By Ankur Mittal
Updated On May 6, 2022

An ideal credit card is supposed to come with a high reward rate, and offer complimentary benefits like airport lounge access, golf rounds/lessons, etc, at a very less or zero membership fee. But that sounds like a very utopian idea. It’s not monetarily feasible for card issuers to offer such a rewarding credit card that too at a nominal membership fee. Therefore, what they do instead is, offer the best credit cards in different categories so that individuals can choose one based on their spending habits. No single credit card can be termed as the best credit card for everyone, but it can vary based on the requirements and spending behavior of individuals. Therefore, keeping all the segments of people in mind, we have come up with a list of the best credit cards in India.

Applying for a credit card without good research is never a good idea. You should understand your spending habits first and then go with a card that fits you the best. With thousands of credit cards available in the market, it might be difficult for you to filter out the best cards and apply for one of them. To help you out in choosing the best credit card in India, we are here with this article. Keep reading for further information:

Best Credit Cards India

List of Best Credit Cards in India 2022

Once you have figured out which category of credit card you would fulfil your needs the best, you need to filter out the best credit cards in the category you are looking for. We have made the task easier for you. We have curated a list of the best credit cards in India 2022 from each category currently available in the market.

Table of Contents

Top Credit Cards Under Different Categories

Before you apply for a credit card, you need to ask yourself what kind of benefits you are expecting from your new credit card? Are you signing up for the credit card so that you may save on your daily spends or are you a frequent flyer and want to earn some extra AirMiles and make your travel experience more comfortable with complimentary airport lounge access? It is really important that you have an answer to these questions in your mind since as mentioned earlier, different categories of credit cards are targeted towards different niches of customers. We have listed out the top credit cards in India on the basis of different categories as follows:

Entry Level Credit Cards:

These credit cards are best suited for new to credit young professionals (or even students) and come with either zero or a very low membership fee. Although these credit cards do not offer many add-on benefits that premium or lifestyle cards do, keeping their target customers in mind, card issuers many times offer a high reward rate on online spends (particularly at select popular e-commerce websites like Amazon, Flipkart, etc.), dining spends and movie ticket purchases with these entry-level credit cards. Following, in our opinion, are the best credit cards in the entry-level segment.

SBI SimplyCLICK credit card

Welcome Benefits

Get an Amazon gift voucher worth Rs. 500 as welcome benefits after paying the annual fees.

Rewards Rate

1 Reward Point per Rs. 100 on offline spends (reward rate = 0.25%), 10X RPs on online spends at partner merchants (Amazon, BookMyShow, Apollo24x7, etc.) (reward rate = 2.5%), 5X RPs on other online spends (reward rate = 1.25%)

Joining Fees

Rs. 499 (plus applicable taxes)

With a nominal membership fee of Rs. 499 per annum, SBI SimplyCLICK Credit Card is definitely one of the best entry-level credit cards by SBI Card and offers a fairly high reward rate at partner e-commerce portals like Amazon, Cleartrip, BookMyShow, Lenskart, UrbanClap, etc. Some of the salient features of SBI Simply Click Credit Card are as under-

  • Milestone benefits like complimentary e-vouchers and annual fee reversal on achieving the stipulated spend-based milestones.
  • 10X Reward Points on online shopping from partner merchants including Amazon, BookMyShow, Cleartrip, etc.
  • 5X Reward Points on all other online spendings except fuel.
  • 1 Reward Point per Rs. 100 on offline spends.

Given its high reward rate on online spends, SBI SimplyCLICK Credit Card is one of the most popular entry-level credit cards in India, particularly popular amongst new to credit millennials and first-time cardholders. If you’re fond of online shopping, especially at the aforementioned partner merchants, this SimplyCLICK Card by SBI Cards can be a really good pick for you.

Axis Bank ACE Credit Card

Welcome Benefits

N/A

Rewards Rate

5% cashback on bill payments & recharges via Google Pay, 4% cashback on Zomato, Swiggy & Ola, 2% cashback on all other spends.

Joining Fees

Rs. 499 (plus applicable taxes)

Axis Bank ACE credit Card is a very attractive entry-level offering by Axis Bank. The card comes with an annual membership fee of just Rs. 495 and is best suited for utility bill payments and recharges as it offers a high reward rate of 5%  on bill payments and recharges via Google Pay. Some of the salient features of the card include-

  • 5% cashback on bill payments (internet, gas, electricity, etc.) and mobile/DTH recharge via Google Pay.
  • 4% cashback on Swiggy, Zomato and Ola and 2% cashback on all other online and offline spends with the card.
  • 4 complimentary domestic airport lounge visits every year at select airports in India.
  • Up to 20% discount on dining bills at partner restaurants with the bank’s Dining Delights program.
Citi Cash Back Credit Card

Welcome Benefits

N/A

Rewards Rate

5% cashback on telephone bills, movie tickets, and utility bill payments and 0.5% cashback on all other spends with the card.

Joining Fees

Rs. 500 (plus applicable taxes)

As is obvious from the name, it is an entry-level cashback credit card and comes with a membership fee of just Rs. 500 per annum. You earn cashback on all categories of spends with the Citi Cash Back Credit Card. The card earns you accelerated cashback on movie tickets and utility bill payments. You also get special discounts on travel and dining spends (with specific partner merchants). Some of the key features of the card are as under-

  • 5% cashback on telephone bill payments and movie ticket purchases.
  • 5% cashback on utility bill payments through Citibank Online Bill Pay.
  • 0.5% cashback on all other categories of spends with the card.
  • 20% discount on dining bills at participating restaurants.
  • Up to 30% savings on Swiggy and up to 50% savings on Zomato.
American Express Smart Earn Credit Card

Welcome Benefits

Cashback of Rs. 500 on spends of Rs. 10,000 within 90 days of card issuance.

Rewards Rate

1 Membership Reward Point/Rs. 50 spent (with a few exceptions), accelerated Reward Points on Amazon and Flipkart (10X), Uber (10X) and on other merchants like Paytm, Swiggy, PVR, etc (5%).

Joining Fees

Rs. 495 (plus applicable taxes)

The SmartEarn Credit Card by American Express is a basic entry-level offering by the card issuer. The card comes with a membership fee of just Rs. 495 per annum and is best suited for shopping. While the card earns you 1 Membership Rewards Point per Rs. 50, you can earn up to 10X Membership Rewards Points on spends at partner merchants which include big names like Amazon, Flipkart, Paytm, Uber, Swiggy, Paytm, etc. Some of the key features of AmEx SmartEarn Credit Card are as under-

  • 1 Membership Rewards Point for every Rs. 50 spent with the card except for spends on fuel, insurance, utilities, cash transactions and EMI conversions.
  • 10X Membership Rewards Points on spends on Amazon, Flipkart and Uber.
  • 5X Membership Rewards Points on Myntra, Paytm Wallet, Swiggy PVR Cinemas, BookMyShow, Grofers, Big Bazaar and many other partner merchants.
  • Renewal fee waiver on spends of Rs. 40,000 or above in the preceding year.
IDFC FIRST Classic Credit Card

Welcome Benefits

Get a welcome gift voucher worth Rs. 500 on spending Rs. 15,000 or more within the first 90 days.

