Back in April, Instarem nerfed the cashback rates on the Amaze, cutting the earn rate on local spend from 1% to 0.5%, while tightening the minimum spend requirement and quarterly cap.
Unfortunately, it appears they’re not done yet. Amaze has just implemented a series of no-notice changes, which further devalue the cashback offering effective 1 July 2022. More annoyingly, they’re painting this devaluation as something customers requested for.
Instarem’s upgrade to its rewards program is a direct response to customer demand. Customers want a program that gives them freedom and variety when they redeem the rewards they earn.
To date, Instarem’s rewards program has allowed users to earn InstaPoints when they remit money overseas and earn cashback when they spend with Instarem’s travel card, amaze. From today, Friday, 1st July onwards, users will receive all their rewards as InstaPoints, which can be redeemed in multiple ways, including cashback.
-Instarem Press Release
To summarise, Amaze is replacing cashback with InstaPoints, which will only be earned on foreign currency transactions. InstaPoints can still be redeemed for cashback, but only in fixed redemption blocks with a minimum of 2,000 points ($20). Moreover, the maximum InstaPoints that can be earned on a single transaction will be capped.
The only silver lining is that there will be no cap on overall InstaPoints earning, but otherwise, it’s all bad news.
Amaze Card cashback devaluation
Here’s a summary of how the Amaze cashback programme has changed from 1 July 2022.
|Till 30 June||From 1 July|
|FCY Spend||1%||1 InstaPoint per S$1|
|Min. Spend Per Trxn||S$10||S$10|
|Max. Spend Per Trnx||–||S$500|
|Min. Spend Per Quarter||S$1,500||–|
|Quarterly Cashback Cap||S$100||–|
Cashback will be replaced by InstaPoints, which are earned at a rate of S$1= 1 InstaPoint.
- InstaPoints will only be issued on foreign currency transactions, which effectively means no more cashback for SGD spend
- The minimum spend to earn InstaPoints is S$10
- No minimum quarterly spend is required to earn InstaPoints
- There’s a limit of 500 InstaPoints per transaction, which means that whether you charge S$500 or S$5,000 in foreign currency, you’ll earn the same number of points
Just like cashback, InstaPoints will be awarded on the 15th of the following month after each calendar quarter (e.g. points for July to September will be awarded by 15 October).
However, InstaPoints are not as flexible as cashback. You can redeem them for cashback, but only at a fixed rate starting from 2,000 InstaPoints= S$20. In other words, you will need to spend at least S$2,000 in FCY before you can redeem any cashback. This is a de facto increase of the previous minimum spend requirement of S$1,500 in FCY, though in fairness you can accumulate InstaPoints across quarters.
Previously, there was a cashback cap of S$100 per quarter, which meant you’d max out the cashback with a foreign currency spend of S$10,000 per quarter. Now, there’s no longer any cashback cap, but the per transaction limit is S$500 (since a maximum of 500 InstaPoints can be earned per transaction). If you’re able to break up your transaction into smaller chunks, that isn’t such a big deal- but heaven help you if you made a big ticket transaction this morning before reading the news!
Instarem has mentioned they’ll be adding other kinds of travel rewards in the future, though I wouldn’t hold my breath about seeing outsized value. We’ll be able to browse the InstaPoint redemption options in the Instarem app from 1 October 2022.
What’s the most annoying thing is that Instarem provided no notice of these changes. I would have expected two weeks at the minimum, and it strikes me as poor form to announce and implement the changes straight away.
Amaze wallet feature coming
Instarem has teased that a wallet top up feature will be coming to Amaze, which allows Visa cardholders and PayNow users to utilise the Amaze Card.
At Instarem we are entirely customer driven. We know there are many users who have been waiting to access amaze. Over the next few weeks, we will be making amaze available for everyone by introducing a wallet top up feature. This will give VISA card holders and PayNow users the chance to use and benefit from the amaze card
-Instarem Press Release
Frankly, this is a nothingburger to me. I can tell you right now that barring some major oversight, Amaze top-ups will not earn credit card rewards. In that case, there’s really no reason to pick Amaze over other options like Revolut or YouTrip, since you’re sacrificing credit card points in order to save on FCY fees.
Will I still use Amaze?
Every time Instarem pulls a devaluation, the recurring question is whether it’s still worth using the Amaze Card. And invariably, the answer is yes- but not because of the cashback.
So long as it’s possible to earn 4 mpd on the Amaze Card with no FCY transaction fees, there’s really no reason not to use it. The cashback is just the icing on the cake, though that icing is rapidly melting.
The Amaze + Citi Rewards is still my first choice pairing, but for other possible combinations, refer to the article below.
Instarem has further nerfed the cashback feature on the Amaze Card, a change that has come into effect immediately.
While you can still earn cashback on Amaze transactions, it will be limited to foreign currency spending only. You’ll also have to deal with minimum conversion blocks at the time of cash out, which effectively traps more of your cashback within the Instarem ecosystem.
But so long as the banks keep the 4 mpd gravy train coming, well…