Credit Cards

HDFC Marriott Bonvoy Card – First Impression & Review

This post provides a detailed review of the HDFC Marriott Bonvoy co-branded credit card, including its annual fees, eligibility criteria, welcome and renewal benefits, earning rate, lounge access, and insurance benefits.

The HDFC Marriott Co-Branded credit card was a long-rumored and pending offering that finally came to fruition on August 24, 2023, at the iconic Mumbai St. Regis launch event. While the initial reception among credit card enthusiasts and hotel loyalists in the country has been mixed, there is still a lot to like about the card. It has been launched in partnership with Diners, with HDFC being the only issuer of Diners Credit Cards in India.

HDFC Marriott Credit Card – Annual Fees

The HDFC Marriott Credit Card has an annual fee of a modest ₹3000 + GST, with no fee waivers available. While HDFC has offered some of its other co-branded credit cards as LTF in the past, this is not currently the case for this card nor do we see that changing any time in the near future.

However, the annual fee is easily recoverable due to the generous welcome benefits offered by the card.

HDFC Marriott Credit Card – Eligibility

Salaried Indian National: Gross Monthly Income> Rs 1,00,000

Self-Employed Indian National: Income: ITR > Rs 15 Lakhs per annum.

HDFC Marriott Credit Card – Welcome & Renewal Benefits

This is perhaps the most, and for some the only interesting part of the card.

Marriott Bonvoy Silver Elite Status: Holding this card grants you direct entry into the Marriott Bonvoy Silver Elite tier, which includes notable benefits such as:

  • 10% bonus points on eligible spends
  • Priority late checkout (not guaranteed)
  • Access to PointSaver rates

While we do not believe that the Silver Status holds a lot of value in today’s day and age, some status is better than no status. Your Silver Status will renew every year as long as you hold the card.

10 Elite Qualifying Nights (EQN): In lieu of holding the card every year, you will receive a total of 10 EQNs on your Marriott Bonvoy account. These EQNs count towards your elite status evaluations. With 10 EQNs, you will only need a total of 15 more nights to qualify for Gold Status, which usually requires 25 nights.

However, note that these 10 EQNs will not count towards the Platinum challenge if you participate in the same.

1 Free Night Certificate (FNA): You also receive 1 FNA, which can be used towards booking a night that requires a maximum of 15,000 points. This FNA can be topped up with another 15,000 points from your account, which can then be used towards booking a night worth up to 30,000 points.

HDFC Marriott Credit Card – Milestone Benefit

In addition to the welcome bonus, there are three spend-based milestone benefits:

  • One Free Night Award (FNA) worth 15,000 points on reaching spends of 6L.
  • One FNA worth 15,000 points on reaching spends of 9L.
  • One FNA worth 15,000 points on reaching spends of 15L.

Therefore, if you spend a total of 15L in a card anniversary year, you will receive a total of four FNAs, including the welcome bonus. Each FNA is valued at up to 15K points, and you have the option to top up each one by another 15K points from your Marriott Bonvoy balance.

Earning Rate

You can earn the following Bonvoy points on your spends:

  • 8 points for every ₹150 spent on Marriott properties.
  • 5 points for every ₹150 spent on travel, dining, and entertainment.
  • 2 points for every ₹150 spent for all other spends.

No points are earned on the following spend categories:

  • Fuel
  • Smart EMI / Dial an EMI transactions
  • Wallet loads / Gift or Prepaid Card loads / Voucher purchases
  • Cash advances
  • Payment of outstanding balances
  • Payment of card fees and other charges
  • Government-related transactions and rental transactions.

We believe that, except for the Marriott spend category, the earning ratio for other spends is quite mediocre. If you have an alternative card from American Express or Axis Bank, those would be better sources for earning Bonvoy points.

HDFC Marriott Credit Card – Lounge Access

The card provides a total of 12 complimentary lounge access within India and another 12 complimentary lounge access internationally. There is no need for a separate lounge membership, such as Priority Pass or DreamFolks, as you can use your credit card to access the lounges.

The lounge network is powered by Diners, and you can download the Diners app to view the list of lounges you have access to.

HDFC Marriott Credit Card – Insurance Benefits

Although insurance benefits and features on credit cards are rarely talked about, this card offers some rather nice insurance benefits, especially for its price point:

  1. Delay/Loss in Check-in Baggage ($250)
  2. Loss of Travel Documents ($250)
  3. Flight Delay ($250)
  4. Air Accidental Cover (INR 10 Lakhs)
  5. Emergency Medical Expenses (INR 15 Lakhs)
  6. Credit Shield (INR 1 Lakh)
  7. Loss Liability Cover (INR 1 Lakh)

To be eligible for the insurance protection, you must pay for your tickets using this card. This might not be an attractive proposition for many people who already hold other premium and super-premium credit cards.

Additional Details and Pointers from the Launch Event

During the event, Mr. Parag Rao (Country Head – Payment Business, Consumer Finance, Technology and Digital Banking, HDFC Bank) and Ms. Ranju Alex (Area Vice President, South Asia, Marriott International) both emphasized that HDFC and Marriott view this as a premium offering, as evidenced by the high eligibility income requirements for the card. This may be due to the association with Marriott Bonvoy and the Diners card network. While a more premium offering and card would be appreciated, it appears that, for the near future, this is the only Marriott co-branded card that HDFC has to offer.

Another important point clarified during the event was that there is no exclusivity agreement between Marriott and HDFC in this partnership, which means that Marriott can launch co-branded cards with other banks in India if they so choose.

It was also noted that HDFC intends to allow existing cardholders to hold this as a second (or possibly a third) card, albeit with a shared credit limit. However, when this will be implemented in real life remains to be seen. We recommend holding off on applying for this card for now if this is going to be your second or third card with HDFC.


While there is no doubt that this card will sell like hotcakes, given HDFC’s extensive presence and aggressive marketing by Marriott across its hotel network, we believe that HDFC missed an opportunity to launch a premium offering alongside this entry-level or at best, a mid-level card. We do not see existing Marriott loyalists who hold premium and super-premium cards putting spends on this card. Many will apply and get this card, but largely for the FNA and 10 Elite Nights.

Alternatively, this card will act as a gateway to the Marriott Bonvoy program for many who stay at Marriott properties but are not involved in the whole loyalty or credit card game.

We hope to see an offering that entices “power users” in the near future.

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