Apparently, Standard Chartered took a leaf out of Singtel’s and Starhub’s marketing playbook with its latest credit card for miles.
It has little to no reference to the parent bank and they even bought a separate URL (x-card.com.sg) for it. How cute.
During its launch, StanChart tried to drum up the hype by creating a waitlist and dangled a big fat 100,000 miles carrot for sign-ups, while keeping the credit card mechanics under wraps.
Now, the X Card is now officially open to the public so we finally have some real details on it. Unfortunately, that big fat bonus has since been reduced.
Here’s what you should know about it — you decide if it lives up to the hype.
1. The X Card is dangling a 30,000 miles sign-up promotion (no more 100,000/60,000 miles)
When it was first launched, the main selling point of the Standard Chartered X Card was a 100,000 miles sign-up promo (hence the title of this post).
Of course, the 100,000 miles promotion has ended by now.
StanChart dangled a 60,000 bonus for a short period after it ended, but now the welcome bonus has reduced to 30,000 miles.
However, if you have $300k of fresh funds to place with Standard Chartered and you qualify for Priority Banking, you get an additional 100,000 miles. That’s a crazy number of promotional miles! (Promo ends 31 March 2020)
But if you don’t have $300,000 in cold hard cash lying around — well, most of us don’t — then check out other welcome bonuses for Krisflyer miles for 2020.
Citi PremierMiles offers up to 40,000 miles as long as you hit the minimum spend of $9,000 in the first 3 months and pay the annual fee.
- Local Spend
- S$1 = Up to 1.2 Miles
- All Foreign Currency Spend including Retail and Online
- S$1 = 2 Miles
- Selected Online Hotel and Flight bookings
- S$1 = Up to 10 Miles
The next best sign-up promo for a miles card is 38,000 miles — that’s the DBS Altitude miles card. You get 38,000 miles for spending $6,000 within the first 3 months, but that’s only if you’ve never owned a DBS credit card.
Finally, the Amex KrisFlyer Ascend card offers 32,000 miles with a minimum spend of $10,000 and non-waiveable annual fee of $337.
- Local Spend
- S$1 = 1.2 Miles
- Overseas Spend
- S$1 = 2 Miles
- Grab rides
- S$1 = 3.2 Miles
2. You don’t need to spend anything to get the 30,000 miles
During the pre-launch waitlist period for Standard Chartered X Card, there was a lot of discussion on forums on what it takes to get the 100,000 miles with the X Card. I expected a hefty minimum spending requirement of at least $6,000 to $10,000 within the first 2 or 3 months, which is the “market rate” for such sign-up offers.
Turns out that StanChart’s requirements were on the low end after all. It took just $6,000 of spending to get the bonus miles.
After the bonus mile reward reduced to 30,000 miles, even better. You only need to sign up, get approved and pay the annual fee to earn 30,000 miles.
But… the important question is: How much is Standard Chartered X Card’s annual fee?
3. There’s a $695.50 annual fee and it’s non-waiveable
Another condition that you have to meet to get hold of your miles is to pay the annual fee of the X Card. From the T&Cs:
“The X Cardholder will be charged with an annual fee of S$695.50 (including GST) and the supplementary X Cardholder will be charged with an annual fee of S$107 (including GST) in the first year and every subsequent year. This annual fee is strictly not waivable in the first year and every subsequent year, for as long as the principal X Card and supplementary X Card is active.”
It’s definitely high enough to seriously give anyone pause, no matter how attractive the miles promotion is.
If you want to justify paying the annual fee as the price of those bonus miles, it works out to about 2.3 cents per mile.
Whether or not that’s worth it depends on your personal valuation of a mile. Among the miles community, the value of a KrisFlyer mile is generally thought to hover around the 1.9 cent mark, but opinions differ greatly.
Now if we were talking about 100,000 miles, that would be 0.7 cent per mile, which probably makes it an unquestionable good deal, but that promotion is long gone.
4. The minimum income requirement is $80,000
According to the official T&Cs, the X Card is technically known as the “Standard Chartered Visa Infinite X Card”. That “Visa Infinite” is a big honking clue that this definitely isn’t an entry level credit card.
Sure enough, the X Card’s annual income requirement is $80,000 for Singapore citizens and PRs ($60,000 for foreigners on E Pass).
This is actually on the low end for a Visa Infinite card. There are only a handful of VI cards in Singapore, and they’re all aimed at the upper echelons of society.
|Credit card||Min. income||Annual fee|
|OCBC Voyage Card||$120,000||$488|
|HSBC Visa Infinite Card||$120,000||$650|
|Standard Chartered Visa Infinite Card||$150,000||$588.50|
|UOB Visa Infinite Metal Card||$150,000||$642|
I don’t know how strictly StanChart will enforce it, though. If you’re earning, say, $50,000 a year and above, you can certainly try your luck.
5. Welcome miles aside, the X Card isn’t all that exciting
I was really hoping that the X Card would be a solid everyday spending miles card along the lines of the UOB KrisFlyer Credit Card, but it isn’t.
Apart from the exciting 100,000 miles promotion, the X Card is a pretty lacklustre credit card. It’s just your generic miles card, really, with an average earn rate of $1 = 1.2 miles locally and $1 = 2 miles overseas. That’s the same basic earn rate as the entry-level DBS Altitude and Citi PremierMiles cards.
With the Standard Chartered X Card, there isn’t even any way to accelerate your miles accrual, e.g. by making travel bookings on partner sites or taking Grab rides, which almost every other miles card has.
The X Card lets you earn miles in the form of rewards points, which means that, if you so desire, you can opt to redeem cashback or travel credits instead of air miles. But that’s not much to shout about — earning miles via rewards points is standard for most banks’ miles cards.
There are a couple of other travel benefits, most notably 2 x Priority Pass airport lounge visits a year, but, again, almost every miles card offers something along those lines.
Though not exactly the best card around for everyday use, I have no doubt that tons of people will be signing up for the X Card just to get hold of the 100,000 miles.
Would you sign up for the X Card? Tell us your thoughts in the comments.
Header image: Screengrab from www.x-card.com.sg