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

New cardholders
Receive $50 cashback

Limited to first 600 successful applicants

Existing cardholders
Receive $30 cashback

Limited to first 900 successful applicants

DBS
LiveFresh

New to bank
Bonus 18% cashback with minimum spend of $600 per month. Sign up with code MORECASH

Until 31st January 2022

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

New to bank
Choose:

  • $200 cashback*^

Existing customers
$30* + $30^ = $60 cashback

*Sign up using SingPass MyInfo
^Minimum spend of $500 before end of following month from application
Valid until 31st December 2021

DBS
Woman’s World

  • 4 miles per dollar on online
  • Men can apply too

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

New to bank*
Choose:

  1. iRobot® Roomba® 692 (worth S$818); or
  2. S$400 Apple Vouchers ; or
  3. S$350 Cash

Existing customers
$30 via PayNow, no min spend required


*Minimum spend of S$500 within 30 days of card approval.

Until 20th December 2021

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.

Amex
True Cashback

New to Amex

Receive:

  • $200 CapitaVouchers*
  • 3% cashback

Existing Amex customers (Promo 1)

$30 via PayNow*

*min spend of S$500 required within 30 days of card approval

Until 22nd December 2021

Amex
CapitaCard

New to Amex (Promo 1)

Receive*:

  • $200 cash

Existing Amex customers (Promo 1)

$30 via PayNow*

*min spend of S$200 required within 30 days of card approval

Until 22nd December 2021

OR the following promo (better for existing Amex cardholders)

New Amex customers (Promo 2)

Receive:

  • 200,000 STAR$ (worth S$200 eCapitaVouchers)
  • Chance to win TESLA model 3

Existing Amex customers (Promo 2)

Receive:

  • 50,000 bonus STAR$ (worth S$50 eCapitaVouchers)*
  • Chance to win TESLA model 3

Valid until 31st January 2022

* min spend of S$1,500 in the first 3 months of Card Membership (bonus STAR$ is on top of STAR$ given on spend!)
^ sign up with SingPass MyInfo and make one spend of minimum $1
Fees shall be charged if card is cancelled within 6 months from card approval

OCBC
Titanium Rewards

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