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10 best travel credit cards in South Africa 2022

Travel credit cards have been in use since the 1930s, and they began as “buy now, pay later” cards. Travel credit cards were primarily used for travel from the 1930s to the 1970s, with many changes occurring in the 1980s, which saw the rise of hybrid travel credit cards.

Today’s travel credit cards are more versatile and can be used to make a variety of purchases. They are no longer just for travel, but also for everyday use. When looking for a travel credit card, you can expect to earn points on non-travel purchases.

However, travel credit cards have not lost their essence; they continue to provide the services for which they are best known. That is, credit is given for purchases of airline tickets, hotel stays, vacation packages, and other travel items.

There are numerous travel credit cards available to South Africans, and selecting one is not as simple. That is why we have assisted you in narrowing down a list of travel credit cards that you can apply for.

We’ve narrowed down the top ten travel credit cards in South Africa based on rewards, usage flexibility, credit limit, interest-free period, repayment period, and interest charged. Our list is not in any particular order, but it will assist you in obtaining the best credit card for your travel needs by selecting one of the top ten in the country.

1. Diners Club Platinum Credit Card by Standard Bank

Standard Bank has teamed up with the American credit card giant Diners Club International to launch the Diners Club Platinum Credit. The credit card is one of the best travel credit cards available anywhere in the world. If you want to get a travel credit card in 2022 that offers some of the best travel credit card experiences in the world, you should think about getting the Diners Club Platinum Credit Card.

A credit provider with a presence in over 200 countries is rarely a bad bet. If you have any problems with your credit card, you can be sure that you will be able to get assistance in nearly every country you wish to visit. The helpline is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week for both South African and international calls.

Benefits of the Diners Club Platinum Credit include:

  • Access to the Diners Club Premium Concierge Service – a personalized digital platform where you can browse exclusive offers tailored specifically to you.
  • Pre-arrangement of airport transfers and meet-and-greet: Members receive exclusively negotiated rates for airport transportation as well as expedited airport check-ins and arrivals for international flights.
  • Using a single card, you can access over 1000 airport lounges worldwide in over 200 countries and 501 cities.
  • Emirates offers flight discounts* (up to 20% off economy flights, 15% off first-class flights, and 15% off business flights, excluding airport taxes on any international roundtrip airfare).
  • Avis Club – Priority service, car rental upgrades, and discounts via Diners Club’s automatic “Avis Preferred Plus” status.
  • Concierge access to Forex is made simple by Travelex, which delivers to any business or residential address in South Africa.
  • Access to a Rewards program that allows you to earn and redeem miles on flights and accommodations with ClubMiles.
  • Concierge Service for Lifestyle and Entertainment is provided at no cost.
  • Invitations to events for wine, whiskey, coffee, olive products, and chocolate connoisseurs.
  • Diners Club Travel Tools App provides free global access to over 50 million Wi-Fi hotspots.
  • Get instant VIP Platinum membership and discounts at all Tsogo Sun locations.
  • With every public transportation ticket purchased with your Diners Club Card, you will receive complimentary Phase 1 travel insurance.
  • You are also automatically insured, and any lost or stolen cards are replaced immediately.

Requirements of the Diners Club Platinum Credit Card 

  • Must earn at least R500,000.00 per year. 
  • A certified copy of a South African ID or a valid passport is required (if not SA citizen)
  • Verification of residential address (utility bill not older than 3 months)
  • Latest copy of income tax return (IRP5) or 3 months original bank statements (copies must bear a bank stamp and are not internet printouts) (if no salary advice available)
  • Tax identification number / SARS pay slip / salary advice
  • If the applicant is living with another person and does not have proof of residential address, an affidavit from the other person confirming that the applicant resides with them and the nature of the relationship is required. 

2. SAA Voyager  Gold Credit Card by Nedbank 

The SAA Voyager Gold credit card is an entry-level travel credit card designed to introduce new travelers to the world of travel credit cards. Unlike most of the travel credit cards on our list, the SAA Voyager credit card has a low annual fee of R700.00.

The credit card includes 55 days of interest-free credit for purchases made with the credit card. The interest rate charged on the credit card is customized. As a result, when you apply for a credit card, you will be quoted interest rates.

When you use the SAA Voyager Gold Credit Card, you will receive a variety of benefits, both complementary and non-complementary.

