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.
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 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.
Sign me up for the sign-up bonus
There are cards you sign up for the competitive features and there are cards you sign up for the sign-up bonus. UOB KF is both of those things. After being declined for their cards a couple of years ago, I see it as a blessing in disguise that this card is my first one with UOB as new-to-bank customers get a choice of 7,000 miles, or a free ticket to Bangkok, Penang, or Lombok when we spend $2,000 by 30th June. This is much better than UOB’s usual modus operandi of giving only the first [insert number here] approved applications which is entirely non-guaranteed.
On top of that, new and existing customers get 5,000 miles to sweeten the deal with a tiny spend of $5 charged to the card.
I’m pleased to have bought my family’s annual vacation tickets with SIA, clocking the spend for my free Bangkok ticket and meeting the $500 annual spend criteria all at once. Singapore Air’s current promotion also looks really competitive for many places so it might be time to start making year-end plans.
Update: the above promo is over.
You can sign up for UOB cards here, which supports my site and earns yourself some rewards in the process.
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.
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
- Card is actually quite nice looking
- Having to pay an annual fee to avoid losing your bonus miles
- 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
- Trying to redeem a flight but your bonus miles haven’t come in yet