Financial News and Advice in Singapore

Metal Cards With The Best Perks In 2021

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Once upon a time, metal cards were the stuff of folklore and urban legend and, perhaps, rightly so.

After all, the first-ever metal card was the American Express Centurion Card, issued in 1999 and held by celebrities and ultra-high net worth individuals. To own one was a statement in itself, and a symbol of the holder’s status and wealth. 

Today, though, the metal card trend has diffused downwards. It’s not quite mass market territory, but a number of high-end credit cards have switched to metal cardstock, providing a way for affluent-but-not-quite-loaded individuals to get in on the action too.

The following metal cards are currently available in Singapore:

Metal Card Annual Income Requirement Annual Fee
Standard Chartered Bank X Card
$80,000 $695.50
Citibank Prestige
$120,000 $535
OCBC Voyage
$120,000 $488
UOB Visa Infinite Metal Card
$150,000 $642
AMEX Platinum Charge Card
$200,000 $1,712

*Other metal cards in Singapore include the UOB Lady’s Solitaire Metal Card, Citi ULTIMA, American Express Centurion, DBS Insignia and UOB Reserve. However, since these are invite-only offerings, we won’t cover them in this article. If you want to learn more about these cards, you could read this article

At the time of writing, the metal cards with the lowest income requirement and annual fee are the SCB X Card ($80,000 p.a) and OCBC VOYAGE ($488 a year) respectively. Do bear in mind that unlike regular plastic cards, it’s almost impossible to get an annual fee waiver on a metal card – the annual fee is part of the cost of entry. 

So there are more than a few options when it comes to metal cards. But how do they measure up in terms of features? 

Mile earning rates

Let’s first look at how many miles each of these cards earns for local and overseas spending. The numbers are quite tight here (except for the AMEX Platinum Charge, which clearly isn’t a miles-earning powerhouse), with local earn rates between 1.2-1.4 mpd, and overseas rates between 2.0-2.3 mpd. 

Metal Card Local Miles per Dollar Overseas Miles per Dollar
Standard Chartered Bank X Card 1.2 2.0
Citibank Prestige 1.3 2.0
OCBC Voyage 1.2 (1.3 from 1 June 2020)
(Premier & Private banking versions earn 1.6)
(2.2 from 1 June 2020) (Premier & Private Banking versions earn 2.3)
UOB Visa Infinite Metal Card 1.4 2.0
AMEX Platinum Charge Card 0.78
(1.56 until 20 July 2020)
(1.56 until 20 July 2020)

The OCBC VOYAGE card would be the winner if you managed to get the Premier or Private banking version (which earns 1.6 mpd on local spending and 2.3 mpd on overseas spending), but otherwise the UOB Visa Infinite Metal Card is a close second. 

Miles with annual fee

In addition to earning miles from your everyday spending, you could also receive miles from paying the annual fee on most of these cards.

Metal Card Annual Fee Miles Cents per Mile
Standard Chartered Bank X Card $695.50 30,000 2.32
Citibank Prestige $535 25,000 2.14
OCBC Voyage $488 15,000 3.25
UOB Visa Infinite Metal Card $642 25,000 2.57
AMEX Platinum Charge Card $1,712 None. Spend $20,000 in the first 3 months to get 46,875 bonus miles N.A

The Citi Prestige offers the lowest cost miles at about 2.14 cents per mile. This is followed by the SCB X Card at 2.32 cents per mile, and the UOB Visa Infinite Metal Card at 2.57 cents per mile. 

It’s worth mentioning that the AMEX Platinum Charge doesn’t actually offer miles with the payment of the annual fee. Instead, you’ll be able to earn 46,875 bonus miles when you spend $20,000 in the first 3 months of approval. 

Airport lounge access and limo benefits

Complimentary airport lounge access can be a great perk, especially when you’re flying economy or on a budget airline. Again, not all metal cards are made equal in this respect. Some offer extremely anemic benefits (like the SCB X Card with only 2 free visits), others offer access to multiple lounge networks, complete with guesting privileges.  

Metal Card Lounge Network Free Lounge Visits
Standard Chartered Bank X Card Priority Pass 2
Citibank Prestige Priority Pass Unlimited + 1 guest
OCBC Voyage Plaza Premium Unlimited
UOB Visa Infinite Metal Card Dragon Pass 4
AMEX Platinum Charge Card – Priority Pass
– AMEX Lounges
– Centurion Lounges
– Delta Sky Clubs
Unlimited + 1 or 2 guests, depending on lounge

The strongest card here is undoubtedly the AMEX Platinum Charge card. Cardholders get an unlimited visit Priority Pass card as well as access to American Express and Centurion airport lounges, and Delta Sky Clubs when flying on Delta Airlines. They can even bring in 1-2 guests, depending on the lounge, and supplementary cardholders (the first 2 supplementary cards are free) enjoy the same lounge benefits (only the first supplementary cardholder enjoys an unlimited visit Priority Pass). 

