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HDFC Infinia Credit Card Review

HDFC Infinia is arguably the most talked about credit card in our country and of course on my blog. However, surprisingly I didn’t have a dedicated review for HDFC Infinia. Thus, I decided to review it. Further, given the rise of Axis Magnus(Apply Now) and a series of devaluations on HDFC Infinia; it makes sense it see where the once favourite credit card now stands.

HDFC Infinia Credit Card

HDFC Infinia

Fees

  • Joining/Annual fee of 12,500 + taxes. Waived off on spending 10lakhs.

Reward and Benefits

  • Base Reward Rate:3.3% reward rate (5 reward points on 150 spent. Value of 1RP=INR 1). No reward points for fuel, wallet load and EMI (EasyEMI and SmartEMI) spends.
  • Accelerated Reward Rate: 3x-10x RPs on HDFC SmartBuy, i.e. 9.9%-33.3% reward rate. However, SmartBuy reward points accrual has monthly and daily caps, which may limit the reward rate.
  • Rent payment reward point capping at 2000 RPs per month, i.e. max spend of ~60,600 per month.
  • 1+1 buffet dinner at selected ITC hotels. Book a stay for 3-nights and pay for two at participating ITC hotels.
  • Lounge Access:Unlimited domestic and international lounge access for primary and add-on cardholders.

Eligibility criteria for HDFC Infinia Credit Card

Bank’s official stance is that HDFC Infinia is an invite-only credit card. However, there are cases where people got this card by simply requesting it. Further, during the credit card issuance ban on HDFC Bank (2020-2022), the bank doled out HDFC Infinia to many customers as an upgrade.

The eligibility criteria remain a bit sketchy but something that I have gathered from the internet, talking customer care and social media sites are as follows. You need to meet at least one of the below to get this card.

  • Monthly take-home salary of 3lk+
  • Existing HDFC credit card with a limit of 8-10lakhs and last 6 months spends of 7-8lakhs.
  • The number of relationships with the bank. i.e. the number of loan accounts, balance in SA/CA/TD account etc.
  • Good rapport with your RM or branch manager.😈

Positives of HDFC Infinia Credit Card

Highest base reward rate

At a 3.3% reward rate, HDFC Infinia has the highest base reward rate in the industry. Only matched by HDFC Diners Black and StanC Ultimate. The current favourite Axis Magnus has a base reward rate of only 1.2%.

Accelerated reward rate on SmartBuy

HDFC SmartBuy portal gives 3-10x reward points on HDFC Infinia credit card. This is where HDFC Infinia really shines.You get an accelerated reward rate for doing anything and everything on Smartbuy. If you travel frequently then booking hotels will give a 33.3% reward rate. Flight and bus booking will give a 16.5% reward rate. Even train ticket booking on IRCTC will give a nearly 10% reward rate.

Gift vouchers bought on SmartBuy give a 16.5% reward rate.  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)

Unlimited lounge access

HDFC Infinia is again one of the very few cards that offer unlimited lounge access both within India and outside. That’s not all it gives unlimited lounge access to all add-on cardholders.

Only 2% forex markup

HDFC Infinia 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 Infinia 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 enrol for HDFC’s Global Value Program you can get a ~1.95% reward rate. The 1% is in form of cashback as a feature of the Global Value Program.

1+1 on ITC Buffet and 1 night free at ITC Hotels

HDFC Infinia offers 1+1 buffet in selected ITC hotels (link here). The offer is for a weekend buffet, however, they are offering a weekday buffet too till 31st Dec 2022. You can redeem this offer every month and kids under 6 are free. Thus for those few special days that come every year 😈, you can save some money with this offer.

Further, you can book from a list of ITC hotels (list here), where you can stay for 3 nights but pay only for 2 nights. Breakfast is included in this offer. Again, this offer can be used if one is planning a vacation to Goa, Andaman etc. apart from major Indian cities.

Negatives of HDFC Infinia Credit Card

RP redemption limit of 70%

For redemption on SmartBuy only 70% of the booking amount can be set off against points. The rest needs to be paid by card. While for most, this restriction doesn’t matter, but this sort of leaves cardholders with a feeling of being short-changed.

Frequent Devaluations

While credit card devaluations are quite normal, the pace at which HDFC Infinia has been devalued in recent times is unprecedented. The reason for devaluations in my opinion is just too many Infinia being doled out during the ban period. It’s like the famous dialogue from the movie Incredibles, “When everyone is a Super, no one is”. Further, overall at the industry level revolve rate has declined to an all-time low of ~25%. This is putting immense pressure on banks’ profitability. Thus they are devaluing cards to protect their bottom line.

