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5 Frivolous Things To Blow Your Year End Bonus On (& The Best Credit Cards To Use)

year end bonus 2018

Eugenia Liew

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I bet you that when most Singaporeans cheer about Christmas, not all are actually enthusiastic about the birth of Jesus or the spirit of gift-giving. They’re actually celebrating their year end bonus; because even though it’s true that not everyone is a civil servant who can expect 3 times their usual salary this month, even the 1 month annual wage supplement (13-month salary) feels pretty shiok.

So what do we do when we come into such a sudden “windfall”? We spend every last cent lah, abuden.

And with that, I present to you the ultimate shopping list of frivolous stuff to splurge on (because we have all worked 365 days too hard in 2018).

 

5 frivolous things to spend your year end bonus on (& the best credit cards to use)

Best card for cash back  Best card for air miles  Best card for rewards 
Nintendo Switch $499 CIMB Visa Signature ($49.90 cash back)  OCBC Titanium Rewards card (1,996 miles)   OCBC Titanium Rewards card (4,990 OCBC$)
Omega Speedmaster Moonwatch $6,850 American Express True Cashback card ($177.75 cash back)  OCBC Titanium Rewards card (27,400 miles)  OCBC Titanium Rewards card (68,500 OCBC$) 
iMac Pro $7,188 American Express True Cashback card ($182.82 cash back)  OCBC Titanium Rewards card (28,752 miles)  OCBC Titanium Rewards card (71,880 OCBC$) 
Chanel Classic Flap $7,990   American Express True Cashback card ($194.85 cash back) OCBC Titanium Rewards card (31,960 miles) OCBC Titanium Rewards card (79,900 OCBC$) 
Samsung 88” 4K Curved TV $26,999 American Express True Cashback card ($479.99 cash back) BOC Elite Miles card (53,998 miles)  OCBC Titanium Rewards card (120,000 OCBC$) 

There are 2 main credit cards that are great for these purchases – one earns cash back, the other earns reward points and air miles.

American Express True Cashback Card

The Amex True Cashback card is an unlimited cash back card. Because it does not have an expenditure cap, it’s great for big ticket purchases that will bust cash back caps of other cards (typically above $1,000). With this card, you earn 3% cash back for the first $5,000 spend (in 3 months), and 1.5% for everything else thereafter.

American Express True Cashback Card

American Express True Cashback Card


Card Benefits

    • Apply through MoneySmart from 22 Mar - 19 Apr 2018 to get S$100 worth of Grab OR NTUC Vouchers. Application must be approved by 3 May 2018. Submit your (i)Contact Details and (ii)14-digit Reference Number on the Thank You Page upon completion at this link before 19 April 2018. T&Cs
    • 1.5% Cashback on any purchase you make, anytime
    • 3% Cashback for the first 6 months up to $5000 spend
    • Enjoy first year fee waiver
    • Eligible for use with Apple Pay

    If your purchase is under $500 and can be purchased online, consider the CIMB Visa Signature card. It recently got an upgrade, and it now offers 10% cash back for online spend (capped at $50).

    OCBC Titanium Rewards Card

    For reward junkies, there’s the OCBC Titanium Rewards card that earns you 10X rewards on selected categories, including fashion and electronics, which most of these expensive purchases fall under.

    OCBC Titanium Rewards Card

    OCBC Titanium Rewards Card


    Card Benefits

    • 10x OCBC$ (10 points or 4 Miles) for every S$1 spent on clothes, shoes, bags, department stores, kidswear, electronic gadgets, online, offline, locally and overseas
    • 2% Cash Rebate when you spend at BEST Denki, on top of the existing 10 OCBC$ (worth 4 Miles) OCBC Titanium Rewards Cardmembers earn on a usual basis.
    • Valid till 31 Jan 2019

    If you’re not into cash back or reward points, then you’re probably a miles chaser. Miles cards typically have low standard earn rates (usually about $1 = 1.2 to 1.4 miles), and are thus more suitable for those who chock up miles by spending overseas or within bonus categories (e.g. selected merchants).

    So for general local spend, it is much more worth it to use a rewards card to earn miles. The OCBC Titanium Rewards card is great for this purpose – the accrual rate is $1 = 4 miles.

