Maybank is rolling out some major changes to its Horizon Visa Signature credit card from November 2023, which will see the minimum spend per calendar month hiked from S$300 to S$800 to unlock bonus earn rates, an axing of the 3.2 mpd tier and a new 2.8 mpd tier that includes unlimited foreign currency spend.
There are certainly some winners and losers in the overall equation, so let’s take a look at what’s changing.
Maybank Horizon Visa Signature changes
On 29th September 2023, Maybank announced the TREATS Points awarding programme for its Horizon Visa Signature card “will be enhanced”, effective from 1st November 2023.
For those not familiar, the Horizon Visa Signature card has a S$30k income requirement and is fee-free for the first three years, with a S$194.40 annual fee after that, waived if you spend at least S$18,000 a year.
That effectively makes it a fee-free entry-level card.
For many years now, this card has earned miles at three rates, depending on the spend category and in some cases subject to bonus caps:
- 0.4 mpd (general spend)
- 2 mpd (air tickets, travel packages and FCY spend)
- 3.2 mpd (dining, petrol, taxi rides and Agoda hotel bookings)
To unlock the 2 mpd and 3.2 mpd earn rates, you must spend at least S$300 in the same calendar month, with the bonus miles capped at 12,000 per calendar month, shared across both categories.
Miles are paid as TREATS Points, with 2.5 TREATS Points converting to 1 mile (e.g. for general spend outside the bonus categories 1 TREATS Point per S$1 converts to 0.4 mpd). Do be aware that TREATS Points (and therefore miles) accrual is based on spend rounded down to the next S$5 with this card.
From 1st November 2023, the earning structure gets a little more complicated. The card will then earn one of four rates:
- 0.24 mpd
- 0.4 mpd
- 1.2 mpd
- 2.8 mpd
Of course, the new rates alone don’t tell the whole story.
Here are the key changes from 1st November 2023:
- The bonus earn rate of 2.8 mpd will kick in with S$800+ spend in the same calendar month, compared to only S$300 now.
- 3.2 mpd on local dining, petrol, taxis and hotel bookings via Agoda will be cut to 1.2 mpd, no matter how much you spend on the card – so these categories are being killed off, since there are much better payment options out there.
- Most local spend will earn 1.2 mpd with this card, regardless of monthly spend, but you’ll have to be careful to stick within the (admittedly wide) MCC list.
- FCY spend is where the boost comes – becoming 1.2 mpd if you don’t hit the minimum monthly spend on the card (currently 0.4 mpd) or 2.8 mpd if you do hit the minimum spend (currently 2 mpd).
- 2.8 mpd on FCY spend will be uncapped, provided you hit S$800 (all spend) in the same calendar month (currently a S$4,285 monthly cap exists, if you max out the bonus on FCY spend).
- Air tickets purchased in any currency will earn 2.8 mpd (currently 2 mpd), provided you hit S$800 (all spend) in the same calendar month. This will be capped at S$10,000 spend in this category per calendar month (currently S$7,500, if you max out the bonus on air tickets).
New earning rates in detail
From 1st November 2023, the Maybank Horizon Visa Signature card will earn at the following rates, depending on whether you hit S$800 spend in the same calendar month or not.
Less than S$800 total spend
in same calendar month
Selected Retail Stores
|All other Local Spend
|FCY||All FCY Spend||1.2 mpd|
Not much to write home about here for low spenders – you can be earning at least these rates or far more with other general and bonus spend cards on the market in Singapore.
S$800+ total spend
in same calendar month
Selected Retail Stores
|All other Local Spend
|FCY||All FCY Spend||2.8 mpd|
|Air Tickets*||2.8 mpd*|
* Capped at S$10,000 spend per calendar month, thereafter 1.2 mpd
As you can see it’s the S$800+ spend cardholders that pick up the perks here, and those are now focused solely on FCY spend, at a very nice uncapped 2.8 mpd, and air tickets, at a capped 2.8 mpd.
From 1st November 2023, air tickets in any currency will be the only category on the Maybank Horizon Visa Signature card with an upper spend cap, significantly simplifying the card’s current bonus structure.
This card may be a consideration for air ticket spend now that the DBS Altitude cards have ended 3 mpd earning on up to S$5,000 of transactions in that category.
