Tag Archives: online

HSBC Advance Extends 10X Rewards to 31 May 2017

The 10X Rewards program with HSBC Advance was originally scheduled to end on 31 March 2017. Historically, the program has been renewed numerous times in the past, so there was some hope of another extension.

Well, that’s finally happened. HSBC has added a note on the Advance card site that the 10X rewards program is extended to 31 May 2017.

Needless to say, unlimited 10X rewards points on online and dining/entertainment is ridiculously generous. This program is almost certainly a loss leader for HSBC to get people to sign up for Advance accounts, and I don’t believe it is sustainable in the long run.

Still, make hay while the sun shines!

Cardup adds limited time member get member promotion

EDIT: The Cardup member get member promotion has been extended indefinitely

I’ve written previously about the startup Cardup, which charges a 2.6% fee in exchange for letting you use your credit card to make payments that normally couldn’t be made using a credit card. This means you can earn rewards points and miles on payments like rental, school fees, condo fees, insurance etc. Think of it conceptually as an opportunity to buy miles at a discounted rate.

Give $20, get $20

Cardup has launched a member get member promotion that lasts from now till 31 May 2017.

Under this promotion, any member that signs up via your referral code gets $20 off the Cardup fee for their first payment. You get $20 off your next payment for each successful referral. The maximum amount of free credit you can earn is $200 per account, or 10 referrals. Given the 2.6% fee, a $20 Cardup credit will cover the fees incurred on a ~$770 maximum value transaction.

My promo code is AARONW54, but feel free to post your own referral codes in the comments section below.

I realise the last time I wrote about this there was some confusion as to which cards earn 10X rewards points through Cardup. I have previously confirmed receiving 10X rewards points on Cardup using my DBS Woman’s World card for a transaction made in November 2016. I have not personally tested any of the following cards which offer 10X for online spending

  • HSBC Advance
  • UOB Pref Platinum Visa
  • Citibank Rewards
  • OCBC Titanium Rewards

The long and short of the matter is that there isn’t a whole lot of transparency on the back end of the banks as to how they classify transactions. There’s always a risk that you’ll not get what you were expecting. However- this member gets member promotion presents an opportunity for us to test different cards. Whether or not your 10X successfully posts, you don’t end up out of pocket, so that should lower the barrier to trying.

As a reminder, if you use a card like the UOB PRVI, you’ll get 1.4 mpd, or 1.86 cpm. You could potentially get 0.65 cpm with a 10X card, but that depends on whether you’re willing to gamble with either getting 10X or 1X (0.4 mpd).

Sharing is caring- please post the results of your field testing below. There might not be a point testing the HSBC Advance (assuming they don’t renew the 10X promotion), but I’d be interested to see what happens for other cards. Will give my Citibank Rewards card a test, if someone sends some free credit my way!

8 Miles per $1 with Citibank Rewards and Amazon (edit: extended to 30 Jun 2017)

From now till 31 October, Citibank Rewards cardholders can get 8 miles per S$1 spent on Amazon.com. (EDIT: Extended to 30 June 2017)

No registration is required for this. The maximum bonus you can earn is 8,000 miles or S$1,000 spend per statement period (which may or may not be calendar month).

I know everyone is holding out for the Black Friday sales on Amazon in November. No worries, you can prepay your Black Friday balance by buying an Amazon Gift Card now.

The cap applies per card, not per account. What this means is that if you have both the Citibank Rewards Visa and MC you can get up to 16,000 miles per statement period (spending $1,000 each on the Visa and MC).

The downside of Citibank is that they make it difficult to pool your points for redemptions. I understand that if you dial in you can ask the CSO to pool your points so that you only pay one conversion fee but I’ve not tried this before.

If you need someone to mule your Amazon purchases back home, try AirFrov.

Is Cardup another route to unlocking 4mpd?

Update 20/1/17: So there have been some lively discussions on the comments and a lot of uncertainty about which cards do and don’t earn 10X on Cardup and iPayMy. 

