Credit Cards

What credit cards will be in my wallet for 2018?

New year, new strategy. What cards will I be keeping handy in 2018?

The Milelion’s wallet is a deep, mysterious place. Amidst the receipts of yet-to-be-claimed expenses, wet tissues shaped like prophylactics kept to convince onlookers of virility and personal hygiene, and a mysterious key that may either open a portal to the netherworld or side gate to house, lie a pile of carefully curated credit cards.

As we look forward to 2018, I wanted to share with you the cards that I’ll be carrying in the new year, or at least until any of them drastically change their T&Cs.

UOB PRVI Miles Mastercard

Min Income
Annual Fee

$50,000

$256.80 (First Year Free)

UOB PRVI Miles Mastercard

One of the best general spending cards for local and overseas use.
  • From now till 28 Feb 2018, get an $80 activation gift by being among the first 400 successful applicants to spend $600 within 30 days of approval. New UOB cardholders only, T&C apply
  • Earn 1.4 mpd on local spending and 2.4 mpd on overseas spending, without cap, 6 mpd at Expedia, Agoda and UOB Travel (selected airlines), and 10 mpd on Kaligo
  • This is a World Mastercard, so you get to enjoy special privileges like the fourth night free with selected SPG resorts and a US$100 hotel credit among other things

more details

Apply Here

Use for: Whatever doesn’t fall into a bonus spend category, >$30

Remarks: This is the stalwart general spending card that anchors my wallet, earning me 1.4 mpd wherever the rest of my specialized spending cards cannot.

Why the Mastercard and not the AMEX? Wider acceptance for one, but also because I no longer feel I’m able to hit the $50,000 annual spending requirement needed to get 20,000 bonus miles on the PRVI Amex so won’t bother trying.

Moreover, I’m using the contactless function on the Mastercard to pay for my public transport rides via ABT and earn 1.4 mpd (does anyone notice that the strength of the contactless function for Mastercard is nowhere near that for the EZ-Link? I always have to remove the card from my wallet to tap). I know I could potentially be earning 2.0 mpd on such rides with the HSBC Revolution card, but I don’t otherwise have a compelling case to apply for it right now so am holding off.

The card has a hefty 3.25% foreign transaction fee but almost all my overseas expenses are for business anyway so I’m happily using it as the general spend card when I travel for 2.4 mpd after I’ve exhausted the UOB Visa Signature’s cap (see below) and where 10X opportunities are not available.

DBS Altitude Visa

Image result for dbs altitude visa

Use for: Whatever doesn’t fall into a bonus spend category, <$30

Remarks: Two general spending cards? Why?

I’ve written about the rounding issue with UOB PRVI Miles vis a vie DBS Altitude which is well worth a read, but long story short if you’re comparing these two cards, the Altitude generally comes out on top for spend <$30 and the PRVI Miles for anything >$30 (some would argue the inflection point should be $20 because between $20-30 you’re indifferent and to further complicate matters, if you’re spending exactly in intervals of $5 the PRVI would come out on top. Too much info) because of differences in rounding policies.

I’ll admit to not being as disciplined with this as I should, but it always helps to have a range of bank cards in your wallet in case there are bank specific promotions.

UOB Preferred Platinum AMEX

Image result for uob preferred platinum amex
eyes left, please.

Use for: Dining at restaurants (5812), drinking places (5813) and fast food (5814)

Remarks: The utility of this card has somewhat declined ever since UOB capped the 10X points on dining at $6,000 of spending per year. Therefore I see this card eventually disappearing from my wallet in the later part of the year as I reach the cap.

While it lasts, however, this card will be a solid fixture in my wallet as my first choice for dining spending both in Singapore and overseas. This card can no longer be obtained (but the conspiracy theorists among you might be interested in this) so there’s little more to be said.

Maybank Horizon Visa Signature

Min Income
Annual Fee

$50,000

$180

Maybank Horizon Visa Signature

One of the best miles cards in Singapore for dining, petrol and taxi fares.
  • Earn 3.2 miles per dollar on dining, petrol and taxi fares with a minimum spend of $300 a month
  • Earn 2.0 miles per dollar on foreign currency spend, air tickets and travel packages
  • Complimentary access to selected airport lounges

more details

Apply Here

Use for: dining at restaurants (5812), petrol (5541, 5542) and for taxis

Remarks: My default port of call for dining would be either the UOB PPA or the Titanium Rewards card/UOB PPV wherever mobile payments/paywave is accepted (see below). But I do need a backup card for occasions where none of these options exist, and that’s in the form of the Maybank Horizon Visa Signature, which earns me 3.2 mpd on dining.