Local spend that will earn an uncapped 1.2 mpd with this card from 1st November 2023, regardless of whether you hit S$800 transactions with the card or not in a calendar month, is restricted to the following MCCs.
Maybank Horizon Visa Signature
Uncapped 1.2 mpd earning
from 1 November 2023
Note that the air tickets MCC definition also applies when using this card in that 2.8 mpd bonus category.
For full details of the new earning rate structure and caps, see the updated card rewards terms and conditions from 1 November 2023 here (which you can compare to the current one, here).
In particular, do take note of excluded transactions for miles earning and for computation of the minimum S$800 monthly spend to activate the 2.8 mpd earn rate from November.
You can apply for the Maybank Horizon Visa Signature card here.
Are the changes positive?
These upcoming changes for the Maybank Horizon Visa Signature card effectively completely change its proposition from being a bonus option for dining, transport and petrol spend to a competitive general FCY spend option.
If you’re holding the card now you’re no doubt focused on the 3.2 mpd element, which is being axed, so you’ll probably need to alter your spend pattern with the card if you wish to keep it after 1st November 2023.
Only FCY and air ticket transactions will be bonus categories worth considering from that date, and remember the minimum spend to trigger those hiked rates is being more than doubled from S$300 per month to S$800 per month.
If you’re using the card locally for retail spend across quite a wide range of MCCs, another benefit is that you’ll get a baseline 1.2 mpd in this category, regardless of your total monthly spend.
Competitive uncapped FCY earning
The key draw here with this card will be the uncapped 2.8 mpd for all spend in foreign currency, either at point-of-sale (physical) or online.
This will reposition the Maybank Horizon Visa Signature card to a product offering one of the highest uncapped general spend earn rates for FCY transactions in Singapore.
Uncapped FCY earn rates
(from 1 November 2023)
|Card||FCY Earn Rate|
|Maybank Horizon VS||2.8 mpd**|
|UOB PRVI Miles||2.4 mpd|
|HSBC T1||2.4 mpd|
(Step up rate)
|DBS Altitude||2.2 mpd|
|DBS Vantage||2.2 mpd|
|OCBC Voyage||2.2 mpd|
|OCBC 90oN||2.1 mpd|
|Journey Card||2 mpd|
|KF Ascend||2 mpd^^|
|KF Blue||2 mpd^^|
|BOC EM||2 mpd|
* Subject to spending S$2,000+ (any spend) in the same statement month, otherwise 1 mpd
** Subject to spending S$800+ (any spend) in the same calendar month, otherwise 1.2 mpd
^ Only applicable from year 2 of card membership onwards, provided you spent at least $50,000 in the previous year, otherwise 2 mpd
^^ In the months of June and December only, otherwise 1.2 mpd (Ascend) or 1.1 mpd (Blue)
While the Standard Chartered Visa Infinite (SCVI) card earns 3 mpd for FCY transactions, that requires a minimum spend of S$2,000 (across all spend) in the same statement cycle, significantly higher than the Horizon Signature’s $800 minimum spend.
The SCVI card also has a high income requirement of S$150k and an annual fee of S$594, pinning it in a different category to the Horizon Visa Signature’s S$30k income threshold and fee-free for the first three years offering.
Of course it’s worth bearing in mind that many 4 mpd and 6 mpd cards on the market in Singapore earn at their bonus rates for FCY spend as well as for local spend, so you should be exhausting these first where possible, subject to the spend category and monthly caps applicable.
For example, online spend in FCY with the DBS WWMC card earns 4 mpd, but that’s capped at S$2,000 per month.
Cost per mile
Maybank charges a 3.25% fee for FCY transactions on its credit cards, so when spending at the 2.8 mpd rate you are effectively ‘buying’ miles at a cost of 1.22 cents each (which also assumes a 0.3% spread, so should be as worst-case scenario).
That’s quite competitive for general uncapped overseas spend, and remember it includes online transactions charged in currencies other than SGD, not just physical spend when you’re on a trip.
It’s worth pointing out that while the SCVI card can earn up to 3 mpd for FCY spend, its 3.5% FCY fee means buying miles at exactly the same cost (1.22 cents each).