All I can say is that Cardup earned me 10X points when I used my DBS Woman’s World Card to make a payment back in November 2016. I have not tested any of the other cards mentioned here and can only go on what I’m hearing  from other people. And I’m hearing a lot of conflicting things. I think the main takeaway from this should be: YMMV. Although it’d be amazing if we could get the certainty of 10X, at the end of the day it’s up to the banks what categories they want to give this on. 

One additional clarification that people may find useful is that Cardup payments can be split across multiple cards so you can max out your bonus exactly on one before moving to another.

In any case, I’d prefer that the comments not become an advertising space for any platform, so I’m going to close them at this point. If you have questions for the good people at Cardup or iPayMy, I suggest you contact them directly-

Cardup: [email protected] 
iPayMy: [email protected]

Cardup is another Singapore startup that’s looking to help you earn more miles on things you couldn’t normally earn miles on. Its model is conceptually similar to iPayMy in that in exchange for a small transaction fee (2.6%, the same across both platforms), you get the chance to use your credit card for merchants who normally don’t take credit cards.

As of today, you can pay rent, rental deposits, school fees (mostly international schools plus some preschools like EtonHouse), condo fees and insurance (AIA, Aviva, AXA, Manulife, Great Eastern and Tokio Marine) through Cardup. This will eventually be expanded to include HDB fees, income tax, school bus, mortgage payments and car servicing.

My experience using Cardup to pay my NUSS monthly membership fees was fairly painless. I just entered my membership details in the dashboard….

Provided my payment details…

And that was it. A few days later, I got an email notification that my payment had been processed.

Does it get 10X?

I suppose this is the question on everyone’s minds. I reached out to the Cardup team for some clarification and here’s their answer as to which cards earn 4mpd with Cardup

  • UOB Preferred Platinum Visa- Yes
  • Citibank Rewards- No
  • OCBC Titanium Rewards- No
  • DBS Woman’s World Card- Yes (edit: updated after Cardup team’s confirmation)
  • HSBC Advance- No

But when I checked my DBS points statement (I did the transaction back in November), my 10X posted successfully. So I’m unsure now. Either it’s a new development that Cardup transactions don’t get 10X with DBS anymore, or there is some confusion even on the Cardup side about what does and doesn’t qualify (Cardup has since confirmed that 10X is possible with DBS WWMC)

You can also have a read of this thread on FT (see posts 6575 + 6549) where someone claims to have been in touch with the Cardup team and provides some FAQs for mile collectors.

Granted, these situations are always in flux (and banks can easily reclassify merchants if they want to) but given how fundamental the 10X points is to people like me when deciding whether to use such services, it is really to their advantage to try and establish some certainty here.

Addendum: iPayMy has been in touch to confirm that the following cards earn 10X rewards points with their platform: UOB PPV, Citibank Rewards, HSBC Advance, DBS Woman’s World Card

Of course, platforms like Cardup market themselves on more than just the ability to earn points. They talk about the convenience of being able to set up transactions once and never worry about them again and the ability to schedule payments in advance. I know iPayMy is trying to build a property management ecosystem where you can seamlessly upload documentation like repair bills and what not to your tenant, keeping a digital trail of all the information in one place. I’m sure some people may find that useful, but I’m not really sold on the convenience because (1) I don’t rent a place and (2) you can get all the convenience of one-time set up and never missing a payment with a GIRO arrangement

To me, the only thing that justifies paying a 2.6% fee is the ability to earn 10X/ 4 mpd. I’ve done the working before, but it bears repeating. If you can get 10X points, you pay-

2.6 cents= 4 miles or 0.65 cents per mile

If you’re earning regular spending rates of 1.4 mpd (UOB PRVI), you equation becomes-

2.6 cents=1.4 miles or 1.86 cents per mile

Is 1.86 cpm a bad price to buy miles at? No, insofar as it’s below the magical 2 cpm threshold we’ve talked about before. But remember that you could potentially be buying miles for less through annual fees.

