Why I’ve reapplied for the KrisFlyer UOB Credit Card

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KrisFlyer Experiences now offers discounted redemptions for UOB cobrand cardholders, which could be the start of something grand...

I first applied for the KrisFlyer UOB Credit Card back in 2019 on the very day it launched, cancelling the card a year later when the annual fee wasn’t waived (to be fair, I hardly spent anything on it). Late last night, I reapplied for the card once again. 

This about-face has nothing to do with the earn rates or key benefits. They remain exactly the same. In fact, it’s got nothing to do with flying at all. 

No, the reason I’m back on board is because KrisFlyer Experiences has started offering discounted redemptions to KrisFlyer UOB cardholders. This is something I was quite certain would eventually happen, and now that it has, it’s just silly to pay full price. 

30% off the latest KrisFlyer Experiences for cobrand cardholders

Yesterday, KrisFlyer Experiences launched a new set of activities for redemption. The platform has partnered with the pop-up Orient Express attraction over at Gardens by the Bay, a museum-cum-restaurant that harkens back to the Golden Age of Travel. 

Orient Express Singapore | Photo: Orient Express

On sale are three-hour brunch packages for two, four and six people (menu here), which normally costs S$250++ (S$294 nett) per person. That’s a hefty price for brunch, but keep in mind the restaurant is headed by two time 3 Michelin Star chef Yannick Alléno (and comes with a free flow of champagne to boot). 

One special brunch session (now fully subscribed) was set aside for KrisFlyer UOB Credit Card and Debit Card members, with 30% milesback on offer. That cuts the number of miles required significantly, as shown below:

Miles Required
  Regular KrisFlyer UOB Cardholders
2 people 60,000 42,000
4 people  112,000 78,400
6 people 156,000 109,200

To think of it from a cents per mile perspective:

Cents Per Mile
  Regular
KrisFlyer UOB Cardholders
2 people 0.98 1.40
4 people  1.05 1.50
6 people 1.13 1.62

I’m not particularly interested at a valuation hovering around 1 cent per mile, but increase it to the 1.5 cent per mile mark and I just might bite. 

❓ Why don’t AMEX KrisFlyer cobrand cards enjoy a discount?

Holders of American Express KrisFlyer cobrand cards may feel hard done by all this- why should UOB cardholders have all the fun?

krisflyer experiences logo

The reason is quite simple: KrisFlyer Experiences is the result of a partnership between Singapore Airlines and Mastercard. Mastercard is the issuer of the KrisFlyer UOB cards. They’re hardly going to invite AMEX to the party.

Discounts for future events brewing?

It’s a moot point now because the special session has already been fully redeemed (according to the T&Cs, only 10 packages were available for booking, which is awfully skinflint if you ask me), but I’m thinking more about the future. 

If discounted KrisFlyer Experiences become a regular thing for UOB cobrand cardholders, even in limited quantities like with Orient Express, then I’d gladly be a cardholder just for that purpose.

What about annual fees? Well, I’d ideally try and get them waived, but in any case the KrisFlyer UOB Credit Card gives 10,000 miles when you pay the S$192.60 annual fee. While 1.93 cents per mile is higher than what you should pay in the current climate, it’s not difficult to make up the difference if you manage to save a big chunk off your KrisFlyer Experiences redemptions. For example, you’d have saved 18,000 KrisFlyer miles by redeeming the two person brunch package as a cobrand cardholder.

Alternatively, you could just settle for the KrisFlyer UOB Debit Card (something I never thought I’d say), with its S$53.50 annual fee. I suspect this would be much easier to waive, and anyway, we all know what to do if the waiver doesn’t happen. 

Conclusion

While I more than anyone else can’t wait to start redeeming my miles for flights once again, KrisFlyer Experiences are the most promising of all the on-ground redemptions available right now (certainly more so than KrisShop or vRooms). If a KrisFlyer UOB card (and some fast fingers, as seen from last night’s land rush) helps enhance the value, then by all means sign me up. 

On a side note, I do wonder if Singapore Airlines will eventually start offering discounted flight redemptions to cobrand cardholders, the way that JetBlue or United do. Even if the discount were small, it’d certainly be the impetus for a lot of new customers.

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Aaron Wong
Aaron founded The Milelion with the intention of helping people travel better for less and impressing chiobu. He was 50% successful.

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Adam

The waiver criteria for the UOB KF debit card is $6K spending p.a. which is certainly not an amount we’ll be spending on that card! (Unless you use it to settle your credit card bills on AXS, which idk if it counts to your min spend) https://pib.uob.com.sg/debit/fees/debit_card_fees.pdf

Adam

Yeah sure, but at least you’re putting some spending on the card. It’s easier for the bank to close one eye if you spend $5K out of the $10K minimum spend, as opposed to $5 out of $6K minimum spend 😂

Adam

Bill payments on AXS lor. Hahaha

Guest

When do I cancel a card if i want to avoid the annual fees?

1) Cancel just before its due
2) Cancel after i’m billed (will they waive off the annual fee if i do?)

When your AF is charged, are you paying for the previous year or the following?

Anonymous

FWIW, I’ve had the debit card since it was launched and never had any issue with getting the AF waived, even though I’ve only every used it as an ATM card

Ethan

Just to add on, I managed to get the annual fee for the UOB KF credit card successfully waived last month. Told them I’ll cancel if the waiver was rejected, and they waived it in a couple of days.

drakka66

Aaron, it’s actually not a bad Card now when interest rates are low. When it was launched, you probably can get 1.4%-1.8% interest rates for your spare cash that is lying around. So the incremental miles you can get from your Krisflyer savings account would look unattractive vs. the interest you forgo. Today, you can probably get 0.5% max from the banks. When you think of the incremental miles you can get from linking this card to a Krisflyer Savings Account and the 0.5% interest that you forgo, you effectively “buy” miles at a fairly attractive rates today

Adam

The “bonus miles” you can get can be gotten with the PRVI and the KF UOB cards, so no need to spend with the debit card. https://www.uob.com.sg/personal/save/chequeing/krisflyer-uob-account.page

noob

I’ve never used my KF UOB card before. I’ve spent S$0 on any other UOB cards. They waived my annual fee 🙂 I have no other r/s with UOB.

ymmv drastically i guess.

pro tip I pretend to be really important and rich but nice when I speak to the CSO

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