HDFC Bank being the #1 issuer of credit cards in the country has significant # of cards which translates to significant amount of spends which means tons of rewards lying in cardholder’s accounts.
Here’s a quick guide on redeeming those HDFC credit card Rewards points for a maximum value.
This article is primarily meant for HDFC Super premium cardholders (Infinia & Diners Black). For others, the numbers may vary based on the conversion ratio.
Table of Contents
Flights & Hotels
- Instant redemption
- 70% points + 30% to be paid by card
- You get 10X Rewards for the 30% that you pay by card
If you’re new to HDFC Smartbuy redemption portal, here are the quick links to HDFC Infinia, HDFC Diners & HDFC Regalia portals.
This is by far the simplest & easiest way to redeem your HDFC reward points for a maximum value. To make it even better, go for flight redemptions, as hotels are anyway sold at a discounted rate elsewhere while you can’t find big discounts for flights usually.
This redemption portal uses cleartrip booking engine. Generally speaking, hotel/flight availability wouldn’t be a problem for most but donot expect all properties here, as cleartrip doesn’t have all.
Hotels: You may not find less-known hotels or the ones at off-beat locations, for ex, I couldn’t find some hotels that I intend to book during my Assam & Meghalaya trip here but it was available on MMT/Goibibo.
Flights: Similarly some low-cost airlines like Air Asia might be missing on the portal but Concierge can book it for you from backend. This used to happen like 4 yrs before when I booked a trip to Bali, Indonesia.
So if you don’t find your flight on the portal, it’s better to once have a word with concierge before looking for other options.
DTH & Experiences
DTH: If you’ve Infinia, you could redeem your points for DTH payments. This is one of the additional advantage (yet small) of Infinia over other HDFC credit cards.
Experiences: You can redeem for various experiences in a foreign city. Select city from the dropdown and check out the experiences that you would love to explore.
This potentially reduces your expenses when you’re visiting a foreign country. For ex, you can redeem for Universal studios entry at Singapore with hotel transfers for 5K points.
Air Vistara: Club Vistara
- Transfer Ratio: 1:1 (for super premium cards & Diners Club Miles)
- Validity: 3 Yrs from transferred date
- Usually takes ~3 business days to transfer
If you fly Vistara often, transferring points to Club Vistara and redeeming them for flights makes a lot of sense as you could extract more value on business class, busy routes and during last minute bookings.
Ideally you could expect a value of 0.75 INR – 1 INR per CV Point for most business class redemptions. I find that to be fair enough.
Note that you would still need to pay taxes which is usually in the range of 500 INR and you’re limited to few seats if you check for award availability within a week of departure.
Tip: You can maximise this if you can time your redemptions with transfer offers, something like Club Vistara Points Fest that happened few months ago which gives 50% more miles on transfers. This may happen again given that airlines are still struggling.
Singapore Airlines: KrisFlyer
- Transfer Ratio: 1:1 (for super premium cards & Diners Club Miles)
- Validity: 3 Yrs from transferred month.
If you intend to fly internationally, Singapore Airlines is one of the best option you have at the moment.
Ideally you could expect a value of ~1 INR per Point for most business class redemptions. Some routes may give you even a better value too.
Further, there’s a lucrative offer that’s running right now which gets you Krisflyer Gold status on transfer of 250K points from any banking partner to Krisflyer.
Apart from Krisflyer & Star Alliance Gold status, you also have the ability to redeem these points not only on Singapore Airlines, but also on Vistara (direct vistara redemptions are better) and other partner airlines.
The offer is good but not a great one if you don’t have solid plan on how you intend to use these miles. This offer is valid till Feb 2022 and so you’ve lot of time to explore & decide.
- 1 Point = 50ps (for super premium cards)
- eVoucher gets delivered in ~5 business days
If you’re not into travel of any sort, then eVoucher is the best way to redeem your points, especially because we’ve Amazon Vouchers available to redeem.
Note that you need to visit Smartbuy redemption portal for redeeming such vouchers. If you redeem via net banking portal, you’ll loose a lot of value.
While this may sound like a poor redemption, you still get a decent ~1.6% on any spend, about 16% on 10X rewards and 8% on 5X rewards.
