In all my time analysing the miles game in Singapore, I don’t think I’ve ever come across a more unique card than the Maybank Manchester United Platinum Visa.
Now I have no great love for Manchester United — though being an Arsenal fan, I have no great love for football either — but it’s so intriguing that I can’t help taking a deep dive (like Ashley Young).
Overview: Maybank Manchester United Card
|Income Req.||S$30,000 p.a.||Points Validity||12-15 months|
(2 year waiver)
|Miles with |
|FCY Fee||3.25%||Transfer Fee||S$26.75|
|Local Earn||1% + 0.4 mpd||Points Pool?||Yes|
|FCY Earn||1% + 0.4 mpd||Lounge Access?||No|
|Special Earn||3% + 2 mpd if Man Utd win||Airport Limo?||No|
|*10,000 KrisFlyer miles, 5,000 Asia Miles or Enrich Miles, 2,000 BIG Points|
|Cardholder Terms and Conditions|
Manchester United and Maybank signed an agreement in 2011 which saw the latter become the club’s official retail banking partner in Malaysia, Singapore, and the Philippines. This was followed by the launch of the Maybank Manchester United Card in Singapore in March 2012.
Cardholders normally earn 1% cashback and 1X TREATS Point (0.4 mpd) for every S$1 spent, with no minimum spend and no cashback cap. Like Eric Djemba-Djemba, that’s barely worth considering.
But on days where Manchester United win an EPL match, the earn rate is boosted to 3% cashback and 5X TREATS Points (2 mpd) for every S$1 spent. The additional 2% cashback is capped at S$20 (i.e. S$1,000 spend), but there’s no cap on the additional 4X TREATS Points.
This unique mechanism makes the Maybank Manchester United Card one of those rare cards that’s been devalued almost every year, given how its launch coincided with Fergie’s last season.
|2012/13||28/38 (74%)||Alex Ferguson|
|2013/14||19/38 (50%)||David Moyes|
|2014/15||20/38 (52%)||Louis van Gaal|
|2015/16||19/38 (50%)||Louis van Gaal|
|2016/17||18/38 (47%)||Jose Mourinho|
|2017/18||25/38 (66%)||Jose Mourinho/ Ole Gunnar Solskjaer|
|2018/19||19/38 (50%)||Ole Gunnar Solskjaer|
|2019/20||18/38 (47%)||Ole Gunnar Solskjaer|
|2020/21||21/38 (55%)||Ole Gunnar Solskjaer|
|2021/22||16/38 (42%)||Ole Gunnar Solskjaer/ Ralf Rangnick|
In the debut season for the Maybank Manchester United Card, cardholders enjoyed 28 days of bonuses. In the latest season, they only had 16. Think about that the next time you’re tempted to complain about stealth devaluations…
But probability aside, 3% cashback + 2 mpd would make the Maybank Manchester United Card hands down the best general spending card in Singapore, trashing the competition which maxes out at 1.6 mpd. In fact, if you value a mile at 1.5 cents, then you’re looking at a total rebate of 6% on pretty much any transaction!
There’s just one problem.
Squeaky bum time
There’s basically two approaches that cardholders can take.
The first is the blind faith approach: you spend throughout matchday with wild abandon, because only plastic fans doubt their team will win.
The second is the ye-of-little-faith approach: you wait till the final whistle blows before spending anything.
The problem with the second approach is time zones. The way the card works is that if Manchester United play on 13 August 2022 (UK time) and win, all transactions charged to the Maybank Manchester United Card on 13 August 2022 from 0000 hours to 2359 hours (Singapore time) receive the bonus.
But because the UK is 7-8 hours behind Singapore and most EPL matches take place in the mid to late afternoon, it’s rare that you’ll be able to confirm a Manchester United win in advance of spending.