Benefits of the SAA Voyager Gold Credit Card include:

  • With the SAA Voyager American Express card, you can earn unlimited Voyager Miles and at a faster rate.
  • Earn 1 mile for every R6.50 spent on your Amex card or R11.50 spent on your Mastercard.
  • Earn 19,000 bonus Miles on your first SAA ticket purchased and used.
  • When you spend R320,000 in a calendar year, you will receive 15,000 bonus Miles.
  • When spending thresholds are met, you will receive one Continental or Global Companion Ticket per calendar year.
  • When you use your SAA Voyager credit card at Nu Metro, you can get up to 50% off your movie tickets.
  • Connect your credit or debit card to Apple Pay, Samsung Pay, Fitbit Pay, or Garmin Pay.
  • Basic travel insurance is automatically included, with the option to upgrade at a discounted rate.

Requirements of the SAA Voyager Gold Credit Card by Nedbank 

  • Must earn a minimum income of R6,600.00 per month. 
  • Have a valid South African ID book or Smart card or a valid passport and work permit. 
  • Have 3 months’ latest payslips or stamped bank statements for the last 3 months. 
  • Proof of residence such as a utility bill that is not older than 3 months at the time of application. 
  • Must be over the age of 18 at the time of application. 

3. World Citizen Credit Card by Standard Bank

The Standard Bank World Citizen credit card is intended for frequent travelers and includes non-travel benefits as well. The credit card is only available to those who earn at least R25,000.00 per month. The interest rate on the credit card is personalized, and if one chooses a 6-month budget, they will pay 0% interest.

The monthly fee for the World Citizen Credit Card is R199.00. Those with the Standard Bank Private Banking Signature account, on the other hand, pay no monthly fee if they combine it with the world citizen credit card. When applying for a credit card, an initiation fee of R180.00 is required.

If the account is paid in full during the period, the world citizen credit card offers a standard 55-day interest-free period. As an account holder, you must pay at least 3% of the total debt each month. The total credit limit that can be granted is R250,000.00; therefore, if the entire amount is used, you must pay at least R7,500.00 per month.

The world citizen credit card is best known for its travel perks. Travel benefits are available when booking hotel stays, airline tickets, cruise tickets, and more. The following are some of the benefits of using the World Citizen credit card when traveling.

Standard Bank World Citizen Travel Benefits 

  • When you book Emirates flights through Leisure Desk, you can save up to 20%*.
  • When you book with Avis, you can save up to 25%* on your next international car rental and chauffeur service.
  • Gopals is offering a 10% discount on all hard- and soft-shell luggage.
  • Mastercard Priceless Cities gives you access to handpicked experiences and offers in cities all over the world.
  • When you book a car through Rentalcars.com, you will receive a 10% discount.
  • Get a 10% Travelstart discount on any international roundtrip ticket.
  • You can visit the Lounge Key and Bidvest Lounges 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
  • Get 10% off at OneFineStay apartments.
  • When you use your credit card to book on Booking.com, you can earn up to 5% cashback.
  • Hertz offers discounts of up to 15% off car rentals.
  • At Luxury Connections, you can qualify for world-class travel packages.
  • Get a 25% discount on your hotel room at Legend Hospitality Group.
  • With a complimentary room upgrade, you can save 15% off any aha Hotels & Lodges.
  • When you park at First Class Parking for a minimum of four days, you will receive a 15% discount.

Aside from travel benefits, the world citizen credit card provides lifestyle benefits whenever the card is used. The following are the lifestyle benefits that come with a credit card.

Standard Bank World Citizen Lifestyle Benefits 

  • When you shop at Wine-of-the-Month Club, you can save 15%* off your online purchases.
  • MyUS allows you to ship your online purchases to your home for less money and shop at thousands of U.S. online stores.
  • When you buy 1GB of AlwaysOn Wi-Fi for R19 once and get 11GB free*.
  • Earn UCount Rewards Points whenever you use your credit card, regardless of where you shop.
  • For new users, get 2 months of Lingokids free, and then save 30% * on monthly subscriptions.
  • When you shop online at Pro Gifts, you can save 10%.
  • With Udemy, you can save up to 30% * on top trending courses and up to 50% * on the course of the month.
  • When you shop online at A Place To Shop, you will receive a 10% * discount.
  • When you shop at Flowers.co.za, you will receive a 10% * discount.
  • With Gift Experience, you can save 5% on your experience voucher.
  • When you spend R1 000 or more, you will receive 10% * off purchases at the Sweetie Shop.
  • When you purchase one month of internet service with your World Citizen Credit Card, you will receive 11 months of free internet access from AlwaysOn Wi-Fi.
  • When you spend more than R4 999 online at Bradlows, Russells, Rochester, or Sleepmasters, you will receive a 10% * discount.

