HDFC Bank has put new restriction on reward point redemption for flights and hotels at SmartBuy portal for Regalia and Diners Club ClubMiles credit card. Below communication has been sent by HDFC Bank to Regalia and ClubMiles credit card holders:
For flight and hotel bookings, HDFC Diners ClubMiles/Regalia Credit Card members can redeem up to maximum of 70% of booking value through Reward Points. Rest will have to be paid via Credit Card. This will be effective from 25 November 2019.
So if you are booking a flight worth Rs. 10,000, you can utilize only 14,000 reward points (~ Rs. 7,000) and rest Rs. 3,000 needs to be paid via Credit Card.
However there is a workaround if you want to book flights only via reward points. You can convert reward points to Air Miles and use those Air Miles for booking flight. This is sometimes better than directly redeeming rewards points at SmartBuy portal for flights. Below table summarizes the conversion ratio from reward points to air miles for Diners ClubMiles and Regalia.
|JP Miles (Jet Airways)||1 RP = 1 Air Mile||2 RPs = 1 Air Mile|
|Kris Flyer (Singapore Airlines)||1 RP = 1 Air Mile||2 RPs = 1 Air Mile|
|Avios (British Airways)||1 RP = 1 Air Mile||-|
|Club Vistara (Air Vistara)||1 RP = 1 Air Mile||-|
Air Miles vs Reward Points
To take an example, consider the flight of Mumbai to Delhi on 8 November 2019 by Air Vistara.
The fare is Rs. 5,345 for economy and Rs. 8,368 for premium economy. Now let’s take a look at Club Vistara points required for same itinerary.
It’s 5,000 for economy and 8,500 for premium economy. If you hold Diners ClubMiles and use Smartbuy portal to buy this ticket, you need to burn 10,690 reward points for economy and and 16,736 reward points for premium economy as 1 RP = Rs. 0.50. However if you convert them to Club Vistara points, you will just need 5,000 reward points for economy and and 8,500 reward points for premium economy. It’s quite evident that converting reward points to air miles is beneficial as you get almost double value.
How to convert reward points to Air Miles?
To convert reward points to Air Miles, follow the steps below:
- Login to HDFC Net Banking
- Go to Cards tab.
- Expand Enquire section Credit Cards section on left and click on Redeem Rewards Points. Select credit card and click on continue.
- Click on Airmiles → Frequent Flyer Registration.
- Select airline as per your choice and provide necessary details.
- After registration, click on Airlines → Airmiles Redemption.
- Select the airline registered in previous step.
- Input number of points your would like to convert and click on submit.
- Wait for 10-15 days for points conversion. Once converted, it will show up in your Frequent Flyer account.
I am not able to understand the rationale behind restricting the redemption of reward points to 70% for flights and hotel booking. This is surely a bad news for people who can’t utilize the reward point to air mile route due to limited number of airline options available, especially for Regalia holders. I wish HDFC should have added Club Vistara as air mile redemption option for Regalia as there is no domestic option available after the demise of Jet Airways.
Let me know your views on this move of HDFC Bank in comments below.