To illustrate, here’s a complete list of Manchester United fixtures for the 2022/23 season. I’ve highlighted in yellow the matches that will conclude before the end of day in Singapore (for the uninitiated, a football match lasts 90 minutes + a 15 minute break).
|⚽ Manchester United 2022/23 Fixtures|
|7-Aug-22||1400||Brighton & Hove Albion (H)|
|1-Sep-22||2000||Leicester City (A)|
|11-Sep-22||1630||Crystal Palace (A)|
|18-Sep-22||1400||Leeds United (H)|
|2-Oct-22||1630||Manchester City (A)|
|16-Oct-22||1400||Newcastle United (H)|
|19-Oct-22||2015||Tottenham Hotspur (H)|
|– Clocks go back at 2 a.m on 30 Oct 22-|
Time difference: +8 hours
|30-Oct-22||1630||West Ham United (H)|
|5-Nov-22||1500||Aston Villa (A)|
|26-Dec-22||1500||Nottingham Forest (H)|
|31-Dec-22||1500||Wolverhampton Wanderers (A)|
|14-Jan-23||1500||Manchester City (H)|
|4-Feb-23||1500||Crystal Palace (H)|
|11-Feb-23||1500||Leeds United (A)|
|18-Feb-23||1500||Leicester City (H)|
|18-Mar-23||1500||Brighton & Hove Albion (A)|
|– Clocks go forward at 1 a.m on 26 Mar 23-|
Time difference: +7 hours
|1-Apr-23||1500||Newcastle United (A)|
|15-Apr-23||1500||Nottingham Forest (A)|
|25-Apr-23||1945||Tottenham Hotspur (A)|
|29-Apr-23||1500||Aston Villa (H)|
|6-May-23||1500||West Ham United (A)|
|13-May-23||1500||Wolverhampton Wanderers (H)|
Out of 38 games, 12 of them will conclude before midnight in Singapore. While that sounds like a decent number, you need to remember that 8 of the 12 will finish at 2345 hours SGT, which leaves you just 15 minutes to spend (and that’s not even counting stoppage time).
Unless you’re already outside, or have an e-commerce transaction lined up (for which you should be using the Citi Rewards or DBS Woman’s World Card anyway), it’s hard to take advantage.
I suppose an alternative approach might be to wait till the 60 minute mark or so, and if Manchester United have a healthy lead by then you go ahead and spend (and pray the goalkeeper doesn’t channel his inner Taibi). But really, in most cases you’ll basically be taking a gamble.
Real world use cases
Since it’s not hard to earn a risk-free 4 mpd on most of your spending with the right cards, is the Maybank Manchester United Card nothing more than a thought experiment?
I’d argue no, because I can think of a very solid use case: charitable donations, education and utilities bills. Unlike most banks, Maybank does not exclude these from earning rewards.
|❌ Maybank Exclusion Categories|
Maybank TREATS points are not awarded on the following transactions:
The full list can be found here.
What I’m envisioning is a cardholder waiting at home until a win is confirmed, then immediately going on his/her computer and making a donation, settling a tuition fee or paying a utility bill.
Remember: the 3% cashback + 2 mpd applies regardless of transaction currency, and the 2 mpd is uncapped. Moreover, the Maybank Manchester United Card is on the Visa network, so acceptance shouldn’t be an issue.
What can you do with Maybank TREATS points?
Maybank TREATS points can be transferred to the following frequent flyer programmes for S$26.75 per transfer.
|Programme||Transfer Ratio (TREATS: miles)|
|Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer||25,000 : 10,000|
|Cathay Pacific Asia Miles||12,500 : 5,000|
|AirAsia BIG||4,000 : 2,000|
|Malaysia Airlines Enrich||12,500 : 5,000|
TREATS points expire in 12-15 months, unless you’re a Rewards Infinite member, in which case they never expire.
Whatever your allegiance, I’m sure we agree that 3% cashback + 2 mpd on charitable donations, education and utilities is something we can all get behind. That’s assuming you can time your payments to coincide with a Manchester United win, but surely it can’t get worse than last season, right?
And look, you’ll even get 10% off prawn sandwiches when visiting Old Trafford!
Any Maybank Manchester United Card members out there?