Review: UOB Lady’s Card (Mid-2023)

On 8th March 2023, aptly International Women’s Day, UOB dropped a big buff to its lady-oriented suite of credit cards. Instead of the usual “4 miles per dollar” figure most banks have settled on, UOB Lady’s cards now offer a princely (princessly?) 6 miles per dollar – the highest earn rate one can find for spending not tied to a specific merchant.

As the name suggests, UOB Lady’s Card is exclusively for the fairer gender and the bank even drives this point across with its marketing slogan. While UOB’s marketing says the men don’t get it, us men probably shouldn’t ignore this since there are still ways a guy can take advantage of this card despite the gender requirement.

Relax, it doesn’t involve wearing a wig.

Card details

CardUOB Lady’sUOB Lady’s Solitaire
Earn Rate15X points per S$5 spent on selected categories (6 miles per dollar)*
1X point per S$5 spent on other transactions (0.4 miles per dollar) 
Points1 UNI$ point = 2 miles or 1¢
2-year expiry
CategoriesChoose 1Choose 2
Max Amount for Earn RateS$1,000 spend per monthS$3,000 spend per month
Annual FeeS$194.40 (free for first year)S$410.40 (free for first year)
Annual Income RequirementS$30,000S$120,000
*Until 29th February 2024`

The UOB Lady’s comes in two tiers: the standard version which requires just S$30,000 annual income, and a higher-end version – the UOB Lady’s Solitaire – that requires S$120,000 in annual income.

UOB Lady’s

Get up to S$490 in Grab Voucher and cash credit when you apply!

  • S$350 Grab Voucher (first 200 successful applicants)¹
  • Up to S$140 Cash Credit (UOB account opening promo)²
  1. Terms and conditions
  2. Terms and conditions

15X UNI$ per dollar spent (6mpd) on selected category until 29th February 2024

How good is 6 miles per dollar anyway?

Those who chase miles should know that 6 miles per dollar is as good as it gets these days when many cards max out at just 4 miles per dollar. A business class ticket costs 52,000 miles via Singapore Air, and that requires just S$8,670 of spend on a UOB Lady’s Card while other carsd need S$13,000.

Even people who don’t want to get into the miles game can benefit from such an earn rate – it’s some 3% cashback when you redeem the UNI$ points earned by this card for cash rebates. You could also transfer the miles earned to Kris+ and use them as cash rebates, and doing so converts a 6 miles per dollar earn rate to roughly 4% of cash rebates. Miles people will cry over such poor redemptions, but it’s an illustration to show you how 6 miles per dollar is so good.

My personal valuation of this earn rate is that it’s roughly equivalent to 6 to 7.5% cashback, and this is based on my usual valuation that miles are worth about 1 to 1.25 cents each.

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Categories

Both cards need you to select your preferred categories from the following list:

CategoryMCCsDescription
Beauty & Wellness5912, 5977, 7230, 7231, 7298, 7297Discount, Mass and Drug Stores, Cosmetics Stores, Barber and Beauty Shops, Health and Beauty Spa, Massage Parlours
Dining5811, 5812, 5814, 5499Caterers, Eating places and Restaurants, Fast food restaurants and food deliveries
Entertainment5813, 7832, 7922Bars, Taverns, Lounges and Nightclubs, Motion Picture Theatres, Theatrical Producers and Ticket Agencies
Family5411, 5641Grocery stores, Children and Infants wear store
Fashion5311, 5611, 5621, 5631, 5651, 5655, 5661, 5691, 5699, 5948Department Stores, Men’s and Boy’s Clothing and Accessories Store, Women’s Ready-to-wear Stores, Women’s Access and Specialty, Family Clothing Stores, Sports and Riding Apparel Stores, Shoes Stores, Men’s and Women’s Clothing Stores, Miscellaneous Apparel and Accessories Shops, Luggage and Leather Stores
Transport4111, 4121, 4789, 5541, 5542Local Commuter Transport, Taxi, Cabs, Limousines and Travel Service, Service Stations and Automatic Gas Dispensers
Travel3000-3299
4411
5309
3500-3999
4722
Airlines, Cruise liners, Duty-free stores, Hotels, Online and offline travel agencies
Credits: Milelion

UOB Lady’s allows just one category to be selected while Solitaire allows 2 categories. The usefulness of these cards depends highly on your areas of spend, but these are very common areas of spend that should be relevant to most people.

A glaring omission is the lack of electronics – to me at least, which is probably why this card isn’t marketed to me. Department stores could be a workaround to many missing items on this list – places like Takashimaya stock all manners of items one could possibly think of, albeit at slightly steeper prices.

Cardholders may change their categories once every calendar quarter. While this isn’t nearly as convenient as being able to change each month, it does allow some flexibility in spends that can be planned in advance. You could possibly buy grocery vouchers for the rest of the year while choosing the Family category, then switching it to travel before you book your year-end holiday.

