2019 brings exciting news in the realm of cards, including the introduction of BOC’s Elite World Mastercard and much-needed upgrades to Citibank Rewards as well as (finally!) the UOB Lady’s Card. My spending patterns have also changed drastically given the entrance of my two furkids, so I undertook a huge credit card strategy revamp this year.

Let’s get right into it.

Each of these cards has been carefully selected to maximize spend in certain categories, so stay with me as I break it down!

DBS Woman’s World Mastercard

This is by far one of my favourite cards. I max out this SGD 2k religiously every month and it has paid off so handsomely in my Krisflyer account. An added bonus to this is that DBS has now waived the points transfer fee — for a flat SGD 42 a year, any miles I have are transferred to Krisflyer in blocks of 500 points at the start of each quarter. I now have a beautiful 235k Krisflyer miles, and I haven’t even transferred from my other rewards programmes yet!

I use this card to pay for all online purchases – I shop for a lot online. From air tickets and hotels to iHerb and Redmart, as long as there is no more outstanding offer on another card, this is my default fallback. Consider this my safety net card!

tl;dr: Use for all online spend, with a focus on items that cannot be otherwise spent on Citibank Rewards or OCBC Titanium.

Citibank Rewards Mastercard/Visa Card

The Citibank Rewards Visa was my first-ever credit card received in the mail and there’s a special attachment to that one, but for most purposes (including aesthetic ones, I must admit), the Mastercard makes me happier. With the recent inclusion of all online spend other than travel, I use this to catch any overflow of spending from the DBS WWMC.

As a bonus, EVA Air is one of my favourite airlines, and my Citi Rewards almost exclusively goes into funding trips on EVA Air!

tl;dr: Use for all online shopping spend (and save DBS WWMC for travel deals!)

PS: Certain reports on the Milelion Telegram group still say that CRV still gives 10x on GrabPay top-ups, so I’ll be milking that for all it’s worth. Do note that Grab Rides and Grab Food have a different MCC from GrabPay so you can still use this to order rides and food delivery.

UOB Visa Signature

Ah, the close second-runner for my favourite card of all time. First off, this card looks incredible. I love pulling it out of my wallet and using it — after all, cards should spark joy, right? (I’m looking at the ugly ass Lady’s Card and wondering why UOB couldn’t just extend their design sensibilities to that one.)

With my recent change in lifestyle habits, I have newfound usage for this card. I used to keep my UOB Preferred Platinum Visa for all contactless payments, but due to an uptick in travel and the fact that I’ve moved out from home and drive more, I use this for foreign currency transactions, petrol AND contactless, giving me a neat ~S$2k on this card per month. This is great stacked on top of the DBS WWMC for a total of 16k miles every month!

tl;dr: Use for all foreign currency, contactless and petrol expenditure.

Do note that this card requires a min. spend of S$1,000 to be eligible for 4mpd, and anything <S$1,000 or >S$2,000 will net you a measly 0.4mpd.

Bank of China Elite Miles World Mastercard

I won’t lie, I blanched when I first saw the card. I mean, how much gaudier can this get? But then again, coming into saturated Singaporean credit card market is a ballsy move, so all the better if the card catches some eyes.

Unbeatable as the top choice for general spend both locally and overseas, the BOC card is backup for the rare shop that doesn’t accept contactless transactions. I find they’re quite few and far between nowadays, but it’s good to reach into my pocket and know it’s there for that one odd situation.

tl;dr: Use for everything that falls through the cracks!

OCBC Titanium Rewards

I never really intended to keep this card — I applied for it while I was going berserk at IKEA last year and genuinely never expected to continue using it. However, given the beautiful extension of 4mpd at some key merchants including Ikea, Taobao, Lazada, Amazon, Mustafa and Courts, I’m more than inclined to put all my online and offline spend at these places on this card. I basically registered this card to all these sites and left it there as a quick payment solution. I never see it, I never even pull it out of my pocket, but I can already see it serving me well this year.

tl;dr: If you’re a big spender at these merchants, this card may be worth it for you. Otherwise, give it a miss. Also doesn’t reward 10mpd at places like Watsons/Guardian/Sephora, so just be aware of that!

UOB Preferred Platinum AMEX

Unicorns should all come in this colour, should they not? I’m not a big spender on dining (and most places accept contactless payments anyway) but this has served me well in many posh restaurants both local and overseas. However, this is capped at a max. spending of S$6k a year, or S$500 a month, so I’m quite careful not to exceed that and only use this when really necessary.

tl;dr: If you have it, use it up to S$500 a month, and no more!