If you’re exploring eVouchers, you might as well be interested in taking stmt. credit at ~30Ps/point. This is the worst decision ever, just go for Amazon voucher instead as you could use them almost anywhere.
While there are multiple options, here’s how I have been redeeming my HDFC credit card reward points since past couple of years.
- Flights/Hotels: I’ve been redeeming for flights/hotels quite often in the past but not recently. One of the best redemptions was on Srilankan Airlines Business Class – flat bed, as seen above.
- Club Vistara: As I’ve slowed down my HDFC redemptions these days, some points are set to expire almost every month. I’m transferring those to my CV account as I anyway travel on Vistara once in a while. These points comes handy for Vistara Business Class redemptions.
- eVouchers: I try my best to reduce my out of pocket expense and so I do take Amazon Vouchers at times as its close to cash credit.
- Krisflyer: Waiting to decide based on how fast International travel reopens. It’s going to be 50/50 probability for me as I find less connectivity options to the countries I intend to fly.
When it comes to redemptions its good to see that HDFC Bank has decent options to choose from, but I wish the bank adds more options to redeem, especially in the likes of airline/hotel partners just like Citi & American Express.
It would also be nice to see Hyatt transfer partner to be back, at-least on Diners Club cards as there are no other active banking transfer partners in India with Hyatt at the moment.
How are you redeeming your HDFC Bank reward points? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below.
@Sid Thx as always for your input while this all would be known to people who follow cardexpert diligently there is a matter of RP value reduction that has come up due to the recent 5x reduction on insta vouchers.
I would love to get your insight on it should be use up all of our RP’s or wait for something like Vistara Points Fest ?
I’m not expecting a devaluation in point value as of now. Might happen when travel resumes in full form, triggered by more redemptions.
So I think waiting for CV points fest is better.
Other way to save money on traveling is to buy yatra.com vouchers from smartbuy which generally sold in the range of 10 to 15 percent discount+ you will get 5x reward points on infinia card + you will also get discounts offered by yatra.com
I think this will be great deal
Why isn’t converting your rewards points to cash the better option instead of redeeming them at SmartBuyas you can use your cash to pay for the next spends and earn more RPs, isn’t it like reward points making more reward points?
Please if you can explain this if I am oversimplifying the calculation?
Can you please give link for Smartbuy redemption portal for Amazon voucher. I could not find.
I hold infinia card
Open Infinia portal, login and goto “Rewards” section.
How refund works if cancelling flights or hotels ,booked on points?
Points gets credited back to a/c, t&c as per the booking.
Just redeemed for 40000/- Amazon voucher. Thanks a lot for this wonderful article.
Recently I have tried to book for hotels using DCB points redemption. Hotel charges in cleartrip is costlier compared to MMT and Goibibo. I find that equivalent value of points is ~55paisa. Best to redeem is flight bookings only.
Expected but are you sure its 55ps? Hope you’re aware that Goibibo/MMT shows without tax on list page
Yes, I compared the value by including the taxes. Value of points varied between 55ps to 60ps depending on hotels. By the way, great blog and gives good insight about usage of credit cards. Thanks for spending your time to educate everybody. வாழ்த்துக்கள்.
Sad to know then. Will check as well.
Cleartrip portal unfortunately only shows the BAR / flexible rates , most of the times hotels or other portals offer their own special prices which may be lower than cleartrip prices , for flights there is almist no difference as fare differences are not that high between portals
In general hotel bookings at smartbuy portal are 30-40% costlier than other online portals.
That is a thing of past. There might some odd cases for that though.
Now prices are always comparable. The only difference is if you are getting a card discount on other portals and not on smartbuy.
I don’t think that’s correct, I had booked through Cleartrip(Smartbuy) as well as MMT for a trip last December and both showed exactly same rates and since I had the option to redeem the points upto 70% I opted for the booking through smartbuy.
The huge difference may have been a thing of the past but based on what I could see recently its all similar, but not everything listed on MMT/Yatra would be available on Smartbuy so you may have to re-think about where you want to book before using Smartbuy.
I second you!
