7 Best Credit Cards in India that Rocked 2016

By | April 21, 2017

2016 was a great year for me which gave me access to many premium credit cards and is fortunately one of the biggest year with lots of reward points, cashbacks and of course some devaluations accompanied with it. Lets now see which are the best credit cards that gave highest returns in 2016. So possibly the same can be for 2017 as well (more on that later).

Looking for latest list for 2017? Here it is: 25+ Best credit cards in India (2017)

Best Credit Cards in India that Helped to save a lot in 2016

#1 HDFC Diners Black

My HDFC Diners Club Black Credit Card (India)

With 10X Reward points that gives you the ability to save a whooping 33% on spends with partner brands, HDFC Diners Club Black credit card stands on top of all cards in the Indian subcontinent. I was late to the game, though i accrued handsome points with this card. While i was waiting to redeem the points for Hyatt Loyalty program, they removed it from the hotel points transfer list. Sad part!

#2 Amex Platinum Travel Credit Card

American Express Platinum Travel Credit Card in my Wallet

With around 8% reward rate as default feature this is one of the best travel credit card in India. Added to that, their aggressive promos like Amex fuel cashback offer and 10% value back as Tanishq Gold Vouchers makes this card one of the best in India next to Diners Black.

#3 HDFC Regalia

HDFC Regalia Credit Card

Apart from the decent reward rate of 2%(earlier), Regalia is known for its 12 Free Priority Pass Lounge access (earlier) and i used to see this card very often when people swipe it for lounge access. 2016 made lots of changes to the card, like, you can add more add-on priority pass cards and share the free lounge access followed by devaluation of Regalia bigtime. That all being said, their 5X promo was quite a lucrative one.

#4 SBI Signature Credit Card (Now Elite Card)

SBI signature card was one of the nice offering by the time when i got the card but then later it was devalued and became SBI Elite credit card with slightly lesser reward rate. I ended up earning all milestone reward points. Not just that, i used their Bookmyshow offer which is one of the unique feature of the card like no other.

#5 HDFC Infinia

HDFC Infinia is the BAAP of all cards in India, be it their default 3.3% reward rate or unlimited Priority Pass lounge access program, it is one of the best credit cards in India. Added to that, 5X reward points on selected partners is something like cherry on cake 🙂

#6 Yes First Exclusive Credit Card

Yes Bank entered credit card space in 2016, eyes #3 slot in 4 years and so they’re very aggressive in acquiring customers. With Yesbank Exclusive credit card, you get almost all the features of HDFC Infinia and is comparatively easy to get approved. Yesbank Preferred credit card stands good too and many of our readers were able to get hands on to the Preferred card based on the Card on Card offer.

#7 Citi Prestige

There are very few who hold this card in India, primarily because of the resistance with high joining fee. But those who has it makes use of their reward points to play with points and miles game. Redeeming the points for Airmiles and hotel loyalty programs along with 4 free Add-on cards with Unlimited priority pass on all makes it very unique.

While these are the cards that helped to save quite a lot of money in 2016, there are also other notable semi-premium and beginner range cards that are worthy enough to mention. They are:

That all being said, 2016 was indeed a great year with all these credit cards and glad to see new entrant like YesBank which means more competition and so more offers for us.

How about you? Which was the best credit card that gave you maximum reward points and cashback in 2016? Please share your experience in comments below.

Author: Siddharth

Helping Indians to choose right credit cards, pick right offers and enjoy luxury vacations for less. Day & night exploring the spiritual reality of our human existence.

45 thoughts on “7 Best Credit Cards in India that Rocked 2016

  1. Ashwin Iyer


    Can you write an opinion about Axis bank cards? They have some good tie ups with sites and can be of a good value to readers.

    Also apart from Yes Bank First Exclusive, City Prestige and HDFC Infinia does any other card comes with unlimited Priority Pass?


    1. Siddharth Post author

      Axis cards has bit low reward rate though. I’ve already reviewed some cards, have a look 🙂
      I don’t think any other has PP unlimited.

      1. Shivakiran

        Absolutely Yeah. HDFC Diners Club Black gives unlimited lounge access across geographies.


    I am being offer Kotak Royal Signature (free of cost) should I take that or I should bargain for something else..
    Thanks in advance..

