If you do not have a UOB Preferred Platinum American Express card which gives 4 miles per dollar on dining, chances are that you are now unable to apply for it anymore - existing cardholders should have them until they expire. The greatest alternative to the aforementioned card is probably the HSBC Advance Visa Platinum card but did you know that you have to be a HSBC Advance account holder in order to apply?
What is HSBC Advance?
It is a type of preferred bank account with HSBC. While it may not require as much funds (usually S$200,000) as a Priority Bank Account, you still need to maintain a minimum balance of S$30,000. HSBC does not require you to put everything upfront though - all you have to do is satisfy one of the following conditions:
- Home Loan with an initial loan quantum of at least S$200,000
- Salary credit of S$3,750 per month, with 24 months grace period from Advance relationship opening to reach Total Relationship Balance of at least S$30,000
- Reoccurring deposit of at least S$2,500 per month, with 24 months grace period from Advance relationship opening to reach Total Relationship Balance of at least S$30,000
What does the HSBC Advance Visa Platinum Give You?
As summarised in the image above, the HSBC Advance Visa Platinum will give you 10X Rewards (equivalent to 4 miles per S$1) when you charge eligible Dining, Online and Local Entertainment transactions. You will earn 1X Rewards points when you make an eligible transaction and the 9X bonus Rewards points will be credited into the Account by the last day of the following calendar month.
Online EZ-Link or Transitlink transactions will be capped at S$200 spend per month - you can still earn up to 800 miles from these transactions each month. There is no annual fee on this card so long your HSBC Advance account is in good standing.
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.
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.