Shell increases UOB credit card discount, ceases SMART$ participation

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UOB cardholders can now save up to 21.15% off petrol at Shell, even as the chain discontinues its participation in the SMART$ program.

Effective 1 May 2021, Shell has revised its discount structure for UOB cardholders, who will now save up to 21.15% when pumping petrol at shell (up from 20.8% previously). 

Shell has also ceased to be a SMART$ merchant, but before you miles collectors rejoice, there’s something else you need to know…

Revised Shell discount structure for UOB cardholders

Let’s first look at the revised discount structure for UOB cardholders at Shell. While the discount maxes out at 21.15%, most UOB cardholders will be looking at a 14% discount instead. 

⛽ Shell Discount Structure
  UOB One UOB Reserve Other UOB Credit/ Debit Cards
Shell station discount 5% 5% 5%
Shell Escape discount 5% 5% 5%
Shell UOB discount 7% 7% 4%
UOB One cashback 4.15%*
Total 21.15% 17% 14%
*Subject to min. spend of S$2,000 per month for each qualifying quarter with min. 5 purchases monthly

That’s still an improvement from before, for two reasons.

First, the previous discount for most UOB cardholders was 13.6%, so you’re already doing better with a 14% discount. 

Second, the 13.6% was broken down into a 10% upfront discount (station + Escape card), and then a further 3.6% in the form of SMART$, which could only be used on your next visit. Now, you get a 14% upfront discount, plain and simple. SMART$ are out of the picture, and there’s very little to dislike here.

No SMART$, but no UNI$ either

As seasoned miles collectors will know, UOB is a funny bank when it comes to credit card rewards. It has SMART$, pseudo cashback that can be earned and redeemed at participating merchants. Then it has UNI$, its rewards currency that can be converted into airline miles and other rewards. 

These two are either/or. As stated in the SMART$ T&Cs:

7.2. UNI$ will not be awarded on transactions at SMART$ merchants where SMART$ are issued.

Since Shell was a SMART$ merchant, UOB cardholders couldn’t earn UNI$ (and hence miles) at Shell. But now that Shell no longer awards SMART$, problem solved right?

Not quite. I posed the question to UOB and got the following response

UOB Cards will not earn UNI$, but will enjoy 14% instant fuel discount at Shell

This means that Shell becomes similar to SPC, in the sense that even though it’s not a SMART$ merchant, you still won’t earn UNI$ regardless (refer to point 20.5 of the UOB rewards T&Cs). 

While the earning of SMART$ at Shell has ceased, redemption of SMART$ at Shell will be available till end of day on 16 June 2021. 

What alternative cards can you use for Shell?

If you want to earn miles while pumping petrol at Shell, yet avoid foregoing discounts, here’s the cards I can suggest. 

  Discount Miles per S$1
Maybank World Mastercard 10% (15% with the Corporate Fuel Card) 4.0
Maybank Horizon Visa Signature 10% 3.21 
Citi Prestige 14% 1.3
HSBC Visa Infinite 14% 1.252 
Citi PremierMiles  14% 1.2
1. ≥S$300 retail spend per calendar month, capped at ~S$4.3K per calendar month
2. ≥S$50K spent in previous membership year, otherwise 1.0

Conclusion

Shell has revised its discounts for UOB cardholders, who should be saving more across the board regardless of which card they hold. While I was hoping that the discontinuation of SMART$ would pave the way for earning of UNI$ at Shell (imagine how simple it’d be to just tap your UOB Preferred Platinum Visa/UOB Visa Signature), however, that’s not the case.

For a recommended list of credit cards to use for petrol, refer to the article below.

2021 edition: What are the best credit cards for petrol?

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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Matthew

“UOB is a funny bank when it comes to credit card rewards.”

UOB is a funny bank. Period.

cheesecake

Why would UOB think this change will sway others to using their cards at Shell? I’m sticking with Citibank cards that gives the same 14% discount AND miles.

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