While I have been hearing some murmurs about this for a few days now, HDFC Bank has finally moved the needle on points earning on their credit card portfolio. The new HDFC Bank Smartbuy points structure has been implemented from February 1, 2022. This will impact the earning potential on various HDFC Bank Credit Cards and other products such as debit cards and the Payzapp product.
HDFC Bank’s rationalised Smartbuy proposition for Infinia Cardmembers
HDFC Infinia is the Number 1 card in the portfolio of HDFC Bank cards for now. The Bank has not moved to reduce the earnings on this card by a lot, but there is a rationalisation for sure.
The Bank is removing the 10X earning on Smartbuy flights booking and Bus bookings and reducing the earning of bonus points on Trains. In September 2021, they had already reduced the number of points one could earn on Instant Vouchers. The benefits were gone long ago for the other daily drivers of this portfolio, such as Amazon and Flipkart.
In a nutshell, this is the new earning structure for Infinia. I’ve stripped away the unlimited 1X Reward Points which will be given away always per month.
You can continue to earn up to 15,000 bonus points on Infinia per month; however, you can earn no more than 7,500 bonus points here on a per-day basis. Also, the bonus counts on the settlement date, not on the swipe date. So, for instance, if you make a transaction on February 1, 2022, and the bank settles the transaction on February 3, 2022, it counts like that. But let’s say there is a settlement holiday on account of a national holiday. The transactions of two days get lumped into one settlement, and if someone went crazy shopping that weekend, they could potentially lose points.
HDFC Bank’s devalued Smartbuy proposition for Diners Club Black Cardmembers
HDFC Diners Club Black is the Number 2 card in the portfolio of HDFC Bank cards, and it has been going this way for a long time now. The Bank has moved to reduce the earnings on this card by a lot, so this is an apparent devaluation.
The Bank is removing the 10X earning on Smartbuy flights and bus bookings and reducing the earning of bonus points on Instant Vouchers, Trains, Amazon, Apple Tresor, and Flipkart. In September 2021, they had already reduced the number of points one could earn on Instant Vouchers, so this takes it down even further.
In a nutshell, this is the new earning structure for Diners Club Black. I’ve stripped away the unlimited 1X Reward Points which will be given away always per month.
You can continue to earn up to 7,500 bonus points on Diners Club Black per month; however, on a per-day basis, you can earn no more than 2,500 bonus points here on. Also, the bonus counts on the settlement date, not on the swipe date, as I explained earlier.
This is a double blow for HDFC Diners Club Black Cardmembers because they already lost the 10X partner brands earlier on.
HDFC Bank’s increases rewards on the Smartbuy proposition for Regalia and Diners Club Privilege Cardmembers
HDFC Diners Club Privilege and Regalia are seeing a lot of restructuring. These cards are doled out like candy by HDFC Bank, and it has been going this way for a long time now. The Bank has moved to add the earnings on this card by a lot. HDFC Bank had been giving away cashback on these cards, and now, this is a points-based reward, where you will see a higher reward rate
This is the new earning structure for Regalia and Diners Privilege. I’ve compared the rupee value of the points and cashback to make it a more straightforward comparison. As usual, the 1X has been stripped away, and only bonus points are considered.
You can earn up to 4,000 bonus points on Regalia and Diners Club Privilege per month, however, on a per-day basis, you can earn no more than 2,000 bonus points. Also, the bonus counts on the settlement date, not on the swipe date, as I explained earlier. Earlier on, you could earn up to INR 2000 cashback, so the limit has remained the same (4000 bonus points = INR 2000).
Largely stable on the lower-end credit cards
HDFC Bank continues to give out cashback on the lower-end cards, and it is largely stable. The Cashback limit of INR 1,000 per month also stays the same way.
Largely stable on the debit cards and PayZapp
On the debit cards and PayZapp, HDFC Bank continues to give out cashback, and it is largely stable. The Cashback limit of INR 1,000 per month also stays the same way.
HDFC Bank is still paying out of pocket on the Infinia but has decided to cut its Diners Club Black Card payouts. The reality is these products are giving you rewards on the back of the affiliate fee they earn from the merchants on Smartbuy. The merchants have hardly been making any money recently with Travel tanking the way it has during Covid-19.
HDFC Bank will rationalise earning of points on the Infinia, reduce earnings on the Diners Club Black Card and increase it for Regalia + Diners Club Privilege Cards. The changes are effective February 1, 2022. Infinia holders are still not treated very bad, but the Diners Club Black are in for a shock. Regalia & Diners Club Privilege holders see an increase on their reward potentials.
What do you make of the changes to Reward Points earning on Smartbuy for HDFC Bank Cardmembers?
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