Banking

The Krisflyer UOB Account promises so much, but can it deliver?

High headline miles per dollar rate, but what's the catch?

I’ve talked about how we could use more innovation in terms of miles earning opportunities in Singapore. To that end, we’ve recently seen banks start to offer customers new ways of earning miles, like Standard Chartered’s miles earning time deposit.

Now UOB has launched an interesting product of its own- UOB’s new Krisflyer UOB Account was launched today, and allows you to earn miles on your savings account (I’m assuming in lieu of interest. It’s not actually specified).

Details are scarce at the moment, but from what I gather your savings don’t earn you miles per se. You have to (1) put money in an account and (2) spend money on the debit card that comes with your account to earn miles.

Here’s the breakdown of how you’ll earn miles on your debit card, depending on your overall account balance


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  • S$3,000- S$100,000: 1.4 mpd
  • S$100,000- S$350,000: 3.4 mpd
  • >$350,000: 5.4 mpd

On the surface, this seems great for students and those without a fixed income who want to earn miles. Students just need a minimum of S$3K in their account and they can earn 1.4 mpd for spend on their debit card, which matches the best general spending cards on the market now.

However, there is a catch- you need to spend a minimum of S$500 per month to earn any miles at all. I don’t know about you, but when I was a student I didn’t approach that level.

Besides, we don’t know yet if there are any caps involved or what the fine print reads. Will the 5.4 mpd only be on certain categories of spending (an “up to” type of marketing puffery)? Even if there were no caps, 5.4 mpd may sound great, but are you really willing to tie up $350K in a (potentially) 0 interest earning account just to earn it?  Surely you’d be better off investing that $350K across a low to moderate risk portfolio generating 4-5% returns per annum?

I like sgdividend’s take on HWZ

Even their wealth premium account ( wealth banking) need 350k above then 0.35% pa.

I think u can bet the interest is at MOST 0.35% p a …

Basically exchanging interest for krisflyer miles at 1.4mpd, which could actually have easily been gotten by using other cc for 4milespd ( 1.4 + 4 = 5.4). And debit fraud you eat. CC fraud your liability is 100 bucks.

Quite smart of UOB. They eradicated totally their risk of fraud, tranferring the risk to you , airmiles are dirt cheap for them and yet earn fees for transactions Master/visa/amex , earn more from redemption of points to krisflyer miles and also expiry of orphan miles.

I’ll wait to see the full details before taking a call on this, but let’s remember 5.4 mpd will only sound unbelievably attractive to people who are not aware of specialized spending cards with 4 mpd earning opportunities (and believe me, there are a lot of them). If you’re already maximising your 4 mpd opportunities, there’s no compelling reason to open one of these accounts and tie up $350K.

Perhaps I’m wrong and UOB will count higher interest earning investments towards the $350K balance (and in that sense the UOB Krisflyer account becomes more like a program unto itself), but let’s see what the T&C say before deciding.

Whatever the case, it’s clear UOB expects this to be big- the Business Times is reporting they expect the UOB Krisflyer accounts to bring in S$1.5B of deposits. They’re targeting 200,000 accounts in the next 5 years, which implies an average deposit size of S$7.5K.

I’ll update you as more details become available.

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31 Comments on "The Krisflyer UOB Account promises so much, but can it deliver?"

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Base miles are 0.4mpd. The bonus miles are in tier of 1, 3 and 5mpd according to your deposit amount. Bonus miles capped at 5% of deposit amount. That’s all I know for now. Doesn’t seem extremely impressive.
For an account with ~$100k, u will max out the bonus with approx $1670 in spend.

If bonus miles are capped at 5% of deposit, shouldn’t an account with ~$100k in deposits max out the bonus with $5k in spend?

I think an interesting point to note is whether the miles cap is a monthly one or an annual one based on the average annual account balance.

Woah thats horrendous… bonus miles capped at 5%. Did not see that anywhere, where did you get that? Even taking people’s 2c per mile valuation, and an interpretation that the 5% cap applies to the spend amount (and not the miles which is even worse): $10,000 x 5% = $500 cap (using a $10k balance as an example) $500 x 1.4mpd = 700 miles cap 700 miles = $14 (at 2c per mile) I assume there is no interest on this account (or the negligible 0.1% stuff which I disregard), and so the “interest” in miles on a $10k deposit… Read more »

I am lacking in knowledge. Only know of two credit cards which have 4mpd. One is woman’s card (capped at $2000) and the other is UOB PPV (capped at $1000 with millions of exclusions. Ha).

