What credit cards should you use to buy the iPhone 15?

iPhone 15: Create. Inspire. Sell a kidney.

Apple has once again made history with the launch of the iPhone 15, a next-generation revolutionary flagship device that will solve all your self-esteem issues and make you a more tender and considerate lover.

With this year’s iPhone, Apple has pulled off a radical overhaul of what a phone can be, introducing ground-breaking and cutting-edge technologies such as a contoured edge, textured matte finish and slightly better camera.

Sorry, forgot to mention the new contoured edge

One more thing- Apple has won a major victory for consumer freedoms by introducing USB-C charging, overriding the protests of those apparatchiks in Brussels who had for so long stood in the way. 

Yes, this is truly the most revolutionary Apple product since the MacBook Wheel.

Naturally, with such a high degree of otherworldly sophistication, the iPhone 15 will not come cheap. Interested parties will soon have an expense ranging anywhere from $1,299 to S$2,639.

 128GB256GB512GB1TB
iPhone 15S$1,299S$1,459S$1,799
iPhone 15 PlusS$1,449S$1,609S$1,929
iPhone 15 ProS$1,649S$1,809S$2,129S$2,449
iPhone 15 Pro MaxS$1,999S$2,319S$2,639

So here’s some pointers on how to maximise credit card rewards on this big ticket purchase. 

The baseline

Let’s start with what I call “baseline miles”, because no matter where you ultimately end up buying your phone, you should not be earning fewer miles than this.

Assuming you buy your iPhone online:

CardEarn RateRemarks
Citi Rewards
Apply
4 mpdMax S$1K per s. month
Review
DBS WWMC
Apply
4 mpdMax S$2K per c. month
Review

Assuming you buy your iPhone in-store:

CardEarn RateRemarks
UOB Pref. Plat Visa
Apply
4 mpdUse mobile payments, max S$1.1K per c. month
Review
UOB Visa Signature 
Apply
4 mpdUse contactless payments, min S$1K max S$2K per s. month
Review
Mobile payment= Add card to Apple/Google Pay and tap phone to pay
Contactless payment= Tap physical card or add card to Apple/Google Pay and tap phone to pay

Assuming you buy your iPhone online or in-store at a merchant with MCC 5732 (Electronics Stores):

CardEarn RateRemarks
HSBC Revolution
Apply
4 mpd
Max. S$1K per c. month
Review
OCBC Titanium Rewards
Apply
4 mpd*Max. S$13.3K per m. year
Review
Amaze+ KrisFlyer UOB Card
Apply
3 mpdNo cap. Must spend at least S$800 on SIA Group in m. year
Review
*New-to-bank customers approved by 30 September 2023 will earn 6 mpd for the first 90 days, capped at S$2,000 per calendar month
❓ How can I find out the MCC?

There’s two ways of finding out the MCC before making a transaction:

Do note that new-to-bank customers approved for an OCBC Titanium Rewards Card by 30 September 2023 will earn 6 mpd on shopping transactions (including MCC 5732) for the first 90 days, capped at S$2,000 per calendar month. They’ll also be eligible for special SingSaver sign-up gifts; refer to the article below for more details.

OCBC Titanium Rewards offering 6 mpd to new customers, plus other sign-up gifts

You might also be wondering where the UOB Lady’s Cards are. Well, MCC 5732 does not fall under any of the card’s bonus categories, but if you buy your iPhone from an online source like Lazada or Shopee, it might fall under the Fashion category MCCs.

I say might, because there is no single MCC for e-commerce platforms. Depending on the item (and even seller), a given transaction may code differently. It’s risky, and I wouldn’t advise it unless you’re willing to do the DBS “block card” method described previously. 

Use Kris+ for up to 6 mpd

S$5 for new Kris+ Users
Get S$5 (in the form of 750 KrisPay miles) when you sign-up with code W644363 and make your first transaction

Kris+ offers a way to rack up additional miles on top of what you get from your credit card. 

The following electronics retailers can be found on Kris+, and offer 1-2 mpd on all purchases:

Kris+ transactions code as online, and maintain the MCC of the underlying merchant (i.e. MCC 5732 (Electronics Stores) for Challenger, Harvey Norman and iStudio).