Card Renewal/ Sign Up Annual Fee (S$) Renewal Bonus (miles) Cost of 1 mile
DBS Altitude Renewal 192.60 10,000 1.9 cents
ANZ Travel Renewal 200 10,000 2 cents
HSBC Visa Infinite Sign Up 488 30,000 1.6 cents
OCBC Voyage Sign up 488/ 3,210 15,000/ 150,000 3.3 cents/ 2.1 cents
Citibank Premiermiles Renewal 192.60 10,000 1.9 cents
Citi Prestige Sign up 535 25,000 2.1 cents
SCB Visa Infinite Sign up 588.50 35,000 1.7 cents

0.65 cpm, however, is a very hard proposition to turn down. And that’s why this 10X or no 10X is so fundamental to my decision whether or not to use these services.

The thing about 10X cards is that they’re amazing if they give you 10X, and punitive if they don’t. Imagine if you paid for a Cardup/iPayMy transaction with a 10X card but ended up earning only 1X. Your effective cost then is

2.6 cents= 0.4 miles or 6.5 cents per mile!

So I can absolutely understand why people are paranoid about this. I think it’s important for both Cardup and iPayMy (and whoever else s intending to enter this space) to have, on their sites, a resource that’s updated monthly with whether or not transactions are qualifying for 10X. This would help nudge people who are still on the fence.

If you fancy your luck (or have a UOB PP Visa), Cardup is currently running a New Year promotion that offers a $0 fee on a user’s first payment (max $5,000). This is valid till 19 Feb and the first 250 users (promo code: Hello2017 (I do not earn anything from this link)).

Conclusion

Given the similarities between iPayMy and Cardup, one might be wondering which platform is “better”.

Assuming both iPayMy and Cardup qualify for the same 10X bonuses with the various online spending cards (something that has yet to be established), then the average miles collector should be indifferent between either platform insofar as they charge the same 2.6% admin fee.

Where these platforms will end up differentiating themselves will be on things like

  • Lists of merchants each platform offers (eg Cardup lets you make insurance payments while iPayMy lets you pay car park charges)
  • Platform rewards program (eg Cardup’s website talks about giving frequent users rewards like 1 month’s free rent, $50 school supplies vouchers)
  • The ability to create a “rental ecosystem” and whether consumers find that useful (eg iPayMy’s creation of a property portal that allows tenants and landlords to upload documents to each other)

It should also be noted that both iPayMy and Cardup do not currently take AMEX but will be offering it soon. However, because there is no 10X online rewards card that comes in an AMEX variety, this isn’t really a concern for me.

[For the purposes of full disclosure I should mention that this site has worked with iPayMy before. However, given the number of questions I’ve been getting about Cardup, I felt it would be beneficial to readers to do an article on the topic. I did reach out to Cardup for clarification on some of the points in the article but all opinions are my own. Cardup offered to waive my first transaction fee on their platform, which I declined]

 

DASH-ing through the snow on a 4-mile-per-dollar sleigh…

Ho ho ho! It’s that time of the year again, and sounds of festive cheer are in the air. Or maybe that’s just the sound of holiday tunes being piped in stores. Whatever the case, hopefully this post can help put you in the holiday mood.

I’ve been trying out this mode of payment recently and have been successfully gaining 4 miles per dollar on it for some time now. Didn’t think to write about it earlier because I was pretty late to the party myself, it’s pretty troublesome, and I only see it as useful for Singtel users, but if there’s anything recent news has taught me, it’s there there are plenty of Singtel users in Singapore.

Also, what are MileLion readers if not brave folk ready to jump through hoops in order to maximise mileage gain?

MileLion Circus Charlie

What is (Singtel) Dash?

Dash can be a rather confusing product, mainly because it includes multiple services like a bank account, personal loans and insurance. What’s immediately relevant here is Singtel Dash, a mobile app [Android | iOS] that acts as a mobile wallet. Think of it like an EZ-Link card on your phone that you can use to make payments (though somewhat more limited).

