My Personal Choice of Credit Cards to Hold (in my Wallet) for 2018 - Which Credit Cards to Carry in Singapore?

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.

Credit Cards in My Physical Wallet

1. Citi Rewards Visa Card - The (Physical) Shopping Card

 Photo Credit: Citibank Singapore

Photo Credit: Citibank Singapore

The Citi Rewards Card is one of my first credit cards and surprisingly after all these years, it has still managed to keep its place in my wallet. While the card does offer 10X Rewards (equivalent to 4 miles per dollar) on certain online purchases, it also gives you the same bonus earn rate for eligible expenses that are charged to the card physically - this includes shopping at department stores as well as many other retail stores that sell shoes, clothes or bags. Even though I probably do not shop on a regular basis, knowing that I have a credit card that gives 4 miles per dollar somewhat justifies the price of that winter coat I have been eyeing. Besides, who plans to shop anyway? It usually just happens. For all shopping done online, I alternate between this card and the DBS Woman's World Mastercard (more information below). Citi Rewards Visa Cardholders can also benefit from 20X Rewards (8 miles per dollar!) on all eligible purchases made on Lazada (until 31 December 2017) and on the Amazon Prime Now App (29 January 2018). 

Additional Information: Citi Rewards Card
Minimum Annual Income Requirement: S$30,000

2. OCBC VOYAGE Card - The (Backup) Dining Card

 Photo Cedit: OCBC Singapore

Photo Cedit: OCBC Singapore

The OCBC VOYAGE Card is a rather sexy credit card that is made out of metal and I keep it in my wallet for one of the following dining purposes:

  • Contactless payment is unavailable at the restaurant (in which case I will not come back); or 
  • Contactless payment is unavailable because terminal is broken today (in which case I may or may not revisit the restaurant); or
  • The dining bill exceeds S$100 and the contactless card reader does not accept Apple Pay.

The OCBC VOYAGE Card currently (at the time of writing) offers 2.3 VOYAGE Miles per S$1 and while this does not make it the best dining credit card in Singapore, it does not have any minimum spend requirements (which makes it extremely lucrative in my opinion). This credit card comes with a decent range of benefits but it is definitely worth noting that the earn rate for dining expenses will be brought down to 1.6 VOYAGE Miles per S$1 from 01 January 2018. While that is in itself quite a shame, the earn rate on retail spend has been increased from 1.0 to 1.2 and the limousine benefit (which you can get from spend S$3,000) is a nice touch. With all that being said, most of the places that I go to for meals accept contactless payments which means I get 4.0 miles per dollar anyway (with other cards - more information below) so this is really not a big deal to me. 

Additional Information: OCBC VOYAGE Card
Minimum Annual Income Requirement: S$120,000 (S$30,000 for Premier Banking Customers)

3. Citi PremierMiles Visa Card - The (Boutique) Staycation Card

 Photo Credit: Citibank Singapore

Photo Credit: Citibank Singapore

The Citi PremierMiles is an interesting card and from time to time, Citibank does something crazy (but good!) like offering you the opportunity to purchase 31,200 Citi Miles for S$238 after spending S$9,000. The credit card gives 1.2 miles per dollar on all eligible retail spend and 2.0 miles per dollar on all eligible transactions charged in a foreign currency which is decent but not great. What I use this card for the most however is for hotel bookings since I can currently get 15% off hotel bookings on Expedia (there is a rather long list of hotels that are not participating though!). You can easily stack this with ShopBack so you are potentially looking at up to 26% off - you do not earn qualifying nights or elite status on hotel loyalty programs this way though so I would only recommend it if you are staying in a boutique property or do not care about loyalty statuses. 

Additional Information: Citi PremierMiles Visa Card
Sign-up for ShopBack and Get S$5: ShopBack
Minimum Annual Income Requirement: S$50,000

4. Standard Chartered Visa Infinite Credit Card - The Everything Else Card

 Photo Credit: Standard Chartered Singapore

Photo Credit: Standard Chartered Singapore

Not to be confused with the Priority Banking Visa Infinite Credit Card, the Visa Infinite Credit Card (which you can apply even if you are not a Priority Banking customer) has a non-waivable annual fee of S$588.50 each year. You do get 35,000 bonus miles on the first year so it makes plenty of sense to get the card since it is the cheapest way to purchase miles through credit card annual fees in Singapore. This is my go-to card for everything that does not fit into the bonus spending spectrum - this means to say that if a particular transaction does not fall into the '4 miles per dollar' or dining/shopping category, I am going to charge it to the Standard Chartered Visa Infinite Credit Card. The base earn rate for this credit card is 1.0 miles per dollar which is fairly miserable but it goes up to 1.4 miles and 3.0 miles per dollar for local and foreign currency transactions respectively once a minimum sum of S$2,000 is met in each statement period. More importantly, this card also gives you 20% cashback on Uber rides globally (capped at S$50 cashback per month) when you spend at least S$900 (which I do not have to worry about meeting since I always strive to hit the S$2,000 minimum). This credit card also gives a number of interesting benefits for cardholders like the privilege to access the outdoor infinity pool at The Fullerton Hotel Singapore. 

