EXPIRED This article relates to an offer or promotion which has now expired.
|Update 31st July 2019: The sign-up bonus has now been reduced to 60,000 miles for new applications between 1st August 2019 and 30th September 2019. See our article for details.
All the talk lately has been about Standard Chartered’s upcoming ‘X card’. Not because there’s anything too special about it (there really isn’t), but because of the headline sign-up bonus, with a total 100,000 miles on offer when you meet the eligible spend on the card.
The waitlist is now closed and the X card is finally here, with the application link now available (being on the waitlist didn’t seem to matter!).
Everyone who signs up and meets the spend requirement is entitled to the sign-up bonus (this isn’t UOB!), but it is time-limited so if you’re eligible and want to take part – apply now.
The sign-up bonus is only applicable for card accounts approved by 31st August 2019, so if you’re interested in enough miles to fly SIA Business Class from Singapore to New York for S$696 – act fast.
The card is targeted at ‘millennials’, whatever they are (there is no agreed definition but being born between 1981 and 1996 seems to be the widely accepted criteria). That would make you 23 to 38 years of age, which puts Eddie and I in the target market.
We’ll have a full review of this card coming up soon, but for now the headline stats are as follows:
Annual fee: $695.50/yr
Sign-up bonus: 100,000 miles*
Local earn rate: 1.2 miles per $1
Overseas earn rate: 2.0 miles per $1
Foreign transaction fee: 3.5%
Minimum Age: 21
Minimum income: S$80,000/yr**
* Minimum S$6k spend applies in first 60 days
** Priority/Private Banking customers: S$30,000/yr (Singaporean/PR) or S$60,000/yr (Foreigner)
The sign-up offer for the Standard Chartered Visa Infinite X card is 100,000 miles if you spend S$6,000 in the first 60 days of card membership. It is subject to payment of the (non-waivable) annual fee of S$695.50.
The structure is as follows:
- 30,000 KrisFlyer miles “Upfront Gift Promotion”: for activating your card within 30 days and paying the annual fee of S$695.50, and provided your card is approved by 31st December 2019; and
- 70,000 KrisFlyer miles “Sign-up Gift Promotion”: for spending S$6,000 on eligible retail transactions in the first 60 days from card approval date, and provided your card is approved by 31st August 2019.
Firstly, bravo to Standard Chartered for not including the miles you would accrue anyway to meet the S$6,000 spend in the sign-up bonus calculation. More than one bank in Singapore plays this game, and of course we always see right through it.
Your total earning (including the sign-up bonus) during this promotion will be at least 107,200 miles, assuming local spend:
- Upfront bonus = 30,000 miles
- S$6,000 x 1.2 mpd = 7,200 miles
- Sign-up bonus = 70,000 miles
- Total earning = 107,200 miles
The cost per mile calculation is the annual fee divided by 100,000 miles (the bonus).
Cost per KrisFlyer mile
S$695.50 / 100,000
That’s a very competitive rate to acquire KrisFlyer miles, our upper threshold to buy is 1.9 cents each and we aim to achieve at least 2.4 cents per mile when we redeem.
A 1.9 cents per mile the 100,000-mile bonus is worth at least S$1,900 against future Singapore Airlines redemptions, and you’re getting it here for S$695.50, even if you value the rest of this card’s perks at nothing (which in fairness isn’t far off the truth!).
Earn rate equivalent
Looking at the calculation another way, you’re earning 107,200 miles for that S$6,000 spend (upfront gift + sign-up bonus + the base earn rate), assuming local spend, an effective earning rate of 17.9 miles per dollar. That’s unbeatable for this spend volume.
You’ll do slightly better than that with some foreign currency spend at the 2 mpd earn rate, and read later on about why you might want to do that.
You could break the calculation down further and say that since the first 30,000 miles require no spending at all, you are really only earning 77,200 miles for the S$6,000 in local spend (70,000 sign-up bonus + 7,200 regular earn rate).
That puts the effective earning rate at 12.9 miles per dollar, though we don’t think many people will be paying the annual fee and settling for the 30,000 miles ‘upfront gift’, as that would be a high cost of 2.32 cents per mile (S$695.50 / 30,000).
Who is eligible?
There are no exclusions in the terms and conditions document stating that existing customers, for example SCVI holders, will not be eligible for the upfront bonus and sign-up bonus.
All X card applicants who meet the criteria and have their card approved by 31st August 2019 should be eligible.
Deadline and timescale
The upfront gift of 30,000 KrisFlyer miles will be credited as Standard Chartered 360o Rewards Points within 30 days of card activation. You must have your card approved by 31st December 2019 to be eligible.
Provided you are approved for the card by 31st August 2019 and meet the eligible spend requirement, the 70,000 bonus KrisFlyer miles will be awarded (again as Standard Chartered 360o Rewards Points) by 30th November 2019. That’s around a month after the eligible spend period for those issued with the card in late August 2019.
If your card is approved earlier (e.g. 15th August 2019), the 70,000 miles bonus should come through earlier as well, theoretically around mid-November 2019 in that example.
The following spend categories do not count towards the S$6,000 minimum spend in the first 60 days of card membership to be eligible for the sign-up bonus, so make sure you either avoid them or disregard them in your calculations.
