I earned back at least 6% of what I spend every month for FREE by setting up this strategic flow beforehand. I like a set it and forget method without needing to fret about optimizing my method each time. Using these few steps allowed me to earn back money from most of my spending places and in most scenario. All it takes is just my phone, a few e-wallets and my FAVORITE credit card. Here’s the setup for it.
1. AMEX – Base Pillar of Earn Money Strategy
The Maybank 2 Card Gold/Platinum AMEX remained my favorite credit card to use in Malaysia. It’s the first card I got once I entered the workforce and has been continuing to use it over the years.
The main reason for this is because the Maybank American Express credit card offers 5% cashback on weekends (cashback capped to RM50 monthly) and 5x treatpoints (TP) for every ringgit of purchase. Right now, 50000 treatpoints = RM100 if through on the spot redemption. So, I’m assuming that through TP, I’m getting another 1% return on top of my spending. So, that’s 6% cashback if I spend on a weekend.
I can stretch the TP longer for more ROI if I spend them on redeeming air miles, and that’s what you should do if you like to travel long distance (but it’s not worth it to redeem AirAsia Big Points). Hence, my spending habit previously tends to favor weekends.
The CONs of just using this AMEX card is that the 5% cashback is only available on weekends, and there’s a cap of RM50 cashback monthly (spending up to RM1000), or 1% everyday through TP. Furthermore, not many merchants in Malaysia accept AMEX card.
2. Boost – Supercharge Cash Back Strategy
The key component to maximize cash back and cover shortfall of just using AMEX. Boost is the main e-wallet that I preferred to use together with AMEX. It’s an e-wallet where I have to top up with money first before I can use the app to pay for things.
The key idea here is that if I top up Boost on a weekend, Maybank recognized this top up as a weekend spending and give 5% cash back. What’s stopping me from topping up Boost with RM1000 on a weekend and get RM50 cash back, and then slowly spend the money on a weekday, and also at places where the merchants don’t accept AMEX but accept Boost. And with more places accepting Boost, ideally the range should increase in the future.
With this, I can spend money on a weekday and assumed that I got 6% return minimum (5% cash back and 1% TP). Furthermore, Boost has it’s own cash back mechanism where you can shake to earn money or do mission. So, the potential return is much higher.
The combination of AMEX and Boost constitutes most of my habitual expenses.
Further strategies with Boost
There’s further theoretical method to earn with Boost and AMEX but I won’t touch on them. I’ll give a few hints on it.
- RM1000 is the limit to get 5% cashback on AMEX card, but it’s not your credit limit.
- Mayback AMEX offered 5x treatpoints for unlimited spending.
- Boost daily transaction limit is RM1500.
- Boost allowed cash out money from wallet to account but charge 2% fee up to RM2. Total monthly cash out is RM4500.
3. Grabpay – Where Boost and AMEX Don’t Cover
I have Grabpay as well, because I used Grab on top of public transport as my mode of transportation. Grabpay made it easier to handle payment. On top of it, Grabpay accept AMEX, so I can top up on the weekend if I’m expecting to hail a car.
I found Grabpay offered better reward than Boost. I can earn more if I spend with Grabpay rather than Boost, but Grabpay doesn’t allow cash out back to account. So, the top up money will remain in the wallet and I don’t like that.
4. BigPay – For everything else, there’s Mastercard. And freaking great exchange rate!
I used BigPay, which is actually a prepaid card by AirAsia. This card will often sit in my wallet untouched unless the merchant doesn’t accept AMEX, Boost or Grabpay. That’s when I will pay with BigPay. It acts as a regular prepaid Mastercard.
It doesn’t accept AMEX to top up, so I can’t get the 5% cash back but I can use the other card from Maybank 2 Card to top this BigPay. Spending through this will earn me AirAsia BIG Points (not great) – 1 BIG Point for every RM20, and some TP through the Maybank top up. I’m not expecting great cashback from this.
I will use this when I want to buy AirAsia ticket because
- RM0.00 payment processing fees.
- Discounts on pre-booked check-in luggage and in-flight meals.
These 2 reasons are enough to justify it.
Also, if I want to pay in foreign currency or go overseas to travel, I will use this card because it follows the mid-market rate without the hefty bank margins in between. That in itself is a good saving.
5. Fave – Deals, deals and Where to Throw AirAsia BIG Points
Let’s be real. I won’t use AirAsia BIG points to redeem for AirAsia flight tickets. AirAsia offered so much promo that often, it’s better to purchase the ticket outright. Where does my points go to? To Fave, of course.
Fave is a combination of deals and Favepay, where you can earn rewards by paying through it. And usually, the partner merchant will take 10% of your current spending and offered it as credit for your next spending at the same place. I often go to same F&B and pay through Favepay and got a lot of return. Do you know that you can put Boost as your source of funding for Favepay?
Here’s my expected savings. (AMEX: 5% cash back + 1% TP => Boost: Shake reward => Favepay: 10% merchant credit + 0.27% BIG) =. I don’t know about you but I earn back a free meal rather quickly.
Do you know that you can earn 1 BIG point with each RM3 Favepay transaction. By linking your AirAsia loyalty program to Fave, you will earn the points each time you transact. And I can convert this BIG point back to Fave credit at a rate of 125 BIG Points = RM1. Yeah, it’s not a lot. That’s why I calculated it at 0.27% return but that’s also free money you wouldn’t get otherwise.
tldr – Summarized Flow Chart
Here’s my payment selection sorted by preference, with a bit of programming lingo. This was build under the selection that I only owned the Maybank 2 Card Gold or Platinum, which I still think is the best entry level credit card in Malaysia.