Rewards Rate

3 Reward Points on every offline spend of Rs. 150 & 6 Reward Points on every online spend of Rs. 150.

Joining Fees

Nil

IDFC First Classic Credit Card is another great option in the entry-level segment. The best part is, the card comes with a zero membership fee. Some of the salient features of the First Classic Credit Card as summarised as under-

  • Gift voucher worth Rs. 500 on spending a minimum of Rs. 15,000 in the first 90 days of card issuance.
  • 3 Reward Points per Rs, 100 on offline purchases, 6 Reward Points per Rs. 100 on online purchases, 10 Reward Points per Rs. 100 on all spends above Rs. 20,000 and 10 Reward Points per Rs. 100 on spends on your birthday.
  • 4 complimentary railway lounge access per quarter.
  • 25% discount on movie ticket purchases.
  • Complimentary Road Side assistance service.

With all these aforementioned benefits, IDFC First Classic Credit Card gives a neck-to-neck competition to other credit cards by big players like HDFC, ICICI and SBI Card in the entry-level segment.

Shopping Credit Cards:

Shopping credit cards, as you can guess, are best suited for retail shopping. Most of these shopping credit cards are actually entry-level credit cards that earn you a high reward rate on shopping at certain online/offline merchants. Many of these shopping credit cards are co-branded cards launched by card issuers in collaboration with partner merchants. The Amazon Pay Credit Card by ICICI and the Flipkart Credit Card by Axis Bank are two of the most popular shopping credit cards in India. Since most of the shopping credit cards are entry-level credit cards, they are either lifetime free (like the Amazon Pay ICICI Bank Credit Card) or come with a minimal annual fee. Following, in our opinion are the best credit cards in India for shopping currently available in the market.

Flipkart Axis Bank Credit Card

Welcome Benefits

Welcome benefit worth Rs. 2,500 on card issuance, benefit of up to Rs. 900 on Gaana app (Gaana Plus membership worth Rs. 1,299 for Rs. 399), discounts and cashback on first transaction on Myntra, The Phy Life and Plum Goodness

Rewards Rate

5% cashback on Flipkart and Myntra, 4% cashback on prefered partners (Swiggy, Uber, PVR and cure.fit) and 1.5% cashback on all other spends.

Joining Fees

Rs. 500 (plus applicable taxes)

This co-branded offering by Axis Bank in partnership with Flipkart gives tough competition to the Amazon Pay ICICI Bank credit card. Flipkart Axis Bank Credit Card offers a high reward rate on Flipkart, Myntra and other partner merchants including Swiggy, Uber, PVR, etc. Earlier, Flipkart Axis Bank Credit Card was offered on the MasterCard platform, now, since MasterCard is not allowed to onboard new customers, Axis Bank is issuing this card on the Visa network. Following are some of the key features of the Flipkart Axis Bank Credit Card-

  • You earn a cashback of 5% on all purchases on Flipkart and Myntra.
  • The card earns you a 4% cashback on preferred merchants including Swiggy, Uber, PVR and cure.fit.
  • You earn 1.5% cashback on all other online and offline spends with the card.
  • You also get 4 complimentary domestic airport lounge access with the card as a travel benefit.
Amazon Pay ICICI Bank Credit Card

Welcome Benefits

Rs. 300 to Rs. 600 Amazon Pay Balance (keeps changing)

Rewards Rate

5% cashback on Amazon India for Prime members and 3% cashback for Non-Prime members, 2% cashback on partner merchants, 1% cashback on all other payments except fuel purchases

Joining Fees

Nil

AmazonPay ICICI Bank Credit Card is one of the most popular shopping credit cards in India right now. It is a lifetime free credit card launched by ICICI Bank in partnership with Amazon India. The card rewards you with cashback which is automatically credited as Amazon Pay balance to your Amazon Pay wallet at the end of each month. The reward rate and other features of the card are as under-

  • 5% cashback on shopping from Amazon for Amazon Prime members.
  • 3% cashback on shopping from Amazon for non-Prime members.
  • 2% cashback on payments made to over 100 Amazon Pay partner merchants.
  • 1% cashback on all other categories of transactions made with the card.

Apart from these cashback benefits, you also get dining benefits with a minimum 15% discount at partner restaurants under the bank’s Culinary Treats Program. This card is comparable with the Flipkart Axis Bank Credit Card (see below) which can be a better pick if you prefer Flipkart over Amazon for online shopping.

Paytm SBI Credit Card Select

Welcome Benefits

Get a Complimentary Paytm First Membership is provided on card activation as welcome offer. Welcome Cashback of Rs 750 is provided to the card holder upon activation of the credit card in your Paytm wallet.

Rewards Rate

5% cashback on Paytm Mall, Movies, Travel. 2% cashback on all other purchases on Paytm App. 1% cashback on other online and offline spends.

Joining Fees

Rs 1,499 plus GST

It is a co-branded credit card by SBI Card in collaboration with Paytm. The card comes with a membership fee of Rs. 1,499. The key features of this credit card are summarised as under-

  • Complimentary Paytm First membership and a cashback of Rs. 750 (credited to your Paytm Wallet) upon card activation as a welcome benefit.
  • 5% cashback on spends on Paytm Mall and movies and travel spends on the Paytm app, 2% cashback on all other purchases made on the Paytm app and 1% cashback on all other online/offline purchases. The cashback is earned as Reward Points which are automatically redeemed as Paytm gift vouchers and added to the Paytm wallet linked to your mobile number registered with the bank.
  • 4 complimentary domestic lounge access every year (max 1 per quarter) and a complimentary Priority Pass membership.
  • Milestone benefits including Paytm First membership renewal vouchers and gift vouchers from partner brands like Bata, Pantaloons, and Hush Puppies on achieving the stipulated spends-based milestones.

Lifestyle Credit Cards:

These credit cards fall in the sub-premium category. These cards do not offer as many add-on benefits as the ones in the super-premium category do, but still offer pretty good reward rates on almost all spend categories- instead of offering a very high reward rate on a particular spend category, lifestyle credit cards offer decent reward rates on almost all spend categories. These cards are targeted towards individuals in the middle to high-income group. Here are some of the best credit cards in India in the lifestyle category.

HDFC Bank Regalia Credit Card

Welcome Benefits

2,500 Reward points

Rewards Rate

4 reward points on every spend of Rs. 150.

Joining Fees

Rs. 2,500 (plus applicable taxes)

HDFC Regalia Credit Card is one of the most popular and one of the top credit cards in India in the lifestyle category. It should be the card of choice for those professionals who are financially well settled. The card comes with an annual membership fee of Rs. 2,500 and can be seen as the gateway to the more premium credit cards, many of which are invite-only and come with a hefty membership fee. Some of the key features of the HDFC Regalia Credit Card are as under-

  • It is a Reward Points based credit card- you get 4 Reward Points for every Rs. 150 spent (1 Reward Point = Rs. 0.20 to Rs. 0.50, depending upon where you redeem the points).
  • You earn 10,000 Reward Points on the expenditure of Rs. 5,00,000 in an anniversary year, and 5,000 Reward Points extra on spending more than Rs. 8,00,000 in an anniversary year.
  • You get 8 complimentary domestic and 6 complimentary international airport lounge visits every year.
  • The card entitles you to complimentary membership of the Dineout Passport Program with discounted rates at partner restaurants on the expenditure of a minimum of Rs. 75,000 with the card.
Indusind Pinnacle Credit-Card

Welcome Benefits

Choose any of these options: A complimentary night stay at Oberoi hotels, a Luxe gift card, or gift vouchers from brands like BATA, Vero Moda, ALDO, Titan, etc.

Rewards Rate

Earn 2.5 reward points on every Rs 100 spent online, 1.5 reward points on every Rs 100 on online travel and flight bookings,  1 RP on every Rs 100 spent on every other purchase.