Requirements of the Standard Bank World Citizen Credit Card

  • Must be over the age of 18 at the time of application. 
  • Have a South African ID book or Smart card or Passport if not a South African citizen. 
  • Must earn at least R25,000.00 per month. 
  • Have proof of residence that is not older than 3 months at the time of application. 
  • Have a recent payslip and a recent 3 months bank statement. 

4. American Express Platinum Credit Card by Nedbank

The American Express Platinum Credit Card is a high-end travel card offered by Nedbank in partnership with American Express. This credit card is arguably one of the most well-known in the world. The credit card has a vintage metal design with a centurion embedded in the middle.

You can expect to pay more with the credit card, as with any other premium travel credit card, in exchange for great benefits. The annual fee for the credit card is R4,450.00, and the initiation fee is R1,262.00. American Express Platinum Credit Cardholders can receive an additional card each month at no additional cost.

To qualify for the AmEx platinum credit card, you must earn at least R62,500.00 per year. With a minimum income of R62,500.00, the card is only available to those in the upper-middle class and above.

In contrast to standard credit cards in South Africa, which require a minimum payment of 3% of the total credit, the AmEx platinum credit card requires a minimum repayment of 5% of the outstanding balance.

The credit card comes with a 10,000-point welcome bonus if you spend R10,000.00 within the first three months of opening the account. In addition, cardholders earn 1.5 points for every R5.00 spent on eligible purchases.

In addition to the rewards that come with the card, the credit card offers travel and lifestyle benefits that can be redeemed. All of this is covered in more detail below.

American Express Platinum Credit Card Travel Benefits 

  • The American Express Platinum credit card includes a priority pass facility that grants access to priority pass lounges in 400 cities with over 1200 lounges to choose from.
  • As a Platinum Credit Cardholder, you have unlimited access to any Bidvest Premier airport lounge in South Africa.
  • Credit cardholders get access to the centurion lounge.
  • When booking in Business Class, Etihad Airways invites all American Express Platinum Credit Cardmembers to receive a complimentary upgrade to their award-winning First Class. From an in-flight chef preparing an exclusive dining experience to a comfortable fully-flat bed dressed in all-natural bed linen, you experience the highest levels of comfort and service in the sky. 
  • As an American Express Platinum Credit Cardholder, you can save up to 15% on upper, premium economy, and economy class tickets.
  • When you book The Hotel Collection, you will receive a $100 hotel credit on qualifying charges as well as a room upgrade if one is available. 
  • When renting with Hertz or Avis, you can take advantage of special benefits such as discounts, upgrades, and priority service if you have an American Express Platinum Credit Card. 
  • Access dedicated concierge service including 24/7 travel services. 

American Express Platinum Credit Card Lifestyle Benefits

  • Credit cardholders can save up to 50% on dining, lodging, and other services.
  • For every R5.00 spent on eligible purchases, you will receive 1.5 points.
  • Exclusive seasonal cardmember offers are available at partner merchants.

Requirements of the American Express Platinum Credit Card 

  • Must earn at least R62,500.00 a month before tax and have a healthy credit score. 
  • Must be over 18 years of age at the time of application. 
  • Have a South African ID book or Smart card or a valid passport and work permit. 
  • Proof of residence that is not older than 3 months at the time of application. 
  • 3 months latest payslips or stamped bank statements for the last 3 months. 

5. SAA Voyager Premium Credit Card by Nedbank

The SAA Voyager premium credit card is an upgraded version of the SAA Voyager Gold Credit Card. When compared to the SAA Voyager Gold Credit Card, the account offers more benefits. You can expect to gain access to more credit with a credit card for your travel and lifestyle needs.

