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6E Rewards Ka-Ching credit cards by HDFC & Indigo

6E Rewards Ka-ching Banner

HDFC & Indigo airlines have launched 2 6E Rewards Ka-Ching credit cards. Ka-Ching??? what’s that? Well, HDFC Bank says it is the sound of cash. Okay, we will take their word for it. 😀  The Ka-Ching credit cards come in 2 variants, 6E Rewards, the base variant (annual fee INR700) and 6E Rewards XL the premium variant (annual fee INR2500).

Let’s see how good the Ka-Ching credit cards are and how they fare with other co-branded airline credit cards.

Is Indigo 6E Rewards a frequent flyer program?

No. Indigo’s 6E rewards is not a frequent flyer program of Indigo airlines. That is one won’t earn air miles by flying Indigo airlines.

Indigo’s 6E Rewards Program is a rewards program owned by Indigo linked to a co-branded card. Members will earn 6E rewards by using their co-branded card on Indigo and other merchants, which can be redeemed for flight tickets or other benefits such as free meal, priority seating etc. when you fly Indigo airlines.

However, the best part of 6E Reward program is that 1 6E reward = 1 INR and there are no blackout date or restrictions for redemption. Hope that Indigo does not change this condition in future.

The way Indigo has worded the 6E rewards FAQ, I get a feeling that eventually, there will more 6E Rewards co-branded credit cards from other banks too.

HDFC Bank 6E Rewards Ka-Ching credit card

Indigo Ka-Ching 6E Rewards

Fees and Eligibility

  • Joining fee and Annual fees of INR700 + GST. There is no fee waiver whatsoever.
  • Eligibility criteria for this card are quite liberal at a monthly income of just 20,000+.

Rewards and Benefit

  • 1 6E Reward = INR 1
  • Base earn rate of 1% i.e. 1 6E Reward for every 100 spent.
  • Accelerated rewards:
    • 5% of spends done on Indigo website + discounted convenience fee of INR 100 per pax per sector.
    • 2% of spends on entertainment, dining and grocery
    • Up to 10% on 6E partners.
  • 1% fuel surcharge waiver
  • Joining Benefit:
    • 1 complimentary Indigo base fare ticket voucher worth INR 1,500 when you make 3 transactions or more in each of the first 3 months after the card is set up.
    • 1 complimentary 6E Prime voucher which includes priority check-in, choice of seat, a complimentary meal and a quicker baggage claim.

Verdict

The 6E Rewards base variant card seems like a solid product with low eligibility criteria and low annual fees. The reward rate of 1% across all transaction (ex-wallet load and fuel transaction) is pretty decent for entry-level cards. Further, 2% reward on dining, grocery and entertainment spends is also very good. One can just use this card for shopping at the likes of Dmart (which usually does not give any offers) and can earn 2% rewards.

HDFC Bank 6E Rewards XL Ka-Ching credit card

Indigo Ka-Ching 6E RewardsXL

Fees and Eligibility

  • Joining fee and Annual fees of INR2500 + GST. There is no fee waiver.
  • Eligibility criteria is at a monthly income of 1,20,000 for salaried and 14.4lakh annual ITR income for self-employed.

Rewards and Benefit

  • 1 6E Reward = INR 1
  • Base earn rate of 2% i.e. 2 6E Reward for every 100 spent.
  • Accelerated rewards:
    • 5% of spends done on Indigo website + discounted convenience fee of INR 100 per pax per sector.
    • 3% of spends on entertainment, dining and grocery
    • Up to 15% on 6E partners.
  • 1% fuel surcharge waiver
  • Lounge access: 8 domestic lounge access per annum (Max 2 visits per quarter)
  • Joining Benefit:
    • 1 complimentary Indigo base fare ticket voucher worth INR 3,000 when you make 3 transactions or more in each of the first 3 months after the card is set up.
    • 1 complimentary 6E Prime voucher which includes priority check-in, choice of seat, a complimentary meal and a quicker baggage claim.

