I Closed My SBI Elite Credit Card and Shifting Spends to HDFC

By | January 23, 2017

It was a great year with SBI Elite card which was issued to me an year back against FD. I was lucky enough to get 3% value back before they devalued the SBI Signature card and finally ended up earning Rs.18,000 in cash back. Not just that, i used their bookmyshow offer quite often and was very happy with it. Their customer service is smooth and overall i had a great time with them.

SBI Elite Credit Card Renewal:

Well, now the renewal month came up and i need to pay a whooping 5k Renewal fee for nothing. Why the hell would i do that while i have 6 other cards in my wallet with even better reward rate?! Though i had the expectation that i can get the renewal fee waived off as i had spent a decent amount, over 5L in the previous year.

  • Renewal Fee: Rs.5,000+tax

My Late SBI Signature Credit Card (Now called Elite)

Its obvious for any credit card company to consider waiving off a well spending customer. But i wasn’t right when it comes to SBI.

Closing Sbi Credit Card Account:

One fine night, i decided to initiate the card account closure and i sent an sms: PROBLEM to 9212500888. It had always been handy many a times. I noticed that they also added a toll free number recently. So i received a callback from a cool guy by early morning (thanks for the speed) and the conversation went something like this:

  • SBI Guy: How can i help you sir?
  • Me: I would like to close my Card
  • SBI Guy: Sure, and may i know the reason sir?
  • Me: You’re charging a renewal fee but not giving back anything in return. Its unfair.
  • SBI Guy: You get a lot of milestone points sir for that.
  • Me: But i paid joining fee to get the benefits. Renewal fee benefit?
  • SBI Guy: Sorry sir, that’s what we have for now.
  • Me: Ok, please close the account.
  • SBI Guy: Are you sure? Shall i close your Card account sir?
  • Me: Yes, Please.
  • SBI Guy: OK sir, i’ve taken up request and the account will be closed shortly.
  • (I was actually in half-sleep and was thinking WTH, no retention team, nothing?!! and i asked calmly..)
  • Me: So… Wil i get any callback from some other team to re-confirm?
  • SBI Guy: No sir, your card account is already closed. You may cut your card into pieces. Anything else i can assist you with sir?
  • Me: No Thanks!

So the card was closed and kudos to SBICARD to make account closure 100X faster than opening a new account. Lol. So, as you can see, I haven’t actually asked about “reversal” in this conversation, but i had that done already few days before and the person was clear that i won’t be getting waiver if i decide to close.

I tried that even by escalating via branch, but nothing actually worked. I wonder why they’re strict on this, typically speaking, if i close it and re-apply, i’ll get the joining benefits but it will hurt my score though. I’ve no idea how it makes sense to them.

A Note to SbiCard Team:

While my overall experience was pretty good, i had a not so good Climax. Wish they knew these basics that other MNC companies like American Express Follows:

  1. Retention Team: They need to put a hell a lot of advertising budget to get yet another customer like me who can spend to this level. Maybe 1 in 500 or 1000. If i’m not wrong, the acquisition cost for such a premium card with good spend should be over Rs.5,000/customer by any chance. They should at least mind about having an active retention team to negotiate. Its a heavy loss if they can’t retain a premium customer.
  2. Renewal Benefit: Every single card comes with a renewal benefit when we need to pay something. While they picked up the concept of renewal fee, they badly missed about adding renewal benefit to the card. It doesn’t have any major benefit like Priority Pass Free access to charge this kind of fee. Serious Flaw!

Hope it gets attention of some SBI guys who designed this card. Anyways, let my Sbi Elite card Rest In Peace 😛

Time to shift the Spends to HDFC:

Now i’m planning to shift my spends from SBI Elite to Diners Black and also avail its One on One Movie offer here on for movie spends. Hoping HDFC would consider one day or other for upgrade to the BAAP of all cards – Infinia

Lets see what 2017 holds for me!

How about your experience with SBI card renewals? Were you given waiver? Share your details in comments below.

53 thoughts on “I Closed My SBI Elite Credit Card and Shifting Spends to HDFC

  1. Abhishek Roy

    I have recently applied for SBI SimplyClick Contactless Credit Card. Just took it because it’s costs a renewal fee of only ₹499+ ST. I applied only because SBI runs some cool offers from time to time. Besides, it’s good to hold a separate credit line. They called up and asked me why I’m not applying for SBI Elite Card when I’m eligible for it? I said I know what I need to apply for and SBI Elite Card is one of the worst card one can apply for if you consider the renewal fees. He was silent. SBI needs to come up with Lifetime Free Cards like HDFC. For me, most of my purchase goes to Diners Premium and Regalia. But I wish someday some other bank takes on HDFC head on with its line of credit card. Till then, there is not a single bank in India which can match the level of ROI that HDFC Credit Cards provide.

