What card should you use for your overseas holiday?

Banks have launched a flurry of overseas spending promotions ahead of the June holidays. Here's a breakdown of all your options.

With the June holidays just around the corner, banks have gotten real aggressive with the overseas spending promos. Over the past few weeks I’ve written numerous articles covering various offers, and by this point you may have lost track of what’s what. 

So in this post, I’ll recap the ongoing offers for foreign currency (FCY) spend, together with the evergreen options available year-round. 

Summary: Overseas Spending Promotions

💳 Overseas Spending Promos
CardEarn Rate
(FCY Fee)
Cost Per MileMin/Max Spend
SCB Journey2 mpd
(0%)
N/A
Citi Prestige2 mpd
(0%)
Min: S$6K
Max: S$10K
KrisFlyer UOB CC5 mpd
(3.25%)
0.65Min: S$1.5K
Max: S$2K^
UOB PRVI Miles5 mpd
(3.25%)
0.65 Min: S$1K
Max: S$4K
DBS Treasures Black Elite4.4 mpd
(3.25%)
0.74Min: S$800
Max: S$2.8K*
DBS Vantage4.2 mpd
(3.25%)
0.77Min: S$800
Max: S$2.8K*
Citi PM Card4 mpd
(3.25%)
0.81Min: S$5K
Max: S$5K
DBS Altitude Card4 mpd
(3.25%)
0.81Min: S$800
Max: S$2.8K*
^Per spending period; there are three spending periods to enjoy the offer
*Per spending period; there are two spending periods to enjoy the offer

Unfortunately, I can only add up to four columns in my tables before the formatting gets messed up, so you’ll need to read below for the full details of each offer.

SC Journey Card

SC Journey Card
FCY Earn Rate2 mpd
FCY Fee0%
Online/OfflineBoth
Min. SpendN/A
CapN/A
Validity PeriodPeriod 1: 1 Jun to 31 Jul 2023
Period 2: 1 Nov to 31 Dec 2023
RegistrationNot required
Full Article
T&Cs

The Standard Chartered Journey Card (and X Card; they’re one and the same now, in case you haven’t been following the news) is offering a 3.5% rebate on online and offline foreign currency spend made and posted during:

  • 1 June to 31 July 2023
  • 1 November to 31 December 2023

No registration is required, and there is no cap on the maximum spend.

You’ll still earn the usual 2 mpd on foreign currency spend, so the rebate basically offsets the usual 3.5% FCY fee, making the miles free (technically there is a Visa spread, so you’d still be paying more than with Revolut or YouTrip, but my assumption here is you want to earn miles).

Citi Prestige Card

Citi Prestige
FCY Earn Rate2 mpd
FCY Fee0%
Online/OfflineBoth
Min. SpendS$6,000 FCY for entire promo
CapS$10,000 FCY for entire promo
Validity Period19 Apr to 30 Jun 2023
RegistrationSMS PRSTSPEND<space>Last 4 digits of eligible card number to 72484
Full Article
T&Cs

From 19 April to 30 June 2023, targeted Citi Prestige Cardholders will enjoy a 3.25% rebate on online and offline FCY transactions, with a minimum spend of S$6,000 in FCY, and capped at S$10,000 in FCY.

Just like the Journey Card, you’ll still earn the usual 2 mpd on foreign currency spend, so the rebate basically offsets the usual 3.25% FCY fee. 

KrisFlyer UOB Credit Card

KrisFlyer UOB Credit Card
FCY Earn Rate5 mpd
FCY Fee3.25%
Online/OfflineBoth
Min. SpendS$1,500 FCY per period
CapS$2,000 FCY per period*
Validity PeriodPeriod 1: 29 May to 28 Jun 2023
Period 2: 29 Jun to 28 Jul 2023
Period 3: 29 Jul to 28 Aug 2023
RegistrationSMS KFCCFX<space>Last 4 alphanumeric digits of NRIC/Passport to 77862
Full Article
T&Cs
*Assuming overseas general spend. Overseas spend on Accelerated Miles categories or SIA Group will be capped at S$3,800 per period

From 29 May to 28 August 2023, registered KrisFlyer UOB Credit Cardholders can earn 5 mpd on foreign currency transactions, both online and offline.

