Fortunately, this card passes the first test: it’s not abjectly awful on first glance. But it’d be a sad day when that’s good enough to land a spot in your wallet, so let’s dive in and scrutinize the details.
|💳 tl;dr: ★★★|
|The KrisFlyer UOB Credit Card doesn’t excel in any particular category, but then again it probably wasn’t made to. It’s a jack-of-all-trades that’s well-suited to those who want to use one card for everything. All others will find better options elsewhere.|
|The good||The bad|
|This KrisFlyer UOB Credit Card review forms part of my collection of credit card reviews. I’m constantly adding new ones, and you can browse the entire collection here.|
Overview: KrisFlyer UOB Credit Card
Let’s start this review by looking at the key features of the KrisFlyer UOB Credit Card
|Income Req.||S$30,000 p.a||Points Validity||3 years|
(First Year Free)
|FCY Fee||3.25%||Transfer Fee||N/A|
|Local Earn||1.2 mpd||Points Pool?||N/A|
|FCY Earn||1.2 mpd||Lounge Access?||No|
|Special Earn||3 mpd on SIA group, dining, food delivery, online shopping & travel, transport||Airport Limo?||No
|Cardholder Terms and Conditions|
Be careful not to confuse this with the KrisFlyer UOB Debit Card (shown on the right below). The two may sport similar designs, but have very different value propositions altogether.
|Credit Card||Debit Card|
|Min Income Req.||S$30,000||N/A|
|Base Earn Rate||1.2 mpd||0.4 mpd|
|Requires KrisFlyer UOB Savings account?||No||Yes|
How much must I earn to qualify for a KrisFlyer UOB Credit Card?
The KrisFlyer UOB Credit Card is an entry-level offering, with an income requirement of just S$30,000 per year.
If you don’t meet the income requirement, you can place a S$10,000 fixed deposit with UOB and get a secured version of the card. Visit any UOB branch for further information.
Alternatively, you can opt for the KrisFlyer UOB Debit Card instead (please don’t).
How much is the KrisFlyer UOB Credit Card’s annual fee?
|Principal Card||Supp. Card|
|First Year||Free||1st card fee, S$96.30 for 2nd onwards|
|Subsequent||S$192.60||1st card fee, S$96.30 for 2nd onwards|
The KrisFlyer UOB Credit Card has an annual fee of S$192.60 for the principal cardholder, which is waived for the first year. The first supplementary card carries no fee, but the second onwards will cost S$96.30 each.
Paying the principal card’s annual fee nets you 10,000 miles in return, which means buying miles at ~1.93 cents each. Depending on how much you value a mile, the card could potentially pay for itself.
What sign-up bonus or gifts are available?
UOB’s sign-up bonuses are legendary, but for all the wrong reasons.
Here’s a typical sign-up offer:
The first 300 new-to-bank cardholders who spend S$6,000 in the first 90 days after approval will get 10,000 miles
How do you know you’re still in the first 300? You don’t. You spend S$6,000 and pray that 10,000 miles will show up a few months later. It’s an all-or-nothing proposition, and you’re basically gambling.
For a while, it looked hopeful that the KrisFlyer UOB Credit Card would avoid such pitfalls. Back in October 2019, it ran a promo where all new-to-bank customers received 10,000 miles when spending S$6,000 within 90 days.
Sadly, UOB reverted to type shortly after. The most recent sign-up offers have been capped, and if you don’t fancy rolling the dice, these aren’t for you.
Here’s the current sign-up offer:
|🎁 Current Sign-Up Bonuses/Gifts
3,000 miles with first transaction of min S$5- no cap (T&C)
7,000 bonus miles with min S$1,500 spend within first 30 days of approval. Limited to first 200 customers from 1-30 Sep 2020 (T&C)
3,000 miles with first transaction of min S$5- no cap (T&C)
|Promotion ends 30 September 2020|
How many miles do I earn?
|🇸🇬 SGD Spending||🌎 FCY Spending||➕ Bonus Spending|
|1.2 mpd||1.2 mpd||3 mpd on SIA Group, dining, food delivery, online shopping & travel, transport|
KrisFlyer UOB Credit Card members earn 6 KrisFlyer miles for every S$5 spent in Singapore Dollars or foreign currency (FCY), i.e. 1.2 mpd for both.
