New UOB Absolute Cashback Card: 1.7% cashback with no caps, no exclusions

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The UOB Absolute Cashback Card debuts with 1.7% cashback, no questions asked. Insurance, medical bills, GrabPay top-ups...you name it.

Regular readers will know my feelings towards cashback cards, but UOB has just unveiled something that’s made me sit up and take notice. 

UOB Absolute Cashback Card
I’m checking with SingSaver whether they plan to offer this card, and if so, what the sign-up reward is. You might want to hold your fire for now.

Today marks the launch of the new UOB Absolute Cashback Card, which carries a simple premise: 1.7% cashback, with no cap, no minimum spend, and no spend exclusions.

Yes, you read that right- no spend exclusions.

UOB Absolute Cashback Card: Overview

Min. Income Annual Fee
S$30,000 per year/ S$10,000 fixed deposit S$192.60 (first year free)
Terms & Conditions

The UOB Absolute Cashback Card has an entry-level S$30,000 per year income requirement, and a S$192.60 annual fee (waived for the first year). Cardholders earn 1.7% cashback on all transactions, with no minimum spend or cap.

First things first. A cashback rate of 1.7% would make the UOB Absolute Cashback Card the highest earning no-minimum-spend cashback card on the market, period. 

💳 No Minimum Spend Cashback Cards
Card Cashback
UOB Absolute Cashback Card 1.7%
Maybank FC Barcelona 1.6%
Citi Cash Back+ 1.6%
AMEX True Cashback 1.5%
Standard Chartered Unlimited Cashback 1.5%
ICBC Global Travel Mastercard 1.5%

But what’s even more incredible is the prospect of no spend exclusions. I mean, I give UOB a lot of grief for being tricky with their T&Cs (have you seen the latest changes to the KrisFlyer UOB Credit Card?), so it’s only fair to acknowledge when they go the other way. 

And go the other way they have. UOB is hammering home the idea of no spend exclusions, making it clear that any merchant which accepts American Express payments will be eligible. As per the FAQ:

Q2. What transactions are eligible for cashback?

Transactions at all merchants who accept American Express credit card payments are eligible for cashback.

However, it does not include NETS and NETS-related transactions, 0% Instalment Payment Plans, SmartPay, Personal Loans, balance/funds transfers, cash advances, any fees and/or charges (including without limitation, late payment charges, interest charges, annual or monthly fees or charges, service fees or processing fees) imposed by UOB.

Heck, UOB even explicitly suggests some categories which you could try :

  • Insurance
  • School fees
  • Wallet top-ups
  • Healthcare
  • Utilities & telco bills
  • Rental

And yes, before someone asks, GrabPay top-ups will earn cashback too. That’s an important point, mind you- some may be lamenting the fact the UOB Absolute Cashback Card is on the American Express network, which limits its merchant acceptance. 

But all you have to do is top-up your GrabPay wallet with the UOB Absolute Cashback Card, and then use the GrabPay Mastercard to spend. You’ve effectively “converted” an AMEX into a Mastercard, gaining access to a wide range of merchants and still earning 1.7% cashback in the process.

⚠️Note: Before you get too excited, remember that AXS machines don’t accept American Express, nor the GrabPay Mastercard

This basically allows you to save 1.7% on transactions where miles and points can’t be earned, and while that won’t be lifechanging, it’s better than walking away empty-handed.

While “no exclusions” is certainly headline grabbing, I can’t help but think that sooner or later, some qualifications will need to be added. No doubt the hivemind is already hard at work trying to figure out MS opportunities.

UOB Absolute Cashback Card: Other Perks

No exclusions would be sweet enough, but there’s two other perks that caught my eye. Scroll down on the landing page and you’ll see a link for FoundersCard and Tablet Plus.

6 months complimentary FoundersCard membership

Photo credit: FoundersCard

FoundersCard is a membership positioned at small business owners and entrepreneurs, though any frequent traveler is likely to find the benefits useful. 

This usually costs US$595 a year (although there’ a ton of promo codes on blogs and such that reduce the fee to US$395), but selected American Express cards can enjoy a 6-month complimentary membership.

I tried my AMEX Platinum Charge, AMEX Platinum Reserve, AMEX SIA Business Card and AMEX KrisFlyer Ascend and they all didn’t work, which leads me to think this offer isn’t for American Express issued AMEX cards.

At the same time, however, it’s definitely not a UOB Absolute Cashback Card exclusive. I managed to get it working for my UOB Preferred Platinum AMEX, and I’d welcome data points from anyone with the UOB PRVI Miles AMEX, DBS Altitude AMEX, or any other bank-issued AMEX for that matter. 

FoundersCard offers a wide range of airline, hotel and business benefits, but the key one I’m interested in is complimentary elite status. Members receive:

  • Caesars Rewards Diamond
  • Hilton Honors Gold
  • Marco Polo Silver
  • Sixt Platinum
👎 Update: I’ve just received my trial membership and unfortunately, it does not come with Caesars Rewards Diamond, Hilton Gold or Sixt Platinum. Marco Polo Silver requires a US-based address.

