SBI Card and American Express (Amex) join hands to leverage scale and differentiated offerings for its premium customers. This partnership would see that SBI Card’s top-end premium products – SBI Card PRIME and SBI Card ELITE will be available on American Express’ global network.
Ashwini Kumar Tewari (MD and CEO) said in an official statement that, SBI Card has a card base of about 10.5 million at this point. This is a very small number when comparing it with the 288 million customer base of State Bank of India (the parent bank). Looking at the entire industry of 880 million debit cards, they have a long way to go. So that is the scale they are targeting but within this scale, they are looking to differentiate their offerings. Amex is a true market leader and they have a great understanding of the customers, further added Tewari.
The premium section of credit card users of SBI Card can now have American Express valuable network benefits through local and global network offers, complimentary domestic lounge program, restaurants, and retail outlets around the world, access to Elite tier membership, access to VIP upgrades, and privileges at hotels as per a release by SBI Card. Customers can also enjoy additional benefits like pre-ticketing access to entertainment and sporting events such as the US Open and the Wimbledon which are presently accessible virtually.
Partnership with SBI Card would certainly enhance the service and value proposition for Indian consumers and significantly expand our footmark in the country, said Pierric Beckert (President, American Express Global Network Services). Together, SBI Card and Amex would be able to create appealing and differentiated products to meet the needs of a wide set of Indian consumers.
There would be joining fees of Rs 4,999 and Rs 2,999 respectively for the on-boarding of SBI Card ELITE and SBI Card PRIME on the American Express platform. The cards have been currently launched in Mumbai and Delhi NCR and with time will gradually be extended to other cities in the American Express Network.
There was a question about the timing of the partnership amidst the COVID-19 pandemic that has restricted spending behavior. Tewari replied that the partnership was under the pipeline much before COVID-19 started.