Best Premium Credit Cards in India 2019

Often catering to high spenders and affluent consumers, many issuers offer premium credit cards that give cardholders excellent perks and/or very valuable rewards. These cards sometimes come along with high annual fees or income requirements, but some are also within reach for more typical spenders. We've analyzed the current card offerings in India and compiled this list of our top premium credit card picks.

Best Premium Credit Cards
Best OverallJetPrivilege HDFC Diners ClubUnlimited global lounge, free Jet Airways tickets
Best CashbackStandard Chartered UltimateUp to Rs. 10,000 MakeMyTrip, 3.33% all spend
Travel RewardsHDFC Diners Club Black CardUnlimited global lounge, Rs. 15,000 in bonuses
Hotel PerksCiti Prestige Credit CardUnlimited Priority Pass, buy 4 get 1 hotel night free
Air IndiaAir India SBI Signature Card8 lounge visits/year, Rs. 11,250 in bonuses
ShoppingSnapdeal HDFC Bank Card11.67% on Snapdeal, 6.67% on travel, Amazon, Flipkart
DiningAxis Bank My Zone Card8% on weekend dining, 4% on weekend shopping
Taj HotelsAmex Platinum TravelNearly Rs. 30,000 in anniversary bonus travel vouchers

Best Premium Credit Card: JetPrivilege HDFC Diners Club Card

Consider this if you want unlimited lounge access and unlimited golf

Age Requirement 21-60 (65 if self-employed)
Annual Income Requirement None listed by issuer
Bonuses
  • Welcome Gift: 1) 15,000 JPMiles (worth ~Rs. 6,750), 2) waiver of 1-way base fare Economy Class ticket, 3) Rs. 750 voucher for return ticket, 4) 15 JetPrivilege Tier Points upon first swipe > Rs. 50 and 5) an extra 15,000 JPMiles on Rs. 150,000 of spend within first 90 days
  • Renewal Bonus: 1) 10,000 JPMiles (worth ~Rs. 4,500), 2) waiver of one-way base fare Economy Class ticket, 3) Rs. 750 voucher for return ticket and 4) 5 JetPrivilege Tier Points

The JetPrivilege HDFC Diners Club Card is the best premium credit card on the market for most people due to its excellent reward value and fantastic perks, as well as the lack of exorbitant fees or income requirements. As long as you fly Jet Airways, the card's annual fees are easily offset by the welcome and renewal bonuses of 25,000 JPMiles (worth about Rs. 11,250), 2 one-way base fare tickets waived and Rs. 1,500 return ticket waiver. If you're a fairly high spender, you'll also get an extra 15,000 JPMiles (~Rs. 6,750) on spending Rs. 150,000 in your first 90 days. On card spend, you'll get an excellent 7.2% rupee value back (24 miles per Rs. 150; 1 JPMile = ~Rs. 0.45) on Jet Airways bookings, and another 5% off base fare tickets.

Other transactions (except fuel) earn a great 2.4% rupee value back (8 JPMiles per Rs. 150). On the perks side, the card is one of the few in India with unlimited lounge access, specifically to the Diners Club network (over 600 lounges globally). Its travel perks also include domestic airport premiere check-in and extra baggage allowance. The card also grants unlimited free golf games (green fee waiver) at ~20 courses in India and 40 worldwide, as well as unlimited lessons at 14 courses across 9 cities in India. If you fly Jet Airways enough, there may not be a more valuable premium card out there for airline rewards and fantastic perks.