Yes, Hilton Honors Gold, which gives you free breakfast at Hilton properties worldwide- whether you’re at the Hilton Garden Inn Serangoon, or the Waldorf Astoria Maldives. That’s an incredible perk to have, and one that everyone should snap up ASAP.

I’ll probably do a separate article about this, so stay tuned. 

Two year complimentary Tablet Plus membership

I’m less familiar with Tablet Hotels, but it’s an OTA which brands itself as the MICHELIN Guide for hotels. They offer a Tablet Plus membership for US$99 a year, with benefits such as: 

  • Guaranteed early check-in
  • Guaranteed late check-out
  • Free breakfast
  • Hotel credits
  • Airport transfers
  • Valet parking
  • A welcome gift

Selected American Express cardholders (including the UOB Absolute Cashback Card) receive a complimentary two year Tablet Plus membership. Again, this isn’t a UOB Absolute Cashback Card specific perk, but it’s certainly interesting nonetheless. 

The list of benefits is impressive, but it’s important to remember that not all of them will apply across all properties. What’s more, the local selection is quite sad. I did a search for Singapore, and the only property offering Tablet Plus benefits was the Andaz Singapore. 

Other geographies fare slightly better- in Hong Kong there were five, Bangkok had six, Bali had 20. 

UOB Absolute Cashback Card: Welcome Bonus

From 4 May to 31 July 2021, new-to-bank cardholders who get approved for a UOB Absolute Cashback Card will earn 5% cashback on their first S$3,000 spend.

❓ UOB defines “new-to-bank” as those who do not hold any principal UOB credit cards now, or in the 6-month period prior to 4 May 2021

The 5% cashback consists of:

  • the base 1.7% cashback
  • a bonus 3.3% cashback on the first S$3,000 of spending

The maximum bonus cashback that can be earned is capped at S$99, so you’ll want to spend S$3,000 on the dot. Bonus cashback will be credited by 15 October 2021. 

What’s even more incredible (for UOB, at least) is that there’s no cap on the maximum number of eligible customers. So long as you sign up and meet the eligibility criteria, you’ll get your bonus. The full T&Cs of this offer can be found here.

As mentioned earlier, I’m checking with SingSaver whether they plan to offer any additional gifts for sign-ups; if you don’t have a pressing need for the card, you might want to hold off for a couple of days. 

Conclusion

While it’s not going to make me abandon miles collecting, I can certainly see a lot of good use cases for the UOB Absolute Cashback Card. I’m all for taking a 1.7% discount on my insurance premiums, government payments and other transactions that usually run afoul of bank exclusion lists. 

In fact, I’m actually surprised American Express agreed to go ahead with this, given how it has the potential to cannibalise their AMEX True Cashback Card. I suppose the belief is that a 0.2% difference won’t lead to a whole lot of switching behavior, but I don’t know- it is psychologically important, even if the actual difference is marginal. 

What’s your take on the new UOB Absolute Cashback Card?

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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Syok

I am not surprised with this no exclusion, coz this is AMEX card, wherever AMEX is accepted, AMEX charged a higher fee which should be no surprise to cover this 1.7%😆

Syok

The cons: can’t add in your Apple Pay wallet…

lifeonthego_k

Funnily enough, I tried my non-SG issued Amex Platinum Charge card on the FoundersCard website and it showed up as eligible for the 6 month complementary membership!

K Tong

If you have two Amex card, does it mean you can get FoundersCard two times for a total of 12 months?

lifeonthego_k

Don’t know as currently I only have 1 eligible card.

Abc

Depends which country. My non-SG Plat Charge failed…

2dh

i recall that grab is adding a transaction fee to credit card top ups coming jun/jul? would that cancel out the UOB unlimited cashback card?

SpikyIg

UOB Amex Prvi qualifies for the 6m Founderscard membership, with subsequent extension at USD$395 per year.

Anon

Hope this promo stays longer.. Then can use the 6 month free when we can travel(sign up then). After that dont renew. lol

Syok

lol, so honest🤣

Anon

Amex TCB has no restrictions too iirc.. as quoted from their website..
https://www.americanexpress.com/sg/credit-cards/true-cashback-card/

So i guess the only difference between this and that is 0.2%..

Cara

Not sure of UOB’s stance towards crypto purchases in general, but will the cashback be eligible for purchases on Binance?

John

Biggest issue is below. Amex Tru cash back, offsets credit n the same credit card statement. UOB is doing that one month later. .it will probably even itself out in future Q3 How is my cashback calculated? Your cashback is computed based on the total value of transactions successfully charged and posted within your credit card statement period. Cashback earned for current statement period will be credited to the principal card account and reflected in the next statement to automatically offset any billed amount for your UOB Absolute Cashback Card account in that same statement. The cashback earned will be… Read more »

Lewis

Why is this an issue?

bluepanda

Not a big issue, but just lowers the headline 1.7%. You basically have to spend more next month to “redeem” your cashback. And you perpetually have something in the bank. TCB knocks off the month’s bill directly and immediately.

