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Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 20 October 2018

FAB credit card offers 110,000 'welcome bonus' air miles 

Customers can earn a further 120,000 miles during the first six months, taking the total to 230,000 – a first in the UAE

FAB's air miles deal, which runs until October 31, gives customers bonus air miles to use for flights on Etihad Airways on top of the standard joining offer. Photo: AP
FAB's air miles deal, which runs until October 31, gives customers bonus air miles to use for flights on Etihad Airways on top of the standard joining offer. Photo: AP

First Abu Dhabi Bank, the UAE's largest lender, is looking to lure new customers by giving away the highest number of Etihad Guest air miles ever in a new credit card promotion.

Those signing up for FAB’s Etihad Guest credit card can secure up to 110,000 air miles in a “welcome bonus” and earn a further 120,000 in the first six months of the card.

Hana Al Rostamani, the group head of personal banking at FAB, said the move reflects the bank’s “commitment to provide cardholders with unparalleled rewards and experiences”.

Most airlines offer a frequent flyer scheme, where passengers can earn points by flying with a particular carrier that they later redeem for cheaper fares. In the UAE, Emirates Skywards and Etihad Guest programmes are the most popular, with members able to earn miles through travel as well as shopping and credit-card spend.

FAB’s air miles offer, which runs until October 31, gives customers that apply for the Etihad Guest Infinite credit card 55,000 Etihad Guest miles as the standard joining miles with an additional 55,000 miles as a bonus for the campaign.

To achieve the 230,000, customers must then hit a spend target of Dh100,000 in the first six months to earn an additional 65,000 air miles on top of any regular miles they earn. To earn the final 55,000 air miles, they must make a balance transfer from another financial product.

Ambareen Musa, the founder and chief executive of price comparison site Souqalmal.com says the 110,000 double welcome bonus miles is “a stand-out feature of the FAB Etihad Guest credit cards”.

“Looking at the Etihad Guest miles linked credit cards offered by banks in the UAE, most competitors offer up to 50,000 miles as a sign-up bonus,” she says.

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Ms Musa warns consumers that like any other financial promotion, customers must go through the small print to make sure they are aware of the terms and conditions and all qualifying factors before applying.

“For instance, new cardholders will automatically receive the welcome miles upon signing up, but have to meet a minimum spend criteria to be eligible to earn the bonus miles,” she says.

Another point to note is that the 230,000 headline figure only applies to the Etihad Guest Infinite credit card, which requires a minimum salary of Dh30,000.

Those applying for the Etihad Guest Signature credit card, with a minimum salary requirement of Dh15,000, can only secure a total of 70,000 Etihad Guest miles in the welcome bonus. They must then spend a further Dh60,000 in the first six months to secure an extra 35,000 miles.

Meanwhile, customers applying for the Etihad Guest Platinum credit card, which requires a salary of over Dh8,000, can secure up to 20,000 miles in the double promotion; a credit card spend of Dh40,000 in the first six months secures a further Dh20,000.

While the cards are free of annual charges for the first year, the fee will apply from the second year onwards.

Ms Musa says customers should also tread carefully when comparing credit cards in the UAE that offer different miles programmes. She says consumers must not only assess how much they need to spend to earn the miles, but also what the miles are worth - in other words how many miles they need to actually secure a free flight.

"For example, you need a minimum of 65,000 Etihad Guest miles for a return flight from Abu Dhabi to London Heathrow, as opposed to the minimum 45,000 Skywards miles for a free return flight from Dubai to London Heathrow," says Ms Musa.