After the nerf: My new Instarem Amaze Card strategy

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DBS cards no longer offer rewards on Amaze transactions. How does this change your optimal Amaze strategy?

On 1 June, DBS became the first Singapore bank to nerf Amaze transactions completely.

It won’t be the last. 

In a way, this shouldn’t come as any big surprise. We all knew from Day 1 that Amaze was living on borrowed time, through the sheer good graces of the banks. After all, why should they indirectly subsidise Amaze via rewards, while Amaze eats their lunch on FCY fees? 

That doesn’t make the actual nerfing any less painful, mind you, because the DBS Woman’s World Card was my (and many people’s) first choice pairing with Amaze. It was a no-nonsense way of scooping up an extra 4 mpd on S$2,000 of spend per month, since all Amaze transactions coded as online. 

💳 tl;dr: Amaze Card
Sign Up Here
  • Link up to five Mastercard credit/debit cards
  • Foreign currency transactions on Amaze are converted into SGD (with no FCY transaction fees) and charged to the paired credit/debit card
  • Transaction MCC remains the same
  • Earn 0.5-1% cashback on all transactions of at least S$10 (min. S$1,500 spend per quarter, capped at S$50 cashback per quarter), except exclusion categories
  • Offline transactions charged to Amaze become online transactions for the paired credit/debit card

All the same, there’s no point crying over spilled milk. Opportunities come and go, and it’s now time to move on- starting with reformulating your Amaze strategy.

What card should I use with Amaze?

Here’s the main constraint: Amaze only supports Mastercard credit or debit cards.

This straight away rules out some great 4 mpd options like the HSBC Revolution and UOB Preferred Platinum Visa. It also eliminates AMEX cards, though I probably wouldn’t have used any of those in the first place.

So the question is: which Mastercards pair well with Amaze?

#1: Citi Rewards Card

Citi Rewards Card
Apply
Earn Rate4 mpd
Eligible TransactionsAll online transactions except travel and mobile wallet
Capped atS$1,000 per statement month

Without a doubt, the Citi Rewards Card should become your new default Amaze pairing. Since all Amaze transactions code as online, you’ll earn 4 mpd on the first S$1,000 per statement month, except on travel-related transactions.

In other words, avoid using your Amaze + Citi Rewards Card to:

  • Buy flight tickets
  • Pay for a hotel stay
  • Pay a tour agency or activities provider 
  • Buy train tickets
  • Book a rental car
  • Book a cruise

Despite these restrictions and the lower 4 mpd cap, some people might actually prefer pairing the Citi Rewards Card to Amaze over the DBS Woman’s World Card. That’s because Citibank offers the widest variety of transfer partners in Singapore, including several that DBS doesn’t have, such as:

  • British Airways Executive Club
  • Etihad Guest
  • EVA Air Infinity MileageLands
  • Flying Blue
  • Qatar Privilege Club
  • THAI Royal Orchid Plus
  • Turkish Miles & Smiles
  • IHG Rewards Club

#2: UOB Lady’s Card/ UOB Lady’s Solitaire Card

UOB Lady’s Cards
Apply
Earn Rate4 mpd
Eligible TransactionsPick 1 (Lady’s) or 2 (Lady’s Solitaire) bonus categories from beauty & wellness, dining, entertainment, family, fashion, transport, travel
Capped atS$1,000 per calendar month (Lady’s)
S$3,000 per calendar month (Lady’s Solitaire)
[cap is shared across all bonus categories]

Assuming the Citi Reward Card’s 4 mpd cap has been exhausted, or you have a travel-related transaction to make, the UOB Lady’s Card or Lady’s Solitaire Card would be the next best option.

Cardholders can select one (Lady’s Card) or two (Lady’s Solitaire Card) bonus categories to earn 4 mpd, capped at S$1,000 (Lady’s Card) or S$3,000 (Lady’s Solitaire Card) per calendar month. Selections can be changed every quarter. 

CategoryMCCsDescription
(1) Beauty & Wellness5912, 5977, 7230, 7231, 7298, 7297Discount, Mass and Drug Stores, Cosmetics Stores, Barber and Beauty Shops, Health and Beauty Spa, Massage Parlours
(2) Dining5811, 5812, 5814, 5499Caterers, Eating places and Restaurants, Fast food restaurants and food deliveries
(3) Entertainment5813, 7832, 7922Bars, Taverns, Lounges and Nightclubs, Motion Picture Theatres, Theatrical Producers and Ticket Agencies
(4) Family5411, 5641Grocery stores, Children and Infants wear store
(5) Fashion5311, 5611, 5621, 5631, 5651, 5655, 5661, 5691, 5699, 5948Department Stores, Men’s and Boy’s Clothing and Accessories Store, Women’s Ready-to-wear Stores, Women’s Access and Specialty, Family Clothing Stores, Sports and Riding Apparel Stores, Shoes Stores, Men’s and Women’s Clothing Stores, Miscellaneous Apparel and Accessories Shops, Luggage and Leather Stores
(6) Transport4111, 4121, 4789, 5541, 5542Local Commuter Transport, Taxi, Cabs, Limousines and Travel Service, Service Stations and Automatic Gas Dispensers
(7) TravelCredit card retail transactions made at major airlines and/or hotels with their main business activity classified as flights and/or hotels only

Assuming you have two bonus categories to choose, I’d pick:

  • Dining
  • Travel

These are likely to be your largest overseas expense items, and even if you’re a shopaholic, you should use the OCBC Titanium Rewards to cover that instead. 