Joining Fees

Rs 12,999/- plus applicable taxes

It is a sub-premium lifestyle credit card by IndusInd Bank. The card comes with a membership fee of Rs. 12,999 and offers a host of benefits. Some of them are as under-

  • Gift vouchers from some of the most premium hotel chains like Oberoi hotels and Montblanc India as a welcome benefit (only on paid variant).
  • Complimentary shopping vouchers from partner brands like Bata, Vero Moda, Titans, Aldo, etc.(Only on paid variant).
  • For all online spends you get 2.5 Reward Points for every Rs. 100 spent. These reward points can be converted to statement credit in ratio 1 RP =  Re. 1 So you are literally getting a 2.5% cashback on online purchases.
  • Entertainment benefits like Buy 1 Get 1 offer and a discount of 20% on movie ticket bookings at BookMyShow.
  • Travel benefits including a complimentary Priority Pass membership and (limited) complimentary domestic/international airport lounge access.
  • Travel-related insurance benefits including insurance covers against loss/delay of check-in baggage, loss of Passport, loss of ticket, etc.

If you’re looking for a credit card in the sub-premium range, the Pinnacle card from IndusInd can be a good pick for you as it offers very attractive travel, insurance and entertainment benefits.

SBI Prime Credit Card

Welcome Benefits

Gift voucher worth Rs. 3,000 from any one of Bata/Hush Puppies, Pantaloons, Aditya Birla Fashion, Shoppers Stop and Yatra.com

Rewards Rate

10 Reward Points per Rs. 100 on dining, groceries, departmental stores and movie spends, 2 RPs per Rs. 100 on all other retail spends

Joining Fees

Rs. 2,999 (plus applicable taxes)

It is a mid-level credit card by SBI Card. This card also comes with many benefits and privileges-

  • Travel benefits include complimentary Club Vistara Silver tier membership and Trident Privilege membership.
  • (Limited) domestic and international airport lounge access.
  • Complimentary rounds of golf and golf lessons every month.
  • Insurance benefits include a cover of Rs. 50 Lakh in case of an air accident and fraud liability cover worth up to Rs 1 lac.

This credit card is best suited for someone looking for a card with a decent reward rate that offers benefits across various spends categories including travel, movies, dining, reward points, gift vouchers, etc. Although it is not a super premium credit card, it does offer fairly good rewards and benefits.

Axis Bank Select Credit Card

Welcome Benefits

Amazon voucher worth Rs. 2,000 on making the first transaction within 90 days of card issuance.

Rewards Rate

10 EDGE Points per Rs. 200 spent and 20 EDGE Points per Rs. 200 spent on retail shopping.

Joining Fees

Rs. 3,000 (plus applicable taxes)

Axis Bank Select Credit Card is a mid-level offering by Axis Bank. The membership fee of this card is Rs. 3,000 per annum. The credit card offers a host of benefits on all categories of spends-

  • Amazon voucher worth Rs. 2,000 on making the first transaction within 90 days of card issuance as a welcome benefit.
  • 8 complimentary domestic airport lounge access per year (max 2 per quarter) and 6 complimentary international lounge access every year under the Priority Pass membership.
  • 6 complimentary rounds of golf every year and 3 additional rounds on the expenditure of Rs. 3 lakh or above in a year.
  • Personal air accident cover worth Rs. 2.5 crore and many other travel-related insurance benefits.
  • Discount vouchers at partner brands on achieving the stipulated spends based milestones.

All the aforementioned benefits and privileges make the Select Credit Card by Axis Bank a very attractive choice in the sub-premium category.

Bank of Baroda Eterna Credit Card

Welcome Benefits

6-month FitPass Pro membership worth Rs. 15,000 and 10,000 bonus reward points.

Rewards Rate

15 reward points / Rs. 100 on online shopping, travel, movie, and dining spends (max cap of 5,000 points at this rate), 3 reward points/ Rs. 100 for spends on all other categories.

Joining Fees

Rs. 2,499 + GST

The BOB Eterna Credit Card is another very attractive option in the lifestyle category as you get quite a high reward rate- up to 15 Reward Points per Rs. 100 spent (1 Reward Point = Rs. 0.25). The card comes with an annual membership fee of Rs. 2,499 and offers a host of lifestyle benefits including-

  • Travel-related benefits like accelerated Reward Points on travel spends, personal air accident cover worth Rs. 1 crore, lower foreign currency mark-up fee (2% of the transaction amount), unlimited complimentary domestic airport lounge access under the MasterCard domestic lounge program.
  • Complimentary rounds/lessons of golf at some of the most premium golf destinations across India.
  • Multiple milestone benefits including spends based membership fee waiver.
  • Movie and dining discounts and deals including Buy 1 Get 1 offer on Paytm movies, culinary desks at MasterCard Priceless special, etc.

All these benefits make the BOB Eterna Credit Card a perfect card for those looking for a lifestyle or sub-premium credit card that offers benefits across all categories of spends.

HDFC Bank Millennia Credit Card

Welcome Benefits

1,000 CashPoints as a Welcome Benefit.

Rewards Rate

5% cashback (as CashPoints) at select partner online merchants and 1% cashback (as CashPoints) on all other spends (except fuel)

Joining Fees

Rs. 1,000 (plus applicable taxes)

As the name suggests, HDFC Millennia Credit Card is tailored for the needs of the millennials – the generation that loves shopping online. It is a cashback credit card and best suited for young professionals for whom online shopping accounts for a substantial portion of their total monthly spending. Keeping the card’s target customers in mind, HDFC offers the following benefits with the card-

  • You get 1,000 CashPoints as a welcome gift on the realization of the joining fee.
  • The card earns you a cashback of 5% on partner websites including Amazon, Flipkart and BigBasket (max cap of Rs. 1,000 for the first 6 months and Rs. 750 thereafter) and 2.5% cashback on all other online spends (max cap of R. 750), subject to a minimum transaction amount of Rs. 2,000.
  • You also get 5% cashback (up to Rs. 1,000) on flight/hotel bookings via SmartBuy/PayZapp, subject to a minimum transaction amount of Rs. 2,000.
  • The card earns you 1% cashback ( up to Rs. 750) on offline spends. Minimum transaction size of Rs. 100 is required to avail of this cashback.

Super Premium Credit Cards:

Super-premium credit cards are those credit cards that apart from offering a high reward rate, also offer a plethora of value-added privileges like complimentary lounge access at airports (usually unlimited at both domestic and international airports), a comprehensive insurance plan, a lower mark-up fee on foreign currency transactions, attractive travel and dining benefits and many more. These credit cards have a high joining/annual fee, which usually can be waived off on achieving the stipulated spend milestones. Super-premium credit cards are targeted towards high net-worth individuals and are either invite-only or have strict eligibility criteria. Following, in our opinion, are the best premium credit cards available in india.

American Express Platinum Card

Welcome Benefits

1,00,000 Membership Rewards Points or Taj, SeleQtions, and Vivanta Hotels’ vouchers worth Rs. 45,000.

Rewards Rate

1 Membership Rewards Point on every Rs. 40, 3X Points on all international spends, and 5X Rewards Points on transactions via Reward Multiplier portal.

