Best Credit Cards in India for 2020 (Review & Comparison)

Looking for the best credit card in India which can give you maximum benefit in 2020? Or just evaluating your current credit card portfolio and trying to optimize it? Look no further as you have landed upon the correct article.

I have extensively analyzed 100+ credit cards available in India as of today and compiled the list of 18 best credit cards for 2020. While you review this list, keep in mind that there is no one perfect card suitable for all needs. The spending pattern, income range, willingness to pay annual fees etc. varies from person to person and play a vital role in the selection of a credit card. Now without any further delay, let’s look at the credit cards which made it to the list.

Best Lifestyle Credit Cards

Lifestyle cards are general purpose cards suitable for almost all types of spends e.g. dining, shopping, bill payments etc. These cards are approved easily and have low income range criteria.

1. Flipkart Axis Bank Credit Card

Flipkart Axis Bank Credit Card is a lifestyle co-branded credit card which provides accelerated cashback on Flipkart, Myntra and preferred partners. The main highlight of this card is default cashback rate of 1.5% with no capping which directly gets credited to the card account in next billing cycle. Another notable feature is complimentary domestic airport lounge access which is uncommon in this category.

Joining fee: Rs. 500 + GST, Flipkart voucher worth Rs. 500 provided
Renewal fee: Rs. 500 + GST, waived off on annual spends greater than Rs. 2 Lakhs

Reward Rate: 5% cashback on Flipkart, Myntra and 2GUD
4% cashback on Preferred Partners (MakeMyTrip, Goibibo, Uber, PVR, Curefit and UrbanClap)
1.5% cashback on all other merchants
4 complimentary Domestic Airport Lounge access per year using Mastercard India Lounge Program

2. American Express Membership Rewards Credit Card

American Express Membership Rewards Credit Card is an entry level card from Amex with low joining and renewal fees unlike other cards. Though acceptance of Amex is increasing day by day in India, it’s still not as good as Visa/MasterCard. The best thing about Amex is their world class customer service and when you talk to them, they make you feel really special. 18 Karat and 24 Karat Gold collection and monthly bonus rewards pushes the overall reward rate to 12% which is quite awesome.

Joining Fee: Nil if applied via referral link, Rs. 1,000 + GST otherwise

Renewal Fee: Amex generally waive off the charges if your spend on card is substantial. Via referral: Nil if total spends greater than Rs. 1,50,000, Rs. 750 + GST if total spends greater than Rs. 90,000, Rs. 1,500 otherwise
Regular: Nil if total spends greater than Rs. 1,50,000, Rs. 2,250 + GST if total spends greater than Rs. 90,000, Rs. 4,500 otherwise

Reward Rate: 0.5% if points are converted to statement credit
1000 bonus points for using Card 4 times on transactions of Rs. 1,000 and above every month
18 Karat Gold Collection: 18,000 points can be redeemed for statement credit worth Rs. 6,000, Amazon Gift Card worth Rs. 7,000, Amex Domestic Travel Voucher worth Rs. 7,000 or Taj Voucher worth Rs. 9,000.
24 Karat Gold Collection: 24,000 points can be redeemed for statement credit worth Rs. 9,000, Tanishq voucher worth Rs. 10,000 or Taj Voucher worth Rs. 14,000
Apply here

3. HDFC Diners Club ClubMiles Credit Card

HDFC Diners Club Clubmiles Credit Card has decent reward rate of 1.3% and with HDFC SmartBuy 10X program it peaks to 13%. Complimentary domestic and international airport lounge access is another great benefit and HDFC Bank has recently extended this to add-on card memebers too. Income criteria for this card is Rs. 30,000 per month (net income) which is relatively low.

Joining Fee: Rs. 1,000 + GST, usually free
Renewal Fee: Rs. 1,000 + GST, usually waived off
Reward Rate: 1.3% (normal spends) - 13% (using HDFC SmartBuy 10X program)
Mile Exchange Program: Reward points can be converted to Air Miles across British Airways Executive Club (Avios), InterMiles, Singapore Airlines (KrisFlyer Miles) or Club Vistara in 1:1 ratio
Lounge Access: 6 complimentary airport lounge access per year including domestic and international for primary as well as add-on card members

4. Amazon Pay ICICI Bank Credit Card

Amazon Pay ICICI Bank Credit Card gives 5% cashback on Amazon if you’re a prime member which is a sweet deal if you spend a lot on Amazon. Recently Amazon has extended invitation for this credit card to majority of Amazon India customers.

