Credit Cards

KrisFlyer UOB Credit Card Review (2020)

This is our review of the KrisFlyer UOB Credit Card issued in Singapore. It forms part of our series of credit card reviews, which are all summarised on our dedicated Credit Cards page.

Dollar amounts refer to SGD, and ‘miles’ refer to KrisFlyer miles, except where stated. This review was updated on 1st October 2022.

KrisFlyer UOB Credit Card
Card Small
1.2 mpd
general spend

3 mpd
SIA spend

3 mpd
dining & travel
APPLY HERE
KrisFlyer UOB Credit Card
Card Small

1.2 mpd
general spend

3 mpd
SIA spend

3 mpd
travel & dining
APPLY HERE

  Mainly Miles Says

The KrisFlyer UOB credit card’s one big benefit, an uncapped 3 mpd on a wide range of everyday transactions, has one big flaw – you’ll need to be very patient about seeing the miles in your account.

It does however potentially suit those who don’t want the hassle of a multi-card strategy for miles earning, additionally boasting fee-free transfers into KrisFlyer and some useful benefits when flying on Scoot.

  Pros   Cons
  • First year fee waiver
  • No transfer fee to KrisFlyer
  • 10,000 miles on annual renewal
  • Good for those who don’t want the hassle of multiple cards
  • Useful benefits for regular Scoot travellers
  • Only one miles transfer partner
  • Min. $5 spend to earn miles
  • $5 earning blocks adversely affect ‘real’ earn rate
  • No lounge access
  • 3-year expiry clock for most of your miles starts ticking almost immediately

  Eligibility


  • Minimum Age: 21
  • Minimum Income (Singaporean / PR): $30,000/yr
  • Minimum Income (Non-Singaporean): $80,000/yr

The KrisFlyer UOB credit card comes in at the entry-level $30,000 per year income requirement for Singapore citizens and permanent residents, making it widely accessible.

Non-Singaporeans now require an S$80,000+ annual income, doubled from S$40,000 in October 2020.

  Fixed deposit alternative


If you do not meet the minimum annual income requirement, you can still be considered for the UOB KrisFlyer credit card with a minimum fixed deposit of S$10,000, maintained with the bank until account closure.

  Annual Fees & Interest Rates


  • Annual Fee (principal): $192.60 (first year free)
  • Annual Fee (supplementary): $96.30 (first card free)
  • Fee Waiver: Technically none, though some are lucky

The annual fee for the KrisFlyer UOB credit card is fairly standard for low income general spend cards at $192.60, though it is waived for the first year.

One supplementary card is fee-free, with subsequent supplementary cards charged at S$96.30 per year.

UOB state that this card is not eligible for fee waiver in year two onwards. That’s mostly the experience our readers have had so far, with a few lucky exceptions.

If like most you have to pay the annual fee on renewal, you’ll also receive a 10,000 miles bonus (i.e. paying 1.93 cents per mile). We value KrisFlyer miles at 1.9 cents each (our upper limit to buy), so we would try to avoid paying the annual fee where possible, even with 10,000 miles thrown in.

Other fees and interest rates for the KrisFlyer UOB credit card include:

  • EIR: 26.9%
  • Interest-free period: 21 days
  • Minimum payment: 3% (capped at $50)
  • Late payment fee: $100
  • Cash advance fee: 8% (min. $15)
  • Overlimit fee: $40

  Sign-up bonus


Whether you’re an existing UOB credit card holder or not, you’ll get a 3,000 miles welcome bonus provided you spend at least $5.00 on the card within 30 calendar days of the card opening date (yes, just $5).

These miles will be credited directly into your Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer account, as this card is directly linked to your KrisFlyer membership.

In addition to the sign-up bonus for all customers applying for this card outlined above, if you’re a new UOB credit card customer you are eligible for a S$50 cash credit when you spend a minimum of $500 within the first 30 days of the card account opening date.

To be eligible for this additional welcome bonus you must be among the first 200 new-to-UOB cardmembers who successfully apply online from 1st January to 31st January 2021.

As is often the case with UOB promotions – don’t count on it. You may or may not qualify for this conditional element. Terms and conditions are available here.

  Renewal bonus


On payment of the card fee at annual renewal you will receive 10,000 KrisFlyer miles. Most of our readers have reported being unsuccessful at having the annual fee waived for this card in year two, however for the few who did manage it the 10,000 KrisFlyer miles are then not awarded.

10,000 KrisFlyer miles are worth around S$190, so payment of the $192.60 annual fee for these miles is close to this valuation, at a cost of 1.93 cents each, even if you don’t place any value on the card benefits themselves.

This is a very similar renewal bonus is offered by the Citi PremierMiles Visa and DBS Altitude cards, on payment of the same annual fee.

Do be aware there’s no hurry on UOB’s part to award you the renewal fee bonus miles. You’ll wait up to three months after your annual fee is paid before you see the miles in your KrisFlyer account (e.g. annual renewal fee paid mid-May 2020, 10,000 miles will credit by mid-August 2020).

