In a world where 5% was the top-end for cashback cards, CIMB came forth with a 10% card, albeit one which was a little trickier to use than most: travel, health, beauty and wellness-related spending only. On top of that, one had to clock at least 8 transactions of at least $30 each. A pesky requirement, but one that did not deter cashback lovers. My friendly masseuse happily obliged to split my massage package into 8 separate payments, as puzzled as she was.
Late last year, CIMB upped the ante and got rid of the 8-transaction requirement, and increased the maximum cashback from $60 to $100 ($50 from travel and $50 from health/beauty/wellness). On top of that, they introduced a Visa version that gave the same 10% cashback for dining as well as online transactions. All around pretty easy categories to hit with only a minimum spend of $600 on each card to worry about. How does $200 of cashback a month sound?
Unfortunately, all good things must come to an end and CIMB has nerfed these cards to oblivion starting from next month. I don’t even want to describe the changes but it’s safe to say that this card has gone from 5 stars to 0 and shall never be spoken of again.
So Long, 10%
After 10% cashback, even a respectable 5% card feels like a downgrade, but that’s where I’m headed for my cashback needs. DBS LiveFresh was once the go-to cashback card, and still survives as an okay option after DBS nerfed it some time back (CIMB might want to take notes on how not to completely destroy a product). Through little credit of its own, the LiveFresh card finds people who had abandoned it for CIMB’s now defunct offerings come crawling back with little options to choose.
Unfortunately for me, the requirement of having to split my spending between online transactions and PayWave makes it pretty cumbersome as I have difficulties hitting the latter, and $40 cashback cap is a pretty low amount after enjoying 5 times of that.
The latest card I have applied for is thus the UOB One, which offers 3.33% cashback for $500 and $1,000 monthly spend, and 5% for a $2,000 monthly spend. Nothing too fantastic, but they give an additional 5% for Grab transactions. That’s 8.33% if you spend all $500/$1,000 on Grab each month. Pretty doable if you have a GrabFood subscription plan, and stick to GrabPay stores for shopping and dining out. Even if you only do $300/$600 out of those prescribed amounts, you get a blended cashback rate of 7.33% which is not too shabby, aside from the fact that cashback is awarded quarterly instead of monthly.
Hello again, Miles!
In any case, it is clear that these don’t fully replace the vacuum that CIMB has left us with, and perhaps it’s time for me to be focusing on miles again. Given discounted redemptions given by KrisFlyer Spontaneous Escapes and my increasing thirst for nicer things in life, miles seem more attractive now.
Did I leave out any good alternatives? Let me know!