Joining Fees

Rs. 60,000 (plus applicable taxes)

It is the most premium credit card by American Express and comes with a hefty membership fee of Rs. 60,000 per annum. It is an American Express Charge Card, i.e. there is no fixed pre-decided credit limit (the limit keeps changing based on the cardholder’s financial behaviour). The card offers you all the benefits that one expects from a super premium credit card-

  • Bonus Membership Rewards Points and vouchers from some of the most premium hotel chains like Taj, SeleQtions, etc.
  • Unlimited complimentary domestic and international airport lounge access and complimentary Priority Pass membership.
  • 3x reward points on all international spends.
  • 50% discount at over 1,800 premium restaurants across India.

All these aforementioned premium benefits and privileges make American Express Platinum Credit Card one of the best choices in the super-premium category. The AmEx Platinum Credit Card probably has the highest membership fee in the Indian credit card market. The benefits that it offers, to a degree, do justify the high membership fee. Even though the membership fee is high, but in the last 1 year, American Express has come up with various 100% cashback offers, which offset the fee paid. You might still want to compare the benefits of the American Express Platinum Card with those of HDFC Infinia and ICICI Emeralde credit cards.

Invite Only
HDFC Infinia Credit Card Metal Edition

Welcome Benefits

10,000 bonus Reward Points and free Club Marriott membership for first year.

Rewards Rate

5 Reward Points for every Rs. 150 spent,  reward rate of up to 3.3%

Joining Fees

Rs. 12,500 (plus applicable taxes)

It is the most premium credit card by HDFC Bank, and perhaps the most popular credit card in India in the premium segment. The card comes with a membership fee of Rs. 12,500 per annum, however, the benefits that the Infinia card offers justify the high membership fee. Some of the key features of the Infinia Credit Card are as under-

  • Higher reward rate (5 points for every Rs. 150 spent) and value of each reward point being Re. 1 when redeemed for travel-related spends like flight bookings and hotel reservations. You can also earn up to 33.3% points via HDFC Bank signature Smartbuy offer which is the best in the industry.
  • Travel benefits like lower foreign currency mark-up charges, complimentary Club Marriott membership and unlimited complimentary domestic and international airport lounge access with Priority Pass membership.
  • Insurance benefits including a personal air accident cover worth Rs. 3 crore (applicable only in case of loss of life), medical emergency cover worth Rs. 50 lakh, etc.

Considering the aforementioned benefits that HDFC Infinia Metal Edition Credit Card comes bundled with, it is definitely one of the best credit cards in the super-premium category. If you wish to enjoy best-in-class lifestyle privileges, you must have a look at this offering by HDFC.

Citi Prestige Credit Card

Welcome Benefits

2,500 bonus reward points and a benefit worth Rs. 10,000 from ITC hotels or the Taj group.

Rewards Rate

1 Reward Points for every Rs. 100 on domestic spends, 2 Reward Points for every Rs. 100 on international spends.

Joining Fees

Rs. 20,000 (plus applicable taxes)

The Prestige Credit Card is the most premium offering by Citibank. The card comes with a plethora of premium benefits including-

  • Bonus reward points(2x points on all international spends) and complimentary hotel vouchers from some of the top hotel chains.
  • Citibank Prestige card has the highest number of airlines and hotels conversion partners.
  • Unlimited complimentary domestic and international airport lounge access with the Priority Pass membership.
  • Complimentary golf rounds/lessons at some of the most premium golf courses in the country.
  • Insurance benefits include a personal air accident cover worth Rs. 5 crores and credit card liability cover worth Rs. 50 lakh.

Welcome Benefits

6,000 reward points redeemable for shopping vouchers or charity spends under the Standard Chartered 360° rewards program.

Rewards Rate

5 Reward Points for every Rs. 150 spent

Joining Fees

Rs. 5,000

Standard Chartered Ultimate Credit Card is a premium offering by the bank. You need to pay a membership fee of Rs. 5,000 per annum. The features and benefits that the card comes bundled with are summarised as under-

  • 6,000 bonus reward points as a joining benefit.
  • 5 reward points per Rs. 150 spent with the card and 5% cashback on all duty-free purchases at airports. The best part of this card is that you get reward points on utility payments, wallet loading etc, so it’s virtually 3.3% rewards on everything.
  • 24×7 concierge service for travel/dining assistance, golf course assistance/referral, art/cultural event bookings, etc.
  • Travel-related insurance benefits include a personal air accident cover worth Rs. 1 crore (applicable in case of loss of life in an air accident).
ICICI Bank Emeralde Credit Card

Welcome Benefits

N/A

Rewards Rate

4 Reward points on every Rs. 100 spent on all transactions (except fuel, utilities and insurance categories) and 1 Reward point on every Rs. 100 spent on utilities and insurance

Joining Fees

Rs. 1,000 (plus applicable taxes) for monthly plan, Rs. 12,000 (plus applicable taxes) for annual plan

The Emeralde Credit Card by ICICI Bank is a super-premium offering by the bank. It is in direct competition with HDFC’s Infinia card. Being a credit card from the super-premium category, it offers a plethora of best in class privileges-

  • Lower foreign currency mark-up fee (1.5% of the transaction amount) and interest rate (1.99%) and zero cash withdrawal and late payment fee.
  • Unlimited domestic and international airport lounge access via Dreanfolks Lounge Access Program membership. Besides lounge access, you also get Spa benefits at various airports in India which is a unique feature.
  • 4 complimentary movie tickets every month with a value up to Rs 750 each.
  • Credit Shield insurance worth Rs. 50,000, personal air accident cover worth Rs. 3 crore and many other air travel-related insurance benefits (as illustrated later in the article).

Emeralde Credit Card by ICICI Bank is yet another very good option for HNIs (High Net-worth Individuals) who do not want to compromise with their lifestyle needs. One unique feature that makes this card stand out from most other credit cards in the market is that it allows you to choose between monthly and annual membership plans. The membership fee of the Emeralde Credit Card is Rs. 1,000 per month or Rs. 12,000 per annum.

SBI Elite Credit card

Welcome Benefits

E gift voucher worth Rs. 5,000 from any one of  Yatra, Hush Puppies/Bata, Pantaloons, Aditya Birla Fashion, and Shoppers Stop.

Rewards Rate

2 Reward Points on every Rs. 100 on all spending except fuel (reward rate of 0.5%), 5X Reward Points on dining, departmental stores, and grocery spends (reward rate of 2.5%)

Joining Fees

Rs. 4,999 (plus applicable taxes)

The Elite Credit Card is a premium credit card by SBI Card. Being a premium offering, it comes loaded with a plethora of top-of-the-line privileges and benefits-

  • Complimentary Club Vistara Silver tier membership and one class upgrade voucher and complimentary membership of Trident Privilege Red Tier.
  • (Limited) domestic and international airport lounge access.
  • Complimentary rounds of golf and golf lessons and discounts on golf games at top golf destinations in the country.
  • Complimentary movie tickets. No more buy 1, get 1 free stuff. You get 2 tickets up to Rs 250 each free (just need to pay convenience fees)

If you’re looking for a premium credit card from a PSU card issuer, then this one by SBI Card is certainly an option worth considering.

Axis Bank Magnus Credit Card

Welcome Benefits

Choose any one- Tata Cliq voucher or a complimentary domestic flight ticket worth Rs. 10,000.