You can use the following cards to earn up to 4 mpd extra, for a total earn rate of 5-6 mpd.

💳 Best Cards for Kris+
(For MCC 5732 Electronics)
CardEarn RateRemarks
Citi Rewards + Amaze
Apply
4 mpdMax. S$1K per s. month. Do not use Citi Rewards Card alone- no bonuses
Review
DBS WWMC
Apply
4 mpdMax S$2K per c. month
Review
HSBC Revolution
Apply
4 mpd
Max. S$1K per c. month
Review
OCBC Titanium Rewards
Apply
4 mpd*Max. S$13.3K per m. year
Review
KrisFlyer UOB Card
Apply
3 mpdNo cap
Review
*New-to-bank customers approved by 30 September 2023 will earn 6 mpd for the first 90 days, capped at S$2,000 per calendar month

As always, don’t forget to transfer any miles earned to KrisFlyer within seven days of the transaction, in their entirety. If you wait longer than seven days, or use Kris+ to spend any portion of the miles earned, the remaining balance will be stuck inside Kris+.

Buy on KrisShop for up to 10 mpd

Just like the previous models, it’s inevitable that the iPhone 15 will eventually make its way to KrisShop. When that happens, you’ll be able to earn up to 10 mpd, broken down as follows:

  • Up to 4 mpd for KrisShopper members
KrisShopper TierQualifying SpendEarn Rate
Non-KrisShopperN/A1.5 mpd
MemberN/A2 mpd
InsiderS$5,0002.5 mpd
IconS$10,0003 mpd 
AmbassadorS$15,0004 mpd
*Qualifying spend includes purchases on KrisShop.com, KrisShop on Kris+, KrisShop on KrisWorld, Inflight purchases on Singapore Airlines. Excludes GST, duties and delivery charges
  • Up to 6 mpd for using the right card
💳 Best Cards for KrisShop
CardKrisShop.com
KrisShop on Kris+
UOB Lady’s Card
Apply
6 mpd16 mpd1
UOB Lady’s Solitaire Card
Apply
6 mpd26 mpd2
DBS WWMC
Apply
4 mpd3
4 mpd3
Citi Rewards 
Apply
4 mpd4
0.4 mpd4
UOB Pref. Plat. Visa
Apply
4 mpd54 mpd5
HSBC Revolution
Apply
4 mpd64 mpd6
KrisFlyer UOB Credit Card
Apply
3 mpd3 mpd
AMEX KrisFlyer Ascend
Apply
2 mpd
1.2 mpd
AMEX KrisFlyer Credit Card
Apply
2 mpd1.1 mpd
1. Cap S$1K per c. month, must select “travel” as quarterly bonus category
2. Cap S$3K per c. month, must select “travel” as quarterly bonus category
3. Cap S$2K per c. month
4. Cap S$1K per s. month
5. Cap S$1.1K per c. month
6. Cap S$1K per c. month
S. Month= Statement Month | C. Month= Calendar Month

This would be a potentially superior option to buying in-store via Kris+, assuming the pricing works out to be the same.

Note: This section previously mentioned “up to 11.5 mpd”, which took into account an extra 1.5 mpd for KrisShop on Kris+ based on the table above. However, based on actual data points it looks like the Miles Earn Rate as KrisShopper already includes the Miles Earn Rate row above it. I’ve updated the post accordingly.

Other tips

Breaking up the cost with BNPL and gift cards

Given the hefty sticker price on the iPhone 15, it’s highly likely you’ll bust the bonus cap on some of the 4 mpd cards out there.

Assuming the store doesn’t let you split the cost over different cards, one simple way of circumventing this is to use a BNPL service (iStudio and Singtel partner with Atome). These break the transaction into three interest-free monthly instalments (you might even be able to save a few bucks if you’re a first-time customer), and you’ll still earn miles as per normal.

⚠️ Trigger payments manually!

There are reports of cardholders not earning points on the 2nd and 3rd payments with BNPL platforms. This might be because the way the platform processes subsequent instalments does not satisfy the “online” parameter required to earn bonuses with certain cards.

To avoid this issue, my advice would be to trigger payments manually each month instead of letting them happen automatically. Most BNPL providers should allow for this (e.g. Atome, Hoolah, Pace).