    Now, let’s get down to the “gift guide”. (What? Give yourself also counted what.)

     

    1. Nintendo Switch (price: $449.10 after 10% cash back)

    The Nintendo Switch was released in 2017, but the console is back in the spotlight because Nintendo recently launched Pokemon Let’s Go Pikachu and Let’s Go Eevee, which are remakes of the OG Pokemon Yellow. This is the cheapest “splurge item” on this list, mostly because it’s targeted at the late-80s to 90s kids who grew up with the franchise (and I don’t see this group being able to afford anything else on this list).

    Nintendo Switch price $499
    Best cash rebate $49.90 (10% cash back with CIMB Visa Signature)
    Maximum miles to be earned   1,996 miles ($1 = 4 miles with OCBC Titanium Rewards card)  
    Maximum rewards points 4,990 OCBC$ (10X rewards with OCBC Titanium Rewards)

    Because the Nintendo Switch is relatively cheap, the best cash back card to use is the CIMB Visa Signature. Taking away the $49.90 rebate, you’d only have paid $449.10.

    year end bonus nintendo switch

    However, to earn the 10% cash back, you’ll have to buy the modern gameboy online. Also, the 10% rebate is capped at $50 – which is $500 spend – so you’ll only be left with a dollar before you hit the cap. The minimum spend for this card is $600, so don’t forget to swipe another $100 or all your effort will be for naught.

    As with most items on this list, if you’re looking to earn miles, use the OCBC Titanium Rewards card. You’ll earn 1,996 miles, which is way better than if you used a miles card. The BOC Elite Miles Card is currently one of the best in the market ($1 = 2 miles for local spend), and this is double that.

     

    2. Omega Speedmaster Moonwatch (price: $6,850 + earn 27,400 miles)

    I’m a typical Sephora-shopping, designer handbag-carrying girl, and I have absolutely zero interest in watches. But a friend recently told me about his dream watch – the Omega Speedmaster Moonwatch – and after hearing its epic story, even I think it’s pretty cool. The $6,850 piece of metal is literally out of this world.

    Omega Speedmaster Moonwatch price $6,850
    Best cash rebate $177.75 (3% + 1.5% with American Express True Cashback card)
    Maximum miles to be earned   27,400 miles ($1 = 4 miles with OCBC Titanium Rewards card)  
    Maximum rewards points 68,500 OCBC$ (10X rewards with OCBC Titanium Rewards)

    Most cashback cards you consider for everyday use have cash back caps of about $100 and under, which makes them basically useless for such an expensive buy. If you want to maximise your cash rebates for this, go for an unlimited cash back card.

    year end bonus omega speedmaster

    The Maybank FC Barcelona Visa Signature card currently offers the highest cashback of 1.6% on all local spend, but because the American Express True Cashback card gives you a promotional 3% on the first $5,000 spend (and 1.5% thereafter), it ends up being the better card. With that, you save $177.75 (as opposed to $109.60).

    With the OCBC Titanium Rewards card, you can earn 68,500 OCBC$ or 27,400 miles.

     

    3. iMac Pro (price $7,188 + earn 28,752 miles)

    If you’re into the whole Apple aesthetic, your year end bonus will help you afford an iMac Pro to match your iPhone XS. Although a genuinely powerful machine, the iMac totally qualifies as a frivolous “want” because it’s overpriced, and most people only dream of it for its chio-ness.

    iMac Pro price $7,188
    Best cash rebate $182.82 (3% + 1.5% with American Express True Cashback card)
    Maximum miles to be earned   28,752 miles ($1 = 4 miles with OCBC Titanium Rewards card)  
    Maximum rewards points 71,880 OCBC$ (10X rewards with OCBC Titanium Rewards)

    As we all know, Apple stuff rarely go on discount, so the only way to shave a couple bucks off the price is to use a cashback card. With the American Express True Cashback card, you’ll save $182.82, which is about 2.5%.

