TL;DR: An excellent, versatile mile card for lazy mile collectors who just want one card for everything. Also a pretty good tool for uncapped 3 mpd earning for hardcore mile people, if they can tolerate delayed crediting, and provided they have run out of 4 mpd cards… and there are many such cards.
Singapore Air and UOB have collaborated to introduce the UOB KrisFlyer Credit Card. Much like Amex KrisFlyer cards, spending on the UOB KrisFlyer card automatically awards points to one’s KrisFlyer account. No conversion fees nor unused bank points to worry about.
This is how Amex KrisFlyer cards work too, but a significant edge the UOB KrisFlyer card has over the Amex is that it’s a Mastercard which is accepted at a lot more places than Amex is. This includes being able to use the UOB KF for SimplyGo, earning you miles when you take public transportation.
The card gives a rather typical 1.2 mpd earning rate, which is in line with the 1.1 to 1.4 mpd rate most unconditional mile cards give. Where it shines is that this rate goes up to 3 mpd by giving an additional 1.8 mpd for dining, food delivery, transportation, and online transactions! These are pretty common use cases, including taking the bus or MRT as mentioned earlier.
If you ever wanted to explore the mile game, this is an excellent starter card to get your foot into the door of mile-chasing.
One condition, one caveat
The only condition is that one must spend a minimum of
$500 $300 (update: lowered to $300 until end of August 2022) in a year on Singapore Air and related expenses. This includes Scoot, SilkAir, and KrisShop purchases. It is a pretty straightforward criteria that one only needs to worry about once a year, and such spending also generates a higher 3 mpd instead of the base 1.2. There’s no minimum spending nor maximum cap to worry about.
While you can find top-end mile cards giving 4 mpd for some of categories, they tend to come with monthly caps: CitiRewards and DBS Women’s World Card max out at $1,000 and $2,000 monthly spending respectively. You can now get 3 mpd for really large purchases where you would only get 1+ mpd previously on an uncapped card.
Also, UOB KF is more versatile by including transportation and dining which the two cards do not offer – great for those who just want to have one card. Moreover, conditional cards like CitiRewards usually give a miserable 0.4 mpd on categories outside of its intended use case, while UOB KF has a base of 1.2 mpd. Not having to think too much is perhaps the greatest advantage of this card over conditional mile cards, while still having a potential upside of 3 mpd if you do meet the criteria.
One little caveat is that the bonus 1.8 miles are credited 2 months after the card anniversary, ie. if you sign up for the card now (31st May), you’ll receive your bonus miles for the whole statement year in end July 2020. Depending on your travel plans and existing stockpile of miles, this may or may not be a huge deal. Personally, I’m ambivalent about this because I currently earn miles faster than I can fly 😢
This also means that your bonus miles for the entire year are held hostage when the annual fee hits and you can’t get a waiver. Pay the annual fee or lose your bonus miles, which isn’t entirely bad since you do get 10,000 miles for paying the fee. Other perks like a $15 Grab promo code to/from the airport and $20 off KrisShop further defray that annual fee.
KrisFlyer UOB Card
New to UOB Cards
Get up to 21,000 miles when you spend $1,500 within first 30 days.
Until 31st July.
Get 1.2 mpd on normal expenditure, and bonus 1.8 mpd on dining,
food delivery, online shopping and travel, and transport spend when you spend S$500 in a year with Singapore Airlines Group.
Who is this card for? Hardcore miles farmers are definitely going to get this just for the 5,000 free miles. The fact that it’s one of the highest mpd (the next being HSBC Revolution at 2 mpd) for public transportation also helps, all without creating a new pocket of miles that incurs conversion fees. It is also the backup card to use when their 4 mpd cards’ earning caps are exhausted for the month.
Update October 2021: the StanChart Smart Card gives 5.57 mpd for public transportation.
The trouble is that there are simply too many 4 mpd cards in the market that a 3mpd one probably isn’t going to see much use – unless your spending is really, really high in a particular month.
On the other end of the spectrum, this is definitely going to be the go-to card for the
lazy casual mile gatherer. I have more than a few friends who simply use a 1.2 mpd card for everything (much to the chagrin of mile farmers and myself), and the fact that this has a huge upside for many common categories already makes this a non-brainer card for them. Throw in direct to KrisFlyer crediting and this makes an excellent carefree miles card for the lazy non-optimisers.
- Relatively fuss-free 3 mpd for common expenses
- Useful little perks like Grab, KrisShop rebates, waiver of Scoot’s convenience fees etc.
- Direct crediting to KrisFlyer on a Mastercard
- A decent One Card to Rule Them All to carry instead of having multiple cards
- Having to pay an annual fee to avoid losing your bonus miles
- Having to make spend on SQ transactions for bonus miles – much harder during a pandemic
- KrisFlyer miles expire in 3 years after it is credited
- Planning redemptions is trickier when miles are credited at different times with different expiry dates
- In a world of 4 mpd cards, a 3 mpd earn rate isn’t compelling
- Trying to redeem a flight but your bonus miles haven’t come in yet
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