With more credit to spend and extended benefits that come with the SAA Voyager Premium Credit Card, you can expect to pay more on card fees. The account charges R2,040.00 per annum for the card fee and R30.00 per month for a credit facility fee. 

Credit cardholders pay R0.00 for card replacement and additional cards taken. The premium credit card has no initiation fee, which is a plus given that credit cards have initiation fees.

Aside from card benefits, credit card holders receive benefits when they use their credit card for day-to-day expenses such as travel, lifestyle, and other expenses. The SAA Voyager Premium Credit Card provides the following benefits.

Benefits of the SAA Voyager Premium Credit Card 

  • With the SAA Voyager American Express card, you can earn unlimited Voyager Miles at a faster rate.
  • You earn Miles on all eligible purchases (double in the first month).
  • You earn one mile for every R6 of eligible spend on your American Express card or R10.50 on your Mastercard.
  • Credit cardholders earn 19,000 bonus Miles on their first SAA ticket purchased and used.
  • When you spend R300,000 in a calendar year, you will receive 15,000 bonus Miles.
  • When spending thresholds are met, you will receive one Continental or Global Companion Ticket per calendar year.
  • Spend R1 million in a calendar year and you’ll get an extra global companion ticket.
  • When you pay with your card, you will receive a 50% discount on your Nu Metro movie tickets.

Requirements of the SAA Voyager Premium Credit Card 

  • Must earn an income of at least R25,000.00 per month. 
  • Have a valid South African ID book or Smart card or passport and work permit. 
  • Be over the age of 18 years at the time of application. 
  • 3 months latest payslips or stamped bank statements for the last 3 months. 
  • Proof of residence that is not older than 3 months at the time of application. 

6. Absa British Airways Credit Card 

The Absa British Airways Credit Card is a collaboration between Absa and British Airways. The credit card gives cardholders access to some of the best travel and lifestyle experiences available. Credit cardholders can earn points when they use their credit card on eligible purchases.

The credit card has a monthly fee of R95.00, which includes an R30.00 facility fee and an R65.00 account fee. Other fees that come with the credit card are as follows:

  • Absa charges an R2.30 ATM withdrawal fee per R100.00.
  • ATM withdrawal fee of R80.00 from an ATM located outside of South Africa.
  • A standard R80.00 fee plus R2.50 per R100.00 withdrawn is charged at the branch.
  • Cash deposits at a branch incur an R80.00 transaction fee plus R2.50 per R100.00 deposited.
  • R2.50 cash deposit fee per R100.00 deposited at an Absa ATM.

When the credit allocated to the credit card is used, interest rates apply. On point-of-sale purchases, cash withdrawals, and fuel purchases, 17.75 % interest is charged. The account credit balance incurs 0.20 percent interest, which means that any unused funds are charged interest.

The Absa British Airways Credit Card offers travel and lifestyle benefits as a travel credit card. The following is a list of the credit card’s benefits. 

Benefits of the Absa British Airways Credit Card 

  • As a reward, first-time Absa British Airways Credit Cardholders receive 5000 Avios points.
  • If a credit card holder spends R24,000.00 within the first three months of opening the account, they will receive 4000 bonus Avios points.
  • For every R7.50 spent, one Avios point is earned.
  • When you use the card at British Airways, you will receive one Avios point for every R5.00 spent.
  • British Airways executive club membership is available to credit cardholders.
  • When traveling within South Africa with British Airways, the credit card includes free priority check-in.
  • When traveling with British Airways, credit cardholders get lounge access day pass vouchers and an exclusive club offer.

The credit card is clearly beneficial for travelers, as it provides a plethora of benefits. The following requirements must be met in order to obtain the Absa British Airways Credit Card.

Absa British Airways Credit Card Requirements

  • The applicant must earn at least R8,000.00 per month. 
  • Must be over the age of 18 years. 
  • Must have a valid South African ID. 
  • Have proof of residence that is not older than 3 months. 
  • Have a good credit score. 

7. Absa Private Credit Card

The Absa Private Credit Card combines travel and lifestyle benefits into a single credit card for the elite. To be eligible for the Absa Private Credit Card, you must make at least R62,500.00 per month.

In contrast to a standard credit card, the Absa Private Credit Card comes with a dedicated 24/7 private assistance team of bankers. You can get help booking flights, hotels, and other services with private assistance.

