UPDATE: Refer to the American Express and Singapore Airlines co-brand Credit Card guide HERE for latest information!
If you hold The American Express® Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer Ascend Credit Card, some (favourable and unfavourable) changes are coming your way on 01 May 2016. As a disclaimer, the following changes will only come into effect from 01 May 2016 and at the time of publishing, these changes are still inactive. Here is a summary of the upcoming changes that will come your way:
1. Spend S$15,000 on Singapore Airlines for KrisFlyer Gold Elite (Star Alliance Gold)
The first thing you will probably notice is that you are now able to "purchase" Star Alliance Gold if you spend S$15,000 on Singapore Airlines between 01 May 2016 and 30 June 2016. Do note that if you do travel on premium cabins, this S$15,000 will go towards the S$25,000 required for PPS qualification (which gives you KrisFlyer Gold Elite too!) - click HERE to read the guide on obtaining elite status on KrisFlyer (Singapore Airlines). For a limited time only, you will also earn double miles (up to 5,000 bonus miles) if you do spend S$15,000 on Singapore Airlines.
2. Earn 1.2 Miles per S$1
You will now earn 1.2 Miles per S$1 which is on par with cards like the Citibank PremierMiles Visa Signature Credit Card. With that being said, the bonus 300 KrisFlyer miles for every additional S$500 (above S$1,000) you spend in the same month will be discontinued. As a consolation, American Express is offering a bump in accrual rates between the months of June 2016 and December 2016 for foreign currency spend (2 miles per S$1 of equivalent foreign currency).
3. Annual Fee Increase to S$337.05
Annual Fee will increase from S$256.80 (inclusive of GST) to S$337.05.
Spend at least S$500 on eligible in-app as well as online purchases from 29 March 2018 to 30 June 2018 with your DBS/POSB cards to win either S$50 worth of coupon or cash! Registration is absolutely necessary and you will have to do it via the new DBS Lifestyle App - limited to the first 10,000 registrations only (but at the time of writing there is still plenty).
As some of you may know, the UOB PVRI Miles Visa Card is a Visa Infinite credit card even though it is not marketed as one - the card face simply shows Visa (without Platinum, Signature or Visa Infinite branding under it). It seems that from 01 April 2018 however, UOB will be making it a Visa Signature card officially. There will be no changes to the earn rates and you will continue to earn miles (in the form of UNI$s) on local and overseas spend at 1.4 and 2.4 miles per dollar respectively.
The Citi Rewards Card runs a 20X Rewards promotion from time to time with selected partners and this time round, cardholders will be able to earn 20 points per S$1 (equivalent to 8 miles per dollar) on all eligible transactions made at Duty Free Singapore (DFS), Takashimaya and TANGS between 23 March and 03 May 2018.
UOB used to be one of the banks to go to for credit cards (especially for us mile-chasers) and at one point in my life, I have held over five credit cards from this bank alone. I loved that the fact that the UNI$s (the name for UOB's point currency) accrued from all cards were pooled into a singular account (which means you only paid the FFP transfer fee once) and how they seem to have a card for every significant purpose. However, in my opinion, the bank has gone downhill from where it was, at least where credit cards are concerned.
Now it has been almost six months since I have last written about Mileslife and in case you have forgotten what it is (or you are new to this platform), it is basically a way for you to make payment to a selection of merchants which in-turn earns you more miles - there are no fees involved in using this so it is a win-win situation for both parties! If you do not already have an account, you will have to download the app on your mobile phone (using my referral link gets you 1,000 bonus miles extra!). From 24-28 February 2018, enjoy double miles on all dining transactions made on Mileslife!
American Express is currently offering the opportunity to earn S$150 statement credit when you spend at least S$500 at any of the participating properties across the Hilton Portfolio in Asia-Pacific with your American Express Singapore Airlines Credit Card. Cardholders can only benefit from the S$150 statement credit once per property but there are over 70 properties that are participating in this promotion!
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.