10 Best Credit Cards in India

Best Credit Cards

Just like you, I’m a big fan of credit cards. Why?

If you figure out how credit cards work and how to manage credit, you can get a lot of leverage financially.

We’re talking cashback discounts, special discounts at restaurants, discount vouchers at top hotels, airfare discounts, access to clubs and the like.

Of course, if you don’t know how to use a credit card, then you’re treading difficult terrains.

Basically, more bang for your buck!

That’s why you will see rich folks carrying more than one credit card. They have one for each use (shopping, travel etc).

In this article, I’ll give you an idea of the best (and worst) credit cards in India from my experience. Also, some cool offers and tips for you. Read along! (If you are looking to find what is the right credit card for you, submit this form here with your details, and I should be able to send you some recommendations.)

A credit card is the most convenient mode to make a payment today, as it reduces the burden of carrying cash all the time. Some credit cards are for travelers, some for shopping and some for international travel etc (I’ve written about plenty of them on this blog, just search via the search form for cards you are looking for).

Depending on their use, features also change. In India, the credit scoring system isn’t as popular as in the US (it exists but people aren’t aware), but still there are a variety of credit cards available today.

Having said that, traps and misleading offers are many. One has to carefully study each credit card offer before taking one.

But then, worry not, in this article, we’ll take a look at the best credit cards in India available today from different banks. 

Best Lifestyle Credit Cards in India

Lifestyle Credit Cards

Lifestyle credit cards are probably the most popular type of credit cards in India. They are best suited for “general purchases” or “all kinds of purchases” and earn you benefits.

Why choose a lifestyle credit card?

  • If you’re looking for an all-rounder card that covers all purchases.
  • If you’re getting a credit card for the first time.
  • If you have an income of INR 6 Lakhs and above yearly.

Which are the best lifestyle credit cards in India?

  1. ICICI Platinum
  2. SBI Prime
  3. SBI Simply Click
  4. American Express Rewards Card
  5. HDFC Regalia First
  6. Standard Chartered Manhattan

1. ICICI Platinum Chip

ICICI Platinum Chip Credit Card
What's good
Good rewards program, fuel surcharge waivers, good number of participating restaurants, low annual fee & charges.

What's concerning
No lounge access, high interest rate.

An overall good lifestyle card with over 15% savings on dining purchases.
If you have a decent credit score, and you’re getting your first credit card, this is a good choice.

2. SBI Prime

SBI Prime Credit Card

What's good
Great rewards program, lounge access, Club Vistara membership.

What's concerning
Annual/Renewal fee.

If you’ll spend more than 3 Lakh Rupees per year, this is a great credit card to have. Why? It has renewal fee waived off for spend over Rs. 3 Lakhs.

3. SBI Simply Click

SBI Simply Click Credit Card

What's good
Great for online purchases, BookMyShow vouchers.

What's concerning
No lounge access, Low credit limit.

If you do a lot of online purchases, then this is the best card for you. SBI Simply Click is probably one of the best lifestyle cards out there.

4. American Express Rewards Card

American Express Rewards Card

What's good
Membership rewards, EMI Options.

What's concerning
Eligibility is strict.

This card is your best to get into the amazing world of American Express (which has a lot of amazing credit cards). If you want n Amex credit card that can take care of your daily purchases, this is it.

5. HDFC Regalia First

HDFC Regalia Credit Card

What's good
No joining fees, great participating merchants list, good rewards program.

What's concerning
Eligibility might prove difficult.

6. Standard Chartered Manhattan

Standard Chartered Manhattan Credit Card

What's good
Good for saving cash on Uber rides.

What's concerning
Thin line of other merchants participating.

HDFC has some of the best selection when it comes to credit cards in India. And the Regalia card is the best. No wonder it’s the most sought after one by credit card enthusiasts. With top-class benefits and a well-balanced feature set, this is a must-have in every credit card enthusiast’s wallet.

The Manhattan card is a good lifestyle card for anyone looking to cover day-to-day expenses. This card is the only credit card that will save you a lot of money on cab rides (Uber) as well.

Best Travel Credit Cards in India

Travel Credit Cards

Travel credit cards are best for those who travel a lot both domestic and international, and would like to make the most of their money through rewards and benefits.

Why choose a travel credit card?

  • If you travel a lot. Obviously.
  • If you don’t have a dedicated travel credit card.
  • If you want benefits/rewards for traveling more.

Which are the best travel credit cards in India?

  1. Amex Platinum Travel Card
  2. ICICI MakeMyTrip Card
  3. SBI IRCTC Card
  4. Citi Premier Miles
  5. HDFC Infinia Card

1. Amex Platinum Travel Card

Amex Platinum Travel Card

What's good
Amazing rewards, lounge access, hotel stays & vouchers.

What's concerning
Annual spend of min Rs.4 lakhs required for keeping benefits.

Probably one of the best travel credit cards in India, the Amex Platinum Travel card comes with plenty of benefits for the frequent traveler in India. Like vouchers worth Rs.7,700 that covers domestic travel and even Taj hotel stays worth Rs.10,000. It even gives you free membership to Priority Pass membership with the joining fee waived off.

2. ICICI MakeMyTrip Card

ICICI MakeMyTrip Card

What's good
Good benefits for domestic travelers including airport & railway lounge access.

