Only yesterday Standard Chartered offered an unexpected enhancement to its X Card customers, with a short-term 100% bonus for those transferring reward points to the Emirates Skywards frequent flyer programme.
Today the bank has a new offer for us, matching the miles earning rate for foreign currency spend with that of its sister Visa Infinite (SCVI) card product at 3 miles per dollar for four months between now and 30th June 2020.
That’s a 50% hike on the usual 2 miles per dollar awarded for these transactions. The X Card still awards a (fairly basic) 1.2 miles per dollar on local spend.
How it works
To qualify for the enhanced earn rate on these transactions, you’ll have to spend at least S$2,000 in one (or as many as you choose) of four defined promotional periods. Initially your foreign currency transactions will be awarded the usual 2 miles per dollar (5 SC Rewards points) earn rate.
Provided you met the minimum spend in each period, you will then be awarded with the bonus 1 mile per dollar (2.5 SC Rewards points) on up to two specified dates, depending on the promotional period(s) you participated in.
Spend on supplementary cards is counted towards the minimum.
|Promotional Period||Crediting Period|
|24 Feb 2020 – 31 Mar 2020||31 May 2020|
|1 Apr – 30 Apr 2020|
|1 May – 31 May 2020||31 July 2020|
|1 Jun – 30 Jun 2020|
It’s a similar philosophy used for the SCVI card (see our review), which awards its own higher earn rates for both local and foreign currency transactions depending on a slightly different ‘statement cycle’ S$2k+ spend basis.
As you can see you get slightly longer than a month to meet the minimum spend if you want to participate in the first promotional period (from now until 31st March 2020).
One thing to bear in mind is that transactions will have to be posted to your card account within each promotional period, and with Standard Chartered that can take a few days after the transaction itself.
We would recommend getting your minimum spend for qualification, and any foreign currency transactions you want the bonus miles on, squared away a good 5 days before the end of the month to avoid them ‘dropping’ into the subsequent period, or in the case of June out of the offer altogether!
Registration is not required and this offer is open to all X Card customers whose accounts are in good standing and remain so during the promotion.
For the calculation of the S$2,000 minimum spend in each period to trigger the higher earning rate for all foreign currency spend, these must be retail transactions, excluding the following categories:
- Cash advance;
- Credit Card Funds Transfer;
- Monthly instalment of an EasyPay transaction;
- Amounts charged to the X Card that are subsequently cancelled, voided, refunded or reversed;
- AXS or ATM transactions made using the X Card;
- Insurance premiums charged to the X Card;
- Recurring payments (being automatic payments including Standard Chartered Bank (Singapore) Limited’s 0% Interest Instalment Plan) or payments made to all billing organisations using Standard Chartered Online Banking or mobile app;
- Fees or charges (including but not limited to annual card fees, service fees, interest charges, cheque processing fees, administrative fees, finance charges, and/or late payment charges and other miscellaneous fees and charges);
- Amounts which have been rolled over from any preceding month’s statement;
- Tax refunds credited into the Eligible Cardholder’s X Card;
- Tax payment charged to Eligible Cardholder’s X Card;
- Charges incurred but not submitted or posted to the X Card account during the X Card Promotion Period;
- Any fraudulent retail transaction;
- Any payments related to betting (including lottery tickets, casino gaming chips, off-track betting, and wagers at race tracks) through any channel charged to Eligible Cardholder’s X Card;
- Any top-ups or payment of funds to any prepaid and any prepaid accounts including without limitation: Financial Institutions – Merchandise, Services, and Debt Repayment (6012); or Non-Financial Institutions – Stored Value Card Purchase/Load (6540);
- Any top-ups or payment of funds to the following accounts or any other accounts as may be specified from time to time:
· EZ LINK PTE LTD · FLASHPAY ATU · OANDAASIAPA
· EZ LINK PTE LTD (FEVO) · TRANSITLINK* · OANDA ASIA PAC
· EZ-LINK PTE LTD SINGAPORE · TRANSIT LINK* · PAYPAL * BIZCONSULTA
· EZ-LINK TOP-UP KIOSK · TRANSIT LINK PL · PAYPAL * OANDAASIAPA
· EZ-LINK (IMAGINE CARD) · TRANSIT · PAYPAL * CAPITALROYA
· EZLINK* · MB * MONEYBOOKERS.COM · Saxo Cap Mkts Pte Ltd
· EZ LINK · WWW.IGMARKETS.COM.SG · SKR*SKRILL.COM
Remember the S$2,000 in qualifying transactions per promotion period can be made in either local or foreign currency, in order to trigger the 3mpd rate on all eligible foreign currency spend for that period (instead of 2mpd).
Full terms and conditions for the 3 miles per dollar on foreign currency spend are available here.
Cost per mile
Whenever using your credit card overseas, or to transact in a foreign currency, to earn miles or points it’s essential to know you’re getting a good deal.
Since credit card issuers apply an additional fee for these transactions, you are effectively ‘buying’ miles when spending this way, over and above what you would pay using cash from a money changer when you travel overseas, for example.
Here’s how the cost stacks up for some popular cards in Singapore.
Cost per mile on overseas credit card transactions by card
(Best to worst, February 2020)
|Card||Fee||Miles per $||Cost per mile|
(Promo rate to 29 Feb 2020)
(min S$1k FCY spend/mo.)
|UOB PRVI Miles||3.25%||2.4||1.43¢|
|Maybank Horizon Visa||2.75%||2.0||1.48¢|
|Citi PM Visa||3.25%||2.0||1.71¢|
Cost per mile also accounts for an additional 0.3% ‘spread’ over money changer currency rates, though this doesn’t apply to all banks and all foreign currencies, so is a worst-case scenario.
As you can see this promotion lifts the X Card from one of the worst on the market for overseas spend, ‘buying’ miles way too close to our upper limit of 1.9 cents each, to one of the best on the market with a competitive 1.2 cent price point per mile earned.
The offer also comes in good time for OCBC 90°N card customers enjoying 4 miles per dollar on overseas spend, a promotion ending in just four days from now.
As the six month mark approaches for many Standard Chartered Visa Infinite X cardholders, the bank does seem to be trying to entice people to hold on to the card lately with a couple of interesting offers.
Standard Chartered still isn’t really coming up with anything good enough to justify the year two S$695.50 annual fee, but these are steps in the right direction.
While a double KrisFlyer miles transfer promo might be too much to ask for, having one running at the moment for Emirates Skywards may be of use to many of our readers, and is hopefully a sign other programmes might see similar offers from Standard Chartered in future.
This new offer for an attractive 3 miles per dollar earn rate on overseas spend (subject to a minimum overall spend each month on the card) is a nice option, bringing the card right up there with the better earning options in cost per mile terms for foreign currency spend, including Standard Chartered’s own Visa Infinite product.
The latter is starting to look as though it’s on the way out this year, so perhaps we will see more of its benefits filtering across to the X Card in the coming months.