I’ve written a separate article about the best cards to use for BNPL platforms. Do note that it’s been a while since I last looked at this topic, so I’d highly recommend reading the article in conjunction with the comments section, where people have reported more recent data points.

Alternatively, another way of managing the bonus caps on your card is to buy gift cards, which effectively let you break down a transaction into smaller chunks. 

AMEX x Apple Rewards Store

AMEX Apple Rewards Store

American Express offers an online Apple Rewards Store where Membership Rewards points can be used to offset purchases at a rate of S$6 per 1,000 MR points (versus S$4.80 per 1,000 points normally). 

Based on the conversion rates to miles, this is equivalent to accepting a value of:

Truth be told, it’s not a fantastic valuation, so I wouldn’t recommend it unless you’re flush with MR points. 

Use the DBS yuu Card for 18% rebates

Who says miles are the only option (well, me, until April this year)?

If you’re buying an iPhone from a Singtel Shop or Singtel Exclusive Retailer, paying with the DBS yuu Card would earn 18% rebates in the form of yuu Points.

Apply (AMEX)
Apply (Visa)
PointsRemarks
 Base 
10 points per S$1 spent
(equivalent to 5% rebate)
  • No min spend
  • No cap
 Bonus 
26 points per S$1 spent 
(equivalent to 13% rebate)

The 18% rebate is capped at S$600 per calendar month, but by getting both the AMEX and Visa versions, you can effectively double your rebate cap.

If you’re planning to dull the upfront pain of a new iPhone by buying an (overpriced) monthly plan, you can also earn 18% rebates on your monthly Singtel bill by paying with the yuu Card at Singtel kiosks.

Get a Blackberry

But perhaps the best tip I can offer all would-be iPhone owners is to consider the peerless Blackberry Key2 instead.

 
 Blackberry Key2Apple iPhone 15
Looks AwesomeYesNo
Theft RiskNon-existentExtreme
Attractiveness to FemalesExtremeNon-existent
Is BlackberryYesNo

This is, in all respects, a superior piece of kit to the iPhone, with its expandable storage, all-day battery, and a camera cleverly designed to be subpar so you put down your phone and just be in the moment.

Now available at an eBay seller near you.

Conclusion

The latest iPhone 15 will put a dent in your wallet, but it’s also an opportunity to pad your miles balance. If you don’t absolutely need it right this moment, waiting a while will pay dividends as inventory becomes available in-store at Challenger and Harvey Norman, or online at KrisShop.

Any other ways to earn more miles on this absolutely essential purchase?

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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kidneyseller

blackberry key2 chart also needs one more column:
sell kidney? no / yes

(also, which cards gives best mpd for hospital bill to remove kidney? asking for a friend)

Reaper-17

For “The official Apple store partners with pace, while iStudio and Singtel partner with Atome. 

I can’t find the option to use Pace at Apple store. And iStudio only accepts Atome in-store, their website accepts Grab Pay Later, but the MCC seems to be the same as top-up.

Alan

Wouldn’t purchase on krisshop earn 6mpd using UOB lady’s travel category?

Last edited 6 months ago by Alan
Shawn

Love the sarcasm 🙂 Could also add an option if buying from retail when overseas, not online

Charles

I would buy it on iShopChangi if available (benefit 1: save on GST) using one of the 4mpd cards (benefit 2: miles)

This then goes towards maintaining my Changi Rewards platinum status for free parking, 2x lounge access etc (benefit 3).

iamhappy

Would purchasing a phone from Singtel (via website, re-contract) using the DBS WWMC earn 4 mpd?

alwaysbusy

Can earn 4mpd for using Citi Rewards + Amaze from Singtel in-store?

Elizabeth

Is buying iphone 15 online at Apple website with OCBC Platinium eligible for 6mpd? First 2k 6mpd and subsequent continue 4mpd?

Elizabeth

I mean OCBC Titanium

Will

LOL
“overriding the protests of those apparatchiks in Brussels who had for so long stood in the way.”
You got it backwards bro.
Apple was very happy to force all users to buy equipment that works only for i-somethings.
Europe forced Apple to use a standard USB-C. Great news for consumers for sure

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