The card can also come in handy on the rare occasions when I do take a regular taxi (I’m aware you can top up Singtel Dash and use it to pay for taxi fares, or use the Comfort Delgro App to earn 4 mpd via the WWMC but I regularly max out the $2K on my WWMC anyway) or when I need to pump gas.

The drawback for me is that once I put a single dollar on this card, a sort of internal countdown starts where I know I need to hit $300 minimum within the month or else get 0.4 mpd on everything.

UOB Preferred Platinum Visa


Use for: Paywave at any place that isn’t a SMART$ merchant

Remarks: Even if you don’t have a specialized dining card, you can use the Preferred Platinum Visa to earn 10X points (4 mpd) at any place with a Paywave terminal. Paywave terminals turn up in the most unexpected places (I earned 4 mpd at my physio, which I attend because these beefy triceps don’t maintain themselves), so always be on the lookout!

How does this interact with the Titanium Rewards card when most places that have a Paywave terminal will almost certainly accept mobile payments? Remember that the UOB PPV caps 10X at $1,000 per month, but the Titanium Reward caps 10X at $12,000 per year. So there may be instances when one might make more sense than the other. Also, remember that if a merchant offers SMART$, you won’t earn any UNI$ with the PPV, so having the Titanium Rewards card linked to your mobile payment app can help to mitigate this.

OCBC Titanium Rewards

Min Income
Annual Fee

$30,000

$192.60 (First 2 Years Free)

OCBC Titanium Rewards

Earn 4 miles per dollar wherever mobile payments are accepted, and for online and offline shopping
  • Earn 4 miles per dollar when you shop at department stores, electronics stores, babies' and children's wear, or clothes, shoes and bags both online and offline, in Singapore and overseas
  • From now till 31 December 2018, earn 4 mpd on personal care (drug stores and pharmacies) and mobile payments with Android Pay, Apple Pay and Samsung Pay
  • Bonus miles are capped at $12,000 of spend per card membership year. But apply for both the Blue and Pink version of the card and double that cap to $24,000 (96,000 miles)
  • Spending on the OCBC Titanium Rewards helps you earn bonus interest if you have an OCBC 360 account. Check out this article about bank accounts and miles cards

more details

Use for: Mobile payments

Remarks: Fine. This is in my “virtual wallet”. I recently got my Titanium Rewards card, linked it to my Android Pay account and put it in my drawer. I’ll probably take it out if I need to make big ticket purchases on electronics  (since the Titanium Rewards card is the only card that offers 10X points on such purchases both online and offline). There’s no real need for me to carry the card around because it’s already saved in my Android Pay app, so any time I see a contactless terminal I’ll be paying with this card to get 4 mpd.

What’s not in my wallet (but I’m using anyway)

DBS Woman’s World Mastercard

Use for: online transactions

Remarks: The old girl is my default option for online spending (and I’ve memorized all her measurements right down to her sexy, sexy CVV number) but I’d never take her out in public because there’s simply no reason to. 4 mpd on online spending and 0.4 mpd everywhere else (fine, 1.2 mpd on foreign currency transactions but there are better cards around) means it’s a no brainer where this card should be used.

Citibank Rewards Visa

Min Income
Annual Fee

$30,000

$192.60 (First Year Free)

Citibank Rewards Visa

Earn up to 4 miles per dollar on all your online and offline shopping, and transfer them to the widest range of airlines offered by any bank
  • Earn 4 mpd for all your online and offline shopping, capped at $12,000 of spend each card membership year. This includes purchases of bags, shoes and clothes as well as shopping at department stores. Exhaust your cap? Get the Mastercard version and double your cap to $24,000
  • From now till 29 Jan 2018, enjoy 8 mpd on Amazon Prime Now purchases, capped at $1,000 each statement cycle
  • New Citibank customers can earn up to $120 of cashback for spending $200 in each of the first 6 months after application (if you're lost for ideas, buy Amazon or Qoo10 vouchers)
  • Points have a 5 year expiry and Citibank has the widest range of airline partners in Singapore- SIA, Cathay, Qantas, Qatar Airways, Air France, KLM, Etihad, Thai, Malaysia Airlines, British Airways, EVA, and Garuda
  • Remember that Citibank does not pool points among different cards.  This means you will have to pay a separate conversion fee for each credit card when you want to cash out your points

more details

Apply Here

Use for: department store spending, miscellaneous online

Remarks: I generally limit my use of Citibank cards because of the bank’s annoying practice of not pooling, but there are situations where I’d dust off the Rewards Visa. For example, they frequently run 20X promotions with Amazon/Lazada which represent a great opportunity to rack up points (buy a gift card if you have nothing in mind at the moment). I’d also use it if I maxed out the $2,000 cap on the WWMC.