 BaseBonusTotal
General Spend
1.2 mpd3.8 mpd5 mpd
Dining, Online Shopping & Travel, Transport3 mpd*2 mpd
SIA Group & Kris+ Spend3 mpd2 mpd
*With a minimum spend of S$800 on SIA Group transactions in a membership year, otherwise 1.2 mpd

This is subject to spending at least S$1,500 in foreign currency transactions during any of the three qualifying periods.

Qualifying PeriodDates
129 May to 28 Jun 2023
229 Jun to 28 Jul 2023
329 Jul to 28 Aug 2023

The maximum bonus is capped at 7,600 miles per qualifying period, equivalent to S$2,000 of general spend, or S$3,800 of bonus category spend. Since there are three qualifying periods, the maximum bonus you can earn is 22,800 miles.

Citi PremierMiles Card

Citi PremierMiles Card
FCY Earn Rate4 mpd
FCY Fee3.25%
Online/OfflineOffline only
Min. SpendS$5,000 per month
CapS$5,000 FCY per month
Validity Period1 Mar to 30 Jun 2023
RegistrationSMS CITIPMFX<space>Last 4 digits of eligible card number to 72484
Full Article
T&Cs

From 1 March to 30 June 2023, registered Citi PremierMiles Cardholders can earn 4 mpd on offline foreign currency transactions, split as follows:

 BaseBonusTotal
Overseas Spend
(point-of-sale purchases of goods or services in person at a physical store)
2 mpd2 mpd4 mpd

A minimum spend of S$5,000 per calendar month is required to trigger the bonus award. This can be met by any eligible retail spend, whether local or overseas, offline or online. 

The maximum bonus you can earn each calendar month is capped at 10,000 miles, or S$5,000 qualifying spend. 

DBS Cards

DBS Cards
FCY Earn Rate3.2 mpd (WWMC), 4 mpd (Altitude, Insignia), 4.2 mpd (Vantage), 4.4 mpd (Treasures Black Elite)
FCY Fee3.25%
Online/OfflineOffline only
Min. SpendS$800 on “pre-trip travel spend”
CapS$2,800 FCY per period
Validity PeriodPeriod 1: 26 May to 31 Aug 2023
Period 2: 1 Sep 2023 to 31 Jan 2024
RegistrationVia DBS PayLah app
Full Article
T&Cs

From 26 May 2023 to 31 January 2024, registered DBS cardholders can earn a bonus 2 mpd on offline foreign currency transactions.

This is provided they spend at least S$800 on pre-trip travel spend by 10 September 2023, defined as:

CategoryExamples (Non-Exhaustive)
Airlines
(MCC 3000-3299)
Air Asia, Air New Zealand, British Airways, Cathay Pacific, Emirates, Jetstar, Qantas, Qatar Airways, Scoot, Singapore Airlines
Hotels / Lodgings
(MCC 3500-3999, 4411, 7011)
Accor Live Limitless, Ascott Group, Hilton Hotels & Resorts, Marriott International, Pan Pacific Hotels Group, Royal Caribbean
Tour Agencies
(MCC 4722)
Agoda, Booking.com, Expedia, KKday, Klook, Traveloka, Trip.com
Do note that DBS does not provide explicit MCC ranges; the ones you see in the table above are my best guess and are not official

The bonus 2 mpd will only be earned once the minimum spend on pre-trip travel has been met. 

Here’s what the earn rates look like for the relevant DBS cards after a 2 mpd bonus:

 FCY RateBonus RateOverall
DBS Treasures Black Elite2.4 mpd2 mpd4.4 mpd
DBS Vantage2.2 mpd2 mpd4.2 mpd
DBS Insignia2 mpd2 mpd4 mpd
DBS Altitude2 mpd2 mpd4 mpd
DBS WWMC1.2 mpd2 mpd3.2 mpd

The bonus 2 mpd is capped at 5,600 miles (S$2,800 overseas spend) per Spend PeriodSince there are a total of two Spend Periods, the maximum bonus you can earn is 11,200 miles.