Rewards Rate

12 Axis EDGE REWARDS Points for every Rs. 200 spent with the card, 2X Points on MakeMyTrip, Yatra, Goibibo, etc.

Joining Fees

Rs. 10,000 + GST

Axis Bank Magnus Credit Card is a premium offering by the bank. The card offers a plethora of premium privileges and benefits, particularly travel benefits. Some of the benefits that come bundled with the Axis Bank Magnus Credit Card are as under-

  • Accelerated (2X) EDGE REWARDS Points on travel portals like MakeMyTrip, Yatra, Goibibo, etc.
  • Travel benefits include unlimited complimentary domestic airport lounge access and 8 complimentary international lounge access every year, discounts at Oberoi hotels and a 24×7 hotel concierge service.
  • Discounts on movie and event tickets on BookMyShow and dining bills at partner restaurants across the country.
  • Travel-related insurance benefits including a personal air accident cover worth Rs. 4.5 crore.
  • A 24×7 medical concierge service.
HDFC Bank Diners Club Black Credit Card

Welcome Benefits

Complimentary Club Marriott, Amazon Prime, Zomato Gold, Forbes, Times Prime, and MMTDOUBLEBLACK memberships for a year.

Rewards Rate

5 Reward Points for every Rs. 150 spent (reward rate of up to 3.3%), accelerated Reward Points on SmartBuy

Joining Fees

Rs. 10,000 (plus applicable taxes)

It is the second most premium offering by HDFC bank. It also comes with a membership fee of Rs. 10,000 per annum and offers various premium benefits and privileges-

  • Complimentary annual membership of subscription services like Zomato Gold, Amazon Prime, Times Prime, etc. as a welcome benefit. These memberships are renewed on the expenditure of a minimum of Rs. 8 lakh in a card anniversary year.
  • The Smartbuy offer which we discussed in HDFC Infinia Credit Card is also applicable for HDFC Diners Black, so you can earn upto 33.3% reward points.
  • Unlimited complimentary domestic and international airport lounge access.
  • Insurance benefits like air accidental death cover worth Rs. 2 crores, overseas emergency hospitalization cover worth Rs. 50 lakh, credit liability cover worth Rs. 9 lakh, travel baggage delay cover worth Rs. 55,000.
  • A lower foreign currency mark-up fee of 1.9% of the transaction amount.

All these benefits make the Diners Club Black Credit Card by HDFC Bank another very attractive option for HNIs (high net-worth individuals). If you’re looking for a premium HDFC Credit Card, you can not go wrong with either of Infinia and Diners Club Black Credit Cards.

Travel Credit Cards:

If you are someone fond of travelling and frequently visit domestic or foreign destinations for leisure or on business trips, travel credit cards is the category you should be looking for. These cards usually earn AirMiles as Rewards, or the Reward Points earned on travel credit cards are transferable to partner airlines’ frequent flyer programs. Premium travel cards also offer additional travel benefits like complimentary night stays at hotels and complimentary membership of hotel loyalty programs. Many card issuers offer co-branded travel cards in collaboration with an airline. Such credit cards provide special benefits on flying via partner airlines. Following, in our opinion, are the best credit cards in the travel category currently offered by the various card issuers in the Indian credit card market.

Axis Bank Vistara Infinite Credit Card

Welcome Benefits

1 Complimentary Business Class ticket voucher

Rewards Rate

6 CV (Club Vistara) Points for every Rs. 200 spent

Joining Fees

Rs. 10,000 (plus applicable taxes)

It is the most premium travel credit card by Axis Bank in collaboration with Air Vistara and is among the top credit cards in travel category. You earn Club Vistara Points on all spends via the Vistara Infinite credit card which can be redeemed on the Air Vistara portal for booking Vistara air tickets, class upgrades, award flights, etc. Apart from the CV Points, you also get the following travel benefits with the Vistara Infinite credit card-

  • Club Vistara Gold Membership and one complimentary business class ticket voucher as a welcome benefit (business class ticket voucher every year the card membership is renewed).
  • Bonus CV Points or complimentary business class tickets on achieving the stipulated spend-based milestones.
  • Travel-related insurance benefits including a personal air accident cover worth Rs. 2.5 crore (applicable in case of loss of life), purchase cover worth Rs. 1 lakh, USD 300 cover against loss of travel documents or delay in check-in luggage and USD 500 cover in case of loss of check-in luggage.
  • 2 complimentary lounge access per quarter at select domestic airports across India.
6E Rewards XL Indigo Kotak Credit Card

Welcome Benefits

Get one complimentary air ticket, a complimentary 6E prime add-on, Accor hotels’ dining and stay vouchers, and Budweiser gift voucher as a welcome gift.

Rewards Rate

6% 6E Rewards on indigo, 3% 6E Rewards on dining, groceries, and entertainment, and 2% 6E Rewards on other spends.

Joining Fees

Rs. 1,500

6E Rewards XL – IndiGo Kotak Bank Credit Card is a sub-premium co-branded travel credit card by the Kotak Mahindra Bank. The card is similar to HDFC IndiGo – 6E Rewards XL Credit Card in terms of the rewards and benefits that it offers. 6E Rewards XL – IndiGo Kotak Mahindra Credit Card comes with an annual fee of Rs. 2,500 (Rs. 1,500 till 31st December 2021 as an introductory offer). Some of the key features of 6E Rewards XL – IndiGo Kotak Credit Card are-

  • You get welcome benefits worth over Rs. 10,000 with 6E Rewards XL – IndiGo Kotak Bank Credit Card including a free air ticket, free 6E Prime Add-on, Accor hotels stay and dining vouchers and a Budweiser 0.0 gift voucher.
  • The card earns Reward Points as IndiGo 6E Rewards- 20% on spends at IndiGo featured partners, 6% on IndiGo spends, 3% on dining, entertainment and grocery spends and 2% on other categories of spends.
  • Apart from the regular reward rate, you are also entitled to value-added benefits like complimentary domestic airport lounge access (8 per annum- max 2 per quarter), Rs. 150 discount on convenience fee on IndiGo spends.

Go IndiGo is the country’s largest airline, therefore, this credit card can be considered one of the best credit cards for domestic frequent flyers.

Air India SBI Signature credit card

Welcome Benefits

20,000 reward points worth Rs. 5,000

Rewards Rate

30 reward points per Rs. 100 on tickets booked for self and 10 RPs per Rs. 100 on tickets booked for others through airindia.com and 10 RPs per Rs. 100 on tickets booked for self and others through Air India Booking office or call centers

Joining Fees

Rs. 4,999 (plus applicable taxes)

Air India SBI Signature credit card is the more premium variant of the SBI Platinum Card. It comes with a membership fee of Rs. 4,999 per annum and offers you the following travel benefits-

  • Complimentary membership of the Air India frequent flyer program.
  • You earn accelerated Reward Points on spends on Air India flight bookings (reward rate much higher in comparison with the Air India SBI Platinum credit card).
  • The Reward Points earned can be converted into Air India AirMiles.
  • 8 complimentary domestic airport lounge access every year (max 2 per quarter).

If you’re looking for a slightly more premium Air India credit card, then this one can be the card of choice for you as it gives you a fairly high reward rate on Air India bookings.

