How to calculate credit card points: Specialised spending cards

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Specialised spending cards can be a great way of accelerating your miles, but the points are a pain to track. Here's how to do it.

If you thought that tracking credit card points on general spending cards was hard, just wait till you try it with specialised spending ones.

Unlike general spending cards, most specialised spending cards split points into two batches:

  • Based points are credited when the transaction posts
  • Bonus points may be delayed till the month after, and awarded as one lump sum.
Example: DBS Woman’s World Card

This can make tracking an absolute nightmare. And yet, it’s crucial for specialised spending cards. Because of the vagaries inherent in MCCs, (will a hotel restaurant code as dining, or accommodation?) tracking helps ensure you’re getting the bonuses you’re entitled to. Even if you’re not an Excel geek, it makes sense to eyeball your total spend and the number of points received each month, just to ensure everything’s in order.

In this post, we’ll look at how you can calculate points earned on specialised spending cards.

💳 Calculating Credit Card Points
❓ General vs Specialised Spending Cards

Specialised spending cards are those which earn bonus points (typically 4 mpd) on certain categories/types of transactions. For example, the Citi Rewards Card earns 4 mpd on all online transactions (except travel), and the OCBC Titanium Rewards card earns 4 mpd on shopping.

General spending cards earn a flat 1-1.6 mpd on all transactions regardless of category/type.

Calculations: Specialised Spending Cards

Here’s how various specialised spending cards award and round points.

CardRemarksBonus Points
Citi Rewards1X: Round down trxn. to nearest S$1, then multiply by 1
9X: Round down trxn. to nearest S$1, then multiply by 9
Instant
Maybank World Mastercard1X: Round trxn. to nearest S$1, then multiply by 1
9X: Round trxn. to nearest S$1, then multiply by 9
Instant
UOB Pref. Plat. Visa1X: Round down trxn. to the nearest S$5, divide by 5, then multiply by 1
9X: Round down trxn. to the nearest S$5, divide by 5, then multiply by 9
Instant
DBS Woman’s World CardLocal
1X: Divide trxn. by 5 and multiply by 1. Round down to nearest whole number
9X: Divide trxn. by 5 and multiply by 9, round to 2 decimal places.
FCY
3X: Divide trxn. by 5 and multiply by 1, round down to nearest whole number, divide trxn. by 5 and multiply by 2, round down to nearest whole number, add both
7X: Divide trxn. by 5 and multiply by 7, round to 2 decimal places
Combined
Add the bonus components for local and FCY and round down once more
Delayed: next calendar month
HSBC Revolution1X: Round trxn. to nearest S$1, then multiply by 1
9X: Sum all eligible trxn. (including cents) and multiply by 9. Round down to nearest whole number
Delayed: next calendar month
Maybank Horizon Visa Signature1X: Round trxn. to nearest S$1, then multiply by 1
4X/7X: Round all eligible trxn. to nearest S$1, then multiply by 4 (air tickets, FCY) or 7 (dining, bus, train, petrol, taxi, Agoda)
Delayed: next calendar month
OCBC Titanium Rewards1X: Round down trxn. to nearest S$5, divide by 5, then multiply by 5
9X: Round trxn. down to nearest S$5, divide by 5, then multiply by 45
Delayed: next calendar month
UOB Lady’s Card/
Lady’s Solitaire
1X: Round down trxn. to nearest S$5, divide by 5, then multiply by 1
9X: Sum all eligible trxn. (including cents), round down transaction to nearest S$5, divide by 5, then multiply by 9
Delayed: next calendar month
UOB Visa Signature1X: Round down trxn. to nearest S$5, divide by 5, then multiply by 1
9X: Sum all eligible trxn. (including cents), round down transaction to nearest S$5, divide by 5, then multiply by 9
Delayed: next calendar month

A few points to note.

