usually static (this is expected to go dynamic in future) while the airline revenue rates may rise at anytime.
So if you’re little flexible and got some time to research, you can save a lot by booking an award ticket instead of a revenue ticket.
If planned right, one can book a business class ticket at a cost of an economy ticket. If you already fly revenue Business class, using airmiles can result in significant savings.
As you might know, I have been largely ignoring international airline loyalty programs because very few are capable of playing the game in reality.
That is because it generally demands huge credit card spends.
For example, to earn the miles required for a roundtrip business class to a SE asian country, one would need ~20L spend on Citi Prestige. That’s just for one trip on a medium-haul flight.
The real fun & value is however getting award seats to Europe or United States which would require at least ~50L spends to begin with, just for a single trip.
The question is, how many have this capacity?
And on top of that, why would anyone even want to do that while most of us haven’t even explored 50% of our Incredible India?
While those are the concerns of the past, Axis Magnus (with milestone benefits), Axis Reserve (with 2X on Forex) & Axis Atlas (for airline/hotel spends) with their points transfer ability has given super power to Indian credit card holders to explore the airmiles game, as earning miles has become 5X faster if not more, meaning one can explore the game even with lot lower spends.
While this situation may change at any moment, this is a good time to experience international business class products just incase if you’re wondering what to do with all your points and miles that’s getting accrued in the past couple of months.
Is it for you?
If you love exploring India, the combination of ITC, Marriott & Vistara points redemptions can give amazing value & experiences with almost zero work for your mind. That’s what I’m into as well so far!
But if you’ve explored India sufficient enough and plan to visit foreign lands, getting into international FFP’s is quite important.
In the upcoming weeks, we will explore various airline loyalty programs that are suitable for Indian travelers.
All the airmiles content are co-created by me & Puneet, a frequent traveller who has flown international airlines to beautiful destinations in Europe & USA and have as well helped others to do the same.
So the content you’re about to go through are coming from an experienced traveller and so you may rely on them just as you would rely on our typical credit card reviews.
We’ll start with Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer program for now and will add more guides relevant to Indian travellers in near future.
The free guides are sufficient enough for most but if you operate at high scale (like ~500K miles), it’s essential to have a helping hand to make sure you’re not loosing out on anything.
FFP is an ocean and the sweet spots are not known to all as it requires a lot of time to be spent in the field to know the in’s & out’s of it – theoretical knowledge is one, in-person experience is all-together a different thing.
If you value time and wish to get direct help from the experts who’re into International Airmiles, it’s now possible through One-on-One Consultation service.
I’ve added an additional benefit to the VIP package which now includes a complimentary call with one (or) more of an international airmiles expert. Feel free to have a look just incase if you do not wish to go through the learning curve.
While it’s going to be new to many, some of you might already be exploring the game. If so, feel free to share your redemption experiences in the comments section, it’ll be useful for many.
Hi ,thanks for detailed article.
I have 2L edge reward points i will travel with in india only.
Which airlines gives max benefit for edge rewards transfer program.
Pls give me suggestion
Vistara works great + Turkish for partner redemptions on Air India.
how to get air india points from Turkish airlines points.? or vice versa
Since the axis bank has introduced miles transfer as an option, in the last couple of months, i have taken multiple international trips with the help of miles.
In my scenario, united airlines played a major role to choose the flights to my destination.
Would you please elaborate on the redemptions ? would benefit lot many of us !
Great topic to pick up. Been looking forward to learning about it. With travel opening up and many cards imposing redemption conditions it’s good to explore this option. Looking forward to more in this series.
Which is the best Air Miles transfer for redeeming the HDFC Infinia reward points for international travel except for the SmartBuy? IMO SB has two (small) issues a) 30% to be paid by cash b) Higher Fare pricing
I’ve found Citibank Prestige giving 5 InterMiles for 1 RP. I’m not sure if that’s a good deal?
Looking forward to get the hang of this one. I do have balance of 1 lakh miles in my CV. And, another 1 lac around in axis edge. This article will help to choose where I could transfer the new points and get the maximum benefits.
I have a HDFC Infinia card.
If I book through smart buy 70% reward points redemption is possible. 1 reward point is equal to 1 rupee value. What is the advantage of conversion to airmiles and booking the flight tickets?
On Vistara can u only redeem flight ticket for self and not for your family using point? Is there any way I can use my points for booking ticket for my family too?
You can add maximum 10 nominees and can change them only once a year. Once you add them, you can use the points for their bookings, use vouchers for upgrades, etc. Also these 10 nominees can be family or even friends. I’ve taken family friends, relatives everyone.
Yes.. but in vistara it is 8members and can’t change for 6month after adding..Terms changes from one to another
Sid…thanks for the great and simple article..
It would be helpful if someone clarify about the rules related to redemption of airmiles (like how many nominees can be added per account and validity of the addition/deletion of nominees from the program)…
Cancellation/reschedule charges for award tickets etc..
It may vary from airline to airline still these information at one place would-be great help for our readers
Thanks in advance
with air vistara getting discontinued, does it make sense to convert axis edge points into vistara miles?