Do note that UOB does not specifically define “travel” bookings, other than mention major airlines or hotels. On its landing page, it specifically lists the following merchants:

  • Agoda
  • AirAsia
  • Airbnb
  • ANA
  • Cathay Pacific
  • Chan Brothers Travel
  • Emirates
  • EU Holidays
  • EVA Air
  • Expedia
  • Hotels.com
  • Jetstar Airways
  • Korean Air
  • Royal Caribbean International
  • Scoot
  • Singapore Airlines
  • THAI Airways
  • UOB Travel Planners

This leads me to believe the relevant MCCs are:

  • MCCs 3000-3299 (Airlines)
  • MCCs 3500-3999 (Lodging)
  • MCC 4411 (Cruise Lines)
  • MCC 4722 (Travel Agencies and Tour Operators)
  • MCC 7011 (Lodging- Hotels, Motels, Resorts not elsewhere classified)

Unlike the gender-egalitarian DBS Woman’s World Card, the UOB Lady’s Card/Lady’s Solitaire Card is strictly for females only. However, there’s nothing stopping you from getting your wife or girlfriend to apply for one, then pairing it with your Amaze Card.

#3: OCBC Titanium Rewards

OCBC Titanium Rewards
Apply
Earn Rate4 mpd
Eligible TransactionsClothes, bags, shoes and other shopping
Capped atS$13,335 per membership year (Blue and Pink cards have their own cap)

The OCBC Titanium Rewards earns 4 mpd on the first S$13,335 per membership year spent on:

  • MCC 5311 (Department Stores)
  • MCC 5611 (Men’s and Boys’ Clothing and Accessories Stores)
  • MCC 5621 (Women’s Ready to Wear Stores)
  • MCC 5631 (Women’s Accessory and Specialty Stores)
  • MCC 5641 (Children’s and Infants’ Wear Stores)
  • MCC 5651 (Family Clothing Stores)
  • MCC 5661 (Shoe Stores)
  • MCC 5691 (Men’s and Women’s Clothing Stores)
  • MCC 5045 (Computers, Peripherals and Software)
  • MCC 5732 (Electronics Stores)
  • MCC 5699 (Misc. Apparel and Accessory Shops)
❓ What about specific merchants?

4 mpd will also be earned on selected merchants specifically mentioned in the T&Cs, such as Amazon, Courts, Ezbuy, Lazada, Qoo10 and Taobao.

However, these are based on transaction descriptions rather than MCCs, and you will not get 4 mpd via Amaze. That’s because Amaze keeps the MCC while changing the transaction description to AMAZE*[merchant-name].

Therefore, the ideal strategy would be to pair the OCBC Titanium Rewards with Amaze and use it for overseas shopping at factory outlets, malls and the like.

Remember, the Blue and Pink cards each have their own 4 mpd cap. If you’re a regular shopaholic, getting both wouldn’t be the worst idea.

#4: KrisFlyer UOB Credit Card

KrisFlyer UOB Credit Card
Apply
Earn Rate3 mpd with min. S$500 spend on SIA Group merchants in a membership year
Eligible TransactionsDining, food delivery, online shopping, travel and transport
Capped atNo cap

If you spend a minimum of S$500 on KrisShop, Singapore Airlines or Scoot transactions in a membership year, the KrisFlyer UOB Credit Card awards 3 mpd on dining, food delivery, online shopping and travel and transport spend. 

There’s no cap, but there is a catch: of the 3 mpd, 1.2 mpd will be awarded upfront. The remaining 1.8 mpd will be credited two months after the card membership year (you might get lucky, but there’s no basis for arguing if you don’t). 

If that’s not an issue for you, then this card could soak up most of your overseas spending needs: dining, food delivery, transport and travel (note that travel is limited to specific OTAs; obviously other airlines won’t earn any bonuses on a KrisFlyer cobrand card!).

#5: UOB PRVI Miles Mastercard

UOB PRVI Miles Mastercard
Apply
Earn Rate1.4 mpd
Eligible TransactionsAll spend
Capped atNo cap

As a last resort, you can pair the Amaze with a general spending card, and the best of the bunch is the UOB PRVI Miles Mastercard.

It’s important to remember that Amaze converts all transactions into SGD, therefore the applicable earn rate for the UOB PRVI Miles Mastercard is 1.4 mpd, not 2.4 mpd. There is no cap on how many miles you can earn. 