  • Annual Fee: Rs. 10,000 (first year), Rs. 5,000 (beyond first year)
  • Earn Rate: 8 JPMiles/Rs. 150 spent except fuel; 3X miles & 5% off Jet Airways base fare
  • Est. Point Value: 1 JPMile = ~Rs. 0.45
  • Perks: Unlimited Diners Club Lounge access (600+ lounges globally); unlimited free golf games (green fee waiver) at ~20 courses in India & 40 worldwide; unlimited free golf lessons at 14 courses in India; domestic airport premiere check-in & extra baggage allowance; earn JP Tier Points; dining discounts
  • Fuel Surcharge Waiver: Transactions Rs. 400 – 5,000; max Rs. 1,000 waived per month
  • Annual Fee: Rs. 10,000 (first year), Rs. 5,000 (beyond first year)
  • Earn Rate: 8 JPMiles/Rs. 150 spent except fuel; 3X miles & 5% off Jet Airways base fare
  • Est. Point Value: 1 JPMile = Rs. 0.45
  • Perks: Unlimited Diners Club Lounge access (600+ lounges globally); unlimited free golf games (green fee waiver) at ~20 courses in India & 40 worldwide; unlimited free golf lessons at 14 courses in India; domestic airport premiere check-in & extra baggage allowance; earn JP Tier Points; dining discounts
  • Fuel Surcharge Waiver: Transactions Rs. 400 – 5,000; max Rs. 1,000 waived per month

Best Premium Cashback Card for High Spenders: Standard Chartered Ultimate Card

Consider this if you want high reward value for all your spending categories

Age Requirement 21-65
Annual Income Requirement None listed by issuer
Bonuses
  • Welcome Gift: Up to Rs. 10,000 cashback on MakeMyTrip on tickets booked within 90 days of card issuance

High spenders won't be able to find a better premium credit card for general cashback in India outside of the Standard Chartered Ultimate Card. First, you'll start off with an excellent welcome gift of up to Rs. 10,000 cashback on MakeMyTrip tickets booked within your first 90 days of a cardmember. Then, on general card spend, you'll receive best-in-market 3.33% rupee value back with no exclusions (5 points per Rs. 150 spent; 1 point = Rs. 1 cashback).

The card has great domestic travel perks too, with up to 4 lounge visits each quarter under the Visa program, and you can also earn a free Priority Pass visit per month if you clear Rs. 20,000 in monthly spend. Last, the card provides 5% off any duty free purchase and an excellent 2% foreign currency transaction fee (vs. 3.5% for most credit cards). In sum, get SC's Ultimate to earn excellent cashback on all your spending categories with great perks on the side.

  • Annual Fee: Rs. 5,000
  • Reward Earn Rate: 5 points per Rs. 150 spent on all transactions; 5% cashback duty free spend
  • Point Value: 1 point = Rs. 1 cashback
  • FX Fee: 2.0%
  • Perks: Complimentary Priority Pass membership (USD 27/visit, waived once monthly if last month's spend > Rs. 20,000); Visa Lounge access (4 free visits/quarter, major airports in India); 2 free domestic golf games/month (1 free guest game/month), 1 free golf coaching session/month; air accident cover of Rs. 1 crore, emergency medical, bag delay, loss of bags/personal docs, hijacking and flight delay coverage
  • Annual Fee: Rs. 5,000
  • Reward Earn Rate: 5 points per Rs. 150 spent on all transactions; 5% cashback duty free spend
  • Point Value: 1 point = Rs. 1 cashback
  • Perks: Complimentary Priority Pass membership (USD 27/visit, waived once monthly if last month's spend > Rs. 20,000); Visa Lounge access (4 free visits/quarter, major airports in India); 2 free domestic golf games/month (1 free guest game/month), 1 free golf coaching session/month; air accident cover of Rs. 1 crore, emergency medical, bag delay, loss of bags/personal docs, hijacking and flight delay coverage

Best Premium Travel Card for Affluent Individuals: HDFC Diners Club Black Card

Consider this if your annual income is at least Rs. 2,100,000

Age Requirement 21-60 (65 if self-employed)
Annual Income Requirement Rs. 2,100,000
Bonuses
  • Welcome Gift: 10,000 Reward Points (worth Rs. 10,000)
  • Renewal Bonus: 5,000 Reward Points (worth Rs. 5,000); not applicable when renewal fee is waived (requires annual spend of Rs. 500,000)

The HDFC Diners Club Black Card is a very profitable premium card for high spenders, but you must have an annual income of at least Rs. 2,100,000 to be considered. Its excellent bonuses (worth Rs. 10,000 the first year, Rs. 5,000 beyond) nicely cancel out the card's annual fees. On all retail spend (excluding fuel), you'll earn a top-of-market 3.33% back (5 points per Rs. 150; 1 point = Rs. 1 in travel rewards).