The website states that it is accepted at “20,000 stores and counting”, so if you happen to see Dash being accepted where you buy stuff, you’re all set!
Dash merchants

(Unfortunately, it’s not quite as simple as that – coverage can still pretty limited; I was disappointed to find out that FairPrice Finest outlets are excluded, for instance!)

If you’re a Singtel user and have an NFC-enabled phone (for most people – the more advanced Android phones), you can even get a Singtel Transit NFC SIM to use Dash to tap for public transport. You can also tap to pay at Dash merchants (regardless of telco), though iPhone users have to manually input a counter code, which slows down the process noticeably.

How do I get 4 miles per dollar via Dash?

Singtel Dash is essentially a prepaid account that you need to top up before use. Most people would do so directly from their bank accounts, but Singtel users also get the option of topping up via Singtel bill (edit: this is capped at $200 per monthly billing cycle).

This allows you to effectively channel a chunk of your spending to your Singtel bill, and since Singtel allows you to make payments via their website (or through their app), which codes as online spend…

Now, if only there were some way to get 4mpd on online spend… Hmm…

(You might also want to take a look at the crowdsourced Google Spreadsheet to check which cards have been successfully clocking miles on online payments to Singtel.)

Isn’t this a whole lot of trouble?

Yes, it is. This is especially so for me since I’m on an iPhone, and payments can be painfully slow when there’s a line behind me at the cashier. Still, we’ve gotta do what we gotta do, right?

I also prefer not to leave extra funds in the mobile wallet, so I have to top it up every time I make a Dash purchase. It’s not that difficult, but the extra steps can get annoying.

(To be frank, I’m still evaluating if I want to continue doing this in the long run. Still, it seems to be a more painless procedure for Android users, especially if you’re willing to leave funds in the mobile wallet.)

Other deals on Dash

One thing that’s kept me coming back to Dash is the abundance of promotional deals it’s been running. For instance, they’re currently offering 5% cashback on a number of merchants (e.g. FairPrice, taxis) – coupled with the 4 miles per dollar (which I value at about 2¢ each) I currently get about a 13% return of value on my Dash purchases.

This particular offer is set to last until 31 Dec 2016, though, so I’m not sure if that’ll still be the case come 2017.

Conclusion

If you happen to spend a fair bit of money at merchants that accept Dash as payment (e.g. FairPrice), this could be one way to gain 4mpd on that expenditure, if you’re a Singtel user (edit: up to $200 per month). The additional promotional deals don’t hurt, either.

Admittedly, it’s rather troublesome, especially if you’re an iPhone user. However, there’s no set up cost, so maybe you’d like to get the app [Android | iOS] and see if you think it’s worth the effort?

HSBC Advance 4 miles per $1 extended to 31 March 2017

Those of you who joined me on Monday’s earning miles webinar will remember me waxing lyrical about one particular card- the HSBC Advance.

The HSBC Advance currently gives you 4 miles per $1 on local dining and online spending, without any caps. I don’t need to tell you how amazing a deal this is, if you’re willing to park $30K in a HSBC Advance account or transfer $2,500 a month into one for 12 months (which is required to get a HSBC Advance card).

We knew from the start that this was never going to be sustainable over the long term. Offering 4 miles per $1 (10X rewards points) on spending is a loss leader strategy for HSBC to get people to park money with them (and perhaps eventually target some of these individuals for priority banking products). It can’t be anything other than that, because I imagine they lose money every time someone does a 4 mpd transaction.

Originally the 10X HSBC Rewards points program was scheduled to end on 31 Dec 2016. However, I’ve just been informed (thanks Carl) by a reader that HSBC has quietly updated the T&C on their site, which now read-

  • The programme period for the 10x HSBC Rewards points programme ends on 31 March 2017 or such other date as may be determined by  HSBC at its sole discretion.

I don’t know how HSBC is financing this. Frankly, I don’t care. All I know is 4mpd without caps continues and it feels so good.

If you’re still on the fence about getting a HSBC Advance card, this should provide you some extra impetus to do so.

