SBI Card Elite: Does This Card Work for You?

SBI Card Elite: Does This Card Work for You?

Not the most competitive travel card, despite great hotel benefits

Good for

  • Consumers who prefer Trident Hotels
  • Vistara Airlines travellers
  • SBI loyalists
  • Frequent diners

Bad for

  • Individuals looking for a general spending card
  • Consumers avoiding high fees

Editor's Rating

3.5/5.0

The SBI Card ELITE is not a great fit for most consumers due to its high fee and low overall rewards rate. Still, some customers might find it attractive due to its travel perks. For instance, the card earns a solid 2.50% rewards rate on dining, groceries and retail spending (10 points per Rs. 100, 1 point = Rs. 0.25). Additionally, the card offers a 10% discount alongside a 2.50% rewards rate (10 points per Rs. 100, 1 point = Rs. 0.25) at specifically Trident hotels through the card's Trident membership. Moreover, the card earns a 2.25% rewards rate (9 points per Rs. 100, 1 point = Rs. 0.25) on Vistara airline bookings.

However, on all other spending categories the card earns a below average 0.50% (2 points per Rs. 100, 1 point = Rs. 0.25). Further, when this card is compared to many of the other premium options on the market, it does not earn as much in terms of rewards rates. The card also incurs a high annual fee of Rs. 4,999. This is not a very competitive premium card, but it is a good option for someone looking for a card to use on hotel bookings, specifically.

ProsCons
  • 10% discount on hotel bookings on Trident hotel website
  • 2.50% rewards rate at participating hotels through Trident membership
  • 2.50% rewards rate on dining, groceries and retail spending
  • 2.25% rewards rate on Vistara flight bookings
  • 2 free movie tickets per month (maximum discount of Rs. 250)
  • 6 international airport lounge visits per year (maximum 2 per quarter), 1 Vistara lounge voucher, 1 Vistara airline upgrade voucher and 2 domestic airport lounge visits per year
  • Lowest forex mark-up of 1.99%
  • Low overall rewards rate: 0.50% rewards rate on general spending
  • Annual fee: Rs. 4,999
Promotions:
  • Sign-Up Bonus: ₹ 5,000 e-voucher
  • Anniversary Bonus: 10,000 bonus points on achieving annual spends of ₹ 3 lakhs and 20,000 on ₹ 4 lakhs
  • Anniversary Bonus: Earn 15,000 bonus points on achieving annual spends of ₹ 5 lakhs and ₹ 8 lakhs
Card Overview
Pros:
  • 10% discount on hotel bookings on Trident hotel website
  • 2.50% rewards rate at participating hotels through Trident membership
  • 2.50% rewards rate on dining, groceries and retail spending
  • 2.25% rewards rate on Vistara flight bookings
  • 2 free movie tickets per month (maximum discount of Rs. 250)
  • 6 international airport lounge visits per year (maximum 2 per quarter), 1 Vistara lounge voucher, 1 Vistara airline upgrade voucher and 2 domestic airport lounge visits per year
  • Lowest forex mark-up of 1.99%
Cons:
  • Low overall rewards rate: 0.50% rewards rate on general spending
  • Annual fee: Rs. 4,999
Promotions:
  • Sign-Up Bonus: ₹ 5,000 e-voucher
  • Anniversary Bonus: 10,000 bonus points on achieving annual spends of ₹ 3 lakhs and 20,000 on ₹ 4 lakhs
  • Anniversary Bonus: Earn 15,000 bonus points on achieving annual spends of ₹ 5 lakhs and ₹ 8 lakhs

What Makes the SBI Card ELITE Stand Out?

The SBI Care ELITE is not the best premium card on the market, due to its below average general spending rewards rate and high fee, but has decent travel benefits. In terms of hotel rewards, the card offers cardholders a 10% discount on top of a 2.50% rewards rate (10 points per Rs. 100, 1 point = Rs. 0.25) at participating Trident hotels. This is the best discount offered by a credit card for Trident hotels, but the list is not very extensive as shown in the table below. Furthermore, the card offers elevated rewards rates on dining, groceries and retail spending of 2.50% (10 points per Rs. 100, 1 point = Rs. 0.25). Additionally, cardholders purchasing Vistara Airlines tickets will earn 2.25% rewards rate (9 points per Rs. 100, 1 point = Rs. 0.25) on their bookings. These hotel and flight booking rates allow cardholders to earn great rewards on all their travels. The card also offers multiple opportunities for high spenders to earn additional rewards.

A downside for this card; however, is that the general spending rewards rate is a below average 0.50% (2 points per Rs. 100, 1 point = Rs. 0.25). All of the rewards rates mentioned do not compare very well to other premium alternatives on the market, particularly for general spending. Further, the card charges a high fee of Rs. 4,999 and can be waived with annual spends of Rs. 10 lakh. In terms of general perks, the card offers great airport lounge and movie perks. Therefore this may not be the best premium card on the market, but it is a solid premium card for frequent travellers.

Trident Hotels Location

  • Agra
  • Bhubaneswar
  • Chennai
  • Cochin
  • Gurgaon
  • Jaipur
  • Nariman Point, Mumbai
  • Udaipur
  • Bandra Kurla, Mumbai
  • Hyderabad

Trident Hotels Location

  • Agra
  • Bhubaneswar
  • Chennai
  • Cochin
  • Gurgaon
  • Jaipur
  • Nariman Point, Mumbai
  • Udaipur
  • Bandra Kurla, Mumbai
  • Hyderabad

How Does the SBI Card ELITE’s Rewards Program Work?

