How rewarding is your credit card?

Reward cards, loyalty bonuses, redemption points - Malaysians love to be rewarded for their spending. But with so many reward programmes how do you know you’ve chosen the right one? Read our review of the best Reward Points plans.

Rewards cards, loyalty programmes, redemption points; whatever you prefer to call it; Malaysians love to be rewarded for their spending. But with so many reward programmes out there we’re hard pressed to choose the right one for us. Before signing on a new credit card, ask yourself, how often will you be using your credit card and what kind of items you will generally be spending on? Once you’ve considered these two points then have a quick read through RinggitPlus’ checklist of features and find out which reward programme will give you the best value for your ringgit.

Rewards for life

Most programmes run for three years before they reset members’ points.

If you are an infrequent spender consider getting a credit card with reward points that never expire. There are banks in the market offering reward points with infinite lifespans; BSN Happy Reward, Maybank Treatpoints and Alliance Bank Timeless Bonus Points. Remember though to keep yourself updated on their Terms & Conditions in case the companies decide to alter their policies. Also check to see if they update their catalogues regularly. Citibank and Maybank are also known to have a wide selection of redemption items.

Big Points for Big Spenders

Most credit cards work on an RM1 = 1 point ratio and some double your points for overseas spending. But if you’re the kind of person with a big shopping budget or just love to accumulate points faster, then you could consider going for credit cards which offer as much as 5 points for each ringgit you spend. Here are some rewards points credit cards that offer more rewards for your ringgit:

Bank nameCredit card nameRinggit to points ratio (RM:points)Special overseas rates
CitibankCitibank Rewards Platinum Visa/Mastercard
1:5-
HSBC HSBC Visa Signature
1:51:10
MaybankMaybankard 2 Gold AMEX/Mastercard
1:5-

Please take note that some cards are tied to selected merchants in Malaysia and require you to shop at specific outlets to qualify for the 5x point rewards bonus. As in the case of HSBC, the 5x rewards points are awarded for shopping and dining with a minimum monthly spend of RM1500 (at selected merchants: details of which are available on the rewards homepage) and the 10x points rate only applies to expenses made on overseas hotel and dining bills with a minimum monthly spend of RM2000. Citibank also has a list of participating merchants in their Rewards FAQ page for each eligible category. Maybank's 2 cards however, remain relatively unrestricted, offering 5x points applicable to swipes anywhere in the world except government bodies, insurance providers and educational institutions.

Always check the Terms & Conditions of each product before applying. 

Specialty Cards

There are also cards out there that are tailored for specific needs. For instance Citibank’s Rewards Platinum Visa/Mastercard which allows cardholders to customise up to five different categories of spending which will earn them as much as five points per ringgit from selected merchants.

Maybanks’s Maybank Islamic PETRONAS Ikhwan Visa Gold Card-i is targeted towards cardholders who would like to make the most of their petrol consumption. This card has a 5x points rate for purchases made at Petronas service stations on weekdays and goes up to 8x on weekends. You will also receive 8x points on grocery spends during weekends.

For gadget geeks there’s the Maybank SonyCard Visa which not only offers 10x points on purchases made at participating Sony outlets but also additional perks such as extended warranties and low-interest instalment plans.

If most of your credit card charges are spent on groceries you might benefit more from cards that are affiliated with chained hypermarkets such as the AEON Gold Visa and MasterCard which offers two times rewards points for shopping done at their hypermarkets like AEON-Big, Jusco and MaxValue of the Tesco- RHB Credit Card that offers cashback for shopping at Tesco and bonus clubcard points with your Tesco Clubcard. To enjoy the extra clubcard points, you will have to register your clubcard with your RHB Tesco Credit Card account and swipe both during payment. AEON also has a credit card specifically for car owners, for example the Cruize Visa Gold which comes with benefits from AAM.

For the Globetrotters

Yes, rewards to mileage points are not something new but for those who prefer specific airlines or travel for a living why not get a separate card just for your travel expenses?

The AirAsia Citibank Platinum Visa credit card awards up to 3x AirAsia points for purchases above RM6000 with AirAsia. These can be used to redeem for AirAsia travel vouchers or for discounts on future purchases.

RHB’s Travel Money credit cards gives you the option of redeeming your accumulated points for either Enrich Miles (MAS) or KrisFlyer Miles (SIA). You can also redeem vouchers for flights with FireFly and AirAsia and earn 2x reward points for purchases on airline tickets, duty-free products and local cruises.

With the CIMB Enrich Gold Mastercard, you can earn Enrich miles as you go without the need for a conversion. The Maybank Visa Infinite also offers a good conversion rate from points to Enrich miles. 

Redeeming Your Rewards

Gone are the days when you had to send in hard copy forms and wait for 4-8 weeks for your redemption items. Although some companies still employ these methods, these days you can easily make redemptions online and even ‘cash-in’ your points to pay for purchases at participating outlets.

RHB, Maybank, UOB, CIMB, Hong Leong Bank, HSBC and MBF (BonusLink) all run programmes which allow members to make online orders, while some credit cards offer the perks of on-the-spot redemption where cardholders get to spend points for over-the-counter purchases with selected merchants. For instance AmBank cardholders can use their points to snack at Krispy Kreme and Starbucks. Citibank’s Instant Rewards programme is tied-in with a wide range of merchants including GAP, Sakae Sushi, SK Jewelry and Harvey Norman. Maybank also runs the RCUBED programme together with 1Utama Shopping Mall where you can use points to shop at a myriad of merchants in the mall.. Be sure to check out each bank’s individual website for all available offers.

If you’re having trouble researching which card suits you best why not have a go on RinggitPlus’s credit card comparison table.

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