In this post, I will share my credit card strategy that I follow to maximise rewards from the 10 credit cards I own. Further, given that this is my 50th blog post it makes sense that I discuss my own thoughts and strategies rather than putting a review. J
Currently, I own 10 credit cards as mentioned below. Honestly, I don’t use most of them. Most of my spends are concentrated on the first 3 cards and maybe on 2 other. The remaining credit cards rest in my locker hoping to be swiped someday. 😀
My Credit Card Strategy
HDFC Bank Diners Black Credit Card
This is my primary credit card for obvious reasons. 3.3% reward rate on most spends, very few excluded categories and the famous 10x/5x reward program. A detailed review of Diners Black is available here.
What is my credit card strategy here? Target the 10x/5x program. Buy Amazon/Flipkart/Uber vouchers as needed to get 10x points. Then use these vouchers to buy monthly groceries or for office travel. Book flight/train tickets using the SmartBuy platform to get 10x/5x points. Swipe on Ola and other 10x partners, if possible.
A simple strategy with 10x is to buy INR5000 Amazon voucher every month without fail to get 10x points. Once my Amazon voucher limit is over, I buy the Flipkart vouchers on an as-needed basis. Until last month, Uber vouchers were available too. So used a few for my office commute. This month, since Uber vouchers are not available, am using Ola and pay for the trip using DCB to get 10x points.
Apart from the above, I use Diners Black as my primary card and present it as the first card for payment. Luckily, in Mumbai, I face very few rejections for Diners credit card. Further, have given the add-on cards to my parents and wife to swipe for the purchases they do during the month.
In the last 7 months that I have been using Diners Black, my reward rate on this card is at ~9%. This is not taking into account the INR500x2 vouchers you get for spending 80k. Since I don’t hit this milestone every month I don’t account for it in my reward calculations.
Amex Platinum Travel Credit Card
I have written about the Amex Platinum Travel card several times on how this card can earn a 6% reward rate in the first year and around 4.5% from the second year onwards. However, thanks to Amex, who gave some excellent offers in 2020 (e.g. Shop Small Offer, 10% cashback on Amazon spends, 2x rewards on utility spends, Amazon vouchers on specific monthly spends etc.) my reward rate will be closer to 8% this year. This is assuming I will reach 4L spends in the next 2 months and will get additional reward points and the Taj voucher.
My credit card strategy with the Amex Platinum Travel credit card is to reach 4lakh spends every year. I primarily use this card for my insurance payments i.e. life + health insurance policies for 4 people. The trick here is to pay insurance premium using AmazonPay by loading the wallet thru an Amex credit card. This way you not only earn reward points on the Amex card but also achieve the spend milestone. This card acts as my backup for Diners Black, in case it is not accepted.
You can apply for the Amex Plat Travel for first year free and 4000 reward points from here.
Amex MRCC credit card
Recently, Amex MRCC has made changes to its reward structure. Now doing 4×1500 will be a bit more difficult than doing 4×1000 transaction every month, but guess it should be manageable. A detailed review of Amex MRCC is here.
My credit card strategy with the Amex MRCC credit card is obviously doing the 4 monthly transactions to get 1000 reward points and reach the fee waiver limit of 150,000. I use Amex MRCC for my monthly subscription to SuprDaily (milk supply app here in Mumbai). Besides that, most transactions on this card are wallet load, since Amex still gives reward points for wallet load.
You can apply for the Amex MRCC for first year free and 4000 reward points from here.
Axis Freecharge credit card
I applied for an Axis Freecharge credit card after being rejected for an Axis Ace credit card. The customer care told me that after using this card for 3-4months, I can request for card change and will ask for Axis Ace then. Until such time, I am stuck with this.
The credit card strategy here is to keep it in my wallet as a backup card. Just in case my Diners and Amex are not accepted. Once I convert this card into an Axis Ace credit card, will apply for an add-on card for parents to make Axis Ace a common backup card.
ICICI AmazonPay credit card
ICICI AmazonPay is a lifetime free card that I hold and works as a backup card for my parents, in case their Diners Black is not accepted. Although, I don’t use this card very often as I use SmartBuy vouchers for Amazon purchases. This is a solid card with 5% cashback on Amazon purchases for Prime members. I strongly suggest that one should keep this card in his/her portfolio.
IDFC First Bank credit card
I recently applied for this IDFC First credit card and was approved for the First Select credit card. My credit card strategy here is to use it as my movie ticket card. Once I feel safe going to movies again, I will use the IDFC First credit card to book my movie tickets and use the Buy One Get One offer on movie tickets. Until such time this card will remain as a reserve card for me.
Citibank Rewards credit card
I got Citibank Rewards card as LTF when I downgraded my Premiermiles credit card. If you were to read my review of this card, you would definitely ask what my credit card strategy here is? The answer is there is no strategy. Since its LTF I am not paying any fees I don’t mind holding this card.
SBI Simply Save
SBI Simply Save is one credit card where I pay the annual fees of 500+taxes and still dont use it. I applied for this card hoping that I will eventually upgrade to SBI Prime. However, before I could do that, I was approved for Diners Black so chucked the idea of upgrading. At the moment my credit card strategy is to use it for any decent SBI offers. However, will eventually cancel the card if I find that I didn’t use it even for a single transaction in the last 12-18months.
Yes Bank First Preferred credit card
This is an LTF card I hold and I don’t remember when it was last swiped. The only reason for holding onto this card is the international and domestic lounge access this card offers; 4 international lounge access thru Priority Pass and 3 domestic lounge access every quarter.
IDFC OneCard credit card
3 reasons I applied for OneCard credit card, lifetime free, metal form factor, and lastly hoping that once this card gains scale one may expect good partner offers/redemption options. While the fad of metal form factor is far lost, now I am just hoping that this card gains some scale and starts bringing good offers.
Overall, my reward rate for April-2020 to March-2021 was ~6%. It is lower because I didn’t have HDFC Diners Black for the full year. I am hoping that April-2021 to March-2022 will be a better period and I am hoping to achieve a ~10% reward rate.
As with other things in the credit cards ecosystem, no one strategy fits all. So your credit card strategy for the same card could be different from mine. However, the important thing is to identify 2-3 credit cards in your portfolio that give max rewards and just use them frequently.
Do let me know how does your credit card strategy look like nowadays?
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.