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Monday, February 27, 2012

Standard Chartered Visa Infinite Credit Card

An article by GenX GenY GenZ: http://generationsxyz.blogspot.com 
Please do not reproduce/reprint this article in whole or part in any form. 

Update October 2013 - This article was published back in 2011 and since then SCB has revised many of the card features. You are hereby recommend to click here to my latest article titled FREE Entry to Airport Lounge with Credit Card for latest info regarding the SCB Visa Infinite.


INTRODUCTION

Prior to October 2011, I had always wanted the Standard Chartered Bank's Visa Infinite Credit Card. But I could not qualify for one because the card is only by invitation to StanChart Customers or for their Priority Banking Customers.

You may ask, what is so good about the Standard Chartered Bank's Visa Infinite? Well, to me it's the Ultimate Airport Lounge credit card because it allows the card holder unlimited access to airport lounges worldwide. YES, unlimited including KLIA and LCCT Plaza Premium Lounge. Click here to read my article on FREE entry to airport lounge with credit card.

In October 2011, SCB was having a 5% interest rate promotion to those who deposit their money in SCB's Savings Account in the month of October 2011. And the money deposited into the savings account in October will continue to earn 5% interest until 31st December 2011. Just so happened, I had some fixed deposit (click here to my FIXED DEPOSIT PAGE to see latest FD promotions by all major banks) maturing in October too. So, I transferred my funds to StanChart and opened a Priority Banking account which automatically qualifies me for the StanChart Visa Infinite :)

Finally, in November 2011, I owned the Ultimate Airport Lounge credit card and best of all, my Standard Chartered Visa Infinite 16 digit  numbers ended with the No.8 :) For those who are new to my blogs, I am into the number No.8. Click here to read more about the number No.8 at Ringgit Wise Fool. 

The SCB Visa Infinite card's surface is holographic which is really cool and unique as it changes color depending on the angle you view it and the direction of the light source. See for yourself below:


Standard Chartered Visa Infinite Welcome Kit

The square packaging that came with the card was unique too. It was like as if I was getting a turntable record. Inside the square envelope was a square folder with the same picture as the envelope. Once you open the folder, there are two compartments. In the right pocket of the folder is a welcome letter, a square booklet outlining the card benefits and a form for Priority Pass Membership. The pocket on the left holds an envelope with the Visa Infinite card inside. Why is the packaging theme squares? Anyway, here are the photos:







BENEFITS OF STAN CHART VISA INFINITE
An article by GenX GenY GenZ: http://generationsxyz.blogspot.com 

Like I mentioned earlier, the best thing and main feature of this card is that it comes with a Priority Pass Membership card that grants the cardholder UNLIMITED FREE entries to 600 airport lounges worldwide and that includes KLIA and LCCT Plaza Premium Lounge too. Please note that this benefit is for Principal card holder only and Supp cards do not enjoy this privilege.

The other benefits of the Standard Chartered Visa Infinite are:

1. Travel Privileges - You DO NOT need to charge your air ticket to the SCB Visa Infinite but you need to use the card once when abroad to enjoy the following: 
  • It comes with complimentary Travel Medical Insurance for up to RM50,000 for both the cardholder and spouse.
  • Up to RM100,000 in emergency medical evacuation or repatriation and dispatch of medicines.
  • Reimbursement of up to RM1,000 for purchase of essential items due to loss, damage or delayed luggage.
  • Buyer's Protection Plan up to RM10,000 (this you've got to charge to the Visa Infinite).
Wow! Above benefits are true privileges.

2. Complimentary Golf Green Fees at Kota Permai and Saujana plus another 9 other golf courses around the world. But valid until 31 December 2011 only.
  
3. For overseas spending, RM1 = 5 Choice Points.

4. Discounts of 10% for Cartier, Coach, Hermes (yes Hermes!) and other merchants at KLIA Flying Emporium. I must go check this out the next time I am at KLIA. 

5. There is a Toll Free Customer Service Line to call too. The number is behind the card :)

6. The  Relationship Manager (RM) assigned to me, told me that one had to spend about RM10K a year to get the annual fee waived for the following years. However, she said that if I failed to get SCB to waive the second year annual fee, she would take care of it.

7. Last year SCB was aggressively marketing their credit cards by awarding cash incentive to new sign ups. My RM informed me that I won't be getting any cash incentive for signing up for the card. Boy, was she wrong because RM120 was credited into my SCB VI Account when I checked online after I activated my card  :) Actually, my wife also opened a Priority Banking account and got her own Principal StanChart Visa infinite. So, basically I earned RM140 after deducting RM50 GST each.

8. For those who do not travel overseas often - "Shiok Sendiri" hahaha. For local spending, the card's benefits are nothing great.

The above basically cover the benefits of the StanChart Visa Infinite credit card. Well, the Free Medical Insurance is great but there is no mention of  Travel Insurance when you charge your air ticket with the SCB Visa Infinite!!!??? Better buy your tickets with another credit card.