Complimentary airport transfers are another useful perk, although only two metal cards offer them at the moment – the Citi Prestige and OCBC VOYAGE.

Metal Card Free Limo Rides Spending Requirements
Standard Chartered Bank X Card 0 N.A
Citibank Prestige 2 per quarter $12,000 per quarter
OCBC Voyage 2 per month $3,000
($5,000 from 1 June 2020)
UOB Visa Infinite Metal Card 0 N.A
AMEX Platinum Charge Card 0 N.A

The OCBC VOYAGE has a much lower spending requirement than the Citi Prestige and allows for more trips over the course of the year. 

Dining benefits

Dining benefits can take the form of discounts on F&B or outright dining credit through vouchers. 

Metal Card Dining Benefits
Standard Chartered Bank X Card 50% off dining at The Fullerton Hotel Singapore and The Fullerton Bay Hotel Singapore
Citibank Prestige 1 for 1 4 Hands Kitchen special dining events
OCBC Voyage 15-20% off the bill at selected restaurants at Mandarin Oriental and Ritz Carlton Singapore
UOB Visa Infinite Metal Card – Gourmet Collection membership
– Up to 50% off dining at Grand Hyatt Singapore
AMEX Platinum Charge Card – $300 of dining vouchers
– Up to 50% off dining with Love Dining benefits
– 1 for 1 drinks with Chillax

The AMEX Platinum Charge is my pick here, as cardholders get $200 of St. Regis dining vouchers and a $100 Tower Club dining voucher (all with no minimum spend).

They can also enjoy up to 50% off dining at selected hotels and restaurants with Love Dining benefits. This includes A-list restaurants like 15 Stamford by Alvin Leung, SKAI Restaurant, Yan Ting and Wooloomooloo Steakhouse. To cap it off, they can get complimentary drinks under the Chillax program at The Secret Mermaid, Nutmeg & Clove, Horse’s Mouth Bar and other drinking holes. 

Other card benefits

All cards offer complimentary travel insurance (although the quantum and scope of coverage can differ significantly, so be sure to read the T&Cs!). But some go beyond that by offering unique perks. 

For example, the Citi Prestige gives you the 4th night free on hotel stays, which can potentially help to pay for the annual fee. The OCBC VOYAGE allows you to redeem VOYAGE miles for any cabin on any flight at a fixed cash value. The UOB Visa Infinite Metal Card gives Singtel subscribers complimentary data roaming plans.

Metal Card Other Benefits
Standard Chartered Bank X Card Complimentary travel insurance
Citibank Prestige – 4th night free on hotel stays
– GHA Black membership
– Complimentary travel insurance
OCBC Voyage – Tower Club access (for PPC and BOS versions)
– Redeem miles for any cabin on any flight
– Complimentary travel insurance
UOB Visa Infinite Metal Card – Complimentary data roaming plans for Singtel postpaid customers
– Complimentary travel insurance
AMEX Platinum Charge Card – $800 hotel and airline credit
– 2 nights Mandarin Oriental or Banyan Tree stay
– 1 night St Regis or W Singapore stay
– Hotel and/or rental car elite status
– 3 complimentary spa treatments
– AMEX Fine Hotels & Resorts program
– Tower Club access
– Exclusive AMEX events
– Complimentary travel insurance

But it’s hard to compete with the AMEX Platinum Charge card, which offers $800 of airline and hotel credits, a 2-night stay at selected Mandarin Oriental/Banyan Tree resorts worldwide, a 1-night stay at the St Regis/W Singapore, elite status with hotel chains like Hilton and Shangri-La, 3 complimentary spa treatments and much more.

To be sure, the $1,712 annual fee is the most expensive of all the metal cards here, almost 3X in some cases. But if you’re willing to shell out, you’ll find the benefits to be pretty substantial. 

If you choose to get a metal card, always remember the hefty annual fees that it comes with. This means it’s a good idea to do an analysis of the costs and benefits of owning one. A metal card is meant to make your pocket heavier, not lighter after all. 

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Read these next:
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From Travel Insurance to Flight Hygiene: 5 Questions About Post-COVID-19 Travel
Ultimate Guide To Digital Multi-Currency Accounts
Most Popular Credit Cards In Singapore 2021

By Aaron Wong
Aaron started The MileLion to help people travel better for less and impress “chiobu”. He was 50% successful.