To some people, owning a particular credit card means having achieved a certain status in society, since certain credit cards require a minimum income that is out of reach of most individuals. To add to that, some elusive credit cards are only by invite and perhaps only the Crazy Rich Asians would be in that realm. One of the most distinguishing features of a high-end credit card would be the weight and feel of the card – a shiny metallic piece. Of course, the ones that require a minimum income of $500k p.a. like the American Express Centurion, DBS Insignia Visa Infinite and UOB Rerserve will not be the focus of this topic since this will be out of reach for most people. However, if you do want a piece of a metal in your wallet, it’s still not going be to be very easy since the lowest annual income required is $120k p.a.
- OCBC Voyage Visa Infinite
This card was first introduced in 2015 Mar, and there have been some tweaks to the programme in terms of Voyage miles usage and the earn rate along the way. There are 3 different versions of the card – the normal one in stainless steel ($120k min income), Premier Banking’ (for Premier Banking customers, $200k Assets Under Management (AUM)) & ‘Bank of Singapore’ (Bank of Singapore customers, $1 Million AUM). Being a Visa Infinite card, it confers a certain status, hence the entry level card will still command an annual income of $120k p.a.
The annual fee is $488+GST (comes with 15k Voyage miles), and first 2 supplementary cards are waived for the 1st year.
As mentioned in the recent review on Credit Cards for high income earners, its earn rate on local dining is rather decent at 1.6 mpd (although the UOB PP Amex gives 4 mpd (card already not available for application anymore), and 2.3 mpd on overseas spending, which is just a tad lower than Citi Prestige, which is 2.4 mpd. One of the special perks of this card is the chance for a 15min seated massage when you visit the Wellness Spa in HKIA, KLIA and Velana International airport in Male.
2. UOB Visa Infinite Metal Card
This card was recently launched in 2018 Jul with an income requirement of $150k p.a. Its annual fee is $642 a year, and the first supplementary card is free for the first year. It comes with “free” 25k bonus miles upon payment of the annual fee. Its earn rate is average at 1.4 mpd for local spend and 2 mpd for overseas spend (do note that the UOB PRVI cards give 2.4 mpd for overseas spend)
The nice part of having this card would be the dining perks attached to this card. It comes with an exclusive Gourmet Collection dining card, which gives you 25% discount in restaurants across the IHG chain. On top of that, it comes with complimentary access to the Tower Card and China Club, which are exclusive clubs for well heeled clientele, and also includes a 50% off dimsum at Ba Xian on Saturday. Last but not least, it comes with 50% off 2 diners at Pete’s Place, Oasis & StraitsKitchen at Grand Hyatt Singapore! Mezza9 has 30% off though for weekday lunch.
The DragonPass is forgettable with 4 free passes per year. As for the Singtel Ready Roam, you need to transfer your bill to this particular card and use the ReadyRoam per month to get a reimbursement ($12-$35 per month).
3. American Express Platinum Charge Card
The American Express Platinum card used to be by invitation only, and it was a hush-hush secret with regards to the minimum income requirement. Now, it’s openly advertised as a minimum income requirement of $200k p.a. On top of that, it comes with a very high annual fee of $1712 – the highest in the group above. This card does not yield very good mileage in terms of miles per dollar (0.694 mpd based on 2 membership reward points per $1.60 earned and 450 reward points=250 miles), but the beauty of this card lies in the thick stack of vouchers that comes with the card, as well as the numerous status upgrades with hotels and airline (SQ)!
a) Free hotel stays
There are 2 separate free hotel stays – 1 for a local staycation in St Regis or W hotel, and another 3D2N at overseas Banyan Tree/Mandarin Oriental hotels. There are restrictions like blackout dates and restrictions to the type of rooms that you can redeem for, but the value of these hotel stays will easily offset the cost of the annual fee itself. Think about the beautiful rooms in the original Mandarin Oriental in Hong Kong!
b) Free mid-tier memberships
If you love to stay in luxury hotels but do not have the opportunity to clock enough stays to earn a status with them, this is the easy way to get a preferred status at a few luxury chains – Gold at Marriott (which merged with Starwood recently), Gold at Hilton, Gold at Raddison and Jade at Shangri-La Golden Circle. Having a certain status is always better than being a nobody, and these additional perks may get you an upgrade to a better room or suite, on top of perks like early check-in, late check-out, complimentary breakfast etc
c) Credits and vouchers
The card comes with $400 travel and $400 lodging credit which can be used to defray the cost of your next travel, to be booked through the AMEX concierge. On top of that, there are various vouchers to be used in spas for free massages or dining vouchers in the participating restaurants.
d) 50% off dining for 2
Another great feature of this card is the 50% off dining for 2 at restaurants under the Feed At Raffles (FAR) or Love Dining groups. Use for party of 3 and you get a discount of 33.3%, 25% for a part of 4.
There will be a bonus 75k membership reward points (41250) miles when you spend $20k within the first 3 months, which is around 2.76 mpd, which is fairly good for local spending that do not belong to special categories like shopping or online transactions.
*If you sign up via the link above, you will receive 40k more membership rewards points!
Does it really matter if you have a metal credit card or a plastic one? Personally, I will prefer a credit card that has good earn rates and perks rather than the aesthetic value of a card. The OCBC Voyage Visa Infinite has definitely fallen out of favour given the stiff competition of the current market, and I will not pay the hefty annual fees for the miserable 15k Voyage miles. The UOB Visa Infinite Metal has rather good dining perks, which will be worth considering if you are into culinary pleasures. As for the AMEX platinum charge card, do consider it for the vouchers and memberships that they award.