When HSBC revised its T&Cs to exclude education, insurance, and utilities payments, I remarked that this was the death of the HSBC Revolution. After all, the card’s 2 mpd online bonus rate was only useful for these categories, and with those gone, why keep it?
The upgraded HSBC Revolution card
From 1 August 2020, the HSBC Revolution will change as follows:
|Until 31 July||From 1 August|
|Online Purchases||2 mpd||4 mpd|
|Contactless Payments||0.4 mpd||4 mpd|
|Local Dining||2 mpd||0.4 mpd (physical card)|
4 mpd (contactless)
|Local Entertainment||2 mpd||0.4 mpd|
HSBC will scrap the S$160.50 annual fee for the Revolution card, and switch up the bonus categories.
Gone is the bonus for local dining and entertainment, which is no big loss given that you could do much better with other cards anyway. In its place comes a 4 mpd bonus for online purchases and contactless payments, capped at S$1,000 per calendar month.
The 4 mpd will be awarded in the form of 10X HSBC rewards points, split into:
- 1X base points for every S$1 of eligible transactions
- 9X bonus points for every S$1 of eligible transactions
Bonus points will be credited by the end of the following calendar month from the date of transaction.
The new T&C can be found here.
4 mpd for contactless payments & online spending
HSBC defines contactless payments as those made via Visa contactless through a
contactless terminal mode which includes Visa payWave and Apple Pay.
In case you’re wondering why Google Pay isn’t listed, that’s because HSBC cards are not supported on Google Pay, believe it or not. Ditto for Fitbit Pay and Samsung Pay, sadly, but it just means you’ll have to bring the physical card around.
Online transactions will cover both internet and app-based transactions.
Do note that HSBC is not awarding a blanket 4 mpd on all contactless and online transactions. Instead, they’re adopting a “whitelist” approach, defining eligible transactions as follows:
|Travel related such as Airlines, Car Rental,|
Lodging, Cruise Lines and Travel Agencies
|3000 to 3350, 3351 to 3500, 3501 to 3999, 4411, 4511, 4722|
|Department Stores and Retail Stores||4816, 5045, 5262, 5309, 5310, 5311, 5331, 5399, 5611, 5621, 5631, 5641, 5651, 5655, 5661, 5691, 5699, 5732 to 5735, 5912, 5942, 5944 to 5949, 5964 to 5970, 5992, 5999|
|Supermarkets, Dining and Food Delivery||5411, 5441, 5462, 5499, 5811, 5812, 5813, 5814|
|Others such as Transportation and|
This should still cover all the basics, such as:
- airline and hotel bookings
- e-commerce shopping at Amazon, Lazada, Qoo10, Shopee, Taobao
- food delivery with Deliveroo, foodpanda, GrabFood
- ridesharing apps like Grab, gojek
- taxi transactions
GrabPay wallet top ups will not earn bonus points, based on HSBC’s rewards exclusion categories.
How does this compare to the UOB Preferred Platinum Visa?
These new perks make the HSBC Revolution a direct competitor with the UOB Preferred Platinum Visa. However, it has two key advantages:
- The UOB Preferred Platinum Visa awards points in S$5 blocks (anything less than S$5 earns 0 points), while the HSBC Revolution awards points per S$1
- The UOB Preferred Platinum Visa does not earn miles at SMART$ merchants like Cold Storage and Giant. There’s no such restriction for the HSBC Revolution
On the flip side:
- UOB has a bigger cards ecosystem and pools points, so there’s less of a risk of orphan balances. HSBC does not pool points among its cards
- The UOB Preferred Platinum Visa adopts a “blacklist” approach, which means that all contactless transactions earn 4 mpd unless otherwise stated. HSBC only awards 4 mpd on certain MCC ranges
This means the UOB Preferred Platinum Visa still has an important role to play in your wallet- use it at the dentist’s office, or at the hair salon, or anywhere that isn’t on the HSBC Revolution’s whitelist.
What can I do with HSBC rewards points?
HSBC Rewards Points can be transferred to Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer and Cathay Pacific Asia Miles, at a 5:2 ratio.
HSBC charges a S$42.80 annual fee that covers unlimited points transfers, and points are valid for 37 months from date of accrual.
Welcome gift of luggage or cashback
From now till 31 August, new-to-bank customers can choose between a Samsonite Prestige 69cm luggage bag (worth S$670) or S$150 of cashback when they spend a minimum of S$800 during the qualifying period. Applicants will be prompted for their choice at the time of application.
The qualifying spending period depends on when your card was approved:
|Card Opening Date||Qualifying Spend Period|
|1-30 June 2020||1 June- 31 July 2020|
|1- 31 July 2020||1 July- 31 August 2020|
|1-31 August 2020||1 August-30 September 2020|
|1-15 September||1 September- 31 October 2020|
Customers who apply via MyInfo will receive an additional S$30 of Grab codes.
This offer is available for customers who do not currently hold a principal HSBC credit card, and have not done so in the past 12 months. The full T&C can be viewed here.
I’m very pleased about this development, as it’s breathed new life into the HSBC Revolution. The free copy of The Entertainer and the removal of the annual fee only sweetens the deal.
I’ll be adding this card to my wallet and looking forward to 1 August.