Quite interesting article…I am following your Site regularly and got almost all bank credits cards including Infinia. I have redeemed my points mostly for flights bookings ( Trips to japan, New Zealand , Europe , Phuket ).
Thanks Siddharth for the great article once again. I was aware about rest, but not so of Vistara.
One info from my last 2 years’ experience. Always select Cleartrip for Flight redemption, not Yatra (prices are same or Rs 10-20 difference). But Cleartrip refund/reschedule process is excellent. I received full refund (even when I cancelled myself) almost immediately many times. But for Yatra booking, I NEVER got any refund even after multiple follow-ups.
One note: Yesterday at a shopping mall in my small city Jamshedpur, I saw a SBI Prime card displaying the name ‘Siddharth R’ in a SBI Card Kiosk. Is that you?
Oh, can I have a snap of that? maybe next time you pass by.
They might have just used my card image and I’m not aware of it.
Siddharth, you’re a celeb and well deserved. You ve been doing really great work! Should consider endorsements for card brands 🙂
Also waiting to see card issuers advertise here.
Thanks for your kind words, Abhi.
This is true.. Refund process of Yatra is a nightmare.
However, off-late even if you choose Cleartrip, the final booking is routed thru Yatra. Tried multiple times..
Thanks Sid for all the knowledge you share with us.
Small query reg credit of Reward Points.
In May 21, I made a high value transaction on my DCB card on Flipkart through smartbuy portal & I should have got 3X reward points reg same. However, on analysing my card statement, I found out that only X reward points were credit & not 3X. I don’t have any proof of smartbuy portal transaction as Flipkart doesn’t show anything reg same.
Can you please suggest how to take up the matter with HDFC as their Customer care is worst informed.
Thanks in advance for any help!!
Sure, next time I visit the mall, I’ll get a snap!
What I remember, the display having first 4 digits. Initially I thought it’s a random name.
Hi Sid, I’m an active follower and reader of your articles. I’m reading many comments starting that clear trip is expensive and even you have mentioned that it does not have as great hotel coverage as MMT. One cool hack I use during regular 10x days is to buy MMT e-voucher/gift card at 10x from smartbuy and book the property through MMT site using the gift coupon for a cool 10x reward on our choice of hotel at best rate. However, now MMT hotel portal is directly integrated through smartbuy and it’s easier to use MMT directly.
But then if we book from mmt using smartbuy, we will not get discounts if they have any with other bank and maybe rates might differ. Not sure though. Now smartbuy is giving 10x only on mmt and none of the other sites.
I think hdfc infinia has a really bad way of redeeming points for hotels. Tie up is with cleartrip which doesnt always have all the properties and even if the property is listed on the cleartrip app , there is a big chance that it will not be on hdfc smartbuy portal which is also through cleartrip !
I had saved up close to a million points to redeem for a fancy maldives vacation, but smartbuy only lets you choose from little over 20 properties in the WHOLE COUNTRY !
Quite disappointing .
I plan to transfer all my point on a 1:1 to kris flyer and get a round the world ticket star alliance ticket .
I would say the most amount of value you could get from your points would be with Kris Flyer. I’ve booked multiple business class star alliance flights using my points and got excellent value. For example back in April I booked a 1 way ticket from Dubai to Kiev in Turkish Airlines business using Kris Flyer. I paid 29000 points plus about $100 fee. The same ticket was Rs 90k one way or about Rs 120k return in cash.
I’ve also used Kris Flyer for flights out of India. About 55k points for 1 way business to Europe. Economy is half usually.
Great, thanks for sharing.
Is the points to miles conversion beneficial only when one plans to book business class tickets?
What if one wants to book economy tickets? Any benefit of converting to miles or is it better to redeem points @70% via smartbuy
Higher classes always give better value per mile.
BLR SIN 18000 miles in economy, 36000 in business (I maybe off by 500 miles, this way or that).
Check cash rates and you’ll see the mile value is much much higher in biz, almost always.
I feel the only realistic options is flights wherever possible to get best value for your points.
And you are right, the hotels are expensive and can be around 40-50% higher for generic hotels (post offers) while less difference in Luxurious ones.
Wish there were options like Cruise bookings etc as well.
