HDFC Bank Diners Club Black Credit Card Review

HDFC Diners Club Black is one of the best super premium international credit cards in India. I have huge respect for their strategy and reward points. The team who manages and promotes the card really understands what the customer needs and introduced the 10x partners on travel, food and shopping category. I think I’m personally very loyal to this credit card and proud to make use of it too.

VISA and MasterCard may be the top market share holders for credit cards, but there are other players such as Diners Club International (DCI) and RuPay. Diners Club has an exclusive tie-up with HDFC Bank as issuer in India. DCI has a history from 1950 and was the first charge card. They were acquired by CitiBank in 1981 and later by Discover Financial Services in April 2008.

Look & Feel

  • The card looks elegant black and has a world map in the background
  • The card comes with EMV chip but does not have NFC enabled the contactless option

Reward rate

The card comes with one of the best in class reward rate. I could even say they are unbeatable.

  • Usually, 3.3 % on all the retail spends
  • Accelerated up to 33% during the seasonal promotions
  • Minimum spend is 150 INR and in multiples, 5 reward points for every 150 INR spent
  • Exceptions
    • SmartEMI, EasyEMI, and e-wallet loading transactions will not accrue Reward points.
  • Capping
    • 25,000 reward points per statement
    • Insurance transactions will have a maximum cap of 2,000 per transaction
  • Reward points are valid only for 3 years from the date of accumulation
  • These capping may change from time to time, please visit https://www.hdfcbankdinersclub.com/diners-club-black

Let’s say you spend 1,00,000 INR rupees every month on your credit card for all your lifestyle needs such as paying your restaurant, shopping, medical and travel. You will save 3,300 as reward points. If you spend the same 1L on preferred partners who are on 10X reward promotions then you will have 33,000 which you could use to book flights or hotel. That is what I call it as free money.

Reward points redemption

The flight booking and hotel booking is managed by Loylty Rewardz via https://www.hdfcbankdinersclub.in/ and concierge service available over toll-free on 1800-118-887 (India) /Landline: 91-22-42320226

  • Book air ticket across 150+ airlines
  • Book any hotel across the world
  • Reward redemption rate is 1 RP = 1 Re

I have booked a few flights using their website for both flight and hotel booking. Though the voucher generation process is time-consuming still the website does the job done. They also have a login area to manage all the bookings and download the tickets whenever required.

Pro Tip: I have noticed that the back office service provider is Cleartrip. So if you find any hotel or flight on Cleartrip.com the same will be available in rewards redemption website too.

Joining Fee

  • 5,000 INR + taxes is the annual membership fee
  • 5,000 reward points as welcome gift if the membership fee is paid

However, first-year fee could be easily waived off for existing HDFC credit card holders by opting in for an add-on card or SmartPay.

Privileges

Travel benefits

  • Unlimited airport lounges access to 700+ exclusive lounge program in India and worldwide

Insurance benefits

  • Air Accident cover of INR 2 Crores
  • Emergency medical expenses cover of up to INR 50 Lakh
  • Credit liability cover of up to INR 9 Lakh
  • Travel insurance cover of up to INR 55 Thousand on baggage delay

Milestone benefits

  • After spending 5,00,000 INR in 12 months from the card issue date the renewal fee is waived for the next renewal year.

Lifestyle benefits

  • Golf program – 6 games per year
  • Usually, the golf program is a very rare benefit with any credit card.

Unique benefits

  • The lowest interest rate of 1.99% per month

Strategy to make the best use

You could always carry this card as your secondary card. Try to give this card to the merchant first and see if the EMV machine accepts it. If the merchant says it does not work then use your primary card which is on VISA or MasterCard.

Offers & Discounts

  • Use it on 10x partners, SmartBuy and 5x partners to milk the maximum out of this card

Missing

  • You may not be able to use this card as a primary card in India as many EVM machines still only support VISA & Mastercard only.
  • As like Amex, this card will also be your secondary card

Value Table

Privileges Calculation Savings on Market Value
Reward points (Regular) 3% of 1L (3,300 x 12 months) 39,600
Reward points (10x, 5x) 33% of 1L (Festival shopping) 33,000
Unlimited Airport Lounge 10 times a year (500 x 10) 5,000
Golf program 2 times a year 3,000
Total Savings in a Year 80,600
*The above illustration is based on a hypothetical estimate of expenses

Fees and Charges

Rates & Charges Cost (In INR) Remark
Joining Fee 5,000 Waived off for many
Renewal charge 5,000 Waived off on 5L spending
Add-on Card Free
Interest Rate 1.99% Lowest available in the market
Foreign currency mark-up fee 2%
Cash Advance Fee 2.5% of the withdrawn amount (Minimum Rs.500)

Technical Information

  • The card starts with 36xx and has only 14 digits
  • The card will work anywhere in India where the EDC swipe machine is from HDFC
  • The card is under the Discover network so wherever RuPay is accepted this card will also be accepted

Rating

  • CardSavvy Credit Card Rating: 5/5

Conclusion

HDFC allows you to hold only one credit card account at a time for retail customers. So, if you are eligible for this card and regalia i would recommend you opt for this card and your holiday will be completely made from the reward points.

This is one of the best time to hold HDFC Diners Club credit card if you are a heavy spender. If you are a frequent flyer then this is a must-have card in your wallet because of its unlimited airport lounge privilege.