Instant vs delayed bonuses

While most specialised spending cards award base and bonus points separately, there are a few exceptions where base and bonus points are awarded together at the time of transaction posting:

  • Citi Rewards
  • Maybank World Mastercard
  • UOB Preferred Platinum Visa

Needless to say, this makes reconciliation much easier, especially since UOB provides transaction-level points breakdowns.

If bonus points are credited as a lump sum, you need to work backwards to figure out what did and didn’t earn points.

The DBS Woman’s World Card is great for online spending, but the delayed posting of bonus points can be a headache

While that’s a headache, one benefit of delayed posting is that certain transactions which may not earn base points can still earn bonus points.

For example, if you spent S$4 online with the DBS Woman’s World Card:

  • 0 base points are earned (4/5*1 is rounded down to 0)
  • 7.20 bonus points are earned (4/5*9, rounded to 2 d.p) and added to the monthly bonus amount

Likewise, UOB Lady’s Card cardholders have reported that even though Giant and Cold Storage transactions do not earn 1X base UNI$ (since they’re UOB$ merchants), they still receive 9X bonus UNI$ the following month.

Round versus Round Down

It’s important to note whether your bank rounds or rounds down transaction and points amounts

  • Round means 3.6 becomes 4, 3.4 becomes 3 (.5 is always rounded up)
  • Round down means that both 3.6 and 3.4 become 3

Obviously, the former is more generous than the latter.

Calendar month vs statement month

When calculating bonus points, be careful to note whether your card applies a bonus cap based on calendar month or statement month.

Calendar month is straightforward (e.g. 1-31 January), but statement month needs a little explaining. Generate your e-statement and look for the statement date at the top right hand corner. This tells you what your statement month is; in the example below, it’s 12th to the 11th of the following month.

You should also take note of timing differences between the crediting of base and bonus points. For example, the HSBC Revolution card awards 1X base points in the current statement cycle, but the additional 9X bonus points will be credited by the last day of the following calendar month. Your statement cycle is unlikely to coincide exactly with the calendar month, which means you’ll need to carefully sort your transactions by date when reconciling.

Excel formulas

If you’re the sort who uses Excel to calculate your points, here’s formulas to plug and play. “X” refers to the eligible transaction amount, “Y” to the sum of all eligible transactions.

CardFormula for Points
Citi RewardsBase: ROUNDDOWN(X,0)*1
Bonus: ROUNDDOWN(X,0)*9
Maybank World MastercardBase: ROUND (X,0)*1
Bonus: ROUND (X,0)*9
UOB Pref. Plat. VisaBase: ROUNDDOWN (X/5,0)*1
Bonus: ROUNDDOWN (X/5,0)*9
DBS Woman’s World CardLocal
Base: ROUNDDOWN ((X/5)*1,0)
Bonus: ROUNDDOWN ((X/5)*9,2)
FCY
Base: ROUNDDOWN ((X/5)*1,0) + ROUNDDOWN ((X/5)*2,0)
Bonus: ROUNDDOWN ((X/5)*7,2)
Total Bonus (Local + FCY)
=ROUNDDOWN(Local+ FCY)
HSBC RevolutionBase: ROUND(X,0)*1
Bonus: ROUNDDOWN(Y*9,0)
Maybank Horizon Visa SignatureBase: ROUNDDOWN (X*1,0)
Bonus: ROUNDDOWN (Y*7,0) [Replace 7 with 4 for 4X]
OCBC Titanium RewardsBase: ROUNDDOWN(X/5,0)*5
Bonus: ROUNDDOWN(X/5,0)*45
UOB Lady’s Card/
Lady’s Solitaire
Base: ROUNDDOWN (X/5,0)*1
Bonus: ROUNDDOWN(Y/5,0)*9
UOB Visa SignatureBase: ROUNDDOWN (X/5,0)*1
Bonus: ROUNDDOWN(Y/5,0)*9

Remember that the formulas above give you the number of points you can expect to receive (e.g. UNI$, DBS Points, VOYAGE Miles, OCBC$), not miles. A further calculation is necessary to convert points to miles.