Additional Information: Standard Chartered Visa Infinite Credit Card
Minimum Annual Income Requirement: S$150,000 (S$30,000 for Priority Banking Customers)

Credit Cards in My Digital Wallet (e.g. Apple Pay)

Even though I do carry the four cards that I have mentioned above, most of my day-to-day transactions are made using my iPhone and therefore a lot of the smaller transactions actually earn 4 miles per dollar (read on to find out more). 

1. DBS Woman's World Mastercard - The S$2,000 Monthly Online Card

 Photo Credit: DBS Singapore

Photo Credit: DBS Singapore

if you are still surprised that I am holding a woman's card, you are completely out of whack and out of touch with the credit card market in Singapore. The DBS Woman's World Mastercard is held by most mile-chasers in Singapore since it essentially gives you 4 miles per dollar on the first S$2,000 that you spend each month. If you max out this benefit each month, you could potentially be earning up to 96,000 miles per year when you charge S$2,000 each month to this credit card. Like every credit card in the market, there is a list of exclusion but trust me when I say that this card is one of the most generous and forging credit cards since it includes things like hotel bookings and flight tickets as well. There are two version of the DBS Woman's Card so make sure you apply for the World Mastercard version (do note the higher annual income requirement though) since it gives more miles for your dollar (up to 4 miles per dollar instead of just 2). 

Additional Information: DBS Woman's World Mastercard
Minimum Annual Income Requirement: S$80,000

2. DBS Altitude Visa Signature Credit Card - The (Backup) Card for Online Travel Purchases

 Photo Credit: DBS Singapore

Photo Credit: DBS Singapore

While I would typically use the DBS Woman's World Mastercard for staycations in Singapore since I usually stay one night and it rarely exceeds S$2,000 a night, I do sometimes switch to the DBS Altitude Visa Signature Credit Card once that S$2,000 has been met. This usually happens due to poor planning on my part (e.g. charging S$2,000 worth of online retail transactions to the DBS Woman's World Mastercard when it could have been charged to say, the Citi Rewards Card instead) or when I have a major travel purchase (e.g. purchasing a revenue-based Business Class ticket which costs more than S$2,667 - purchasing a flight which costs S$2,665 on the DBS Woman's World MasterCard still gives me more miles). The DBS Altitude Visa Signature Credit Card gives 3 miles per dollar on all eligible online flight and hotel transactions (capped at S$5,000 per month). Do note that you can also use this card on ShopBack to get up to 11% cashback on hotel transactions made on Expedia (and get 3 miles per dollar!) but you will not be able to benefit from the 15% discount code since it requires a Citibank credit card. Get this card with the DBS Woman's World Mastercard and you will be able to spend earn 4 miles per dollar for up to S$7,000 worth of travel-related spend each month - DBS Points from both cards pool into the same account as well so you will only have to pay a single conversion fee when you do so. 

Additional Information: DBS Altitude Visa Signature Credit Card
Minimum Annual Income Requirement: S$30,000

3. OCBC Titanium Rewards Credit Card (Blue and Pink) - The Apple Pay Card

 Photo Credit: OCBC Singapore

Photo Credit: OCBC Singapore

I personally credit my monthly salary to the OCBC 360 account and the OCBC Titanium Rewards Credit Card helps to hit that S$500 requirement for that 0.3% p.a. bonus interest (not much I know but hey, if you are going to spend, make it work). The OCBC Titanium Rewards Credit Card comes in two colours - Blue and Pink - and each one of them has an annual limit of 120,000 bonus points that you can earn which means that you will only be able to earn 4 miles per dollar on all eligible categories on the first S$12.000 that you spend on the card. Having two cards (even though pink is yucky) mean you have the bandwidth to spend up to S$24,000 - of course feel free to evaluate how much you could potentially spend in the year ahead before applying for both cards immediately. According to OCBC, the annual fee of this card is waived automatically if you spend S$10,000 a year but I will confirm this very soon. The OCBC Titanium Rewards Credit Card is currently offering 4 miles per dollar for all mobile payments until 31 December 2018. Use this card to buy your new iPhone or MacBook Pro if you are purchasing from the Apple Store online. 

Additional Information: OCBC Titanium Rewards Credit Card
Minimum Annual Income Requirement: S$30,000

4. UOB Preferred Platinum Visa Credit Card - The (Last Resort) Apple Pay Card

 Photo Credit: UOB Singapore

Photo Credit: UOB Singapore

I am personally trying to cash out on all my UNI$ as I have plans to cancel all my UOB credit cards to consolidate points but more importantly to streamline processes. Even though I used to think that UOB was the best bank in terms of earning miles, things have definitely changed in the year as mobile payments get more popular in Singapore. The UOB Preferred Platinum Visa Credit Card is my backup Apple Pay card since it gives 20 miles per S$5 - the rounding may not be significant but I would pick a card that awards points and miles in S$1 intervals over S$5 any day. This card is decent for online purchases since it gives you too a 4 miles per dollar equivalent earn rate but the list of exclusions is quite extensive. I would personally recommend for you to stay away from this card if possible since the annual fee waiver each year is troublesome - it requires you to pick up a phone and go through a series of options. 

Additional Information: UOB Preferred Platinum Visa Credit Card
Minimum Annual Income Requirement: S$30,000