Abc

See how UOB implement it – I have seen cashback cards that say they issue the cashback in the next statement, but in reality it is issued within a business day or 2 after the statement ends. Just pay off the net amount and get your balance back to nil… Alternatively if you are worried that this small cashback amount is going to linger on in your statement, you can always call UOB and try and get them to do a credit balance refund to your bank account, or transfer the credit to another credit card. Some T&Cs say they… Read more »

Adam

T&Cs say cashback credited in following statement month.

Yi Kai

I am REALLY interested to know why AMEX would approve a product offering with other banks that can potentially cannibalise their own product. Like, really?

If they are not trying to capture the same market, that will make sense. But both cards seem to be targeted at the same market, which I cannot wrap my head around.

Last edited 13 days ago by Yi Kai
Adam

It looks like UOB is trying to market the card to the mass affluent group, even though it had a 30k min income. For what reason, idk, but perhaps it’s a way to avoid competing directly with Amex? Not that I particularly care though…

Adam

CIMB Visa Infinite?

Syok

lol, that pathetic 1 % for local spending…

Josie

How would one pay rent using this card? 🤔

Last edited 13 days ago by Josie
Kishen

I would like know as well lol

tim tan

Be warned that it is very hard to waive UOB annual fees.

hotlaps

Is it really? I just got my PRVI Miles fee waived even tho I got it and used it exclusively for bus and train under that SimplyGo promotion (so annual spend was an extremely small amount).

lifeonthego_k

My wife has got her AF for UOB PPV and VS consistently waived since 2016.

Ortloc

One has to spend $11k+ a year from year 2 just to break even, assuming no waiver.

dkdk

I read from forum that when someone tried to ask for annual waiver, the customer service told him that he need to spend 6k minimally to get the waiver.

I don’t think that’s a clear and hard rule but I believe if you can hit 5 digits spending, the waiver should be no problem

Ortloc

That’s 44k miles foregone (assuming spend is on accruable categories) if a 4mpd miles card was used instead. Almost a 1-way business saver to TYO.

SQ Flyer

No waiver just cancel since there’s no loss incurred and no orphaned points/miles going to waste. This could still be useful for big ticket, non-miles earning transactions in the first year.

Jssss

I just got UNI$ deducted for PPV, asked for waiver and got rejected. I use it for many online purchases so there should be at least few hundred dollars clocked per month. Called UOB to ask what is minimum spend amount required to get waiver, the CS refused to give any number and said it is not based on spending (???). So I put in another request for waiver/review the rejection, pending results….

Meusp

Regarding insurance and AMEX:
Should I understand that insurances usually accept AMEX payments but AMEX doesn’t gives miles for it (except Chubb) ?
With this card, we’ll thus be able to get some cashback.

Adam

Only Amex TCB does not exclude insurance; the Amex KF cards and Plat cards exclude insurance except Chubb. So yes, this card (along with the Amex TCB) is the best card to get something for insurance.

Ben

This card is replacing the UOB PP Amex. Time to cancel the PP Amex.

boo

just got this email too. boooooo

Cloudy

Does it mean that AMEZ PP Amex will be discontinued? 🙁

Brook

just got the email as well. End of an era.

msflyer

1.7% plus 1.2% (from Grab) makes a very compelling 2.9% total cashback for general spend. Worth almost 2mpd.

LAng

I’d be keen to ask if Donations are entitled to cashback too

Adam

Yes, entitled.

hmlee

will absolute amex card get spc discounts?

Adam

Mm I think that’s an Amex-issued card exclusive – go with the Amex TCB card instead.

cheesecake

Topping up GPMC using the new Absolute Amex isn’t the same. GPMC has a $5K transaction limit. Some big ticket transactions (like insurance) don’t accept Amex, and can’t split the premium into < $5 amounts – full amount must be paid at one go.

Isaac

Will tax payments qualify for the cash back or must it be done via the grabpay top up and grab pay mastercard route?

Adam

I believe road tax can be paid using GPMC, but not personal income tax.

isaac

Thank you!

Jonathan Ng

What is Marco Polo Silver? Is it Cathay Pacific Marco Polo Silver?

Mike

Our health insurance doesn’t take Amex and our premium is $20k so can’t use Grab Card as intermediary due to their 5k cap. So this card is useless to me.

Jack

which insurance company is yours? Able to split the bill in to $5k each?

Jamie

Does it mean if I have yet to max out topping up $5kto GrabPay from last year Nov’s Amex Grab Capitacard top up promo, I should hold on for this? 1.7% of $5k will get me cashback of $85 using Absolute card, while the 25,000 STAR reward points is only worth around ~$25 if I exchange it for Capita voucher. Difference seems very stark, not sure if I am getting it wrong somewhere…

Last edited 9 days ago by Jamie
James

any update if singsaver is offering any promo signups?

Ben

Doesn’t seem to work with SamsungPay

CREDIT CARD SIGN UP BONUSES

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