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HDFC Diners Black Metal Card Detailed Review – 2024

HDFC Diners Black Metal Card

HDFC Diners Black Metal credit card is an upgraded variant of the Diners Black credit card. The HDFC Bank in the last 1-2 years has launched numerous new credit cards such as HDFC IRCTC, HDFC Swiggy, HDFC Marriott, HDFC Tata Neu, etc. Further, the bank has also launched refreshed variants of existing cards, for eg. HDFC Infinia Metal and HDFC Regalia Gold. Continuing the same trend, the bank has launched a refreshed variant of the Diners Black credit card, as Diners Black Metal credit card.

Unlike the HDFC Regalia Gold, the Diners Black Metal version is an upgrade over the older Diners Black card. However, the question remains, should you apply for one? Read to find out.

HDFC Diners Black Metal Credit Card

Diners Black Metal Card

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Features of Diners Black Metal Card

Fees

  • Joining/Annual fee of 10,000 + taxes. Waived off on spending 8lks in the previous year.
  • The HDFC Diners Black metal card is currently being offered as a first-year free to most Diners Black holders. Check for the offer in your net banking or mobile app.

Reward and Benefits

  • Base Reward Rate:3% reward rate (5 reward points on 150 spent. Value of 1RP=INR 1). No reward points for fuel, wallet load, EMI (EasyEMI and SmartEMI), and rental spending.
  • Accelerated Reward Rate: 2x-10x RPs on HDFC SmartBuy, i.e. 6.6%-33.3% reward rate. The older version has 7.5k and 2.5k monthly and a daily cap on accelerated reward points. The new HDFC Diners Black Metal card has simplified this and there is just a 10k monthly cap applicable.
  • 2x RPs on weekend dining. 2x reward points on dining on weekends. Not applicable to Swiggy/Zomato spending. There is a cap of 1000 reward points per day.
  • Milestones: The monthly and annual milestones are replaced by a simple quarterly spend-based milestone. You spend 4lk in a calendar quarter (Jan-Mar, Apr-Jun, Jul-Sep, Oct-Dec) and get 10k reward points. A good 2.5% reward rate. Plain and simple.
  • Lounge Access: Unlimited domestic and international lounge access for primary and add-on cardholders.

What’s new in the Diners Black Metal Card?

The key question is what’s new with the HDFC Diners Black Metal and whether it’s good or bad as compared to the existing version. Below is the answer to this question.

Benefits of the HDFC Diners Black Metal Card

10k reward points on quarterly spends of 4lk

The biggest improvement in the Diners Black Metal card, in my opinion, is the introduction of this quarterly milestone benefit, where you get 10k reward points for spending 4lk in a quarter. This translates into an excellent 2.5% reward rate. Overall your reward rate jumps to 3.3%+2.5% = 5.8% in a quarter if you can meet the spend threshold. Your reward would be even higher if the 4lk spends are on the SmartBuy portal.

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One way to look at this assume your annual spending is 10lk, but in one quarter you can spend 4lk. Then the reward rate will be 3.3% on the 10lk spent, translating to 33k reward points, plus an additional 10k reward points, an overall reward rate of 4.3%, not bad at all.

My understanding about this milestone benefit is that rent and fuel spends are also included and thus you get reward points for those spends too.

No daily capping on SmartBuy

The plastic version of the HDFC Diners Black credit card has a daily cap of 2.5k points and a monthly cap of 7.5k on the SmartBuy portal. However, with the new Diners Black Metal card there is just a monthly cap of 10k reward points on SmartBuy. The HDFC Bank has not only increased the capping from 7.5k to 10k but also removed the daily cap on the credit card. This is very much appreciated as it makes life simple.

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SmartBuy Capping Snapshot

Vouchers on monthly 80k spend stands withdrawn

Not sure if this is a drawback or a benefit of the new HDFC Diners Black Metal card. I guess it will depend on the individual. However, in my opinion, it’s a benefit. In the previous example of annual spending of 10lk, you will get the 10k milestone only once a year.  Common sense would say that you will miss the monthly 80k more than 3 times in a year as average spending for the remaining 9 months comes at ~67k. Thus, you will get at best vouchers worth 9k in a year as against 10k reward points.

Drawbacks of the Diners Black Metal card

The annual fee waiver threshold is high

The older HDFC Diners Black had annual fees waived at 5lk annual spends. This was already high, but still manageable for the customer segment the bank targeted. However, with the new HDFC Diners Black Metal card the annual spend waiver criterion is further increased to 8lk per annum. This is very high in my opinion. Not many will be able to meet this spending threshold unless this is the primary card for the cardholder, and even if that’s the case, I believe it will be difficult for many.

Annual Amazon Prime membership stands withdrawn

With the old HDFC Diners Black, you used to get an annual subscription for Amazon Prime, MMT Black, Club Marriott, Forbes, and Times Prime on spending 8lk in a year. However, with the new HDFC Diners Black Metal card you only get the membership benefits as welcome benefits and not every year. Further, you only get Amazon Prime, Swiggy One, and Club Marriott memberships. The MMT Black, Forbes, and Times Prime are dropped completely.

Acceptance issues with Diners credit card

The Diners credit cards have acceptance issues. One may not face acceptance issues in large cities or online, but they exist once you are out of metros. Further, in other countries, I believe the acceptance issue is even higher. On my trip to Mauritius, my Diners Black was not accepted anywhere. I had to rely on my Scapia Federal credit card for my spending.

