Whats up with HDFC 10x Reward Points?

HDFC Bank runs the 10X promotion in two different ways. The original 10X promotion/feature was for the Diners Club credit cards to encourage people to use the Diners Club cards over a MasterCard/Visa card. It was only available for the Diners Club variants of HDFC Bank Credit Cards. In this format, HDFC Bank partners with certain brands every few months, and offers 10X points on those specific points when paid with your Diners Club credit cards. So, one month you could be getting 10X for your Ola rides and another month you could get it for your Uber rides

However, when HDFC Bank started to focus on building a white label portal in HDFC SmartBuy, they also extended the 10X promotion to other premium cards of their range like the Infinia and Regalia. The SmartBuy portal focussed on being a one-size-fits-all lifestyle portal and sells everything from hotels/flights to clothes and gift cards. Eventually, these became the two separate ways of getting the 10X points from HDFC Bank Credit Cards.

We have written extensively about the HDFC 10x points. HDFC Bank Diners Club 10X Rewards were my favourite kind of reward currency primarily due to some offbeat transfer partners they provided in India. The transfer partner list went away in 2016, but still, I look at it as a 33% cashback card, with all the cashback going towards travel.

The list of 10X partners frequently used to update. The focus in the past few years has been on travel & e-commerce. They initially put out a year-long list of partners, but then recalled it, and started to extend the date of the promotion by the months. Here are the announcements for AprilMayJune & July 2016. Then, it got extended through March 2017 but applied caps on reward earning per month, and a one-month extension through April 2017. In May, they put a new list valid through July 2017. Subsequently, they added all categories of SmartBuy on the list as of July 2017They knocked off the travel category in late 2017. You can now access this category through SmartBuy, which is for everyone who is an HDFC Bank Credit Card Holder.

The last long list notified was unveiled in August 2019. One merchant, PayZapp left the promotion just one month after at the end of August 2019.

This list was valid from August 1 to December 31, 2019 (subsequently extended to January 2020). As of February 1, 2020, however, the list changed and a lot of partners left the partnership. The partners’ list was valid through February 2020, and then through March 2020.

  • Myntra
  • Ola
  • First Cry
  • Zoomcar

No 10X Partner Brands for April 2020?

Honestly, for the first few days of the new financial year, I was not bothered with the 10X at all. I wasn’t spending money or attention on credit cards as I was focussed on other efforts of ours to try and help those asking for help out of other parts of the world. Anyhow, circling back on the 10X brands, the HDFC Bank Diners Club page no longer hosts 10X Partner brands. The only promotion on for now, and that too through April 30, 2020, is the Smartbuy one.

Ordinarily, HDFC Bank, at the time of changeover of promotions, takes a day or few to set up and announce their 10X partner brands. While I don’t have official communication from the Bank, I can take a very good guess that the 10X partner brands were not all funded by the Bank, but the brands on board used to contribute to a large part for the issuance of the points. After all, this was a sure shot way to drive sales from HNI and affluent customers, and you only pay on conversion, so why not. Imagine, that you are not brand conscious of which food app you buy your food from or which app taxi you drive. Now, with 10X on a particular brand, you try and make that choice as much as you can.

And this is where, with the CoronaVirus, and with the switch of the new year, I think the promotion has gone away for the time being. First, everyone is under lockdown and there are no purchases for the time being, apart from groceries for instance. So, it made no real sense to run a promotion during the lockdown, because of no real consumer spending. Also, the brands themselves are undergoing pain right now, trying to keep as many employees paid as possible while the money dries up, so it made no real sense to assign a marketing budget to go towards points.

SmartBuy for May 2020?

It is a tough one, to be honest, because it affects more cardmembers, and here, HDFC Bank is funding a larger proportion, or perhaps all the rewards. At this moment, the Smartbuy promotion only runs through April 2020. In terms of partner brands, most of these brands are useless during May 2020 as well. I don’t expect that flights will start in May 2020, even while we can debate on the status of the lockdown. However, if the e-commerce vendors are allowed to ship products direct to home, I’d expect there would be a swing upwards on this promotion.

In summary, I’d expect HDFC Bank to continue this promotion as is for the time being, purely because it requires no modification going ahead for now.

Outlook for May 2020 and onwards?

I don’t expect the 10X promotion to die for good, but I do expect it to take a pause somewhere. Promotions are only as good as their uptake, and there is no logic in running a promotion when consumer sentiment is totally down. I would also expect that HDFC Bank works on revamping their systems and making sure the 10X promotion comes back with a big bang and better brands in the days ahead.

Additionally, once consumer sentiment is back, all the banks will have to try and reactivate their customers, so what better way than to offer bonus points to them? And when the market starts to pull consumers in their direction, HDFC Bank will be there to take them back.

I am wondering what is your assessment of the HDFC Bank 10X points promotion going forward?


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Comments

  1. Question: what was the offer for May 2020 on HDFC Diners Black for Amazon and Flipkart..
    was it 10x or 5x/3x??
    purchased without paying attention to it..
    thanks.

  2. As I can see smartbuy 10x is now renewed till May 30, and Diners 10x page is still curtailed with no 10x partner. Let’s see what comes. In last 3 years I had 5-6 international trips owing to accumulated points, but now stuck with a balance if over 1 lac points. Still scratching head to find that where I can utilize these points if not travel to get maximum burn rate 🙁

  3. How do you tally points and spends? I see about 5k difference in expected points and actual points over last 6 months and this difference increases every month. Since there is no way to tally which spends are accounted how do I address this gap? Talking to customer care to talk about 200 spend line items over 6 months to tally points doesn’t seem sensible and feasible! Help please!

    • Yup same here. Mostly transaction during MArch/April 2020 has not been credited with 9X points. My be due to covid lockdown

  4. So complicated card . This month this another month something else. No credit card company in this world operates like this

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