UOB Visa Signature

Use for: overseas spending (but you could use it for Paywave and Petrol too if you pleased)

Remarks: This card isn’t a regular fixture in my wallet but whenever I fly overseas I always make a point of bringing this card with me because it gives 4 mpd on overseas spending capped at $2,000 per statement period (may not be calendar month). You need to spend a minimum of $1,000 to qualify for this, otherwise you earn 0.4 mpd.

It’s interesting that despite the superior earning rate on overseas transactions, this card has a lower foreign transaction fee than the PRVI (2.8% vs 3.25%)

It’s also worth noting that this card can earn you 4 mpd on Paywave and Petrol transactions, but again that’s subject to a minimum total spend of $1,000 per statement period and I’m not confident on hitting that based on those two categories alone. Hence, I don’t carry it around with me unless I’m flying overseas.

Conclusion

Please don’t go away thinking this is the only acceptable strategy and you need to follow it to a T. There are many other perfectly valid strategies that involve other good cards that I haven’t mentioned here (like the Citi Prestige and Citibank Premiermiles Visa), simply because it doesn’t match my spending patterns (I don’t want to pay the hefty fee for the Prestige and dislike Citibank’s no pooling policy).

There are also those who may find some value in having other cards like the Krisflyer cobranded series because of their ongoing promotions on Grab and mobile payments.

What cards will everyone else be using in the new year?

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47 Comments on "What credit cards will be in my wallet for 2018?"

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Alamak, I scheduled my post on this topic for 1 Jan 2018! Fastest fingers first haha. My wallet – UOB PRVI MC, DBS Altitude, UOB PP Amex, UOB Visa Signature (in case I decide to fly on a whim). I find these are all the cards I actually need to whip out. The Citibank Rewards Visa, DBS WWMC and UOB PP Visa have never seen the light of day actually. Hahaha, just the other day I whipped out my UOB PP Visa and was looking at it as though it were a new card!

Happy new year everyone 🙂

My stalwart cards are the same! And UOB VS for that exact same reason 😉

For me :
The cards that in my wallet :
UOB PPV : Paywave
UOB PPA : Dining
UOB Prvimiles Master : General spend, World vision until January 2018, PTPTN (Malaysia’s government education loan) until January 2018
DBS Altitude VISA: General spend and booking air ticket
HSBC Revolution VISA : EZ-Link auto reload, Taobao, SingTel bill and M1 bill via telco portal
AE KF: PTPTN (Malaysia’s government education loan ) February 2018 onwards., Grab

I thought I had a defective PRVI MasterCard. I’ve had to take it out of my wallet for use on public transport 95% of the time. Glad I’m not the only one but that doesn’t solve that problem.

Used to have this problem when they first launched the trial, but these days I’m able to stack it in my wallet and it gets detected with ease. Just make sure it’s with other harmless cards like loyalty point cards or your NRIC to prevent interference.

For me, in my wallet:
Uob ppa: dining
Citi rewards master: shopping
Wwmc: its in the hidden compartment of the wallet since forever
Citi premiermiles visa: it actually has 1 hidden magic function. Shhhhhh
Uob visa sig: in wallet when overseas

Forcefully placed in family members’ wallet:
Citi rewards visa
Dbs altitude

“Forcefully placed in family members’ wallet” – do these two card allow supplementary card holders to earn points to the main holder as well?

Silly me….T&C clarifies for DBS altitude:
“For purposes of calculating the DBS Points which the Cardmember is entitled to,
spending by both principal and supplementary Cardmembers will be consolidated under the principal Card account. For avoidance of doubt, supplementary Cardmembers are not entitled to separate DBS Points”

Good post. Thanks!

Just one question. Unless I’m mistaken, UOB PPV already offers 4mpd for contactless payments right? So why the need for the OCBC Titanium?

you’re not wrong. But this was you avoid the problem with smart dollar merchants, plus your cap is 12k a year versus 1k a month

Good point, but if one is already using the UOB PRVI Miles for general spending, then it makes more sense to use the UOB PPV (since UOB pools miles together unlike Citi) instead of OCBC Titanium so you don’t have to manage another pool of points.

How about the OCBC Titanium versus the Citi Rewards?

Also – UOB PPV rounds down to nearest $5 but OCBC Titanium Rewards round down to nearest $1. So for those purchases $4.99 and $9.99 etc- OCBC will be better?

Hey Aaron,

First time commenting here, but thank you so much for the post.

