My Credit Card Strategy for 2021

Update 30/06/2021: Major changes have made me update my strategy significantly.

Incredibly, a quarter of 2021 has passed, and nothing can attest to my incredible productivity than laying out my credit card strategy for the year almost after 3 months have passed.

Incidentally, a major change has happened to one of my most used cards which means that I have to update my strategy come 1st April anyway. Here’s what my go-to cards look like for the rest of the year (until something major happens).

Overall theme: going for value with a preference for cashback

My attitude towards cashback versus miles hasn’t changed much. I go for value rather than be beholden to either camp, although my valuation of miles and the nature of the circumstances we are in now mean that cashback would usually be preferred.

A quick and easy way to calculate would just be to pick the bigger number if I find myself in a dilemma between 4 mpd or 5% cashback.

Every time you choose 4 mpd over 6% cashback, you are essentially forgoing 1.5 cents per mile you get. That means that a return trip business class trip to Tokyo which costs 94,000 miles essentially costs $1,410… even more when you include the taxes you have to pay. There are definitely people who’d pay that, but it’s a little too pricey for my taste.

I’ll still collect miles, of course, when my cashback cards are exhausted for the month, or if there are spending that far exceeds the capacity of my cashback cards.

Main for contactless and online: OCBC FRANK and DBS LiveFresh

The two stalwarts of Team Cashback now take the crown with Maybank FnF taking a huge hit to its usefulness.

OCBC FRANK has a handsome rate of 6%, but its limited capacity for Paywave (maxing out at only $416) means that the 5% cashback DBS LiveFresh still sees use. The same $416 applies to its online category, and combined it means I have $816 for in-person Paywave spending and $816 of online spend – as long as I can meet the minimum spend of $600 for each card.

It is also worth noting that DBS has been giving extra 8% for many months now. They seemed to have stopped recently, but I would hold my LiveFresh just because of the usually generous promos DBS tends to dole out from time to time.

OCBC FRANK

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No current promo; apply for one of the other OCBC Cards first.

DBS LiveFresh

Promo code: SC388
(you may have to turn off content blockers on your browser)

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New Cardholders

  1. Apply and use promo code SC388 by 30th June 2024
  2. Charge a minimum of S$800 within the first 60 days from card approval date
  3. Get S$388 cashback!

Terms and conditions

Get 6% cashback on shopping and transport spend with minimum S$800 spend each month.

Back-up for contactless: UOB PPV (or HSBC Revolution)

UOB PPV or HSBC Revolution comes in handy when I need more Paywave capacity than the combined $816 OCBC FRANK and DBS LiveFresh offer.

One can also switch PPV out for HSBC Revolution which also gives 4 mpd on contactless transactions.

Back-up for online: DBS Woman’s World Card

When online spend exceeds the combined $816 of FRANK and LiveFresh, DBS Woman’s World Card offers 4 mpd on a roomy $2,000 limit. Excellent when a sizeable purchase needs to be done online.

HSBC Revolution

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New HSBC Cardholders

From 5PM 17th May 2024, first 500 get to choose:

  • PlayStation 5 Disc Version (worth S$799)
  • Dyson Airwrap (retailing S$859)
  • S$500 eCapitaVouchers

Spend S$500 in eligible spend by the end of following month from card approval (e.g. approval in May, make spend by end June)

501 onwards:

  • Dyson Supersonic™ hair dryer (worth S$699)
  • Apple iPad 9th 10.2″ WiFi 64GB (worth S$508.30)
  • S$350 eCapitaVouchers
  • 21K Max Miles (sign up heymax account for bonus 1,000 miles)

Spend S$500 in eligible spend by the end of following month from card approval (e.g. approval in May, make spend by end June)

Optional:

  • S$200 top up – Sony HT-AX7 Portable Theatre System (retailing S$769)
  • S$200 top up – Xiaomi Robot Vacuum X20 (retailing S$699)
  • S$1,099 top up – Apple Macbook Air M3 13″ 256GB (retailing S$1,599)
  • S$1,099 top up – Apple iPhone 15 Pro 128GB (retailing S$1,664.25)

Existing HSBC Cardholder²

  • S$50 cashback (with S$1,000 min spend)

⚠️ Important – complete all the following steps to be eligible for rewards:

  1. Provide HSBC consent to receive marketing/promotional materials during application
  2. Fill up SingSaver gift redemption form
  3. Make a min. spend of S$500 by the end of the following month from card approval date to be eligible for rewards

Last date to apply: 2nd June 2024

For quick reference only; refer to terms and conditions for exact terms and save a copy for future reference:

  1. Terms and conditions
  2. Terms and conditions (existing cardholder)

Get 10X points on eligible Paywave and online transactions. Annual fee waived for life. Tap here for the review

DBS Woman’s World Mastercard

Promo code: 150CASH

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New to bank

  1. Apply and use promo code 150CASH by 31st January 2024
  2. Charge a minimum of S$800 within the first 60 days from card approval date
  3. Get S$150 cashback!

