Last month, I wrote about the benefits of having the OCBC Frank Credit Card since it offers 6% rebates for most online purchases and at the same time, the S$500 minimum spending also triggers the 0.5% interest bonus on the OCBC 360 account. Starting 01 October 2015, this card will have a revised earning rate (across different categories) and the minimum spending required will change as well. In other words (and most definitely in gaming terms), this card's been nerfed! Here are some reasons to cancel your OCBC Frank Credit Card come next month and OCBC has conveniently put together a list of changes (old vs new) that I thought was pretty honourable but it is not going to change my decision to cancel this card:
1. Minimum Spend Excludes Online Transactions
Initially all you had to do was to spend S$500 eligible spend online and you will be able to receive a S$30 rebate (and trigger your OCBC 360 0.5% bonus interest rate). Assuming you have S$60,000 in your account, spending just S$500 on FRANK will trigger a grand total of S$55 (S$30 from FRANK + S$25 from OCBC 360) - 11% cashback is not bad at all! Come 01 October 2015 however, you will have to accumulate S$400 on offline retail spend before you can receive 6% on your online spend. Even though it is not particularly difficult to clock up S$400 on offline retail spend, other cards out there will definitely serve you better in your quest to become the next miles/cashback warrior.
2. FlashPay ATUs Exclusions
FlashPay ATUs (which you can use to take the public transport in Singapore) used to be awarded 6% cashback while qualifying for the S$500 minimum spending each month (up to S$100). However, FlashPay ATUs will now "enjoy" a 3% cash back reduction instead. Additionally, these FlashPay ATUs will not count towards the S$400 minimum spending each month required to trigger the 6% rebates.
3. Annual Fees and Rebate Caps
Sure, no one pays for annual fees anymore (with some exceptions to the super elite credit cards of course) so increasing the annual fee from S$32.10 to S$80 may not be a big deal (since most of us are able to get successful waiver anyway) but still not a cool move when you are clawing back on benefits. Cashback rebates also used to be capped at S$60 per month for online spend and no limit on the rest (at a pathetic 0.5%). With the new terms and conditions in place however, cashback rebates will be capped at S$60, period. This means that if you spend S$400 on your OCBC Frank Credit Card on the rather vague category of Cinemas, Bars, Clubs, KTVs and Selected Cafes on Weekends (Friday to Sunday) only, you will only receive 6% rebate on all online purchases up to S$666.67 each month only. Every other cent you spend online after this amount will give you a grand total of ZERO cents rebate.
So thanks but no thanks OCBC, I'm taking my business with this OCBC Frank Credit Card elsewhere.
While most of us elite status-chasers do not use Expedia much (since it does not earn you elite-qualifying nights which contribute towards elite status each year), it can sometimes make sense to consider using Expedia when you are planning to stay in a property that does not belong to a greater loyalty program or one that you have no interest in. What a lot of people do not realise is that most banks in Singapore offer a discount code for hotel reservations made via a specific landing page. At the time of writing, Citibank offers the most generous discount of 15% off all participating properties where the 'Expedia Rate' is available - there is also only a one-night minimum stay for this promo code.
While it is no secret that OCBC VOYAGE Cardholders will now earn a reduced rate of 1.6 VOYAGE Miles per dollar on dining and enjoy a higher base rate of 1.2 VOYAGE Miles per dollar on all eligible retail spend charged in SGD, what a lot of people do not realise (myself included!) is that the cardholders of the OCBC Premier VOYAGE Credit Card, OCBC Premier Private Client VOYAGE Credit Card and Bank of Singapore VOYAGE Card now earn 1.6 VOYAGE Miles per dollar on all eligible retail spend - this is extremely generous as it is in line with the highly exclusive UOB Reserve Card - a credit card for UOB Privilege Reserve Clients with S$2,000,000 in deposits/investments with the bank.