Things that remain the same in the new Diners Black Metal card

3.3% reward rate

The base reward rate of 3.3% is among the best in the industry. Only HDFC Infinia and StanC Ultimate have this kind of reward rate.

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2x RP on weekends on dining spends

HDFC Diners Black offers 2x reward points on all dining spends every weekend. There is a cap of 1000 reward points per day. The downside is, this does not apply to Swiggy/Zomato.

Unlimited lounge access

HDFC Diners Black Metal continues to offers unlimited lounge access both at domestic and international airports. Unlimited lounge access is available to all add-on cardholders too. Further, the icing on the cake is you don’t need a separate Priority Pass card for lounge access. Your credit card is enough. The lounge list is available here.

2% forex markup

HDFC Diners Black has a low forex markup of 2%. While you may argue, there are credit and debit cards that offer 0% forex markup. However, considering that HDFC Diners Black has a reward rate of 3.3% even adjusting for a 2.36% (2% +GST) forex markup, you get nearly a 1% reward rate on foreign spending. That’s not all, if you enroll for HDFC’s Global Value Program you can get a ~1.95% reward rate. The 1% is in the form of cashback as a feature of the Global Value Program.

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Accelerated rewards on the SmartBuy portal

Similar to HDFC Infinia, the HDFC Diners Black credit card also gives 2-10x accelerated reward points on purchases made on the SmartBuy portal. Hotel booking gives a 33.3% reward rate, while flight booking through the portal gives a 16.5% reward rate.
SmartBuy Accelerated Rewards
Gift vouchers bought on SmartBuy give a ~10% reward rate (3x reward points).  These brand vouchers in turn can be used for many daily purchases. You can buy gift vouchers from Amazon, Flipkart, Croma, Vijay Sales, Tata Cliq, Reliance Smart, BigBasket, Blinkit, Swiggy, Zomato, Ola and many more. (Full list here). The drawback is few vouchers such as Amazon Pay vouchers have additional handling fees, which sort of reduces the reward rate on the card.

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Don’t forget that the HDFC Diners Black Metal card offers a nearly 10% reward rate even on train ticket booking using the SmartBuy platform.

Miles transfer program

HDFC Bank introduced a fairly decent miles transfer program for HDFC Infinia and HDFC Diners Black. The same conversion ratios continue for the new HDFC Diners Black Metal card. The transfer partners and transfer ratios are shown below.
HDFC Diners Black Metal Card Transfer Partners

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Redemption on the SmartBuy portal capped at 75k per month

As per the T&Cs, the redemption of reward points for flights and hotel bookings is capped at 75k reward points per calendar month. What it means is, you can do bookings worth 1.07lk per month on SmartBuy where you can redeem your reward points.

All reward points are transferred to the Diners Black Metal

All your existing reward points on the plastic Diners Black card are transferred to the Diners Black Metal as is. For eg. If you have 25k reward points on your existing Diners Black, the bank will transfer all the 25k points as is. The value also remains the same.

Also, the validity of your existing points will increase. For Diners Black, reward points are valid for 3 years. So, say you earned 10k points in Jun-2021, then they are valid thill Jun-2024. Now if you upgrade the plastic version to Diners Black Metal card, your 10k points will be valid till Dec-2026, assuming the upgrade is done in Dec-2023.

Should you apply/upgrade for the new Diners Black Metal card?

The answer is yes in most cases. Simply, because the reward rate is higher than the current Diners Black card. The higher monthly limit of 10k on the SmartBuy platform and the removal of the daily cap allows cardholders to book hotels/flight more efficiently. The quarterly milestone bonus gives an additional 2.5% reward rate. And lastly, because the new Diners Black Metal card is currently being offered as First Year Free to most Diners Black holders. Check your mobile banking app or net banking for the option to upgrade.

The answer will be no if your current Diners Black is lifetime free and your annual spends are less than 8lk and unlikely to go above that. Below is the table that gives a broad reward rate for the 2 cards.

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Below is the table that shows your reward rate with both the cards is the same for spends until 5lks, assuming fee-paying cards. Between 5-8lks, plastic HDFC Diners Black will give higher rewards thanks to monthly milestones. It’s only 8lk and above annual spending that HDFC Diners Black Metal card starts giving higher reward rates.

HDFC Diners Black Metal Card Comparison

I am going for the upgrade to Diners Metal. The reason is, that my existing Diners Black is a paid variant. So, I have to pay the fees either way, but with the Diners Black Metal, I can earn higher reward rates.

Image Courtesy: Photo by Alex Bertha on Unsplash 
This article was written/last updated on 26 Nov 2023.

 

Disclaimer
In the interest of full disclosure, Credit Cardz may earn a referral bonus for anyone that’s approved through some of the links in this post. However, opinions and views expressed here are of the author's alone and not those of the bank, credit card issuer, or anyone else and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

3 Comments

  1. Aditya

    Clear, articulate analysis. Thank you.

  2. Naman Goel

    I have a lifetime free Diners Black Card and my spends can go above 8 Lakhs. I can also assume that I will hit atleast 1 4L milestone in a year. Would you recommend me to upgrade to Diners Metal Card?

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