The 10 biggest MileLion stories for 2023

What made the news in the miles and points game in 2023?

With 2023 drawing to a close, it’s time to take a look at the biggest stories on The MileLion this year.

Now, I normally publish an annual list of “top 10 most read MileLion articles”, but this year I’m going to do things slightly different by excluding reviews and guides. Why? Because the top 10 list would look really boring otherwise:

⬆️ Top 10 MileLion Posts for 2023
1Review: UOB Lady’s Card191K views
2Review: HSBC Revolution188K views
3Review: Citi Rewards Card125K views
4Review: DBS Woman’s World Card119K views
5Review: UOB Preferred Platinum Visa117K views
6The MileLion’s 2023 Card Strategy116K views
7What’s the best card for insurance premiums?69K views
8What’s the best card to use with Amaze?68K views
9Review: ZipAir B787-8 Full Flat NRT-SIN 66K views 
10Ranked: My favourite SIA Business Class seats 66K views 

Don’t get me wrong. It’s clear that the community values reviews and guides, and I’ll of course continue to update and churn them out in 2024. But for now, I want to focus on stories– what made the news in the world of miles and points for 2023, and why?

(1) Citi PayAll offering 2.2 mpd earn rate (but hikes admin fee) (62K views)

Citi PayAll offering 2.2 mpd earn rate (but hikes admin fee)

For the past few years, Citi PayAll has been absolutely monstering the payments market with its frequent promotions, splashing the kind of money that rivals can only dream of. I was wondering when the music would stop, and while it didn’t quite happen in 2023, we can certainly see signs of it slowing.

In April this year, the Citi PayAll admin fee was hiked from 2% to 2.2%. While Citi softened the blow with an upsized 2.2 mpd promotion, the next promotion in October further reduced the bonus to 1.8 mpd. 

The upshot is that the cost per mile has increased from as low as 0.8 cents in 2022, to as much as 1.2 cents now. It’s still a good price to buy miles, in and of itself, but it’s clear where the trend is heading. 

(2) Why I’m cancelling all my OCBC credit cards (56K views)

Why I’m cancelling all my OCBC credit cards

2023 was a terrible year for existing OCBC cardholders, plain and simple.

Free transfers were removed for the OCBC VOYAGE, OCBC 90°N and OCBC Visa Infinite cards. OCBC VOYAGE cardholders saw their limo benefit nerfed. OCBC finally added eight new airline and hotel partners, but the conversion ratios were abject. And of course, the OCBC Titanium Rewards changed its annual 4 mpd cap to a monthly one, making it much less useful for big ticket transactions. 

On the other hand, it was a pretty good year for new OCBC cardholders, as the bank went big with its SingSaver offers. It was because of this that I decided to cancel all my OCBC cards and reset my new customer status (though shortly after, the bank increased its timeout period from six to 12 months!).

I’m now living an OCBC-less existence, and quite frankly, don’t feel like I’m missing out on anything important. 

(3) Mega welcome offer for CIMB, Citi & StanChart: Sony PlayStation 5, S$500 eCapitaVoucher or Dyson Airwrap (50K views)

Mega welcome offer for CIMB, Citi & StanChart: Sony PlayStation 5, S$500 eCapitaVoucher or Dyson Airwrap

Was this the deal of the year? I might even call it the deal of the decade.

In November, SingSaver broke the internet (and several bank websites) by launching a huge offer for CIMB, Citi and StanChart cards. New customers could get a Dyson Airwrap, Sony PlayStation 5 or S$500 eCapitaVoucher- potentially all three, if you were new for all!

So popular was the deal that it ended up being pulled early. Congratulations to everyone who managed to get in on it. I suspect it’ll be a long time before we see something similar again.

(4) UOB Lady’s Card now accept male applicants (44K views)

UOB Lady’s Cards now accept male applicants

The UOB Lady’s Card’s “females only” policy has always been an invitation to open a sensitive, nuanced and civilised dialogue on the roles of men and women in soci……hahahahahaha. 

Sorry, I can’t even say that with a straight face. But regardless of where you stand on the issue, it’s now one for the history books as UOB officially removed the gender requirement in July 2023.

Oh, what a bombshell that was, especially given the 6 mpd promo that was announced just a few months prior. Interest was off the charts, so much so I’ve written separate guides on choosing your bonus categories, as well as an FAQ (which doesn’t stop people from spamming the same questions repeatedly, but well…).

Now, your dangly bits will no longer count against you when applying for what’s hands down the best rewards card on the market. 

(5) Appetisers returning to Singapore Airlines Economy Class from June (42K)

Appetisers returning to Singapore Airlines Economy Class from June

While First and Business Class passengers enjoyed the return of pre-COVID comforts like pre-departure drinks and paper menus back in 2022, it took a little longer for things to return to normal in Economy. 

