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|
dining & travel
|KrisFlyer UOB Credit Card|
travel & dining
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.
- 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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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):
|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.
Additionally the following online food delivery transactions will qualify for the bonus earn rate:
- Grab Food
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:
|Computer Network/Information Services||4816|
|Duty Free stores, discount stores, department stores, marketplaces||5262
|Variety stores, general merchandise stores||5331
|Accessory stores and shoe stores||5631
|Electronics sales and music stores||5732
|Pharmacies, book stores||5912
|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)
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).
This one’s simple, any transaction made at the following websites, via the internet, using the card, will earn at the 3 mpd rate:
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?
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 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:
Miles are also not awarded for:
Notable exclusions for these cards are payments for education, Grab wallet top-ups, and insurance.
Note that Hospitals, Automobile parking lots and Garages will be added to the exclusion list from 1st February 2021.
This list is subject to change, so check the KrisFlyer UOB Credit Card Terms and Conditions (section 1) for the latest information.
Be careful of SMART$ merchants
UOB partners with some retailers to offer SMART$ rather than its usual UNI$ rewards points. This is effectively a ‘cashback’ scheme, offering a means to offset your next purchase with accumulated SMART$ (the rate is not attractive compared to miles earning).
Unfortunately, it also overrides KrisFlyer miles earning with this card. That means if you make an in-store transaction at a retailer which is part of the SMART$ scheme (e.g. at a Cold Storage outlet), you won’t earn 1.2 miles per dollar for your transaction.Pro Tip: Don’t worry about forgoing KrisFlyer miles online at the likes of Giant, Cold Storage and Jasons with your UOB KrisFlyer credit card. The SMART$ scheme only applies to in-store purchases, with online transactions excluded from that programme, so you’ll earn 1.2 KrisFlyer miles per dollar as usual.
You can view a list of UOB SMART$ merchants here. Be careful of the following:
- Cathay Cineplexes
- Cold Storage
Don’t use your KrisFlyer UOB credit card if you make an in-store purchase at a merchant in this list, as you’ll get no miles or points whatsoever.
Are KrisFlyer miles credited directly?
Yes. As this is a Singapore Airlines co-branded card, the miles accrued are automatically transferred to your KrisFlyer account at each monthly statement.
Remember that KrisFlyer miles expire three years after they are earned, and with this card you don’t have the added protection of keeping them ‘alive’ for longer (or forever in some cases) in a credit card points scheme before transferring into your KrisFlyer account.
The expiry clock is ticking almost from day one.
What is the transfer cost to KrisFlyer miles?
There is no cost associated with UOB’s automatic transfer of miles into your KrisFlyer account with each monthly statement.
Transfers are effectively instant, though you have to wait for each monthly cycle. Intermediate transfers (e.g. two weeks into your statement period) are not available, even for a fee.
Of course as outlined above any transfer from the ‘Accelerated Miles’ earning will happen an average of 8 months after the applicable transaction (min. 2 months, max. 14 months).
When do miles credit?
You will earn miles in one monthly block for transactions posted to your account within each statement period.
Note that it can take one to three days for a transaction to post to your card account, meaning those made towards the very end of your statement period may only reflect in the subsequent statement.
That means potentially waiting a month longer than you expected for the miles to credit into your KrisFlyer account, worth bearing in mind if you’re making a large transaction with the intent to top-up your KrisFlyer balance (remember, intermediate transfers are not supported).
Can I transfer miles into other loyalty schemes?
No. Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer is the sole partner with this card and you can only use it to accrue miles in this scheme, unlike other UOB credit cards which also allow transfers to Asia Miles.
Instant free transfer to KrisFlyer miles via KrisPay
You can also link your UOB Rewards and KrisPay accounts and instantly transfer as little as UNI$1,000 into KrisPay miles.
The transfer ratio is 1:1.7 (e.g. UNI$1,000 = 1,700 KrisPay miles).
You won’t want to be using them there due to the awful value against purchases of 0.67 cents per mile, but you can immediately transfer them 1:1 into your KrisFlyer account as KrisFlyer miles.
As you’ll notice this is a 15% ‘hit’ on the usual UNI$ to KrisFlyer transfer rate, so it’s only of interest if you need a small amount to meet a specific redemption threshold, or have a small balance ‘stuck’ in UNI$ (less than 5,000), which you aren’t going to be adding to in future.
You shouldn’t be using this as your regular UNI$ to KrisFlyer transfer method, as it effectively devalues your miles earning rate to 1.02 mpd for general spend and 2.55 mpd for bonus category purchases.
There are two golden rules to be aware of, firstly you’ll have to move any points transferred from UNI$ to KrisPay into KrisFlyer miles within seven days, otherwise they are stuck in KrisPay (where you definitely don’t want them).
The second is just as important, you cannot use any of the KrisPay miles you have earned from your UNI$ transfer for any KrisPay purchase, no matter how small, as that automatically renders the entire transfer stuck in KrisPay until they then expire.
The golden rule therefore is to transfer in to KrisPay, then transfer straight out to KrisFlyer. Even with that seven-day window available, our advice is don’t wait.