CANCELLATION OF MY SCB VISA INFINITE

Like I mentioned earlier, the reason why I got the SCB Visa Infinite was because SCB was offering 5% interest rate until 31st December 2011 for my funds deposited with them. Come 1st January 2012, the interest rate reverted back to the normal savings rate which is pathetic. Therefore, my wife and I withdrew our funds on 3rd January 2012 from SCB and transferred it to OCBC Bank which was (still is, until end of March 2012) offering a promotion of 5% interest rate for 3 months FD tenure to new OCBC Premier Banking customers. In other words, my funds get to earn 5% interest rate from October 2011 to early April 2012 :)

However, I no longer had the minimum amount of AUM (Assets Under Management) required for Priority Banking. SCB imposes a fee on their Priority Banking customers when they do not satisfy the minimum AUM required. My RM was kind enough to inform me she can get it waived, subjected to the condition that my wife and I redeposit the required amount in due time. But I know we won't be depositing our funds with SCB in the near future, so I told her to just downgrade our accounts to normal status.

And since we no longer have Priority Banking Status with SCB, my RM told us to surrender our  StanChart Visa Infinite :( Below is a photo of my wife's and my SCB VI before we surrendered it back and terminating the PB accounts. My card ends with No.8 and my wife's No.9. If you click on the photo below and therefore enlarging it, you will note my card (with the No.8) states member since 2002. This is because I use to own a StanChart Platinum MasterCard but cancelled it years ago when they refused to waive my annual fee in full for a particular year.




RE-ISSUANCE OF NEW STANDARD CHARTERED VISA INFINITE TO MY WIFE
An article by GenX GenY GenZ: http://generationsxyz.blogspot.com 

Several days after I surrendered my card to the bank, their cancellation department called me to offer me a new card! The thing is, I hardly used the SCB card for the 3 months I had it, so I declined the offer for a new SCB Visa Infinite even though the card is cool and can change color. See, I am not that crazy, I don't need the SCB VI - The Ultimate Airport Lounge credit card anymore because I have tasted holding it, hahaha. Moreover, I have the Maybank Visa Infinite which earns me 2X and 5X Treats Points for local and overseas spending respectively and 5 FREE access to airport lounge worldwide. And coupled it with my Hong Leong Bank Visa Signature, I have a total of 8 FREE entries with my current Priority Pass Membership cards. Now, I am just searching for my next thrill.... (if you need an activity to past time, check out my no budget comics on credit cards by clicking here to Master Credit Card Swiper).

On the other hand, my wife who also surrendered her own SCB VI, accepted SCB's offer for a new Visa Infinite simply because she wanted their Priority Pass Membership (PPM) card which grants FREE UNLIMITED access to airport lounges worldwide. Her own Citibank PremierMiles Visa Signature only grants her two free entries per year with the PPM.

Now, my wife is a housewife and had clearly declared this when she opened her Savings/Priority Banking account with SCB, and therefore it should be in their system. She had withdrawn almost  all her money with SCB and maintained only a nominal amount in SCB Savings Account; but yet, SCB was willing to reissue her their Visa Infinite with credit limit enough to go buy herself a pair of genuine one carat diamond earrings or a few Louis Vuitton handbags!

Also, to add, when the cancellation department called to persuade us to retain our VIs, only then we found out that the annual fee is also automatically waived for the second year, i.e. annual fee will only start on the 3rd year.

Anyway, below is a photo of my wife's second Standard Chartered Visa Infinite, you can observe that the last number is no longer No.9.


Note: Above photo taken with my Sony Nex-3 DSLR without flash at 10pm under florescent light. The card looks blueish. Earlier photos posted were taken with the same camera during daylight, and you can observe that the color varies.


CONCLUSION

The Standard Chartered Bank Visa Infinite benefits are really good if you travel overseas. Besides the unlimited airport lounge access, the card holder also earns 5X Choice Points for overseas transactions and FREE  Travel Medical Insurance.

Too bad for me, I now no longer own the cool color changing holographic StanChart Visa Infinite :(

For local spending, the SCB Visa Infinite 1X point is really not competitive in terms of the "effective" returns you will get when taking into consideration of redemption of cash vouchers with points. As of August 2012, SCB has increased the points required to redeem for items. To see the calculations of  the "effective" returns you will earn with SCB Visa Infinite for local spending, please click on below link to my SCB Business credit cards article (just don't consider the 0.5% cash back with the SCB Biz credit cards) :


Click here to read my review of the Standard Chartered Bank Business credit card to learn more about its benefits and the "effective" cash back after taking into consideration of the choice points earned.






OTHER RELATED POSTS

Click here to check out FREE entry to KLIA and LCCT Plaza Premium Lounge with Credit Card and worldwide airport lounge with the Priority Pass Membership Card.  
Click here to read about the Maybank Visa Infinite where it earns you 5X Treats Points for overseas transaction and 5 Free entries to airport lounge with the Priority Pass Membership Card.

If you are into Premier Cards, click here to read my article UOB Privilege Banking Visa Infinite and RetirementThe new UOB Visa Infinite competes with Maybank and StanChart Visa Infinite where these Premier Credit Cards offer 5X reward points and Priority Pass Membership Card.

Click here to my article Visa Infinite - Alliance versus Maybank versus UOB. Is a freaking long winded article but for your easy reference I summarized the comparison in a table.






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