P. S- Personally love StanC Ultimate/ Citi premieremiles
Former has huge number of GV options while latter, makes it simple. Book on MMT/Goibibo/yatra, and redeem points at 45p for that transaction post transaction .
So you don’t lose on other offers when booking Hotels.
Typically website coupon offers are not applicable if paid using GVs. Stanc ultimate has good options but vouchers of MMT goes out of stock many a times.
Nice article sid. How do u book business class flight tickets through smartbuy? As u know last year i had redeemed tons of points for my trip to Australia on Singapore airlines and other local airlines but unfortunately the trip got cancelled due to Covid 19. Now i have realised that the same points could have given me business class tickets had i converted to kris flyer, will now onwards look into converting to krisflyer in singapore airlines.
I booked Srilankan airlines as per regular redemption route that gives revenue ticket. Yes, Krisflyer is quite good for SQ & partner redemptions.
Hi, Siddharth.. If i redeem my partial points for DTH recharge, lets say i make a 1000 Rs dth recharge using infinia points, Is there any additional Redemption charge ? like icici charge 25 rs plus gst for every single redemption. Does HDFC charge anything extra also ?
No , but putting a random amount is dificult, initially , it will ask you to choose a package , then once you choose , you need to overwrite the amount to any amount you want , and then recharge
No, HDFC will not charge any amount for DTH recharge.
What kinda conditions are these given on Smartbuy page for Amazon 5X??
It is as if its now impossible to get 5X rewards on Amazon Purchase via Smartbuy!!!
Transaction on Amazon is eligible for SmartBuy benefit only in accordance to Amazon affliate program.
Transaction is eligible only if
Customer clicks through Amazon tab on SmartBuy and has not visited any other affliate in the past 24 hours. If so, customer is required to clear the cache / cookies / cart and reintiate the journey
During a single Session that the customer adds a Product to his or her shopping cart and places the order for that Product no later than 89 days following the customer’s initial click-through;
The Product is shipped to, and paid for by, the customer.
A “Session” Starts when customer clicks through Amazon via SmartBuy and Ends upon the first to occur of the following:
24 hours elapses from that click
The customer places an order for a Product
The customer clicks on any other affliate program (of Amazon) other than SmartBuy
Qualifying Purchases exclude, and will not be eligible on any of, the following:
Any Product that, after expiration of the applicable Session, is added to a customer’s Shopping Cart, or is streamed or downloaded by a customer, even if the customer previously followed through SmartBuy
Any Product purchased for resale or commercial use of any kind;
Any Product order where a cancellation, return, or refund has been initiated; and
Any Product purchased by a customer who is referred to the Amazon Site through any of the following:
1. a Prohibited Paid Search Placement; or
2. a link to the Amazon Site, including a Redirecting Link, that is generated or displayed on a Search Engine in response to a general Internet search query or keyword (i.e., in natural, free, organic, or unpaid search results), whether those links appear through your submission of data to that site or otherwise.
Any Product purchased through a SmartBuy in a Mobile Application that was not an Approved Mobile Application by Amazon
Any Qualifying Purchase, which takes place in India, made through a mobile device or tablet wherein:
1. the mobile application of the Amazon Site is pre-loaded by the original equipment manufacturer (“OEM”) on the device or tablet; or
2. the mobile application of the Amazon Site is installed through a maintenance release or firmware update or firmware based notifications sent by the OEM or the notification partner; or
3. the mobile application of the Amazon Site is installed from a source other than Google Play store or iOS App Store
I just booked a 5 star through smartbuy and found out that they massively inflate the prices. The same hotel on other portals was around 6-7k while on smartbuy it was 11K. Even after 70% redemption from rewards I paid 3500 INR.
When I walked into the hotel even they were very surprised to learn that I had paid such a massive amount (11k), in fact they gave me a complimentary room upgrade because of it.
Clearly the redemption rate is not 1:1 even on hotels, since the rates on smartbuy are inflated.
Are you sure smartbuy isn’t showing nothing but cleartrip/yatra rates for hotels, just like they do for flights? Smartbuy or hdfc obviously don’t publish their own rates, has to be a feed from one of those few sites they are associated with.