This appears to be accurate based on our reader reports, with some renewing in May 2020 waiting until September 2020 to see the bonus miles in their KrisFlyer account.

  Regular earn rate


There’s nothing to get too excited about with the KrisFlyer UOB credit card’s earn rate for general spend.

  • 1.2 miles for every $1 spent locally or overseas, with the usual exclusions such as pre-paid card top-ups, gambling and insurance transactions.

This card earns higher miles rates in two other spend categories, as you’ll see below.

  SIA earn rate


As a co-brand product, the KrisFlyer UOB credit card earns a year-round uncapped enhanced rate on any SIA Group transaction.

  • 3 miles for every $1 spent on Singapore Airlines, SilkAir, Scoot or at the KrisShop.
You’ll earn 3 mpd on all SIA Group transactions with the KrisFlyer UOB credit card. (Photo: Lucas Wunderlich / Shutterstock)

Nothing’s out of bounds here, it includes pre ordering a Nasi Lemak for your upcoming Scoot flight, or simply paying the taxes and charges when booking a Singapore Airlines redemption ticket.

  Accelerated miles earn rate


Finally a wide range of spending will earn you 3 miles per dollar in the Accelerated Miles category.

  • 3 miles* for every $1 spent on dining, food delivery, online shopping / travel, and transport.

* Subject to charging a minimum of $500 to your card in a card membership year at Singapore Airlines, SilkAir, Scoot or the KrisShop

Update: For card membership years ending from April 2023 onwards, the minimum SIA Group spend to trigger the Accelerated Miles earning rate is increased to S$800.

Let’s look at each of the accelerated miles categories in turn.

Dining

Card transactions made at establishments whose main business activity is classified as food and beverage and bearing one of the following Merchant Category Codes (MCCs):

Category Eligible MCCs
Eating Places and Restaurants 5812
Bars, Cocktail Lounges, Discotheques, Nightclubs and Taverns, Drinking Places 5813
(e.g. Zouk, Altimate, etc.)
Fast Food Restaurants 5814
(e.g. McDonalds, KFC, Burger King, Subway, etc.)

This is a very useful selection encompassing almost all dining options in Singapore, however other cards on the market earn more at these outlets, including the HSBC Revolution (4 mpd for contactless, see our review) and the Maybank Horizon Visa (3.2 mpd for local dining, see our review).

Pro Tip: Restaurants and bars in hotels are generally coded under a hotel MCC, not MCC 5812/3. These are therefore unlikely to qualify for the bonus rate.

Food delivery

Additionally the following online food delivery transactions will qualify for the bonus earn rate:

  • Grab Food
  • Deliveroo
  • foodpanda

Online shopping

A slightly vague title, this one mostly relates to using your card at fashion websites selling clothes, jewellery, accessories, bags and shoes as its main business activity.

The following Merchant Category Codes (MCCs) are included:

Category Eligible MCCs
Computer Network/Information Services 4816
Duty Free stores, discount stores, department stores, marketplaces 5262
5306
5309
5310
5311
Variety stores, general merchandise stores 5331
5399
Clothing stores 5611
5621
5641
5651
5691
Accessory stores and shoe stores 5631
5661
Electronics sales and music stores 5732
5733
5735
Pharmacies, book stores 5912
5942
Clock, jewellery, watch and silverware stores 5944
Game, toy and hobby shops 5945
Camera and photographic supply stores 5946
Card, gift, and souvenir shops 5947
Leather goods and luggage stores 5948
Fabric, needlework and sewing stores 5949
Miscellaneous / specialty retail 5999
Buying / shopping clubs
(only applicable for Shopee, Lazada and Qoo10)
7278

While many of these are ones you would expect to see in this category, like family clothing stores, shoe stores, men’s and women’s clothing stores and department stores, there are a few interesting ones in there which don’t really fit the “clothes, jewellery, accessories and bags” description like:

  • MCC 4816: Computer Network/Information Services (e.g. web hosting services or internet access)
  • MCC 5309: Duty free stores
  • MCC 5912: Drug stores / pharmacies (e.g. Watsons, Guardian, etc.)
  • MCC 5946: Camera and Photographic supply stores
  • MCC 5948: Leather goods and luggage stores

Remember that all transactions will still need to be made online to qualify, so an online purchase through the Watsons website for example will qualify for the Accelerated Miles rate (3 mpd), but if you use the card in store it will not (1.2 mpd).

Online travel

This one’s simple, any transaction made at the following websites, via the internet, using the card, will earn at the 3 mpd rate:

  • agoda.com
  • airbnb.com
  • booking.com
  • expedia.com
  • hotels.com
  • kaligo.com
  • traveloka.com
  • trip.com
  • uobtravel.com

Transport

The final 3 miles per dollar category is for bus / MRT journeys, GOJEK and:

  • MCC 4121: Limousines and Taxicabs (e.g. taxis, Grab rides)

  Accelerated miles catch


Given there is no cap on the bonus earn rates, there had to be another catch, right?

