Here’s The Milelion’s review of the HSBC Revolution Card, one of the easiest ways to earn 4 mpd on a wide variety of day-to-day spending.
For a while, it looked like the Revolution was down and out. With HSBC nerfing points for insurance and utilities, the last vestige of a use case for this card disappeared. Then came a revolution (it’s not easy thinking up puns, you know) as HSBC gave the product a major makeover, turning it from paperweight to wallet essential.
|💳 tl;dr: ★★★★1/2
|The new-and-improved HSBC Revolution represents a dramatic improvement over its predecessor, with its bonuses on travel, shopping, dining, transport and more. The lack of an annual fee only sweetens the deal.|
|The good||The bad|
|This HSBC Revolution review forms part of my collection of credit card reviews. I’m constantly adding new ones, and you can browse the entire collection here.|
Overview: HSBC Revolution
Let’s start this review by looking at the key features of the HSBC Revolution.
|FCY Fee||2.8%||Transfer Fee||S$42.80|
|Local Earn||0.4 mpd||Points Pool?||No|
|FCY Earn||0.4 mpd||Lounge Access?||No|
|Special Earn||4.0 mpd on selected online and contactless payments||Airport Limo?||No|
|Cardholder Terms and Conditions|
How much must I earn to qualify for a HSBC Revolution?
The HSBC Revolution is positioned at the entry level, with a S$30,000 annual income requirement.
If you do not meet the minimum annual income, you can place a S$10,000 fixed deposit with HSBC to get a secured version of the card, with a credit limit equivalent to 100% of the deposit amount. More information can be found in this form.
How much is the HSBC Revolution’s annual fee?
|Principal Card||Supp. Card|
Here’s the best part- from 1 August 2020, the HSBC Revolution’s S$160.50 annual fee has been removed, making it a free-to-hold card. Simply put, there’s no annual fee for either principal or supplementary cardholders, now or in the future.
There are precious few credit cards in Singapore with no annual fee, and the ones that exist are fairly abject. So hats off to HSBC for doing this, while simultaneously improving the value proposition.
What sign-up bonus or gifts are available?
HSBC typically offers a choice of cashback or luggage as its sign-up gifts for new-to-bank customers, defined as those who do not currently hold a principal HSBC card, and have not in the past 12 months.
Here’s the current sign-up gifts available:
|🎁 Current Sign-Up Bonuses/Gifts|
Spend at least S$800 during the qualifying period and redeem a Samsonite Prestige 69cm luggage bag (worth S$670) or S$150 of cashback. For cards approved between 1-31 August, your qualifying spend period is 1 August-30 September. For cards approved between 1-15 September, your qualifying spend period is 1 September- 31 October.
|Apply by 31 August 2020|
How many miles do I earn?
|🇸🇬 SGD Spending||🌎 FCY Spending||➕ Bonus Spending|
|0.4 mpd||0.4 mpd||4.0 mpd on travel, shopping, groceries, dining, transport paid online or via contactless payments|
Regular SGD/FCY Spending
The HSBC Revolution earns 1 HSBC Point for every S$1 spent in Singapore Dollars or foreign currency (FCY).
1 HSBC Point is worth 0.4 airline miles, so that’s an equivalent earn rate of 0.4 mpd for both local and FCY spending. All foreign currency transactions are subject to a 2.8% fee.
Selected contactless payments & online spending
Here’s where the HSBC Revolution really shines.
Cardholders will earn an additional 9 HSBC Points for every S$1 spent on selected online and contactless transactions, whether in local currency or FCY. That’s a total earn rate of 10 HSBC Points per S$1 spent, or 4 mpd.
The following MCCs are eligible for bonus points:
|Airlines, Car Rental, Lodging, Cruise Lines and Travel Agencies||3000 to 3350, 3351 to 3500, 3501 to 3999, 4411, 4511, 4722, 7011|
|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|
|Transportation and Membership Clubs||4121, 7997|
For those of you who don’t speak MCC, this includes transactions at:
- Airlines, Car Rental, Lodging, Cruise Lines and Travel Agencies: Singapore Airlines, Scoot, Cathay Pacific, Emirates, or any other airline, Hilton, Hyatt, Marriott, or any other hotel
- Department and Retail Stores: Amazon, Book Depository, Courts, Harvey Norman, Lazada, Qoo10, Shopee, Taobao
- Supermarkets, Dining and Food Delivery: Cold Storage, Deliveroo, FairPrice ON, foodpanda, GrabFood, WhyQ
- Transportation and Membership Clubs: Comfort, Grab (excluding GrabPay top-ups), gojek, Fitness First
The list above is far from comprehensive. If you’re curious about which merchants fall under what MCC, you can always use the Visa Supplier Locator.
You will also earn 4 mpd at these merchants when you transact offline, via contactless payments. The HSBC Revolution supports the following contactless payment methods:
The 4 mpd is capped at a maximum of S$1,000 per calendar month.
The inclusion of MCCs 5811, 5812, 5813 and 5814 makes the HSBC Revolution the only unisex 4 mpd dining card on the market. That’s a gap which sorely needed filling, after the demise of the UOB Preferred Platinum AMEX. Also note that “transport” does not include MCC 4111, which means SimplyGo will not qualify.