IRCTC SBI Card Premier

Welcome Benefits

1,500 Reward Points

Rewards Rate

1 Reward Points on every Rs. 125 you spend

Joining Fees

Rs. 1,499

The IRCTC SBI Card Premier is one of the few IRCTC travel credit cards currently available in the market. Since SBI Card offers this credit card in collaboration with IRCTC, you get many railway benefits with this credit card. Some of them are listed below-

  • 10% value back on rail ticket bookings via the IRCTC app/website transferred to the cardholder’s IRCTC loyalty account.
  • Transaction charges waived off on rail/air tickets booked from the IRCTC app/website.
  • Accommodation at 5,000 plus hotels covering 350 cities across India.
  • 8 complimentary railway lounge access every year (max 2 per quarter).
  • Complimentary rail and air accident cover worth Rs. 10 lakh and Rs. 50 lakh respectively.
  • Reward Points earned on the card are redeemable on the IRCTC app/website if the card is linked with your IRCTC account.
American Express Platinum Travel Credit Card

Welcome Benefits

10,000 Membership Rewards Points

Rewards Rate

2 Membership Rewards Points for every Rs. 100 spent.

Joining Fees

Rs. 3,500 (plus applicable taxes)

The Platinum Travel Credit Card is a premium travel credit card by American Express and comes loaded with a plethora of travel benefits. The travel benefits that come bundled with the American Express Platinum Travel Credit Card are as under-

  • 4 complimentary domestic airport lounge access annually (one per quarter) and complimentary membership of the Priority Pass lounge access program.
  • Vouchers from leading hotel chains like the Taj, SeleQtions, Vivanta hotels as milestone benefits.

Apart from these travel benefits, you get up to a 20% discount on dining bills at American Express partner restaurants. You also get a discount of 10% on purchasing One Plus devices from the official One Plus website.

Citibank PremierMiles Credit Card

Welcome Benefits

10,000 Miles on the spends of Rs. 1,000 or more in the first 2 months of card issuance.

Rewards Rate

10 Miles/Rs. 100 spent for airline transactions and 4 Miles/Rs. 100 spent for all other transactions. No Miles earned on certain spends categories (details below).

Joining Fees

Rs. 3,000 plus applicable taxes (complimentary for Citi Gold account holders)

The PremierMiles credit card by Citibank is a premium offering by the bank in the travel category. The card is offered in two variants- the Visa variant and the MasterCard variant. It comes with a membership fee of Rs. 3,000 per annum and offers you the following travel benefits-

  • You earn AirMiles (or just Miles) on all categories of spends which can be redeemed for air ticket bookings or can be transferred to other airlines and hotels loyalty programs.
  • 10,000 Miles as a welcome gift on the expenditure of a minimum of Rs. 1,000 within 60 days of card issuance.
  • You get 3,000 Miles complimentary every time the card membership is renewed.
  • 10 Miles for every Rs. 100 spent on airline transactions or on the bank’s Premier Miles portal with Citibank PremierMiles Credit Card, and 4 Miles/Rs. 100 spent for all other expenditures.
  • 8 complimentary domestic airport lounge access with the Visa variant and 6 complimentary domestic airport lounge access with the Mastercard variant of the card.
  • Up to 20% discount on dining bills at partner restaurants.
  • Complimentary insurance covers including a personal air accident cover worth Rs. 1 crore and a lost card liability cover worth Rs. 10 lakh.

Check Best Travel Credit Cards in India 2022

Fuel Credit Cards:

While most other credit cards do not earn any Reward Points on spends at filling stations, fuel credit cards earn you extra Reward Points on fuel purchases. In many cases, the rate of redemption of Reward Points earned on a fuel credit card is also higher against fuel purchases (i.e. the monetary value of the Reward Points is higher on redemption against fuel purchases). These credit cards can be suitable for you if you commute daily for long hours on your own vehicle and fuel spending accounts for a substantial portion of the total spending on your credit card. Following are three of the best credit cards in India that give you extra benefits on fuel spends.

ICICI Bank HPCL Super Saver Credit Card

Welcome Benefits

2,000 Reward Points on realization of membership fee within 2 months and expenditure of a minimum of Rs. 5,000 within the first 45 days of card set up; Rs. 100 cashback on HP Pay app on first transaction of Rs. 1,000 or above made via the app.

Rewards Rate

4% cashback on fuel purchases at all HPCL stations, 5% cashback as Reward points on utility and departmental store purchases, 2 Reward points per Rs. 100 spent for all other domestic and international transactions.

Joining Fees

Rs. 500 (plus applicable taxes)

It is the latest co-branded fuel credit card launched by the ICICI Bank in July in partnership with Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Limited and Visa. The unique feature of this credit card is, although it is a fuel credit card, you get accelerated reward points on many other categories of spends as well.

  • The card earns you 4% cashback and you also get a 1% fuel surcharge waiver on fuel purchases at all HPCL filling stations across India (a net value back of 5%).
  • You get 5 PAYBACK Points per Rs. 100 on all utility and departmental store purchases with the card and 2 PAYBACK Points per Rs. 100 on all other online/offline spends.
  • You also get (limited) complimentary domestic airport lounge access with this credit card.
  • As it is a fuel credit card, ICICI Bank also provides you with a 24×7 Road Assistance Service (RAS) including onsite vehicle repair, over-the-phone assistance, replacement/locked or lost keys, flat tire support, etc.

Given all these benefits, the recently launched ICICI HPCL Super Saver Credit Card seems to be one of the most attractive offerings not only amongst fuel credit cards but also in the entry-level segment in general, as with this credit card, you get a higher reward rate not just on fuel spends, but across many other categories of spends as well.

BPCL SBI Credit Card

Welcome Benefits

2,000 Bonus Reward Points and BookMyShow voucher worth Rs. 250

Rewards Rate

1 Reward Point per Rs. 100 (reward rate = 0.25%), 5X RPs on dining, movies, departmental stores, and groceries (reward rate = 1.25%), 13X RPs at BPCL pumps (reward rate = 3.25%)

Joining Fees

Rs. 499 (plus applicable taxes)

This is another entry-level fuel credit card by SBI Card in collaboration with Bharat Petroleum Corporation Limited (BPCL). You get the following benefits with BPCL SBI Credit Card-

  • You get a welcome benefit of 2,000 Reward Points with the BPCL SBI Credit Card.
  • The card earns you 1 Reward Point per Rs. 100 spent. You get a 5x reward rate on departmental stores, groceries and movie spends and a 13x reward rate at BPCL filling stations.
  • 1% fuel surcharge waiver.

BPCL SBI Credit Card can be a very good option in the entry-level fuel cards category. This card gives a direct competition to the ICICI HPCL Super Saver Credit Card.

IndianOil Citi Credit Card

Welcome Benefits

250 Turbo Points as a welcome gift

Rewards Rate

1 Turbo Point per Rs. 150 you spend, 2 Turbo Points per Rs. 150 you spend at supermarkets, and 4 Turbo Points on every Rs. 150 spent on fuel.

Joining Fees

Rs. 1,000 (plus applicable taxes)

As is obvious from the name itself, it is a co-branded credit card by Citibank in partnership with IOCL. You earn Reward Points as Turbo Points on this credit card. The card comes with 250 Turbo Points as a welcome benefit. You earn-

  • 4 Turbo Points per Rs. 150 spent on fuel purchases at authorized IndianOil outlets.
  • 2 Turbo Points per Rs. 150 spent on grocery purchases and spends at supermarkets.
  • 1 Turbo Point per Rs.150 on all other spends.
Standard Chartered Super Value Titanium Credit Card

Welcome Benefits

Cashback of up to 1,500 on fuel transactions within first 90 days.

Rewards Rate

You get up to 5% cashback on fuel transactions, utility bills payments, telephone bills and 1 reward point on every Rs 150 spent on other categories

Joining Fees

Rs. 750 plus applicable taxes
Nil (for premium banking customers)

It is an entry-level shopping credit card by Standard Chartered Bank. The unique feature of this card is that it rewards you both in terms of cashback as well as reward points depending upon the category of transaction. You earn a cashback of 5% on fuel purchases and utility bill payments and 1 reward point on all other categories of spends. As a welcome benefit, you get a 100% surcharge waiver on fuel purchases (up to Rs. 1,500) in the first 90 days of card issuance. Some of the salient features of Standard Chartered Super Value Titanium Credit Card are as under-

  • 100% cashback on fuel purchases within 90 days of card issuance as a welcome benefit.
  • 5% cashback on fuel purchases, and phone and other utility bill payments.
  • 1 Reward Point per Rs. 100 on all other categories of spends.
  • Premium banking customers are entitled to complimentary membership of the Priority Pass lounge access Program.

