HDFC Bank’s Infinia and Diners Club Black are two of the most sought-after credit cards in India. While there have been devaluations over the last few years, they still provide a reward rate that very few can match. I have been using HDFC Bank Diners Club Black for some time and exploring the rewards it has to offer. With the time (and money!) spent using this card, it is time for a hands-on review of the HDFC Bank Diners Club Black credit card review.
Fees and Charges
Diners Club Black has one of the stringent eligibility criteria among all credit cards. If you are applying for a new card, you need a net monthly income of Rs 1.75 Lakhs if salaried or Rs 21 Lakhs/annum if self-employed.
HDFC Bank relaxes the eligibility in case of card upgrades or on the basis of the customer’s NRV. For upgrades to DCB, the limit needs to be upwards of Rs 5 Lakhs to be eligible for a chance at approval. So, if you have an existing HDFC Bank credit card with a Rs 5 Lakh+ limit, do try your luck by asking for an upgrade.
|Joining Fee||Rs 10000+GST|
|Annual Fee||Rs 10000+GST|
|Welcome Benefit||Complimentary annual memberships of Club Marriott, Forbes India, Swiggy One (3 months), Amazon Prime, MMTBlack, TimesPrime Smart on spending Rs 1.5 Lakhs in 90 days|
|Annual Fees Waiver||Rs 5 Lakhs Spend|
Diners Club card acceptance is a challenge in some areas. Online acceptance of DCB is ok with a few exceptions. It is the offline stores where there will be a challenge in using this card.
|Domestic PoS Acceptance (Metro/Tier 1 Cities)||Very Good – Around 80%|
|Domestic PoS Acceptance (Tier 2/Other cities)||Good (Around 60%)|
|International Acceptance||Fair (Around 50%)|
HDFC Diners Club Black credit card earns 5 reward points for every Rs 150. Each reward point is worth Rs 1 on redeeming some rewards (more on it later), so this translates to an excellent 3.33% return on your regular spending. Wallet Load, Easy EMI, and Fuel transactions are not eligible for rewards.
|Base Rewards||5 RP per Rs 150|
|Weekend Dining||2X Rewards – Maximum 1000 RP per day|
|Insurance Transactions||5 RP per Rs 150 – Maximum 5000 RP per day|
|Grocery Transactions||5 RP per Rs 150 – Maximum 2000 RP per calendar month|
|Wallet Loads, Fuel, Rent and Government Services||No Rewards|
- 2 monthly vouchers from Ola Select membership or cult.fit Live 1-month membership or BookMyShow or TataCLiQ worth Rs. 500 each every month on spends of Rs 80000.
- Complimentary annual memberships of Club Marriott, Forbes, Amazon Prime, Swiggy One, MMT BLACK, and Times Prime upon achieving an annual spend of Rs 8 Lakhs in a membership year
10X Smartbuy Rewards
This has always been the attraction of Diners Club Black. The rewards used to be great till last year but have been devalued a bit now. HDFC Bank runs a Smartbuy platform where we can get up to 10X rewards for shopping. The cap on bonus reward points is 7500 every calendar month and 2500 per day.
Unlimited Airport Lounge Access
HDFC Diners Club Black also gives unlimited airport lounge access at 700+ locations in India and worldwide. There is no cap on the number of visits. The list of lounges where this is valid is available at the official website over here. The point to be noted here is, the credit card itself doubles up as the access card – there is no separate card unlike Priority Pass.
The unlimited access is valid for add-on card members as well.
Other Charges and Benefits
- 24/7 Concierge Services
- Foreign Currency Markup: 1.99% + GST
- Fuel Surcharge Waiver: 1% fuel surcharge waiver at all fuel stations across India (Minimum transaction of Rs 400. Maximum cashback Rs 1000 per statement)
- Charges on rent payment: 1% of the total transaction amount will be levied from the second rental transaction of the calendar month
HDFC Bank provides multiple ways to redeem the accumulated reward points. Reward points are valid for three years from the date of credit. The best value would be to redeem the points for booking flights/hotels on Smartbuy or transfer miles to one of the transfer partners.
Flights/Hotels Booking on Smartbuy
The redemption option that provides the best value for the reward points is booking flights and hotels on Smartbuy. In this case, each reward point is valued at Rs 1. Smartbuy allows using up to 70% of the booking amount to be paid by reward points while the rest has to be paid by credit card. However, the good part is the amount paid by credit card accrues 5X reward points. 🙂 We can redeem up to 75000 RP per calendar month towards flights and hotels redemption.
Cash/Gift Vouchers Redemption
The Diners Club Black is not for someone who redeems the points for cash/vouchers. The effective standard reward rate when redeeming vouchers and cash drops to 1.65% (1000 RP = Rs 500 Amazon voucher) and 1% (1 RP = 30p) respectively! We now have plenty of cards in the market that provides a 2% or more direct cashback on transactions. Smartbuy allows using up to 70% of the voucher amount to be paid by reward points while the rest has to be paid by credit card.
Transfer as Airmiles
Last but not the least, we do have the option to transfer reward points to one of the Airmiles partners.
Reward Points Redemption Value Chart
|REDEMPTION OPTION||VALUE OF 1 RP|
|Smartbuy (Flights/Hotels)||Rs 1|
|Airmiles||0.5 to 1 Airmiles|
|Rewards Catalogue (Including Vouchers)||20 paise to 50 paise|
HDFC Bank DCB gets a whole new set of transfer partners now. Etihad Guest, British Airways, United MileagePlus and AeroPlan get a 2:1 ratio. So, two RP become 1 mile. Everything else is 1:1.
|TRANSFER PARTNER|| TRANSFER RATIO
|Air Canada – AeroPlan||2:1|
|Air Asia – airasia rewards||1:1|
|ALL – Accor Live Limitless||1:1|
|British Airways Executive Club||2:1|
|Hainan Airlines – Fortune Wings Club||1:1|
|IHG One Rewards||1:1|
|Vietnam Airlines – Lotusmiles Program||1:1|
|Turkish Airlines – Miles&Smiles||1:1|
|Singapore Airlines – KrisFlyer||1:1|
|Vistara Airlines – Club Vistara||1:1|
There are very few credit cards that offer 3.3% as the standard reward rate on all transactions. Yet, the extra benefits offered by HDFC Diners Club Black credit cards like 10X rewards and unlimited lounge access are what make it one of the better credit cards in India at this moment.
If you are not into Airmiles and flights, then have a look at SC Ultimate. SC Ultimate misses out on accelerated rewards but gives you 3.3% rewards on all kinds of spends including wallet loads.
For Airmiles enthusiasts, Axis Magnus is a far better choice than the DCB and even Infinia for that matter.