KrisFlyer miles are awarded per whole $5 of spend on this card, as with other UOB credit cards.
- Base Miles: 6 miles for every S$5 spent (equivalent to 1.2 mpd)
- Singapore Airlines Miles: 15 miles for every S$5 spent (equivalent to 3 mpd)
- Accelerated Miles: 6 miles for every S$5 spent (equivalent to 1.2 mpd), plus a further 9 miles for every $5 spent (equivalent to 1.8 mpd) two months after your next membership year starts, with a minimum required spend of S$500 on SIA Group transactions in the current membership year
This rounding issue really affects small transactions the most, as you’ll have to hit the next $5 ‘block’ to increase your miles earning each time. For example a $9.99 transaction is considered $5 for miles accrual.
In the general spend (Base Miles) category that’s not earning you 1.2 miles per dollar at all, it’s 0.6 miles per dollar (so use another card for a transaction like that).
|KrisFlyer miles awarded|
|Base Miles||SIA Spend|
One cent can make all the difference here, and to truly optimise the maximum number of miles earned, you should plan your spending in $5 blocks especially at the lower transaction levels (e.g. $5 / $10 / $15).
Try to avoid falling just below a $5 block if possible, or only exceed a $5 block by a small amount.
The impact becomes less important with higher amounts, for example let’s say you make a local transaction (Base Miles 1.2 mpd rate) with your KrisFlyer UOB credit card as follows:
- $249.99 – 288 miles awarded (1.15 mpd)
- $250.00 – 300 miles awarded (1.2 mpd)
As you can see falling 1 cent short of a $5 block size in this case isn’t significantly affecting your miles per dollar rate in the same way that a $9.99 vs. $10.00 spend is.
↥ Minimum spend to earn miles
UOB awards KrisFlyer miles per whole block of $5 spent. That means $5.00 is the minimum charge in a single transaction to earn miles (any number of individual transactions at $4.99, for example, will earn you nothing).
Smaller transactions, including those converted from foreign currency into SGD which are subsequently charged to your card account at less than $5, will not earn any miles.
FCY fee / cpm overseas
The KrisFlyer UOB Mastercard charges a foreign transaction (FCY) fee for purchases made in currencies other than SGD at 3.25%.
Earning just 1.2 miles per dollar for general overseas spending, that’s certainly not a good idea as the miles earned are costing you 2.86 cents each compared with what you could be spending using cash overseas.
Several credit cards in Singapore are far better for general overseas spend, like the UOB PRVI Miles card (see our review) earning 2.4 miles per dollar with a 3.25% fee, an equivalent cost of just 1.43 cents per mile.
The exception of course is transacting in one of the 3 mpd bonus categories, for example payment to an online clothes shop in Sydney charged in AUD, or an Expedia hotel booking in London charged in GBP.
In these cases the cost per mile becomes a much more attractive 1.14 cents.
SIA Group transactions in FCY also mean ‘buying’ miles at this same competitive rate, for example paying the taxes and fees on a Cape Town to Singapore redemption ticket, charged in ZAR.
Bonus miles if you open a KrisFlyer UOB Deposit Account
UOB is advertising a great headline rate here for those opening a KrisFlyer UOB Deposit Account for their savings, offering a 6 miles per dollar bonus rate if you save and credit your monthly salary to the account, which sits alongside your credit card account and also links to your KrisFlyer account.
The catch is that bonus miles are capped at 5% of your monthly average balance, calculated as follows:
- The sum of each ‘day end balance’ in your KrisFlyer UOB account for that month, divided by the number of calendar days in that month.
For example, if you have a monthly average balance of $100,000 in the account, your bonus miles are capped at 5,000 miles for that month (100,000 x 5%).
You’ll get about $4 of interest each month at the (measly) 0.05% p.a. rate this account attracts, but 5,000 KrisFlyer miles are worth about $95 against future Singapore Airlines redemptions for most of our readers, so in effect you’re getting about $99 additional value per month in this example.
Provided you credit your salary (and therefore earn 6 miles per dollar bonus miles), you’ll only have to spend $833 per month on the credit card to earn the 5,000 bonus miles. If you don’t credit your salary it would be a $1,000 spend in this example (at the 5 miles per dollar bonus rate).
Is it worth it?
We’re definitely not going to explore a full analysis of how much interest you can earn on your money in Singapore. There is a range of accounts and if you had $100,000 worth of savings you can definitely achieve a much better return than 0.05% per annum, perhaps even outweighing the bonus KrisFlyer miles on this account.
Cash (in interest) is ultimately flexible as it can of course be used for anything, while KrisFlyer miles are very restrictive, so attaching a 1.9 cent per mile value in this case (since you are forgoing cash interest to obtain the miles instead) isn’t necessarily a sensible strategy for everyone.
We’re not going to make a recommendation on whether using the KrisFlyer UOB Deposit Account alongside this card is worth doing or not. It’s important to be comfortable with the return you are getting on your savings and the calculation will depend largely how highly you realistically value KrisFlyer miles.
SIA Group airline privileges
KrisFlyer UOB credit card holders get some benefits when flying on Singapore Airlines, SilkAir and Scoot flights.