A big draw for this card is its fantastic perks package, including unlimited access to the Diners Club airport lounge network (850+ lounges) and 6 free golf games (green fee waiver) quarterly. Notably, the credit card's foreign currency transaction fee is one of the lowest in India, 2.0%. In all, if you qualify for the steep income requirement, this is one of the most valuable premium travel cards you can get.

  • Annual Fee: Rs. 10,000 first year; Rs. 5,000 beyond (waived on annual spend of Rs. 500,000)
  • Earn Rate: 5 points/Rs. 150 retail spend except fuel
  • Point Value: 1 point = Rs. 1 on HDFC Diners Club travel portal
  • FX Fee: 2.0%
  • Perks: Diners Club Lounge (unlimited free access to 850+ lounges); 6 free green fee waivers/quarter at 20 courses in India & 40 worldwide; air accident cover Rs. 2 crore; emergency medical expense cover; baggage delay cover
  • Fuel Surcharge Waiver: Transactions Rs. 400–5,000, max Rs. 1,000/month
  • Annual Fee: Rs. 10,000 first year; Rs. 5,000 beyond (waived on annual spend of Rs. 500,000)
  • Earn Rate: 5 points/Rs. 150 retail spend except fuel
  • FX Fee: 2.0%
  • Point Value: 1 point = Rs. 1 on HDFC Diners Club travel portal
  • Perks: Diners Club Lounge (unlimited free access to 850+ lounges); 6 free green fee waivers/quarter at 20 courses in India & 40 worldwide; air accident cover Rs. 2 crore; emergency medical expense cover; baggage delay cover
  • Fuel Surcharge Waiver: Transactions Rs. 400–5,000, max Rs. 1,000/month

Best Premium Card for Hotel Benefits: Citi Prestige Credit Card

Consider this if you have Citigold Private status or you're a very high spender

Age Requirement None listed by issuer
Annual Income Requirement None listed by issuer
Bonuses
  • Welcome Gift / Renewal Bonus: 10,000 air miles (worth about Rs. 4,500) and vouchers worth Rs. 10,000 from Taj Group or ITC Hotels

The Citibank Prestige offers some of the most valuable perks in India, but note that you must be a very high spender or have Citigold Private status for its rewards to outweigh the required annual fees. The card offers excellent annual bonuses of ~Rs. 14,500 in value (10,000 miles + Rs. 10,000 in Taj/ITC vouchers), as well as great 1.8% value back on all domestic spend (1 point per Rs. 100; 1 point = 4 miles = ~Rs 1.8). On overseas spend, you'll earn double that rate.

The card's perks might be unbeatable, with unlimited free visits to Priority Pass lounges, a free night at any hotel across the world if you stay 4 nights, and free golf games & lessons. If you can spend enough on the card or have Citigold Private status, this could be the premium choice for you.

