AirAsia Malaysia has launched a Visa Credit Card in cooperation with Hong Leong Bank in Malaysia. You can earn a welcome bonus of 5,000 Big points, quarterly spend bonus of up to 20,000 Big points per year and get instant Platinum Status in the AirAsia Big loyalty program as well as perks like priority check-in, boarding and luggage. With an annual fee of 350RM, that can be a valuable offer for frequent travelers on AirAsia.
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AirAsia offers two credit cards, the standard Visa card and the – more attractive – Platinum Visa card I’m reviewing here!
Here is a summary of what the AirAsia Platinum Visa offers:
- Sign-up bonus of 5,000 AirAsia Big points, with minimal spend of RM2,500
- 6 Big points per RM1 spend with AirAsia
- 1 Big point per RM2 spend overseas
- 1 Big point per RM3 spend in Malaysia
- Quarterly Bonus of 5,000 Big points with minimum RM5,000 spend
- Big Platinum Status in the first year, renewed after annual spend of RM20,000
- Priority check-in, boarding and baggage for card holder & everybody in his/her party
- Annual fee of RM350 (first year free), 1% foreign exchange fee, EMV chip
The AirAsia Big Platinum Visa card offers an interesting mix of rewards earning and perks that should appeal to frequent travelers on AirAsia:
The sign-up bonus of 5,000 points (worth RM65) is good for the region, although miniscule compared to what’s offered in the US or Europe.
The Earn rate of 6 Big points per RM1 spend represents a reward rate of 7.8% and that’s fantastic! That’s higher than even top credit cards like the American Express Platinum or Citi Prestige offer!
The points earning for standard retail spend in Malaysia is poor with a reward rate of only 0.43%. Overseas spending has a slightly better reward rate of 0.65% – but that’s eaten up by the Foreign Exchange Fee of 1%!
All of these earn rates are significantly improved when the quarterly spend bonus is considered. If you were to spend exactly the minimum amount of RM5,000, your maximum reward rate would increase to 9.1% on AirAsia spend and 1.7% on local spend, a very good value!
The best use of points would be a redemption for Premium FlatBed Seats during a sale for great value:
But a key value of this card is really in the perks that come with the Platinum card and the reason I reviewed this card over the standard card: You receive instant Platinum status for the first year (find out more about Platinum status here) as well as priority check-in, boarding and baggage for yourself and anybody traveling in your party. If you travel frequently, especially with a partner or family, the charges you’d pay for this would quickly make up the annual fee of the card. You’ll have to spend at least RM20,000 per year to maintain Platinum status in the future.
The annual fee of RM350 is pretty steep, but if you spend at least RM20,000 a year and travel frequently on AirAsia, this card will pay for itself. The Foreign Exchange Fee of 1% is low by regional standards and partly made up for by the increased point earning abroad.
The quarterly spend bonus and minimum spend to maintain Platinum are designed to encourage use of the card instead of putting them into your sock drawer, like so many US cards! I consider the limits reasonable for the target audience!
Bottomline: This is one of the best travel cards I’ve seen issued in Asia for its good mix of rewards and perks! If you live in Malaysia, spend at least RM5,000 per quarter on your credit card and travel on AirAsia frequently, this card is a great option to make your air travel more pleasant and rewarding. The annual fee of RM350 after the first year is stiff, but you’ll earn that back after RM27,000 of spend per year or with the savings from frequent use of the priority perks.
You can (and should) read all the detailed terms, conditions, fees and perks of the card and apply for it here!