I have an obsession with cashback and I spend an obscene amount of time studying spending habits and planning spends by the different credit cards to see how to get the most out of credit card benefits.
Last year, I got back about $700 in cashback from credit cards alone. This year, I set out to make an even more deliberate effort in maximizing cashback. So here’s the strategy this year.
10% cashback with CIMB Visa Signature on dining and online spend in foreign currencies
For the longest time, I believed that OCBC 365 was the best card for dining. I clearly didn’t do much research. After a couple months of testing, I was only seeing a 0.3% cashback because I couldn’t meet the minimum requirements for the 3% and 6% cashback for weekday and weekend dining respectively.
I swapped to CIMB Visa Signature in Dec because the benefits looked really good. Although it’s pretty annoying to keep track of both criteria of $500 minimum spending AND at least 8 30-dollar transactions, I find that it’s pretty achievable as my meals and purchases are usually between $30-50. I sometimes have to resort to breaking up into multiple payments for a single purchase to meet the 8 transactions criterion though, e.g for Taobao, instead of paying for my entire cart, I tend to make about 2 to 3 separate payments.
UOB ONE for 3.33 to 5% cashback
UOB ONE is my next favourite card. You must charge either at least $500, $1000 or $2000 consecutively for 3 months. Even though the cashback percentage is not super high, I like it because most spends qualify for the cashback.
I try to estimate what I will spend (minus the ones that I’m already reserving for the CIMB card) per month in each quarter (note: not calendar quarters! Depends on the month you started using your card) and see which amount to try for that 3 months.
If I break the ‘streak’, I’ll allocate the transactions among other cards such as DBS LiveFresh which offers 5% on online purchases and paywave transactions.
POSB Everyday card for higher interest rates in DBS multiplier account
I use this card to pay the monthly SP bills through the SP Utilities mobile app since DBS/POSB cards are the only cards they accept. Using the card will also qualify me for higher interest rates with my DBS multiplier account.
AMEX True Cashback card for everything else
This card offers 1.5% on all purchases and there’s no minimum spending. So it’s the next card I’ll look for if I maxed out CIMB Visa Signature and UOB ONE.
Other cards I keep at hand
OCBC 365 for group feasts
On the rare occasions where a single weekend meal goes over $600, I’ll swipe this card for a 6% cashback.
OCBC Cashflo for installments
This card offers just 0.5 to 1% cash rebate. It’s hardly a competition to any of the other cards mentioned in this post but I love this card because of the installment feature. Cashflo breaks up your purchase into installment payments instantly if it’s above $100! And the amazing thing is that there’s no interest fee or one-time processing fee! I’ve used it for larger buys such as sofa and concert tickets.
So that’s it – my plan for 2018. I will likely be tweaking the allocation after trying it out for a couple of months this year since I’m also on a lookout for a good miles card.
If you have better ideas or suggestions, please feel free to leave a comment!