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Standard Chartered cuts X Card sign-up bonus to 30,000 miles

The Standard Chartered X Card has reverted to an ongoing 30,000 miles sign-up bonus. Poor value is an understatement.

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Standard Chartered’s X Card has had its fair share of sign-up bonus dramas since it first launched with an impressive 100,000 miles offer in July last year. The headline deal was withdrawn after less than a week, over a month early, and replaced with a less attractive 60,000 miles bonus.

Finally at the end of August the sign-up bonus ended, only to be resurrected in mid-October.

That offer was scheduled to end on 31st December 2019, but Standard Chartered has now launched a new (or should we say diluted) sign-up bonus for the X Card.

Latest promotion

Standard Chartered has retained the 30,000 miles “Upfront Gift Promotion”, for activating your X Card within 30 days and paying the annual fee of S$695.50.

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The bank has not yet updated the terms and conditions document relating to this promotion, which will be available through the website in the coming days, but has confirmed to Mainly Miles that the offer has the same terms as the previous upfront gift promotion, and that it is ongoing with no end date.

  • To qualify you must activate your card within 30 days of approval date.
  • No minimum spend is required for this offer.
  • The 30,000 miles are paid as 75,000 Standard Chartered 360° Reward Points.

Standard Chartered confirmed to us today that Part 3 of the existing terms and conditions document will essentially be identical, but that references to the X Card Promotion Period will be amended to reflect the ongoing nature of this offer.

Key features

Here are the latest key features of the X Card:

Card

Annual fee: $695.50/yr
EIR/APR: 26.9%
Sign-up bonus: 30,000 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*
* Priority/Private Banking customers: S$30,000/yr (Singaporean/PR) or S$60,000/yr (Foreigner)

Cost per mile

The cost per mile calculation is the annual fee divided by 30,000 miles (the bonus).

Cost per KrisFlyer mile

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S$695.50 / 30,000

2.32¢

Straight away you can see this is simply a poor deal. There’s no way anyone should be paying over 2 cents per mile with a credit card sign-up bonus, unless the card has significant and valuable additional perks to account for.

As most of our readers will know, the X Card comes with hardly any additional benefits (a couple of Priority Pass lounge visits is about the only one worth mentioning), and we endorse an ‘upper limit to buy’ of 1.9 cents per mile.

We’ve updated our Top Credit Card Sign-up Bonuses page with the details, and as you’ll see there even Standard Chartered’s own (cheaper) Visa Infinite card is offering a better ongoing sign-up bonus (35,000 miles) for a lower annual fee (S$588.50).

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Other options include the HSBC Visa Infinite Card (see our full review) offering 35,000 miles for a S$650 annual fee, the equivalent of buying miles at 1.86 cents each.

When will you get your bonus?

The upfront gift of 30,000 miles will be awarded within 30 days of your X Card activation date. For example if your card is activated on 31st January 2020 you’ll see this bonus in your account by 1st March 2020.

Other loyalty schemes

Apart from KrisFlyer, there are 11 other loyalty programmes you can transfer into from the X Card.

New FFPs
Other loyalty scheme transfer partners from the X card

Though the list includes some more ‘exotic’ FFPs for Singapore-based miles collectors, do note that these don’t all transfer at the same 2.5:1 ratio.

In many cases it’s a higher ratio (e.g. Lufthansa Miles & More at 3.5:1) meaning fewer points or miles in your loyalty account, so do beware if you’re going down this route that in many cases you may be losing out.

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You can transfer into 12 loyalty programs from your Standard Chartered rewards points, including EVA Air, which has a brand new Business Class cabin on its Boeing 787s. (Photo: EVA Air)

Full review

Our comprehensive review of the Standard Chartered X Card has full details of this credit card, also including information on:

  • Earning rates
  • Points rounding
  • Minimum spend to earn miles
  • Foreign currency transaction fees
  • The miles transfer process (and complexities!)
  • Transfer times
  • Activating your Priority Pass (there’s a bit of legwork)
  • Other card benefits

Do check it out if you’re considering applying, though with this latest sign-up bonus our advice is: don’t bother.

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READ OUR FULL REVIEW

Summary

There’s simply no good reason to jump in with the current X Card sign-up offer, the equivalent of paying 2.32 cents per mile through the annual fee, given that the card has so few additional perks.

Indeed the bank’s cheaper Visa Infinite Card comes with a higher sign-up bonus of 35,000 miles and a lower annual fee of S$588.50, the equivalent of buying miles at 1.68 cents each (28% less than the X Card) even if you disregard the other benefits.

Standard Chartered will have to pull something much better than this out of the hat to encourage new sign-ups, or retain existing ones as the second year annual fee becomes due for many of our readers in mid-2020.

We wait with bated breath.

(Cover Photo: MainlyMiles)

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