Credit Cards Deals KrisFlyer

Standard Chartered X Card offering up to 45,000 bonus miles for new sign-ups

Earn up to 45,000 miles sign-up bonus with a new Standard Chartered X Card until the end of 2020, with a large spend requirement

X Card Promo 2

The Standard Chartered X Card has had something of a chequered history. First offering a jaw-dropping 100,000 miles sign-up bonus when it launched, the bank quickly cut that to 60,000 miles before suspending new applications for the card completely.

A smaller sign-up bonus of 30,000 miles has mostly been the norm, but today a new 45,000 miles sign-up bonus has been launched for those new to Standard Chartered credit cards during an anniversary promotion period for approved applications by 30th September 2020.

Isn’t it 85,000 miles?

When Standard Chartered first launched its 100,000 miles sign-up bonus for the X Card, one of the surprising (but pleasing) things about the offer was that it was actually a true bonus.

Unlike some other banks, they didn’t include the miles you would earn anyway for using the card even if a bonus was not running (or you would probably earn on an existing comparable card).

Well Standard Chartered has become smart to that idea, now advertising this sign-up bonus as an 85,000 miles deal.

85k Offer
(Image: Standard Chartered)

Before you get too excited, this does include the miles you would normally earn for the required spend, plus it assumes 100% of your spend would be in foreign currency (hardly likely in the current circumstances while we’re all stuck at home for the foreseeable future!).

So how does 45,000 miles work?

The structure of this sign-up bonus is a little different than before. In essence if you’re new to Standard Chartered credit cards you’ll get:

Upfront Gift Promotion

  • 75,000 Rewards Points (30,000 miles) as usual

Bonus Acquisition Gift

  • 12,500 Rewards Points (5,000 miles)

These two bonuses are dependent on applying and being approved by 30th September 2020, and having your card account activated within the first 30 days.

That’s the first 35,000 miles covered, with no minimum spend required. Terms and conditions for these elements are available here.

The remainder of the 45,000 miles are earned as follows:

X Card Anniversary Spend and Get promotion

If you meet a hefty S$4,000+ spend in each of the following five spend periods, you’ll also be awarded with 5,000 Bonus Rewards Points (2,000 miles) for each spend period:

  • 15 Jul – 31 Aug
  • 1 Sep – 30 Sep
  • 1 Oct – 31 Oct
  • 1 Nov – 30 Nov
  • 1 Dec – 31 Dec

That’s 10,000 additional bonus miles, over and above the card’s usual earn rates of 1.2 mpd for local spend and 2 mpd for spend in foreign currency, for a total bonus of 45,000 miles.

You don’t need to participate in the spend during all of the five periods, however you will only earn the 2,000 bonus miles for periods you qualify for (S$4,000+ eligible spend).

Terms and conditions for this part are available here.

X Card Promo 2

Your total earning (including the sign-up bonus) during this promotion, if you make the S$4,000+ eligible spend in each of the five periods, will be at least 69,000 miles, assuming local spend:

  • Upfront bonus = 30,000 miles
  • Acquisition gift = 5,000 miles
  • Spend and Get bonus = 10,000 miles
  • S$20,000 x 1.2 mpd (local) = 24,000 miles
  • Total earning = 69,000 miles

What Standard Chartered is assuming (in its advertising of the deal as an 85,000 miles one) is that you’ll spend all S$20,000 in the Spend and Get promotion in foreign currency:

  • Upfront bonus = 30,000 miles
  • Acquisition gift = 5,000 miles
  • Spend and Get bonus = 10,000 miles
  • S$20,000 x 2 mpd (FCY) = 40,000 miles
  • Total earning = 85,000 miles

As we mentioned above, this is highly unlikely in a time we can’t travel overseas.

The true bonus is 45,000 miles, over and above normal earning rates, if you participate and qualify for all five of the spend periods.

Exclusions

Some spend categories do not count towards the S$4,000 minimum in each of the five spend periods to be eligible for the 2,000 miles bonus within that spend period, so make sure you either avoid them or disregard them in your calculations.