This is the only general spending card I know that doesn’t offer a bonus for FCY spending. and that puts it at the bottom of the pack. Not all is lost though- as we’ll see in a bit, there are a good number of bonus categories.
|Local MPD||FCY MPD|
|UOB PRVI Miles||1.4||2.4|
|AMEX KrisFlyer Credit Card||1.1||2.0*
|BOC Elite Miles||1.0||2.0|
|KrisFlyer UOB Credit Card||1.2||1.2|
|*June and Dec only, otherwise 1.1 mpd|
When dealing with UOB cards, you need to be extra careful of SMART$ merchants. SMART$ is UOB’s card-wide cashback program, offering instant rebates at selected places. What’s wrong with instant rebates, you say? Well, you don’t earn any KrisFlyer Miles at SMART$ merchants.
|Entertainment||Petrol||Shopping & Wellness|
In other words, if you spent S$50 at Cold Storage, you wouldn’t earn 60 miles- you’d earn a pathetic 0.3% rebate, or 15 cents.
|👍 Do note that SMART$ aren’t issued for online transactions- so you can use your KrisFlyer UOB Credit Card for online shopping at Cold Storage’s website if you so please.|
All overseas transactions on the KrisFlyer UOB Credit Card are subject to a 3.25% fee. This means that using your KrisFlyer UOB Credit Card overseas represents buying miles at 2.7 cents each, which is completely not worth it.
KrisFlyer UOB Credit Card members will earn 15 KrisFlyer miles for every S$5 spent (3 mpd) on the Singapore Airlines Group (SIA Group), with no cap.
The SIA Group consists of:
- Singapore Airlines
The 3 mpd rate applies regardless of whether the transactions are done online or offline, in Singapore dollars or otherwise. So long as the merchant is part of the SIA Group, you’ll earn 3 mpd.
Provided they spend at least S$500 on SIA Group transactions in a membership year, KrisFlyer UOB Credit Card members will also earn 15 KrisFlyer miles for every S$5 spent (3 mpd) on dining, food delivery, online shopping, online travel and transport transactions. There is no cap for this either.
|⚠️ Spending at least S$500 in 12 months on SIA Group transactions wouldn’t be too difficult during normal times, but with Covid-19, well…|
As far as general spending cards go, that’s a very wide range of bonus categories. Here’s a summary of how each category is defined:
|Category||MCCs/ Transaction Description|
|Dining||5812, 5813, 5814|
|Food delivery||4121, Deliveroo, Delivery Hero, FoodPanda, Honestbee|
|Online shopping*||4816, 5306, 5309, 5310, 5311, 5331, 5399, 5611, 5621, 5631,
5641, 5651, 5661, 5691, 5699, 5732-5735, 5912, 5942, 5944-
5949, 5964-5970, 5992, 5999
|Online Travel||Agoda, Airbnb, Booking.com, Expedia, Hotels.com, Kaligo, Traveloka, Trip.com, UOB Travel|
|*From 1 July 2020, any online payment made to Computer Software Stores (5734) , Direct Marketing Merchants (5964 – 5969), Artist Supply Stores, Craft Shops (5970) and Florists (5992) will be excluded from earning bonus miles|
Dining & Food Delivery
|5812: Eating places and restaurants||Crystal Jade, Imperial Treasure, Paradise Inn|
|5813: Bars, Cocktail Lounges, Discotheques, Nightclubs and Taverns–Drinking Places (Alcoholic Beverages)||Brewerkz, Harry’s, Jigger & Pony|
|5814: Fast Food Restaurants||Burger King, KFC, McDonald’s, Subway,|
|Food Delivery||Deliveroo, Delivery Hero, FoodPanda, GrabFood, Honestbee|
Although dining and food delivery should cover most eating places you can think of, do take note that 5462 (Bakeries) and 5499 (Misc. Food Stores) are not included. 5499 in particular is used by merchants like Boost Juice Bar, Crave, Chalk Farm, Famous Amos, and Grain, among others.