Miletize with your rental payments through iPayMy

[Addendum 21 Nov: iPaymy now offers a flat 2.6% service fee regardless of transaction size]

Before I went on my RTW trip I met up with the COO of iPayMy, a local startup that’s offering a new way of paying your rental. We had a good chat where she told me about what iPayMy was trying to do in Singapore, their value proposition and that I had a piece of loose spinach stuck in my teeth the whole time we were talking.

TL;DR version- iPayMy lets you pay your rent through your credit card subject to the following fees

  • 2.95% for rentals up to $5,000
  • 2.85% for rentals from $5,000 to $10,000
  • 2.75% for rentals from $10,001 upwards

At the end of the day this is a simple miles buying exercise. Let’s assume you’re using the HSBC Advance card which gives 4 miles per $1 on online transactions (which is really the right card to use for this). Your cost per mile is-

  • 0.74 cents for rentals up to $5,000
  • 0.71 cents for rentals from $5,000 to $10,000
  • 0.69 cents for rentals from $10,001 upwards

My understanding is that iPayMy will have the option to do partial payments across 2 credit cards, so you could use it to max out your DBS Woman’s World card $2,000 cap before putting the rest on another card, if you don’t have the HSBC advance. Suppose I did a combination of the DBS Woman’s World card and the UOB PRVI Miles Visa/MC (they don’t take AMEX now). The cost per mile is (assuming a minimum rent of $2,000 and 4 miles per $1 on Woman’s world and 1.4 miles per $1 on PRVI)-

  • 0.74-1.21 cents for rentals up to $5,000
  • 1.16-1.48 cents for rentals from $5,001 to $10,000
  • 1.43-1.57 cents for rentals from $10,001 upwards

I think the analysis shows that this is the best deal if you have a HSBC Advance card. If not your cost per mile goes up the more your rent is.

Of course you could have a situation where you had both the DBS Woman’s World card and the DBS Woman’s card and used the (separate) $2,000 cap on each to get 4 miles per $1 on the first $2,000 and 2 miles per $1 on the next 2,000, in which case your calculation would again change.

Remember that you can buy miles for as low as 1.62 cents through credit card annual fees , so iPayMy would be a cheaper option if you wanted to buy miles.

Card Fee Miles Cost /Mile
Citi Prestige $535 25,000 2.14
ANZ Travel Card $200 10,000 2.00
Citi Premiermiles $192.60 10,000 1.93
DBS Altitude $192.60 10,000 1.93
OCBC Voyage (snigger) $488 / $3,210 15,000 (Voyage) / 150,000 (Krisflyer)* 3.25/2.14
SCB Visa Infinite $588.50 35,000 1.68
HSBC Visa Infinite $488 30,000 1.62

I know some people will see this as a chance to do manufactured spending, but it’s against the T&C and probably not a good idea. Even if you could somehow get pass the paperwork and documentation requirements needed to set up a payment scheme, I believe there would be income tax implications. For example, if I dummy paid my friend $5,000 every month and he ibanked it back to me,  he’d be subject to tax on $5,000 of rental income.

So that’s the situation on the miles, which is really the part I’m most interested in . I suppose your ability to take advantage of this depends on the willingness of your landlord to set up with iPayMy, but given that the transaction fee is borne by you I can’t see why that would be an issue. In any case my understanding is that eventually iPayMy will evolve into a property management ecosystem where the both the tenant and landlord can upload relevant documents (eg repair bills) and keep in touch regularly. I’ve never rented a property before so I can’t comment on the usefulness of that.

Update: Correction, property owners do not need to sign-up to iPaymy to receive funds from tenants. They will simply receive the money in their bank account as normal. The tenant simply should ensure to process their rent payment with iPaymy at least 5 days ahead of the due date, to allow for the processing time period and avoid a late rent payment.

This isn’t something that everyone can take advantage of, but if you’re already paying rent and looking for more ways to buy miles this might be an option for you. What I’m hoping is that iPayMy does some sort of promotion where you can get the first month’s transaction fee waived. That would at least lower the barrier to adoption for a lot of people.