Joining Fee: Nil
Renewal Fee: Life time free

Reward Rate: 5% for Amazon Prime customers and 3% for others on Amazon

2% on paying through Amazon Pay
1% on other spends
Rewards are credited as Amazon Pay cashback each month after statement generation

5. HDFC Bank Regalia First Credit Card

HDFC Regalia First Credit Card is an entry level premium card from HDFC. Decent reward rate, milestone benefits and complimentary domestic and international lounge access make this card attractive. Mostly it’s issued for free if your salary account is with HDFC and gross monthly income is greater than Rs. 40,000 per month.

Joining Fee: Rs. 1,000 + GST, usually free
Renewal Fee: Rs. 1,000 + GST, usually waived off
Reward Rate: 0.8% (normal spends) - 8% (using HDFC SmartBuy 10X program)

Milestone Benefits: 5,000 points on annual spends of Rs. 3 Lakhs

Additional 2,500 points on achieving annual spends of Rs. 6 Lakhs

Lounge Access: International: 3 international airport lounge access per year using Priority Pass

Domestic: 8 domestic airport lounge access per year using Visa/MasterCard Lounge program

6. SBI SimplyCLICK Credit Card

SBI SimplyCLICK Credit Card is one the best credit cards for first timers in India which provides 10X rewards on shopping at Amazon, BookMyShow, UrbanClap etc. This card also provides 5X rewards on other online spends irrespective of merchant which is quite awesome. With low annual fees and salary requirements, this is a really good card to have in possession if you spend online a lot.

Joining fee: Rs. 499 + GST, welcome benefit of Amazon gift voucher worth Rs. 500
Renewal fee: Rs. 499 + GST, waived off if spend in previous year is more than Rs. 1 Lakh

Milestone Benefits: Cleartrip e-voucher worth Rs.2,000 on annual online spends of Rs. 1 Lakh

Cleartrip e-voucher worth Rs.2,000 on annual online spends of Rs. 2 Lakhs

Reward Rate: 10 Reward Points per Rs. 100 on online spends with exclusive partners - Amazon, BookMyShow, Cleartrip, Lenskart, Netmeds, Rentomojo, UrbanClap, 2.5% reward rate

5 Reward Points per Rs. 100 on all other online spends, 1.25% reward rate
1 Reward Point per Rs. 100 on all other spends, 0.25% reward rate
Apply here

Best Premium Credit Cards

Premium cards are one notch above lifestyle cards. These cards, not only have higher reward rate, but they provide additional benefits like concierge services, dedicated support line, domestic and international lounge access etc.

1. HDFC Diners Club Privilege Credit Card

Newly launched HDFC Diners Club Privilege Credit Card packs multiple benefits which makes it best premium credit card. This card introduces the benefit of annual memberships of Zomato Gold, Amazon Prime, MMT DoubleBlack, Times Prime & BB Star. This card also provides monthly benefit of vouchers worth Rs. 500 on meeting the spend target of Rs. 40,000 which pushes the overall reward rate to 2.55%.

Joining fee: Rs. 2,500 + GST
Renewal fee: Rs. 2,500 + GST, waived off if spend in previous year is more than Rs. 3 Lakhs.
Annual Memberships of Zomato Gold, Amazon Prime, MMT DoubleBlack, Times Prime & BB Star on spending Rs. 5 Lakhs in previous year

Reward Rate: 4 reward points per Rs. 150 spent, 1.3% reward rate

10X rewards on Smartbuy (Amazon, Flipkart, Instant Vouchers, Hotels & Flights) and partner brands (Myntra, Swiggy, BookMyShow, Zoomcar, Godrej Nature’s Basket, Ola & FirstCry), 13% reward rate
Monthly Benefits: Ola Select membership, BookMyShow or TataCLIQ voucher worth Rs. 500 on achieving a monthly spend of Rs. 40,000
Lounge Access: 12 complimentary airport lounge access to 1000+ Lounges in India and worldwide for primary and add-on card members
2 complimentary Golf games (Green fee waiver) per quarter around 18 golf courses in India and 144 golf courses around the world

2. HDFC Regalia Credit Card

HDFC Regalia is upgraded version of HDFC Regalia First. It comes with a host of benefits like lower foreign currency markup, Priority Pass membership etc. The milestone benefits on this card are added perks which pushes the reward rate even higher. You need to have a monthly income more than Rs. 1,20,000 to get this card.

