If you’re an HSBC Revolution cardholder in Singapore you’re probably taking advantage of the card’s unlimited 2 miles per dollar earn rate for online purchases, plus local dining and selected local entertainment transactions.
Unfortunately the bank recently added several new spend exclusion categories which took effect today (1st July 2020), including insurance, education and utilities payments.
Another change is coming
With the new spend categories now in force, there’s another change to the Revolution card set to take effect from 1st August 2020, with HSBC replacing its 2 mpd bonus earn rate with an enhanced 4 mpd version.
Here’s how the card awards miles currently, and until 31st July 2020:
- 0.4 miles for every $1 of general spend, and
- 2 miles for every $1 of online purchases, local dining and entertainment (no min. spend, no upper cap)
Here’s the change from 1st August 2020:
This will award 4 miles per dollar (10 HSBC Reward points) on selected online purchases and selected contactless payments, however instead of the previous unlimited spend this will now be capped at S$1,000 per calendar month (across both categories combined).
- “Selected Online Transactions” refers to qualifying transactions made via the internet and processed by the respective merchant’s acquiring bank as an online transaction type through the Visa Worldwide networks.
- “Selected Contactless Payments” refers to Qualifying Transactions made via Visa contactless through a contactless terminal mode which includes Visa payWave and Apple Pay.
These online and contactless purchases will have to fall under the following Merchant Category Codes (MCCs):
|Travel related such as Airlines, Car Rental, Lodging, Cruise Lines and Travel Agencies||3000 to 3350|
3351 to 3500
3501 to 3999
4411, 4511, 4722
|Department Stores and Retail Stores||4816, 5045, 5262, 5309, 5310, 5311, 5331, 5399, 5611, 5621, 5631, 5641, 5651, 5655, 5661, 5691, 5699, 5732, 5733, 5734, 5735, 5912, 5942, 5992, 5999|
5944 to 5949
5964 to 5970
|Supermarkets, Dining and Food Delivery||5411, 5441, 5462, 5499, 5811, 5812, 5813, 5814|
|Others (including Transportation and Membership Clubs)||4121, 7997|
This includes useful merchants like Deliveroo (online), foodpanda (online) and Cold Storage (online or contactless in-store).
For contactless payments, the HSBC Revolution card can be added to Apple Pay.
You can also download the HSBC Singapore app and use it as a virtual card on your mobile phone.
If you’re used to using your HSBC Revolution card to earn 2 mpd for local dining, that won’t apply from 1st August 2020 and instead you’ll have to ensure you make a contactless payment at the restaurant for 4 mpd (assuming you’re still within your monthly cap), or use an alternative card.
The card will continue to earn 0.4 mpd for transactions falling outside the bonus categories, or when monthly spend in the bonus categories exceeds S$1,000. Clearly that’s uncompetitive and to be avoided.
See the full terms and conditions for this new rewards earning rate here for details, including details of the (newly expanded) exclusion categories.
HSBC rewards points rounding is more favourable than other cards offering 4 mpd for contactless and online transactions, such as the UOB PPV and UOB VS. For those cards the S$5 rounding comes into play especially for smaller transactions, however for HSBC rewards points are rounded for all spend to the nearest dollar.
- $20.49 rounds down to $20
- $20.50 rounds up to $21
The appropriate multiplier of HSBC Rewards points is then applied to the transaction, depending on its nature. Technically this is then rounded down to the next whole point, though that’s never necessary with this card as the multipliers are either 1X or 10X (once this change comes in).
Example (general spend earn rate):
- $20 x 1 (local) = 20 points
Example (bonus earn rate)
- $20 x 10 (local) = 200 points
The minimum spend to earn points is therefore S$0.50.
This is much better than the UOB PPV card for example when making smaller transactions, as shown below.
(4 mpd transactions)
As you can see the HSBC Revolution will be far superior for smaller (typically contactless) transactions when your spend does not exactly meet a S$5 rounded level.
You can also get slightly more than 4 mpd on smaller transactions with the bank’s round-up from 50 cents in the dollar onwards! (Technically S$0.50 = 10 Reward points = 8 mpd)
Do be careful to ensure your contactless spend with the HSBC Revolution is in one of the valid MCCs listed above though (e.g. Supermarket, Department Store), whereas the UOB PPV card awards its bonus rate for all contactless transactions.
No more annual fee
The HSBC Revolution card will also become fee-free from 1st August 2020 (replacing the previous S$160.50 annual fee), though to be fair the card was fee-free for the first two years anyway and it was typically waived after that.
When you’ll get the bonus points
Initially the HSBC Revolution card awards the basic earn rate (1 reward point or 0.4 mpd) for all transactions.
The 9 bonus points per dollar will be credited into the your account by the last day of the following calendar month, and will be reflected in your statement no later than the last day of the second calendar month from the date of the relevant transaction, assuming it was eligible.
Which loyalty schemes?
HSBC Reward points can be transferred into Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer and Cathay Pacific Asia Miles.
Do note that you’ll have to pay an annual fee of $40+GST (i.e. $42.80) to enrol in the HSBC Mileage Programme. You are then be free to make unlimited transfers to KrisFlyer throughout the year.
The minimum volume of miles you can transfer into KrisFlyer or Asia Miles is 10,000 (i.e. 25,000 HSBC Rewards points). Thereafter they must then be transferred in blocks of 10,000.
HSBC Reward points expire at the end of a 37-month period commencing from the month subsequent to the month in which such points were awarded. That gives you three years and one month of validity.
The HSBC Revolution card is currently perfect for those who don’t want the hassle of managing specific spend levels in their bonus category each month, with a simple 2 mpd on all online purchases plus local dining and entertainment transactions. No minimum spend, no upper cap.
This upcoming change for card will be a disappointment for many, who currently take advantage of this ‘worry-free’ unlimited 2 mpd bonus rate, especially after exhausting the more complex bonus categories on other cards.
The new spend category exclusions in force today and revised bonus categories from August won’t suit everyone, especially with this S$1,000 spend cap per calendar month.
On the positive side it’s another opportunity to earn 4 mpd on relatively easy contactless payments, even for smaller transactions at the likes of Cold Storage, where some other cards like the UOB PPV tend to take a hit on the earning rate due to the S$5 rounding policy.
(Cover Photo: Shutterstock)
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