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 to bank
$50 cashback^

Existing cardholders
$20 cashback^

^Make 2 qualifying transactions by the end of the following month

Until 31st August 2021

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
$300 Cashback
: make minimum S$300 qualifying spend within 30 days of card approval. Apply with code AUGFLASH

Until 16th August 2021

UOB
EVOL

New to bank
Receive S$150 cash credit with min. spend of S$1,500 on eligible goods and services within 30 days of card approval. Only for first 100 successful applicants who fulfil the spend criteria

Valid till 30th June 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.

New to Citi cards
Receive Nintendo Switch Lite (worth $379)* or S$350 Cash* for new cardholders

Existing customers
$30 via PayNow*

*Minimum spend of S$200 within 30 days of card approval. Until 31st Aug 2021
*Remember to fill up the form in your email or you will not get any reward

Used wtih GrabPay Card: UOB Absolute Cashback

The newly released UOB Absolute Cashback Car 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 customers
Enjoy a bonus 3.3% cashback on your first spend of S$3,000 (total 5% cashback)
Bonus cashback capped at S$99 on first spend of S$3,000

Valid till 30th September 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. Dyson Supersonic Hairdryer (worth S$599);
  2. Apple Watch SE + AirTag (worth $464); or
  3. S$350 Cash

Existing customers*
$30 via PayNow


*Minimum spend of S$500 within 30 days of card approval. Apply before end of 16th August 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.

Keep up to date on the best cashback/mile cards, savings accounts, attractive deals, and more tips to maximise your financial wellbeing by subscribing to my Telegram channel.

Subscribe to the channel, then join the group chat. You would often benefit from the tips exclusively shared in the group chat! See the Things You’ve Missed here

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: