There are five stages of grief, and since news of the UOB One nerf first broke almost two weeks ago our Telegram group has experienced the whole gamut of emotions:
Switching to another card
The dust is settling, somewhat, as reward chasers do what we do: move on and find the next best thing to chase. Alternatives have been proposed and discussed, and you can see some of my suggestions here:
A few would be switching to other cards, with some 16% of UOB One users in our chat group indicating that they’d do so in a straw poll. Popular cashback cards like OCBC FRANK, DBS LiveFresh, and UOB EVOL seem, well, popular choices to go to for some disappointed UOB One users. Other solutions like GrabPay Mastercard seem popular too, and almost every other card does not have the cumbersome requirement of having to spend a consistent amount monthly for at least three months to get cashback.
A significant number don’t use UOB One at all
Almost half of the poll respondents don’t even use the UOB One to begin with. As popular as this card is, we do have many miles people in the group, and a good number of cashback people are perhaps looking at higher rates like 6 to 8% offered by other cards.
It doesn’t help that UOB is often stingy with their sign-up promos, often limiting goodies to one or two hundred people who are the quickest to sign up and put a sizeable amount of spend on it:
New to bank
Welcome Gift:Get $300 cash credit if you are the first 100 new-to-UOB Credit Cardmember and make a min. spend of S$1,000 for 2 consecutive 30 day periods from Card Approval date. Valid till 31 Jan 2023. T&Cs apply.
Get 3.33% base cashback if you spend $500, $1,000, or $2,000 a month for three consecutive months. Up to 6.67% additional cashback for Grab, Shopee, and Diary Farm merchants.
Other banks are giving away hundreds of dollars for their cards with far less spend required, and their gifts are guaranteed if you complete the requirements. UOB has so far been rather obstinate in the face of such competition, and this nerf would surely not do itself any favours in getting its flagship card out to more people.
Still using the card
But perhaps a testament to UOB One’s uniqueness in the cashback cards space, over 80% of UOB One users polled stated that they would continue using the card, even if some say they’d use it less. There’s still an impressive cashback yield of 8.33% achievable on $2,000 of monthly spend… if you spend heavily on things like Shopee, Grab, or Dairy Farm merchants that is.
Bonus merchants aside, UOB One still works in giving 3.33% for CardUp and ipaymy payment services, a rarity for high-earn cards. Maybe calling a 3.33% cashback rate “high earn” is a little stretching it, but most cards that still work for such services give at best 1.6% cashback, or 1.6 miles per dollar. Even UOB One’s reduced rate seems good in comparison to such numbers.
This has been the second significant nerf to UOB One in two years, the first being even more devastating by taking away 10% cashback on Grab top-ups. Did you know we could once top up $2,000 monthly into Grab, then get $600 after three months? I don’t know how mile chasers turned their noses at this back then and continued using 4 mpd cards, essentially buying their miles at a pricey 2.5 cents each because of the opportunity cost.
Most cards don’t survive beyond a single major nerf, let alone two. Yet, UOB One sees mostly continued use by its user base… and you can count me in as one of them. There are simply few other ways to earn cashback on my mortgage, or reach as high as 8.33% cashback on Grab, Shopee, Dairy Farm merchants (e.g. Giant, Cold Storage), and now SimplyGo for buses and trains.
Other banks may want to take note that there seems like there’s space here for more than just one card. Until then, most of us cashback people only have this one 🥲
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