Some restaurants within hotels may also not code under this MCC range.
|4816: Computer Network/ Info Services||Godaddy, Twitch, Peatix|
|5309: Duty Free Stores||DFS, KrisShop, The Shilla|
|5310: Discount Stores||N/A|
|5311: Department Stores||Taobao, Isetan, Marks & Spencer|
|5331: Variety Stores||Muji, Mustafa, Miniso|
|5399: Misc General Merchandise||Iuiga, Japan Home, Comgateway|
|5611: Men’s Clothing||Benjamin Barker, Dockers, Superdry|
|5621: Women’s Ready to Wear||bYSI, Coast, Forever21|
|5631: Women’s Accessories||Bimba Y Lola, Chomel, Coach|
|5641: Children’s and Infants’ Wear||Abercrombie Kids, Cotton On Kids, Kidstyle|
|5651: Family Clothing||ASOS, Bossini, Desigual|
|5661: Shoe Stores||ALDO, Bata, Birkenstock|
|5691: Men’s and Women’s Clothing||Prada, G2000, Ezbuy|
|5699: Accessory and Apparel||LeSportsac, Crumpler, Esprit|
|5732-5735: Electronics, Music Stores, Computer Software||Apple, Audio House, MealPal|
|5912: Drug Stores and Pharmacies||Guardian, NTUC Unity, Watsons|
|5942: Book Stores||Book Depository, Kinokuniya, Books Actually|
|5944-5949: Jewelry, Watches, Toys, Camera, Gift Cards, Leather Goods, Sewing||Cartier, Action City, Canon|
|5964-5970: Direct Marketing Merchants||AliExpress, Youtube Premium, Google Drive|
|5992: Florists||Xpressflower, The Flower Factory, Bloomback|
|5999: Misc and Specialty retail||Banana Republic, Amazon, eBay|
Online shopping will cover almost every major e-commerce merchant out there- Amazon, Ezbuy, Lazada, Qoo10, Shopee, and Taobao for instance.
You can also expect most major fashion retailers to be on this list (the real issue is whether they offer online shopping, because only online transactions will earn the bonus), along with some unexpected ones like MealPal and hosting providers.
|Online Travel||Agoda, Airbnb, Booking.com, Expedia, Hotels.com, Kaligo, Traveloka, Trip.com, UOB Travel|
While online shopping is broadly defined, online travel is relatively narrow.
UOB lists a specific group of OTAs which are eligible for 3 mpd, and I suppose given the cobrand affiliation, there’s no way they’d let you earn bonus miles with any airline outside the SIA Group.
In any case there are always workarounds- if you want to book air tickets with other airlines, simply book through Expedia or UOB Travel.
|4121||BUS/MRT, Grab, Gojek|
Transport transactions refer to those made under MCC 4121- this covers Grab, Gojek, Comfort and other taxi operators. You’ll also earn 3 mpd on SimplyGo transactions made on buses and the MRT.
Do note that you won’t earn any bonus miles (or base miles for that matter) if you use your card to top-up your EZ-Link balance, or pay at the General Ticketing Machines. You must tap your card (or phone, if you’ve added your card to your mobile wallet) at the gantry in order to qualify for the bonus.
From 20 April to 31 July 2020, KrisFlyer UOB Credit Card members can register to earn 3 mpd on the following transactions:
- Grocery & Supermarket
- Health & Beauty
- Electronics, Appliances & Furniture
This is subject to a total minimum spend of S$4,000 (this can be on anything, not necessarily the three categories above). The bonus miles will be credited by 30 November 2020, and is capped at S$2,000 of eligible transactions.
You can find the full T&C of this promotion here.
When are KrisFlyer miles credited?
Base miles, and bonus miles from SIA Group transactions will be directly credited to your KrisFlyer account at the end of each calendar month.
It’s a very different story for the bonus miles from dining, food delivery, online shopping, online travel and transport transactions. Of the 15 KrisFlyer miles per S$5 spent:
- 6 KrisFlyer miles per S$5 (1.2 mpd) will be credited at the end of each calendar month
- 9 KrisFlyer miles per S$5 (1.8 mpd) will be credited two months after the end of the membership year, assuming you hit the S$500 minimum spend on SIA Group
UOB calls the 1.8 mpd portion, with no small sense of irony, “Accelerated Miles”, and it’s one heck of a catch- it means you could be waiting up to 14 months to receive your bonus!
This delayed crediting arrangement gives rise to four problems. I’ve expounded on them in this post, but to summarize:
- You’re locked into the card, because all pending bonus miles are forfeited if you cancel.
- Reconciling bonus points will be a nightmare. It’s already hard enough to check transactions on a month to month basis. Imagine doing it for an entire year’s worth.
- Because your pending bonus miles take anywhere from 2-14 months to reach you, you’re especially exposed to devaluation risk. If Singapore Airlines announces an award chart devaluation, other cardholders can rush out to burn their miles before it happens. You can’t, because they’re in limbo.
