My horrible experience transferring miles from HDFC Bank Diners Club

Like my regular readers know, I finally managed to get myself an HDFC Bank Diners Club Credit Card last year, and I was on a roll earning a lot of their points on this credit card. The reason was (is) that they are offering a very liberal 10x points promotion, which allows for points to stack up pretty quickly, if you choose to use some of the big bulge OTAs such as MakeMyTrip to book your tickets (imagine 50 points on every INR 150 spent on the Black card).

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In my almost one year of holding the card, I had more than enough points to give a spin to make a redemption. Additionally, I had almost drained out my AAdvantage account, and I could do with a top-up to be ready for the Etihad Apartments upgrade if and when they opened up. for the Diners Black, some of the nicer transfer partners include American Airlines, Marriott Rewards and Hyatt Gold Passport, all of which are of interest to me.

However, the transfer system for HDFC Bank to these partners absolutely sucks! While you can transfer to JetPrivilege and Air India Flying Returns, their Indian partners in a 1:1 ratio online, the international partners require a paper form [PDF] to be filled up and dropped in an ATM correspondence box or mailed to them. This system of filling up forms has been existing forever in the HDFC Bank scheme of things, in spite of the fact that India is known for its IT skills.

So I went about filling up the form and dropped it in ATM correspondence box near my office one fine day in September 2015, and waited for the points to be transferred out. Except they did not. I never received any communication even 14 working days after, so I called and filed a complaint. Turns out HDFC Bank does not have a system to inform you about the status of your request. They just trashed my request because they could not figure out some part of the form filled in Ink. The answer that this was the case however only came to me approximately end of October 2015 on the phone.

This had me seething with anger, however, I filed for a request again, this time also scanning and sending them a copy on email for backup, just in case they claimed again they did not receive the form or could not understand it. I filed this request mid-November 2015.

This time, they called and confirmed that they received my request, but they had no clue how to process it. Since HDFC Bank was such a drag in getting things done, and wanted to charge me money (INR 75) to process the transfer, I was optimising by transferring out as many points as possible to Hyatt Gold Passport and American Airlines AAdvantage on the same request form.

The first reaction I received was after about 15 calendar days, after escalating a complaint all the way to the CEO of the Bank. They were apparently scratching their head on how to transfer out to Hyatt Gold Passport. The senior customer care person who was working on my escalation told me they are going to first transfer to AAdvantage and then process the Hyatt request. In fact, he told me Hyatt was not a partner for transfers and if I wanted to book a Hyatt hotel, I could use HDFC Bank’s concierge service to book it!

It turns out, HDFC Bank does not have backups in place to stick to their own guideline of 14 working days. In the meanwhile, Chennai had massive floods which is where the credit card operations of HDFC Bank are based. I was asked for more time beyond the 14 days, while I wondered why did HDFC Bank not have a backup processing centre in another city for their Card Operations.

I had intended to have the miles in my account well in time to be able to keep scoping for an upgraded redemption on the #redcarpettrip, however the transfer only hit my account on December 12, 2015 which was almost 4 weeks after filing the request. Oh, and despite the repeated assurances by HDFC Bank that they will first help me to the AAdvantage miles and then the Hyatt points,  finally the requests worked out together and both the points hit the respective accounts at the same time.

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Bottomline: I am very disappointed that a bank which is one of the most valuable banks in the world by valuation, and has been at the cutting edge of deploying technology in their operations from the start, got this piece so wrong. Eventually they wasted my time, time which could have been better spent on other stuff, and which I won’t get back.

My guess is that HDFC Bank needs to route these requests to Diners Club, and all they had to do was to just send them to the right person in Diners who handles reward processing, but they took a lot of time figuring out who was that right person.

Any of you have had similar experiences with HDFC Bank, or am I an outlier here?

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Comments

  1. My problem is not exactly related but it’s to do with an HDFC Credit Card and their poor customer service. I had applied for my first HDFC Credit Card, JetPrivilege Platinum Card. The guy came home to collect my documents and I put down my JPMiles number on the form. Seven days later I hadn’t even received my 16-digit application number (tracking number), which, according to that guy, should be received in three days. When I called the lady with whom I had applied for the card, she said, “Sir, your form did not have a photograph, which I thought would not be necessary because you are an HDFC customer.” Basically she had messed up.