Consider the DBS LiveFresh or POSB Everyday card as your first DBS card for a better promo

Get 4 miles per dollar on online transactions. Men can apply too! Tap here for review

Situational: Amex True Cashback Card + GrabPay MasterCard

In the rare occasion where a place doesn’t accept contactless payment, or if a particular transaction doesn’t seem like it’ll generate rewards on other cards (utility bills, government bills, insurance etc), using the Amex True Cashback to top up my Grab guarantees me 1.5% cashback at least.

Depending on the transaction, Grab may or may not award a further 6 points per dollar, which is equivalent to 1.2% rebate. This combo thus gives a combined 2.7% earn rate.

Situational for groceries: Citi Cash Back

With the fall of Maybank FnF, Citi Cash Back is going to be my replacement card for groceries. My grocery expenditure is irregular, and definitely does not reach $800 a month, but it is easy to just buy $1,000 worth of supermarket vouchers to max out the $80 monthly cashback, and then ration the spend over a few months. It also conserves my FRANK/LiveFresh Paywave quota for other retail spend.

Citi Cash Back

Please note there are different promos so select carefully:

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Citi Promo:

  • Citi PremierMiles: 30,000 miles
  • Citi Prestige: 125,000 points and more
  • Citi Rewards: 40,000 points
  • Citi Cash Back: S$300 cashback
  • Citi SMRT: S$300 cashback
  • Tap here to see Citi promos

Last day to apply: 31st July 2024


SingSaver Promo:

Choose:

  • Apple iPad 10th Gen 64GB WiFi (retailing for S$529)
  • Dyson Supersonic (retailing for S$699)
  • Sony HT-AX7 Portable Theatre System (retailing for S$769)
  • S$450 eCapitaVoucher
  • S$300 cash via PayNow

Optional – upgrade reward:

  • Top up S$999 for MacBook Air 13-inch 256GB M3
  • Top up S$1,099 for iPhone 15 Pro 128GB
  • Top up S$1,488 for Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra 512GB

Last day to apply: 2nd June 2024

New cardholders only; spend S$500 within first 30 days of card approval to qualify.
⚠️ Fill out SingSaver Rewards Redemption Form after application. No form = no reward
Terms and conditions apply

Get 8% cashback on private commute and petrol, as well as 6% on groceries and dining! Read the review here

Situational for CapitaLand Vouchers: Amex CapitaCard

After quite a while of sleeping on this card, I discovered its usefulness as a highly situational card. Recently I managed to snag a few hundred dollars in highly discounted eCapitaVouchers, and at the time of writing there is a 2,500 STAR$ rebate for purchasing $50 eCapitaVoucher.

Its earn rate is pretty average, but when you pair it with GreenUP it starts to be pretty good especially when you buy eCapitaVouchers.

Situational for electronics: OCBC Titanium Rewards

Titanium Rewards continues to be the card I use once or twice a year to great effect when buying big-ticket items like electronics or furniture as it has a high cap of $12,000 per year (rather than a monthly cap). 4 mpd on big purchases = a lot of miles.

American Express True Cashback

New to Amex Basic Cards

RequirementReward
New cardholder of Amex True CashbackBoosted 3% cashback on all eligible spend (except Grab-top) up to S$5,000 for the first 6 months
Fill up SingSaver Rewards Redemption Form and spend S$500 on eligible transactions within first 30 days from card approvalS$150 cash
⚠️ No form = no reward

Tap here for terms and conditions (save a copy for future reference)

Last date to apply: 4th June 2024

1.5% cashback on transactions except Grab top-ups

Amex
CapitaCard

New to Amex

Receive up to 150,000 STAR$® (worth S$150 eCapitaVouchers) when you make a min. spend of S$1,500 within the first 3 months of card approval. T&Cs apply.

OCBC Rewards

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New OCBC Cardholders

Choose:

  • Get an Apple Bundle [Apple AirPods (Generation 3) with Magsafe Charging Case + MagSafe Charger] (worth S$330.50)
  • Travel Bundle [Samsonite Volant Spinner 68/25 EXP + 2x Apple AirTag] (worth S$570)
  • Hinomi H1 Classic Plus Ergonomic Office Chair with Headrest (worth S$459)
  • S$300 cash via PayNow

Charge at least S$500 within 30 days from card approval

⚠️ Fill up SingSaver rewards form in email to choose your gift. No form completed = no reward given

Last date to apply: 31st January 2024

Terms and conditions:

  1. Tap here (save a copy for your own reference)

Get 4 miles per dollar or 2.78% cash rebate on up to S$1,110 of spend on eligible categories per month.

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