My Credit Card Strategy, Second Half of 2021 Edition
I didn’t expect to have to write a new article for the entire year so soon after the last, but there have been so many changes in the world of credit cards that my card strategy has changed pretty dramatically. Here are some of the changes that have greatly altered the credit card landscape:
- Revamp of UOB YOLO → UOB EVOL
- Launch of UOB Absolute Cashback
- Revamp of Citi SMRT Card
- CardUp now supports mortgage payments
Cashback is still king
Three months on, our nation’s vaccine programme is accelerating, but travel remains a distant possibility. Some may argue that it is the ideal time to start earning miles, but travel redemptions are likely to be very volatile over the next year or so at least. It doesn’t take a crystal ball to foretell a significant devaluation on the horizon, or that travel options would be severely limited, not to mention seats available for mile redemption.
Cashback has ruled the pandemic landscape for some time, and will likely continue. Banks know this too, and have updated and released several compelling cards that now fit into my card strategy.
Main card: OCBC FRANK
OCBC FRANK remains atop on the hill as the reigning cashback king for most people, including myself. 6% on a monthly spend beween $600 to $833 is quite the sweet spot for many working adults, I’d imagine, and OCBC FRANK remains one of the most permissive cards available. Contactless is available virtually everywhere, and OCBC FRANK even gives 6% cashback on things like ipaymy.
No current promo
Back-up/alternatives: DBS LiveFresh and/or UOB EVOL
UOB EVOL is a great alternate card for people who spend only $600 a month, or have overflow expenses. Throw in a DBS LiveFresh too if your spending calls for a third card. In any case, depending on the sign-up promo, you may just pick the one with the higher gift since all three cards are very close competitors (comparison here).
New to bank
- Apply and use promo code
by 30th June 2023
- Charge a minimum of S$800 within the first 60 days from card approval date
- Get S$150 cashback!
Consider the DBS Yuu Card as your first DBS card for a better promo
Get 5% cashback on contactless and online transactions with S$600 minimum spend per month. Tap here for a review (I’ll update this soon™)
Get Apple Watch SE 2nd Gen worth S$382* when you sign up now!
Be the first 50 new-to-UOB Credit Cardmembers in the month to sign up and meet a min. monthly spend of S$800 within the first 2 months.
All you need to do is to register for this promotion via an SMS to 77862 before 30 Jun 2023: SMS EVOLGIFT‹space› last 4 alpha-numeric characters of NRIC/passport (eg. EVOLGIFT 123A)
What’s more, enjoy up to S$140 cash credit# when you apply for a UOB One Account.
Terms and conditions
Get 6.67% effective cashback on $600 of spend each month!
Back-up for bigger online spend: Citi SMRT
The newly revamped Citi SMRT Card is now an excellent card for big online purchases that no other cashback card can handle. Previously, bigger transactions were way out of reach for high-earn cashback cards, and I had to put them on mile cards which tend to have higher caps. Now I can get a handsome 5% cashback on larger expenses.
New to bank
Citi promo: get S$300 in cashback with Citi SMRT Card
Existing Citi cardholders
One of the only high-earn cashback cards with no monthly cap! Gives 5% cashback on online transactions. Read the review here.
Used with GrabPay Card: UOB Absolute Cashback
The newly released UOB Absolute Cashback Card gives 1.7% cashback on Grab top-ups – a slight improvement from the previous 1.5% for Amex True Cashback. With Grab giving 6 points per dollar (equivalent to 1.2% rebate) for Platinum members, it’s a combined rebate of 2.7%.
For groceries: Citi Cash Back
I don’t spend $800 per month on groceries to hit the Citi Cash Back Card’s minimum spend, so what I do is that I would buy $800 of supermarket vouchers to spend over a few months. This gets me an unbeatable 8% cashback rate on my grocery spend.
Citi Cash Back
Please note there are two different promos and select carefully:
- Citi PremierMiles: 30,000 miles
- Citi Prestige: 120,000 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
Until 30th June 2023
For mortgage payment: UOB One
CardUp’s new transaction type of mortgage payments is very compelling and puts UOB One to good use.
For electronics: OCBC Titanium Rewards
OCBC Titanium Rewards’ usefulness is diminished by the Citi SMRT Card for big ticket expenses, but it’s still useful for offline purchases. It’s best used at Best Denki, awarding cashback on top of miles. 2% cashback + 4 mpd is quite hard to beat.
OCBC Titanium Rewards
New OCBC Cardholders
Option 1: Free Samsonite 28” luggage
Charge at least S$500 within 30 days upon approval of your eligible card
Option 2: S$250 in cashback
Charge at least S$1,000 within each 30-day period (in a 60-day period) upon approval of your eligible card
Until 30th June 2023
Terms and conditions:
- OCBC: tap here
Save a copy for your own reference.
Get 4 miles per dollar or 2.78% cash rebate on up to S$13,330 of eligible spend per membership year! No monthly cap so it is perfect for big transactions. Eligible spend includes things like electronics, Shopee, Lazada, IKEA, clothing etc.
Mile cards have almost completely disappeared from my list of active cards. 4 mpd isn’t terribly attractive when you can get 5-6% cashback easily now, even if you ignore the ongoing pandemic.
What’s your card strategy like? Share it with us in the comments or Telegram group.
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