Hack your way to 4 miles on everything

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?

dbs woman's card
DBS Woman’s World Card on the right- this one gives you 4 miles per $1 on online spend, but requires income of $80,000. The regular DBS Woman’s Card on the left only requires income of $30,000, but earns only 2 miles per $1 of online spend

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.

AMEX Imagine

The AMEX Imagine card retails at $50, with a limited time promotion of $40 credit preloaded.

ameximagine

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

FEVO Card

fevo

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

Conclusions

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

96 thoughts on “Hack your way to 4 miles on everything”

  1. Hi,

    Does paying via mobile apps using DBS Woman Card will get 4 miles or paying must be via website ? If is not considered online very bad i just make huge purchasing using airasia and lazada apps also top up my FEVO and Imagine card using their own apps : (

    1. Hi rio- that’s a good question. I know that SQ bookings will not count as online spend if you book via the mobile app as opposed to the website. However other people have reported booking airasia successfully via the app without issues. As for Lazada- i see no reason why that should not code as online spend. remember- when you submit your details to them it’s still processed virtually via a payment gateway. The best thing to do is check your statement at the end of the month (but remember that the bonus DBS rewards points don’t post until the month after- which makes it annoying to track). see here https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1ffbzrIlK7iTO_IAT7nzk8ULWf1zsRX9F-rniLbRwwR4/edit#gid=2

  2. i’d be curious to know if this works on the UOB preferred platinum visa (which has a 12k annual limit on online spend)

      1. Hope someone who tried can let us know using uob ppv?
        Only eligible for the woman card which is 2x only instead of uob ppv 4x.

    1. Ah. Just realised you were referring to the FEVO card. FEVO used to waive the 1% top up charge but that’s no longer the case. Updated the article, thanks!

    1. Hi- never tried that before actually! Let me check with someone who knows. Are you thinking of reloading the FEVO card using the IMAGINE? That would be awesome if it worked…

  3. Hi Aaron, as per your advice, i have gotten myself the altitude and woman world card now. Based on this article, would the best strategy be to get an imagine card, reload it up to 2k a month using woman card, and only use the altitude card for expenses beyond 2k?

    1. That’s correct. Technically uob prvi Is better for local spend because it is 1.4 vs 1.2 for dbs but yeah. First 2k through imagine

  4. Hi Aaron,

    how about using credit card like debit card/nets?

    Immediately pay the credit after each transaction? Will it affect the miles and points? or pay the credit before it is billed.

    1. hi rudi, sorry i didnt quite understand what you mean. i do what you described sometimes, in order to circumvent my credit limit on the cards. you can actually pre-pay an amount on your credit card (by going to ibanking and doing a manual payment) in order to “increase” your credit limit. a lot of things in my office work on a reimbursement basis so this is a way for me to earn more miles on my cards (Albeit at the expense of cashflow)

      1. Hi Aaron,

        What I mean is whenever I pay with my CC, I will pay the unbilled amount immediately without waiting for the bill at the end of the month.

        Example: Buy a ticket online using expedia using my CC and then immediately pay the amount without waiting for the bill.

        Instead of pre-pay I use my CC like a debit card. I pay it manually and immediately. Will this affect my miles, points and credit score?

        thanks

        1. nope, absolutely not. why would it? if anything, your credit score would be awesome. bills paid off in full, ahead of time, every month.

          but why would you do that, except for cases where you want to put a big ticket item on your credit card, you have the cash to afford it but not the credit limit (then you’ll prepay your credit card account and buy with your now enhanced credit limit)

  5. Hi Aaron

    So is it better to pay via giro or pay at AXS machine/AXS online using Imagine/Fevo and earn 4 miles per 1 dollar to pay utilities bills and credit card bills?

    1. Hi- i wasn’t aware it was possible to use your FEVO/imagine at AXS machines for bill payments- i thought they would ask you to use your nets for that. if it is possible then yes you could do that

      1. Hmm. If the above works, top up using DBS woman world to imagine. Use imagine to settle dbs woman world.. Free lunch?

        1. You can’t use Imagine card or any AMEX card at AXS physical station. To pay bills you can only use DBS and Diners cards. So no free lunch.

  6. Hi Aaron.

    Can I confirm if this 4 miles imagine hack still working?

    Cos I did a top up on the 1st and I didn’t get any of the bonus dbs point on the 16th?

    Thanks

  7. Hi Guys, I have a few concerns that I hope can be clarified.

    1. Does topping up the M1 Prepaid Mastercard earns 4miles/$ using DBS WC now?

    2. I see that if you top up through AXS, there will be no top up fees charged. Has anyone tried topping up the prepaid master card via AXS online? Does it earn you 4 miles/$ as well?

    Look forward looking from you guys soon.

    Thanks!

  8. @@C That’s too bad. Was thinking hard of max-loading 2 imagine cards over several months to foot a wedding banquet bill. Guess paying 12k at one shot would not work?

    1. Absolutely no chance for $12K unfortunately. Try search some similar threads in forum. U may have better idea on some strategies others adopt 🙂

  9. Seems like imagine amex is gone. Just received an email from them that sale of card, topping and usage will be terminated at different period.

  10. Hi there… is it possible to get the Woman’s World MasterCard twice in order to have the twice the rewards cap? I am booking hotels and such quite frequently for business travel, so I would easily max out twice the rewards cap.

    I know, the alternative would be the Altitude with 3Miles / $, or the the Citi Premiermiles for Kaligo and Expedia (as long as it lasts…), but why make it more complicated…?