  • Annual Fee: Rs. 20,000, waived for Citigold Private (account > Rs. 5 lakhs)
  • Earn Rate: 1 point/Rs. 100 spent in India, 2 points/Rs. 100 overseas
  • Point Value: 1 point = 4 miles (~Rs. 1.8) on 14 major airlines
  • Perks: Unlimited free Priority Pass, primary & supplementary cardholders (800+ airports, guest fee of USD 27); stay 4 get 1 night at any hotel; 1 year Taj Epicure Plus/InnerCircle Silver; 3 free green fees; 4 free golf rounds & lessons each year at 15 clubs; air accident cover Rs. 5 crores; overseas medical insurance; emergency cash if card lost
  • Fuel Surcharge Waiver: Transactions at Indian Oil on Citi EDCs
  • Annual Fee: Rs. 20,000 - waived for Citigold Private (account > Rs. 5 lakhs)
  • Earn Rate: 1 point/Rs. 100 spent in India, 2 points/Rs. 100 overseas
  • Point Value: 1 point = 4 miles (~Rs. 1.8) on 14 major airlines
  • Perks: Unlimited free Priority Pass; stay 4 get 1 night at any hotel; 1 year Taj Epicure Plus/InnerCircle Silver; 3 free green fees; 4 free golf rounds & lessons each year at 15 clubs; air accident cover Rs. 5 crores; overseas medical insurance; emergency cash if card lost
  • Fuel Surcharge Waiver: Transactions at Indian Oil on Citi EDCs

Best Premium Credit Card for Air India: Air India SBI Signature Card

Consider this if you fly Air India

Age Requirement None listed by issuer
Annual Income Requirement None listed by issuer
Bonuses
  • Welcome Gift: 20,000 Reward Points (worth about Rs. 9,000)
  • Renewal Bonus: 5,000 Reward Points (worth about Rs. 2,250)
  • Anniversary Bonuses: Spend Rs. 5 lakh for 20,000 points, Rs. 10 lakh for an additional 30,000 points and Rs. 20 lakh for an additional 50,000 points (worth about Rs. 45,000 total)

The Air India SBI Signature is a great premium card for a wide range of people, but very high spenders won't find a better one out there for Air India rewards. The bulk of its value comes from bonuses, including the 20,000 point (worth ~Rs. 9,000 in Air India miles) welcome gift. Ultra-high spenders will further benefit from the anniversary bonuses of up to ~Rs. 45,000 in value. On card charges, you'll receive top-of-market 13.5% value back on Air India bookings for yourself (30 points per Rs. 100 spent; 1 point = Rs. 0.45), and you'll get excellent 4.5% rupee value back (10 points per Rs. 100) booking for others. Other category spend earns great value of 1.8%, too (4 points per Rs. 100).

On perks, the card gives a very good 8 free domestic lounge visits per year under the Visa program. You'll also receive a complimentary Priority Pass membership, but only on a USD 27 pay-per-visit basis. Bottom line, if Air India fills your travel needs, get this card for the best rewards in the market.

  • Annual Fee: Rs. 4,999
  • Earn Rate: 30 points per Rs. 100 spent on Air India for yourself; 10 points per Rs. 100 spent on Air India for others; 4 points per Rs. 100 on all other spend
  • Estimated Point Value: 1 point = 1 Air India mile = Rs. 0.45
  • Perks: Visa Domestic Lounge Program (8 free visits/year, max 2/quarter; lounges across 6 major cities), free Priority Pass membership (USD 27 charged/visit), Air India tier upgrade benefits
  • Fuel Surcharge Waiver: Transactions Rs. 500 – 4,000; max Rs. 250 per month
  • Annual Fee: Rs. 4,999
  • Earn Rate: 30 points per Rs. 100 spent on Air India for yourself; 10 points per Rs. 100 spent on Air India for others; 4 points per Rs. 100 on all other spend
  • Estimated Point Value: 1 point = 1 Air India mile = Rs. 0.45
  • Perks: Visa Domestic Lounge Program (8 free visits/year, max 2/quarter; lounges across 6 major cities), free Priority Pass membership (USD 27 charged/visit), Air India tier upgrade benefits
  • Fuel Surcharge Waiver: Transactions Rs. 500 – 4,000; max Rs. 250 per month

