Here’s The MileLion’s review of the Standard Chartered Journey Card, which has a pretty hardcore origin story.
Picture this- the year is 2019. You’re a bank with big plans to capture the affluent millennial segment. Do you:
- Design a card that not only attracts new customers, but offers enough value for them to stick around and become lifelong ones?
- Slap a 100,000 miles sign-up bonus on the bumper and railroad that sucker through to the market- renewals are a tomorrow problem!
It’s clear which option the bank decided on, and there’s nothing wrong with that approach, mind you, only that no one ever got down to thinking about renewal.
The story of how the premium metal Standard Chartered X Card eventually became the mass-market plastic Journey is a fascinating one— and you can read about it here— but it’s not the focus of this article.
Instead, the question before us is much simpler: should you get a Standard Chartered Journey Card?
|Standard Chartered Journey Card|
|🦁 MileLion Verdict|
|☐ Take It|
☑ Take It Or Leave It
☐ Leave It
|What do these ratings mean?|
|The StanChart Journey Card represents a major improvement over the hapless X Card in every way- though that’s kind of a low bar!|
|👍 The good||👎 The bad|
|💳 Full List of Credit Card Reviews|
Overview: SCB Journey Card
Let’s start this review by looking at the key features of the Standard Chartered Journey Card.
|Income Req.||S$30,000 p.a.||Points Validity||No expiry|
|Miles with Annual Fee||10,000||Transfer |
|FCY Fee||3.5%||Transfer Fee||S$27|
|Local Earn||1.2 mpd||Points Pool?||Yes|
|FCY Earn||2 mpd||Lounge Access?||Yes: 2x Priority Pass|
|Special Earn||3 mpd on online groceries, food delivery, transport (SGD)||Airport Limo?||No|
|Cardholder Terms and Conditions|
|*For KrisFlyer; for other programmes 1,000 miles/points|
The Standard Chartered Journey Card is a direct replacement for the X Card, so even if you still hold a physical X Card, all your earn rates, benefits and fees will follow the Journey Card from 19 May 2023.
In other words, the Standard Chartered X Card no longer exists! However, for posterity’s sake, I’m preserving the legacy review, just so you understand how bad it had become.
How much must I earn to qualify for a SCB Journey Card?
How the mighty have fallen. Back when this was the Standard Chartered X Card, a minimum income of S$80,000 p.a. was required.
That’s now been cut to the MAS-mandated minimum of S$30,000 p.a.
How much is the SCB Journey Card’s annual fee?
|Principal Card||Supp. Card|
The Standard Chartered Journey Card has an annual fee of S$194.40 for principal cardholders. You can either opt for a first year fee waiver, or pay the fee to receive 10,000 miles.
The annual fee is waived for up to five supplementary cards (it’s not clear what the fee is for the sixth onwards, but why would you want so many anyway?).
What sign-up bonus or gifts are available?
StanChart is running a welcome offer valid for applications submitted from 7 August to 30 September 2023 by new-to-bank cardholders, defined as those who:
- Do not currently hold a principal StanChart credit card, and
- Have not cancelled a principal StanChart credit card in the past 12 months
Cardholders can earn up to 45,000 bonus miles, broken down as follows:
|💳 StanChart Journey Card Sign-Up Offer|
(apply bet. 7 Aug to 30 Sep 23)
|Rewards Points||KrisFlyer Miles|
|Pay S$194.40 annual fee (optional)||25,000||10,000|
|Spend S$3,000 in first 60 days of approval||87,500||35,000|
Cardholders have the option of paying the first year’s S$194.40 annual fee to receive 10,000 bonus miles. This works out to a cost of 1.94 cents per mile, which is on the high side given cheaper alternatives for buying miles like CardUp and Citi PayAll.
Regardless of whether they pay the first year’s annual fee, cardholders will receive 35,000 bonus miles for spending at least S$3,000 in the first 60 days of approval. That’s the real headline here, as it represents an excellent return on your spend.
Bonus miles are on top of the StanChart Journey Card’s regular earn rates of 1.2-3 mpd, so assuming you spend the full S$3,000 on local, non-bonused transactions, you’re looking at an additional 3,600 miles (S$3,000 @ 1.2 mpd), for an overall haul of up to 48,600 miles.