Check Best Fuel Credit Cards in India 2022

Movie and Dining Credit Cards:

Many credit card issuers offer certain credit cards that earn additional Reward Points or offer exclusive discounts and deals on movie or dining spends. Some movie credit cards entitle you to free movie tickets every month, while dining credit cards offer exclusive discounts on dining bills at partner restaurants or on ordering food online via services like Zomato and Swiggy. Here are two of the best dining/movie credit cards currently available in the Indian credit card market.

RBL Bank Edition Credit Card

Welcome Benefits

Complimentary Zomato pro membership.

Rewards Rate

10 Edition Cash for every Rs. 100 spent on Zomato, 2 Edition Cash for every Rs. 100 spent online and on all other food purchases, 1 Edition Cash/Rs. 100 on all other spends.

Joining Fees

Rs. 1,499 + GST

RBL Bank launched the Edition Credit Card in collaboration with the food delivery app Zomato, which is one of the top credit cards in India in the category of dining. It is a mid-level credit card and comes with a membership fee of Rs. 1,499 per annum. You get the following benefits with the Edition Credit Card-

  • Complimentary Zomato Gold Membership (automatically renewed every year).
  • The card earns you Reward Points as Edition Cash, which is redeemable on the Zomato app/website. The Edition Cash can also be adjusted against the card’s statement balance. 1 Edition Cash = Re. 1.
  • You earn 10 Edition Cash on every Rs. 100 spent on Zomato app/website, 2 Edition Cash on every Rs. 100 spent on other online food platforms and 1 Edition Cash per Rs. 100 on all other online/offline spends.
  • Apart from these dining benefits, you also get travel benefits including complimentary domestic airport lounge access and a lower foreign currency mark-up fee (1.5% of the transaction amount) with the RBL Bank Edition Credit Card.

All these benefits and privileges make the Edition Credit Card by RBL bank a very attractive option for those who frequently order food online. As a bonus, you also get a couple of travel benefits with this card.

PVR Kotak Platinum Credit Card

Welcome Benefits

NA

Rewards Rate

NA

Joining Fees

Nil

If you’re a movie buff, there can not be a better credit card than the PVR Kotak Platinum Credit Card. You don’t have to pay any joining fee for this card, however a renewal fee of Rs. 999 per annum is payable second year onwards. Some of the key features of the PVR Kotak Platinum Credit Card as under-

  • 2 PVR tickets every monthly on crossing the monthly spends threshold of Rs. 10,000.
  • 15% cashback on food and beverages purchases at PVR and 5% cashback on PVR movie tickets.
  • Complimentary insurance cover worth Rs. 75,000 against unauthorized use of the card.

How to compare and choose the best credit card?

You must have a certain set of criteria in your mind before applying for a new credit card. The criteria may be different for different individuals depending upon their needs, income, financial habits, and most importantly, the reason for applying for the card. For example, if you are looking for a credit card that can save you on travel spends, you will give more importance to travel-related benefits like AirMiles, membership of frequent flyer programs, or complimentary air tickets. You might also consider complimentary lounge access at airports if you are also concerned about making your travel experience a pleasurable one, while other benefits like discounts on dining bills or complimentary golf games might not matter to you that much.

Here we are going to list some of the key points that cardholders must keep in mind when they apply for best credit cards. You must not only look at the features and benefits that a card offers but also the annual fee, interest rate, fee waiver condition (if any), and any other hidden charges. This is how you can compare best credit cards and choose one for yourself.

Reward Type

This is the very first and the most obvious thing to look for when applying for a new credit card. You must know whether a credit card earns you cashback (which is later adjusted against your card’s statement balance) or rewards you with Reward Points. In the latter case, another point that becomes very important is Reward Points redemption.

Reward Points

If the credit card you are considering rewards on spends in form of Reward Points, apart from the rate of earning reward points, you must look for an answer to the following questions regarding Reward Points-

  • What are the various channels that the card issuer offers for the redemption of the Reward Points earned on the card? For example, some credit cards allow redemption of Reward Points against purchases of products/vouchers from a specific catalogue of products and shopping vouchers only, while some other credit cards also allow redemption of Reward Points against AirMiles on partner airlines’ frequent flyer programs. In some cases, you are also allowed to use the Reward Points just as cashback, which means Reward Points can be redeemed for a certain monetary value which is adjusted against the card’s statement balance at the end of the statement cycle.
  •  What is the monetary value of the Reward Points? Reward Points almost always carry a certain monetary value, for example, the PAYBACK Points (earned on ICICI Bank Credit Cards) carry a monetary value of Rs. 0.25, and therefore can be redeemed only at that rate for purchasing products/vouchers from the PAYBACK catalogue. For example. 4,000 PAYBACK Points can be redeemed for purchasing a product worth Rs. 1,000 from the PAYBACK’s catalogue of products. The monetary value of Reward Points is sometimes different for different methods of redemption. As an example, the Reward Points earned on HDFC Infinia and Diners Club Black Credit Cards carry a monetary value of Re. 1/Point for redemption against flight/hotel bookings, while the value of 1 Reward Point is Rs. 0.50 and Rs. 0.30 for redemption against product catalogue and cashback (adjustment against the card’s statement balance) respectively.
  • Is there a max cap applicable on the number of Reward Points that can be earned in a given statement cycle? For many credit cards, there is a fixed upper limit on the number of Reward Points that can be earned in a given statement cycle. Sometimes, there is no max cap on the Reward Points in general (i.e., on Reward Points earned on normal spends), but there is a max capping on the number of Reward Points that can be earned through a specific channel. For example, on HDFC Infinia Credit Card, only a maximum of 15,000 Reward Points can be earned on purchases made via SamrtBuy.
  • What is the validity of Reward Points? While in some cases, Reward Points have a lifetime validity (for example Reward Points earned on IDFC Credit Cards), in most cases Reward Points come with an expiry date. For example, the PAYBACK Points earned on ICICI Credit cards are valid for a period of 3 years from the date of accrual and expire thereafter.

Cashback

The cashback earned on cashback-based credit cards is usually automatically adjusted against the due balance on the card at the end of the statement cycle. Sometimes there is a minimum requirement of cashback acquired before it can be adjusted against the balance due on the card. As a prospect cardholder, you must be aware of any such limit (if any) on the card you are considering.

Annual Fee

The annual membership fee is another very important parameter to look for in a credit card. Many credit cards are free for a lifetime, while some premium credit cards come with an annual fee as high as over Rs. 50,000 per annum, for example, the membership fee of the American Express Platinum Credit Card is Rs. 60,000 per annum.

Rather than looking for a lifetime free credit card or a card with a low annual fee, what you should consider instead is whether the benefits that a card offers outweigh its annual fee and by what margin. For example, if you are a high net-worth individual who spends a substantial amount (let’s say upwards of Rs. 1 lac) every month, you will most probably be better off with a premium or super-premium credit card instead of an entry-level lifetime free credit card. This is because, apart from offering a better reward rate and more value-added benefits, many super-premium cards reward you with a milestone benefit equivalent to or even more in value than the annual membership fee of the card- this benefit can be in form of Reward Points, renewal fee waiver or in some other form (like complimentary flight ticket(s) or complimentary membership of certain subscription services, etc.).

