HDFC Diners Club Black and SBI Card ELITE are among the most popular premium credit cards in the market. Both the cards offer an extensive range of benefits across travel, lifestyle, reward and shopping and it can be difficult to choose the right one for you. So, here is a detailed comparison of the two cards to help you decide.

Welcome Benefit

SBI Card ELITE HDFC Diners Club Black
Get e-gift voucher worth Rs. 5,000. Choose from the following brands:

  • Pantaloons
  • Yatra
  • Hush Puppies/Bata
  • Shoppers Stop
  • Aditya Birla Fashion
Get complimentary annual membership for the following:

  • Zomato Gold
  • Club Marriott
  • Amazon Prime
  • MMT Double Black
  • Times Prime
  • Forbes

Which is better?

SBI Card ELITE charges a first-year fee of Rs. 4,999 and gives it all back in the form of welcome gift vouchers. On the other hand, you would need the actual monetary value of all the vouchers combined to understand the welcome gift of HDFC Diners Club Black Credit Card.

  • Zomato Gold Membership- Rs. 1,800
  • Club Marriott Membership (Level 1)- Rs. 14,750
  • Amazon Prime- Rs. 999
  • MMT Double Black- Rs. 1,499
  • Times Prime- Rs. 999
  • Forbes- Rs. 2,185

The total welcome gift is worth Rs. 22,232 which is more than double of the joining fee charged.


SBI Card ELITE HDFC Diners Club Black
Earning Rewards:

  • 5 reward points per Rs. 150 of retail spends
  • No rewards on fuel purchase
  • Reward points are valid for 3 years

Redeeming Rewards:

  • Convert reward points into air miles in 1:1 ratio
  • Redeem points to book air tickets/hotel stays on HDFC SmartBuy website (1 point = Re. 1)
  • Choose from an exclusive reward redemption catalogue
Earning Rewards:

  • 2 reward points per Rs. 100 for retail spends, except fuel
  • 10 reward points per Rs. 100 for dining, grocery and departmental store spends

Redeeming Rewards:

  • Use your reward points to buy vouchers/merchandise from an exclusive rewards catalogue
  • Pay your outstanding balance using the reward points (4 points = Re. 1)

Which is better?

It seems HDFC Diners Club Black’s rewards program is focused on travelers who would like to use their rewards for air miles or directly for ticket booking. This is one of the few cards in the market that offer the 1:1 ratio for reward/air mile redemption and it also gives you the option to transfer the points to four frequent flyer programs- Vistara, Avios, InterMiles and KrisFlyer Miles.

On the other hand, SBI Card ELITE has a basic rewards program only with the option of getting cashback for it. The rate of cashback (4:1) is also not impressive. So, if simplicity of the rewards program attracts you more than the value proposition, SBI Card ELITE is better.

But clearly HDFC Diners Club Black has a more rewarding program.

Travel Benefits

SBI Card ELITE HDFC Diners Club Black
Complimentary Memberships

  • Club Vistara Silver Membership with 1 complimentary Lounge Access Voucher and 1 Upgrade Voucher. Earn 9 CV Points per Rs. 100 spent on Vistara Flights.
  • Trident Privilege Red Tier Membership with 1,000 welcome points. Get 10% instant savings on booking through hotel website and 10 points per Rs. 100.
  • Priority Pass Membership

Lounge Access

  • 6 complimentary international airport lounge visits in a year (max. 2 in a quarter) across 1,000+ lounges
  • 2 complimentary domestic lounge visits per quarter under Visa/Mastercard

Foreign Exchange Markup Fee

  • 1.99% plus GST


Complimentary Memberships

On completing the first transaction on the card in the first year and on reaching annual spends of Rs. 8 Lakh or more from the second year onwards, you will get the following complimentary memberships: 

  • Club Marriott Membership
  • MMT Double Black Membership (for free cancellation of flights and hotels 

Lounge Access

  • Unlimited domestic and international lounge access to more than 800 lounges across the globe
  • Both primary and add-on cardholders can avail this benefit

Foreign Exchange Markup Fee 

  • 1.99% plus GST

Which is better?

Both the cards charge the same foreign exchange markup fee of 1.99% which is much better than the market rate of 3-3.5%. As far as lounge access is concerned, HDFC Diners Club Black is definitely the winner because not only are the visits unlimited but add-on cardholders can also avail this benefit. Diners Club itself has an extensive list of eligible lounges across the globe so membership to no other lounge access program is necessary.

