Credit Cards Lifestyle Mobile Wallets

It’s Over For GrabPay: AMEX Cards No Longer Earn Rewards

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If you’ve been in the credit card rewards scene for a while, you’re probably familiar with the concept of pairing AMEX cards with GrabPay.

This was a neat trick that you could take advantage of to maximise your rewards when using GrabPay.

For the uninformed, topping up of mobile wallets like the GrabPay wallet are typically excluded from earning credit card rewards.

But some AMEX credit cards were exceptions to this rule – the AMEX HighFlyer, AMEX True Cashback, and UOB Absolute cards.

These cards were able to earn rewards normally even for GrabPay wallet top-ups, though the UOB Absolute has revised its cashback rate from 1.7% to 0.3% since January.

This provided a few solid use cases for GrabPay.

For one, this allowed users to double-dip on rewards.

One could first earn miles/cashback for the GrabPay wallet top-up, and then earn GrabRewards points for the actual transaction made with the GrabPay card/wallet.

At one time, this allowed customers to yield a net rewards rate of up to 2.9% – a solid rewards rate given the lack of conditions to meet.

This also allowed users to earn rewards on more types of transactions, like instances where merchants don’t accept card payments but accept SGQR/GrabPay QR.

Or, when merchants don’t accept AMEX cards but accept MasterCard cards since the GrabPay card is a MasterCard.

These use cases were what made the GrabPay wallet and card worth using despite the multiple nerfs that Grab released.

What’s Changing?

However, as of 4 April 2023, this trick ceases to exist – AMEX has since included GrabPay top-ups as part of its reward exclusion list.

In other words, using your AMEX HighFlyer or True Cashback card to top up your GrabPay wallet will no longer earn you 1.8 miles per dollar (mpd) or 1.5% cashback.

This means that instead of a this-and-that rewards system, it is now a this-or-that system.

That is, choosing to use GrabPay now means forgoing any type of credit card reward, and vice versa.

What Does This Mean For Us?

Given how the Grab Rewards system has been nerfed to oblivion in recent months, it almost never makes sense to choose to use GrabPay over a credit card.

As it stands, the best rewards rate you can earn is 1.2% cashback in GrabRewards points, but only on Grab food / deliveries / PayLater / partner merchant transactions.

This is ridiculous seeing as how the most basic of credit cards can earn at least 1.5% cashback on just about any transaction.

You could technically get to a 1.5% cashback rate by using your UOB Absolute card in conjunction with GrabPay (0.3% + 1.2%), but that makes no sense.

The UOB Absolute’s normal cashback rate already stands at 1.7% – and is awarded fully in cash – so you’d rarely want to go the GrabPay wallet route.

Basically, what I’m trying to say is that whatever we used to use GrabPay for, we’re now probably better off using a credit card instead.

Is There Any More Use For GrabPay?

If we want to get technical and really think of possible uses for GrabPay now, there are – though none are strong enough for me to recommend anyone to use it.

Still An Avenue For Free Cashback

Even though the only card eligible to earn cashback on GrabPay top-ups now is the UOB Absolute card earning 0.3% cashback, it’s still free cashback.

If you’re intending to make a transaction that no other credit card would earn rewards for anyway, then 0.3% cashback might be the best you can get.

Note, however, that this should only be used if all else fails – that is, you’re unable to use the UOB Absolute card directly to earn 1.7% cashback.

Also, one of the most popular instances of such transactions is insurance payments, since many insurance providers don’t accept AMEX cards.

But, in full I-don’t-care-about-my-customers fashion, Grab recently blocked all insurance payments via the GrabPay card.

So if this was your intention, don’t bother.

Some transactions that are still in this category (for now) include government services or charity.

Withdraw Cashback From amaze Card

Personally, this is what I’ll still be using GrabPay for.

As you might already know, I use the amaze card paired with my Citi Rewards card to pay for my expenses whenever I travel overseas or have foreign currency payments.

This allows me to earn 4 mpd from my Citi Rewards card + 1% cashback in InstaPoints from my amaze card.

InstaPoints that are earned from the amaze card can be redeemed for cash – but this cash is stuck in your amaze wallet and cannot be withdrawn directly.

One workaround for this is to use the amaze card to top up your GrabPay wallet, making sure to choose “amaze wallet” as the source of funds before doing so.

Since the amaze card registers as a debit card, top-ups made with this card into GrabPay will be transferrable and can be withdrawn into your bank account.

To summarise,

GrabPay used to be an extremely useful financial tool for allowing users to earn miles and cashback for transactions that would otherwise not earn any rewards.

But with the AMEX HighFlyer and True Cashback cards no longer earning rewards for GrabPay top-ups, there seems to be little use for GrabPay moving forward.

While there might still be a reason to use it occasionally, I think it’s safe to say that it’s game over for GrabPay.

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