Late last night, Standard Chartered decided to pull the plug early on the X Card’s 100,000 miles sign up bonus. The new deadline was moved up to 31 July, a full month before the original 31 August expiry.
I’ve been spending the morning on the phone with various SCB CSOs, and here’s what I’ve gathered:
- If you apply by 31 July 2019 and receive approval by 31 August 2019, you will be eligible for the 100,000 miles sign up bonus
- If you apply after 31 July 2019 and receive approval by 30 September 2019, you will be eligible for a new offer
The new SCB X Card offer
X Card applicants who apply from 1 August 2019 onwards will receive the revised sign up offer below:
|Original Offer (ends 31 July)||New Offer (ends 30 Sept)|
|Miles from $695.50 Annual Fee||30,000||30,000|
|Spend $6K within first 60 days||70,000||30,000|
|Base miles earned on $6K spend||7,200||7,200|
The miles from the first year’s $695.50 annual fee remain the same, as does the base earning rate of 1.2 mpd on local spend. What has changed is that the bonus miles for spending $6,000 in the first 60 days has been cut from 70,000 to 30,000 miles.
Is it worth it?
Let’s get one thing out of the way first. In and of itself, this is still a good sign up bonus compared to what’s on the market. The chart below summarizes the different sign up bonuses that other banks are offering, and we can see that a “spend $6K Get 30K miles offer” would be second only to the AMEX Platinum Charge.
Of course, we can’t just pretend like the old offer never existed, and it’s quite another thing when you take that into account. This poses an interesting psychological experiment, I suppose: would you take a good offer, if you knew it’d just been downgraded from a great one?
Only you can answer that, but I personally wouldn’t spring for the X Card with the new sign up bonus simply because I’m happy with my current miles balance. I mean, I’d be willing to pay $695.50 for the opportunity to earn 100,000 miles, but I wouldn’t pay the same for only 60,000.
You should also remember that there’s an inherent opportunity cost in the X Card’s sign up bonus. Spending $6,000 on the X Card means you can’t spend it on a better general spending card (e.g. the BOC Elite Miles World Mastercard @ 1.5 mpd) or, in certain cases, a better specialized spending card (e.g. the Citi Rewards Visa or DBS Woman’s World Card @ 4 mpd). You’ll need to adjust the 30,000 miles bonus downwards to account for this.
I’d probably still recommend the X Card to someone new to the miles game with big ticket spending planned, but only after he/she had exhausted other no-fee sign up bonuses like the DBS Altitude and the AMEX KrisFlyer Credit Card. I’d also not make them feel bad by saying “oh but if you’d only started earlier, you could have got 40,000 more miles for the same cost” because I’m nice that way.
This all the more drives home the point that if you’re intending to apply for the X Card, you absolutely, positively need to do so today.
If you’re hoping that the 100,000 miles offer will come back, don’t. The offer has served its purpose- it made headlines, drove applications, and now that the internal KPI has been hit, it’s going to disappear into the lore of 8 mpd everywhere.
Last point: none of this changes the fact that the X Card’s existing benefits and price point don’t make it a good candidate for renewal in the second year. If SCB is looking to cut its losses on the 100,000 miles sign up promotion, let’s hope they redeploy resources to boosting the X Card’s otherwise underwhelming core benefits.