Credit card review: SBI Card Elite, suitable for high spenders SBI Card Elite, as the name suggests, is offered to high income earners. It has many of the features commonly offered by high-end cards such as membership in a luxury hotel rewards programme (Trident Hotels), generous rewards points and a concierge service. However what marks out this card from its competitors is the relatively low markup fee on foreign exchange spending, which is 1.99%.

On the flip side, the card has a joining fee of Rs 4,999 and an annual fee of Rs 4,999, payable from the second year. The joining fee is given back to you in the form of welcome vouchers. The annual fee is also waived, if you spend more than Rs 10 lakh per annum on the card. This threshold however is a great deal higher than the corresponding threshold for other banks.

Axis Bank waives the annual fee on its luxury card for customers who hold the highest tier of accounts with it (Burgundy Accounts). ICICI Bank waives its fee of Rs 3,500 on its high end card (Sapphiro Card) if you spend more than Rs 6 lakh per annum on the card. Also, if you fail to pay your bill on time, the interest charged is at whopping 40.2% per annum.

SBI Elite Credit Card features and our take on each of them  

Offer Our Take
Welcome gift voucher worth Rs 4,999 that you can spend at Shopper’s Stop, Marks and Spenser, Pantaloons, Bata, Hush Puppies There is a good range of brands/stores on offer.
Free Movie Tickets worth Rs 6,000 per year. Maximum Discount per Ticket is Rs 250 Useful but ignores that fact that many young people are switching from movie theatres to live-streaming through Netflix/Amazon
More bonus points with more spending on the card. 10,000 bonus points on achieving annual spends of 3-4 lakhs. 15,000 bonus points on annual spends of 5-8 lakhs. Annual Fee reversed on spending of more than Rs 10 lakh per annum. The SBI system is more geared towards rewarding higher spending than other banks. However, you should be careful to ensure that you aren’t spending more than you can afford. Spending through credit card debt is one of the most expensive ways of maintaining a lifestyle.
2 reward points on spends of Rs 100. 5x reward points (10 reward points) on spends of Rs 100 on dining, departmental stores and grocery. This translates into a cash-back of roughly 0.5% because 4 reward points = 1 rupee. The cash back is much higher on dining, departmental stores and grocery at 2.5%.
2 complimentary domestic lounge visits per quarter in India. 6 complimentary lounge visits per year, outside India. Standard fare for cards in this category.
Complimentary Club Vistara Silver Membership. 1 complimentary Club Vistara lounge access voucher and 1 upgrade voucher. Vistara is an up-and-coming airline and this is a useful feature. However as the example of Kingfisher and Jet Airways shows, airlines can rise and fall in remarkably short periods of time.
Complimentary Trident Privilege Red Tier membership. 1000 welcome points on registration. 1500 bonus points on first stay and additional 1000 points on extended night stay This is a chain of luxury hotels belonging to the Oberoi group.
Low forex mark-up of just Rs 1.99% per transaction. 2 reward points for every Rs 100 or equivalent spent abroad. This is far more generous than the 3.5% mark-up in ICICI and Axis Bank credit cards, respectively.
Exclusive concierge service for gift delivery, hotel packages, movies and hotel reservations, 1% fuel surcharge waiver. Standard offering for this type of card.

RupeeIQ Take:

SBI Elite Credit Card offers generous rewards for high spenders. Its foreign exchange markup is also competitive at just 1.99%. On the other hand, those who don’t spend enough, instead lose out by paying steep annual fees of Rs 4,999. If you are someone, who can spend around 10 lakh or more through credit cards per year, this is the card for you.

Dhwani Pal

Dhwani Pal is a contributor to RupeeIQ.