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The Best Rewards Credit Card in Singapore

by Apoorv Trivedi on
Rewards Cards

Update: New cardholders need to spend at least S$800 per year with Singapore Airlines and KrisShop to earn enhanced rewards on the KrisFlyer UOB Credit Card. This requirement was S$500 per year previously.


The Bottom Line

The KrisFlyer UOB Credit Card offers the best overall rewards as long as you spend at least S$800+ per year with Singapore Airlines and KrisShop.

Based on the spending and redemption profiles we simulated, the effective reward rate on this card is 2.5%+ with no cap, which is much higher than most other cards, including most cashback cards. This makes KrisFlyer UOB very attractive for people with high monthly spends, better than any cashback card.

 

Our pick for Best Rewards
KrisFlyer UOB Credit Card
Best Rewards in many categories

KrisFlyer UOB Credit Card offers the best overall rewards of all cards in Singapore. It also has the best rewards for Dining, Online Fashion and Local Transport categories.

If you found this useful, consider signing up for KrisFlyer UOB via the link above. This gives you access to the best deals and helps us maintain the site.


If you are looking for the best rewards cards by category, a number of cards offer effective rewards of 5.6% on various categories but have monthly caps on overall rewards that can be earned.

The HSBC Revolution and UOB Preferred Platinum Visa card, both offer 5.6% reward on your online and mobile contactless spends, with a cap equivalent to S$56 a month. Since HSBC charges a higher fee for converting points to miles, we recommend the UOB Preferred Platinum Visa card.

The UOB PRVI card offers an effective reward of 8.4% for travel bookings but is restricted to bookings via a few sites and excludes Singapore Airlines.


What is a Rewards Credit Card?

A rewards card is a credit card that gives you some kind of “reward” for using it. The reward is usually in form of points or miles that can be redeemed for a gift or as cashback in your bill.

In this article we are looking at cards that reward you with points and miles only. Our analysis of the best cashback cards is here, and a comprehensive guide on how to maximize your rewards and cashback using multiple cards is here.


Who this is for?

If you want a credit card that gets you the best rewards but are confused by the many choices, and their varied terms and conditions, this guide is for you.

You may the person who want to keep only 1-2 credit cards in their wallet or the one who maximizes the rewards using a portfolio(!) of credit cards. This guide should get you closer to finding the best cards for your needs.


How we selected?

We spent 10s of hours going through the terms and conditions of every single credit card offered by the major providers in Singapore – DBS, OCBC, UOB, Citi, HSBC and Standard Chartered.

Each bank has their own “currency” (or currencies in case of OCBC) in which the rewards are given. The points or miles have different values and are hard to compare. So we needed to calculate the”exchange rates” or the value in SGD for each reward point and mile.

Value per point For this comparison, we used the information available on their websites to calculate the value of a single reward point in each of their rewards programs. Typically this was based on the number of points they award for every dollar spent and the number of points needed to redeem a cash voucher or similar cash equivalent gift.

Most banks also offer the option of converting points into frequent flyer miles. We used this information to calculate that usually it is better to convert your rewards points in to miles since this increases the value of the reward you can get.

Spending Profiles We then created 5 different credit card spending profiles, with different total monthly spends on the card (S$1K, S$2K, S$4K, S$6.5K and S$10K) and each with different mix of spending in categories like online shopping and overseas spend.

Spending profiles for simulating Rewards

Total Monthly Spend S$ →
by Category ↓
S$1K S$2K S$4K S$6.5K S$10K
Grocery 200 300 500 600 900
Dining 75 100 350 750 1,050
Food Delivery 50 50 100 175 250
Entertainment 50 50 100 200 300
Online Shopping 50 250 350 900 1,300
Shopping 100 300 700 900 1,300
Transport 150 150 350 600 900
Utility Bills 150 150 250 300 350
Online Entertainment 25 50 100 100 150
Travel 0 150 300 500 1,000
Foreign 0 150 300 500 1,000
Other* 150 300 600 975 1,500
Total 1,000 2,000 4,000 6,500 10,000
* We assume that 15% of your spending does not fit into any of the categories and earns only the base reward rate for each card.

We used these profiles to calculate the total value of rewards you could collect for each card. This was based on the base rewards offered by each credit card as well as the higher rewards they offered on specific categories e.g. dining or travel.

We calculated the value of rewards on each card in two ways – when redeemed as points and when converted to miles for redemption. For converting to miles, we assumed the conversion would only happen once a year and reduced the value of the total reward by the conversion fee for that bank and card.

For each spending profile and card we took the higher of these two methods as the effective reward.

For e.g. if you spend S$1K a month on HSBC Revolution Card for 3 months, and redeem the resulting rewards for a cash voucher with HSBC, the effective reward rate is 1.09%. If you convert these same points into miles (with a S$42.80 conversion fee), the effective reward rate falls to 1.02%. This is because the conversion fee is too high relative to the size of the reward. In this case we assumed you would use the points and take the 1.09% reward.

However, for the same card, if instead you convert the points to miles only once a year, you get an effective reward of 2.09% even after paying the conversion fee vs. only 1.09% taking the voucher at the bank. In this case we assume you convert.

We have ordered the cards in the table below using this effective reward rate on the total spend for each spending profile. If your spending profile is very different from this, you may receive a different reward rate. We are working on a tool to help you choose the best card for your profile. Watch this space.

Reward Rates on Rewards Credit Cards in Singapore

Monthly Spend S$ →
Credit Card ↓
S$1K S$2K S$4K S$6.5K S$10K Avg.
KrisFlyer UOB 2.5% 2.6% 2.6% 2.8% 2.8% 2.7%
UOB PRVI Miles 1.7% 2.4% 2.5% 2.5% 2.7% 2.4%
UOB Visa Signature 1.6% 2.2% 2.3% 2.0% 2.1% 2.1%
SC Visa Infinite* 1.7% 2.0% 2.1% 2.1% 2.2% 2.0%
UOB Preferred Platinum Visa* 2.3% 2.7% 2.0% 1.5% 1.2% 1.9%
UOB Visa Infinite Metal 1.7% 1.9% 2.0% 2.0% 2.0% 1.9%
OCBC Voyage 1.8% 1.9% 1.9% 1.9% 1.9% 1.9%
DBS Altitude 1.5% 1.8% 1.9% 1.9% 2.0% 1.8%
OCBC 90°N Mastercard^ 1.7% 1.8% 1.8% 1.8% 1.8% 1.8%
OCBC 90°N Visa^ 1.7% 1.8% 1.7% 1.7% 1.6% 1.7%
SC Visa Infinite X* 1.2% 1.5% 1.7% 1.7% 1.7% 1.6%
HSBC Revolution 1.7% 2.5% 1.6% 1.1% 0.9% 1.5%
Citi Prestige 1.1% 1.4% 1.5% 1.5% 1.6% 1.4%
Citi Rewards 1.5% 1.9% 1.6% 1.1% 0.9% 1.4%
HSBC Visa Infinite 1.0% 1.3% 1.4% 1.5% 1.5% 1.3%
Citi Premier Miles 1.0% 1.3% 1.4% 1.4% 1.5% 1.3%
OCBC Titanium 0.9% 1.7% 1.5% 1.2% 0.9% 1.2%
SC Priority Visa Infinite 1.0% 1.2% 1.3% 1.3% 1.4% 1.2%
DBS Woman’s World 0.4% 1.1% 1.0% 1.3% 1.3% 1.0%
Citi Lazada 0.6% 0.8% 1.0% 1.2% 1.2% 1.0%
UOB Lady’s 0.5% 0.6% 0.9% 1.1% 1.0% 0.8%
DBS Woman’s 0.2% 0.6% 0.6% 0.8% 0.8% 0.6%
SC Rewards + 0.3% 0.6% 0.6% 0.5% 0.5% 0.5%
OCBC Platinum 0.1% 0.3% 0.4% 0.5% 0.5% 0.4%
* Non-waiveable Annual Fee
^First year Annual Fee is non-waiveable.