Verdict:

The base 2% reward rate is one of the best in the industry. Further given that one can earn 2% rewards even on insurance spends is like icing on the cake, as incrementally more and more credit cards are doing away with reward points on insurance spends, (Eg: recently Citibank revamped its reward structure and made it quite unattractive).
However, the eligibility criterion of 1.2lakh net income per month is quite high. Moreover, the kind of rewards and benefits offered does not match the income levels it targets.

More Details and fine print of 6E Rewards

Limited to the member, spouse and 2 kids up to 18 years of age

On reading the fine print (Detailed T&C here); it appears that Indigo is making sure people do not redeem 6E Rewards for their friends and family. The redemption of 6E Rewards against flight ticket is limited to the member, his or her spouse and up to 2 children under 18. Thus, one cannot even use the redemption option for their parents, siblings and/or in-laws. Further, since this clause is hidden deep in the T&Cs; likely many cardholders will not even come to know about this until they try to redeem their reward points.

Part redemption allowed

The good thing is Indigo will allow partial redemption of 6E Rewards for flight bookings i.e. one can make do a part payment for tickets. This can be useful especially when the rewards points are very close to expiry.

Not much savings on convenience fees on redemption

Further, the lower convenience fees of INR100 appears to be a misnomer if one redeems points. Case in point if one were to book Mumbai-Delhi return flight for two, the convenience fees applicable is INR 1000.  However, with these Ka-Ching credit cards, the convenience fee will be INR400. However, if one were redeeming 6E Rewards for this booking, one would end up paying INR400 as redemption fee (Redemption fees of INR100 per pax per flight booking). Thus when redeeming the savings on convenience fee is only INR200.

Nonetheless, if not redeeming points, the savings on convenience fees in one booking itself can save as much as the annual fee of the base card variant. The lower convenience fee benefit can result in significant savings for a frequent flyer.

Calculation of rewards points – a la HDFC Bank

Just the way HDFC Bank calculates reward points only in multiple of 150, 6E rewards will be accrued for a minimum transaction of INR100 and multiples of thereof. Therefore, any amount above the last multiple of 100 won’t accrue rewards points. Very likely this would be applicable on every transaction and not on the whole bill.

Partner list as of now not very exciting

The current partner list for accelerated 6E Rewards is not very exciting at the moment, full list here. However, I hope that this list will expand in the coming time with better partners.

How the 6E Rewards Ka-Ching credit cards compare with other airline credit cards

Below is the snapshot of comparison of the new HDFC Indigo Ka-Ching credit cards with other airline credit cards in India. In terms of pricing the 6E Rewards XL credit card is very close to Axis Bank Vistara Signature and SBI Club Vistara Prime credit cards. However, the 6E Rewards credit card is priced much lower than the Axis Bank Vistara Platinum credit card and SBI Club Vistara credit card.

Ching 6E Rewards credit cards comparison

The challenge in arriving at ballpark reward rate for 6E Rewards credit card is that a lot will depend on one’s spending pattern. Thus, say two people who both spend 5lakhs each on credit cards, the reward rate on Ka-Ching credit cards could vary significantly depending on the spending habit. Nevertheless, I would assume that the standard earn rate would be in the ballpark range of ~1.5% on 6E Rewards and ~3% on 6E Rewards XL credit card.

Should one opt for 6E Rewards Ka-Ching credit cards?

Given the fact that Indigo is the largest airline in India with the largest network, co-brand credit cards from them is a very exciting proposition. However, given the mediocre reward rate on overall spends for 6E Rewards credit cards, coupled with restrictions on redemptions, doesn’t make these cards a must-have for me as of now.

Another point for me is most of my travel is pre-planned, thus I take advantage of offers from different websites (such as INR1000 off on MMT or Paytm etc), not to forget the 10x reward program of HDFC Bank on Smartbuy etc. Further, by using these offers, I am not tied down to a single airline and can rather choose the one that suits me.

However, for someone who travels very often, say once in a month at a short notice (lead time of just 2-3 days). A 5% savings on every flight and a lower convenience fee would result in savings of ~7% savings every time, which is significant. Thus, these Ka-Ching credit cards make absolute sense for them.

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