- Your miles will age at different rates. Some will be credited each month and start their 3-year expiry countdown immediately, the rest will follow in 2-14 months
UOB will argue that this is necessary because there’s no way of knowing, at the point of transaction, whether the cardholder will go on to hit the S$500 minimum spend required for the bonus, but there surely has to be a better way of doing this. As it is, the current mechanism holds you hostage- cancel your card early, and lose your bonus!
I can’t say if this was accident or design, or whether cardholders can expect this to happen every year. All I’ll say is this isn’t a card for those who want their miles sooner rather than later.
How are KrisFlyer miles calculated?
Here’s how you can work out the KrisFlyer miles earned on your KrisFlyer UOB Credit Card.
|Local & FCY Spend||Round down transaction to nearest S$5, then divide by 5 and multiply by 6|
|Bonus Component||Round down transaction to nearest S$5, then divide by 5 and multiply by 9|
The good news is that unlike the UOB PRVI Miles Card, you only get hit by rounding once. The bad news is that all transactions are still rounded down to the nearest S$5, so the minimum spend required to earn miles is S$5. Anything less than that earns nothing!
A simple illustration. Suppose you spent S$9 on your KrisFlyer UOB Credit Card. You might figure that’s 10.8 miles (@ 1.2 mpd), but in reality…
- The S$9 is rounded down to S$5
- S$5 is divided by 5 and multiplied by 6 to yield 6 miles
You actually earn 6 miles, yielding a mere 0.67 mpd!
This is an extreme example, of course, and the effect of rounding gets smaller as your transaction size increases. But it’s exactly why you should think twice about using your KrisFlyer UOB Credit Card for small transactions that aren’t in S$5 blocks.
To show how this rounding affects you, let’s compare the KrisFlyer UOB Credit Card to the Citi PremierMiles. On paper, both of them earn the same 1.2 mpd on all local spending. In reality, however…
|KrisFlyer UOB||Citi PremierMiles|
|$5||6 miles||6 miles|
|$9.99||6 miles||11 miles|
|$15||18 miles||18 miles|
|$19.99||18 miles||23 miles|
|$25||30 miles||30 miles|
|$29.99||30 miles||35 miles|
If you’re an excel geek, here’s the formulas you need to calculate points:
|Local & FCY Spend||=ROUNDDOWN (X/5,0) *6|
|Bonus Component||=ROUNDDOWN (X/5,0) *9|
|Where X= Amount Spent
For the full list of formulas that banks use to calculate credit card points, do refer to these articles:
What transactions aren’t eligible for KrisFlyer miles?
A full list of transactions that do not earn KrisFlyer Miles can be found in the T&C. I’ve highlighted a few noteworthy categories below:
- Charitable Donations
- Government Services
- GrabPay top-ups
- Real Estate Agents & Managers
- SPC Service Stations
These exclusions mean that you can’t use the UOB PRVI Miles Card for RentHero transactions, although CardUp/ipaymy will earn points as usual.
What do I need to know about KrisFlyer miles?
The KrisFlyer UOB Credit Card credits KrisFlyer miles directly to your account on a monthly basis, with no conversion fees.
This is a mixed blessing. On the one hand, you save on the usual ~S$25 conversion fee that most banks charge. On the other, direct crediting means the 3 year expiry countdown starts immediately. Contrast this to other cards where you enjoy “two validities”- one on the bank side, and one on the airline side.
In case you were worried, cancelling your KrisFlyer UOB Credit Card has no impact on KrisFlyer miles already in your account.
Other card perks
KrisFlyer UOB Account
The supposed “killer feature” of the KrisFlyer UOB Credit Card is its ability to earn a bonus 5-6 mpd when paired with the KrisFlyer UOB account. This sounds phenomenal, but I’d strongly advise you against it.
First of all, this account pays a measly 0.05% interest. I know interest rates aren’t what they used to be, but that’s still insanely low.
No problem, you think. I’ll make up the difference with all the bonus miles. Well…that’s the other shoe. The KrisFlyer UOB account caps the bonus miles you can earn at a mere 5% of your monthly average balance.
For example, if you put S$50,000 inside the account, the maximum bonus miles you could earn each month is just 2,500 (5% of 50,000), which you’d hit after spending just S$500 on your KrisFlyer UOB Credit Card.
This means that unless you have a ridiculously high miles valuation figure, the opportunity cost is simply too high to be worth considering.
