Tapping my way round the world: Titanium Rewards, mobile payments and 4 mpd

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My experience using the Titanium Rewards card as an overseas general spending card.

For expenses on my current RTW trip, the first port of call is my UOB Visa Signature. So long as I put a minimum of S$1,000 on it within a given statement period (not the same as calendar month, so call up customer service to confirm when your period starts/ends), I’ll earn 4 mpd up to a maximum of S$2,000.

Once that’s exhausted, however, I’m not exactly spoiled for choice. Yes, if it’s dining I can whip out my UOB PP AMEX(4 mpd, capped at S$6,000 per year) where AMEX is accepted, and if it’s big ticket shopping I might use the Citibank Rewards card (4 mpd, capped at S$12,000 per year, though I hate how Citibank points don’t pool).

But if it falls into neither category, I’m stuck with the UOB PRVI Miles card (2.4 mpd) as backup. 2.4 mpd is a decent rate (and since I travel for work and get reimbursed, the 3.25% fee doesn’t bother me too much), but I keep thinking I could do better. And now that I have my Titanium Rewards card, I can.

It all goes back to the promotion for mobile payments that OCBC is running for Titanium Rewards which offers 4 mpd, capped at $12,000 of spending per card anniversary and valid until 31 Dec 2018. To recap, here’s the list of which countries accept what mobile payments:

Countries that support Apple Pay, Android Pay, and Samsung Pay
Credit: Passkit.com

I was surprised that there were so many supposedly developed countries that didn’t support mobile payments. For example, I was surprised that Germany wasn’t on the list. I ended up maxing out my UOB Visa Signature on expenses there.

Fortunately my second port of call, Spain, did have Android Pay, and I found acceptance to be widespread. I ended up using it at several restaurants that didn’t take AMEX (including, interestingly enough, some of the vendors at La Boqueria market). I used it at Zara. I used it at a random ice cream store. And, best of all, I used it at the Le Meridien Barcelona, which happily allowed me to tap my phone on their contactless reader to pay for my stay. I think that’s the first time I’ve paid for a hotel stay with my phone. Every tap, every vibration means 4 mpd.

One thing to be careful about- using Android Pay does not necessarily protect you from the evils of DCC. The merchant is still entitled to select on their side the transaction currency. So be alert.

Sidenote: if you have a Samsung phone that has MST, then the Titanium Rewards card is an absolute gold mine for you. For those of you who don’t know, MST (magnetic secure transmission) is a marvelous new technology that imitates the swiping of a card’s magnetic strip. You can see a quick explainer below:

The benefits of MST should be very obvious- you’re effectively able to earn 4 mpd almost everywhere that credit cards are accepted until you hit your card cap, regardless whether they accept contactless payments. So long as there’s a terminal that accepts cards, MST should work (although there will always be older terminals which are the exception to the rule).

At this rate I’ll probably burn through the $12,000 annual cap on my Blue Titanium Rewards card before long, so at some point this year I’ll apply for the Pink version to double my cap. OCBC does pool points from different cards together, FYI.

Aaron Wong
Aaron founded The Milelion with the intention of helping people travel better for less and impressing chiobu. He was 50% successful.

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YX

Hey Aaron! Thank again for your wonderful tip, but something caught my eye in this post. I’m talking about the 3.25% charge on the UOB Prvi Miles you briefly mentioned. Now I kinda remember I’ve seen this charge somewhere, but I thought it was quite normal amongst all the cards, and never bothered to find out more. I just chalked up 10 Gs on my UOB prvi miles last week on a holiday, and now I’m wondering if I should have done that (LOL). I tried the search function on your site, but noob me still doesn’t see that charge… Read more »

anon

Think this is what you are looking for. https://milelion.com/2016/02/22/primer-overseas/

Alison

I’ve already exhausted my both pink and blue cards sadly because of the additional mst function on Samsung. and OCBC is really strict on their capping. What’s the next best alternative other than UOB?

TH

How do we go about using MST? Are merchant in SG familiar with it?

Billy Seah

As shared in Telegram, I can say most merchant don’t even know about this MST.
If your phone is able to support MST, tell them that you want to swipe your card cos most of the terminal now uses the IC chip on your card for transaction. Then put your phone as close to the swipe slot (or whatever you call it), the POS will detect your card and you may proceed with the transaction!

JT

If you try that in Singapore the cashier Aunty will shout at you and call the police.

Billy Seah

I had already shocked 2 aunties yesterday when I used my phone to “swipe” their POS.
Their reaction is “Can like that one meh?”

Yeah, your 2nd point is valid for their suspicion.
Just this Indian worker working for this Landscape shop Auntie apparently knew more than the auntie, saying they were already using this in their taxi back in India.

Seadrift

What about the DBS Woman’s World Card? Website states that it will earn 6miles for every $5 spent overseas. Would it be better to use that than the uob prvi miles card?

Ben

“Website states that it will earn 6miles for every $5 spent overseas.”
“I’m stuck with the UOB PRVI Miles card (2.4 mpd) as backup. 2.4 mpd is a decent rate”

Go figure?

invisible

So the question is – which would be the cheapest Samsung phone to be used for MST purpose?

anon

It was mentioned that it is Samsung Galaxy J7 Pro.

invisible

Wiki page also list A3 2017 model. Question is which of these is cheaper.

invisible

Regarding OCBC card. Did anyone add the card to apple/android/samsung pay and the used it to top up Ezlink/NETS FP at GTM and get 10x points?

P.S. Answering my own question – GTMs do not support mobile payments.

Siang+fei

No 10x

Garfield

Curious..

Has anyone bought a Samsung phone just to use the MST function?

I’ve been toying with this idea for a while but this means I may have to bring 3 phones with me?! 1 personal + 1 office + 1 Samsung phone…

Hmm

E

anyone looked at the rounding issue for ocbc? i rem aaron did one last year for the other banks but no mention of ocbc. i mean with this mobile payment promo, i’m tapping for most of my transactions, big, small and smaller!

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