Edit (25/3/16): Imagine now dead. Oh well
Why do I need a prepaid card?
Prepaid cards were originally created for people who didn’t earn sufficient income to qualify for a credit card, but still wanted to make purchases online or overseas. You might think that this is of completely no interest to you- but read on, you’ll be surprised.
Remember our good friend the DBS Woman’s World Card (which, despite its name, is open to members of both sexes) and the 4 miles per $1 it gives on $2,000 of online spend each month?
As it turns out, reloading a prepaid card online DOES count as an online transaction, which opens up some interesting possibilities…
EDIT: People have been asking whether or not UOB Pref Plat Visa will earn a bonus for topping up the Imagine/FEVO. Answer is no. See T&C in bold
* Online retail transactions are transactions for purchases of goods or services via the internet using the Card. Online merchants include merchants that fall within the categories of bookstores, cinemas, entertainment, electronics, fast food, music and retail shopping, but excludes all merchants that fall within the categories of airline, travel, transport,top-ups for any pre-paid card, government, utilities, telecommunications, brokerage/securities, insurance, education/tuition, online money transfers and online gambling websites and such other categories of online merchants as UOB may exclude from time to time.
The AMEX Imagine card retails at $50, with a limited time promotion of $40 credit preloaded.
You make an initial load of maximum $100 and pay $3.50 for it to be shipped to your address. Subsequently though, you can top it up using your DBS Woman’s Card and earn 4X on that top up. You then slowly use the IMAGINE card to pay for your expenses that month.
So to illustrate- I top up $1,000 (the maximum balance at any time on the IMAGINE card is $1,000 ) to the IMAGINE Card, thereby earning 4,000 miles. I then use the card for whatever expenses arise- effectively earning 4 miles on spend which would not normally get any bonus. I then repeat this within the month to max out the $2,000 cap on 4 miles for the DBS Woman’s card.
There is normally a loading fee but it is waived if you load more than $50 at one go. Also, the IMAGINE card has an Ezlink function which means that you can carry it around without having to add another card to your wallet
For those of you who want the convenience of Mastercard, you can look at the FEVO card instead. However, you’ll pay a bit more for it. The card itself retails at $28, without any stored value (vs $10 for the IMAGINE AMEX, after you take the $40 credit into account)
The FEVO comes in a few different options- you can put your own image on it, you can get an NFC version or an EZ Link version if you want. If you’re ok with paying $28 upfront in exchange for wider acceptance, the FEVO card might be better for you.
EDIT: Fevo used to waive the 1% top up fee for loads of $50 or more but that no longer appears to be the case
There are some who will say I am doing the travel hacking community a disservice by writing about this so publicly, which will lead the banks to close this loophole. My stance is this: the banks aren’t stupid- there is no way they don’t already know about this. But since the maximum “damage” that can be done per month is $2,000, and if it gets them a good number of people signing up and using what would otherwise be a very niche card (you don’t see a lot of men with the DBS Woman’s Card), what do they care?
Remember, the banks earn every time you spend using their card- so go out there and make them happy!
cover photo by robert donnovan