What we did not consider

Category Caps Banks often have very complex rules that cap your rewards by spending category. For e.g. Citi Rewards Card gives 10x rewards on online spend, shopping, ride-hailing and food delivery but caps the monthly bonus rewards at 10,000 points / $1000 spend in these categories. All spend above this only earns a regular 1x reward.

While we have attempted adjust our reward calculations for these caps, its an imperfect adjustment for now. For cards with category caps, our calculations may be slightly off vs. what is actually awarded.

Annual Fees We also did not account for annual fees in most cases as these fees are typically waived if you do use the card and ask for a waiver. However there are some cases where the banks’ website mentioned that the fees were not waivable. We have highlighted these where relevant.

Other Benefits Many of these rewards cards also include other benefits like complimentary lounge access and vouchers on sign up or even monthly. We did not include the value of these benefits in the analysis for now because these are often subjective and can vary a lot from person to person. The value of these benefits can be meaningful if they are relevant for you.

Smaller Banks We did not cover the cards offered by the smaller banks in Singapore like CIMB and Bank of China but in our brief look at those cards, we did not notice any offers that stood out. We will update this article to include cards offered by American Express in a few days.


Our Overall Pick – KrisFlyer UOB Credit Card

KrisFlyer UOB Credit Card offers an average effective reward of 2.7% on your total spend, based on the spending profiles we created. That was meaningfully higher than the next best card, which offers an average effective rewards of 2.4% only.

KrisFlyer UOB offers an effective reward of 4.20% (or 3 miles) for major categories like Dining, local transport and online fashion shopping.

For the travel category also this card offers 4.20% reward, which is second only to the 8.4% (6 miles) reward offered by UOB PRVI Miles card. However the PRVI card only offers this reward on a limited number of online travel sites & airlines and does not offer the reward for your spend on Singapore Airlines, because of which we penalized the reward calculation on the PRVI by 1/3.

KrisFlyer UOB has a reward rate of 1.68% (1.2 miles) on spending in all other categories.

There is also no fee to convert or move your miles to the KrisFlyer program, unlike most other Rewards and Miles cards. There are also no caps on how many miles you can earn.

Minimum Spend To get the enhanced discount of 4.20% or 3 miles per S$, you need to spend a minimum of S$800 every year on Singapore Airlines or KrisShop.

We think most people considering this card should be able to meet this requirement easily. If you don’t expect to be able to meet the minimum spend with Singapore Airlines, then KrisFlyer UOB may not be the best card for you. You only get 1.2 miles per S$ spend on all categories in that case, which does not rank it among the best cards.

Our calculations of effective reward rate also use a relatively conservative value for a KrisFlyer mile – 1.40 cent per mile. This was based on our testing at Singapore Airlines website comparing the miles required vs. ticket prices for various destinations and dates. We focused on economy class fares for this and also used the higher cost Advantage fare where necessary.

Experts suggest that if you use your miles to redeem award tickets for business class or higher, you could potentially get a much higher value per mile of 1.7-3.0 cents.

That means big spenders on the KrisFlyer UOB card could easily redeem multiple award tickets in a year and realize much better reward rate, possibly as high as 6%.

However, most people do not usually travel Business class on their own dime and therefore we rely on our estimate using economy class fares.


Best Cards by Spending Category

Some people may want to go the extra mile and use different cards for different categories to maximize their rewards. We highlight the best card for each spending category if that’s you.

Online & Mobile Contactless Both HSBC Revolution and UOB Preferred Platinum Visa offer 5.6% discount with a monthly cap equivalent to about S$56.