Best Premium Credit Card for Shopping: Snapdeal HDFC Bank Card

Consider this if you're a big online shopper on Snapdeal

Age Requirement 21-60 (65 if self-employed)
Annual Income Requirement None listed by issuer
Bonuses & Promotions
  • Welcome Gift: Snapdeal Vouchers worth Rs. 2,250 (Rs. 2,000 in direct vouchers, 500 points redeemable for Rs. 250 in vouchers)
  • Promotion: 20 points per Rs. 150 spent (6.7% rupee value back) & 5% discount on Snapdeal spend - expires March 31st, 2019

The Snapdeal HDFC Credit Card is the best premium credit card if you want a big return on your online shopping, as well as your travel spend. It has a good welcome bonus of Rs. 2,250 in Snapdeal vouchers, but most of the card's value comes from its fantastic 11.67% rupee value back on Snapdeal (5% instant discount + 20 points/Rs. 150 spent; 1 point = Rs. 0.50 Snapdeal vouchers). You'll also get excellent 6.67% rupee value back on HDFC's SmartBuy, with 20 points per Rs. 150 spent on travel, Amazon and Flipkart, among other options. Last, you'll earn an average 0.67% rupee value back on all other spend (excluding fuel). If you want top-of-market rewards on shopping as well as great travel value, get this card.

  • Annual Fee: Rs. 500 (spend Rs. 150,000/year & waive next year’s fee)
  • Snapdeal: 20 points/Rs. 150 spent, 5% discount (min transaction Rs. 150, max 10,000 points/mo., max Rs. 500 discount/mo.) - through Mar 31, 2019
  • Other Rates: 20 points/Rs. 150 on SmartBuy (travel, Amazon, Flipkart); 2 points/Rs. 150 on all other (min transaction Rs. 150)
  • 1 point = Rs. 0.50 Snapdeal
  • Perks: Accidental Death Insurance (Rs. 50 lakhs), Fire & Burglary protection
  • Fuel Surcharge Waiver: Transactions Rs. 400-5,000, max waived Rs. 250/month
  • Annual Fee: Rs. 500 (spend Rs. 150,000/year & waive next year’s fee)
  • Snapdeal: 20 points/Rs. 150 spent, 5% discount (min transaction Rs. 150, max 10,000 points/mo., max Rs. 500 discount/mo.) - through Mar 31, 2019
  • Other Rates: 20 points/Rs. 150 on SmartBuy (travel, Amazon, Flipkart); 2 points/Rs. 150 on all other (min transaction Rs. 150)
  • 1 point = Rs. 0.50 Snapdeal
  • Perks: Accidental Death Insurance (Rs. 50 lakhs), Fire & Burglary protection
  • Fuel Surcharge Waiver: Transactions Rs. 400-5,000, max waived Rs. 250/month

Best Weekend Dining Credit Card: Axis Bank My Zone Credit Card

Consider this if you would value travel rewards

Age Requirement 18-70
Annual Income Requirement None listed by issuer
Bonuses
  • Welcome Gift: 100 points on first online transaction

Average and high spenders alike will get excellent return on weekend dining from the Axis Bank My Zone. Cardmembers will earn fantastic 8% back (40 points per Rs. 200 spent; 1 point = Rs. 0.40 Yatra vouchers) on this category, with no limit to how many points you can earn. It also gives a great return of 4% back on weekend shopping (20 points per Rs. 200 spent) and great 0.80% back (4 points per Rs. 200 spent) on other categories, excluding fuel. The card doesn't have the best perks, but you will still get 1 free visit each quarter to domestic MasterCard airport lounges. If weekend dining is a very high-spend category for you, this is the best card you can find.