A note on GrabPay

Of all the wallets in Singapore, I’d say I use 90% of the major players, including FavePay and Alipay. However, GrabPay remains my favourite service to use purely based on how ubiquitous it is. I had a good run with my BOC Elite World, but now that GrabPay is explicitly excluded, I’ve gone back to using my UOB PRVI Miles Visa to top up Grab (up to a cap of S$200 per calendar month). It’s a pity, but S$200 is not too shabby either — mostly enough for my hawker runs and the occasional wet market stall.

Cards I Cancelled

As you can see, this plan is vastly different from what I used to have in 2017 and 2018, so I ended up axing many cards, including:

HSBC Advance, once the promotion ran out
HSBC Revolution, the 2mpd wasn’t worth it once I stopped using Ez-Link and moved to ABT for public transport
UOB Preferred Platinum Visa, on the verge of having it cancelled since I really don’t foresee my contactless payments exceeding S$1.5k a month
DBS Altitude, also on the verge given how it doesn’t really stack well against all the other travel cards available.

I don’t own the Maybank Horizon Visa as I feel there’ll be plenty of orphan points given that it’s only my third choice for all the spending categories it’s optimized for. Neither do I own the Citibank Premiermiles card due to its poor accrual rates. I haven’t owned any Amex branded cards though that may change in future according to their new product offerings!


There, a quick sum-up of the cards I have in my wallet (both physical and digital) right now. I do have some more back-up cards, but let’s take a quick walkthrough of cards based on spend type.

Online — Travel / Air Tickets

Choice #1: DBS Women’s World Mastercard
Choice #2: UOB Lady’s Card (I use this in months where I have ridiculous travel spend) Backup: UOB PRVI Miles (10mpd on selected OTAs via the PRVI Miles site) / DBS Altitude

Online — Travel / Hotel

Choice #1: DBS Women’s World Mastercard
Choice #2: UOB PRVI Miles (10mpd on selected OTAs via the PRVI Miles site)
Backup: UOB Lady’s Card / DBS Altitude

(Reason why the order of UOB PRVI Miles and Lady’s Cards are switched for air tickets and hotel is because I am much more inclined to book a hotel via Agoda.com/prvimiles than an air ticket via the UOB site. Personal preferences.)

Online — Non-travel (Beauty, Pets, Shopping, Books)

Choice #1: Citibank Rewards MC/Visa
Choice #2: OCBC Titanium Rewards
Backup: DBS Women’s World Mastercard

Foreign Currency — in-person spending

Choice #1: UOB Visa Signature
Choice #2: BOC Elite Miles
Backup: UOB PRVI Miles

Dining

Choice #1: UOB Preferred Platinum AMEX
Choice #2: See “Contactless Payment”
Backup: Maybank Horizon Visa (if you have it, I don’t yet, for fear of orphan miles)

Petrol

Choice #1: UOB Visa Signature
Choice #2: BOC Elite Miles
Backup: Maybank Horizon Visa (this clocks more miles than BOC EM, but I don’t have it yet)

Groceries — Redmart / Lazada
(I don’t use Honestbee or other grocery providers!)

Choice #1: OCBC Titanium Rewards
Choice #2: Citibank Rewards Visa/Mastercard
Backup: DBS Women’s World Mastercard

Groceries — Cold Storage / Fairprice Finest

Choice #1: UOB Visa Signature (yes, I know, it’s a SMART$ merchant, but it’s just convenient)
Choice #2: BOC Elite Miles
Backup: N/A (no real good distinguishing choice here)

Beauty — Sephora, Guardian, Watsons

Choice #1: UOB Lady’s Card (I usually channel all my beauty spend into one quarter, generally my birthday month for maximum points accumulation on their loyalty programmes too)
Choice #2: UOB Visa Signature/UOB PPV for contactless payment
Backup: BOC Elite Miles

Pets — Pet Lovers’ Centre, Grooming, etc.

Choice #1: UOB Visa Signature/UOB PPV for contactless payment
Choice #2: BOC Elite Miles
Backup: UOB PRVI Miles

Books — BooksActually, Kinokuniya

Choice #1: UOB Visa Signature/UOB PPV for contactless payment
Choice #2: BOC Elite Miles
Backup: UOB PRVI Miles


Share your credit card strategies with me in the comments, or say hello on Telegram any time!

4 thoughts on “Credit Card Strategy 2019”

  1. May i know what card will you suggest to use for the purchase of branded goods like LV, YSL and prada bags in europe?

    1. Check if the boutiques allow you to split up purchases. Anything that gives you good mileage on foreign currency (UOB Visa Signature, 4mpd) or shopping (Citibank Rewards Visa/MC, 4mpd / OCBC Titanium, 4mpd) would be good choices!

  2. Hi Chelsea. Can you also recommend which card to book Air Asia and Jetstar flight? Will DBS Women’s World Mastercard earn 4 mpd for the purchase?

    1. Yes, it will, but you also have other options like UOB Lady’s (choose travel for 4mpd), DBS Altitude (3mpd), etc.

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