Welcome Benefits

Many credit cards offer certain additional benefits to the cardholder on joining the card membership. These additional benefits are known as welcome benefits or joining benefits. These welcome benefits can be in form of Bonus Reward Points/cashback, complimentary membership of loyalty program(s) and/or subscription-based services, complimentary flight ticket(s), or in some other form. In most cases, the cardholder is entitled to the welcome benefits only on realization of the joining fee (first year’s annual fee) of the card (i.e. welcome benefits are not applicable if the joining fee is waived off). Also, welcome benefits usually compensate for the card’s joining fee, i.e. the monetary value of the welcome benefits that the card offers is equivalent to the joining fee of the card in most cases.

Milestone Benefits

Many credit cards reward you on achieving a certain spend-based milestone, i.e. on spending a certain minimum amount with the card within a given time period which may be one statement cycle, calendar quarter or calendar year (or any other time period specified by the card issuer.). Any milestone benefit that a card offers shall be beneficial for you only if you are actually able to achieve the stipulated milestone. You must evaluate your spends in order to understand the utility of the milestone benefits that the card offers.

Additional Benefits

Many credit cards (in fact all credit cards in the mid to premium and super-premium segment) offer some additional privileges like complimentary lounge access at airports/railway stations, discounted rates on dining or movie tickets, concierge service, etc. on top of the regular Reward Ponts/cashback benefit.

Before making your mind about a particular credit card, it is important to know whether it offers any additional benefits, and if yes, what is the utility of the benefit for you. For example, if you are someone who frequently flies overseas, a value-added benefit like complimentary lounge stays at international airports might be important for you, while you might completely ignore another value-added benefit like a BOGO offer on movie tickets.

Interest Rate

Although it is always advisable that you clear all your credit card dues in full before the payment due date so that you do not have to pay any interest at all on your credit card spends, still, sometimes you might find yourself in a situation of financial crunch so that you are unable to clear your dues on time. This is when the credit card’s interest rate becomes important. The lower the interest rate, the better it is. Some card issues use terms like Finance Charges or APR (Annual Percentage Rate) instead of Interest Rate. So you must be careful while going through the terms and conditions of the card.

Forex Mark-Up Fee

International transactions made with credit cards attract a mark-up fee known as a foreign currency mark-up fee or forex mark-up fee. Industry-standard is to charge a forex mark-up fee of around 3.5% of the transacted amount on international transactions, however some credit cards in the premium and super-premium category charge a lower mark-up fee on international transactions. A lower foreign currency mark-up fee becomes an important feature for someone who plans to frequently use the card for international transactions.

If you keep the aforementioned points in mind, you can never go wrong in choosing the right credit card for yourself as per your needs. One thing that you must make sure is that the monetary value of all the benefits combined that you are getting with the card in a membership year (consider only those benefits that you will actually be availing of) outweigh the annual membership fee of the card– the greater the difference, the more rewarding the card is for you.

Bottom Line:

Choosing the right credit card in India can be a daunting task unless you are very clear about your spending needs. But, if that is not the case, you must first evaluate your spending habit. For that, you should determine what portion of your credit card bill do the various categories of spends account for. This data will make the choice of the best credit card easier for you. It’ll obviously be better to go for a card that gives you maximum benefit on your favourite spends category. Now, you may utilize our list of best credit cards in India in different categories and choose the best-suited credit card for yourself and apply for the same on our website- Card Insider allows you to compare the various credit cards available in India, you can also read detailed cred card reviews and apply for best credit cards.

FAQs:

No credit card can be labeled as “the best” for everyone. The best card for you depends upon your financial habits and your needs at the end of the day. People who love traveling will find the travel cards best and those who are shopping lovers will like to go for a card with the best shopping benefits. Another factor that may affect your decision while choosing the best credit card is the annual fee associated with it. People having a high annual income generally want a super-premium card with a high annual fee and exclusive benefits and on the other hand, people having a low or average income want to get a low annual fee credit card with a decent reward rate and benefits. So, this is how different people have different choices and hence no single credit card is best for everyone.

Two of the best credit cards for online shopping are: Amazon Pay ICICI Bank Credit Card and Flipkart Axis Bank Credit Card. If you shop very often through Amazon, you should go with the Amazon Pay ICICI Card (which is lifetime free) and if you are loyal to Flipkart, you must choose the Flipkart Axis Bank Credit Card (which comes with an annual fee of Rs. 500).

For beginners, secured credit cards, and annual fee credit cards can be considered the best. Following are some of the best cards for beginners:

  • SBI Unnati Credit Card.
  • Kotak 811 #DreamDifferent Credit Card.
  • Flipkart Axis Bank Credit Card.
  • ICICI Coral Credit Card.
  • Amazon Pay ICICI Credit Card.

Generally, students don’t have a credit score and hence it becomes difficult for them to get a credit card to fulfill their requirements. Keeping this in mind, some major card issuers offer separate credit cards for students. These are the two best credit cards for students in India:

  • SBI Student Plus Advantage Credit Card
  • HDFC Bank ForexPlus Card

There are lots of credit cards with the good reward programs in India, out of which, some of the most popular ones are as follows:

  • Axis Bank Magnus Credit Card.
  • HDFC Bank Diners Club Credit Card.
  • IDFC First Select Credit Card.
  • SBI SimplyClick Credit Card.
  • Citi Rewards Credit Card.
  • AmEx SmartEarn Credit Card.

Many major card issuers offer several credit cards that earn you Airmiles. Following are a few best of them:

  • Intermiles HDFC Bank Signature Credit Card.
  • Emirates Skywards ICICI Bank Sapphiro Credit Card.
  • Intermiles ICICI Bank Sapphiro Credit Card.
  • Citibank PremierMiles Credit Card

If you are looking for a credit card with entertainment benefits in India, you can choose one of the following cards that offer exclusive movie and entertainment benefits:

  • ICICI Bank Sapphiro Credit Card
  • PVR Kotak Gold & Platinum Credit Cards.
  • RBL Popcorn Credit Card.
  • Axis Bank Magnus Credit Card.

The minimum age requirements can be different for different credit cards. Some card issuers like SBI Card, Axis Bank, etc, have set the minimum age at 18 years, while for other banks/card issuers, such as the HDFC Bank, the minimum required age to apply for a credit card is 21 years or it can even be 23 years for some of them. However, if you are above 18 years, you can get a supplementary (add-on) card from any of the major card issuers in the country.

If you are someone with no credit history, you can build your credit profile using secured credit cards (cards that are issued against a fixed deposit) like SBI Unnati Credit Card, ICICI Coral Credit Card, Flipkart Axis Bank Credit Card, etc. Another thing you can do is to get an add-on credit card under the primary account of your parents, siblings, or spouse.

HDFC Bank is the largest credit card issuer in the country. HDFC credit cards also offer many exclusive discounts and benefits on their SmartBuy portal. So, you may definitely consider HDFC credit cards. However, rather than narrowing your search to a particular card issuer, it’s better to look for a credit card that is the best suited for your needs.

Lifestyle credit cards also offer a decent reward rate on almost all spends categories like shopping, movies and dining. Although the reward rate of these cards is not as high as that of Super Premium cards, they are a great choice if you want a generic credit card that doesn’t come with a very high membership fee. HDFC Regalia and ICICI Sapphiro are two of the most popular lifestyle credit cards.

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