Shopping OCBC Titanium card offers a 5.60% effective reward on all online and offline shopping spend. This includes department stores like Takashimaya, fashion retailers like H&M, Uniqlo and Charles & Keith, Electronic stores like Apple and Harvey Norman and online retailers like Amazon, Shopee and Lazada. Ikea and Mustafa Center are also eligible for these rewards. This is also capped at about S$56 per month.

Dining UOB Lady’s Card offers 5.6% reward on a category of your choice, which includes dining as an option. This is capped at about S$50 a month.

KrisFlyer UOB Credit Card is next with an effective reward of 4.20% and no cap.

Grocery  A number of cards offer 5.6% reward on grocery, if you include it under online and mobile contactless.

Transport Citi Rewards Card offers the highest discount of 4.76% for local transport spend including public transport, taxis and ride hailing apps. This is capped at about $45 a month.

Travel KrisFlyer UOB offers a 4.20% reward on travel bookings with no cap.

DBS Altitude also offers an identical 4.20% discount on travel bookings but restricts the earn to the first S$5,000 of spend.

Theoretically UOB PRVI Miles Credit Card offers the highest reward of 8.4% for travel bookings with 6 miles per S$ spent. However that reward is not applicable for tickets on Singapore Airlines and is restricted on only a few online travel sites.

Because of this we discounted that reward by 1/3 in our calculations for the overall best card and do not recommend it as the best travel card. However if you can work within those restrictions, UOB PRVI has the best rewards for travel spend.

Overseas Standard Chartered Rewards + and UOB Visa Signature both offer an effective rewards rate of 5.6% for your overseas spend. However both cap the reward at about S$112 a month.

Standard Chartered Visa Infinite offers a 4.20% reward rate on overseas spend but it has a non-waivable annual fee of S$588.50.

UOB PRVI has an effective reward rate of 3.36% for overseas spend, with no caps and could be a viable choice for large spenders.


Key Features by Rewards Cards

Card Avg.
Effective
Reward
Annual
Income
Req.
Annual
Fee
Fee
Waiver
(Years)
Signup
Gift**
DBS Altitude 1.8% S$30K $160.50 1 $150
DBS Woman’s 0.6% S$30K $160.50 1 $150
DBS Woman’s World 1.0% S$80K $192.60 1 $150
OCBC 90°N Visa^ 1.7% S$30K $53.50
OCBC 90°N Mastercard^ 1.8% S$30K $53.50
OCBC Voyage 1.9% S$120K $488.00
OCBC Titanium 1.2% S$30K $192.60 2
OCBC Platinum 0.4% S$30K $160.50 2
KrisFlyer UOB 2.7% S$30K $192.50 1 12k Miles
UOB PRVI Miles 2.4% S$30K $256.80 1 $150
UOB Visa Signature 2.0% S$50K $214.00 1 $150
UOB Lady’s 0.8% S$30K $192.60 1 $150
UOB Preferred Platinum Visa 1.9% S$30K $192.60 1 $150
UOB Visa Infinite Metal 1.9% S$150K $642.00
HSBC Revolution 1.5% S$30K N/A $200
HSBC Visa Infinite 1.3% S$120K $650.00 35K Miles
SC Priority Visa Infinite 1.2% S$30K $321.00 $220
SC Visa Infinite X* 1.6% S$30K $695.50 75K Pts
SC Visa Infinite* 2.0% S$30K $588.50 35K Pts
SC Rewards+ 0.5% S$30K $192.60 2 $220
Citi Premier Miles 1.3% S$30K $192.60 45K Miles
Citi Rewards 1.4% S$30K $192.60 1 30K Miles
Citi Prestige 1.4% S$120K $535.00 62.5K Pts
Citi Lazada 1.0% S$30K $192.60 1 $250
* Annual Fee is non-waiveable
^ First year Annual Fee is non-waiveable
** In SG$ unless specified

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