New-to-bank customers who apply for a StanChart Journey Card via SingSaver by 21 September 2023 will be eligible to receive an extra S$120 in cash:
- S$100 cash: For approval (no minimum spend)
- S$20 cash: For spending at least S$500 and making a transaction of at least S$20 with Shopee, Lazada, Taobao, ezbuy, Qoo10, Carousell or Netflix within 30 days of approval
Since I imagine you’d be spending S$3,000 on this card to meet the sign-up bonus anyway, the S$500 minimum spend should be no deterrent. Also note that both the fee-paying and fee-waiver options are eligible for the extra S$120 cash.
Approval must be received within 14 days after 21 September 2023, and cash will be disbursed via PayNow within four months from the date of fulfilling the necessary criteria.
How many miles do I earn?
|🇸🇬 SGD Spend||🌎 FCY Spend||⭐ Bonus Spend|
|1.2 mpd||2 mpd||3 mpd on online groceries, food delivery, transport (SGD)|
Standard Chartered Journey Card cardholders will earn:
- 3x 360° Rewards Points per S$1 spent locally (equivalent to 1.2 mpd)
- 5x 360° Rewards Points per S$1 spent overseas (equivalent to 2 mpd)
These aren’t the highest rates in the market, though it’s certainly not the lowest either.
|💳 Earn Rates for General Spending Cards|
(income req.: S$30K)
|Cards||Local Spend||FCY Spend|
|UOB PRVI Miles||1.4 mpd||2.4 mpd|
|HSBC TravelOne Card||1.2 mpd||2.4 mpd|
|OCBC 90°N Card||1.3 mpd||2.1 mpd|
|Citi PremierMiles||1.2 mpd||2 mpd|
|DBS Altitude||1.2 mpd||2 mpd|
|StanChart Journey||1.2 mpd||2 mpd|
|AMEX KrisFlyer Ascend||1.2 mpd||2 mpd*|
|AMEX KrisFlyer Credit Card||1.1 mpd||2 mpd*|
|BOC Elite Miles||1 mpd||2 mpd|
|KrisFlyer UOB Credit Card||1.2 mpd||1.2 mpd|
|*In June and Dec only, otherwise 1.1 mpd|
All FCY transactions are subject to a 3.5% fee, which is the highest in the market (other banks max out at 3.25%).
|💳 FCY Fees by Issuer and Card Network|
|Issuer||↓ Visa & Mastercard||AMEX|
This means that using your card overseas represents buying miles at 1.75 cents each.
However, the Standard Chartered Journey Card is offering a rebate of the usual 3.5% FCY transaction fee for overseas spend made and posted during:
- June 2023
- July 2023
- November 2023
- December 2023
No registration is required, and cashback will be credited according to the following timelines:
|Eligible FCY transactions made and posted||Cashback credited by|
|1 Jun to 31 Jul 2023||30 Sep 2023|
|1 Nov to 31 Dec 2023||29 Feb 2024|
This is a great little promotion, insofar as it represents an opportunity to earn an uncapped 2 mpd overseas, with no FCY fees.
You can find the T&Cs of this offer here.
From now till 31 December 2023, Standard Chartered Journey Cardholders will earn 7.5 points per S$1 spent (3 mpd) for online transactions made in SGD with the following MCCs:
- Grocery/food-stores with MCCs 5411, 5462, 5499 and 5921
(E.g. NTUC FairPrice Online, NTUC FairPrice app, Lazada Redmart, Watson’s Singapore and Nespresso Singapore)
- Food deliveries with MCCs 5811, 5812 and 5814
(E.g. Foodpanda, Deliveroo, McDonald’s, KFC, Pizza Hut, Dominos Pizza, Chilli Api Catering and Qi Ji Catering)
- Transport merchants with MCCs 4111, 4121, 4411 and 4789
(E.g.Grab, Gojek, Cabcharge Asia, Tada, Ryde Technologies, Royal Caribbean Cruises and Easybook.com )
Do note that the examples are not exhaustive; all that matters is:
- the MCC falls into the approved range
- the fact the transaction is online
- the fact the transaction is in SGD
This bonus rate is capped at S$1,000 per statement month.
3 mpd is not much of a draw, in and of itself, since you could earn 4-6 mpd on these categories with other cards.
When are 360° Rewards Points credited?
The base 3x/5x 360° Rewards Points for local/overseas spend are credited when your transaction posts, which generally takes 1-3 working days.
