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First, the basics. In a nutshell, credit cards let you spend money you don't yet have, in exchange for money you will make in the future, at a cost.

If that sounds like a loan, it's because it is, a super-expensive loan.

The minimum monthly interest rate on outstanding balances is 1.99% (HDFC Diners Club and Infinia). The maximum is 3.51% charged on all American Express cards. The median across all cards is 3.40%. This means an outstanding balance of ₹100 costs you almost ₹49 in interest at the end of a year.

So rule #1:

Do not use credit cards as short-term loans. If you cannot pay off the entire outstanding amount each month, do not sign up for a credit card.

Instead, think of credit cards as (up to) 30-day interest-free loans.

With 3 credit cards with payment due dates 10 days apart, you can maximise the tenure of the interest-free loan by using each card for the 10 days immediately after it's due-date.

In our search for the best credit cards, we did not consider finance charges or late payment fees. Because, see rule #1.

Instead, we considered "value delivered" as the basis to arrive at the best cards to own. Simply put, the best credit cards are those that are convenient to use for almost any spend, and give value back, either in the form of direct cashback or as usable points to be redeemed against things you might actually want and need.

We looked at over 160 credit cards offered by 10 issuers to pick the best cards within each category, based on an objective “Value Delivered” methodology. The best cards, according to us, are the ones that deliver maximum value in ₹ terms based on standard usage.

Read how we picked the best credit cards here.

Some categories have clear winners with no real competition, while others have 3-4 cards that offer reasonably similar value.

Here are the best credit cards of 2019.

Our research is completely independent. We make no commisions if you click through and sign up for any of these products.

Best Travel Credit Card

All top picks
Citi PremierMiles
Read full review
citi-premiermiles
  • Joining Fee
  • ₹3,000
  • Annual Fee
  • ₹3,000
  • Joining Bonus
  • 10,000 Miles
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What we like
  • Significantly lower joining and renewal fees compared to other cards in category
  • Excellent return on travel spend, specifically on hotels on yatra. Average on non-travel spends
  • Easy travel redemption on yatra
What we don't
  • Foreign currency conversion fee of 3.5% while at par with other Travel cards, adds up significantly on international spends
  • Accessing your account online and on the app can have you pull your hair out
In a tweet

Not quite the one card to rule them all, but at 4.5% rewards on travel spends, 1.8% on other spends, the Citi PremierMiles card comes close. Points to rewards redemption is uncomplicated and refreshingly free of fine-print.

The Best General-Purpose Credit Card

All top picks
SimplyClick SBI Card
Read full review
simplyclick-sbi-card
  • Joining Fee
  • ₹499
  • Annual Fee
  • ₹499
  • Joining Bonus
  • Amazon voucher worth ₹500
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The Best Cashback Card

All top picks
Citi Cashback Card
Read full review
citi-cashback-card
  • Joining Fee
  • ₹500
  • Annual Fee
  • ₹500
  • Joining Bonus
  • NA
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The Best Dining Card

All top picks
Standard Chartered Platinum Rewards
Read full review
standard-chartered-platinum-rewards
  • Joining Fee
  • ₹399
  • Annual Fee
  • ₹750
  • Joining Bonus
  • NA
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The Best Entertainment Credit Card

All top picks
RBL Bank Fun+ Credit Card
Read full review
rbl-bank-fun-plus
  • Joining Fee
  • ₹499
  • Annual Fee
  • ₹499
  • Joining Bonus
  • ₹1,000 BookMyShow voucher
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The Best Fuel Rewards Card

All top picks
BPCL SBI Card
Read full review
bpcl-sbi-card
  • Joining Fee
  • ₹499
  • Annual Fee
  • ₹499
  • Joining Bonus
  • 2,000 activation bonus points worth ₹500
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The Best Shopping Credit Card

All top picks
Central SBI Select
Read full review
central-sbi-select
  • Joining Fee
  • ₹750
  • Annual Fee
  • ₹750
  • Joining Bonus
  • Welcome benefits worth ₹1,500
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The Best Lifestyle Credit Card

All top picks
HDFC Infinia
Read full review
hdfc-infinia
  • Joining Fee
  • ₹ 10,000
  • Annual Fee
  • ₹ 10,000
  • Joining Bonus
  • Taj Epicure Plus Plan and Inner Circle Gold membership & Complimentary Club Vistara Gold membership.
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