A few months ago, HSBC released new Terms & Conditions pertaining to its HSBC Revolution Card. 

Traditionally, it had clocked 5X Rewards Points (2 miles) for every dollar spent on a large category of items: Entertainment, Online, Education, Insurance, Utilities, etc. This spanned many categories, including Education and Insurance which were considered ‘sacred’ categories when most banks blacklisted it as a spending that would not accrue any miles. Moreover, the number of points you could rack up on the HSBC Revolution Card is uncapped, making it truly a versatile card. 

However, in June, the lucrative HSBC Revolution card suffered a blip in its usefulness when HSBC made Education and Insurance expenses to no longer be eligible to accrue miles. This made the HSBC card lose its attractiveness, since there were other cards that could earn 4 miles per dollar rather than its 2 miles per dollar for other categories.

What has Changed?

However, with effect from 1 August 2020, HSBC has massively upgraded the HSBC Revolution, allowing cardholders to accrue 4mpd on most online and contactless payments!

Here’s a breakdown on the Before & After as a result of this change.

Until 31 July From 1 August
Annual Fee
$160.50
NIL
Online Spending
2mpd
4mpd
Contactless Spending
2mpd
4mpd
Local Entertainment
2mpd
0.4mpd
Dining
2mpd
0.4mpd (physical card) 4mpd (contactless)

Scrapped are the annual fees (HSBC issuing free cards from now on..?) and the opportunity to earn uncapped 2mpd across a bumper variety of categories. Do note that insurance/education/utilities will still not accrue any miles.

In its place, opportunities to earn 4mpd are introduced, albeit capped at $1,000 a month. 

The 4mpd will be awarded in the form of 10X HSBC points, split into:

1X base points for every $1 of eligible transaction

9X bonus points for every $1 of eligible transaction

Bonus points will only be credited by the end of the following calendar month from the date of transaction. For example, spending in August will see your bonus points only credited in September. 

HSBC points can be converted at a 5:2 ratio to Singapore Airlines Krisflyer Miles or Cathay Pacific Asia Miles. Transfer fees stand at a $42.80 annual fee which covers unlimited transfers, and HSBC points have a validity of 36 months before they expire. The revised Terms and Conditions can be found here.

You can apply for the HSBC Revolution card here

One thing to note regarding accruing 4mpd for contactless spending is that only certain categories are eligible for 4mpd. This brings into play the ever increasing reliance on Merchant Category Codes (MCCs). To the uninformed, MCCs are how banks determine the nature of the business of different entities around the world. More importantly, in this context, it determines whether one will accrue the bonus points one deserves.

Thankfully, with the case of HSBC, they have kindly provided a list of codes eligible for 4mpd.

Simply said, any entity that does not tag to any of these codes, keep your HSBC Revolution card away!

A showdown with the UOB Preferred Platinum Visa?

The potential of earning 4mpd for contactless transactions makes the HSBC Revolution a direct competitor with the UOB Preferred Platinum Visa (PPV) . I have written about how the UOB PPV has become a staple in my wallet before, but with this development, I can see how the HSBC Revolution will slowly form a more significant part of my credit card strategy.

Firstly, HSBC awards points for every $1, whereas UOB only awards points in blocks of $5. This makes the HSBC much more versatile for small transactions.

Secondly, HSBC Revolution is able to earn points at SMART$ merchants, unlike UOB cards.

However, the cons of using the HSBC Revolution would mean that you will be at risk of orphan points, since HSBC does not pool points and UOB has many miles-earning cards which pools points as well. 

In addition, UOB allows a near blanket-list of contactless transactions to earn 4mpd, while HSBC only allows certain contactless transactions to earn 4mpd as directed by the MCC code.

Nevertheless, with the widespread acceptance of contactless payment options, the HSBC Revolution can play a very complementary role to the UOB PPV.

Get your Welcome Gift Today!

Till 31 August, new HSBC cardholders can elect to choose between a Samsonite Prestige 69cm luggage bag (worth S$670) or S$150 cashback when they spend a minimum of S$800 during the qualifying period. I’m hearing that this is not on a ‘first come first serve’ basis, so as long as you meet the conditions, you will be able to choose between the luggage and cashback.

This offer is only available for customers who do not currently hold a principal HSBC credit card, and have not done so in the past 12 months.  Existing HSBC cardholders applying will still be able to get $30 cashback. You can find out more on the terms and conditions here.

Conclusion

This change is undoubtedly a positive one and I’ll definitely be adding the HSBC Revolution to my list of cards. In fact, I will recommend the HSBC Revolution to fresh graduates now; it has an attractive welcome bonus, no annual fee, and superior earning rate for miles.

Don’t forget HSBC cardholders can get a complimentary membership at the Entertainer app too!

Will you be adding the HSBC Revolution to your wallet?


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