    So, she said I will have to fill up a new form with the photograph. The same guy came home, took my signs on the new form and my photograph and very coolly forgot to update my JPMiles number on the form as I later realised. Because when I received my credit card, there was a new JPMiles number mentioned on it. I have called the customer service multiple times since morning, but every time they have either hung up the phone or said they are clueless about what a JPMiles number is – the joke was I had to explain it to one of the customer executives what JetPrivilege is, and how it operates and by the end she had cut the call. I must make for a boring professor.

    Anyway, so the point is, I have a card which is totally useless to my needs and I am chasing the customer service guys over email and phone. Judging by the comments to this post, I can easily go back to sleep for another month or two and get up to find no resolution from HDFC.

    If anyone has any suggestions, however, I will only be glad to listen.

  2. Very recently I had a round of extreme bad experience with HDFC Concierge Desk. They are totally at a loss of ideas when a lot of queries are given. The floor manager himself asked me to speak to the airline for cancellation policies. When I spoke to the airline, they said please speak to cleartrip (hdfc concierge team uses cleartrip for its bookings). Also for tickets cancelled online, they asked me to obtain a confirmation in writing from the airline against the PNR Number that the refund has been processed. Their service providers seems to be very lousy. Most of the times they don’t have 5 star Hotels on their list (example The Lalit in Srinagar)

    I am also trying to find out how to complain to Diners International for choosing such a lousy concierge team. In that aspect, Citibank Concierge is far far superior.

  3. there is no doubt about it. HDFC service sucks. As far as credit cards are concerned no bank has the expertise and depth of service as Citi bank. it was a mistake for Jet Airways to part ways with Citi Bank. Yes we are forced to have an account with HDFC because of some of their products which non of the other Banks are offering. There service in banking is bad but their credit cards are even worse.

  4. After discussing with an HDFC contact center staff (albeit clueless initially); was very helpful and pointed out that is one wants to transfer Diners Card (or other HDFC Cards) points to Air India or Jet Airways programs, one can do it online. I did try and the process worked seamlessly (now hope it gets done) for my Flying Returns program. However, for any other airlines / hotel programs one had to go though an archaic process as mentioned by AJ. Although, I do agree FR & JP are not the best programs out there for redemption; but for my upcoming trip may just meet the difference.
    I hope HDFC Bank updates the program redemption format.

  5. I have been issued a hdfc jetprivilege diners club credit card,
    What will be the spend benefits if I buy 2 tkts forrs 1.6 lacs from jet airways site for myself and my wife within90 days of card set up date.
    We both have jet airways gold card and are members of MyFamily in jetprivilege.
    Can somebody respond quickly as I have to purchase tkts to US/Canada byjetair

    • You should get signup bonus of 30,000 miles + 15 tier points
      In addition your 1.6L spend on Jetairways will get you about 25,000 miles and 1 tier point

  6. I’m getting an upgrade option between HDFC Allmiles and HDFC Diners club premium. Which card should i go in for upgrade. I already hold a citi cashback and a Axis MyZone(that gives me sweet plaza premium everywhere).

    • Where did you get an upgrade option? On your netbanking or you were called by someone from HDFC and told about the offer? Which card did you take?

  7. I have recently got HDFC Jet Diner Black card. HDFC Bank’s customer service is as bad as any PSU bank. You need to work your RM to get anything done. I can’t even access their app on phone because supposedly its not meant for non-HDFC bank savings account holders. Too bad I am just a lowely Diners black. And this is a bank who have publicly claimed to follow aggressive digital strategy.

  8. I have been struggling to get a HDFC Bank’s Jet Diner Card. I had initiated the request in Oct as I were falling slightly short on my Tier Points for Jet Platinum which was up for review in Dec-end. They were and still are absolutely clueless as well as inefficient in closing the case till date. Most frustrating experience in recent past with any Bank.

  9. Dealing with HDFC Bank is a nightmare. The staff from top to bottom is arrogant, uninformed and lie to the customer at every instance. Every year, I have to struggle for the renewal benefits of HDFC Jet World Credit card. This time, it took more than 2 months to get my renewal benefits issued. Funny thing is they don’t do that automatically and happily sit on the annual fee you have paid. You need to make a “representation” to trigger the renewal benefits. Escalating it to the nodal officer or even to the country head of cards is also a waste of time.

