Review: HSBC Revolution – 4 mpd + 1% Cashback or 3.5% Cashback

Miles and cashback seem like binary choices, but they’re more similar than different, and the lines between them are blurred further with a card like HSBC Revolution.

Do you want miles or cashback? Yes.

ProviderHSBC
TypeConditional points card
Earn Rate
  • 10X points per dollar equivalent to

  • 4 miles per dollar; or

  • 2.5% cashback

  • Additional 1% cashback from Everyday+ Cashback programme
Conditions
  • Contactless payment (PayWave, Apple Pay, Google Pay) on eligible MCCs for 10X points-

  • Online transactions on eligible MCCs for 10X points

  • Fulfilment of Everyday+ Cashback programme for additional 1%
LimitsMonthly $1,000 for 10X points
Annual FeeNone

Relatively easy to fulfil conditions

As far as conditional cards go, HSBC Revolution is easy to use. Just use it online, or where contactless payments are accepted, and you will probably get your 10X rewards. “Probably”, because rather than maintain a list of exclusions that do not earn 10X points, HSBC has specified the categories of spend that would qualify for 10X points:

CategoryMerchant Category Codes (MCC)
Travel related such as Airlines, Car Rental,
Lodging, Cruise Lines and Travel Agencies
3000 to 3350, 3351 to 3500, 3501 to 3999, 4411, 4511, 4722,
7011
Department Stores and Retail Stores4816, 5045, 5262, 5309, 5310, 5311, 5331, 5399, 5611, 5621,
5631, 5641, 5651, 5655, 5661, 5691, 5699, 5732 to 5735,
5912, 5942, 5944 to 5949, 5964 to 5970, 5992, 5999
Supermarkets, Dining and Food Delivery5411, 5441, 5462, 5499, 5811, 5812, 5813, 5814
Others such as Transportation and
Membership Clubs
4121, 7997
HSBC Revolution 10X terms and conditions

It is a wide range of MCCs and aside from the usual suspects (e.g. insurance, Grab top-ups etc), it should cover most of the things one would spend on in person or online, but it isn’t as permissive as a card that excludes certain areas of spend, then accepts all else for 10X rewards. One area of spend I had recently was a veterinary visit (MCC 0742), and that is something not included in HSBC Revolution’s whitelist.

As with most conditional cards, you would probably check MCCs often, and that’s par for course if you have to be absolutely sure that you get your high earn rate. You should be fine most of the time unless you have very peculiar spending habits.

There is no minimum spend to worry about, and the maximum you should spend on this card per month is $1,000 to max out the 10,000 rewards points limit.

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A mile card that doubles up as a cashback one

Like almost every other miles card, HSBC Revolution earns you points with HSBC rather than miles directly. You would then take those points and redeem it for miles with the airline of your choice. Most banks in Singapore use 10X points to represent 4 miles per dollar (because you can redeem 25,000 points for 10,000 miles with them), and in that regard, HSBC Revolution is pretty similar with other 4 mpd cards in the market.

Unlike most other mile cards, however, HSBC openly markets the 2.5% cashback rate of the HSBC Revolution. Essentially, HSBC Revolution cardholders are able to redeem 4,000 points for $10. Every point is thus worth 0.25 cents, and since you earn 10X points per dollar on qualifying transactions, your effective cashback rate is 2.5%.

Redeeming points for cash rebate isn’t unique to HSBC since every other bank lets you convert your reward points into cash rebate. HSBC, however, gives a more generous conversion rate when compared across the 4 mpd cards in the market:

CardCash Rebate Per MileCashback Rate
OCBC Titanium Rewards0.694 cents2.77%
HSBC Revolution0.625 cents2.5%
UOB Visa Signature0.574 cents2.30%
Citi Rewards0.568 cents2.27%
UOB Preferred Platinum0.5 cents2%
DBS Woman’s World0.5 cents2%

Among the 4 mpd cards, OCBC Titanium Rewards has the highest cash rebate, but do keep in mind that Titanium Rewards is a card that gives its 10X points on specific categories like electronics, fashion, and furniture, and it’s not suitable to be used as an “everyday card”.

OCBC TR aside, HSBC Revolution sits on the top of the list of 4 mpd cards when it comes to cashback.

Cashback or miles?

Would you pick 4 mpd or 2.5% cashback? As much as I prefer cashback, I’m going with 4 mpd here. But there is a crowd of people who are for some reason or another never going to use miles, and I think the HSBC Revolution serves as a good backup cashback card for them, after their main 5-6% cashback cards are exhausted for the month.

It could even be their main, if they’re the sort who doesn’t want to deal with the minimum spending most high-earn cashback cards come with.

Everyday+ Cashback Programme

HSBC recently introduced Everyday+ Cashback Programme, and this adds a bonus 1% cashback to your HSBC credit card spends. It takes a bit more effort to set up, but getting an additional 1% on either 4 mpd or 2.5% cashback is icing on cake.

Sign up

HSBC
Revolution

New to bank
Choose:

  • $300^ via PayNow + $30 cashback*; or
  • iRobot Roomba 692^ (worth S$818) + $30 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 20th October 2021

Conclusion

The HSBC Revolution is perfect for people who don’t like the hassle high-earn credit cards tend to have (I’m referring to you Bings). It doesn’t have a minimum spend to keep track of, and you can simply use Paywave or buy things online and for the most part get your 10X points. If you’ve been using a 1.2 mpd or 1.5% card because of how fuss-free they are, this card doesn’t need you to change your habits much and gives you a much higher earn rate (unless you’re spending a lot more than $1,000 per month). Heck, you don’t even have an annual fee to keep track of each year.

It’s also a great card for people new to the world of credit cards. It allows someone to decide if they’re a cashback or miles person later on when they are more familiar with their spending habits, as well as whether they desire premium cabin travel.

The good:

  • Versatile: 4 mpd or 2.5% cashback
  • Additional 1% cashback with Everyday+ Cashback Programme
  • No minimum spend
  • Relatively easy conditions (Paywave/Online + eligible MCC)
  • No annual fee

The bad:

  • MCC is wide-ranging but may miss some niche categories

The ugly:

  • The face on mile chasers’ faces when you redeem your HSBC points for cashback

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