Standard Chartered issues two types of Visa Infinite cards.
The first is the regular, brown SCB Visa Infinite, which can be applied for by anyone who earns in excess of $150,000 a year (reduced to $30,000 for Priority/Private banking customers). You do not need to have a pre-existing banking relationship with SCB. The card benefits include, among other things, six free visits to Priority Pass lounges worldwide each membership year. You can read a comparison of how this card stacks up to other high end credit cards in Singpaore.
That’s not the focus of this article, but I wanted to avoid confusion. This article is about the blue Priority Banking Visa Infinite card, which is available to members of SCB’s Priority Banking program. You need a minimum of $200,000 AUM to become part of the Priority Banking program.
This card isn’t anywhere as good as the brown Visa Infinite in terms of miles earning- while the brown Visa Infinite earns 1.4/3.0 mpd on local/overseas spend with a minimum monthly spend of $2,000, the blue Visa Infinite earns a much more pedestrian rate of 1 mpd on everything.
What the blue Visa Infinite card has going for it, however, is the unlimited Priority Pass lounge access. Or rather I should say “had”. Thanks to Eli on the comments, I’ve learned that SCB has changed the terms slightly to cap the number of free visits depending on your AUM balance.
- If your AUM is <$200,000 (naughty), you get 4 visits per membership year
- If your AUM is >$200,000, you get 24 visits per membership year
- If you’re a member of the Priority Private or Private Banking Program, you continue to enjoy unlimited visits
Note that the visits can be shared among you and your guests, and with regards to the first two categories there’s no limit on the number of guests you can bring- it simply counts more against your balance. So if you were so inclined, you could bring 23 guests and exhaust your entire year’s allowance in that one visit. But what a visit it’d be!
Presumably they’ve taken this step as a further disincentive against “marginal” customers, those who open an account with the minimum AUM and subsequently drop below that balance. It’s awkward to kick them out of the program, but you need some form of cattle prod to get them back in line. What is more surprising is the move to cap the free visits even for those members who are playing by the rules. 24 visits is a good number, but I can imagine a frequent traveler burning through these quickly especially if he/she has a guest.
As a reminder, here’s how the rest of the cards in Singapore stack up for free lounge visits. Remember that if you’re looking for a card that gives you unlimited Priority Pass visits, period, you can consider the Citi Prestige card, the Maybank Visa Infinite or the HSBC Visa Infinite. The Citi Prestige would probably be my pick, although if you just want the free lounge access and nothing else, the Maybank Visa Infinite waives the first year fee (it does require a $150K income requirement though).
Citi Prestige Card
- Get 80,000 miles when you spend $20,000 within 3 months of application and pay the annual fee of $535
- Earn 1.3 mpd on local spending, 2.0 mpd on overseas spending, 10 mpd on Kaligo. A 5-30% bonus is applied to your annual spending to derive additional bonus points, depending on your tenure with Citibank
- A host of other perks await- unlimited Priority Pass lounge access for you and a guest, 8 airport transfers, fourth night free at any hotel around the world and unlimited WiFi access worldwide via Boingo and a 24 hour concierge for example
- Also get ad-hoc exclusive Citibank promotions such as the 1 for 1 $100 Gourmet
- I did a recent comparison of premium credit cards in Singapore and the Citi Prestige came out on top. Have a read of that post here