The full list of exclusions is available in Section 9 of these Terms and Conditions.

All Pay No.jpg

Note especially that CardUp, ipaymy and RentHero transactions are specifically excluded, which will make reaching the minimum spend more difficult for many, especially during income tax season.

Cost per mile

Assuming you had S$20,000+ spend to make anyway for the rest of 2020, the cost per mile calculation is the annual fee divided by 45,000 miles (the bonus).

Cost per KrisFlyer mile

KF Logo trans.png

S$695.50 / 45,000

1.55¢

That’s nowhere near as competitive as the 0.7 cents per mile rate originally on offer for the X Card under the 100,000 miles bonus, and looks a little on the high side in the current climate especially as lower cost methods to earn miles are available, like your annual income tax payment in some cases.

Cash rewards alternative

Standard Chartered is also offering the option to redeem its Rewards Points for a cash alternative rather than for airline miles. You’ll instead get 2.5 cents per Rewards Point (1 cent per mile).

That’s an effective ‘cashback’ of S$450, for example, instead of transferring the 45,000 miles sign-up bonus to KrisFlyer.

We continue to value KrisFlyer miles at 1.9 cents each, so this is a poor proposition.

Key features

Here are the key features of the X Card:

Card

Annual fee: $695.50/yr
EIR/APR: 26.9%
Sign-up bonus: 45,000 miles*
Local earn rate: 1.2 mpd
Overseas earn rate: 2 mpd
Foreign transaction fee: 3.5%
Minimum Age: 21
Minimum income: S$80,000/yr**
* Minimum S$20,000 spend applies in 2020, across five periods
** Priority/Private Banking customers: S$30,000/yr (Singaporean/PR) or S$60,000/yr (Foreigner)

When will you get your bonus?

The upfront gift of 35,000 miles, including the bonus acquisition gift, will be awarded by 30th November 2020.

The additional 2,000 bonus miles for each of the five qualifying spend periods will be awarded as follows:

  • 15 Jul – 31 Aug: 31st October 2020
  • 1 Sep – 30 Sep: 31st December 2020
  • 1 Oct – 31 Oct: 31st December 2020
  • 1 Nov – 30 Nov: 28th February 2021
  • 1 Dec – 31 Dec: 28th February 2021

That means even if you participate for the entire promotion, it’ll be well into 2021 before your 45,000 miles bonus is reflected in your Rewards account.

Other loyalty schemes

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

These don’t all transfer at the same 2.5:1 ratio, in many cases it’s a higher ratio 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.

X card Airline Partner Conversion
FFP Conversion Ratio
KF Logo trans 2.5:1
AFKLtrans.png 2.5:1
EVtrans.png 2.5:1
QFF.png 2.5:1
EYtrans.png 3:1
QRtrans.png 3:1
EKtrans.png 3.5:1
MMtrans.png 3.5:1
UAtrans.png 3.5:1
X card Hotel Partner Conversion
Loyalty scheme Conversion Ratio
IHG.png 2.5:1
Accor 5:1

As you can see in some cases the transfer ratio is double that to KrisFlyer, giving you half as many points / miles in the loyalty scheme for the same number of rewards points transferred.

Summary

It’s interesting to see the X Card giving a nod to its upcoming anniversary with this slightly improved (albeit difficult to achieve) sign-up bonus.

It’s obviously a far cry from the simpler 100,000 and 60,000-miles offers we saw last year around (heavily botched) launch time.

What most of us who already hold the card are more eager to know however is whether any miles are going to be thrown in at annual renewal (that’s next week for many), and / or whether the bank is planning to upgrade some of the card’s offerings given that the SCVI card now looks to be dead.

Watch this space.

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3 comments

  1. Totalling disingenuous, misleading marketing.

    And the actual cost per mile is higher than what you calculated, if you account for opportunity cost for substituting the $4K per month spend from other 4MPD cards to X-Card.

    1. Correct the cost per mile assumes diverting spend from (equivalent) 1.2/2 mpd cards. If you’re sacrificing 4 mpd spend then it’s probably not worth it at all!

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