(a) Insurance premiums, including premiums for investment-linked policies, charged to the X Card;
(b) Bill payments (Examples of bill payment merchants include but are not limited to Telecommunications and utilities providers such as Starhub, Singtel and M1, Singapore Power);
(c) Any payment via AXS network;
(d) Any payment via SAM network;
(e) Any bill payment made using SC EasyBill programme;
(f) Payments to government agencies which include but is not limited to Land Transport Authority, Housing Development Board, Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore, Public Utilities Board, Immigration & Checkpoints Authority and the Ministry of Manpower;
(g) Income tax payments;
(h) Tax refunds credited to the X Card;
(i) EZ-Link cards transactions;
(j) CardUp transactions
(k) ipaymy transactions;
(l) RentHero transactions;
(m) Transit Link transactions;
(n) Any top-ups or payment of funds to any prepaid cards (with exception of EZ-Reload charged to your X Card) and any prepaid accounts, payment platforms, digital wallets including but not limited to Grab, Singtel, Dash, WorldRemit Singapore, YouTrip or any other accounts as the Bank may specific from time to time, including without limitation to the following accounts or any other accounts as we may specific from time to time;
(o) Any transactions pertaining to Merchant Category Codes 6211 (Security Brokers/Dealers), 7995 (Gambling/Lotto), 4829, 6536, 6537, 6538 (Money Transfer) and 6050, 6051 (cryptocurrency/Quasi Cash);
(p) Credit Card Funds Transfers to the X Card, cash advances from the X Card, purchases via NETS and ongoing instalment payments;
(q) Any fees and charges (including but not limited to annual fees, service fees, interest charges, cheque processing fees, administrative fees, cash advance fees, finance charges and/or late payment charges and other miscellaneous fees and charges) charged to the X Card;
(r) Any amount charged to the X Card during the Promotion Period that is subsequently cancelled, voided or reversed;
(s) Any charges incurred by the X Card but not submitted or posted to the X Card during the X Card Sign Up Promotion Period;
(t) Any fraudulent transaction; and
(u) Balance owing on the X Card account from other months.
Note especially that CardUp, ipaymy and RentHero transactions are specifically excluded, which will make reaching the minimum spend more difficult for some.
This does not prevent CardUp, ipaymy and RentHero transactions from earning miles with this card at the usual 1.2 mpd local earn rate, they will simply not be taken into account for the S$6,000 minimum spend in the first 60 days to trigger the 70,000 miles bonus.
The sign-up bonus is the main draw for this card, because the regular earn rates are quite paltry.
- Local Spend: 1.2 miles per S$1 (3.0 Rewards Points)
- Foreign Currency Spend: 2.0 miles per S$1 (5.0 Rewards Points)
These are basically Citi PremierMiles / DBS Altitude rates, and certainly not the best in the market.
Even Standard Chartered’s own Visa Infinite card earns 1.4 miles for local spend and 3.0 for overseas, provided you transact at least S$2,000 per statement cycle.
After the first S$6,000 spend you’ll certainly want to be shifting to a better general spending card like the BOC Elite Miles for 1.5 mpd locally and 3.0 mpd overseas, earning you 25% and 50% more miles respectively in those categories than this card.
Are you taking a hit?
To use this card for S$6,000 of spend in two months – almost certainly yes.
Personally we are using the BOC Elite Miles card for general spend in Singapore. Since that earns 1.5 miles per dollar on local spend, moving our transactions to this card is losing us 0.3 miles per dollar x 6,000 = 1,800 miles.
That’s quite inconsequential given the bonus on offer here.
It reduces our ‘effective bonus’ from 100,000 miles to 98,200 miles, but that still brings in the cost per mile taking account of the annual fee at 0.71 cents each.
Even if you managed to channel S$6,000 of spend through credit cards at 4 miles per dollar rates, which you could manage in two months with a DBS Woman’s World card and two Citi Rewards cards (Visa and Mastercard), it’s still worth taking the hit for this many bonus miles.
In that case you’re looking at a ‘hit’ of 16,800 miles (2.8 x 6,000). That reduces your ‘effective bonus’ from 100,000 miles to 83,200 miles, but that still brings in the cost per mile taking account of the annual fee at 0.84 cents each.
If the best you have in your wallet is a Citi PremierMiles, AMEX Ascend or DBS Altitude card for example, you’re not taking a hit here as these all earn 1.2 miles per dollar for local spend. You should be doing better than that though, even in the general spend category.
If you meet the income requirements and have at least S$6,000 spend to make in the next two months, this is a no-brainer – it’s definitely worth it.
At the same time don’t underestimate the minimum spend. S$6,000 is a large amount to commit to for many people over just 60 days, and with the likes of CardUp and ipaymy specifically excluded among many other categories Standard Chartered do mean ‘retail transactions’ here when they say it.
It really isn’t worth it if you fall short – don’t stretch yourself financially.
Cashback and travel alternatives
The Standard Chartered X card is also offering a cashback alternative allowing you to redeem points for 1.2% cashback per S$1 spent locally and 2% cashback for every S$1 spent in foreign currency.
These are poor rates relative to the value of KrisFlyer miles earned, and unlikely to be of much interest to our readers (unless you value KrisFlyer miles at less than 1 cent each, in which case there are better cashback cards on the market anyway).
There is also the option to receive travel credits at a rate of 250 rewards points to S$1, which is similarly poor value versus transfer into KrisFlyer miles.
Standard Chartered 360o Rewards Points, which is what you’ll actually be earning here, usually only convert into Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer miles on the Frequent Flyer Programme side.
That’s quite restrictive with almost all banks in Singapore allowing transfers at least into Asia Miles as well as KrisFlyer.
With the X card though Standard Chartered is offering SC EasyRewards, which allows transfer into:
|Airline Transfer Partners|
|Air France / KLM|