When I first started intensively researching credit cards, I did it with one purpose: to maximize as much spend as possible other than on zhap chye png.
In a previous post, I shared that in credit cards, as far as possible, I always look to rack up air miles. Without going into the mechanics, here’s a MileLion article on why you should always look to rack up air miles. The only thing I would add to the list is the hassle of maintaining some minimum spend on each card – monitoring what card to use for which purpose is already bad enough. Now, I’m no Moneysmart or Valuepenguin, so this is just to document how I personally maximize my credit cards. It’s safe to say that all my future writings on this topic will also be for gaining maximum air miles on every transaction, so just keep that in mind moving forward.
Now, let’s talk about spend. After monitoring my spend for 1 month, I came to the shocking conclusion of how my credit card spend pans out:
Travel: None this month
Entertainment: None this month (yes, I don’t watch movies, and didn’t have a single time to watch a play or go for karaoke)
Of course, not all these are personal expenses, they include the occasional company expense too. But for the purposes of estimating credit card spend, this should be the rough figure, given slight differences of month-on-month expenditure.
Here’s the detailed breakdown of spend on each card:
Citibank Rewards – 4 miles
The base selling point of this card is the 10X Rewards for all spend on shoes, bags, clothing and departmental stores, whether local, online or overseas. The sweet seal to the deal was a 20X rewards for Amazon promotion which of course resulted in my credit card being temporarily blocked on suspicion of fraud due to high volumes of transaction on the Amazon Kindle store.
Use case: All shopping purchases, up to a maximum of S$12,000 clocked on 10X Rewards per year, or maximum S$1,000 spent on 10X Rewards shopping per month.
DBS Altitude – 3 miles
I see this card as a card purely for travel purposes – because I go overseas on business trips occasionally and have the occasional staycation, it would be nice to earn 3 miles on each transaction. With foreign currency being awarded 2 miles per dollar, it makes sense for my online spend on Paypal and Upwork. It also doubles as a nice general spending card with 1.2 miles per dollar spend, rather than maintaining another general spending card like Citi PremierMiles, which is comparable in terms of annual fee and air miles award. My general spending is not high enough for me to want to maximize it, so I don’t feel the 0.2 miles difference at all.
Use case: All travel purchases (capped at S$5,000 per month) and foreign currency transactions.
DBS Woman’s World Mastercard – 4 miles
I don’t go out a lot, which explains the S$1,400 spend I have online. Of course, I very much want to maximize this. Not all of this is spent on shopping, most of it actually comes from paying virtual assistants and software costs. Getting 4 miles per online transaction is a really sweet deal, enough said. I’ve heard this applies for Grab and Uber too, which would give me miles on a S$500 chunk of spending each month! Hopefully this works for Paypal and FEVO, if it does then maybe it’s time to ask the zhap chye png uncle if he’s interested in getting a debit machine for his roving business.
Use case: All online transactions (capped at S$2,000 per month), after which I’d switch to the DBS Altitude for foreign currency transactions and HSBC Revolution for local online transactions.
HSBC Revolution – 2 miles
Now, I know 2 miles is really quite petty compared to the competitive 4 mile rates you’ve been seeing above, but the mandate for this card is clear – to give me some award on my dining. I’ve heard about the UOB PP Amex and Visa and made one last ditch attempt to apply for that sweet sweet 4 miles per dollar spend on dining deal, but as much as the confirmation SMS assures me that I’ll be receiving my card soon, I’m not banking much hope on it.
Use case: All online transactions that wouldn’t earn points on any cards above – ie. insurance, etc, dining, and entertainment spend.
UOB Visa Signature – 4 miles
I know this card comes with a ton of caveats, and so I have an equally specific use case for it. You only earn 4 miles per dollar spend if (a) you have S$1,000 in forex spend OR (b) you have S$1,000 in Paywave or petrol spend (excl. Shell). Crazy, right? And to add to the raving madness, it only offers you 4mpd for a maximum of S$2,000 per month. In short, no practical use for it in Singapore (unless you manage to clock 9 transactions of close to S$100 each). I’ll only use this when I’m overseas on long trips or buying expensive items overseas that I don’t want on my Citibank card, and not just shopping, because there’s already Citibank Rewards for that.
Use case: Only for trips overseas when I know I will spend S$1,000 at least. Which is no mean feat, trust me.
UOB Preferred Platinum Visa – 4 miles
Slightly more useful version of the card above, this grants you 4mpd for any payWave transaction, as well as online shopping and entertainment (I have less uses for this). My HSBC Revolution hasn’t been approved yet, so I’ll use this for food in the meantime – 4 mpd for food via payWave sounds like a pretty good deal since most food places I’ve been to have payWave. Will also use this for entertainment since it gives me 2mpd more than the HSBC Revolution. As with all UOB cards though, take note that whereever you’re eating/dining at doesn’t fall under the SMART$ merchant list – you can cross-check here.
Use case: For all food transactions that use payWave, and entertainment before the HSBC Revolution.
There we have it, six very valuable cards that will hopefully help me to achieve my ambitious miles travel goals in good time. We’ll review how this arrangement pans out at the end of June.