The credit card has a maximum credit limit of R228,000.00 and can be used for any credit purchase anywhere in the world. The Private Credit Card has a R90.000.00 swipe limit. 

When you use the Private credit card, you can earn up to 30% in Absa rewards on participating purchases such as groceries, gas, and health and beauty products. Credit cardholders can earn cashback when they use their cards at any Absa digital partner.

The Absa Private Credit Card comes with some lifestyle and travel perks. The benefits available to Absa Private Credit Cardholders are listed below.

Absa Private Credit Card Benefits

  • There will be 24 complimentary visits to the Bidvest Airport lounge. A second complimentary visit to the Bidvest lounge for two guests per year.
  • When a return ticket is booked with the Absa Private Credit Card, you will receive automatic travel insurance for a variety of travel emergencies.
  • The credit card includes buyer protection and an extended warranty.
  • Coverage in the event that the Absa Private Credit Card is stolen or lost.
  • Access to Absa Advantage rewards, where you can earn instant cash rewards for banking more wisely.
  • Membership in the Absa rewards program, which allows you to earn up to 30% cashback and 30% back in rewards points on qualifying purchases.
  • On qualifying transactions, you can get up to 57 days of interest-free credit.
  • There are no transaction fees on purchases.

Requirements of the Absa Private Credit Card 

  • Must be at least 18 years or older at the time of application. 
  • Earn an income of R62,500.00 or more per month. 
  • Must have a valid South African ID book or Smart card. 
  • The latest proof of residence. 
  • The latest proof of income for three consecutive months. 

8. Private Wealth Credit Card by FNB

The FNB Private Wealth Credit Card is arguably South Africa’s most desired credit card. The Private Wealth Credit Card now has a new metal look and still maintains its tap functionality.

To be eligible for the FNB private wealth credit card, you must have an annual income of R1,800,000 or assets worth R15,000,000.00 or more. The monthly service fee for the credit card is R529.00.

As a credit cardholder, you are automatically enrolled in FNB’s rewards program, where you can earn up to 40% in eBucks. Flight tickets, car rentals, hotel reservations, Netflix subscriptions, and Spotify subscriptions are all examples of qualifying purchases that can earn you rewards.

The credit card offers a 55-day interest-free credit period on credit card purchases. Clients who use a linked credit facility can get up to 30 days of interest-free credit on card purchases.

You are entitled to the following benefits as an FNB Private Wealth credit cardholder.

FNB Private Wealth credit card benefits 

  • When you use your Private Wealth Credit Card to book flights, hotels, or car rentals, you can earn up to 40% back in eBucks rewards.
  • When you use your card at Clicks, Checkers, and iStore, you can earn up to 15% back in eBucks rewards.
  • When booking a flight through eBucks travel, you will have access to 24 SLOW and Bidvest Premier lounges on domestic or international flights.
  • Engen offers up to R4 per liter back in eBucks every month, or up to R8 per liter back in eBucks every quarter when combined with WesBank.
  • To bank in Guernsey, you can open an FNB Channel Islands account.
  • The credit card includes lost card protection.
  • When you use the FNB Private Wealth Credit Card to book your flight, you will receive free global travel insurance.
  • Comes with a dedicated private banker to help you with your banking needs. 

Requirements of the FNB Private Wealth Credit Card 

  • Must have a South African ID or a passport with a work permit or a passport with a retirement permit. 
  • Must have assets to the value of R15,000,000.00 or annual income of R1,800,000.00. 
  • Have proof of residence that is not older than 3 months at the time of application. 
  • The latest proof of income such as payslip or 3 months bank statement. 

9. RMB Private Credit Card

The RMB Private Credit Card is a lifestyle and travel credit card with a monthly service fee of R529.00. Credit cardholders can get a monthly service fee waiver of up to 100% if they invest R750,000.00 in the FNB money Maximiser account plus R250,000.00 in the FNB retirement annuity.

The credit card comes with a free eBucks enrollment, which allows cardholders to earn eBucks points on certain lifestyle and travel purchases. Credit cardholders can earn up to 40% back in eBucks on flights, car rentals, hotel reservations, Netflix subscriptions, and Spotify subscriptions.