    Some people buy their Apple electronics from Changi Airport to score duty-free prices – that’s a solid 7% off already – but by right you’re supposed to declare it and pay tax for anything over $600.

    year end bonus imac pro

    If you swipe with the OCBC Titanium Rewards card instead, you’ll earn 71,880 OCBC$ (10X rewards) or 28,752 miles ($1 = 4 miles). If you don’t have the card and intend to apply for it just to make a big ticket purchase, then you have not much to worry about.

    But if you already own this card, take note of the expenditure cap: the 10X rewards is capped at $12,000 a year, so make sure you have enough “limit” to earn the points/miles for your purchase.

     

    4. Chanel Classic Flap (price: $7,990 + 31,960 miles)

    We’ve gone through the guy’s dream watch, the techie’s dream computer, and now, let’s get to every girl’s dream bag – the Chanel Classic Flap. With Chanel’s signature leather quilting and CC clasp, this bag is the forever it-bag that may even help you “grow” your year end bonus. More on that below.

    Chanel Classic Flap price $7,990
    Best cash rebate $194.85 (3% + 1.5% with American Express True Cashback card)
    Maximum miles to be earned   31,960 miles ($1 = 4 miles with OCBC Titanium Rewards card)  
    Maximum rewards points 79,900 OCBC$ (10X rewards with OCBC Titanium Rewards)

    So what’s this nonsense about multiplying your fat pay check? If you’ve read our article on getting luxury bags as an investment, you’d know that this quilted carry debuted in 1955 and its price has only appreciated since. It costs 25X more than it did in ’55, and has increased by 70% in the last 8 years.

    year end bonus chanel classic flap

    The cheapest way to score these babies is by purchasing them in Europe, tax-free. But if you don’t have a travel plans and think it’ll be pretty neat to waltz into a local Chanel boutique, then use the American Express True Cashback card to get $194.85 cash back.

    Because this is still under $12,000, for rewards and miles you should still use the OCBC Titanium Rewards card (79,900 OCBC$ / 31,960 miles).

     

    5. Samsung 88″ 4K Curved Smart TV (price $26,999 + earn 53,998 miles)

    Okay so I don’t know anyone who needs a 88-inch super ultra high-definition TV, but if you’ve always been dreaming of one and your year end bonus can cover it… why not? Just be prepared to host movie and game nights for the rest of your life. (Can invite me also?)

    Samsung 88” 4K Curved TV  price   $26,999
    Best cash rebate $479.99 (3% + 1.5% with American Express True Cashback card)
    Maximum miles to be earned   53,998 miles ($1 = 2 miles with BOC Elite Miles card)  
    Maximum rewards points 120,000 OCBC$ (10X rewards with OCBC Titanium Rewards)

    The Samsung 88″ 4K curved smart TV costs a whopping $26,999, which is insane – at least for me. And according to some formula I Googled about screen sizes and viewing distance, if you get an 88-inch TV, you need 88 to 132 inches of space between that and your couch. So this is really a purchase for those who live in mansions (i.e. rolling in cash).

    year end bonus samsung tv

    Because it’s so incredibly expensive, even with the 1.5% to 3% cash rebate of the American Express Cashback card you actually earn $479.99 off. That’s like, the price of the cheapest item on this list…

    For rewards, the OCBC Titanium is still the best choice. Although you earn the maximum 120,000 points (assuming it’s a new card), that’s already the best in the market.

    However, this fancy TV costs way above $12,000, so it doesn’t make sense to use the OCBC Titanium Rewards card for air miles because then, it’d be capped at 48,000 miles. In this case, you should use the BOC Elite Miles Card ($1 = 2 miles until 31 Dec 2018) to get 53,998 miles. That’s enough for return tickets to Japan and South Korea via SQ (Economy Saver)!

    How are you planning to spend your year end bonus 2018? Share it with us in the comments below! 

     

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    Why the Best Air Miles Credit Card May Not Be an Air Miles Credit Card

    In-article images credits: Nintendo, Omega, Apple, Chanel and Harvey Norman.

     

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    Eugenia Liew

    I’m a 90s millennial who’s starting to realise that #adulting is more expensive than it seems on Instagram. When I’m not writing for MoneySmart, I’m usually playing with drain-dwelling stray cats or shopping at Sephora.