LIC is no longer listed as Biller on Amazon. Infinia and Diners 5X offer on Amazon voucher becomes less useful.
Double whammy.. first 10x to 5x and now amazon stopped lic. These days criteria for choosing insurers is based on the ones supported by Amazon.
LIC is back on Amazon list
Does anyone know how to get customer care’s attention? I recently tried redeeming about 40k points on SmartBuy for Amazon vouchers but the page expired while generating voucher. Now my points balance shows as debited but left with no voucher. The Smartbuy homepage seems to have delinked my card details as well. called Concierge and they asked to email Infinia services. Tried emailing Infinia services but they seem to be clueless what happened..
I have faced this. The voucher/ order detail is there in your history/ orders. You have to call concierge to cancel it.
It will get credited again and can be used after your statement gets generated.
I have called Amazon to enquire about LIC payments. What they said is LIC payment is consistently having payment failure issue and that why LIC is temporarily removed.
I have suggested Amazon to keep LIC in biller list and disable it for the customer to chose it, till the issue is resolved.
LIC insurance payment is now re-enabled on Amazon, used it today to make premium payment.
LIC is back on amazon pay. Just checked!
Just checked..LIC is back on Amazon..
Relaxed a lot after seeing it back
I always prefer Hotel and Flight booking.
BTW curious how one can figure out the amount of points expiring on one’s credit card? I have a Infinia.
Check your statement where you can find points expiring in the next 30 days/next statement
Is 100% points redemption available on Experiences?
Or is it 70% points & 30% Via CC?
Never tried them Aakash. Just try to proceed till checkout page and you would know.
Experiences also is 70-30.
As I have posted few days back here, LIC payment is back in Amazon. Now HDFC credit card users can buy Amazon vouchers without doubt.
What some members posted here about LIC biller removal from Amazon is false. Please try to wait for few days for verifying information posted by members. Amazon wont leave LIC which has a market share of 50%.
There was a removal and lasted several days, due to disagreement over commissions. Amazon was removed as a wallet even on LIC site, but is back now. No guarantee they won’t pull out again.
Can we book with reward points on smartbuy MMT portal ?
Thanks Sid for sharing. Been looking for such detailed guide on maximising points usage.
Is it possible to book Flexi fares through HDFC Smartbuy portal ? Both Cleartrip and Yatra give only non-refundable fares.
Even flight redemption prices are inflated. Sometimes the prices are double for the same flight. I compared prices with parastravels.com, operated by my family travel agent, and the this has really thrown a spanner in the works. The points are really worth 60ps at best. Check for yourself if you need to
you are right delhi to goa flights are twice as that to normal portal rates. Shame on HDFC .
Nope. I book frequently and the rates are same as are in mmt, cleartrip, yatra for domestic. For international sometimes the no frill airlines like air asia etc have better fares on portal as they bundle baggage in fare, but this can be sorted by booking through concierge.
That paras travel website looks like a scam website, it is offering tickets at 40 per cent less than even Indigo’s own website. Cleartrip and Yatra also have the same price as Indigo website, so the HDFC smartbuy flight pricing is correct.
I know the travel agent personally through my college alumni group. He is legit and I make bookings with him over call. His rates have always been better than Yatra and Cleartrip. I don’t know the catch for the lower fares but surely the agent is genuine.
I am trying to understand the benefits of KrisFlyer Gold Status. I could not find much on it.
Can someone please explain?
Are flexi fares visibile on smartbuy cleartrip portal? Or can tickets with cancellation flexibility booked only through airline website?
Not visible on portal , i called infinia concierge hoping they could get me those , straight denied , called amex plat concierge, done in 2 mins … thought of closing down infinia started crossing my mind (once i am done burning the points)
No, its not on smartbuy. You can call concierge and they may be able to do it. But direct airlines is always the best option.
“A redemption fee of Rs. 99 + GST would be charged for every points redemption transaction. ”
In case I want to redeem points to buy vouchers like Amazon/Flipkart or any other brand voucher, then will 99+GST be charged to the HDFC credit card?
I know that in case of flight booking 99+GST is charged for Diners Premium, but not sure if the same is applicable for vouchers as well. Tried contacting customer care, but did not get a proper answer from them.