However, as compared to SBI Card ELITE, the HDFC credit card does not give as many complimentary memberships. The free membership also has certain spending threshold conditions. SBI Card has again kept it simple as there are no conditions to avail free memberships.

The unlimited lounge access steals the show and makes HDFC Diners Club Black a winner again.

Fees and Charges

Fee/Charge SBI Card ELITE HDFC Diners Club Black
Annual Fee Rs. 4,999 Rs. 10,000
Waiver Condition Spend Rs. 10 Lakh in a year Spend Rs. 5 Lakh in a year
APR 40.2% 23.88%
Maximum fuel surcharge waiver in a billing cycle Rs. 250 Rs. 1,000
Cash Advance Limit Up to 80% of the total credit limit; maximum 15,000 per day 40% of the total credit limit
Cash Withdrawal Fee 2.5% of the amount or Rs. 500 whichever is higher 2.5% of the amount or Rs. 500 whichever is higher

Which is better?

Though the annual fee of HDFC Diners Club Black Credit Card is higher, overall it will cost you less as the charges on revolving credit card are lesser and the waiver condition is also easy. SBI Card ELITE charges only Rs. 4,999 as the annual fee but the spending bar for waiver is set very high at Rs. 10 Lakh. In case of the HDFC Credit Card, you will get the annual fee waived off on spending Rs. 5 Lakh but in order to keep all your complimentary memberships going, you must spend Rs. 8 Lakh or more.

The choice will depend on the user. If you want a lower annual fee, SBI Card ELITE is better but if you look at the overall cost of holding the credit card, HDFC Diners Club Black would be better.

Milestone Benefits

SBI Card ELITE HDFC Diners Club Black
  • Get 10,000 bonus reward points each on spending Rs. 3 Lakh and Rs. 4 Lakh in a year
  • Reach spending limits of Rs. 5 Lakh and Rs. 8 Lakh and earn 15,000 reward points each
  • Spend Rs. 8 Lakh in a year and get all complimentary memberships renewed
  • Spend Rs. 80,000 in a month and select 2 vouchers from BookMyShow, TataCLiQ or Ola Select Membership of Rs. 500

Which is better?

The milestone benefits of the HDFC Card come in the form of memberships and vouchers. The card gives vouchers worth Rs. 500 every month but only on reaching the set threshold. But SBI Card ELITE gives movie vouchers worth Rs. 500 per month without any spending condition. Also, since the rewards on the SBI credit card can be converted into cash, the milestone benefit is worth Rs. 12,500.

This is one parameter on which the benefits on SBI Card ELITE outshine those on HDFC Diners Club Black Credit Card.

Other Privileges

Apart from the various benefits compared above, both the credit cards provide some more services to the cardholders.

SBI Card ELITE HDFC Diners Club Black
  • 10% on Hertz car rental and up to 35% on Avis Car Rentals
  • 4 complimentary rounds of golf + 50% off + 1 complimentary golf lesson per month at select golf courses in India
  • Avail concierge service
  • Exclusive discount at leading spas, salons and gyms
  • 6 complimentary golf games per quarter across some of the finest golf courses of the world
  • 24*7 concierge service

Which card should you choose?

The choice between SBI Card ELITE and HDFC Diners Club Black is mostly based on whether you would want benefits in the form of vouchers and memberships or in actual monetary value. Simplicity of using the card should also drive your decision.

If the idea of transferring points to miles and travelling lavishly excites you and if you are ready to pay a higher annual fee for it, HDFC Diners Club Black is your card. However, if you want more tangible benefits in the form of cashback along with a few memberships that make travelling better for you, you should choose SBI Card ELITE. In addition, the SBI Card also gives back more than it charges in the form of free movie tickets worth Rs. 6,000 annually hence well-suited for movie lovers.

HDFC Diners Club Black is surely a more premium credit card and most of the above comparison matrices also give it thumbs up. But, as a smart consumer, you should understand your preferences and what you are looking for in a premium card and then make the right choice.

The post SBI Card ELITE vs. HDFC Diners Club Black Credit Card appeared first on Compare & Apply Loans & Credit Cards in India-

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