    Any experience ?

    1. I dont think u can have two DBS Woman World Master Card.

      A few alternative options available
      1) HSBC Advance CC earns you 10x rewards/4 miles per dollar spend for online, local restaurant, and local entertainment venue. There is no cap to the spending except transaction to Ez-Link Pte Ltd is cap at 200 per month (the company you paid to when you top up your imagine/fevo)

      The downside is that you would have to open an advance account with them which required a minimum deposit of 30k, alternatively, you can credit your salary to HSBC which would also meet the advance status.

      2) Visa Signature earns you 4 miles per dollar with minimum spending of 1k per statement period. Earning capped at 2k per statement period. You can try book in a way where you paid at the hotel after your stay, hence the payment will count as overseas spending.

      1. Called DBS today, it is true, you can’t hold the same credit card twice.

        Thanks for the alternatives… for the sake of simplicity I will go for the Altitude as my 4th card. Then the miles game can begin.

    2. you could get a woman’s card if you were doing online transactions for things other than flights/hotels (in which case altitude would work better). i believe you can hold both the dbs woman’s card and the woman’s world card (which earn 2 miles and 4 miles per $1 respectively on online for $2,000 cap each per month). someone correct me if i’m wrong.

      1. Yes, you can get both dbs woman and dbs woman world mc. I had both of them. The dbs woman world mc is for MS. And the normal dbs is to be used with nets flash pay ATU, earning two miles per dollar on each top up. Many places like koufu, soup spoon, accepted only nets flash pay and no other cards. Flash pay is also useful for carparks and mrt gantry.

        1. Nets FP ATU eligible for the bonus earn rate? Just got my DBS WW even though i am below the ann. Inc.
          Unlike the Citi and UOB, rejected due to not meeting the AI.

        2. Alright! Thanks! Cause i saw that ez link (atu) isn’t eligible. Probably openly affect ez reload. Gonna change to nets FP now using WW

  11. I’m new to dbs credit cards. What is the cut off date for spend? Is it 15th to 15th? Want to confirm to ensure that the $2000 falls within the correct period. Thanks!

  12. Hi Arron,
    here for me, there is one question regarding the FEVO prepaid card,as after I topped up $2,000, where can I spend it? how can i use it to pay my bills? thanks.

      1. Aron,
        sorry. here I mean credit card bills. because for telecom/utilities bills, it is OK. but the amount is not so big. for me, if i topped up 2,000 on FEVO, i need 3 months to use it up for daily uses.

        1. Fevo can only hold up to 1k at any time so not possible to top up 2k one go.

          You can use fevo via axs e-payment. I pay my telco, sp utilities, car park, S&C charges all via axs e-services.

  13. I read somewhere that Fevo not eligible for the bonus recently. Is there a change in their rewarding category? By the way it’s for DBS WW top up to Fevo.. Anyone able to clarify who uses this methos?

        1. Cause points is awarded only at 16th of next month, and lots of people spreading rumors don’t read their T&C correctly or bother to test these out themselves. If your worried, get the 5x rewards DBS plat woman and topup some small amount yourself.

  14. Hi, I just got myself a Fevo card. Topped up the card and realised that biller is Ezylink Pte Ltd. Will still get my bonus miles for the DBSWWC? Please advise.

  15. Hi Aaron,

    Do you think the UOB Visa Signature card is better than the DBS womans card? Since it has a higher cap at $4000?

    Though it has a $1000 minimum spend.

    Do correct me if I am wrong. =D

    1. To my knowledge , the visa signature is capped at $2K.

      VS , u can bring overseas to swipe in foreign currency. WMC is strictly online to get 10x.

  16. Say goodbye to womens mc. New t&c came out. Wont work on many thing including prepaid merchabts like fevo.

    Another card bites the dust, along with fevo haha.
    I generally find sg credit cards to be pretty shitty compared to other places around the world.

  17. Hi Aaron

    When u make a hotel stay purchase on spg website, is the purchase also processed by points.com and hence considered non-hotel purchase?

  18. hi, for places that only accepts nets or cash, is there a ‘nets’ card that i can purchase which I can top-up through credit card?

  19. Hi,

    I am currently testing out the following cards for online spending:
    HSBC Advance Platinium
    OCBC Titanium
    Citibank Rewards

    Do you think these will work for the FEVO topup?

    Thanks in advance

  20. I think HSBC Advance work up to 200 SGD

    Online Transactions means retail transactions made via the internet and processed by the respective merchants/acquirers as an online transaction type through the Visa Worldwide networks. For the avoidance of doubt, transactions made on brokerage/securities and/or money payment/transfer websites are not classified as retail transactions and are expressly excluded. For Online Transactions which involve any pre-paid card top-ups including but not limited to EZ-Link, Transitlink or NETS Flashpay, 10x Rewards points are capped at 2,000 HSBC Rewards points per Account per calendar month (i.e. up to S$200 spend).

    For OCBC Titanium Rewards, also max 200$ for 10x

    For the avoidance of doubt, the Bank has the absolute discretion to decide whether or not to provide any notice in relation to any of its decisions made hereto. Notwithstanding anything to the contrary, in relation to spend incurred on any Ez-Link and TransitLink transactions posted in a Cardmember’s Card Account (“ezlink spend”) in a relevant calendar month, OCBC$ will be awarded on an amount not exceeding S$200 of the total ezlink spend for that calendar month.

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