Obviously cost per mile is less for eligible FCY spend on specialised bonus cards like 4 mpd options, but it’s really uncapped general FCY spend options we’re comparing to here.
What can you do with Maybank TREATS Points?
Maybank TREATS Points can be converted into the following frequent flyer programmes.
For most of our readers, the main pair of interest are KrisFlyer and Asia Miles. Transfers to KrisFlyer must be in 10,000-mile blocks, while those to Asia Miles are possible at more flexible 5,000-mile blocks.
Maybank charges a S$27.00 fee for each transfer from TREATS Points to airline miles, regardless of the number of transfer blocks, with the exception of transfers to AirAsia BIG Points, which are free.
If you also hold the Maybank World Mastercard, points transfers are free, and since Maybank pools your TREATS Points across all cards, this would also allow fee-free transfers for points earned on your Horizon Visa Signature.
Air Asia BIG Points are also very poor value in comparison.
TREATS Points expire after one year
A big downside of TREATS Points is that they are only valid for one year after the end of the quarterly period in which they are earned. Typically this gives you just over a year to redeem in most cases, with the expiry structure working as shown in the example below.
|Points Earned Between||Expire On|
|1 Jan – 31 Mar 2023||31 Mar 2024|
|1 Apr – 30 Jun 2023||30 Jun 2024|
|1 Jul – 30 Sep 2023||30 Sep 2024|
|1 Oct – 31 Dec 2023||31 Dec 2024|
There is an exception however, called ‘Rewards Infinite’.
If you charge at least S$24,000 to your Maybank Horizon Visa Signature card in the preceding year you will be eligible to join (or retain) Rewards Infinite status. Your TREATS points will then never expire, provided you continue to be eligible for and maintain Rewards Infinite under the same terms (i.e. S$24k+ per annum of spending).
If you earn then subsequently lose Rewards Infinite status your TREATS points will expire at the end of the calendar quarter following the lapsed membership, plus one year. The table below illustrates this.
|Lapsed RI Membership||Points Expire On|
|1 Jan – 31 Mar 2023||30 Jun 2024|
|1 Apr – 30 Jun 2023||30 Sep 2024|
|1 Jul – 30 Sep 2023||31 Dec 2024|
|1 Oct – 31 Dec 2023||31 Mar 2025|
Maybank Visa Infinite, World Mastercard and Catholic High Alumni Platinum Associates cardholders are automatically enrolled into the Rewards Infinite programme, so their pooled TREATS Points across all cards (including the Horizon Visa Signature) do not expire (thanks to Aaron for the heads-up!).
Remember once your points are transferred into KrisFlyer they will then have a further validity of 3 years from that month, while Asia miles never expire provided you earn or redeem at least 1 mile in the programme every 18 months.
KrisFlyer transfers should now be via the app only
Otherwise you end up with fewer miles, when using the online portal and the manual methods.
This doesn’t apply for transfers to other programmes, but do be careful not to use a method giving you fewer miles.
S$5 earning blocks are now in force
Another change we noted in November 2022 is that Maybank moved to the UOB-style S$5 earning block rounding for points accrual, which means no points or miles for smaller transactions of up to S$4.99.
For other small transactions, this also adversely affects the earn rate when you fall just below a S$5 spend threshold, and that’s not easy to predict when you’re spending in FCY, since the rounding is applied after conversion to SGD.
Maybank is repurposing its Horizon Visa Signature card as one of the best miles earning options for foreign currency spend – with an impressive uncapped 2.8 mpd on offer from 1st November 2023, for those hitting a total spend of S$800 or more in the same calendar month.
While that’s less than the Standard Chartered Visa Infinite offers (3 mpd), the latter requires a hefty S$2,000 minimum monthly spend to activate that rate and has a high annual fee, unlike the Horizon Signature’s effectively fee-free offering, with a baseline income requirement.
Sadly this change comes at the expense of a 3.2 mpd rate for dining, petrol, taxis and hotel bookings via Agoda, but many of these can net you 4 mpd with other credit cards in Singapore anyway, which always made the Horizon Visa Signature’s proposition quite limited for most.
In its place, an uncapped 1.2 mpd rate for most local retail transactions will be in force, but do be careful of the MCC list.
(Cover Photo: Shutterstock)