    1. Siddharth Post author

      All Kotak cards are too low on reward rates. If you’re giving nice limit with free card, take it.

  3. Gaurav goel

    Is your diners club cc lifetime free or you have to pay annual charges ?

    1. Siddharth Post author

      Didn’t actually know that. I’m meeting their yearly reversal spend easily so i didn’t bother either.

      1. MANU KUMAR

        Siddarth, I got a mail from hdfc that 1000 extra reward points are meant for freshly issued cards meaning new customers.

        Should I escalate the matter to Nodal Officer.. As this point was not mentioned earlier

        1. Siddharth Post author

          Yes, they’re correct. Its only for newly issued cards as per their offer. Escalation wont help i believe.

    2. Manu kumar

      Depends on the variant offeered, i have seen people with paid cards, everything is same except they get joining Benefit…

      1. Shrey

        One can Diners Black for free if you pay one of your mobile, electricity or gas bills using SmartPay facility. All they need is some expenditure done through the card. Have a look at the document in the Forms Center on the HDFC Bank site- Application for Card Credit Limit Increase / Card Upgrade – Classic & Non-HNW Customers (Customer Version)

        I hold a Regalia card now with 2.7L limit since November 2016. What should be the limit to get an upgrade to Diners Black, Sid? Makes no sense to hold on to the Regalia card now that they have reduced the number of lounge visits to 6.

        1. Siddharth Post author

          4L or so would be a good number for upgrade to black. Yea, Regalia is getting worser day by day.

          1. Shrey

            Hi Sid,

            What ideally should be the amount of expenditure to increase the limit to 4L from 2.7L? Also, is the diners black an invitation only card?


          2. Siddharth Post author

            Its a super premium card, which mostly is issued by invite.
            but you can also get it by requesting, provided spend/income is decent enough.
            Try increasing limit every 6 months, 2.7L to 4L should be easy to attain in less than a year provided income is increasing as well.

        2. Abhishek Roy

          How by paying through SmartPay can get you Diners Black for free? Someone kindly explain.

  4. Shrey

    I think Yes bank cards would be the one to watch out for. Have got hold of the Preferred card and plan to soon get my hands on the Exclusive card. Given their target of becoming #3 by 2020 in the credit card industry, I am expecting they are going to have a lot of great partner offers.

    1. Siddharth Post author

      Possibly. Yesbank is a nice competitor to HDFC as of now.

  5. Majumdar

    This thread has been very helpful. Have applied for Yes Exclusive (LTF version). Executives have promised acceptance and delivery of card within 10 days. Main attraction is unlimited PP for both self and spouse. Also reward rate altho not comparable to Diners Black or Amex PT is not poor either (2.5%)- will be useful when Diners or Amex both are not accepted, better than Reg First (1.1%).


  6. Shriduttsinh Parmar

    sbi simply click vs hdfc diners club rewardz, which is better?

  7. Shriduttsinh Parmar

    standerd charterd manhattan vs hdfc diners vs hdfc all miles? which is better?

  8. Shriduttsinh Parmar

    what is maximum limit of dinersclub rewardz? and when can on upgrade it to black or premium?

    1. Siddharth Post author

      Too many factors are considered in CL, upgrades every 6 months.

  9. Himanshu Aggarwal

    I asked the RM for upgrade from ALL MILES to DINERS BLACK, but they are saying that I do not qualify for the same.
    I have following relationships with HDFC;
    1. Salary a/c with CTC of 17.5 Lpa
    2. All miles card with Rs. 6 Lacs limit
    3. LAP of 65 Lacs under process

    Though I don’t use All Miles card at all due to lower reward rate, the reason given for not upgrading is different. They are instead offering Regalia / Diners Premium, which I am refusing.

    I also hold following cards;
    1. Yes First Exclusive (Lifr time free)
    2. Axis Vistara Infinite
    3. SBI Elite (going to close it)
    4. AMEX Gold Charge (going to upgrade it to Platinum Travel)
    5. ICICI Jet Air AMEX
    6. City First Citizen

    Pls suggest what to do?

    1. Siddharth Post author

      Loan with HDFC as well?
      If so, you’ve 99% probability to take Diners Black.
      Talk to BM directly or simply escalate the issue to nodal officers as you’ve pretty decent limit and relationship.

