It wasn’t too long ago that it looked like the HSBC Revolution was down and out. With a maximum earn rate of just 2 mpd and HSBC nerfing points for insurance and utilities, the last vestige of a use case disappeared.
But then came a comeback worthy of Lazarus. In August 2020, the HSBC Revolution was given a major makeover, removing the annual fee while buffing the earn rate to 4 mpd on a wide range of daily transactions. It went overnight from paperweight to wallet essential, and remains an absolute must-have till today.
|With 4 mpd on travel, shopping, groceries, dining, and transport, the no-fee HSBC Revolution is as close to a no-brainer as they come.|
|👍 The good||👎 The bad|
|Full List of Credit Card Reviews|
Overview: HSBC Revolution
Let’s start this review by looking at the key features of the HSBC Revolution.
|Income Req.||S$30,000 p.a.||Points Validity||37 months|
|Annual Fee||None||Min. |
|25,000 HSBC Points|
|Miles with |
|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|
The HSBC Revolution’s S$160.50 annual fee was removed on 1 August 2020, and both principal and supplementary cards are now free for life.
There are only a handful of credit cards in Singapore without an annual fee, and the few that exist are rather abject. So hats off to HSBC for doing this, while simultaneously improving the value proposition.
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.
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 offline contactless payments, 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 merchants like:
- 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, Klook, Expedia, Hotels.com
- Department and Retail Stores: Amazon, Best Denki, Book Depository, Courts, Harvey Norman, Lazada, Qoo10, Shopee, Taobao
- Supermarkets, Dining and Food Delivery: Cold Storage, Deliveroo, NTUC FairPrice, Sheng Siong, foodpanda, GrabFood, WhyQ
- Transportation and Membership Clubs: Comfort, Grab (excluding GrabPay top-ups), gojek, TADA, Ryde, Fitness First
While it’s a shame that the HSBC Revolution adopts a whitelist approach (only specified MCCs will earn bonus points) rather than a blacklist approach (only MCCs specified will not earn bonus points), the bonus categories are fairly broad and will cover a wide range of day-to-day spending.
Once again, all transactions must be made online, or offline via contactless payment in order to earn the 4 mpd, which is capped at a maximum of S$1,000 per calendar month.
The HSBC Revolution supports the following contactless payment methods:
- Apple Pay
- Google Pay
- Visa Paywave (i.e. tapping the physical card)
There is currently no support for Garmin Pay, Fitbit Pay, or Samsung Pay.
The HSBC Revolution is currently the only unisex 4 mpd dining card on the market, a gap that sorely needed filling after the demise of the UOB Preferred Platinum AMEX. Moreover, since restaurants and hotels are both bonus categories, there’s no longer any need for head scratching as to whether a restaurant inside a hotel will code as a restaurant or a hotel.
It’s also a fuss-free option to use at supermarkets, since you don’t need to tip toe around Cold Storage and Giant like UOB Preferred Platinum Visa cardholders (UOB cards don’t earn any miles at UOB$ merchants like Cold Storage and Giant)
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 HSBC 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|
|S$5||20 miles||20 miles|
|S$9.99||39.6 miles||20 miles|
|S$15||60 miles||60 miles|
|S$19.99||79.6 miles||60 miles|
|S$25||100 miles||100 miles|
|S$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)||=ROUNDDOWN (Y*9,0)|
|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
CardUp, ipaymy and RentHero transactions are also specifically excluded.
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, for example, 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 before cancelling the HSBC Revolution, or else forfeit them.
HSBC Points can be transferred to frequent flyer programmes at a 5:2 ratio, with a minimum transfer block of 25,000 HSBC points.
|Frequent Flyer Programme||Conversion Ratio |
(HSBC Points: Miles)
Instead of charging a fee per conversion, HSBC instead charges cardholders an annual S$42.80 Mileage Programme fee, which covers unlimited conversions for a 12-month period. Alternatively, you can pay 9,000 rewards points for a program fee waiver (totally not worth it).
Even though your HSBC Points do not pool, you will only pay a single Mileage Programme fee regardless of how many HSBC credit cards you have. This covers transfers to both KrisFlyer and Asia Miles (i.e. there’s no need to register again for the 2nd frequent flyer program).
All principal HSBC 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$79.
Summary Review: HSBC Revolution
The HSBC Revolution is an absolute showstopper, and one card you need to add to your wallet. With 4 mpd on dining, groceries, transport, and travel, this could even be a suitable option for those lazy to carry around multiple cards (though I certainly wouldn’t condone using it everywhere!)
Just remember that you’ll need to pay online or via contactless payments in order to earn the bonus. Any magnetic strip or chip transactions won’t qualify.
Add the fact that there’s no annual fee, and there’s very little to dislike about the HSBC Revolution.
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|