What's concerning
Inclined heavily for domestic use.

I’ll be honest. This is not the “best travel card”. It’s a travel card, that’s it. Kudos to MakeMyTrip for coming up with it though. It comes with features such as discount vouchers to Lemon Tree hotels and Railway and Airport lounge access. It may not for everyone though.

3. SBI IRCTC Card

SBI IRCTC Card

What's good
Great for excessive Indian railway user.

What's concerning
Good for nothing else.

If you’re a frequent traveler on trains in India, then this is a must-have credit card. It gives you up to 10% discount on railway ticket purchases through IRCTC.

4. Citi Premier Miles Card

Citi Premier Miles Card

What's good
Good loyalty program for airlines, MakeMyTrip & hotels.

What's concerning
Renewal fees.

The Citi Premier Miles card is essentially a rewards card that can earn you miles/points on each purchase. Comes with it also, features such as airport lounge access and discounts at hotels and restaurants.

5. AXIS Bank Miles & More World Credit Card

What's good
Earn unlimited miles.

What's concerning
High joining fee, renewal fee.

Honestly, this is a neat (not awesome) credit card from Axis bank. Comes with complimentary Priority Pass membership, free lounge access, complimentary travel insurance and more.

Best Premium Credit Cards in India

Premium credit cards are intended for high income individuals (high networth individuals) offering benefits and rewards suiting their lifestyle.

Why choose a premium credit card?

  • If you are a high net worth individual.
  • If your income is more than 25 Lakh Rupees annually.
  • If you run into limitations using other credit cards.
  • If you have a luxurious lifestyle.

Which are the best premium credit cards in India?

  1. Amex Platinum
  2. HDFC Infinia
  3. HDFC Diner’s Black
  4. Standard Chartered Ultimate
  5. Citi Prestige
  6. ICICI Emeralde
  7. SBI Elite

1. Amex Platinum

What's good
Amazing benefits for luxury international travelers.

What's concerning
High renewal fees.

This is the gold standard. Amex Platinum is a premium card for high networth individuals who do a lot of luxury travel. It comes with loads of benefits like air travel miles rewards, concierge services, luxury hotel vouchers, golf course access and the like.

2. HDFC Infinia

What's good
Amazing rewards program, no credit limit, unlimited lounge access.

What's concerning
Annual Fee, Eligibility.

Another most-wished-for credit card from the HDFC stable. This card comes with envious benefits from some of the most popular retail merchants in India. With a best-in-class rewards program, this card gives you access to some of the best luxury hotel chains in India.

3. HDFC Diners Black

What's good
Amazing rewards program, high credit limit, unlimited lounge access.

What's concerning
Low acceptance in India.

Celebrated as one of the best credit cards in India, HDFC Diners Black is kind of a hit and miss in India. It has an excellent rewards program to its merit but its low acceptance rate in India is a bit of a problem.

4. Standard Chartered Ultimate

What's good
Great benefits for high net worth individuals.

What's concerning
Limited lounge access, high fees.

Probably one of the best-designed credit cards in India. As for features, probably not that great but attractive to high net worth individuals or anyone with a luxurious lifestyle.

5. Citi Prestige

What's good
Amazing benefits outside India, suitable for international travelers.

What's concerning
Expensive.

This card comes with a great reward rate (like some of the other counterparts in this section). And the features and benefits are amazing for international travelers. It has a wide network of partners (international) like hotel chains and is probably the best in this category.

6. ICICI Emeralde

What's good
Good for selected features like BookMyShow tickets, Spa access etc.

What's concerning
Low rewards, limited benefits.

With that design, it definitely will feel good holding the card in your hand. This card has some amazing benefits in terms of domestic partner coverage in India. As for rewards program, not so great!

7. SBI Elite

What's good
Good for high spenders in India, BookMyShow vouchers, Lounge access.

What's concerning
Entry level premium card.

Probably one of the best cards for movie buffs, this card has free Rs.500 worth movie tickets every month. Not quite premium-premium, but I think it is worth having this card on the list, considering the number of movie-buffs India has.

Conclusion – Which is the best card?

So, here’s the thing guys.

There is no one best card. I admit it.

Lot of folks come asking me what’s the best card, and that’s like asking how much money is enough?

IMO, one has to choose the right card based on their lifestyle and usage.

For example, if you’re a frequent international traveler, choose a card like the Amex Travel card that gives a lot of benefits on international trips.

But if you’re an online shopaholic, then choose a card like SBI Simply Click – that gives lot of benefits and perks for online purchases.

So, you get the rift.

Figure out what your life is like, what your expenses are like and where you need benefits, and choose a card accordingly.

What works for me, may not work for another person.

Agree?

About the author

Mani Karthik

Having lived in the USA, India & Middle East for over a decade, and having worked for big MNC's to startups, I have a lot to share with you. My aim is to help people, by sharing everything I've learned in life through this blog. Come join my pursuit of happiness! Be a smarter, richer, happier person. WhatsApp me at +001-408-489-4785. Subscribe to my YouTube channel here. <3

MK Bio

Having lived in the USA, India and UAE, I share everything that I’ve learned in life. My aim is to help people by sharing whatever I know, through this blog. Come join my pursuit in becoming a smarter, richer & happier person! Here’s my story so far!