The bonus 4.5x 360° Rewards Points for local grocery, food delivery, and transport will be credited at the end of the statement period.
How are 360° Rewards Points calculated?
Here’s how you can work out the 360° Rewards Points earned on your Standard Chartered Journey Card.
|Local Spend (3x)||Multiply transaction by 3, then round to nearest whole number|
|FCY Spend (5x)||Multiply transaction by 3, then round to nearest whole number. Multiply transaction by 2, then round to the nearest whole number. Add the two figures.|
This means the minimum spend required to earn points is S$0.17, whether in local or foreign currency.
For what it’s worth, SCB has a more forgiving rounding policy than banks like OCBC and UOB, which enables the Standard Chartered Journey Card to outperform ostensibly higher-earning cards for smaller transactions. An illustration is provided below.
|SCB Journey Card|
Earn Rate: 1.2 mpd
|UOB PRVI Miles Card|
Earn Rate: 1.4 mpd
|S$5||6 miles||6 miles|
|S$9.99||12 miles||6 miles|
|S$15||18 miles||20 miles|
|S$19.99||24 miles||20 miles|
|S$25||30 miles||34 miles|
|S$29.99||36 miles||34 miles|
If you’re an Excel geek, here’s the formulas you need to calculate points:
|FCY Spend||=ROUND(X*3,0) + ROUND(X*2,0)|
|Where X= Amount Spent|
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 360° Rewards Points?
A full list of transactions that do not earn transactions can be found in the T&Cs.
I’ve highlighted a few noteworthy categories below:
- Charitable Donations
- Government Services
- GrabPay and YouTrip top-ups
- Insurance Premiums
For avoidance of doubt, CardUp transactions will earn points. Standard Chartered is also one of the rare few banks which still offers points for utilities payments, so enjoy it while it lasts.
What do I need to know about 360° Rewards Points?
|❌ Expiry||↔️ Pooling||💰 Transfer Fee|
(but it’s complicated)
|S$27 (per conversion)|
|⬆️ Min. Transfer||✈️ No. of Partners||⏱️ Transfer Time|
|Varies||10||1-3 working days|
360° Rewards Points earned on the Standard Chartered Journey Card never expire, so long as the card account remains active.
This is complicated, so bear with me.
If you are converting points to any programme other than KrisFlyer, 360° Rewards Points pool, end of story.
If you are converting points to KrisFlyer:
- Points earned Visa Infinite cards and the Journey card pool
- Points earned on non-Visa Infinite cards pool
In case you’re wondering why the Journey gets to party with the Visa Infinite cards, it’s purely a legacy reason. Remember, the former X Card was a Visa Infinite, so Standard Chartered could hardly “downgrade” all legacy X Card points by putting them on the same scheme as the non-Visa Infinite.
It used to be the case that all Standard Chartered points pooled, so a cardmember with a non-Visa Infinite card could apply for a Visa Infinite card to “enhance” the value of his non-Visa Infinite points (they enjoy a favourable conversion ratio, as you’ll see below). That is no longer possible.
Transfer Partners & Fees
Standard Chartered has 10 different airline and hotel transfer partners, one of the widest ranges in Singapore.
|Frequent Flyer Programme||Conversion Ratio |
(SC Points: Partner)
|Visa Infinite & Journey||Non-Visa Infinite|
|25,000 : 10,000||34,500 : 10,000|
|2,500 : 1,000|
|2,500 : 1,000 |
| 2,500 : 1,000|
|2,500 : 1,000|
|3,000 : 1,000 |
|3,500 : 1,000 |
|3,500 : 1,000 |
|3,500 : 1,000|
|5,000 : 1,000|
Transfers cost S$27 each, regardless of the number of points transferred.
Here’s the thing though: Standard Chartered has the most confusing rewards redemption system of any bank in Singapore, period. Yes, I’d go so far as to say that even Bank of China has it better.
Because of the way the system is set up, some people go away thinking:
- StanChart no longer offers transfers to KrisFlyer, or
- StanChart no longer offers transfers to anything but KrisFlyer
What’s going on is that StanChart has two different rewards portals:
- SC 360° Rewards (for redeeming KrisFlyer only)
- SC EasyRewards (for redeeming all other partners)
Both portals can be accessed through the desktop online banking platform.