Of course, you’re perfectly at liberty to use a different general spending Mastercard, like the Citi Prestige (1.3 mpd), Citi PremierMiles (1.2 mpd) or OCBC 90°N Mastercard (1.2 mpd).

Conclusion

DBS no longer awards points on Amaze transactions, and while that’s unfortunate, it’s not yet game over. There’s still a good number of cards you can pair with Amaze to enjoy 4 mpd, up to 1% cashback and zero FCY fees (albeit with some markup). 

No doubt we’ll see more banks cracking down in the months to come, now that DBS has set the precedent. It’s just a matter of making hay, and hoping that judgement day comes later rather than sooner. 

What’s your Amaze strategy going to be now?

Aaron Wong
Aaron Wong
Aaron founded The Milelion to help people travel better for less and impress chiobu. He was 50% successful.

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Shawn

Hi Aaron,

Just wanted to update yourself and the readers that since 1 Mar 2022, UOB Krisflyer has put this out on their credit card application page (under announcement, click show more):

W.e.f. 1 March 2022, please be informed that transactions with transaction description “AMAZE* TRANSIT*” will be excluded from the awarding of KrisFlyer miles on the KrisFlyer UOB Credit Card.

Adam

Actually, SimplyGo will code as AMAZE*BUS/MRT*. AMZE*TRANSIT* just nerfs the loophole of using Amaze to top up ez-link or NETS Flashpay cards via the GTM.

J L

Payments to Airbnb are actually processed outside of Singapore, so DBS charges a 1% processing fee. If you have to cancel the booking, DBS charges yet another 1% processing fee on the refund. I would avoid these charges with Amaze.

Mike Lam

Thanks, I was just searching whether payments to Airbnb are subject to FCY fees, and your reply really helps!

Lionel

Ive had 2.4 mpd with privimiles and amaze even though amaze coverts to sgd. seems like the best overseas spend option factoring in spreads and fees for other cards

drawar

This is impossible.

Fees

I used Amaze->PRVI MC and got 0 mpd. Same merchant with PRVI Visa got 2.4 mpd. Now I’m going back to my UOB VS for these borderline overseas merchants (telcos and utilities) so I get 4 mpd (they are excluded by Citi). Unsure why UOB treat MC and Visa differently for some merchants.

Jay

Can I still earn miles by pairing with Citi Premiermiles mastercard card?

Shaw

I think it’s time UOB drop the “Lady’s Only” requiremennt for their cards. Imagine the storm it’ll kick up if a bank launches a “Men’s Only” card.

So much for gender equality!

Cordyceps

I’m looking to get the Amaze card for my upcoming overseas vacation. Going to be spending ~$5k on it. Which credit card is the best to pair it with? Citibank Rewards MC has a cap of 1k, so I’m looking at something else.

SCH

The OCBC Titanium Rewards earns 4 mpd on the first S$12,000 per membership year.
Aaron wrote “the ideal strategy would be to pair the OCBC Titanium Rewards with Amaze and use it for overseas shopping at factory outlets, malls and the like.”

Anon

Just pay in foreign to get the bonus

Chris

quick question, if I paired amaze with citi rewards and use for recurring telco bills, will it be considered online payment and eligible for 4mpd?

Malcolm

I’m using citirewards for telco bills but not recurring, i earned 4mpd 🙂

E K

KF UOB Master have excluded anything with AMAZE*TRANSIT*
https://www.uob.com.sg/assets/pdfs/kf_credit_card_full_tnc.pdf

Sam

Does supplementary card have a separate quota of $1k for 4mpd? Or its pooled together with the principal card?

Kim

I am going for Royal Caribbean Cruise. Can I pair my Amaze card with Citi Rewards to earn the 4mpd when I spend on the cruise?

Joel

no. Read the article

Perry

Hi just wondering if this works:
1) linking amaze card to Citibank card
2) using amaze card to top up grab wallet
3) using a physical grabpay card to pay for items

Will I earn both grabpoints and Citi reward points?

Fees

No. The MCC for Grab topup is excluded by Citibank. Description is irrelevant. Anyway easy enough for you to try and confirm.

Min Yi

Hi Aaron,

Can I pls ask more abt the OCBC Titanium Rewards card?
Reason being I linked my amaze card to the OCBC titanium rewards card, hence on statement it appears as “-8652 AMAZE* ADIDAS @ OSINGAPORE SGP”, but when I called the bank it’ NOT awarded the 4mpd points?

Hence my question is, how do I get the 4mpd with amaze card for OCBC Titanium Rewards card as per your article above, kindly advise pls. *lost*

thanks so much

-min

SGUS

Hi Aaron, I am based in USA and want to buy an SQ biz class ticket in USD (5000 + USD) on the USA website, but using a Singapore credit card. Hence my best bet would be to pair Amaze + UOB Lady’s Solitaire?

Larry

How do i earn the 4pmd on citi reward? After linking the Citi reward card to Instarem, do I top up first and then spend on Instarem card? or do i link the card and then just charge on Instarem card? Thanks

Adam

Link the card and charge. Don’t top up; you won’t earn any points.

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