Big Nerf: Changes to Maybank Family and Friends’ 8% Cashback

One of the best cashback cards for the past year or so is going to be nerfed, and it’s a big one. Maybank Family and Friends offers a high earn rate with relatively simple conditions to meet, and has been my go to card to max out each month. That is changing from 1st April 2021… which is definitely a fitting day for an enhancement.

Thanks to Wendy from the group chat for pointing this out.

Changes

There are 3 main changes to the FnF card:

  1. Changes to cashback amounts
  2. Addition of new items
  3. Introduction of category sublimits

1 and 2 are pretty minor and do not really significantly alter this card’s usability. 3 is where this card is rendered useless enhanced for quite a few people.

Changes to cashback amounts
Currently, card members who couldn’t hit the minimum spending of $800 for 8% cashback could still get 5% if they hit $500. This is going to be removed from 1st April onwards. This isn’t such a big deal because people using this card are likely to be gunning for 8% anyway.

The maximum cashback of this card is increasing from $80 per month to a seemingly outstanding $125. Enhancement!

Addition of new categories
This is a very slight change, and only notable because I have a cat: pets and veterinary related services are now applicable for cashback.

Amusingly enough, Maybank is switching back from fast food to restaurants for its dining category, after making the switch in the opposite direction last year.

Seth
Seth

Check out July’s card deals. Get up to $350 or Dyson gadgets!

Sublimits make this a subpar card

This is where it hurts. Until the end of this month, Maybank FnF cardholders could charge any amount on its categories up to $1,000 where the card maxes out on its 8% cashback. One could get $1,000 of groceries vouchers, even $1,000 worth of toys from Toys ‘R’ Us if they so desire, or any combination of spend in between the different categories and Maybank would say “here’s your $80” a mere few days after the month ends. Looking back at my original review, this was in fact one of the strong points I praised the card for.

Maybank is now going to impose sublimits on the different categories. Each category maxes out at $25 of cashback, which means one can only put a maximum of $312.50 of spend on each category to get the optimal 8% cashback rate. You would thus require at least 3 different categories of spend to meet the minimum spend of $800 if you want your 8% cashback, with each category’s expenses carefully planned not to exceed $312.50.

This is a dealbreaker for many people.

Is there hope for this card?

I could start planning out my expenses, I guess. Between my parents and myself, it isn’t too difficult to hit $312.50 for groceries a month, and telco bills for the both our households also reach $312.50. That leaves another $175 spending which should be rather easy to clock with a combination of dining out, transportation, and stuff for Kylo.

Also, to be fair, even if you don’t spend that optimally, there could still be a relatively high earn rate as long as your spending does not deviate too much from the $312.50 sublimit. $400 of groceries and $400 of restaurant dining and you still get a decent 6.25% cashback rate.

Alternatives

Maybank is enhancing this card on… 1st April 2021. Fitting!

There are of course people who would find this card so enhanced that it no longer fits into their monthly spending, so here are some of the alternatives they could look at.

Citi Cash Back is a close competitor at 8% cashback (6% for dining, but unfortunately no cashback for telco payments), and they have recently gone the opposite direction: they removed sublimits! Citi clearly hasn’t gotten the memo that enhancing means putting more troublesome sublimits, not removing them. Very good sign up bonus too, at the time of writing.

The usual Paywave suspects, OCBC FRANK and DBS LiveFresh, are also good alternatives even with their sublimits as they are less onerous than the enhanced Maybank FnF.

Citi
Cash Back

New to bank*
Choose:

  1. Receive Dyson V8 Slim Fluffy (worth S$549);
  2. Apple Watch SE + AirTag (; or
  3. S$350 Cash

Existing customers*
$30 via PayNow


*Minimum spend of S$500 within 30 days of card approval. Apply before 14th July 2021

OCBC
FRANK

New to bank
$50 cashback^

Existing cardholders
$20 cashback^

^Make 2 qualifying transactions by the end of the following month

Until 31st August 2021

DBS
LiveFresh

New to bank
$200 Cashback
: charge a minimum S$800 in qualifying within the first 60 days from the date of Card approval

Use code 200CASH

Until 31st September 2021

Conclusion

This was the card I could wave in front of miles people who are foolishly giving up 8% cashback for 4 miles, and deservedly occupied a whole card slot in my tiny wallet because of how good it is, so this change is a little sad.

After more than a year of constant $80 cashback, however, I can’t say I’m surprised that it’s finally being enhanced.

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