    Reply
    1. Siddharth Post author

      True that Abhishek.
      I was convinced for Simplyclick and asked to even swap it. As mine was a FD based card, they weren’t able to do it.
      I also thought of applying for a fresh one, but i’m more than happy to go for one more year with Elite 😀
      Let’s see.

      Reply
    2. Manu

      Hello Abhishek, could you please tell me what is the minimum limit provided for The Diners Premium Card coz I had requested for an upgrade from Diners Rewards and those guys are creating Unnecessary paper work about income documents and else, even though my card has a decent limit

      Reply
      1. Abhishek Roy

        Well, it is actually not a problem with limit. The question they ponder over is the whole relationship value and the way you have used your credit card. If you have decent spending history with excellent payback (Never been late with the payments) then they will upgrade. A Premium Banking Relationship helps too! 🙂

        Reply
  2. Ash

    Hey Sid

    Why do you want to upgrade yourself to infinia when Dinera Club black gives you 33% cashback on 10x partners and a cool 3.3% earn rare for normal ones. Just curious

    Reply
    1. Siddharth Post author

      Ashwin,
      As long as 10X offer is there, Diners Black is the best of-course.
      But i might have access to another Black card in my family in coming months. So then might try Infinia for me.

      Reply
      1. Shrey

        I am expecting a ~11.5% return on American Express Membership Rewards card which I got lifetime free last November (as per my calculations – I plan to use points for statement credit). I would have to though limit my monthly spends on the card to Rs.4000 per month (as per their rewards offer). Still a great return! One can earn even more MR points by making the most of their promotions as well as festive season offers.

        I plan to take the Amex Platinum Travel as well sometime in 2017 only if offered free for life.

        Reply
          1. Shrey

            So I spend 48,000 by 4 spends of 1000 each for 12 months.
            I earn 12,000 bonus Mr points + 960 bonus points.
            That is ~13000 points on Indigo vouchers worth Rs 5200 or statement credit if I continue with the same for 16 months.
            Both scenarios give a ~11.5% return!

          2. Siddharth Post author

            For 16 months!!
            Well, its different way of looking.
            I generally see 12 months earn rate.

  3. Majumdar

    Sidharth,

    Well I got my Regalia First today (I already have Diners Black) , although I had haggled hard for Regalia. The prime reason being international lounge access for spouse. And guess what when I checked the HDFC website they have reduced free access from 4 to 3 for RF and from 12 to 6 for Regalia itself!

    Regards

    Reply
      1. Anoop E S

        Really a sad news. Lounge access reduced to 6 per annum on Regalia. Now I think what you were telling is going to be right. HDFC may launch a new card in between Regalia and Infinia

        Reply
    1. Abhishek Roy

      That is a really bad news… how much more will they downgrade? Truly, it doesn’t feel that Regalia is a Super Premium (as is mentioned on HDFC’s website) anymore.

      Reply
  4. Majumdar

    Sid/Abhishek et al,

    I would suggest that HDFC Jet Privilege Master Card is overall a better package than Reg or RF, although it is not advertised much, in case you are a Jet FF. It gives 4% yield (as Jet Miles) versus 1.1%-1.6% on Reg/RF (assuming that 5X ends by March 2017). Plus it gives 5 PPs (although nothing for co-applicant).

    Regards

    Reply
    1. Siddharth Post author

      First,
      4% yield possible only on 1:1 usage for JPmiles. Which is very tough.
      Then,
      I prefer Indigo over Jet in domestic & AirAsia/malindo for SE Asian countries.
      Then comes award ticket rules & regulations.

      So i feel less redemption possibilities. Though it might be good for frequent flyers on Jet 🙂

      Reply
      1. Abhishek Roy

        I have already considered Jetprivilege cards. Its a strict no no for me. I simply don’t like the idea of getting tied to one airline. Besides, 5X rewards points is not applicable to JetPrivilege cards.

        Reply
  5. Anoop E S

    I believe SBI card is managed by GE money, which is also MNC. So it is not about the lack of MNC culture.

    Reply
  6. Majumdar

    January it seems is when all these devaluations happens- to paraphrase TS Eliott “January is the cruellest month”

    Regards

    Reply
  7. Vinod kannan

    OMG … 2 of my Go-to cards devalued this year… And Regalia has been devalued to the extent of Entry level card. Taj epicure plus membership is gone , lounge access reduced into half , Redemption value reduced … Hope they bring a new card to the market soon enough .. In HDFC Netbanking , Card Upgrade Option has been deactivated.It says that “This Facility is Temporarily not available ” for the past 2 months . All this points to a New card to be launched Soon … We can only Hope …

    Reply
  8. Vinod kannan

    Citibank gives me only 48 days of interest free credit period … I’m holing Premiermiles card . Is it the same for everyone ?