Joining Fee: Rs 2,500 + GST, generally free
Renewal Fee: Rs 2,500 + GST, usually waived off
Reward Rate: 1.3% (normal spends) - 13% (using HDFC SmartBuy 10X program)

Lounge Access: International: 6 international airport lounge access per year using Priority Pass (including add-on card member)

Domestic: 12 domestic airport lounge access per year using Visa/MasterCard Lounge program

Milestone Benefits: 10,000 Reward Points on annual spends of Rs. 5 Lakhs

Additional 5,000 Reward Points on achieving annual spends of Rs. 8 Lakhs
Lower foreign currency markup of 2%
Other benefits: Club Vistara Silver membership, Zomato Gold membership, travel concierge, insurance cover etc.
Apply here

3. Yes First Preferred Credit Card

Yes First Preferred Credit Card, even after devaluation, provides a decent default reward rate of 1%. Complimentary access to domestic and international airport lounges is another highlight of this card. Easiest way to get this card is to get it on Card-to-Card basis with limit on existing card above Rs. 3,00,000. You can get this card and later on (after 6 months) upgrade to Yes First Exclusive Credit Card.

Joining Fee: Rs 2,500 + GST, generally free
Renewal Fee: Rs 2,500 + GST, usually waived off
Reward Rate: 2% on Travel Agencies & Tour Operators, Domestic Airlines and Dining, 1% on all other categories

Lounge Access: International: 4 international airport lounge access per year using Priority Pass

Domestic: 3 per quarter domestic airport lounge access using MasterCard Lounge Access program
Other benefits: Golf, Concierge & Automobile Assistance, Insurance Coverage

4. Citi Premiermiles Credit Card

Citi Premiermiles Credit Card, though appears to be an air miles card, it’s not. This card packs a decent default reward rate of 1.8% which can be accelerated to 4.5% by booking flights and hotels on Premiermiles portal. Never expiring miles and complimentary access to airport lounges are some added benefits.

Joining Fee: Rs 3,000 + GST, welcome benefit of 10,000 miles worth ~Rs. 4,500 are provided
Renewal Fee: Rs 3,000 + GST, renewal benefit of 3,000 miles worth ~Rs. 1,350 are provided

Reward Rate: 4 Miles for every Rs. 100 spent, 1.8% reward rate

10 Miles per Rs.100 on PremierMiles portal and all airline transactions, 4.5% reward rate

Lounge Access: Complimentary domestic airport lounge access 6 per quarter on MasterCard variant

8 per quarter on Visa Signature variant

5. Indusind Iconia Credit Card (Amex)

If you spend a lot on weekends, this is the card for you. It provides accelerated rewards during weekends which you can redeem for statement credit. This card also gives you access to access to domestic airport lounges. However, recently IndusInd Bank has reduced the reward rate on insurance and utility bill payments on their credit cards which is a little disappointing.

Joining Fee: Rs 10,000 + GST, welcome vouchers of equivalent amount provided
Renewal Fee: Nil

Reward Rate: 1.5% on weekdays

2% on weekends
0.7% on Utility Bill Payments, Insurance Premium Payments, Government Services/Charges/Payments & Education Institute Fees
Lounge Access: 2 domestic airport lounge access per quarter using American Express Lounge Program
Other benefits: Golf, Travel Concierge, Automobile Assistance, Insurance Cover, Buy 1 Get 1 on BookMyShow etc.

6. American Express Platinum Travel Card

American Express Platinum Travel Card is one of the best travel credit cards at the moment and is suitable for frequent travelers. The handsome reward rate coupled with awesome customer support makes this card really desirable. However acceptance of Amex cards in India is still not great and many merchants don’t accept it due to relatively higher MDR charges.

Joining Fee: Nil if applied via referral link, Rs. 3,500 + GST otherwise
Welcome benefit of 5,000 rewards points worth Rs. 4,000
Renewal Fee: Rs 5,000 + GST
Reward Rate: 1 Membership Rewards Point for every Rs. 50 spent, 0.50% reward rate if points are converted to statement credit

Milestone Benefits: Travel Vouchers worth Rs. 7,700 on annual spend of Rs. 1.90 Lakhs

Travel Vouchers worth Rs. 11,800 on annual spend of Rs. 4 Lakhs
Taj Experiences Gift Card worth Rs. 10,000 on annual spend of Rs. 4 Lakhs
Lounge Access: 4 complimentary domestic airport lounge access in a year
Apply here

Best Super Premium Credit Cards

Super Premium cards are not only hard to get but also require really high relationship value with issuing banks along with flawless credit history. These cards come with higher credit limits, best reward rate, unlimited lounge access, golf privileges, exclusive memberships, insurance cover and some other unique perks.

