Tragic: UOB One Nerfed From 16 March – Ways to Cope Now That 10% Cashback is No More

We all saw this coming, but it doesn’t make it any less sad: UOB One is being nerfed from 16 March 2020 to exclude a host of transactions, the most notable being Grab wallet top-ups. This leaves our reigning A+ card severely wounded and possibly dethroned. Where do we go from here?

Possibly one of the saddest SMSes

UOB One gives cashback based on quarters, ie. Jan, Feb, and Mar count as one quarter, or Feb, Mar, and Apr, depending on when you first applied for the card.

The first thing we should do is to close the quarter if we are not done with it. For quarters that are about to start, we should decide whether to take advantage of 10% cashback up until 16th March.

If your quarter is Jan, Feb, Mar

For people who have Jan, Feb, and Mar quarters, they should be able to close their quarters neatly by topping up $2,000 in March before the 16th. Take note that UOB One goes by posting date, so topping up on the 14th or 15th is quite risky.

If your quarter is Feb, Mar, Apr

Mine happens to be Feb, Mar and Apr, and I just got my quarterly cash rebate. Is it worth it starting a new quarter? I could top up $2,000 in February, $2,000 in March (before 16th), and then spend $500 on other things in March. This would make my cashback $50 for the quarter, plus additional cashback of $200 ($100 from February and $100 from March), totaling $250. Not quite the $600 from topping up $2,000 every month, but we make do given the circumstances.

In fact, if I can spend $1,000 or $2,000 on other things in April, the cashback figure goes up to $300 ($100 quarterly rebate + $200 from Grab) or $500 ($300 quarterly rebate + $200 from Grab) respectively.

This means I should still start a new quarter, and make sure that I can hit at least $500 of spending in April, and $2,000 if possible to max out the cashback. In fact, charging Grab transactions directly to the UOB One card would enhance the cashback, although I suspect most people don’t spend all that much on Grab even if we do use GrabPay on other things a lot.

FebMarApr*Total Cashback%
$2,000$2,000$500$2505.56%
$2,000$2,000$1,000$3006%
$2,000$2,000$2,000$5008.33%

*Grab top-ups don’t count any more; spend on other things (Grab rides/deliveries are the best)

If your quarter is Dec, Jan, Feb

March would be the first month of your next new quarter if you fall into this category, and it might not be so attractive to start a new quarter with only one month of cashback on Grab top-ups.

MarApr*May*Total Cashback%
$2,000$500$500$1505%
$2,000$1,000$1,000$2005%
$2,000$2,000$2,000$4006.67%

*Grab top-ups don’t count any more; spend on other things (Grab rides/deliveries are the best)

What about other cards?

Time for a 2% cashback card to shine

For cashback, StanChart Spree gave me 2% cashback for top-ups done in December. I have not personally tried this, but crowdsourced data tells me that AMEX True Cashback Card also gives 1.5% (3% for up to $5,000 in first six months).

For miles, DBS Altitude gives 1.2 mpd on top-ups, but you’d probably look at CitiRewards VISA for a more meaningful 4 mpd – likely the last remaining high tier card that earns on Grab top-ups.

Applying with the above links help to support this site, and you also get to receive attractive sign-up bonuses. For Standard Chartered cards, you get AirPods and $80 if you are new (or $70 for existing). Citi cards give a crazy $300 if you’re new (or $30 for existing), and AMEX gives $80.

Promos end by the end of this month, and you should know by now that the Grab game is not long for this world, so let’s strike while the iron is hot… Or in this case, lukewarm and rapidly cooling to room temperature.

Denial, anger, grief… Then acceptance

A tragic coincidence this came in on the same day.

I think we should also resign to the fact that 10% cashback is unsustainable even for a multi-billion bank and a tech unicorn flush with investors’ money. This coming right after GrabRewards being nerfed is quite the double whammy, and it’s obvious that GrabPay will soon cease to be an easy channel for us to farm miles and cashback. Other cards will inevitably follow suit, sooner rather than later. All we can do is to adjust our card strategy as changes arrive.

Let’s pour one out for our beloved A+ UOB One + GrabPay MasterCard, and prepare to move on to the next best card on our quest for credit card rewards. RIP 😢

8 thoughts on “Tragic: UOB One Nerfed From 16 March – Ways to Cope Now That 10% Cashback is No More”

  1. Tragic day indeed. How about HSBC Advance card? It gives up to 3.5% cashback for spending more than 2k. But I’m not sure if grab top ups are considered.

  2. sorry newbie here..the 2000 top up is to your grabpay account..so it means now your grabpay balance more than 10k, if you hv done it for at least 2 quarters? and you gotta spend all of that? or is there a way to put it back to yr bank account?

    1. Between my business, friends, and family, I have a lot of expenses I can pay for first. But even if one doesn’t, I think it’s worth it to stock up on 10% cashback by keeping it in Grab first. The maximum balance for Grab is $5,000 though.

  3. Hey, SO what are the cards which you have found which still award rewards to GrabPay TOP Ups? So far I’ve not found HSBC Advance. Does it work for the Citireward and Scb spree card too?

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