    Reply
  9. Abhay

    Same is the case for citibank premiermiles card. My average annual spend in this card has been around 7L per year from last three years. Inasked them to wave my fee which is 3000 Rs. They said it can only be done if the relationship value is more than 50L per mo th. I said, if i had 50L in my account I wouldnt have asked for the waiver. 😀
    They said, we cant waive the fees. I siad please disconti ue my card and they said OK. It was closed. Whooaaa. No point p
    aying fees for reward rate of 2%.

    Reply
    1. Siddharth Post author

      Lol. 50L on a/c for waiver is too much.
      7L spend is a good number to consider for waiver. Wonder why Citibank too is doing so.
      Looks like only Amex is friendly.

      Reply
      1. Vinod Kannan

        Yup… Amex Simply Doubled my Credit Limit just over a phone call.. They directly connected me to the Limit Enhancement team and my call wa put on hold and my Limit was raised just like that. No more Emails, no paperwork like HDFC, No more visiting the courier office… Amex is simply Unbelievable

        Reply
  10. Vinod Kannan

    But Siddharth… You would have got your renewal fee waived off if u spend 10 lakhs on SBI Elite card right? Anyways thats a huge amount to spend on a single card… But considering they give 2 movie tickets free of cost without any terms and conditions (150*2*12=3600 rupees) you get most of your value back… Also they give out Unbelievable Gifts from time to time… Eg. I got JBL Charge 2 plus speaker worth 17999 as a gift for spending 1.5 lakhs in a month… So im planning to stick with SBI Elite for the next year or so…

    Reply
    1. Siddharth Post author

      I’m not getting such gifts.
      This is possibly because i spent more in short time.
      Banks give such gifts to make ppl spend “X” amount on average across cards. Beyond “X” amount, they don’t mind giving anything.
      This happens with HDFC too, they give X points on Y spend.

      Moreover, spending additional 5L on this card saves me ~5k here, while Diners black gets me ~16k value 😀

      Reply
  11. Vijay

    Siddharth – How difficult is to get a HDFC Diner’s Black Credit Card (as a second card, when one already has Regalia) ? Though I have an excellent relationship with the bank (being an Imperia customer) and a high limit on Regalia, I have not been successful on convincing the card department on issuing me Diners Black. Any pointers would be highly appreciated.

    Reply
    1. Siddharth Post author

      Depends on limit and usage as well.
      What’s the limit & approx usage in past year?

      Reply
      1. Vijay

        Limit is very high on Regalia. Usage too is pretty decent with excellent repayment history. Looks like repayment history is not even considered as a criteria while deciding.

        Reply
  12. Majumdar

    Vijay,

    It is next to impossible to have both DCB and Regalia. In spite of my co being a largish customer of HDFC Bank and me holding account with them for several years with great reluctance they gave me Reg First in addition to the existing Diners.

    Regards

    Reply
    1. Vijay

      Agree with you Majumdar. I too have faced difficulty in convincing my Imperia relationship manager. Though my limit is very high on Regalia, I have not been able to get Diners Black. I am desperate to get those 10X (especially for bill payments using smartpay)

      Reply
      1. Siddharth Post author

        Did you have a word with your BM? RM’s don’t usually know about these upgrades.

        Reply
        1. Sivareddy

          Actually In private banks they recruit RM from different backgrounds like insurance and auto loans and personal loans etc because of that they don’t have good idea about credit cards if they are newly joined

          Reply
  13. Lalita

    Citi cards are worst reward return rates for last couple of years,
    very few 10X partners, I stopped using both my REWARDS card and TITANIUM Indian OIL.
    I just keep them because occasionally they give excellent offer on Flight/Hotel Booking

    Reply
    1. Siddharth Post author

      True, i’ve seen some nice Intl Hotel offers with MMT.

      Reply
  14. Rajesh Garg

    Hi Siddharth,

    I also have SBI Elite card and my annual spends are around 5L per annum. I was also thinking about shifting to HDFC Diners Black after reading your reviews but I am still weighing the pros and cons of both. Please let me know your views.