Bank pointsKrisFlyer miles
1 DBS Point2 miles
1 UNI$2 miles
1 Citi Mile1 mile
1 Travel$1 mile
1 VOYAGE Mile1 mile
1 Citi ThankYou Point0.4 miles
1 HSBC Point0.4 miles
1 TREATS Point0.4 miles
1 SCB Point0.4 miles (for X Card, Visa Infinite)
0.29 miles (all others)
1 OCBC$0.4 miles
1 BOC Point0.22 miles
Credit Card Points Calculator

I’ve taken a stab at creating a credit card calculator for general spending cards, where you can plug in your spending amount and see how each card performs.

It’s based on my own experience and community-contributed data points, so free to play around with it and update me if you see any errors in formulas.

Conclusion

Is it worth tracking your credit card points? Definitely.

By monitoring their points, cardholders have spotted miscoded transactions, which were rectified upon appeal. For example, at one point Citi Rewards cardholders were not earning bonus points on Deliveroo. This was investigated and rectified eventually.

Is it worth tracking your credit card points at this level of detail? Well, only you can answer that.

Honestly speaking, I just eyeball my points balance each month. I’ve never actually created a spreadsheet to track them with the granularity that some do. For me, the main objective of checking your points is not to account for them to the last digit. Rather, it’s to help you:

  1. realise when you didn’t earn the bonus points you thought you would
  2. identify which transaction didn’t earn bonus points, and call up the CSO to investigate (if you have a case)

In other words, if I see a big discrepancy between what I have, and what I think I should have based on a ballpark calculation, it’s a sign that I should call up the bank and find out what’s going on. Of course, it’d be much better if banks just got it right the first time, but unfortunately the onus is still on the customer to spot discrepancies.

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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michael

I only read 1/3 of the article and started going WOW, there are new insights for me, I certainly didn’t know about that particular quirk of the DBS WWMC card where base miles are not awarded but bonus miles still credit. Thanks Aaron!

Yiwei

The same case happens for UOB Lady’s card, where a transaction less than $5 will not earn any base UNI$ but if summed with other eligible transactions, it could still earn the 9x bonus UNI$.

Thanks Milelion for the compilation!

Clar

Possible to share the spreadsheet? At least a screenshot?

bent

My experience with DBS WW is that that for the bonus 9x points, they sum up total transactions by posted date for the entire calendar month (e.g. 1 Jun – 30 Jun, then apply the rounding formula you mentioned above. So this helps reduce the ‘loss’ due to rounding for individual transactions. Kinda what you mentioned in your article, just that might be simpler if you simply total up that calendar’s months posted transcations isntead of performing the formula transaction by transaction.

Johan

No BOC EM?

ireadthearticle

seriously? go read the article on general spending cards. it’s literally mentioned in the first paragraph.

ERVTH

No love for UOB KF?

Chuck

For DBS Altitude my understanding from recent conversations with CSO and backed by statement data, is that bonus points do NOT post immediately, but in the following months statement .

dexter

i gotta agree on aaron’s conclusion. i made the mistake of not checking my purchase of alaska miles. it was not posted as flight spending on my altitude card. realised it too late. busted the deadline. could not get it reconciled. was offered $50 credit for my loss. such waste!

mrpotato

The excel formula for Maybank World Mastercard is same as what I use and accurate so far.

For Maybank Horizon Visa Signature, I use the following: For 1x, =ROUND(X,0). For 7x, =ROUND(X,0)*7

Others are welcome to verify.

thegrimmerz

Will one day milelion ever release a iOS/android app? That will be a great tool to record instantly, if possible add alert to inform the specify card had hit the earning cap. Lots of time, I exceeded the 1k spending earn rate for PPV.

PV

Hi Aaron,

For UOB Visa Signature, what does exactly mean by next calendar month?
My statement cycle is 13th. I have been tracking since 13 Sep till now, but seems anything bonus point coming in yet.

Not sure does “next calendar month” mean next 13th or next 1st?

Best

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