While it’s a shame that the HSBC Revolution adopts a whitelist approach (only MCCs we’ve specified will earn bonus points) rather than a blacklist approach (only MCCs we’ve specified will not earn bonus points), the bonus categories are fairly broad and will cover a lot of day-to-day spending.
When are HSBC Points credited?
The 1X base HSBC Points are credited when the transaction posts, usually within 1-3 working days.
The bonus 9X HSBC Points will be credited by the end of the following calendar month from the date of transaction. For example, if you make an eligible transaction in April, your bonus points will come by the end of May.
|Base Points (1X)||Credited when transaction posts|
|Bonus Points (9X)
||Credited by the end of the following calendar month|
How are HSBC points calculated?
Here’s how you can work out the HSBC Points earned on your HSBC Revolution.
|Base Points (1X)||Round transaction to the nearest S$1, then multiply by 1.0|
|Bonus Points (9X)
||Sum all eligible transactions (including cents) and multiply by 9.0. Round down transaction to the whole number|
The rounding policy means the minimum spend to earn points is just S$0.50.
While the UOB Preferred Platinum Visa (the Revolution’s closest competitor) awards points in blocks of S$5, the Revolution awards points in blocks of S$1. This is a key advantage, because it means you lose fewer points to rounding. Consider the following illustration:
|HSBC Revolution||UOB Pref. Plat Visa|
|$5||20 miles||20 miles|
|$9.99||39.6 miles||20 miles|
|$15||60 miles||60 miles|
|$19.99||79.6 miles||60 miles|
|$25||100 miles||100 miles|
|$29.99||119.6 miles||100 miles|
If you’re an excel geek, here’s the formulas you need to calculate your points:
|Base Points (1X)||=ROUND (X,0)*1|
|Bonus Points (9X)
|Where X= Amount Spent, Y= Sum of all eligible transactions
For the full list of formulas that banks use to calculate credit card points, do refer to these articles:
What transactions aren’t eligible for HSBC Points?
A full list of transactions that do not earn HSBC Points can be found in the T&C. I’ve highlighted a few noteworthy categories below:
- Charitable Donations
- Government Services
- GrabPay top-ups
- Professional services provides (e.g Google & Facebook Ads, AWS)
- Real Estate Agents & Managers
Don’t bother using the HSBC Revolution for CardUp/ipaymy/RentHero transactions, as no points will be earned.
What do I need to know about HSBC Points?
|💨 Expiry||↔️ Pooling||✈️ Transfer Fee|
|37 months||No||S$42.80 for 12 months of unlimited conversions|
HSBC Points expire after 37 months, and do not pool across cards. If you have 10,000 HSBC points on the HSBC Revolution, and 15,000 HSBC Points on the HSBC Visa Infinite, you won’t be able to combine the two when redeeming.
Since points do not pool, you will have to transfer all your HSBC Points out before cancelling the HSBC Revolution, or else forfeit them.
HSBC Points can be transferred to frequent flyer programs at a 5:2 ratio, with a minimum transfer block of 25,000 HSBC points.
|Frequent Flyer Program||Conversion Ratio
(HSBC Points: Partner)
Instead of charging a fee per conversion, HSBC instead charges cardholders an annual S$42.80 Mileage Program fee, which covers unlimited conversions for a 12-month period. Alternatively, you can pay 9,000 rewards points for a program fee waiver (not worth it).
Even though your HSBC Points do not pool, you will only pay a single program fee regardless of how many HSBC credit cards you have. This covers transfers to both KrisFlyer and Asia Miles (i.e no need to register again for the 2nd frequent flyer program).
All HSBC principal cardholders receive a complimentary copy of The Entertainer, which offers more than 1,000 1-for-1 offers for dining, entertainment and travel.
Since the Revolution is not a “premium” card, you won’t get nearly as many offers as HSBC Visa Infinite & HSBC Premier cardholders. That said, you’ll still access to the standard Entertainer offers at more than 150 merchants in Singapore, as well as the same overseas and travel offers that higher tier cards have.
An Entertainer membership usually retails at S$145 (it’s currently cut to S$65), so there’s some real savings to be had here.
Summary Review: HSBC Revolution
HSBC has pulled off quite the Lazarus act with this makeover. If you regularly exhaust the 4 mpd cap on your UOB Preferred Platinum Visa, the HSBC Revolution is a card you should be adding to your wallet.
I’m also glad that HSBC has stepped up to fill the dining card gap in the Singapore market. Prior to this, the only dining card options were:
- UOB Lady’s Card/Lady’s Solitaire, which earns 4 mpd but is limited to women only
- Maybank Horizon Visa Signature, which earns 3.2 mpd, and excludes fast food and caterers
For those who like to dine out, this card becomes a virtual must-have.
Add the fact that there’s no annual fee, and there’s very little to dislike about the new HSBC Revolution. The only caveat I’d add is that if your monthly spending is very low (maybe in the $500-1,000 range), it may not make sense to spread your points across another bank. In that case the UOB PRVI Miles + UOB Preferred Platinum Visa combination might work better.
So that’s my review of the HSBC Revolution. What do you think?
|An essential card for miles chasers, with few viable alternatives|
|A very good card, although other equally good alternatives may exist|
|A decent card to round out your collection, but not absolutely essential|
|Very limited use cases, and outperformed by most other cards|
|Paperweight. Use for picking teeth or ninja stars|