Apparently, Standard Chartered is taking a leaf out of Singtel’s and Starhub’s marketing playbook with its latest credit card for miles.
Similar to how the telcos recently pushed out GOMO and giga as faux-distinct brands, StanChart is about to launch a new card, very dramatically called the X Card, with little to no reference to the parent bank. Look, they’ve even bought a separate URL (x-card.com.sg) for it. How cute.
It looks like Standard Chartered is also trying to drum up the hype by creating a waitlist and dangling 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. Here’s what we know — you decide if it lives up to the hype.
1. The X Card is dangling a 60,000 miles sign-up promotion (no more 100,000 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, but StanChart is still dangling a 60,000 miles bonus instead. Which is still pretty good.
As a comparison, the current best sign-up promo for a miles card is only 39,000 miles — that’s the Amex KrisFlyer Ascend card, with a minimum spend of $10,000 and non-waiveable annual fee of $337.
The runner-up is 38,000 miles for spending $6,000 with the DBS Altitude miles card, but that’s only if you’ve never owned a DBS credit card.
2. You need to spend $6,000 to get the 100,000 miles
During the pre-launch waitlist period, 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 are on the low end after all. It takes just $6,000 of spending to get the bonus miles.
From the X Card T&Cs, emphasis mine:
“To qualify for the X Card Sign Up Gift Promotion, the Eligible X Cardholder must, charge a minimum of S$6,000 to his/her X Card on eligible retail transaction(s) within the first 60 days from the card approval date of his/her X card (each such transaction fulfilling this Clause 50 shall be referred to as a “X Card Sign Up Gift Qualifying Transaction”).
Note that “eligible retail transactions” excludes all the usual tricks like insurance premiums, bill payments, income tax, payments to the government, and any the mobile wallet / stored value / prepaid card top-ups you can think of. So forget about buying $6,000 in GrabPay credits.
But if you’re planning a blowout holiday? That’s fair game.
3. There’s a $695.50 annual fee and it’s non-waivable
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 100,000 miles promotion is.
If you want to justify paying the annual fee as the price of those bonus miles, it works out to about 0.7 cent per mile. (This doesn’t factor in the “opportunity cost” of charging $6,000 to this card instead of a cashback credit card.)
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.
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
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