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UAE air miles credit cards compared

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Deciding which credit card is right for you is complicated enough when you consider the number of offers and benefits on offer from financial institutions in the UAE. But those

who decide that accruing air miles is their preferred benefit from their credit card spending must then choose between the five banks offering airline-affiliated cards. Here we round up the costs and benefits to help you decide. But remember there is no point signing up for any credit card if you do not pay off the full balance every month.

ADCB

Airline programme: Etihad Guest

Miles per $1 spent: 0.5 miles with Classic and 1 mile with Gold spent anywhere; 1.5 for domestic spending and 2.5 if spent overseas or on Etihad.com with Platinum; 2 domestic, 3 overseas or on Etihad.com with Infinite

Annual fee: Dh0 for Classic or Gold (only bank to offer fee-free airline card)/ Dh1,000 Platinum/ Dh2,500 Infinite

Minimum monthly salary: Dh5,000 Classic / Dh8,000 Gold / Dh5,000 Platinum / Dh40,000 Infinite

Offers: For Platinum and Infinite cardholders only, bonus miles for high spending (eg 5,000 for $5,000 spending in a month), 50 per cent discount upgrade voucher and fast-track to silver and gold Etihad Guest status respectively. Travel insurance for Infinite only

Sign-up bonus: 25,000 guest miles for Platinum, 50,000 for Infinite

ADIB

Airline programme: Etihad Guest

Miles per $1 spent: 1.1 miles for domestic spending and 1.8 for overseas with Classic; 1.5 miles spent locally and 1.8 overseas with Gold; and 2 spent locally and 2.8 overseas with Platinum

Annual fee: Dh500 Classic/ Dh1,000 Gold/ Dh2,000 Platinum

Minimum monthly salary: Dh5,000 for all three cards with salary transfer, otherwise Dh10,000

Offers: Free companion ticket for gold or platinum card holders when more than Dh150,000 spent annually; 15 per cent discount when buying Etihad flights on card; fast track to silver and gold Etihad Guest status for Gold and Platinum card holders

Sign-up bonus: Sign-up bonus of D10,000, 35,000 or 50,000 guest miles, depending on card

Citi

Airline programme: Emirates Skywards

Miles per $1 spent: 0.75 miles domestic and 1 mile overseas with Gold or Titanium; 1 mile domestic and 1.25 miles for overseas with Ultimate; 1 mile domestic and 1.5 miles overseas with Ultima, plus 2.5 for Emirates.com purchases

Annual fee: Dh400 Gold or Titanium/ Dh800 Ultimate/ Dh3,000 Ultima (the most expensive fee among all the cards)

Minimum monthly salary: Dh8,000 Gold or Titanium / Dh18,000 Ultimate/ Dh37,0000 Ultima

Offers: Three months interest-free credit on Emirates flight purchases (not available for Gold)

Sign-up bonus: 25,000 Skywards miles with Ultima card only, plus 10,000 on renewal

Emirates Islamic

Airline programme: Emirates Skywards

Miles per $1 spent: Emirates Islamic does not give miles per dollar: miles are based on ranges of spending. With Gold, the minimum monthly spend of $545 earns 1,000 miles, up to a maximum 3,200 miles; with Platinum, the minimum monthly spend of $1,634 earns 3,200 miles, up to a maximum 10,000 miles; and with Infinite, the minimum monthly spend of $5,445 earns 10,500 miles, up to a maximum 32,000 miles

Annual fee: Dh400 Gold/ Dh700 Platinum/ Dh950 Infinite. As an Islamic card, there is also a monthly fee in lieu of interest, waived if the balance is fully settled on the payment due date.

Minimum monthly salary: 5,000 Gold and Platinum/ 25,000 Infinite

Sign-up bonus: 20,000 Skywards miles with Infinite card only

Emirates NBD

Airline programme: Emirates Skywards

Miles per $1 spent: 0.75 domestic and 1 mile overseas with Signature, 1.5 for Emirates.com spending; 1 mile domestic and 1.5 miles overseas with Infinite, 2 for Emirates.com spending

Annual fee: Dh700 Signature/ Dh1,500 Infinite

Minimum monthly salary: Dh15,000 Signature / Dh30,000 Infinite

Offers: For Infinite, automatic Emirates Skywards silver status and the option to enrol for Express Miles – 50 per cent bonus miles per month to a maximum of 4,000 for an additional Dh250 monthly fee (annual fee then waived)

Sign-up bonus: Travel vouchers worth up to Dh3,000 for Signature (if $10,000 spent in first three months), Dh5,000 for Infinite.

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