As you’ll no doubt have heard by now, the HSBC Revolution has received a new lease of life, thanks to its 1 August makeover.
|Income Req.||Annual Fee|
|Read the Full Review|
Gone is the anemic 2 mpd on online shopping and dining, and in its place is a beefy 4 mpd on travel, shopping, dining, transport, and groceries, when paid online or via contactless payments.
I’ve already applied for and received my HSBC Revolution, and look forward to putting it to work as per my revised 2020 credit card strategy.
Now that I’ve gone through the T&Cs and explored the product in a bit more detail, here’s a few things I think are useful to know.
(1) It’s now the best card for dining
The HSBC Revolution’s reboot makes it the best dining card on the market, thanks to its wide definition of “dining”.
When you think about it, the following MCCs could all be considered as dining in one way or another:
|MCC 5811: Caterers||Major caterers like Eatz and Stamford|
|MCC 5812: Eating Places and Restaurants||Restaurants with sit down waiter service like Crystal Jade, Paradise Inn|
|MCC 5813: Bars and Nightclubs||Bars and gastropubs like Brewerkz, Brotzeit|
|MCC 5814: Fast Food Restaurants||Fast food chains like Burger King, KFC|
|MCC 5441: Candy, Nut and Confectionery||Chocolate/sweet stores like Candy Empire, See’s Candies|
|MCC 5462: Bakeries||Bakeries and cake shops like Bakerzin, Bengawan Solo|
|MCC 5499: Misc. Food Stores||
Drinks and snack stores like Famous Amos, Nespresso
This also used to be the MCC for food delivery services like Deliveroo and foodpanda, but these have been reclassified to 5812
Despite all the scenarios, most dining cards only reward a handful of the categories above. The HSBC Revolution, on the other hand, lumps them all in. No other dining card on the market has so broad a scope.
|UOB Lady’s Card||✅||✅||✅||✅|
|☝️ Remember: You must use contactless payments to qualify for bonus points with the HSBC Revolution. Either tapping the physical card or adding it to your mobile wallet will suffice.|
But there’s one more feather in the HSBC Revolution’s cap: hotel dining.
This has always been a potential minefield for miles chasers, because it’s unclear whether a given hotel restaurant will code under the restaurant MCC or hotel MCC. The stakes (steaks?) are high- if you use a card like the UOB Preferred Platinum AMEX and the transaction ends up coding as a hotel, you’d earn a measly 0.4 mpd.
There’s no such issues with the HSBC Revolution, because hotel transactions are also an eligible 4 mpd category.
(2) The bonus on hotels is limited to major chains (Update: not anymore)
|Update (5/8): Good news! After checking with HSBC, the team has confirmed with me that they will add MCC 7011 to the list, which means you won’t need to worry about this after all.|
Speaking of hotels, there’s a small but important point to note here.
HSBC is defining hotels as merchants with MCCs in the 3501 to 3999 range. As this MCC guide shows, that’s a very substantial list of hotel brands, including every major and mid-sized chain you can think of.
At the same time, however, it’s not all-encompassing. There are smaller chains or hotels which may not have an MCC of their own, instead falling into the catch-all MCC 7011: Lodging- Hotels, Motels, Resorts.
That was the case for the Mandarin Orchard Singapore, in my recent experience. Had I charged this transaction to the HSBC Revolution, I would not have earned 4 mpd.
It remains to be seen whether this is an oversight or deliberate; I’ve asked HSBC about it and will update if/when I hear back.
(3) “Transport” doesn’t include public transport or petrol
While “transport” is a 4 mpd category for the HSBC Revolution, this only refers to MCC 4121: Taxicabs and Limos (i.e taxi, Gojek and Grab rides).
This does not cover public transportation (MCC 4111), nor does it cover petrol (MCC 5541). If these are important categories for you, check out the cards below:
(4) 4 mpd at Cold Storage & Giant is finally possible
Cold Storage, Giant, Jasons and Market Place were always tricky ones for miles collectors. These supermarkets all had contactless terminals, but they were also UOB SMART$ merchants. This meant you wouldn’t earn 4 mpd with your UOB Preferred Platinum Visa- instead, you’d receive a pathetic 0.3% SMART$ rebate.
|🛒 SMART$ are only issued for in-store shopping, so you can buy your groceries on the Cold Storage/Giant website and use the UOB Preferred Platinum Visa for 4 mpd. However, there was no solution for in-store purchases.|
Most people just defaulted to their general spending cards here, a real shame since groceries could be a significant chunk of monthly expenditure.
The HSBC Revolution fixes this issue, awarding 4 mpd on all supermarkets under MCC 5411. No SMART$ shenanigans to worry about.
(5) HSBC Points don’t pool, but you only pay one conversion fee
|💨 Expiry||↔️ Pooling||✈️ Transfer Fee|
|37 months||No||S$42.80 for 12 months of unlimited conversions to KrisFlyer or Asia miles|
HSBC’s points system works a little differently from other banks.
First of all, HSBC points do not pool. If you hold a HSBC Revolution and a HSBC Visa Infinite card, you will not be able to combine your points for redemptions.
However, unlike Citibank where non-pooling means paying two conversion fees, you only pay a single conversion fee with HSBC.
That’s because HSBC adopts an annual mileage program fee that costs S$42.80 for unlimited conversions over a 12-month period, either to KrisFlyer or Asia Miles. Regardless of how many HSBC credit cards you hold, only one fee is applicable, hence non-pooling becomes less of an issue.
Where it would become an issue is if you were shy of the 25,000 points block for a conversion- you can’t tap into the points balance of another HSBC card to make up the difference.
(6) It doesn’t come with a full-fledged Entertainer
HSBC principal cardholders receive a complimentary copy of The Entertainer, an app with thousands of 1-for-1 dining, drinks and recreational offers.
While this is a great perk to have, the HSBC Revolution’s version is a slightly scaled down one, as the table below shows.
There are fewer merchants compared to the version that HSBC Visa Infinite cardholders receive, and you’ll only have access to the “standard” offers. What that means in practical terms is you won’t get deals like Bedrock Grill or Fat Cow (these used to be included but have since been scrapped).
It seems churlish to complain, since there’s no annual fee for the HSBC Revolution anyway. That said, it’s still worth noting.
While there’s no shortage of 4 mpd cards in the Singapore credit card market, few will cover as many everyday spend categories as the HSBC Revolution. I think it’s absolutely worth getting even if you already have the UOB Preferred Platinum Visa, because it allows you to save the latter’s less restrictive 4 mpd cap.
Any other quirks of the HSBC Revolution you noted?