As the year comes to an end, I thought that it would be interesting to reevaluate which cards to physically hold in my wallet for the year ahead. While most of the best credit cards for 2017 (in my opinion) have made it into the 2018 list, the diffusion of innovation has seen the digitisation of many credit cards as contactless payment becomes more prominent in Singapore. This is by no means an exhaustive list of credit cards to apply for (since the recommendation varies from person to person) but rather an indication to which credit cards I am holding physically and digitally for the new year ahead.
I think it fairly clear by now that I favour earning miles over cash back on any given that. Do not get me wrong though - ultimately, cash is king and if you were to offer me a million dollars or a million miles, I would simply go for the former (I think!). The only reason I pick miles over cash back is simple - there isn't a cash back in Singapore (or perhaps anywhere in the world) that offers as much value as what a miles card can give. I tend to take Uber (or Grab) quite a bit in Singapore as well as overseas and one of the questions that I often get from friends is which credit card to use for these rides. Assuming you already have an Uber (click HERE to register otherwise) and Grab account, these are the credit cards that you should probably use for the most bang for your buck (in order of recommendation).
Following the amazing opportunity to purchase 31,200 Citi Miles for S$238, Citibank is now offering Citi PremierMiles Visa Cardholders the opportunity to earn up to 3.5 Citi Miles per dollar (S$1) on all eligible foreign currency transactions charged to this card between 01 December 2017 and 31 January 2018. Registration is absolutely necessary and enrollment needs to be done before you charge the minimum sum to your credit card.
The OCBC VOYAGE Card will be reducing the Voyage Miles (VMs) accrual rate on dining spend from 2.3 VMs per dollar to 1.6 VMs per dollar effective 01 January 2018. Cardmembers will however be able to benefit from a boost in the base earn rate - you will soon be able to earn 1.2 VMs (instead of 1.0 VMs) per dollar on all local retail transactions. Transactions charged in foreign currency will continue to earn 2.3 VMs per dollar (in equivalent SGD).
About a week ago, I saw the new Bank of China (BOC) Zaobao Credit Card and I almost choked on the water that I was drinking. This sounds almost as ludicrous as the co-branded card with Secret Recipe and Diners Club (there's one for Long Beach too!) and upon further investigation the new BOC Zaobao (which is essentially a Chinese newspaper in Singapore in case anyone was wondering) Credit Card apparently offers up to 20% cash rebates!
The Citi Rewards Card is one of the best credit cards in Singapore to hold in my opinion - it offers 4 miles per dollar on shopping expenses (this includes spend in departmental stores as well) and from time to time it partners up with a merchant to offer 20X Rewards which is equivalent to a whooping 8 miles per S$1. From now until the end of 31 December 2017, cardholders will be able to earn 8 miles per dollar on all eligible transactions made on Lazada or via the Amazon Prime Now App.
While Singaporeans have been able to use an eligible Mastercard for train and bus rides since 20 March 2017, UOB has just announced that customers using the PRVI Mastercard can now earn 1.4 miles per S$1 on all eligible rides in the Account-Based Ticketing (ABT) pilot with Land Transport Authority (LTA) and TransitLink. Even though the UOB PRVI Mastercard gives out 3.5 UNI$ per S$5, transactions in the ABT are processed and charged after a total of S$15 is spent on transit fares or after the charges have been accumulated for up to 5 days - whichever is earlier.
The OCBC Titanium Rewards Card is one of the best credit cards to hold in Singapore - especially if you shop for electronics, clothing or simply use mobile payments (like Apple Pay) a lot. I have previously covered the card in detail where I have also compared it to the Citi Rewards Card which is a credit card for similar purposes. There is currently a targeted opportunity to earn up to 6 miles (15 OCBC$) per SGD on the OCBC Titanium Rewards Card. The word through the grapevine is that OCBC will be extending the 10X OCBC$ on Mobile Payments (supposed to end on 30 September 2017) and they have actually included a Lounge Key Benefit in recent months.