You might have seen financial experts talking about the “Dangers of Credit Cards” but credit cards are very powerful to save money on our daily shopping.
Last year, I saved more than Rs. 1 Lakh from credit cards only.
Approach to Save Money Using Credit Cards
Redeem Regalia Points for Air Tickets
You would earn 4 reward points when you spend Rs. 150 using HDFC Regalia credit card. They have de-valued the reward system recently otherwise I used to earn even 8 reward points.
I redeemed Regalia rewards two times worth Rs. 26,000 of air tickets in which
- First redemption of Rs. 15,000
- Second redemption of Rs. 11,000
Total Saving = 15,000 + 11,000 = Rs. 26,000
If you spend Rs. 1,50,000 on HDFC Regalia then you would earn 4000 reward points which you can redeem for Rs. 2000 discount vouchers.
JP Miles with ICICI Sapphiro Credit Card
I earned JP Miles with ICICI co-branded Sapphiro credit card.
Last year, I redeemed 55,000 JP Miles for worth Rs. 28,000 round trip International Air Tickets.
In this case, taxes were paid from my own pocket. If we reduce the tax from the worth of ticket then we can assume the saving of Rs. 20,000.
Total Saving on Air tickets only = Rs. 26,000 + 20,000 = Rs. 46,000
Now see other ways where I saved money using credit cards.
Save Money on Shopping with Exclusive Offers (20,000 Cashback on Macbook)
I bought 2 Macbooks last year when Rs. 10,000 cashback offer was going on from Apple.
Only one offer per credit card. That was not a problem for me since I was having credit cards from all the banks.
I picked ICICI and Citibank credit cards to avail 10,000 cashback on each.
MacBook with an already discounted price of Rs. 65,000 cost me just Rs. 55,000.
Since this was a business expense, I was able to get the GST benefit as well. After GST adjustment, the effective price of Macbook became Rs. 44,000. That’s a different topic that will talk later when I will help you save on business expenses and taxes.
I could not have saved 20,000 rupees without having the credit cards from banks which keeps offering discounts.
Total Saving so far = 26,000 + 20,000 + 20,000 = 66,000/-
10,000 CashBack on MakeMyTrip
I applied for a new “Standard Chartered Ultimate” credit card and I got a 10,000 cashback offer on MakeMyTrip. I booked a ticket from MakeMyTrip later on and got an Rs. 10,000 cashback.
Total Saving so far = 26,000 + 20,000 + 20,000 + 10,000 = 76,000/-
Redeem Amex Rewards for Amazon Balance
I redeemed Amex points against Amazon Vouchers which were worth Rs. 22,000.
You can redeem Amex points against hotel vouchers, Amazon vouchers or airlines vouchers.
This year, I have redeemed for Rs. 32,000 so far, and earning more Amex points. I would include that in my next year’s post.
Let’s add last year’s 22,000 saving into our total.
Total Saving so far = 26,000 + 20,000 + 20,000 + 10,000 + 22,000 = 98,000/-
Savings from Direct Discounts on Shopping
I use credit cards for movie ticket booking whenever we go for a movie and get buy one get one free ticket on my premium credit cards.
I got cashback every time when I use a credit card for filling fuel.
Saved a decent amount of money on regular shopping, Amazon, Flipkart, Uber, Ola, BookMyTicket, Zomato & Swiggy.
For example, American Express offered a 50% discount on Zomato orders and savings were huge.
It’s difficult to calculate the exact amount, but it’s more than 1000 Rupees every month.
Let’s assume Rs. 10,000 approximately in one year from direct discounts on shopping, dining, movies.
Total Saving so far = 20,000 + 26,000 + 20,000 + 9400 + 22,000 + 10,000 = 1,08,000/-
Note: – It doesn’t mean I have consumed all the Reward Points. Still, I am left with Reward Points which I can redeem either this year or the next year.
I keep on getting cashback on different credit cards (For example, 5% cashback on grocery spends with Standard Chartered Manhattan Credit Card)
Read the complete review of Standard Chartered Manhattan Credit Card
I am collecting rewards points with Citibank that I would redeem in the future.
I don’t need more Amazon vouchers right now. Otherwise, the current value of my rewards under Citibank is more than Rs. 23,000.
You can also keep accumulating rewards and use at the right time.
How You Can Get the Best ROI on Your Credit Card like Me
Unfortunately, JetAirways stopped operating otherwise that was the best airline offering a great reward system.
You can shift your expenses to other credit cards which offer you the best reward ratio.
If you are first time applicant,
- Start with easy to get the approval credit card – Apply for SC Platinum
If you already have a credit card
- Apply for Amex Membership Credit Card (Amazing benefits on reward redemption)
If you want travel benefits
- Apply for Amex Platinum Credit Card
The super-premium credit cards are hard to get, but you can try applying for HDFC Diners Black that is best of the best so far. Talk to your HDFC bank relationship manager to get the approval of Diner Card.
How you can get benefits from Credit Cards
You can save money through credit cards if you pay all your monthly expenses through credit cards.
Use the credit cards which give you the maximum ROI.
You should ask these questions to yourself
- How much is your monthly expenditure?
- Which categories do you spend the most?
Calculate Your Monthly Expenditure
Let’s assume that you spend Rs. 30,000 to 40,000 per month through your credit card. Then you have to decide if you should carry only one credit card or divide the expense into two credit cards.
You would get the annual fees waiver of credit card based on how much do you use.
For example, joining fees (Rs. 250) would be waived off on SC Platinum card when you spend on Restaurant within 90 days of the approval of the card.
Easy to get the joining fees back, right?
And Renewal fees of Rs. 250 would also be waived off if you spend Rs. 30,000 in one year.
If you have annual expenses more than Rs. 30,000 then you can pick a second credit card with better reward options.
Apply for SC Platinum Credit Card, that is the perfect choice for starting level because you would earn 5x points on dining & fuel.
Which Categories do You Spend the Most?
Second, You must know that on which categories you spend the most.
You just need to do a basic calculation that “How much are your Annual Expenses?” and on “Which Major Categories the Expenses are Done?”.
It can be Online Shopping, Travel, or Monthly Fuel (that is also a major expense).
Apply one credit card per category to reap the maximum benefits.
Don’t copy my strategy because my expenses might be different from you.
I love credit cards so much that I don’t care about the annual fees anymore (however I have negotiated with banks to give me Life Time Free credit cards)
You can apply credit cards based on your need and try to keep most of the premium credit cards.
I use credit cards for travel and redeem rewards points to purchase tickets or Amazon vouchers. Your priorities may be different.
I also use credit cards for online shopping, where I get direct discounts, cashback and reward points. Every time I go for air travel I use the credit card for free airport lounge access for free food, internet and comfortable stay.
When I was on my Mini Retirement in Bali in 2017, we stayed free at a 5-star resort.
“ We got sea facing executive suite in 5-star resort, that was worth Rs. 35,000 to 40,000. We enjoyed luxuary without spending a single penny”
You can start with a basic credit card and start building your credit history. You would get better credit cards once you improve your CIBIL score.
If you would have 2 – 3 credit cards of different banks, then you can avail of different offers from these banks.
Try to get their lifetime free credit card or low annual fee credit card so that you don’t have to pay card fee but you keep on getting the rewards on your spending.
Check your CIBIL score free before applying for credit cards.
Let me know if I missed something that wanted to know.