Just 3 questions:
1. Is there a reason why you chose UOB PRVI Mastercard instead of the Visa one?
2. Is there a reason why you chose DBS Altitude instead of Citi Premiermiles?
3. Are all the points from the different cards combine-able to your Krisflyer account?

Thanks! 🙂

1. Abt
2. Citibank doesn’t pool points
3. Yes

Regarding #1 – I wish here is Singapore we could use apple pay for MRT/Bus rides like in Japan with virtual Suica card…

Well, never had a wallet in a traditional sense. I have a transparent plastic badge with access keys to my office and home and in addition, I have DBS Altitude as primary and HSBC revolution as secondary cards there. Within Singapore I never carried or any more cards.

For overseas usage it is either DBS Treasures Amex or Chase Sapphire. The latter one is for online orders which requires US issued card.

I’ve applied for OCBC T more than 10 days ago but they are telling me that it takes 3 weeks to process application. Seriously?

Could it be you are an American, hence more time needed to process your paperwork? Usually in days. And existing customers can opt for next day delivery of card for some banks.

How long more it can take? Today got another automated SMS saying ‘blah-blah, we are processing your application’.

Aaron, what is the best card for PayPal payments to online merchants?

HS

Hey Aaron, I’ve been looking hard at the BOC Zaobao Unionpay card and it’s giving pretty good rebates (10% for online & dining & 23% for petrol). Do you think there is a case for this card, given your strong stance on Miles cards instead of Cash back ones?

I mean there are good cases to be made for certain cashback cards eg BOC family card for dining if you’re ok with the strings that come attached, eg Min spend requirement and you can avoid the annual fee. My default stance is I won’t use cashback but I’m sure it works for some people.

Hi Aaron! Wondering if it make sense if I were to use OCBC Titanium (mobile payments) for overseas usage when I have exhausted the 2K limit on the UOB Visa Signature during my statement month?

Yup, that’d work.

I probably need to rationalise, but… Citi Prestige: day to day. Occasional use of free hotel nights Citi Rewards MC: Dept stores and occasional online. It got used at Xmas. Will cancel if fee is not waived. DBS WWMC: online DBS Altitudes: miles for annual fee. Only keep because it pools with WWMC. UOB PPV: Apple Pay UOB PPA: Dining UOB Visa Sig: Overseas AMEX Ascend: Apple Pay. I’ll keep it while they waive annual fee just for the promos. I’ve held and cancelled UOB PRVI before. If they have a good sign up bonus this year I may go… Read more »

Hi Phil, Citibank refused to waive my Citi Prestige despite a decent spend. If you are successful please pm me? I have kept it cos the free nights alone pays off the annual fee.

The Standard Charted Visa Infinite card continues to give 1,4 mpd and 3.0 mpd for all local and foreign spend respectively as long as total charges in each statement cycle is at least S$2,000. Particularly good for those who max out their foreign spend on the UOB Visa Signature.

Hi, just wondering if anybody can advise if PayPal and TransferWise transactions count as online spend on WWMC? Been looking to do the switch for an online spending card, though I know I am late to the game

Let you know on the 16th jan. Made a payment via PayPal to a overseas merchant. 3x awarded. Remaining bonus to be expected on the 16th.

Great! That will be interesting to know.
Read on many forums that if it is to an official Merchant, it should be fine. However if it is an invoiced payment to an individual, there maybe some issues.
However there are also many conflicting threads/posts on Paypal transactions getting the full 10X so it’s pretty confusing!

I have a 5 slots in my wallet. #1: Citi prestige, general spend card @ 1.3mpd plus other perks. I know annual fee, but I can make it work for me. #2: UOB PP Amex, for dining #3: Citi rewards, for shopping #4: Citi clear platinum or HSBC revolution, for non amex and non paywave dining. Why no Maybank – because I was trying to cut down card applications ahead of a home loan application. Credit cards are a massive pitfall for the aspiring home owner, but easy to overcome if someone tells you what to do BEFORE you go… Read more »

Hey Aaron,

For general spend, you mentioned that the switchover from DBS Alt Visa to PRVI MC is at the $30 mark. But I’m not sure that’s right. I did a basic excel and besides at the $29.01 to $29.99 spending mark where DBS Alt Visa is better, PRVI MC seems to trump from $25 onwards?

(I 100% agree that PRVI MC is better from $30 onwards for sure though.)

May I know is it more worth to go for a 10% cashback or 4 mile/$

So many factors to consider. If you can accumulate enough miles for a long-haul business, that puts a mile value at 4C/mile equal 16% back of every dollar spent.

Seems there is some secret way to cash out WWMC based on some people’s at HWZ with ‘3600 points safe and clear’ postings.