Daily/monthly capping on SmartBuy

HDFC Infinia’s strength is accelerated reward points on the SmartBuy portal. However, much of the edge is taken off by imposing a daily/monthly cap on accelerated rewards.

You can earn a maximum of 7500 accelerated RPs in a day and 15000 RPs in a month on Infinia on SmartBuy. What it means to maximize your RPs you need to spend less than 25k on a 10x partner (hotels)  in a day and less than 56k on a 5x partner (flights). This sort of restricts your savings potential on the SmartBuy portal and in turn on the HDFC Infinia credit card.

Capping on Insurance and Rent Payment

You can earn a maximum of 2000 RPs on rent and maintenance payments in a month. Effectively to maximize the benefit you need to limit those spends to 60k in a month. Further, for insurance payment, there is a capping of 5000 RPs per day. Which translates into a premium of 1.5lk at max in a day. While these cappings are not restrictive as such, but its something to keep in mind.

Reward points will be nullified, if the card is not used for 365 days

This is one weird rule in Infinia. Even though the validity of reward points is 3 years, if you don’t use your card for 365 days, all the accrued RPs will be nullified.

Comparison with Axis Magnus

Obvious that HDFC Infinia is compared to Axis Magnus (Apply now). Thus below is the dynamic calculator to check which is better, based on your spending pattern.

The key area where HDFC Infinia scores over Axis Magnus is the monetary value of RPs. Further, in Magnus, if you miss your monthly spending target by a few thousand even a couple of times in a year, the reward rate declines significantly. This is not the case with HDFC Infinia.

Areas where HDFC Infinia is better

  • Monetary value of RPs: If you are someone who is not into airmiles, then HDFC Infinia is the card for you. The monetary value of points is more on Infinia than on Magnus.
  • No monthly spend targets: HDFC Infinia unlike Magnus has no monthly spending target to get bonus RPs. Thus you are not under any pressure to spend X amount every month.
  • Lounge access: Infinia offers unlimited international lounge access to add-on members. Axis Magnus lacks this feature.
  • Getting an Add-on card: This somewhat links to the previous point. Getting an add-on card on Infinia is much easier than getting one on Magnus.
  • ~10% savings on train tickets: SmartBuy portal gives 3x RPs on all train tickets. Thus you can get ~10% off on them.

Areas where Axis Magnus is better

  • Airmiles transfer partners: Axis Magnus has far more transfer partners than HDFC Infinia offers. In addition, the conversion rate is also far superior on Magnus. Thus if you are into airmiles then Axis Magnus is the card for you.
  • The number of lounges: Axis Magnus gives unlimited access to 40 lounges in 22 cities in India. HDFC Infinia gives access to 28 lounges in 16 cities.
  • Getting Magnus is much easier.
  • Grabdeals is notch above SmartBuy: Axis Grabdeals portal is much better in terms of the number of partners than HDFC SmartBuy.

Conclusion

HDFC Infinia is a premium credit card focused on high earners and spenders. From the product features, it’s clear that the card targets people who are after the monetary value of RPs and not so much into airmiles. So if you are one of them, you should get one.

Will I take it? Yes. Even though I have Axis Magnus(Apply Now), I will still take this card. I will simply close all other cards and just keep 2 credit cards in my wallet. HDFC Infinia and Axis Magnus.

Whats your view on HDFC Infinia after the launch of Axis Magnus? Will you apply for this card now? Do let me know your views in the comments below.

Photo by Fabio Fistarol on Unsplash

 

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.

8 Comments

  1. S

    Please make one for DCB

  2. Mitul Mehra

    Nice comparison. Request a review or comparison with Amex Platinum charge card which is the top most card from Amex with an annual fee of Rs.60000.
    Thanks

  3. Aditya

    Hi reward point value is only 0.5 rupee not 1rupee

    • Comment by post author

      CreditCardz

      When you redeem those points on SmartBuy for flights and hotel booking you get 1 rupee value.
      If someone is using infinia to redeem points at 50p then he is grossly under-utilising the card’s potential

  4. Sleepy

    Base reward rate of magnus is 1.2? Really? 12 points for 200 = 4.8%! (airmile). Even if we calculate 1 RP as 0.8 paise, it has better base reward rate than infinia.

    • Comment by post author

      CreditCardz

      Thats the monetary value I have discussed here. 1RP = 0.2p

      The point that you are highlighting is captured in the excel sheet in the post. Where the miles value is accounted.

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