1. HDFC Diners Club Black Credit Card

HDFC Diners Club Black Credit Card with it’s 10X reward points is certainly one of the best credit cards in India at this point of time. Even without 10X reward points, it has reward rate of 3.3% on all spends which is quite good. The recent addition of benefits to this card makes it even more desirable. The monthly milestone benefits pushes the reward rate to 4.55% on monthly spends of Rs. 80,000 which is quite awesome.

Joining Fee: Rs 10,000 + GST
Renewal Fee: Rs 10,000 + GST, waived off on spending Rs. 5 Lakhs in a year

Reward Rate: 3.3% (normal spends) - 33% (using HDFC SmartBuy 10X program)

2X reward points on weekend dining, 6.6% reward rate
Complimentary annual memberships: Club Marriott, Forbes Digital subscription, Zomato Gold, Amazon Prime, MakeMyTrip Double Black, Times Prime on spending Rs. 8 Lakhs in previous year
Monthly Benefits: Vouchers worth Rs. 1,000 on achieving a monthly spend of Rs. 80,000
Lounge Access: Unlimited airport lounge access to 1000+ lounges in India and worldwide for primary as well as add-on card members
Lower foreign currency markup of 1.99%
Other benefits: Exclusive 24/7 Concierge Services, Golf Program, Insurance Cover etc.

2. HDFC Infinia Credit Card

HDFC Infinia Credit Card is for the elitist and is invite only card. This card comes with unique No Pre-set spending limit feature and best reward rate of 3.3% on all spends. However this card has been displaced to #2 this year by HDFC Diners Black Credit Card which has become even more rewarding due to recent changes.

Joining Fee: Rs 10,000 + GST, reward points of equivalent value are credited
Renewal Fee: Rs 10,000 + GST, waived off on spending Rs. 8,00,000 in a year

Reward Rate: 3.3% (normal spends) - 33% (using HDFC SmartBuy 10X program)

2X reward points on dining, 6.6% reward rate

Lounge Access: International: Unlimited international lounge access using Priority Pass (add-on card members can avail by producing their Priority Pass)

Domestic: Unlimited domestic access via Priority Pass, 4 complimentary domestic lounge access per quarter through Infinia Visa/Mastercard Card Lounge program
Lower foreign currency markup of 2%
Other benefits: Personal concierge service, Golf Programme, Club Marriott Membership, Priority Customer Service etc.

3. Standard Chartered Ultimate Credit Card

Standard Chartered Ultimate Credit Card is the elitist offering from Standard Chartered. Though the default reward rate of 3.3% is certainly attractive, lately the reward redemption options have become limited. Amazon vouchers keeps on disappearing from their reward catalog and other options are not so great. To get this card, you should have an annual income of more than Rs. 24 Lakhs or if you have an existing SC credit card then the limit should be more than Rs. 5 Lakhs. Additionally you can this card on basis of your existing card if free limit on existing card is more than Rs. 4.5 Lakhs.

Joining Fee: Rs. 5,000 + GST
Renewal Fee: Rs. 5,000 + GST
Welcome Bonus: Rs. 10,000 cashback from MakeMyTrip
Reward Rate: 3.3%, can be redeemed for gift vouchers of Amazon, Flipkart, Lifestyle, Big Bazaar, MakeMyTrip, BookMyShow etc. (depending upon availability on their reward redemption website)

Lounge Access: International: 1 free per month using Priority Pass if card spend in the last month exceeds Rs. 20,000

Domestic: 4 per quarter through Visa/Mastercard Card Lounge program
Cashback of 5% at duty free store limited to Rs. 1,000 per month
Other benefits: Golf, Dineout membership, Concierge services, Travel & Air Accident insurance cover etc.

4. Yes First Exclusive Credit Card

Yes First Exclusive Credit Card is one level higher than Yes First Preferred Credit Card. This card comes with a reward rate of 1.5%-3% depending on spend categories which is decent. The main highlight of this card is unlimited domestic and international lounge access to both primary and secondary card holders.