UOB PRVI Miles Card

UOB PRVI Miles Card
FCY Earn Rate5 mpd
FCY Fee3.25%
Online/OfflineOffline only
Min. SpendS$1,000 FCY dining & shopping for entire promo
CapS$4,000 FCY dining & shopping for entire promo
Validity Period1 May to 30 Jun 2023
RegistrationSMS PMX<space>Last 4 alphanumeric digits of NRIC/Passport to 77862
Full Article
T&Cs

From 1 May to 30 June 2023, registered UOB PRVI Miles Cardholders will earn 5 mpd on offline overseas dining and shopping.

 BaseBonusTotal
Overseas Dining
(offline)
UNI$6 per S$5
(2.4 mpd)
UNI$6.5 per S$5
(2.6 mpd)
UNI$12.5 per S$5
(5 mpd)
Overseas Shopping
(offline)
UNI$6 per S$5
(2.4 mpd)
UNI$6.5 per S$5
(2.6 mpd)
UNI$12.5 per S$5
(5 mpd)

The bonus is triggered by spending a minimum of S$1,000 on in-person overseas dining and shopping.

Dining
CategoryMCC
5411Grocery Stores and Supermarkets
5441Candy, Nut and Confectionary Stores
5451Diary Product Stores
5462Bakeries
5499Misc. Food Stores (Convenience Stores & Specialty Markets)
5812Eating Places & Restaurants
5813Drinking Places (Bars, Taverns, Nightclubs, Cocktail Lounges, Discotheques)
5814Fast Food Restaurants
5912Drug Stores and Pharmacies
5921Package Stores- Beer, Wine and Liquor
Shopping
MCCDescription
5309Duty Free Stores
5310Discount Store
5311Department Stores
5331Variety Stores
5399Miscellaneous General Merchandise
5611Men’s & Boys’ Clothing and Accessory Stores
5621Women’s Ready-to-Wear Stores
5631Women’s Accessory and Specialty Stores
5641Children’s and Infants’ Wear Stores
5651Family Clothing Stores
5655Sports and Riding Apparel Stores
5661Shoe Stores
5681Furriers & Fur Shops
5691Men’s and Women’s Clothing Stores
5697Tailors, Seamstresses, Mending, Alterations
5698Wig & Toupee Shops
5699Miscellaneous Apparel and Accessory Stores
5732Electronics Stores
5733Music Stores — Musical Instruments, Pianos, and Sheet Music
5735Record Stores
5941Sporting Goods Stores
5942Book Stores
5943Stationery, Office and School Supply Stores
5944Jewelry, Watch, Clock, and Silverware Stores
5945Hobby, Toy and Game Stores
5946Camera and Photographic Supply Stores
5947Gift, Card, Novelty, and Souvenir Stores
5948Luggage and Leather Goods Stores
5949Sewing, Needlework, Fabric, and Piece Good Stores
5950Glassware and Crystal Stores
5970Artist Supply and Craft Stores
5971Art Dealers and Galleries
5977Cosmetic Stores
5993Cigar Stores & Stands
5994News Dealers & Newsstands
5999Miscellaneous & Specialty Retail Stores

The bonus 2.6 mpd is capped at 10,400 miles, or S$4,000 of eligible spending during the entire promotion period.

Which offer is the best?

Each of these offers has their own strengths and weaknesses. 

With a 3.5% cash rebate, the Standard Chartered Journey basically offers a free 2 mpd, with no minimum spend or cap. The main drawback here is the possibility of orphan miles. Standard Chartered has the following minimum conversion blocks:

Frequent Flyer ProgrammeConversion Blocks
(360° Rewards Points: Partner)
25,000 : 10,000
2,500 : 1,000
2,500 : 1,000 
2,500 : 1,000
2,500 : 1,000
3,000 : 1,000 
3,500 : 1,000
3,500 : 1,000
3,500 : 1,000
5,000 : 1,000

Assuming you’re interested in KrisFlyer, you need to make sure your 360° Rewards Points balance is in intervals of 25,000 points (10,000 miles). I’d recommend you monitor your 360° Rewards Points balance closely to get an idea of how much more spending you need to hit the new block.

The 3.25% cash rebate for the Citi Prestige Card also represents a free 2 mpd, but there’s a relatively high minimum spend of S$6,000 FCY required. Moreover, this offer is targeted, and per my understanding has already been fully subscribed.