      If everything fails, (not likely)
      take Diners Premium+LE and ask for another upgrade after 6 months.

  10. G

    Is it advisable to have multiple credit cards? I have a HDFC regalia card with 4 lakh limit currently and another approved offer of SC Manhattan platinum. What is your advice?

  11. ASIS

    I have one Axis my wings platinum mastercard & one idfc visa singnature debit card . my wife also have an idfc signature debit card . ( both card has two access facilty per qtr )
    we want to access lounge first time. our child is 3 yrs. two card is enough for our family entrence? or we have to pay any extra amount for our child ?

    1. Siddharth Post author

      Child access policy will vary from lounge to lounge. For 3yr old kid, they might consider to allow for free.

  12. PM

    I don’t know where to put this, but Siddharth, your site has been of great value. Here’s how:

    I have been using two cards Regalia (LTF) and Citi Premiermiles since 2-3 years, and as both got devalued over time, I was looking for alternatives. That’s how I landed up here 🙂

    As upgrading from Premiermiles to Prestige was a costly affair, I decided to get rid of it instead, and applied for Yes First Exclusive LTF in February. Then requested an upgrade for Regalia to Diners black, and got it too (not sure yet if it is free, but my first statement didn’t contain any fees). Finally after reading about the Amex Gold / Reward cards, took the opportunity to apply online for the LTF offer. That too has been approved yesterday.

    Over the years, I have used all premiermiles and regalia points on their respective portals for flight and hotel bookings, and I hope to continue this practice.

    Thanks a lot for maintaining this beautiful and useful portal.

    1. Siddharth Post author

      Great, congrats on all new cards!
      Glad that i was able to help 🙂

  13. Annamalai

    One more question: Can i pay my car loan EMi via credit card to increase my reward points ?

    1. Siddharth Post author

      Most doesn’t accept CC payments for loans. Though, if they accept, you can.

  14. Himanshu Aggarwal

    Got my Diners black last week.
    Thanks a lot for your advice.

  15. Gokul

    Hi Sid,

    I have following Credit cards,
    i) ICICI Platinum LTF-1.4lakhs limit – Holding for a year and haven’t used much.
    ii) HDFC Regalia LTF- 3lakhs limit) – Holding for 4 months
    Using Regalia for day to day expenses. So far, in the last 4 months spent ~1.1lakhs in Regalia. In next ~4 months, i would spend around another ~2 lakhs. This year my spending will be around ~4-5lakhs

    I have Salary account in ICICI for past ~7years and recently took home loan as well. Is it possible to upgrade to any other Credit card variant in ICICI as LTF and please suggest me an Card as well. Basically, I wanted to replace ICICI platinum card which i’m not using.

    Note: With ICICI and Amazon, every month 1st and 2nd, there is an cash back offer(Super value day) in terms of Amazon Pay balance if you spend around 3k, you’ll get 1.2k(approx). I’m availing this every month with my debit card.


    1. Siddharth Post author

      That’s the only LTF ICICI is offering. Great, that seems to be a lucrative offer with Amazon.

  16. Sathish kumar thulasiraman

    I work for a MNC automotive sector with a gross of 7.3Lpa. I want to know which is a best credit card that serves my need. I mostly spend on shopping,dining,house grocery items,pharmacy,domestic flight travel and mostly Cash on card need on emegency cases. I currently have Axis My zone,HDFC regalia first and ICICI expression credit cards with me. Could you suggest me whether the cards I’ve are upto the mark for my needs or is there any other cards with better features. One card with all the features will also do. I’m happy surrendering these cards and having one

  17. AD

    Hi Siddharth,

    Thanks for this post. I have the following questions.

    1. Is it possible to apply for both HDFC Diner’s Black and Infinia ? I have an ALL MILES card and I am looking to asking for an Upgrade for this.

    2. Of Diner’s Black and Infinia or any other card, which card makes sense for an NRI (In Europe) considering regular travel to India and purchases in India (mostly online).


  18. kamal

    I already have HDFC Regalia. Do you think it makes sense to go for ICICI Ferrari card ? The only thing better seems to be buy one get one movie tickets every month

  19. kiran

    I have hdfc Regalia with 5.3 L limit. And have been using it for more than 6 years.
    My earnings are approximately 14L yearly.
    How can I get infinia card. Am I eligible.


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