The SBI Card ELITE’s reward program is primarily point based. For instance, the card earns 10 points per Rs. 100 on dining, groceries and retail spending. The card also earns 9 points per Rs. 100 on Vistara Airlines bookings. Further, the card allows for a 10% discount alongside 10 points per Rs. 100 on hotel bookings on partnered Trident Hotels. On general spending, the card earns 2 points per Rs. 100. The redemption rate for the reward points is 1 point = Rs. 0.25.

  • 10% discount alongside 10 points per Rs. 100 on hotel bookings on partnered Trident Hotels
  • 10 points per Rs. 100 on dining, groceries and retail spending
  • 9 points per Rs. 100 on Vistara Airlines bookings
  • 2 points per Rs. 100 on general spending
  • Reward redemption rate of 1 point = Rs. 0.25
  • No maximum rewards points
  • Points expire after 2 years of accrual

SBI Card ELITE's Features and Benefits:

Card Overview
  • Joining Fee: Rs. 4,999
  • Annual Fee: Rs. 4,999
  • Income Requirement: None listed by issuer
  • Age Requirement: None listed by issuer
Rewards Rate Details
  • 10 points per Rs. 100 on hotel bookings on partnered Trident Hotels
  • 10 points per Rs. 100 on dining, groceries and retail spending
  • 9 points per Rs. 100 on Vistara Airlines bookings
  • 2 points per Rs. 100 on general spending
  • Reward redemption rate of 1 point = Rs. 0.25
Benefits & Perks
  • 10% discount on hotel bookings on partnered Trident Hotels
Promotions:
  • Sign-Up Bonus: ₹ 5,000 e-voucher
  • Anniversary Bonus: 10,000 bonus points on achieving annual spends of ₹ 3 lakhs and 20,000 on ₹ 4 lakhs
  • Anniversary Bonus: Earn 15,000 bonus points on achieving annual spends of ₹ 5 lakhs and ₹ 8 lakhs

How Does SBI Card ELITE Compare Against Other Cards?

Read our comparisons of the SBI Card ELITE:

Graph showing India’s Best Premium Cards for Consumers Spending approximately Rs. 47,000 per month

SBI Card ELITE vs. HDFC Bank Diners Club Black Card

Consider this if you are looking for a high earning card with points that can be redeemed in miles

Age Requirement 21-60 (65 if self-employed)
Annual Income Requirement Rs. 2,100,000

The HDFC Bank Diners Black Card is a great premium card that is best suited for high spenders. The card offers a market best 3.33% rewards rate (5 points per Rs. 150 spent; 1 point = Rs. 1 cashback) on general spending, which is much better than the highest elevated rewards rate of 2.50% on dining, groceries and retail. Furthermore, the Black Card offers cardholders with unlimited lounge access and that makes the 6 annual international lounge visits offered by the ELITE Card fairly week. However, the Bank Diners Black Card does not offer a 10% discount on Trident Hotels with a 2.50% rewards rate on hotel bookings, unlike the SBI ELITE card. Additionally, the Black Card has an annual fee (Rs. 10,000) double that of the ELITE Card (Rs. 5,000).

Therefore, we recommend the Black Card for individuals interested in a top premium card and the ELITE Card for those seeking a card specifically for Vistara Airlines and Trident Hotels bookings.

SBI Card ELITE vs. JetPrivilege HDFC Bank Diners Club Card

Consider this if you are interested in a primary card to also use for travelling rewards

Age Requirement 21-60 (65 if self-employed)
Annual Income Requirement None listed by issuer

The JetPrivilege HDFC Bank Diners Club Credit Card is the top card for consumers who prefer to book through InterMiles or fly Etihad when booking their travels. The JetPrivilege Card earns a 4.8% rewards rate (16 points per Rs. 150, 1 point = 1 InterMile = Rs. 0.45) on bookings made through the InterMiles platform. Additionally, the card earns a 6.0% rewards rate (20 InterMiles per Rs. 150, 1 point = Rs. 0.45) on all Etihad Airways bookings and up to a 10% discount on tickets. These rates are all much higher than the elevated rewards rate of 2.50% earned on the ELITE Card for dining, groceries and retail spending. On the other hand, the ELITE card's discounts and rewards at Trident Hotels make it more attractive to those loyal to Trident. As a result, the JetPrivilege Card would be a better fit for consumers looking for a general spending card, whereas the ELITE Card would be better for those looking for a card primarily for hotel bookings.

SBI Card ELITE vs. HDFC Bank Regalia Card

Consider this if you are looking for a decent rewards card with great lounge access

Age Requirement 21-60 (65 if self-employed)
Annual Income Requirement Rs. 1,440,000 (Rs. 1,200,000 if self employed)

The HDFC Bank Regalia Card is a good general use card with lounge benefits. For instance, the card earns a good 1.33% rewards rate (4 points per Rs. 150 spent, 1 point = Rs. 0.5) across all spending categories. Cardholders are also offered 6 international airport lounge visits and 12 domestic airport lounge visits per year, which is much more than the 6 international lounge visits and 2 domestic lounge visits per year by the ELITE Card. Still, the ELITE card offers 10% discounts as well as a 2.50% rewards rate on each Trident Hotel booking. As a result, the Regalia Card is better for general spending and airport lounge access; however, the best for Trident Hotels bookings is the ELITE Card.

Sahmi Chowdhury

Sahmi is a Junior Research Analyst specialising in credit cards and insurance in India. He previously worked in the financial services sector at Brown Brothers Harriman and True Capital Management.