May I know what other credit cards offer 4mpd ?

HSBC Advance, online spent. Requires opening Advance account, but I’d rather do my root canal without anesthesia then deal with HSBC.

DBS Altitude Amex for first three month after opening account with overseas transactions, but take into consideration of 3.5% FCT fee.

Couple of other cards with specialized categories – Citi PremierMiles, OCBC – have not tried them.

Citi rewards and OCBC titanium for shopping

UOB Visa Signature. Min $1k max $2k per statement period for foreign spend.

UOB PP Amex (might be dead). Dining.

UOB PP Amex is 100% dead. I have already pestered multiple CSO’s about it 🙁

Any alternative to the UOB PP Amex for dining ?

This account is curious. The potential is quite interesting, but I suspect UOB with their track record will hobble this into something useless. Without the published details, some items I want to find out are: – Is this debit card MC or Visa? – Exclusions on mile earning spend – Mile earn caps – Is this direct convert to miles or UNI$, so have to pay the stupid $25 By the way, noticed that some news outlets just reworded SQ’s press release on this item, even including website links which SQ gave but are dead. Don’t journalist in Singapore bother… Read more »

Think I would only be interested in using this to pay “obligatory” bills (such as loans, etc that normally do not earn you points/miles) via AXS e-station if it is a MC debit card, and earn the 1.4 mpd (Better than nothing i guess). Otherwise, better off using 4 MPD CCs and invest/deposit your cash somewhere else to grow your retirement egg…

pretty sure those transactions will be excluded in what will be a long list of exclusions.

I am dead scared to carry a debit card with 100k to 350k in it.

thats a great point. in DBS, you can set up a multiplier account and transfer most funds there. not sure if UOB has a similar feature.

Not sure if anyone is aware, there seem to be some benefits for account/card holders for Scoot/Tiger.

http://www.flyscoot.com/en/plan-your-trip/krisflyer/krisflyer-uob

Aaron..im famous just because of you!

Anyway, its disastrous! No interest and they are targetting millenials earning up to $30000 per annnum. Most likely they will have only 1.4 mpd spent then….

Its a fake promotion..no seriously.. a fake promotion…sad

I got excited when I heard about this product launch yesterday, but now that the terms and conditions are released it’s a pretty big dud. I agree firstly that carrying a debit card with $350k balance can be a pretty ugly situation if you lose a wallet or fall victim to fraud! However, for someone miles focused, the 5% miles cap really makes this worthless to tie up so much cash in an account that pays zero interest. The UOB website example shows someone with a $350k balance with monthly debit card expense of $2,500 (so the illustration stays below… Read more »

You could have 2 bank accounts to make this work. DBS Multipler for example only gives you the higher interest rates for the first $50k of deposits. So if you have more sitting in such an account move it over to this UOB account (ideally at least 100k) and use the debit card for general spend (instead of getting the 1.2/1.4 mpd on general things with Citi PremierMiles/DBS Altitude/UOB PRVI miles) and get 3.4 mpd. This of course is assuming you are sitting with an additional 100k and do not currently have an investment opportunity.

If you had an excess 100k open a CIMB Fastsaver account for 1% (Max 50k) per annum no hoops to jump through.
And depending on your inclination to jump through hoops either the UOB One account with One card or OCBC 360 account.
Otherwise CIMB Starsaver gets you 0.8% per annum, also no hoops.

Hi Aaron, I like your analysis on this matter – clear, concise and logical. As someone who’s been a gatekeeper for the new product approval process in a bank, I must say that the UOB folks dropped the ball on this – they may have de-risked the product and made it a deposit generator to boost their LDR but they absolutely did not do right by their customers – the way the product is structured is so unclear that it could be construed as misselling. Just to point out that the HWZ quote is a little inaccurate though – debit… Read more »
well here is a take. Just a little contribution to thank you for all your efforts to write up articles that will help people. The product is not bad. Before i get stoned! It just serves a different market from what they say and from most readers of this blog. It looks to be a great private banking product to the private banking clients (many of who just keep cash. millions just sitting there earning very low rates because it just feels safe. believe it or not), to the kids of rich clients(part of their trust money?), to many successful… Read more »

Oh yes, retirees too. so hard for them to get credit cards.

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