Standard Chartered Ultimate credit card is the top-notch card from StanC’s stable. Many classify this credit card as a super-premium credit card primarily because of its base reward of 3.3%. This reward rate compares to the likes of HDFC Infinia and HDFC Diners Black. However, when you deep dive into the Standard Chartered Ultimate’s offering you realise that this card is more of a cashback card. Infact a good cashback card.
Standard Chartered Ultimate Credit Card
- Joining/Annual fee of 5,000 + taxes. No fee waiver. However, you get 6000 reward points on joining and 5000 reward points on renewal
- Nothing in black and white. However, a broader understanding is a gross salary of 2lk/month or ITR of 24lk+ is required.
- If you have an existing StanC credit card with a 4lk+ limit or any other card with a 5lk+ limit, you become eligible for this card.
Rewards and Benefits
- Reward Rate: Standard Chartered Ultimate credit card was known for its 3.3% reward rate (5 reward points on 150 spent. Value of 1RP=INR 1) on all spends without any exclusions. However, this has changed now. While the reward rate remains at 3.3% on most spends, it has been lowered to 2% on a few and fuel spends get 0 reward points.
- Below are the categories that will now earn a 2% reward rate from 2nd April 2023. While the lower reward rate on rent and government categories is understandable putting the utilities, insurance, and supermarket spending at a lower reward rate is quite baffling.
- Lounge access: 4 free domestic lounge access every quarter. Further, 1 complimentary access per month thru Priority Pass, provided you have spent more than 20000 in the previous calendar month of the visit.
Positives of Standard Chartered Ultimate credit card
You get RP for every 30/50 spent
Standard Chartered Ultimate credit card gives reward points for every 30/50 spent. So effectively say you spend 100 on a category where you get 5 points for every 150 spent, you will get 3 RPs. This is quite thoughtful from StanC. Kudus to them
No exclusions and no caps for reward points
Standard Chartered Ultimate credit card is famous for giving RPs on every spend without any exclusion. Despite the recent changes in the reward structure, this still stands true (except for fuel spending). Thus, you get reward points even for wallet load (3.3%), rent payment (~1%), government payments (2%) etc. Further, there is no capping on reward points whatsoever.
Reduced forex markup
Standard Chartered Ultimate credit card offers a cashback of 1.5% of the transaction fee amount on overseas transactions. Thus this effectively means that you earn 0.67% in terms of reward points on all forex spends. Obviously, this is lower than what HDFC Infinia, Diners Black, Axis Magnus(Apply Now) and Axis Reserve (Apply Now) offer, but again this card as such doesn’t compete with them.
Negatives of Standard Chartered Ultimate credit card
No multiplier portal like Amex, HDFC and Axis
StanC doesn’t have a portal like HDFC’s SmartBuy or Axis GrabDeals where one can earn accelerated reward points. Such a reward portal can really propel the card into a different trajectory.
Reward redemption fees of 99+GST
StanC has a reward redemption fee of 99+ GST. This I believe is somewhat very regressive given that the Standard Chartered Ultimate credit card has an annual fee of 5000 already and hardly anyone gets an annual fee waiver as such. This reward redemption fee adds to the total cost of ownership for the cardholder.
No miles transfer and statement credit option
StanC does not give an option for statement credit nor does it have any miles transfer partners. Thus, the only way to redeem your RPs is by taking gift vouchers against them. Further, there are no Amazon or Flipkart vouchers. However, outside of those, the voucher collection is quite good and you get to redeem vouchers at a 1:1 ratio.
Some vouchers that are available on the portal are as below
- Shopping: Westside, Shoppers Stop, Tata Cliq, Lifestyle, Myntra, Pantaloons
- Electronics: Vijay Sales, Croma
- Travel: Vistara, Taj, ITC Hotels, Marriott Bonvoy, EaseMyTrip, Uber
- Others: Decathalon, Zomato etc
However, another issue with StanC’s reward portal is these vouchers keep on coming and going. Thus one needs to keep on checking the portal regularly if one needs a specific brand voucher.
Lounge access logic is weird
While you get 4 free domestic lounge access on a Standard Chartered Ultimate credit card, for international lounge access they have a weird logic. You get only 1 international lounge access thru Priority Pass per month. That too only if you have spent more than 20000 in the previous calendar month of the visit.
Comparing StanC Ultimate credit card with others
As I have mentioned earlier, I don’t consider Standard Chartered Ultimate as a super-premium credit card. I consider it a solid cashback card. Thus comparing it with other cashback cards.
Why StanC Ultimate is not comparable to HDFC Infinia/Diners Black?
While StanC Ultimate gives a 3.3% reward rate much like HDFC Infinia/Diners Black; however, the overall package for HDFC Infinia and HDFC Diners Black is much better. A few advantages of HDFC cards over StanC Ultimate are unlimited lounge access (domestic + international) for both primary and add-on card holders; the HDFC SmartBuy portal where one can get accelerated reward points and lastly various redemption options ranging from statement credit, voucher redemption, transfer to airline/hotel partners and redemption option for book flights and hotels.
Overall, Standard Chartered Ultimate will give you somewhere between a 2-3.3% reward rate. When compared to other cards such as SBI Cashback(Apply Now), Axis Ace (Apply Now), and Amex MRCC (Apply Now) the reward rate appears on the lower side. However, if you are someone who just wants to keep one cashback card in the wallet and doesn’t really want to maximise reward points for every spend, you can opt for StanC Ultimate. However, I still believe that the troika of SBI Cashback(Apply Now), Axis Ace (Apply Now), and Amex MRCC (Apply Now) cards will fetch you a 5% reward rate on nearly every spend.
What’s your opinion about Standard Chartered Ultimate card? Do share in the comments section below.
Photo by Calwaen Liew on Unsplash
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.