The KrisFlyer UOB Credit Card’s 5 mpd offer has a fairly low minimum spend of S$1,500 FCY, and covers both online and offline spending. Assuming you’re OK with watching your minimum spend and caps across three different periods (remember, you don’t need to participate in all three), you should be fine.

The Citi PremierMiles Card’s 4 mpd offer is only for in-person spend, and requires a minimum spend of at least S$5,000. Originally, it was possible to meet the minimum spend with no-fee Citi PayAll transactions, but from 2 May 2023, Citibank began excluding these from qualifying spend. I’m not clear what that means for no-fee Citi PayAll transactions made prior to this deadline, and Citi has not been forthcoming with a reply. Proceed at your own risk!

I dislike the DBS offer, because it’s so convoluted. You need to clock that S$800 pre-trip spend first, which only includes limited categories. After that, only your in-person FCY spend is rewarded, with a relatively low cap of 5,600 bonus miles per period.

The UOB PRVI Miles Card’s 5 mpd offer only covers selected MCCs, though to be fair these are the ones you’ll be spending the most on overseas. The minimum spend is low at S$1,000, so this could be a viable option even for conservative spenders. 

Evergreen options

For me personally, I’m sticking to the tried-and-tested combination of the Amaze x UOB Lady’s Solitaire Card. This lets me earn 6 mpd on up to S$3,000 of spend per month, with an implicit FCY fee of ~1.8% (the fee arises because Amaze charges a spread over Mastercard’s rates). I also earn InstaPoints, which are equivalent to a rebate of up to 1%. 

Apply Here
Use code 7HK2A2 for 225 bonus InstaPoints
💳 tl;dr: Amaze Card
  • Link up to five Mastercard credit/debit cards
  • Overseas transactions are converted into SGD (no FCY transaction fees, but subject to FX spread) and charged to the underlying credit/debit card
  • Transaction MCC remains the same, offline transactions charged to Amaze become online transactions for the underlying credit/debit card
  • Earn 1 InstaPoint per S$1 spent on FCY transactions of at least S$10 (except exclusion categories), capped at 500 InstaPoints per transaction
  • Redeem InstaPoints for cashback in blocks of 2,000 InstaPoints= S$20

You’re right that I could be earning miles for “free” with the Citi Prestige or SC Journey, but at least this way I don’t need to worry about minimum spends or orphan miles.

Other recommended Amaze pairings are as follows:

💳 Amaze Pairings
CardEarn RateCap
UOB Lady’s Card6 mpd1S$1K per c. month
UOB Lady’s Solitaire6 mpd2S$3K per c. month
Citi Rewards Card4 mpd3S$1K per s. month
OCBC Titanium Rewards4 mpd4S$13.3K per m. year
KrisFlyer UOB Credit Card3 mpd5None
1. Pick 1: Beauty & wellness, dining, entertainment, family, fashion, transport, travel (T&Cs)
2. Pick 2: Beauty & wellness, dining, entertainment, family, fashion, transport, travel (T&Cs)
3. All transactions except travel (airlines, hotels, rental cars, tour agency, cruises etc.) (T&Cs)
4. Electronics, clothes, bags, shoes and shopping (T&Cs)
5. Dining, shopping, travel, transport. Must spend at least S$800 on SIA Group transactions in a membership year (T&Cs)

You’ll notice that most of the cards featuring overseas spending bonuses are general spending cards. But you could just as easily earn 4 mpd with specialised spending cards, with much less hoop-jumping required. 

Refer to the article below for some ideas.

2023 Edition: Best cards for overseas spending

Conclusion

Using your credit card overseas will be more rewarding over the next few months, with various cash rebates and bonus miles offers lined up. Quite a few of these require registration, so be sure to do so ASAP, while you’re still in Singapore.

If you prefer to keep things simple, then I see little reason to switch away from your preferred Amaze pairings. Amaze spreads may be higher than they used to be, but it still beats paying the usual 3.25% FCY fees imposed by banks. 

Aaron Wong
Aaron Wong
Aaron founded The Milelion to help people travel better for less and impress chiobu. He was 50% successful.

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