Are Those PAYBACK-points Worth It?

by Vinaya HS on May 9, 2012

in Finance

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I’ve no idea when I signed-up for earning them, but my debit card is somehow linked to earning Payback-points. Out of the blue, one fine morning, I saw an email that said I had 6,800+ points linked to my Payback-account. Wow! I don’t know for how long the points had accumulated but I must have spent a fair bit to earn these many points! And I don’t even have one of those physical Payback cards.

Image of Payback gift item for 6800 points
I then checked the rewards catalog and found this particular item on the right redeemable for almost the exact number of points I had accumulated. D wasn’t interested in any of the other items on offer and hence I got to pick this bag. Delivery of the bag was prompt and in reality the bag indeed turned out to be an excellent choice. So, the points were worth it. But I didn’t spend any money that I normally wouldn’t spend just to earn points and get this bag. All of my monthly debit transactions are planned and happen on a single debit card. So, the points accumulated were only for spending money that I knew I’d be spending and which I’d saved-up in advance.

But of late, I’ve seen Payback-ads prompting you to spend your money at particular retail outlets within a particular time frame with a promise of earning 5-times the normal points. That’s a strict no-no in my book. I don’t and I won’t encourage you to spend money this way. No matter the amount of points earned or the tempting gift items on offer. These special spending schemes aren’t worth it.

Instead, I encourage you to sign-up for loyalty/reward points, plan your purchases out in advance, save-up for these purchases, and then let the points accumulate whenever you make that purchase. It’s OK if you have to wait a while to accumulate more points to get a particular gift item. But it’s definitely NOT OK to spend money that you don’t have just to accumulate more points to get a particular gift item. And finally, please don’t ever purchase points for cash!

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{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

T S Ashok May 9, 2012 at 10:02 AM


For me it was a bad experience. I am using hdfc credit card. i got message that if we get more than 500 points(100rs = 1 point), I will get a big gift like your bag(i forgot..). I spent like any thing to get that point.. i made all the purchases(shopping, petrol, gas, train tkt,etc.,..). But after getting th epoints, i was expecting. I did not get any thing. Customer care people told that it is only for the selected lucky customers!!.After that i never use credit card unless it is emergency..(My friend is using citibank card inwhich he will get 1 rupee reward for 1 point while filling the petrol.(Rs.250 = 1 point). He is spending a lot thru the card to get the free petrol(!!). I am shouting on him not to do it..what do u say..

Jason May 9, 2012 at 2:44 PM

I redeem these points for HPCL fuel vouchers, found that good value for money instead of the items. But view point differs from people to people.

Rakesh May 9, 2012 at 7:53 PM

I have accumulate a few on my credit card but never bothered about redemption.
As long as i get cash back i am happy.

vikrant May 10, 2012 at 5:38 PM

Indeed they are, i just redeemed 16000 points and got SS vouchers for 4k :) now we were lucky as earlier when payback was i mint, the points never expired, but now it does, your points will expire in 3 years from the time you have gained it and if you dont use it. that’s ridiculous for someone like us cause we would never make so many points to get something conclusive.

Vinaya H S May 13, 2012 at 12:01 AM

@T S Ashok –

Bad luck! Seems like you didn’t receive the complete information (the fine print!). I use a HDFC Bank Credit Card myself. Have been accumulating and redeeming points without any problem.

@Jason –

Free petrol is always welcome. :-) I didn’t see these vouchers when I redeemed my points else would have definitely opted for them.

Vinaya H S May 13, 2012 at 12:02 AM

@vikrant –

Thanks for the tip on the expiry of points. Didn’t know that.

Siddhant May 17, 2012 at 3:12 PM

In case anybody is not interested in redemption of the Credit card points, i would suggest redeeming them for Charity, all the Card companies have this option,

Just a better use use than letting the points lapse…..

Ashutosh Tewari October 12, 2012 at 10:52 AM

I use the reward points on my credit card to book movie tickets ( has an option to redeem Credit Card/Payback points).

The credit card is used for all the normal/planned expenses through the month and I pay the full outstanding amount as soon as my salary is credited. Like you mentioned, even I stay away from making unplanned expenses, just because of some special offer. So this way part of the monthly entertainment expense is covered without any extra spending.

Vinaya H S October 12, 2012 at 11:27 AM

@Ashutosh –

Didn’t know that accepts Payback points. Thanks for the tip. :-) You just made my movie watching inexpensive. :-)

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