  • Annual Fee: Rs. 500 (in first year, waived on spend of Rs. 5,000 within 45 days)
  • Reward Earn Rate: 40 points/Rs. 200 weekend dining; 20 points/Rs. 200 weekend shopping; 4 points/Rs. 200 all else except fuel and movies; 25% cashback on movie tickets (max 1,000 cashback/year)
  • Point Value: 1 point = Rs. 0.40 Yatra vouchers
  • Perks: 1 free visit to domestic lounges/quarter (10 lounges across 5 cities)
  • Fuel Surcharge Waiver: Transactions Rs. 400–4,000, max Rs. 400 waived/month
  • Annual Fee: Rs. 500 (in first year, waived on spend of Rs. 5,000 within 45 days)
  • Reward Earn Rate: 40 points/Rs. 200 weekend dining; 20 points/Rs. 200 weekend shopping; 4 points/Rs. 200 all else except fuel and movies; 25% cashback on movie tickets (max 1,000 cashback/year)
  • Point Value: 1 point = Rs. 0.40 Yatra vouchers
  • Perks: 1 free visit to domestic lounges/quarter (10 lounges across 5 cities)
  • Fuel Surcharge Waiver: Transactions Rs. 400–4,000, max Rs. 400 waived/month

Best Premium Credit Card for Taj Hotels: American Express Platinum Travel Card

Consider this if you spend at least Rs. 400,000 on your card

Age Requirement 18+
Annual Income Requirement Rs. 600,000
Bonuses
  • Welcome Gift: Travel vouchers worth Rs. 4,000 on spend of Rs. 5,000 in first 60 days
  • Anniversary Bonus: Rs. 7,770 in travel vouchers on annual spend of Rs. 190,000; additional Rs. 11,800 vouchers + Rs. 10,000 Taj Hotels voucher on spend of Rs. 400,000

Amex's Platinum Travel Card is one of the best premium card's on the market for its travel-related anniversary bonuses. These include nearly Rs. 30,000 in travel and Taj Hotels vouchers, assuming you can clear Rs. 400,000 in spend. On all spend outside of fuel, utilities and insurance, you'll earn a relatively high 0.83% value back on all your card charges (1 point per Rs. 50 spent; 1 point = ~Rs. 0.42), or slightly more if you redeem for travel vouchers (0.92% back). Note that you must redeem points in either increments of 24,000 points or 18,000 points, and you have the options of cash, travel vouchers, Amazon vouchers or JPMiles at varying rates of redemption.

On the perks side, you'll get 4 free visits per year (max 1 per quarter) to domestic airport lounges. Get this card for its excellent monetary value and Taj perks, assuming you can earn the travel-related anniversary bonuses.

  • Annual Fee: Rs. 3,500 1st year, Rs. 5,000 thereafter
  • Reward Earn Rate: 1 point per Rs. 50 spent except fuel, utilities and insurance
  • Point Value: 24,000 points = Rs. 10,000 cash credit or Rs. 11,000 travel voucher; 18,000 points = Rs. 7,500 cash credit or Rs. 8,000 Amazon voucher; 2 points = 1 JPMiles (= ~Rs. 0.45)
  • Perks: 4 free visits/year (max 1/quarter) to 11 domestic airport lounges
  • Fuel Surcharge Waiver: HPCL transactions < Rs. 25,000
  • Annual Fee: Rs. 3,500 1st year, Rs. 5,000 thereafter
  • Reward Earn Rate: 1 point per Rs. 50 spent except fuel, utilities and insurance
  • Point Value: 24,000 points = Rs. 10,000 cash credit or Rs. 11,000 travel voucher; 18,000 points = Rs. 7,500 cash credit or Rs. 8,000 Amazon voucher; 2 points = 1 JPMiles (= ~Rs. 0.45)
  • Perks: 4 free visits/year (max 1/quarter) to 11 domestic airport lounges
  • Fuel Surcharge Waiver: HPCL transactions < Rs. 25,000
Dan Grossman

Dan is a Senior Research Analyst at ValueChampion India, focusing on credit cards. He holds a B.S. in Mathematics & Economics from the University of Michigan, and previously worked in the financial services industry at Capital One and Moelis & Company.