It is happening: from 4th April 2023, American Express is excluding rewards for Grab top-ups for Amex True Cash Back and Amex HighFlyer, two cards that previously had very few exclusions and were commonly used for the purpose of Grab top-ups. Amex HighFlyer itself is adding more exclusions on top of just Grab top-ups.
Unlike UOB Absolute which reduced cashback to 0.3%, there is totally no more cashback or points from these two cards when used for Grab top ups.
This leaves UOB Absolute as the sole card known to give rewards on Grab top-ups, although at 0.3% cashback it really makes us wonder if “better than nothing” holds true.
Topping up in advance?
Since the nerf comes in 4th April 2023, users have around a month to top up ahead of the new exclusions. Note that each Grab account can hold a maximum of S$5,000 after identity verification. You could top up more after you have spent the amount, but there is also a monthly spend limit of S$10,000.
Given that interest rates remain high, letting your funds sit in your Grab wallet incurs opportunity cost. At 4% p.a. interest, you lose out on almost S$17 per month if you keep S$5,000 idling in your Grab wallet. Work out how quickly you can spend via GrabPay before topping up too much in advance.
More exclusions for HighFlyer
On top of excluding Grab top-ups, Amex HighFlyer Card is adding more exclusions:
- Bill payments and all transactions via SingPost (e.g. SAM kiosks, mobile app, online portal) (with effect from 4 April 2023);
- Payments to insurance companies (except payments made for insurance products purchased through American Express authorised channel) (with effect from 4 April2023);
- Payments to Singapore Petroleum Company Limited (SPC) service stations (with effect from 4 April 2023);
- Payments for the purpose of GrabPay top-ups (with effect from 4 April 2023);
- Payments to utilities merchants (with effect from 4 April 2023);
- Payments to public restructured hospitals, polyclinics and other public / restructured healthcare institutions and facilities (with effect from 4 April 2023);
Amex True Cashback card is only adding Grab top-ups from 4th April to its list of exclusions, and can still be used for a variety of other payments like insurance and utilities as long as Amex is accepted.
Check out the list of exclusions here.
Unless I’m missing something, this closes all utility for GrabPay as a means to pay for stuff that normally don’t generate rewards. It’s terrible news for sure, but not unexpected.
UOB Absolute still provides 0.3% cashback – for now – but it is a paltry amount for sure, and even payment services that charge a fee may make more sense depending on the card you use for such services.
RIP GrabPay. Here’s a 3-year-old review for us to reminisce the good old times.
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