    1. Sbi Elite cards renewal fees is cancelled out by the Bookmyshow offer more or less(I use if almost every month so that is 6k per annum). On the other hand Diners Club waives off the renewal fee on 5L spend. So that is pretty evened out.
    2. Second difference is in the redemption of these points. As far as i know, redemption of points can be done only on diners club website mainly on tickets/recharges. While redemption for SBI Elite card can be done in the form of credit statement. So if one is not travelling enough, then it maybe difficult to redeem the points for HDFC cards.
    3. Diner Club scores high in terms of lounge access, both domestic and international. But again, it matters only if one is travelling enough.

    So in all, even for 5L annual spend, SBI elite looks like a better option to me (considering less travel and better redemption). Please let me know your views and correct me if I am wrong somewhere. Also please point out if I am missing out on any other advantages in using Diners Club.

    Thanks,
    Rajesh Garg

    Reply
    1. Siddharth Post author

      Yes, if you use BMS offer every month, you can take it. You can get the value out of 5k fee.
      Diners club Black makes a big difference with 10X rewards and is in no match with any card.

      Reply
  15. Aniroodh

    Hello Siddharth,

    I am an HDFC Bank Preferred Customer and currently hold SBI Elite Visa Signature and HDFC AllMiles Mastercard World Credit Cards. I read your article and understand that the chances of getting the renewal charges waived off are almost none. As I have got a Visa Signature Debit Card, I am planning to discontinue the SBI Elite CC. Will it impact my credit score if I surrender the card (until now I have paid all my CC Bills on time and have never defaulted). Also, I had requested for an HDFC Regalia CC but the bank mistakenly issued me AllMiles. What is the best way to get it upgraded. My RM says I have to wait for six months and then apply. Is that the best way ?

    Thanks

    Reply
    1. Siddharth Post author

      1. Close after 11 months
      2. Yes, you got to wait for about 6 months for each upgrade with HDFC.

      Reply
  16. Som

    I also closed my SBI Visa Signature card few days ago. I sent a mail to the customer care requesting them to close my card before they charge the annual fee (2nd year) in February. I also mentioned the reason: it is not worth to pay Rs.5000 every year when they move the goalpost any time of the year (read, the spend milestones for bonus points) and no shopping voucher like the first year. After five days, I got a call from SBI with a request to reconsider my decision to close the card (but she also mentioned that they would not waive off the annual fee). When I refused to reconsider, they sent a mail confirming the closure of the card account.

    I am overall happy with the value I got through points and the first year shopping voucher, but I don’t think it is worth starting the second year. I am not considering the BMS very seriously as most of the time you get many other offers like ‘buy one get one’ and other discounts on BMS.

    Now, I shall divert all my credit card spending to my Regalia (LTE) and Amex Gold. I am also planning to request HDFC to upgrade my Regalia to Diners Black. Let’s see if they consider my request.

    Reply
      1. Som

        I got my Diners Black just yesterday (upgraded from Regalia). Your post really did help me getting it.

        Will post my experience on the Diners Black thread.. 🙂

        Reply
  17. Abhijit

    I am eligible for any card I guess considering my salary and working with MNC. I requested for simplyclick by SBI as I have maxgain high value home loan with them and FD’s too. Currently having ICICI RubyX credit card. Reading your post accidentally planning to really use a credit card intelligently to maximize returns and value.
    SBI said take our Elite card and it is THE BEST. But I am also not convinced on paying annually 5750 as charges+taxes. Monthly expenses are around 30k to 35k. Could you please advice me the card I should get? Is it SC Manhattan as you recommended always? Called SC and they are more than happy to offer that. Please help.

    Thanks,
    Abhijit

    Reply
    1. Abhijit

      Or do you suggest Dinners Black or Regalia as I understood them from your posts? Thanks!

      Reply
    2. Siddharth Post author

      It depends on where you spend etc. There is no single card that fits everyone.

      Reply
      1. Abhijit

        Online shopping of clothes and groceries mainly, utility payments, dining and grocery shops. I have decided to to ahead with Elite at least for first year and then close from second as you have done. Also I have ICIC rubyx master and Amex life time free with me.

        Reply
        1. Siddharth Post author

          That’s the best i would say. ICICI reward rate is near to nothing on almost all cards.

          Reply
          1. Abhijit

            Thank you Siddharth! And hats of to you for your knowledge.

            Thanks,
            Abhijit

  18. Ajay

    I have the Elite card and as per my knowledge the renewal fee is revered if annual spend more than 8L. Plz correct me if wrong.

    Reply
    1. Siddharth Post author

      Its 10L i guess Ajay, but the thing is spending that extra on other card gives better rewards.

      Reply
  19. Ankit

    I see almost everyone here has an Amex. I tried applying but they don’t give NRIs. I recently got a confirmation for SBI elite. They don’t need income proof or such like which is strange considering its a premium card.

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *