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:

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.

OCBC
FRANK

New cardholders
Receive $50 cashback

Limited to first 600 successful applicants

Existing cardholders
Receive $30 cashback

Limited to first 900 successful applicants

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).

DBS
LiveFresh

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

UOB
EVOL

New to UOB cards

Get S$300 cashback if you are among the first 100 New-to-UOB customers to make a min. spend of S$1,500.

Valid till 31st October 2021

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.

Citi
SMRT

New to Citi cards
I recommend that you up for one of the other Citi cards first for the sign-up reward, then apply for this card.

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%.

UOB
Absolute Cashback

New to UOB cards

Get S$300 cashback if you are among the first 100 New-to-UOB customers to make a min. spend of S$1,500.

Valid till 31st October 2021

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

New to bank*
Choose:

  1. Ergotune Supreme (worth S$599)
  2. Apple Watch SE (worth S$419); 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 24th October 2021

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

Conclusion

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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