Editor’s note: This is a recurring post, regularly updated with new information and offers. Last Updated 7th May 2023.
HDFC recently launched a co-branded credit card with IRCTC. After SBI and BOB, HDFC is the third banking partner for the public sector undertaking which is responsible for ticketing, catering, and tourism services for Indian Railways.
Let’s check out how this card is different from the previous versions!
Charges and Welcome Benefits
|Joining Fees||₹500 + GST|
|Welcome Benefits||Gift Voucher worth ₹500 on making a transaction within 37 days of card issuance.|
|Annual Fees||₹500 + GST|
|Annual Fees Waiver||Spend ₹1.5L on your card in a year.|
|Add-on Card Charges||NIL|
The joining fee is well compensated with the welcome voucher of ₹500 on this card but no renewal benefits for the next year.
|Category||Accrual Rate||Monthly Capping||Maximum Monthly Rewarding Spends|
|IRCTC Web and App||5 Reward Points/₹100||1,000 Reward Points||₹20,000|
|All Other Categories*||1 Reward Point/₹100||NIL||Not Applicable|
- Excluding Fuel Spends, Wallet loads / Gift or Prepaid Card loads/ Voucher purchases, Cash Advances, Government related transactions, Education, and Rental transaction.
Since this card is on the RuPay platform hence can be used for UPI transactions as well which will give you a reward rate of 1%.
|IRCTC Web and App||5%|
|All Other Categories*||1%|
- 1 Reward Point = ₹1 worth of IRCTC transactions.
- Reward Points will lapse on expiry of two years from the date of issuance.
- Redemption can be made only against 70% of the fare ticket amount on train ticket booking via HDFC Bank SmartBuy or buying IRCTC vouchers on the portal, inclusive of fares of all the passengers and service charges levied by IRCTC.
- Gift Voucher worth ₹500 on spends of more than ₹30,000 or more every 90 days.
So a 5% reward rate on train tickets doesn’t looks exciting enough? What about if I tell you that you can double it up by using the highly rewarding platform of HDFC Bank called HDFC Smartbuy? Using this card you are eligible for an extra 5% cashback maximum up to ₹1000 a month on booking train tickets via Smartbuy. So all in all you get a 10% reward on train tickets using this card for booking train tickets worth up to ₹20,000 a month.
Though the best value with minimum spending will come if you book train tickets worth ₹10,000 every month so that you get to complete the quarterly milestone as well which brings the reward rate to 11.66%.
Also, this card rewards you for the full ticket value instead of giving rewards only on the cardholder’s ticket amount like in the case of other IRCTC cobranded cards from SBI and BOB which makes it really unique.
Railway Lounge Access
- 8 complimentary access to select IRCTC Executive Lounges every year with a quarterly capping of 2 visits. The list of eligible lounges is quite exhaustive as compared to other eligible cards.
Railway Ticket Surcharge Waiver
- 1% Transaction charges waiver on transactions done on the IRCTC ticketing website and Rail Connect App with a Maximum waiver of ₹1,000 per statement cycle.
Fuel Surcharge Waiver
- 1% fuel surcharge waiver at all fuel stations. (Minimum transaction of ₹400, Maximum transaction of ₹5,000 & Maximum waiver of ₹250 per statement cycle).
- 3.5% + GST forex markup charges applicable which though common are on the higher side.
HDFC IRCTC credit card is recommended if you travel frequently via Indian Railways with family since this is the only card which rewards you even for the tickets booked for your family members which isn’t the case with SBI IRCTC cobranded cards. Since this is a co-branded card, your redemptions are restricted to discounted train tickets.
But if you are using Amazon to book your train tickets by buying vouchers from Axis Gift Edge, HDFC Smartbuy or AMEX Reward Multiplier and are simply into cash-back cards then ignore this straightaway. Though I have started to travel a lot by train I won’t take any exposure of this card since I am using vouchers bought from Axis Gift Edge for the same. If you are already holding a premium card from HDFC and still want this card then you can try applying it in some family member’s name.
Which card are you using for railway bookings? Do comment below.
Chief Editor, TechnoFino.
Personal finance nerd! Physics enthusiast and trainer. When not into Physics, he is minting points and hunting for the next best credit card for himself.