Fast track to KrisFlyer Elite Silver
The AMEX KrisFlyer Ascend has a fast track to KrisFlyer Elite Gold, but KrisFlyer UOB Credit Card members will have to settle for KrisFlyer Elite Silver.
This fast track offer is available to cardmembers who opened their cards before 30 April 2021, and who spend a minimum of S$5,000 on SIA Group transactions in the first membership year.
It’s flat out misleading to call this a “fast track”, because the mechanics are anything but. Qualifying cardholders will receive their status upgrade within 6 weeks from the last month of the first membership year. You could hit the qualifying spend on your first day, and still have to wait 13+ months to get your status!
Status earned through this “fast track” scheme is only valid for the first year; subsequently, you’ll have to requalify by flying at least 25,000 elite miles in a 12-month membership period.
All in all, it’s much ado about nothing because KrisFlyer Elite Silver has extremely weak perks. Members receive:
- A 25% bonus on KrisFlyer miles
- Complimentary Standard Seat selection on Singapore Airlines and SilkAir
- Priority reservation waitlist
- Priority airport standby
- Discounted service fees
Forget about lounge access, priority boarding, priority check-in or additional luggage allowances. This is as basic as it gets.
It’s strange that a product marketed under the KrisFlyer brand actually gives cardholders more privileges on Scoot than Singapore Airlines.
KrisFlyer UOB Credit Card members can enjoy the following benefits when flying Scoot:
|For principal cardholder||For traveling companions
(on same itinerary)
|Complimentary priority check-in and boarding||✔||✔|
|Additional 5kg luggage allowance with purchase of any baggage fare bundle||✔||✔|
|Complimentary standard seat selection||✔|
|One-time booking flexibility waiver||✔||✔|
To enjoy these benefits, be sure to book your Scoot tickets via this dedicated portal.
Cardholders enjoy an annual S$20 rebate on KrisShop purchases with a minimum spend of S$100 nett in a single transaction. This will be credited within 3 months of the posting date
2x S$15 Grab voucher to/from Changi Airport
It’s not quite a limo benefit, but cardholders will receive a biannual S$15 Grab voucher valid for rides to/from Changi Airport.
This can be redeemed once per half yearly (i.e Jan to Jun/ Jul to Dec), with the promo code KFUOBCC. Redemptions are capped at the first 1,000 uses per month.
2x S$15 off Changi WiFi
Changi WiFi is a Wi-Fi hotpsot rental service that offers packages from S$4 daily. Cardholders will receive a biannual S$15 off code, which can be used once per half yearly (i.e Jan to Jun/ Jul to Dec).
Poor complimentary travel insurance
|Accidental Death||Medical Benefits||Travel Inconvenience|
You have S$500,000 coverage for accidental death or disablement, and S$50,000 for medical evacuation. That’s it- there’s no coverage for medical expenses, or even travel inconvenience. Lost your luggage? Flight delayed? This policy won’t pay anything.
Since it’s woefully inadequate as your primary cover, you’ll almost certainly need to get separate travel insurance.
Summary Review: KrisFlyer UOB Credit Card
With a decidedly average local earn rate and no bonus on foreign currency spending, who is the KrisFlyer UOB Credit Card suitable for? Someone who just wants to use one card for everything.
If you’ve been reading this website regularly, you’ll know that I’m staunchly against such an approach. Using a one-card strategy means leaving a lot of miles on the table, and earning sub-optimal returns on your spending.
Nonetheless, if you still insist on doing so, the KrisFlyer UOB Credit Card would help you make the best of a bad situation. I can’t think of any other general spending card with so many different bonus categories- dining, food delivery, online shopping & travel and transport will cover the bases for a lot of people.
Just be aware that of the 3 mpd you’ll supposedly earn, 60% of it (1.8 mpd) will only arrive 2-14 months later. It’s also well shy of the highest you could be earning for such transactions (4 mpd is the gold standard). Don’t expect too much in the way of Singapore Airlines benefits either- although this is ostensibly marketed as a Singapore Airlines product, it’s really more of a Scoot card.
That said, I suppose it’s the price you pay for the convenience of only having to manage one card. And at the end of the day, UOB is probably betting that there are enough people like that out there.
So that’s my review of the KrisFlyer UOB Credit Card. What do you think?
|An essential card for miles chasers, with few viable alternatives|
|A very good card, although other equally good alternatives may exist|
|A decent card to round out your collection, but not absolutely essential|
|Very limited use cases, and outperformed by most other cards|
|Paperweight. Use for picking teeth or ninja stars|