It wasn’t too long ago that the HSBC Revolution looked 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 had all but disappeared.
And then came a comeback worthy of Lazarus. In August 2020, the HSBC Revolution received a major makeover: the annual fee was permanently removed, while the earn rate was buffed to 4 mpd on a wide range of everyday transactions including dining and supermarkets. Overnight, it went from paperweight to wallet essential, and remains an absolute must-have till today.
|🦁 MileLion Verdict|
|☑ Take It|
☐ Take It Or Leave It
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|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||3.25%||Transfer Fee||S$43.20 (per yr.)|
|Local Earn||0.4 mpd||Points Pool?||No|
|FCY Earn||0.4 mpd||Lounge Access?||No|
|Special Earn||4 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.
HSBC offers new-to-bank customers a choice of welcome gifts:
- Samsonite Prestige 69cm Spinner Exp with built-in scale
- S$150 cashback
A minimum spend of S$1,000 must be charged to the card by the end of the month following approval. For example, if my card is approved on 15 March 2023, I will need to meet the minimum spend by 30 April 2023.
New-to-bank customers are defined as those who:
- do not hold any existing HSBC principal credit card
- did not cancel any HSBC principal credit card within the past 12 months
It is also necessary to provide consent to receive marketing/promotional materials from HSBC at the time of application, and to not revoke that consent until the gift is fulfilled.
At the time of writing, this offer is available till 31 August 2023. That said, it’s been periodically extended, so do refer to this link for the latest offer.
The T&Cs can be found here.
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 most of them are rather abject. So hats off to HSBC for waiving the annual fee, 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 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
- 1 HSBC Point for every S$1 spent 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 3.25% fee.
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 (4 mpd).
This is capped at S$1,000 per calendar month. Any spend in excess of this cap earns 0.4 mpd.
The following MCCs are eligible for bonus points:
|Airlines, Car Rental, Lodging, Cruise Lines & Travel Agencies||3000 to 3350, 3351 to 3500, 3501 to 3999, 4411, 4511, 4722, 7011||Singapore Airlines, Scoot, Cathay Pacific, Emirates, Hilton, Hyatt, Marriott, Klook, Expedia, Hotels.com|
|Department Stores & 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||Amazon, Best Denki, Book Depository, Courts, Harvey Norman, Lazada, Qoo10, Shopee, Taobao|
|Supermarkets, Dining & Food Delivery||5411, 5441, 5462, 5499, 5811, 5812, 5813, 5814||Cold Storage, Deliveroo, NTUC FairPrice, Sheng Siong, foodpanda, GrabFood, WhyQ|
|Transportation & Membership Clubs||4121, 7997||Comfort, Grab (excluding GrabPay top-ups), gojek, TADA, Ryde, Fitness First|
|Bonuses apply regardless of whether spend is in SGD or foreign currency|
While it’s a shame that the HSBC Revolution adopts a whitelist approach (where only specified MCCs will earn bonus points) rather than a blacklist approach (where only MCCs specified will not earn bonus points), the bonus categories are fairly broad and cover a wide range of day-to-day spending.
It’s noteworthy that 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.
Once again, all transactions must be made online, or offline via contactless payment in order to earn 4 mpd. This includes:
- Apple Pay (in-app or in-store spend)
- Google Pay (in-app or in-store spend)
- Visa Paywave (tapping the physical card)
There is currently no support for Garmin Pay, Fitbit Pay, or Samsung Pay.
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, and will be reflected in the cardholder’s statement no later than the last day of the second calendar month.
For example, if you make an eligible transaction in April, your bonus points will be credited by the end of May, and appear in your statement for June.
|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|
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?
The following transactions are not eligible for HSBC Points.
|❌ HSBC Revolution Exclusion List|
The key exclusions to note are charitable donations, education, government services GrabPay top-ups, insurance, professional services providers, and utilities.
HSBC also explicitly excludes CardUp, ipaymy and RentHero transactions.
What do I need to know about HSBC Points?
|❌ Expiry||↔️ Pooling||✈️ Transfer Fee|
|37 months||No||S$43.20 for unlimited conversions (12 mo.)|
|⬆️ Min. Transfer||✈️ No. of Partners||⏱️ Transfer Time|
|25,000 HSBC Points|
All HSBC Points expire at the end of a 37 month period which commences from the month subsequent to the month in which the points were earned.
|Points earned in the period of||Expiry date|
|1-30 September 2021||31 October 2024|
|1-31 October 2021||30 November 2024|
|1-30 November 2021||31 December 2024|
This means that the validity is technically 37-38 months, depending on when the points were earned.
HSBC Points 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 (however, you won’t need to pay multiple conversion fees; see next section)
Since points do not pool, you will have to transfer all your HSBC Points before cancelling the HSBC Revolution, or else forfeit them.
Partners and Transfer Fee
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$43.20 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).
HSBC points transfers are batched and processed on a weekly basis, which means your waiting time could be anywhere from 1-7 days.
Free Entertainer subscription
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.
1% bonus cashback with HSBC EGA
HSBC Revolution Cardholders can earn an additional 1% cashback on all transactions with the HSBC Everyday Global Account (EGA).
This is available to customers who deposit the following fresh funds into an EGA each month:
- HSBC Personal Banking: S$2,000/month
- HSBC Premier and Jade: S$5,000/month
If they also perform at least five eligible transactions (i.e. not those stated in the exclusions section above) of any amount each month, they’ll earn 1% cashback capped at S$300 per month for HSBC Personal Banking and S$500 per month for HSBC Premier and Jade.
Terms and Conditions
Summary Review: HSBC Revolution
The HSBC Revolution is a no-brainer 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.
So that’s my review of the HSBC Revolution. What do you think?
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