While ‘Base Miles’ (for your general spend) and ‘Singapore Airlines Miles’ (for your SIA Group spend) will post to your KrisFlyer account after your statement is published (around a month from transaction), initially the ‘Accelerated Miles’ are awarded each month at only 1.2 miles per dollar (the base rate).

Since you have all of your card membership year to make the minimum $500 spend with the SIA Group, there is no way for UOB to know whether (or when) you will achieve this threshold, if you haven’t done so already.

Therefore they have decided if you do meet the $500 SIA group spend requirement in your card membership year (and you’ll certainly want to in order to pick up 3 miles per dollar on the above transactions), the bonus miles will be credited to your KrisFlyer account two months after the end of the card membership year (i.e. in the following membership year).

That’s a very long time to wait, in some cases up to 14 months.

Given that your spending is probably evenly spread across the year, you’re waiting an average of 8 months to receive your bonus miles for each transaction in the Accelerated Miles category. People already complain about waiting 1-2 months for bonus miles to credit on other cards!

For example, if you receive your card in June 2019 and make a $500 charge at SingaporeAir.com straight away (though actually this can be anytime between June 2019 and May 2020), but your only transaction in the Accelerated Miles category with the card is, let’s say, a $1,000 Agoda.com booking on 15th June 2019, you’ll receive:

  • 1,500 KrisFlyer miles for your SingaporeAir.com purchase
  • 1,200 KrisFlyer miles for your Agoda.com transaction (base miles)

in July 2019, then:

  • 1,800 KrisFlyer miles for your Agoda.com transaction (bonus miles)

in August 2020! Hardly “Accelerated”, could it be much slower?

Promo.jpg
…in up to 14 months from now. (Image: UOB)

Does it force you to keep the card?


When this card was first launched, we surmised that this was a way to effectively hold you to ransom at annual renewal, since cancelling the card meant forfeiting the (pending) bonus miles owed to you in accordance with the card’s terms and conditions.

“To earn and receive KrisFlyer miles, your KrisFlyer UOB Credit Card must be valid, subsisting and in good standing at all times as determined by us and cannot be cancelled/closed for any reason. In the event that your KrisFlyer UOB Credit is delinquent, voluntarily or involuntarily closed or terminated or suspended for any reasons whatsoever before any KrisFlyer miles is credited to your KrisFlyer membership account, such KrisFlyer miles earned shall be forfeited and you shall not be entitled to any compensation or payment whatsoever.”

KrisFlyer UOB Credit Card T&Cs

What has actually happened according to reports from our readers is that provided you have met the $500 spend on SIA group transactions, Accelerated Miles are being credited around a month before your card’s renewal date.

That does give you the opportunity to cancel (assuming they won’t waive the annual fee, for example) and keep most if not all of your Accelerated Miles, though if you then make a large transaction in this bonus category in the final month of your card membership year (once Accelerated Miles have been credited) presumably you would forfeit miles from that spend by closing the account, so it’s not perfect.

Do also bear in mind that UOB might not pay out this component early for everyone, or in subsequent years, since there has been no official change to the terms and conditions.

UOB could still you to ransom here in future years if you want to be credited with the bonus miles.

How will you know it’s right?


A not-insignificant issue with the KrisFlyer UOB credit card is how you will reconcile the correct bonus points crediting from the ‘Accelerated Miles’ rate when it does (eventually) come through.

Accelerated miles are credited in one batch, and in some cases these may relate to transactions made 14 months earlier. At a minimum the transactions will already be at least two months old.

It is therefore very difficult to check if the bonus miles awarded match what you expected.

Even if you’re super organised and have made a note of every qualifying transaction along the way, good luck trying to dispute bonus eligibility of a payment made over a year ago.

Imagine if there is at least one discrepancy on every monthly statement. You could be on the phone for hours!

The situation gets even more tenuous when considering some the ‘grey areas’, like not knowing exactly which MCC your merchant falls into.

You’ll want to be very sure your accelerated miles transactions fall into an eligible MCC to avoid disappointment having patiently waited for them to be awarded only to find they didn’t count.

  Eligible transactions


Eligible transactions on the UOB PRVI Miles card for miles earning are all retail purchases including recurring payments, with the exception of NETS and NETS-related transactions, 0% Instalment Payment Plans, SmartPay, personal loan, balance/funds transfers, cash advances, fees, interests, finance charges, late payment charges, annual fee charges, reversals, other financial charges.

The following transaction types are also excluded from miles earning:

All transactions which are classified under the following Merchant Category Codes:

  • 4829 Wire Transfer/Remittance
  • 5199 Nondurable Goods
  • 5960 Direct Marketing - Insurance Services
  • 6012 Member Financial Institution–Merchandise and Services
  • 6050 Quasi Cash–Financial Institutions, Merchandise and Services
  • 6051 Quasi Cash–Merchant (Non-Financial Institutions – Foreign Currency, Non-Fiat Currency, Cryptocurrency)
  • 6211 Securities–Brokers and Dealers
  • 6300 Insurance Sales/Underwrite
  • 6399 Insurance - Default
  • 6513 Real Estate Agents & Managers – Rentals
  • 6529