RMB Private Bank credit card holders have full access to SLOW and Bidvest Premier lounges when traveling. Furthermore, when you book a flight with eBucks travel, you will receive additional airport lounge visits.

Since the RMB Private Credit Card is a black card, you will be assigned a private banker who will be available to you 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The private banker will assist with travel arrangements such as purchasing airline tickets, booking hotel rooms, and more.

When you use the RMB Private Credit Card to purchase a return ticket, you will receive free global travel insurance. The global travel insurance covers you for the first 90 days of your trip.

Additional benefits are available with the RMB Private Credit Card. All of the benefits of owning an RMB Private Credit Card are listed below.

RMB Private Credit Card Benefits 

  • Since credit card interest is personalized, if you have a good credit score, you will receive low-interest rates.
  • When you book through eBucks Travel, you can save up to 40%* on selected flights and car rentals for you and your family. 
  • Depending on your reward level, you may receive up to 36 complimentary Airport Lounge visits per year.
  • When you book flights through eBucks Travel, you can earn up to 24 SLOW and Bidvest Premier Lounge bonus visits – domestic or international – for you and your family. 
  • Earn up to 15% back in eBucks when you shop for health and beauty at Clicks.
  • With the Mr D Food App, you can earn and spend eBucks on food orders.
  • Earn more eBucks with Smart Spend when you use your RMB Private Bank Credit Card.
  • When your family banks with RMB Private Bank, you can earn up to 40% back in eBucks on your Netflix and Spotify® subscriptions.
  • Your personal Private Bank Advisor and service team Banking is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week through the RMB Private Bank App and online.
  • When you use your credit card to buy return tickets, you automatically get Global Travel Insurance.

Requirements of the RMB Private Credit Card

  • Must earn at least R750,000.00 or more per annum, or have net assets value in a cess of R15,000,000.00. 
  • Have a valid South African ID book or a passport with a work permit if you are from a foreign country. 
  • Proof of residence that is not older than 3 months at the time of application. 
  • The latest proof of income in a form of a payslip or 3 months bank statement. 

10. Capitec Bank Global One Credit card

The Capitec Bank Global One credit card is a hybrid credit card that offers both travel and lifestyle benefits. The credit card has a monthly fee of R40.00, and the interest rate on the credit card is personalized and starts at 7.25 %. The credit card has a maximum credit limit of R500,000.00, but the credit limit is determined by income and affordability.

To be eligible for the Capitec Bank Global One credit card, you must be employed and earn at least R5,000.00 per month. Self-employed individuals must earn at least R10,000.00 per month to be eligible for the credit card. A good credit score is also required to qualify for the account.

The credit card includes a 55-day interest-free credit period for credit purchases. If the outstanding debt is settled before the next installment’s due date, the account will not accrue interest. At least 5% of the total amount of credit used must be repaid on a monthly basis.

On a positive balance, the Capitec Bank Global One credit card pays interest of 2.25% per annum. This positive balance is any amount that exceeds Capitec Bank’s credit limit.

The aforementioned card benefits are not the only benefits of the Global One credit card. The following are some of the travel and lifestyle benefits available to account holders.

Benefits of the Capitec Bank Global One credit card

  • Credit cardholders can choose between a shorter budget duration and a longer budget duration of 48 months.
  • You can get free lost card protection, which protects you from losses caused by fraudulent use before reporting the card as lost or stolen.
  • Free basic cover for emergency medical and related expenses of up to R5 million, as specified in the benefit schedule provided by Travel Insurance Consultants. 

Requirements of the Capitec Bank Global One credit card

  • Must earn at least R5,000.00 if employed and R10,000.00 if self-employed.
  • Be at least 18 years or older at the time of application.
  • Must have a valid South Africa ID.
  • Have a 3 months bank statement and/or a payslip if employed.

Conclusion

Travel credit cards are an excellent choice for frequent travelers because they provide a variety of travel benefits. Those who do not travel frequently can still benefit from hybrid credit cards that offer entertainment, lifestyle, and travel benefits.

It is critical to compare travel credit cards on the market to ensure that you receive the best travel benefits. This is due to the fact that everyone has different travel needs; some people prefer to delegate the entire planning process to others, while others prefer hotel upgrades, and so on. As a result, obtain the credit card that will best suit your travel requirements at any destination you intend to visit.

Staff Writer

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