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Now, get rewarded for spending

Last updated on: September 28, 2011 12:05 IST

Now, get rewarded for spending

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Masoom Gupte, Neha Pandey in Mumbai

Software professional Rohan Salvi makes it a point to refill his car petrol tank only at Indian Oil outlets, as he gets Rs 4 worth of petrol free on every Rs 200 spent with his Citibank-Indian Oil Platinum credit card.

Similarly, project manager Utkal Patra, who loves to travel, uses his Kingfisher-AmEx credit card extensively.

Reason: He has to pay just Rs 1,000 for a Kingfisher return ticket on any domestic route if he spends in excess of Rs 1.75 lakh in a year.

"I have spent Rs 3.50 lakh and I can now get two tickets, which I will utilise for my trip to Bhubaneswar in November," he says.

Credit card offers - discounts, reward points and cashback - could range across shopping, phone bill payments, dining and entertainment.

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Photographs: Issei Kato/Reuters
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Shyamal Saxena, head-retail banking, Standard Chartered Bank, says, "Credit cards companies tie up with manufacturers.

And, spends in conjunction with these make consumers eligible for rewards as per the agreement between the card issuer and the merchant."

StanChart has tied up with 1,100-odd merchants. On using the bank's credit card at any of these points-of-sale, consumers can avail double reward points. Say you get two points for each Rs 100 spent - here you can earn four, he says.

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Photographs: Jo Yong-Hak/Reuters
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Salvi can also use his card for buying grocery, shopping and dining for extra savings. With petrol prices rising, he could get free fuel worth Rs 2,400 in a year on spending Rs 1.8 lakh.

You also get a surcharge waiver of 2.5 per cent or Rs 1,200 a year (Rs 100 a month). Total saving = Rs 3,612. And, Patra can earn 12.5 King miles for every Rs 100 spent on Airtel bill payments.

You can make good use of your card(s) while dining or going for movies. Researcher Praneeth Karkera used Kotak Mahindra Bank's credit card for the big cashbacks it offered.

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Here, when the bill comes, the cash back amount is deducted and shown in the bill, which gets reduced to that effect. Say, you spend Rs 5,000 or more in a billing cycle, including dining and movies; the bank will ask you to pay only Rs 4,500.

The Kotak Mahindra Trump Gold card could help you save Rs 5,000 or more annually, with its 10 per cent cashback offer through the year.

It will be given on your first five dining and movie transactions, up to a maximum of Rs 600. Those booking movie tickets online with Cinemax can get an instant 10 per cent discount with this card.

You also get extra 10 per cent cash back on your monthly statement for your movie tickets. Standard Chartered MasterCard Titanium users get five per cent cash back on fuel expenses.

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Besides reward points, which can then be converted into benefits, consumers are also lured by direct discounts.

For instance, Standard Chartered in the past year tied up with retail chains like Lifestyle, Croma and Ezone.

In this case, the consumer can garner an additional discount of five to 10 per cent over what is being offered to regular customers, during the sale season.

Importantly, discounts and reward points can be higher on spends during weekends than during weekdays.

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For instance, IndusInd Bank awards three times the reward points for expenditure over the weekends.

The Citi Titanium Cash Rewards Credit Card give one point for every Rs 200 spent on a weekday, as opposed to five points on a weekend.

However, all this comes with a caveat. "There would be a minimum spend required and there will also be a cap on the maximum cash back that banks can give," says Anil Ramachandran, head-cards business, IndusInd Bank.

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Payments gateways Visa and MasterCard also tie-up directly to give cash back and discounts to customers. For instance, Visa customers can get 35 per cent off at Pizza Hut outlets and Visa also runs various schemes on bookmyshow.com.

"Visa Signature and Infinite cardholders (big-ticket users) can also get access to airport lounges when travelling abroad by simply showing the card or even get room upgrades at select hotels there,' says Uttam Nayak, group country manager, India & South Asia, Visa.

In case of overlapping offers from the bank's side and the payment gateways, typically customers will have to pick one. Offers cannot be clubbed.



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