  10. Every Bank has its pros & cons. I have also had bad experiences with HDFC bank. But i believe it is also one of the banks which has the best cards in the market and that to without any charges and with loads of benefits like the priority pass & taj memberships.
    Earlier i had the Platinum edge card, which i believe some of you might have used. Now when i wanted to upgrade it to All miles i could find no specific form so i used a form in which superia was mentioned & after dropping of the form i did not receive any communication for almost 1.5 months.
    Now comes the best part, i took to twitter and tweeted to them about my problem and the response was instantaneous. The new All miles card was sent to me within 7 days flat along with the taj memberships.
    So my learning was that social media especially twitter is a lot of help if you are facing any problems with these Banks.

  11. Its a terrible experience all over, especially with the paperwork required for everything.

    Personally, I am just thankful Diner’s has an online portal I can use for redemptions via tickets etc. Am just using that to redeem my points directly instead of JP/AI miles, and praying I dont have to deal with HDFC support/paperwork!

    PS: Diner Rewards Card.

  12. HDFC is a pathetic bank. I have had many occasions where they had no clue what to do, rejecting various paper requests without even informing, no call or email even. Their customer care people have no clue about anything. When I had applied for upgrade to Diners Black, I never knew what happened with the upgrade form for over a month. And to my surprise, one month later someone came from HDFC bank for verification at my residence asking personal details, and he didn’t even know for what product/service the verification was being made.

  13. Everyone knows that HDFC has the shittiest service and staff.They call themselves a Privatised bank but they have shitloads of paperwork involved. Its only because of the products that most of us are stuck to it. Let it be redemption of points,request for a priority pass card,transaction disputes,etc.You always have to download, print,fill and finally dump the forms in those dropboxes. Citi,Sbi and AMEX make your life way more easier. Just login to online banking or call them and you are sorted.If you want to block(even if you’ve lost it or if its tampered) the Diners card, you need to go to the nearest damn police station and file a complaint which in turn needs to be scanned and emailed.

  14. I applied for an add-on card and they said it was incomplete, but never communicated it to me. I came to know only when I asked. Compare this to Citi where they took the details on phone for my PM card and I received the card in two days flat

  15. HDFC Service is useless.. there is no second opinion about it. Arrogant, clueless and xxxx staff. Unfortunately they have a great card and hence we have to stick to them nad bear with them..no matter if you like it or not.

    Its like Etihad A380 First class suit served by Air India Crew!

  16. HDFC has the worst employees.Period. I wish they gave tuition fees to their customers for training their clueless employess , who have absolutely no idea about their own products / services. To make it worse , they are arrogant & even have the audacity to challenge you vehemently , even when they are the ones who have the wrong information.
    I faced a similar incident today , where even my branch manager refused to believe that the All Miles credit card ( issued recently to one of my young family members ) , comes along with a Priority Pass. He was so adamant about it , until I showed him the website , and then only he agreed to provide the form.
    A few months back , a supervisor on the helpline no. , with horrible pronunciation , refused to accept , that the Regalia credit card is also a Visa Signature card. She finally disconnected the call , when the information I was asking for , was totally beyond her comprehension.
    I am still waiting for my Taj Epicure Plus membership , despite having mailed the form in October. I have called multiple times , but TODAY , I was told that it was received on 21st December ( more than 2 months after having sent it ). Though I knew that the reason for this were the Chennai Floods , I still asked the representative. Her reply was “You must have sent it late”.
    Thus , a bank with such mannerless staff , requires being boycotted by everyone.

  17. When it comes to Diners Club cards HDFC guys are mostly clueless. They keep on saying mail a form to the Chennai office for the every request. If you want to request for a credit limit enhancement or to even find out if your card is upgradeable you have to drop in a form or mail that form to their Chennai branch. I have done it twice, never got a response from them. Needless to say the customer care was borderline useless

  18. If only Citibank or AMEX could give us a similar card with similar point earning capability, I would have shifted immediately. I must add that other Indian banks are no better. Half the time they dont understand the request and the other half they dont know what to do after taking the request. Anyway, as long as you keep earning points for more redcarpettrips, stick to this card.
    Is there any other card with a similar earning capability like Diners? Amex does not give points on utilities which is perhaps half my expense and a big one.

    • I disagree with you on this!
      Other INDIAN banks are way better. SBI,Kotak,ICICI and Indusind actually understand your request very well. I wasn’t expecting it from SBI, but you can actually compare it with Citi and AMEX.

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