My Credit Card Stack
I thrive on credit cards. I love every aspect of them. The convenience, ease of paying and paying of purchases. Most importantly, the ability to mint reward points, cashbacks and offers that come with them. Over the past few years I have carefully curated and put together a credit card stack for myself.
What is so great about having a good credit card stack?
Credit cards do not come in one-size-fits-all variants. Certain cards carry certain benefits. So if you have the right credit card stack, you will be able to optimally benefit from them. Example, I have an Amazon ICICI card that gives me 5% cashback for all purchases on Amazon and a Flipkart Axis card that gives me 5% cashback for all purchase on Flipkart.
Now when their “Great Sale” or “Super Duper sale just like every other sale” comes along, I will be able to make use of it, paying Rs.95 for something you will pay Rs.100 for. This is apart from all the other benefits and advantages that come with the cards.
Here are the credit cards I use:
Axis Flipkart Master Card
|Cashback: 5% on Flipkart, 4% on Uber and Makemytrip.
Super power: 1.5% everywhere else. Yes, while you pay Rs.500 for Tata Sky, I pay Rs.492.5.
Lounge Access: 4 domestic visits per year
Annual Fee: 500 per year. Waived off if you cross
Amazon ICICI Visa Card
|Cashback: 5% on Amazon (Prime, 3% for non Prime), 2% on partner sites.
Super power: 1% everywhere else.
Lounge Access: None
Annual Fee: None
HDFC Diners Club Miles card
|Rewards: 4 points per 150. They say each point if worth 50 paisas, it isn’t.
Super power: What this card is great for is accumulating Air miles. There is a 1 is to 1 conversion ratio. Intermiles (earlier Jet) and few other good airlines are part of the program.
Lounge Access: 6 International per year
Annual Fee: Rs.1000 (waived for spending over Rs.1 lakh)
HSBC Platinum Visa Card
|Cashback: Pathetic. 2 points per Rs.150 and points are worth about 30 paisas.
Super power: Not much. I just keep it as it is free and HSBC comes up with some good offers now and then.
Lounge Access: None
Annual Fee: None
SBI Prime Visa Signature Card
|Reward points: 2 reward points per Rs.100. Points are worth 25 paisas.
Superpower: +Comes with 1 Priority Pass (4 International lounge access) + Trident rewards program, Vistara rewards program etc. But these expire after 2 years. Mine is done, hence cancelling the card as it is worthless now.
Lounge Access: 8 Domestic per Year
Annual Fee: Rs.2,999 waived if you spend above an undisclosed (3 Lakhs?) criteria.
American Express (Gold Charge & Gold Rewards Card both)
|Reward points:Earn 1 reward point per Rs.50
Super power: Use Charge card 6 times and Rewards card 4 times (min Rs.1000+) in a month, and you get 2000 reward points. In a year 24,000 points, plus the 1 point per Rs.50 spend. Their gold karat collection puts the value of each point at about 42 paisas. That is Rs.11,000 per year. I use these two cards for Fuel, Bills and groceries regularly in order to get the 2000 points a month.
Lounge Access: None
Annual Fee: None for Rewards card. Rs.4500 for Gold Charge card, 75% waived depending on spend threshold. I spent Rs.2 Lakh and pay about Rs.1700 fee per year. Still worth it as I get Rs.11,000 from the points each year.
I’ve got something for you, as an Amex member, I can refer you and by Signing up through my links, you will get special benefits. You get:
Get them now! (sign up separately on each link to get 4000 points, else you only get 2000 points)
Use this link to get the Charge Card (note this link goes to the Platinum card, just select Gold Charge card from below, that is the one with points benefits)
My stack covers quite a lot:
I have cards from Axis, HSBC, HDFC, ICICI, American Express and SBI. In terms of issuers I have from Diners, American Express, Visa and Master. This ensures I am eligible for most offers at an online shop, restaurant, food apps etc.
Reward Points/Loyalty Points:
These are the icing on the cake. For each transaction (barring a few like fuel, wallet top ups) you get a certain amount of reward or loyalty points. Accumulated over a period of time, this can come up to a lot. I know friends who have accumulated enough to go for international holidays. I personally am sitting on enough points to take my family on a decent domestic holiday. This is after all the points I have encashed so far.
With my current credit card stack, I have a total of 12 Domestic and 10 International Lounge visits for free. Each visit is about Rs.2000. I travel abroad at least once in a year and domestic once in a quarter. The convenience this offers is awesome. Free food, booze, place to shower (most International lounges) and wifi. Keep in mind, food and alcohol inside an airport is pretty expensive.
Buy this with a HDFC card for 15% off. Buy that with an SBI card for 10% off. Heard that before? Ofcourse, every decent e-commerce website in India has a sale with a particular brand card. Having a reasonable credit card stack means you qualify for most of those offers. You no longer have to ask your next door neighbor if he has a HDFC card to get 10% off something.
Word of caution so you don’t go overboard with credit cards:
Credit cards are not for the fickle minded. If you do not have discipline then dont got for these. You dont want to be in a situation where for a 5% cashback you end up paying 35% p.a interest! Ensure you pay your card bills on time and in full to maintain a good CIBIL rating and avoid interest fees.