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.
|Type||Conditional points card|
|Limits||Monthly $1,000 for 10X points|
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:
|Category||Merchant 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,|
|Department Stores and Retail Stores||4816, 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 Delivery||5411, 5441, 5462, 5499, 5811, 5812, 5813, 5814|
|Others such as Transportation and|
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.
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:
|Card||Cash Rebate Per Mile||Cashback Rate|
|OCBC Titanium Rewards||0.694 cents||2.77%|
|HSBC Revolution||0.625 cents||2.5%|
|UOB Visa Signature||0.574 cents||2.30%|
|Citi Rewards||0.568 cents||2.27%|
|UOB Preferred Platinum||0.5 cents||2%|
|DBS Woman’s World||0.5 cents||2%|
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 for the HSBC EGA account here.
New to bank
- $200 cashback*^
$30* + $30^ = $60 cashback
*Sign up using SingPass MyInfo
^Minimum spend of $500 before end of following month from application
Valid until 28th February 2022
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.
- 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
- MCC is wide-ranging but may miss some niche categories
- The face on mile chasers’ faces when you redeem your HSBC points for cashback
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