American Express has announced that effective 12 February 2021, utilities transactions will no longer earn Membership Rewards points, KrisFlyer miles or STAR$. This applies to all utilities providers, be it SP Utilities, Geneco, PacificLight etc.
To replace this, a new AMEX Offer for up to 5% back on SP Utilities bills will be launched, valid from 12 February to 31 December 2021.
No more rewards for utilities payments
From 12 February 2021, American Express will cease to offer Membership Rewards points, KrisFlyer miles or STAR$ on utilities transactions. The updated T&C can be found here.
This means there are now only three banks which award points for utilities bills: Maybank, Standard Chartered, and UOB.
|Awards Points for Utilities?|
Effective 12 Feb 2021
What’s interesting to me is that utilities have not been added to the AMEX True Cashback’s exclusion list. I don’t think this is an oversight, because the True Cashback card has been known to play by a different set of rules. For example, it still offers 1.5% cashback on GrabPay top-ups and insurance payments, and it stands to reason it should continue earning cashback on utilities until we hear otherwise.
If you don’t have an AMEX True Cashback Card yet, you can get S$160 cashback when you spend at least S$500 in the first month of approval. This offer is available to new American Express cardmembers only, and the T&C can be found here.
New AMEX Offer for SP Utilities: Up to 5% back
As the carrot to the stick, a new AMEX offer has gone live for SP Utilities (AMEX says that other participating utilities merchants offers will be launched “at a later date”).
|❓ What are AMEX Offers?|
AMEX Offers are opportunities to earn bonus miles or Membership Rewards points, or discounts in the form of statement credits. These are available to Platinum, True Cashback, and KrisFlyer cobrand cardholders, and can be found in the “Offers” section of the AMEX app or web portal.
Registration is required, and some offers may be targeted. These are not applicable to DBS/Citi/UOB AMEX cardholders.
Cardholders will get S$2 back for every minimum spend of S$40 in a single SP Utilities bill payment transaction, up to 12 times. The 5% rebate assumes your bill is S$40 on the dot; the effective rebate will probably be less in practice.
For the sake of argument, assuming my bill was S$40 exactly, then S$2 back is better than 48 miles (S$0.96 at 2 cents per mile, assuming AMEX KrisFlyer Ascend). However, once your bill exceeds S$83, you’d be better off earning miles instead.
This offer must be saved to your card by 31 August 2021, and used by 31 December 2021. Registration is capped at 100,000 cards, and you can register as many times as you have cards (out of consideration to others, please don’t register more cards than you need).
American Express cards will no longer earn rewards for utilities payments from February, although the blow will be somewhat softened this year thanks to the AMEX offer. Do register for that ASAP, and keep an eye out for offers on other OEM providers.
For a guide on what card to use for utilities bills, refer to this post.