Kotak Bank in tie-up with Indigo Airlines has recently launched Kaching credit cards. Kotak is the second banking partner for Indigo after HDFC Bank for the Kaching credit cards. The new Kotak Kaching credit cards are on the Visa platform as against the Mastercard platform for HDFC Bank. Let’s take a deep dive into Kotak Kaching credit cards and see how they stand against the HDFC Kaching credit cards.
Kotak Kaching Credit Cards
Similar to HDFC Kaching credit cards, Kotak Kaching credit cards come in 2 variants, Kotak Kaching 6E Rewards XL and Kotak Kaching 6E Rewards. If we compare variant-to-variant, Kotak cards offer a higher reward rate on Indigo spends, outside of that both Kotak and HDFC cards are identical in terms of features and reward rate.
The below table compares the 4 credit cards.
Where do Kotak Kaching cards fare better than HDFC Kaching cards?
Kotak Kaching XL credit cards are currently available at a joining fee of 1500+ GST against HDFC’s joining fee of 2500+GST. Thus, Kotak cards give you savings of ~1200 on a post-tax basis. Further, the joining benefit remains the same, i.e. free flight ticket of 3K. This offer alone more than recoups the joining fee for the Kotak XL card. A trick here can be to apply for the card, use the 3K voucher and close the card within a year of issuance. Basically use the card to get a 3K voucher for 1.8k (40% discount :D).
However, the lower variant is priced at par with HDFC’s offering and there is no arbitrage as such there.
Reward Rate on Indigo spends
Another area where Kotak Kaching cards beat HDFC Kaching cards is the reward rate on Indigo spends. Kotak XL cards offer a reward rate of 6% on Indigo spending compared to 5% on HDFC XL cards. Similarly, the lower variant Kotak card offers a 3% reward rate vs 2.5% for HDFC cards.
For someone who flies frequently on the Indigo network and spends ~20K per month, this 1% reward rate difference on Kotak XL cards can alone save ~3600 annually.
While both the XL variants offer 8 domestic lounge access free every year and seem to be at par. However, since Kotak cards are on the VISA platform and HDFC cards on the Mastercard platform the lounge network differs for both of them.
Kotak Kaching cards give you access to 33 domestic lounges in 23 cities (list here) whereas HDFC cards give access to 20 lounges in 8 cities (list here). Thus, someone who lives or travels frequently outside the metros will find Kotak cards useful.
Below is the dynamic rewards calculator for Kaching credit cards. Highlighting the reward rate that these cards can offer depending on your spending pattern.
Few interesting things here, say you were to use the Kotak Kaching XL card exclusively for Indigo flight bookings; and spend just 5000/month (i.e. roughly just one flight every month), the reward rate would be 3%+, which is a pretty good reward rate. Obviously, frequent Indigo fliers will get a much higher reward rate.
However, if any of these cards were to be your primary credit card; the reward rate won’t be very lucrative and would probably move in the range of 2-5% for the XL variant and around 1-3% for the base variant.
About the 6E Program
Is Indigo 6E Rewards a frequent flyer program?
No. Indigo’s 6E rewards is not a frequent flyer program of Indigo airlines. That is you won’t earn air miles by flying Indigo airlines.
Indigo’s 6E Rewards Program is a rewards program owned by Indigo linked to their co-branded credit cards. 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 meals, priority seating etc. when you fly Indigo airlines.
However, the best part of the 6E Reward program is that 1 6E reward = 1 INR and there are no blackout date or restrictions for redemption.
Rules appear to have changed for the better
When the HDFC Kaching cards were launched, point redemption was limited to the member, spouse and 2 kids below 18 years of age.
However, this norm appears to have changed. As I cannot find the same in the current T&Cs mentioned here. Now it mentions that the member can nominate up to 5 nominees. (Any frequent users of the 6E reward program reading this post please confirm).
Redemption fee on 6E reward program on a higher side
Indigo charges a fixed 300+GST as a redemption fee on 6E rewards. This was earlier 100 per pax per flight. While the earlier system would turn expensive for a family booking, the current system hits single/couple/business travellers, which I guess is more often the case.
Points posting is not streamlined
As per one of the users of HDFC Kaching cards, frequent follow-ups are required to get the bonus points posted in your 6E account. The team still seems to be working in covid mode.
As I had mentioned in the case of HDFC Kaching cards, for someone who travels frequently on Indigo airlines holding these credit cards makes sense. However, if your travel is limited then the blended reward rate on these cards is not very exciting.
In addition, usually, there are offers on travel websites and/or other credit cards that offer a discount on flight bookings that is higher than what these cards offer. Thus for infrequent travellers, the offers will likely give more savings on flight bookings.
Thus, these Kaching cards only make sense for frequent fliers on the Indigo network. In case you take any of these Kaching cards, only apply for the XL variant. Because that is the only variant where reward rates are decent. For the base variant, many LTF cards (discussed here) offer better reward rates than the base variant of Kaching credit cards even on the Indigo flights.
Have you used Kaching credit cards? Do share your points redemption experiences in the comments section
Image Courtsey: Kotak Bank and Indigo Airlines.
Thanks Vatsal for sharing few insights on the HDFC Kaching credit cards.