Joining Fee: Rs. 10,000 + GST, 50,000 Reward Points (~ Rs. 12,500) credited after first transaction
Renewal Fee: Rs. 10,000 + GST, 40,000 Reward Points credited (~ Rs. 10,000) after renewal
Reward Rate: 3% on Travel Agencies & Tour Operators, Domestic Airlines and Dining, 1.5% on all other categories

Lounge Access Domestic: Unlimited for both primary and add-on using MasterCard Lounge Program

International: Unlimited for both primary and add-on using Priority Pass Membership
Other benefits: Golf, TAJ InnerCircle Epicure Membership, Concierge Assistance, Automobile Assistance, Travel & Air Accident insurance cover etc.

5. Citi Prestige Credit Card

Citi Prestige Credit Card is best for those who travel a lot. This card entitles you for airport lounge access, extra hotel nights and accelerated air miles program. However Citi has reduced the benefits on this card recently and has limited the free hotel nights to twice in a year. Also meet and greet services and free airport transfers have been withdrawn. To get this card, you need to have a very good relationship with Citi Bank and holding a Citigold/Citigold Private account will go a long way.

Joining Fee & Renewal Fee: Rs 20,000 + GST (Free for Citigold & Citigold Private Clients), Air miles and Taj/ITC vouchers of equivalent amount are provided

Reward Rate: 1% on domestic, 2% on international if redeemed for statement credit

4% on domestic, 8% on international if redeemed for Air Miles
Lounge Access: Unlimited domestic and international airport lounge access for both primary and add-on card members
Stay 4 consecutive nights and get 4th night complimentary at participating hotels, twice in a year
Other benefits: Golf Program, Taj Epicure Plus Plan & InnerCircle Silver membership, Overseas Medical and Air Accident Insurance Cover etc.

6. Axis Bank Magnus Credit Card

Though the default reward rate on Axis Bank Magnus Credit Card is low, other benefits make it worthwhile. Complimentary VIP assistance services and airport lounge access to guests are some of the unique features of this card. Buy 1 Get 1 on BookMySow 5 times monthly and complimentary Dineout Plus membership is certainly a delight for movie buffs and foodies.

Joining fee: Rs. 10,000 + GST, complimentary flight ticket up to Rs. 10,000 is provided
Renewal fee: Rs. 10,000 + GST

Reward Points: 12 Axis eDGE reward points per Rs. 200 spent, 1.2% reward rate

2X Axis eDGE reward points on MakeMyTrip, Yatra & Goibibo, 2.4% reward rate
8 complimentary VIP Assistance Services

Lounge Access: 8 complimentary international airport lounge access (card member + guest), 4 more on spending Rs. 7 Lakh or more using Priority Pass

Unlimited domestic lounge access using Mastercard lounge program
Buy 1 Get 1 up to Rs. 500 on movie, activities, events etc. at BookMyShow, limited to 5 times in a month
Complimentary Dineout Plus membership
Reduced foreign currency markup of 2%

FAQs

Which is the best credit card in India?
There isn't one perfect card suitable for all needs. The spending pattern, income range, willingness to pay annual fees etc. varies from person to person and play a vital role in the selection of a credit card. You can choose a card best suitable for your needs from the list above.
How many credit cards I can have?
You can have as many credit cards as you want. However don't apply for all credit cards in short span of time as it will impact your credit (CIBIL) score. Keeping a gap of 6 months for applying new credit card is a good strategy.
Which bank is best for credit card in India?
HDFC Bank is currently the leader in credit card market of India. They provide wide range of credit cards suitable for your needs.
Which is the most rewarding credit card in India?
HDFC Bank Infinia, Diners Club Black and Standard Chartered Ultimate provide best reward rate of 3.3% currently. American Express Membership Rewards Credit Card provides reward rate as high as 13.5% if you use it effectively.

Bottomline

The credit card market in India has changed a lot in last year due to the launch of multiple co-branded credit cards. These credit cards have not only presented multiple options to end users, but have also pushed the benefits to a whole new level. I personally feel that the credit card market will keep on evolving this year too.

To reap maximum benefits, you may get multiple credit cards. However make sure you have a strategy in place to reap the maximum benefits out of them. Also don’t apply for multiple credit cards in short span of time, it may hamper your credit (CIBIL) score as lenders will see you credit hungry. Spread out the applications over a period of time to lower the impact and one application per 6 months is a good place to start.

How many credit cards from this list you own? Do you feel any other credit card should be part of this list which I missed? Let me know by leaving a quick comment below.