Works well with other UOB points cards, Instarem Amaze, and with the UOB One Account

The good thing about UNI$ points earned by UOB cards is that they are pooled together and do not require separate redemptions. This means you can switch between different UOB points cards without having to worry too much about the hassle of managing different sets of points.

It is hence easy to use UOB Lady’s Card as a supplement to your UOB Visa Signature or UOB Preferred Platinum Visa. Those are easier cards to use since they give 4 miles per dollar on virtually anywhere that accepts contactless payment, then switch to the UOB Lady’s Card when spending at a selected category.

UOB has also not excluded Amaze from spending, save for public transportation spends.

Another plus point is that the card is an eligible card for UOB One Account’s spending requirement. It is also the only miles card that qualifies for getting bonus interest on the bank account, a curious decision that excludes miles-chasing men from the fun.

Airline transfer partners

Unlike Citi points cards or the recently released HSBC TravelOne, UOB has a very limited range of airline transfer partners. You can have any frequent flyer programme you want, as long as they are:

  • KrisFlyer
  • Asia Miles
  • AirAsia Freedom Flyer

Different airlines tend to have different “sweet spots” when it comes to mile redemptions, so you might want to fly with a particular airline for a certain route, and another airline for a different destination. Having just three frequent flyer programmes to choose from is hence quite limiting when it comes to picking redemptions with the best value.

UOB$ merchants and S$5 spending block

A usual bugbear with UOB credit cards, cashback and points/miles alike, is that UOB$ merchants don’t give the rewards we expect from our cards. It seems weird, but I have to actively avoid UOB$ merchants when using my UOB EVOL card so that I can get cashback on my transaction.

Another issue that plagues UOB points cards is that rewards are given on blocks of S$5 spend. This means that a S$4.99 transactions don’t earn the advertised rate.

Fortunately, both issues do not affect the UOB Lady’s cards too much. If you spend at a UOB$ merchant or make a S$4.99 transaction, you don’t get base points for either transaction, but you still do get most of the bonus points which make up much of the UOB Lady’s earn rate.

To illustrate, a S$10 spend at Giant misses out on the base earn rate of 1X per S$5 spend because Giant is a UOB$ merchant, but still qualifies for the 14X bonus points per S$5 spend, resulting in 28 UNI$ points for this transaction which is 56 miles on S$10 or 5.6 miles per dollar.

For spends that don’t make up nice multiples of S$5, the impact is also negated by how the UOB Lady’s cards award points. If you make 10 transactions of S$9.99, you only get base points as if each transaction were S$5 since base points are awarded on every S$5 block.

However, the total spend is now $99.90, of which S$95 (the nearest $5 multiple rounded down) qualifies for the 14X earn rate.

All these is to say that you can just use your UOB Lady’s card without much worry anywhere and still get a meaningful earn rate on your spend.

Seth
Seth

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Gender requirement

Update: guys, we did it! Men can now apply for the card

The last item of my review is perhaps the biggest stickler for at least half the population, and that is the fact that the card is simply not available for men. Unlike DBS which has opted to make its DBS Woman’s World Mastercard available for men as well, UOB has remained steadfast in its decision to make their female-oriented credit card strictly for the ladies.

Gender reassignment surgery can legally change your gender in Singapore, but even UOB’s customer service isn’t too sure:

If you are a dude who is happily a dude, a workaround would be to get a lady relative/friend to sign up for the card for your use, but the points earned can only be transferred to her frequent flyer programme. It is entirely possible to use her frequent flyer programme to redeem flights for you, but this of course requires an arrangement of trust on both ends. She needs to be sure you’d pay the card bills, and you need to be sure she doesn’t literally fly away with your miles.

Most guys can probably count on their mums, wives, or a trustworthy lady friend for such an arrangement. It’s not the neatest situation to be sure, but for 6 miles per dollar I’m pretty happy to deal with a bit of hassle.

That, or perhaps UOB might want to see all the compliments this picture of Steph is garnering and issue “her” a UOB Lady’s card 😘

Conclusion

In all, the UOB Lady’s card and the UOB Lady’s Solitaire are two very strong cards, at least until 29th February 2024. The earn rates are the highest one can find, and they ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ off the usual downsides UOB points cards face.

While the boost in earn rates is time-limited and not a permanent feature, a year is plenty of time to clock plenty of miles. Nerfs can happen any time to other cards anyway, and in some way, having a specified end-date seems to suggest that the card is “protected” from nerfs until that deadline.

Men may not be eligible to apply, but not totally left out of the fun if he can find a lady to depend on. And for most straight men, perhaps that is a goal on its own anyway.

The good:

  • High 6 miles per dollar earn rate is unbeatable right now
  • Ability to change categories
  • Not affected by UOB$ merchants or S$5 spend blocks much

The bad:

  • Change of bonus merchants only doable every quarter
  • Only available for ladies
  • Limited airlines

The ugly:

  • Nothing. Have you not see how pretty Steph is?

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