It’s officially the second half of the year, and boy did we start on a miserable note. Multiple reports of nerfs started pouring in the group chat from the early morning of 1st July, and things only got worse as the day progressed. The casualties included perennial cashback favourite UOB One, Instarem’s no-longer amazing Amaze card, and Friz.
Let’s begin with Friz because it’s the most straight forward change of the three, and there’s something you can do before the nerf takes effect on 7th July 11.59PM. From 8th July onwards, Friz is “temporarily discontinuing” the 1.75% cashback that it used to offer on even things like insurance and education payments. It’s particularly useful since such transactions are often excluded by most credit cards from earning rewards.
Also “temporarily switched off” is their pretty decent referral programme, where both the referrer and and referred person gets $20 each when the referred makes at least $500 of spend.
Given that “temporarily” probably means “permanently”, I’m not holding my breath for either cashback or referral incentive to come back any time soon (or ever), and neither should you. If you have upcoming insurance bills, or even a premium payment that isn’t due anytime soon, you can pay ahead of time to lock in the rewards before Friz becomes “temporarily” pointless.
Those who have yet to use Friz should also take advantage of the sign-up reward while it’s still good:
|Sign up here and use code WEE-wjcM4C||–|
|Spend S$500* or more (in one or multiple transactions); or|
Successfully apply for Friz credit line; or
Get paid S$500 or more for invoices using Friz
|Optional: make your first top up of at least $10||S$5|
|Bonus: spend S$500* or more (in one or multiple transactions)||Stand a chance to win AirPods Max|
Coroner’s report: time of death 7th July 2022 11:59PM; sign up and pay your insurance/school fees before then
Friz giving only a week’s notice before a major nerf is pretty bad, but amazingly, Instarem managed to one-up Friz by giving no notice period at all. From 1st July 2022, without prior notice or announcement, local spend on Amaze no longer gets any cashback, and foreign currency spend will get one InstaPoint per dollar spent, capped at 500 InstaPoints per transaction.
From 1st October, an InstaPoint can be converted to cash at a rate of 2,000 points to S$20. Currently, it’s about as useful as eCapitaVouchers in a Lendlease mall, only usable as fee offsets for overseas remittance of funds.
Essentially, only foreign currency spend will get cashback now at a rate of 1% (InstaPoint = 1 cent), capped at $5 (500 InstaPoints) per transaction.
This makes Amaze almost useless for local spend, except for its ability to convert offline transactions to online ones, making it a good pairing with Citi Rewards. Even then, this is living on borrowed time since it’s probable that Citi would eventually do what DBS did and exclude Amaze entirely from earning points.
As an overseas expenditure card, it’s still pretty decent, I guess. I’ve been hearing how Amaze forex rates have been getting bad of late, but getting 1% cashback on top of one’s card rewards should offset the lousy rates. Do note that you would need at least 2,000 InstaPoints for cash rebate conversion, meaning at least $2,000 of foreign spending is required before you can cash out.
Coroner’s report: time of death 1st July 2022 12:01AM… some sign of after-life with Citi Rewards and overseas spending
When UOB One was nerfed earlier not two months ago, us UOB One users grieved a little, but eventually dried our eyes and went about our new reality. Some of us even heaved a sigh of relief that CardUp and ipaymy would still continue to work, even if the cashback rate was now lower.
The relief certainly didn’t last long, because on 30th June 2022, eagle-eyed Telegram group member Ahn Pham noticed that CardUp updated their eligible cards page to show that UOB One would no longer work after 31st July 2022.
This was confirmed by UOB itself the next day, updating the UOB One terms and conditions to add CardUp and ipaymy to their list of exclusions starting from 1st August 2022. While a month’s notice seems reasonable, UOB One’s quarterly cashback mechanism necessitates a longer notice period.
There are people who are affected mid-quarter, and they are in an awkward dilemma between forgoing cashback on their completed months of the quarter, and trying to make up for spend in the remaining months now that CardUp and ipaymy are not eligible. This is the risk of using UOB One, and while we put up with it when the rewards were good, I’m not sure it’s worth using it after my quarter ends.
Unless you are someone who spends regularly on UOB One’s selected merchants like Dairy Farm merchants (that’s Giant, Cold Storage, 7-11 etc.) and Shopee, the UOB One now offers a mediocre 3.33% earn rate after the whole trouble of keeping your spend consistent for three consecutive months.
I will have an article for alternatives to CardUp coming up, so stay subscribed to my Telegram for that. There are also some exclusions added to other UOB cards, and I will touch on them in a separate article.
Coroner’s report: time of death 1st August 2022 12:01AM
Nerfs are part of the credit card rewards game, and someone even helpfully compiled a list of nerfs happening in July. Rewards chasers do what we do best: make hay while the sun shines, and milk a good card dry before its eventual death.
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