First, navigate to your credit card and click on the ‘Card Details’ button.
You’ll then see two options:
- Redeem Rewards Now (which brings you to SC 360° Rewards)
- View My Rewards (which brings you to SC EasyRewards)
You don’t need to tell me this is confusing. If you must use two different rewards portals, why not change the labels to make it clearer what’s found where?
Ah, StanChart. Never change.
Conversions to KrisFlyer miles are generally completed within 1-3 working days. For other programmes, expect to wait up to 5 working days.
Other card perks
Two complimentary lounge visits
Standard Chartered Journey Card cardholders enjoy two complimentary lounge visits per membership year, courtesy of Priority Pass. A guest fee of US$32 applies after the free visits have been exhausted, and this benefit is only available to the principal cardholder.
Here’s how this compares to other cards in its segment:
|Card||Network||Free Lounge Visits|
|AMEX KrisFlyer Ascend||Plaza Premium||4X|
|HSBC TravelOne Card||DragonPass||4X|
|Citi PremierMiles||Priority Pass||2X|
|DBS Altitude||Priority Pass||2X|
(Visa Version Only)
|StanChart Journey Card||Priority Pass||2X|
|AMEX KrisFlyer Credit Card||N/A||N/A|
|BOC Elite Miles||N/A||N/A|
|KrisFlyer UOB Credit Card||N/A||N/A|
|OCBC 90°N Card||N/A||N/A|
|UOB PRVI Miles||N/A||N/A|
This isn’t a unique feature of the Standard Chartered Journey Card per se, but all StanChart cardholders can use SC EasyBill to pay the following bills:
- Individual Income & Property Tax
An admin fee of 1.9% applies, which is sometimes lowered for targeted customers.
To illustrate, suppose you have a S$10,000 income tax payment to make:
- After setting up the payment, StanChart will pay S$10,000 to IRAS on your behalf
- Your Journey Card will be charged S$10,190 (S$10,000 +1.9% admin fee)
- You’ll earn 12,000 miles (the admin fee does not earn miles)
- tl;dr: you’ve paid S$190 for 12,000 miles, or 1.58 cents apiece.
It’s not a terrible rate, but Citi PayAll offers much better rates during its regular promos, as well as a wider scope of payments.
Grab promo codes
From 19 May to 31 December 2023, Standard Chartered Journey Cardholders can enjoy a S$10 Grab transport promo code (SCCHANGI) for rides to and from Changi Airport, valid for the first 2,000 redemptions.
The code can be redeemed a maximum of once per cardholder.
The T&Cs of this offer can be found here.
Complimentary travel insurance
|Others||Delayed Luggage: S$1,000|
Lost Luggage: S$5,000
|Note: The policy wording states a maximum coverage of S$1 million for accidental death, but Standard Chartered mentions the coverage has been revised to S$500,000.|
Standard Chartered Journey Card cardholders enjoy complimentary travel insurance underwritten by Allianz, which is automatically activated when the full airfare is charged to the card. Allianz has previously clarified that coverage does not apply to award tickets, unfortunately.
Do note there is no coverage for trip cancellation and disruption, delayed flights, rental car excess, or personal liability. I personally would not feel comfortable without this, so I’d recommend you purchase additional coverage regardless.
Summary Review: SCB Journey Card
|🦁 MileLion Verdict|
|☐ Take It|
☑ Take It Or Leave It
☐ Leave It
The Standard Chartered Journey Card is a massive improvement over the X Card, but really, that’s not saying much. After all, since when does cutting the annual fee by 70%, adding bonus categories and offering an FCY transaction fee waiver not make things better?
I think there’s nothing wrong with getting the Journey Card to enjoy the initial wave of launch offers— in fact, I’ve laid out a more detailed plan here — but my question is what happens in 2024 after those limited-time promotions cease (and if that isn’t X Card deja vu all over again, I don’t know what is).
Fortunately, it seems like it should be fairly easy to get an annual fee waiver for the Journey (just like the X Card, incidentally!), so the bigger issue is whether you want to commit to earning points with yet another bank. Standard Chartered has a relatively large minimum conversion block of 10,000 miles for KrisFlyer, though it’s much smaller at 1,000 miles for its nine other partners.
Worth a punt in my book, assuming the hopelessly convoluted rewards system doesn’t make you scream.