Thanks in advance.
Sorry for a lengthy post and I need to explain from my side 🙂
I have been following your posts for a while and I must say it was very useful and provides lot of insights. I spent almost my whole day today to go through various posts and comments from our users. Recently got infinia card with help of various suggestions from our posts.
I have seen lot of posts on available rewards. However I miss one article that explains what are effective ways to maximise the reward points for the premium cards like infinia. Though the spending behaviour very from person to person, either you can share your own experience (without exposing any sensible information if you feel) or the possible ways to earn rewards.
If any user shared their experience or you already shared such thing please share the detail here.
Accelerated rewards on Smartbuy is the USP of HDFC super premium cards apart from regular spends. That’s where ppl easily earn lots of points.
Try to put your spends there.
If not, do have a deep breadth and realize that you’re in the honeymoon period with Infinia, the high will settle down soon. 🙂
ha ha ha – good one.
Please make a blog for newly added Apple Premium Reseller Imagine I Tresor on Smartbuy for 5X.
All those booking hotels on the site by using points (max 70%) and bal by card please check with the property before you land up assuming your booking is present. I have last week booked a stay at a 5 star property in Goa for Nov. When I sent an email to the property they with the details shared by HDFC Bank, the hotel got back saying booking does not exist. When I log into Cleartrip using the same email ID which is registered with HDFC Bank it does not show my booking. So obviously nobody in Cleartrip can help you on this. I have taken up the matter with HDFC Bank and they have shared 2 seperate booking ID and voucher numbers which they said I should share with the property. On both occasions the property got back that they cannot pull up the booking on the basis of the confirmation numbers shared. In fact the property confirmed that they do not take any bookings from Cleartrip. I have lodged a complaint with HDFC BANK. Will update all once I get an fresh update.
This happened with me a few years. I landed with my family in a 5 start hotel in Delhi only to be told that the booking does not exist! I contacted the Infinia helpline and they realised that there was some issue with the booking. I think it was Cleartrip.
Finally, after 2 hours of back and forth, they requested me to pay directly at the hotel promising to reimburse it. Later, after a week or so, they reimbursed me the booking amount directly on my card. I also made them credit back all the points which were used earlier for the booking. Had to create some noise though to get this done!
Latest update on GV:
A customer (a combination of registered mobile number and card number) can buy a maximum of INR 10000 worth of Amazon Pay Gift Cards in a calendar month.
Get discounts on Amazon Pay Gift Card using HDFC Credit & Debit Card. Get 5x Reward Points on Select Credit cards & 5% cashback on Credit & Debit Cards
HDFC Infinia and Diner club black Reward Redemption on Voucher available at 70% value instead of the earlier 50%
I just verified that HDFC DCB reward point value has been increased to .7 from .5 INR on smartbuy evoucher redemption until 3rd Oct. Got an SMS on the same and noticed a banner as well in the smartbuy Dinersclub page. Just wanted to spread the word for users like me who doesn’t travel that much and have bunch of points lying around.
Hi Siddharth, thanks for the informative post.
I have two stupid questions:
1. Why are coupon codes of ClearTrip, Yatra etc. not valid while we make flight/hotel bookings on SmartBuy? In the end we are booking through ClearTrip, Yatra only right? Many a times – it makes more sense in booking through ClearTrip than through Smartbuy because of things like – voucher redemption fees, convenience fees and non-applicability of discount coupon codes.
2. Other platform features of ClearTrip (Like EzCancel) or FlexiFares of airlines, paid-cancellation of Yatra are not available on SmartBuy. Isn’t the user at a disadvantage in such scenarios?
1. This is how banks get some profit on redemptions.
can anyone let know step by step for transfer of dcb points to krisflyer?
Any suggestions for best way to maximise the value for points redemption? Travelling and Hotel booking is out of question at least for next 6 months. Here I would have got 1 Pt=1 Rp (inspite of the max. 70% points rule).
The points conversion ratio/value is quite low (almost 0.40/0.50 paise per point) in case of ordering any products or redeeming for Amazon or any vouchers etc. Any suggestions please?