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Standard Chartered Bank launched the X Card – so what’s the verdict out there?

Miles collectors in Singapore have another reason to celebrate recently – the launch of the Standard Chartered Visa Infinite X Credit Card.

The X Card is here

Targeted at millenials, it comes with a very attractive sign-up bonus: 100,000 miles. Of course everyone got slightly excited. Who doesn’t want a (almost) free one-way business class ticket to the US?

Update (1 Aug 2019): Standard Chartered now puts out on their website that the 100,000 miles offer has been fully taken up, and now new applicants can only enjoy up to 60,000 miles.

Because I’m so late in doing this review, here’s what every other travel/airline/miles writer have said about the card so far:

Milelion:

A 100,000 miles sign up bonus is something few of us thought we’d ever see in Singapore, and for those with upcoming big ticket spending, it’s an absolute no-brainer.

I’m sure there’ll be much more to say about the X Card in the days and weeks to come, but in the meantime, be sure to get approved before 31 August if you want to snag the 100,000 miles sign up bonus.

Milelion

Mainly Miles:

Earn a 100,000-mile sign-up bonus when you pay the annual fee and spend S$6k in the first two months with the new SCVI X Card. Then cancel it.

Andrew, Mainly Miles

The Shutterwhale:

Spending S$6,000 to unlock 100,000 miles gives you 16.7 miles per dollar which is incredible and unheard of in this part of the world! … Unlike most Visa Infinite credit cards in Singapore, the income requirement for this card (for Singaporeans) is S$80,000 this is significantly lower than the S$120,000 average that most credit cards officially require.

Mark, The Shutterwhale

tl;dr – this is a card you probably want to sign up for if you have a chunky expense in the next two months, and then stuff it in the drawer.

The basics

The X Card is a departure from many of the Visa Infinite cards on the market as it is targeted at millennials (read: not much income), and possibly the only Visa Infinite card that requires only S$80,000 annual income. Another plus point about the card is that you can opt for a cash back option instead of miles, but don’t be silly!

An overview of the card:

  • Income requirement: S$80,000 p.a. (or $30,000 p.a. for Priority Banking customers)
  • Annual fee: S$695.50 for principal cardmembers, S$107 for supplementary cards
  • Annual fee gift: 30,000 miles (in the form of 75,000 reward points)
  • Earn rates: 1.2 mile per dollar spent (mpd) locally; 2.0 mpd overseas
  • Foreign currency transaction fee: 3.5%

Unfortunately, the card has a non-waivable annual fee of $695.50. While this is pretty hefty, you get a cool 30,000 miles, effectively translating to a cost of 2.31 cents per mile. It’s not clear whether you get any miles, or the same number of miles, for paying the annual fee in subsequent years.

The 100,000 miles gift

This is probably the highest bonus ever being marketed.

Strictly speaking… the bonus is actually 70,000 miles (edit 1 Aug: 30,000 miles for applications after 31 July) and not 100,000 miles, given that you will get the 30,000 miles sign-up bonus in any case as long as you pay the annual fee.

To qualify for the 30,000 + 70,000 30,000 miles promotion, you must:

  • Apply and receive approval for the X Card between 23 July & 31 August 2019
  • Activate your X Card within 30 days of approval, and keep your X Card for 6 months after account opening
  • Make sure the card is in good standing at all times (pay your bills!)
  • Pay the S$695.50 annual fee
  • Spend S$6,000 on eligible spend in the first 60 days (no later than 31 Oct 2019)

The first 30,000 miles will be credited as rewards points within 30 days after your card activation, while the next 70,000 miles will be credited by 30 November 2019 if you hit the $6,000 spend.

The good news is, the remaining miles is on top of the base earn rates. So assuming you spend all $6,000 locally, that will mean an additional 7,200 miles on top of the bonuses. Yay!

So what makes a qualify spend towards the $6,000?

As with most cards there are excluded categories of spend, all of which will not count towards the S$6,000 spending requirement.

The main ones are below, but do refer to the full list in the T&Cs

  • Insurance premiums
  • Bill payments (e.g telecomms, utilities providers)
  • AXS & SAM payments
  • Government agency payments (e.g. income tax payments, fine payments)
  • Prepaid account top-ups (including Grab, Dash, YouTrip, etc)
  • Payment portals (e.g. ipaymy, RentHero, etc)

Transfer partners

I’m not a SCB cardholder, but if you do a quick search online it seems like they used to only offer Singapore Airlines Krisflyer and Cathay Pacific Asia Miles as transfer partners.

However, with the X Card it seemed like they are introducing a whole load of other partners, including Qantas, Lufthansa, Emirates and EVA Air, as well as hotel partners Accor and IHG.

This makes the programme a lot more lucrative, although Mainly Miles has done the hard work and found out that the transfer ratios differ from programme to programme. You might want to hop over there for the details.

The other card perks

Now let’s get to the boring stuff – the other perks that the X Card offers, which is… practically nothing:

  • 2 x Priority Pass visits per membership year (principal cardholders only)
  • Dining discounts at the Fullerton Hotel and Fullerton Bay Hotel
  • Exclusive Hotel & Resort Rewards at The St. Regis, Shangri-La Hotels & Resorts and Mandarin Oriental
  • Golf Privileges in Asia Pacific

That’s all. It’s painful for a $700-per-year card, given that my Citi Prestige Mastercard costs $200 less and gives me unlimited Priority Pass lounge access and 25,000 miles. On a cost-per-mile basis that will be cheaper than the X card.

Citi Prestige Mastercard

Of course, this being a Visa Infinite card, it comes with a suite of privileges that Visa offers including the Visa Infinite Concierge service, complimentary hotel nights, and more. Check out the full offering here.

Final thoughts

The headliner for the card – the 100,000 miles sign-up – is probably all the good news this card has to offer. For the annual fee, the perks are really mediocre – you get much better offerings from some of the mid-income level cards out there.

If you have $6,695.50 lying around to burn over the next two months, by all means go and take advantage of this card and get the 100,000 miles. After all, that can power either a one-way business class ticket to US or Europe, a 2.5 return business class trips to Bali.

However, beyond that, cut up the card after you are done. With 1.2 mpd for local spend and 2 mpd for foreign spend, you have plenty of options that will give you more, especially if you are trying to accrue Krisflyer miles.

The only reason why you will want to concentrate your spend on this card is if and only if you want to earn miles on some of the other less common frequent flyer programmes, including Lufthansa’s Miles & More, Qantas Frequent Flyer or Emirates Skywards.

If you need the full terms & conditions, click here.

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