If you’re looking for a highly rewarding credit card, then the HSBC Revolution Credit Card might be the card for you. The card rewards you for transactions you are most likely to do on an everyday basis, which means the rate at which you earn rewards could be higher than many other cards. Let us do a reality check to find out how good the card actually is.
|HSBC Advance Card|
|Principal card annual fees||S$160.50 (waived for 2 years)
Subsequent years waived with min. spend of $12,500 p.a.
|Supplementary card annual fee||Free for life|
|Minimum income||S$30,000 (Singaporean) / S$40,000 (foreigner)|
|Interest-free period||20 days|
|Interest rate on purchases||25.90% p.a.|
|Minimum monthly Payment||3% or S$50 (whichever is greater)|
|Cash advance fee||6% or S$15 (whichever is greater)|
|Interest on cash advances||28% p.a.|
|Foreign currency transaction fee||2.8%|
|Dynamic currency conversion||1% fee imposed by Visa or Mastercard|
|Stolen card liability||S$100|
|Late payment fee||S$55|
Features of the HSBC Revolution Card
The HSBC Revolution Card offers:
- 5X Points or 2 miles per S$1 spent online, and on local dining and entertainment payments.
- 1 or 0.4 miles per S$1 spent on all other transactions.
You don’t have to spend any minimum amount to get the points, and there is no ceiling on how many points you can earn monthly.
This means you can earn points whether you spend S$1 or S$10,000. But the only transactions that are well rewarded are online retail payments – whether it is an insurance premium payment, EZ-Link top-up, hotel booking or shopping – and social life such as dining out and café visits, club and pub visits, and movies or KTV trips. So if your primary transactions in a month are for groceries, offline retail shopping, or personal care products, you may not be able to make much out of the HSBC Revolution Card.
Also, if you are making EZ-Link, Transitlink or NETS Flashpay top-ups online using the card, there is a cap of 1,000 points per month – which means only the first S$200 spent on these top-ups is eligible to receive rewards points.
How do the reward points on the HSBC Revolution card translate into actual benefits?
Let’s assume your monthly spending looks like this:
|Spend category||Amount spent||Rewards earned||Miles earned|
|Online insurance premium||S$120||600||240|
If you like reward points, you can redeem these accumulated points for multiple discount vouchers such as:
- A Starbucks voucher worth S$10 (2,750 points)
- A Caltex petrol voucher worth S$10 (3,000 points)
- The Straits Wine Company voucher worth S$20 (4,400 points)
If you are a movie buff you could get a Golden Village Gold Class Movie Pass instead, worth S$39 by redeeming 10,500 points. You could also collect points for a couple of years and get something massive like a night of stay in an Ocean Suite or Beach Villa and access to ESPA at Resorts World Sentosa (300,000 points).
If you prefer to collect miles
You can redeem the points for Asia Miles or KrisFlyer Miles – which covers almost all major airlines flying in and out of Singapore.
The conversion rate is 4 points for 1 mile (2,000 Miles can be redeemed for blocks of 5,000 points each) and there is an annual fee of S$40 under the HSBC Mileage programme. So, on an average monthly spend of S$2,760, in a year’s time, you could accrue over 52,000 Miles. With these miles, you could fly to Japan and back once a year with Singapore Airlines (50,000 Miles) or with Qantas Airways (45,000 Miles) on Economy Class.
HSBC Revolution Card vs. other cards
We are going to look at cards that give you reward points for purchases in the dining, entertainment and online shopping categories, to see if the HSBC Revolution Card gives you a good deal or not. The cards we are comparing with are the Citi Rewards Card, DBS Woman’s MasterCard, and UOB Preferred Platinum Visa Card.
All these cards require a yearly income of at least S$30,000, hence they are on par with each other. Let us do a quick comparison:
|Benefits||DBS Woman’s MasterCard||UOB Preferred Platinum Visa Card||Citi Rewards Card||HSBC’s Revolution Card|
|Eligible Categories for Accelerated Points||Online Purchases||Online shopping and entertainment, and Visa payWave transactions||Department store purchases, and shopping (shoes, bags, clothes) at online and retail stores globally||Online transactions, local dining and entertainment|
|Rewards Earned on Eligible Categories||5 DBS points per S$5 spent||10 UNI$ per S$5 spent||10X Citi Dollars per S$1 spent||5 Rewards Points per S$1 spent|
|Miles Equivalent||2 miles per S$1||4 Miles per S$1||4 miles per S$1||2 miles per S$1|
Earn rates at a glance
To bring the comparison down to a common denominator, we’ll look at the miles equivalent on eligible purchases. Citi Rewards Card and UOB Preferred Platinum Card are the best, followed by the HSBC Revolution Card and DBS Woman’s Card.
Eligible categories and earn limits
DBS Woman Card’s 5X rewards on online spend is comparable with what the HSBC Revolution Card is offering, however, the bonus DBS points are capped at the first S$1,000 spent in the month.
UOB Preferred Platinum gives 10X UNI$ for online purchases made at websites that sell retail products, books, electronics, fast food, entertainment, music, and movie tickets, but not for online flight, hotel and transport bookings. The 10X UNI$ rate is also capped at the first S$1,000 eligible spends.
Citi Rewards Card gives 10 Citi Dollars only for shopping and department store purchases online and offline – but excludes hotel or flight bookings. The card also has a cap of 120,000 Citi Dollars or first S$12,000 per card anniversary on spends that earn 10x rewards.
HSBC Revolution Card gives 5x points for local dining and entertainment, and a wide range of online transactions such as tickets for flights/hotels/events/movies, online shopping, food & drinks, insurance premium payments, and recurring online payments such as GIRO and instalment payment plans. More importantly, you can keep earning 5x points for every dollar you spend in a month. No limit on the points you can earn!
The HSBC Revolution Card seems to be awarding extra points to more kinds of online transactions than the other cards. What could especially be beneficial is the 5X Rewards Points awarded to online insurance premium payments and transactions made under instalment payment plans, both of which are generally excluded by the other cards.
Expiry of points
In terms of expiry of points, HSBC comes out somewhere in the middle, with its Rewards Points remaining valid only for 3 years. Citi Rewards points are valid 5 years – the best range in this lot, UNI$ expire after 2 years, and DBS points on the Woman’s Card have just 1 year’s validity.
What we think
At the end of the day, the first rule of using a credit card smartly is to use the right card for the right purpose. Evaluate where your money is being spent on, and maximise your rewards with the right card.
For example, if you shop a lot in malls and online, then the clear winner is the Citi Rewards Card. However, if you live your life online and make all your purchases online, then take a look at the UOB Preferred Platinum Visa Card, followed by the HSBC Revolution Card and DBS Woman’s Card.
All in all, the Revolution Card is a winner for us. Why? Because its rewards extend to local dining and entertainment expenses, has no cap on the number of points you can earn, and has a decent validity period. Very useful for a working millennial!
Card Type: Rewards
Annual Fee: S$160.50 (2-year waiver)
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- 5X Rewards on online purchases including movies, hotel and taxi bookings, food orders, online shopping, and insurance premiums
- 5X Rewards on dining and entertainment
- No minimum spend