I knew I had to share this piece of news the moment I saw it - not because American Express is ranked number 1 again in the 2016 Singapore Credit Card Satisfaction Study but because it has been quantified and how often do you actually see a press release with a graph?! According to the study, the overall satisfaction index ranking is based on a 1,000-point scale and American Express has come up on top with 738 points, beating the study average by 41 points.
What is more interesting to see however is that UOB is ranked the lowest at 678 Points, 19 points shy of the study average. Everyone knows I love the UOB suite of cards - it contributes the most to my miles each month which in turn results in fantastic (and free!) premium cabin flights like this. The study shows that amongst cardholders who pick their cards based on cashback, the overall satisfaction is 712. UOB has terrible cashback cards - the best is probably the UOB Visa Signature Credit Card which gives 5% (upon satisfying a number of conditions) and I guess it is difficult to compete with products like the Standard Chartered SingPost Platinum Visa Credit Card which gives up to 7% cashback - interestingly enough, Standard Chartered is ranked fourth lowest in the latest study as well.
If you look at how the scores are being calculated, Interaction gets a 36% weightage and we all know for a fact that American Express is the market leader on this - if you have spoken to a customer service officer from ANZ or UOB, you will know exactly how much better AmEx is in this component. If you look past the amazing dining benefits that American Express cardholders have with a number of hotels and restaurants, the rewards and benefits on these cards are actually terrible so I can only imagine how badly UOB scored on interaction in order to warrant the last spot on the list.
The article does raise an interesting point about how cashback rewards are slowly losing its lustre - so the only question in my head is this: Are consumers in Singapore finally seeing points and miles for what it is worth?
Last year there was the opportunity to fast track into Hilton Honors Gold status with just 2 stays or 4 nights for all eligible Visa Infinite Cardholders. It appears that Visa has officially extended this offer to 30 June 2018 and eligible cards now include not only the top-tier Visa Infinite cards but also Visa Signature cards (which is shocking, considering how easy it is to get!). Similar to the previous offer, a Hilton Honors member must complete 2 eligible stays or 4 eligible nights in 90 days upon successful registration - status earned should be valid until March 2020
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.