In June this year, Economy passengers finally got their appetisers back, which helped beef up the meal somewhat. Passengers on medium, long and ultra-long haul flights now receive an appetiser, bread roll, main course, cheese and crackers and a dessert. 

Appetisers are now part of Economy Class meals once again

Singapore Airlines’ Economy Class meals have been on the receiving end of some bad press this year, so this was a much-needed win.

(6) AMEX Platinum Charge removes published income requirement (37K views)

AMEX Platinum Charge removes published income requirement

When American Express relaunched the AMEX Platinum Charge in 2018, the invite-only criteria was scrapped in favour of a S$200,000 income requirement.

S$200,000 is a high threshold indeed, but it soon became apparent that the figure wasn’t set in stone. The AMEX website would accept applications with declared income of “just” S$150,000, and there were numerous reports they would accept even lower in certain cases.

In that light, it’s probably unsurprising that American Express removed the Platinum Charge’s income requirement altogether, replacing it with a more nebulous “Card application is subjected to customers meeting the regulatory minimum income requirement and internal assessment.” By the way, it’s not just the Platinum Charge which has done this; all AMEX cards now have this wording!

You still need to earn at least S$30,000 for a credit card, as per MAS regulations, but how much more exactly? That’s up to AMEX. 

Good news if you have an extra S$1,728 (soon to be S$1,744) in your pocket…

(7) HSBC Travelone Card: Miles game, meet shake-up (33K views)

HSBC TravelOne Card: Miles game, meet shake-up

In May 2023, HSBC launched the TravelOne Card, its first-ever mass market miles card in Singapore. 

The space it entered was already fairly crowded, but thankfully it wasn’t just another miles card. Its first act was to dethrone Citi as the bank with the most transfer partners. A total of 12 hotel and airline partners were offered, with instant transfers (except ALL) and no fees. Together with eight lounge visits in the first membership year and a 20,000 miles welcome offer, the TravelOne was quite a contender indeed.

Since then, however, it’s been a bit of a mixed story. A further eight airline and hotel partners were added, but the conversion ratios were so poor it nerfed any potential value. A ridiculous 10,000 points conversion fee was mulled, then put on ice- though it’s unclear for just how long. 

While I hope to be proven wrong, I’m a lot less optimistic about the future of this card than I was at launch. 

(8) The Taylor Swift Eras Tour-UOB card presale guide (32K views)

The Taylor Swift Eras Tour-UOB card presale guide

Someone at UOB must have been making sacrifices to the right deity, because 2023 has gone beyond their wildest dreams. The bank landed exclusive presale rights to the Taylor Swift Eras Tour, leading to an unprecedented surge in card applications.

As a die-hard Twistie, I of course wanted to do the community a service and cover the key details of the presale, for reasons that are completely altruistic and in no way related to farming cheap pageviews.

I am, quite frankly, sad that this article got a lot more traction than poor Aldous Ang.

(9) UOB Lady’s Cards now earn 6 mpd on dining, travel, groceries and more (31K)

UOB Lady’s Cards now earn 6 mpd on dining, travel, groceries and more

To mark International Women’s Day this year, UOB gave its Lady’s Cards an almighty makeover, boosting the bonus rate from 4 to 6 mpd for an entire year. 

That’s right: 6 mpd, on up to S$3,000 each month. Over the course of a year that’d be 216,000 miles, enough for a round-trip Business Class ticket to Europe or the USA, or to fly a family of four to Japan or South Korea and back in Economy Class!

That’s 50% more than any other specialised spending card on the market, and I haven’t even talked about the benefits of pairing it with a UOB One account for up to 5% p.a. on the first S$100,000. 

Truly a candidate for card of the year. 

(10) Nerfed: GrabPay to block AXS transactions from 16 January (30K)

Nerfed: GrabPay to block AXS transactions from 16 January

In May 2021, AXS started accepting GrabPay once again. This was an excellent develpoment for anyone holding an AMEX HighFlyer Card, AMEX True Cashback or UOB Absolute Cashback Card, because they could effectively enjoy 1.8 mpd or 1.5-1.7% cashback on all bill payments, whether IRAS income tax, MCST fees, town council bills, insurance premiums, etc.

But in January 2023, GrabPay axed support for AXS transactions. This killed off one of the last remaining use cases for the ailing payment service, with the last nail in the coffin when AMEX added it to the rewards exclusion list. 

So long GrabPay, and thanks for all the fish. 

Conclusion

2023 has certainly not been short of stories, and I haven’t even mentioned Singapore Airlines’ ill-fated paper box meals, the return of hot towels and the DBS yuu Card’s massive upgrade.

Here’s a 2024 that’s just as eventful- and hopefully in a good way!

What would you like to read about in 2024? Let me know below.

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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