Best Credit Cards for Overseas Spending 2018

Frequent travellers who like to shop internationally need a credit card that provide high rewards on overseas spending or charge low foreign currency transaction fees. Below, we feature some of the best credit cards for overseas use in Singapore.

Table of Contents

Highest Miles Rewards on Overseas Spending: Standard Chartered Visa Infinite Card

Consider this if you travel overseas frequently for business or shopping

Annual Income Requirement S$150,000
Foreigner Income Requirement S$150,000

Standard Chartered Visa Infinite Card is an excellent credit card to use overseas because it rewards 3 miles for every S$1 spent outside of Singapore, which is the absolute highest we've seen in the market. Not only that, Standard Chartered Visa Infinite card provides additional perks like HHonor Gold status and discounts for golf clubs, discounts on Grab rides globally, yacht rentals and private jet usages. Award on local expenditure is also one of the best in the market at 1.4 miles per S$1 spent. For business travelers or global shoppers, SC Visa Infinite card provides the best way of earning miles quickly.

Highlights

  • Annual fee: S$588.6
  • 1.4 miles and 3 miles for every S$1 spent locally and overseas, respectively.
  • Foreign exchange transaction fee: 3.5%
  • Hilton HHonor Gold status, complimentary VIP lounge access, and Gold Class Infinite Experience Package (i.e. discounts for golf clubs, yachts and private jets)
  • Promotion: Welcome bonus of 35,000 miles (or 15,000 miles and a Samsonite 28" luggage)
  • 15% discounts & more on all Grab rides, GrabRewards Platinum Tier Status
  • Read Our Full Review

Best Air Miles Card for Luxury Travel Perks: Citi Prestige MasterCard Credit Card

Consider this if you want special travel perks like free hotel nights and unlimited lounge access

Annual Income Requirement S$120,000
Foreigner Income Requirement S$120,000

We recommend Citi Prestige MasterCard Card especially for long-time banking customers of Citibank who have earned their Citigold status. For Citigold members, its already high mile rewards of 1.3 miles for S$1 spent locally and 2 miles for S$1 spent overseas are boosted by up to 30%. Other special benefits include SPG Gold Status, complimentary nights at hotels, and special deals and discounts at golf courses and resorts. If you can stomach this card's S$535 of annual fee, Citi Prestige is the best luxury miles credit card with prestigious benefits

Highlights

  • Annual fee: S$535
  • Annual income requirement: S$120,000
  • 1.3 miles and 2 miles for every S$1 spent locally and overseas, respectively, with the ability to boost your reward miles by up to 30% with a banking account with Citi
  • Foreign exchange transaction fee: 2.5%
  • Special benefits at Four Seasons and Ritz Carlton around the world, unlimited complimentary 4th night at any hotel
  • Unlimited Airport Lounge VIP Access
  • Complimentary travel insurance
  • Promotion: Annual bonus of up to 25,000 miles when you pay the annual fee
  • Read Our Full Review

High Overseas Miles with Flexible Redemption: OCBC Voyage Card

Consider this if you want the ability to redeem your miles whenever you want, without blackout dates

Annual Income Requirement S$120,000
Foreigner Income Requirement S$120,000

OCBC Voyage Card is a great credit card for overseas use because it awards 2.3 miles for S$1 spent overseas. While this isn't as high as SC VI Card, it's still one of the highest levels of overseas spending mile rewards in the market. Also, OCBC Voyage Card can be versatile in Singapore as well, since it rewards another 1.6 miles per S$1 spent on local dining and retail. OCBC Voyage Card's most particular strength is iits flexible mile redemption program. It is the only card in Singapore that allows you to redeem miles for any flight at any time, without a long process time or blackout dates. This feature is ideal for busy professionals who may not have much visibility into their schedule weeks in advance.

Lastly, its high annual fee of S$488 is easily offset by the 15,000 welcome bonus miles and an opportunity to buy 150,000 miles for S$3,210 (S$0.02 per mile), which is a great deal if you can redeem it for business class flights or better.

Highlights

  • Annual fee: S$488, no waiver
  • 1.6 mile per S$1 spent on local dining and retail spend, 2.3 miles for S$1 spent overseas
  • Flexible miles redemption program that allows you to book any flight you want at anytime
  • Foreign exchange transaction fee: 2.8%
  • Unlimited VIP lounge access, complimentary travel insurance and free airport limo service
  • Min annual income: S$120,000
  • Promotion: S$50 cashback when you apply for 2 OCBC credit cards online
  • Bonus: Ability to buy 150,000 KrisFlyer Miles for S$3,210 (S$0.02 per mile)
  • Read Our Full Review

Best Airline Miles Credit Card: Citibank PremierMiles Visa Card

Consider this if you are an average consumer who wants a balance of generous mile awards and other travel perks

Annual Income Requirement S$30,000
Foreigner Income Requirement S$42,000

Citi PremierMiles Visa Card is one of our favorite travel cards for average consumers. Its mile rewards are quite decent, with 1.2 miles and 2 miles offered for every S$1 spent locally and overseas, respectively. Furthermore, Citi PMV Card comes with other benefits like welcome cashback bonus, complimentary lounge access and travel insurance, and access to Citi Privileges globally. When you pay the annual fee of S$192.6, you can also receive 10,000 miles every year as you renew your card.

Highlights

  • Annual fee: S$192.6, waived 1st year
  • 1.2 miles for S$1 spent locally, 2 miles for S$1 spent overseas
  • Up to 10 miles per S$1 spent on online travel booking sites like Kaligo and Agoda
  • Foreign exchange transaction fee: 2.5%
  • Complimentary travel insurance and Priority Pass Membership for free lounge access
  • Access to Citi Privileges globally
  • 14% off petrol spend at Shell & Esso
  • Promotion: Spend S$7.5k in 3 months and pay annual fee to receive 21,000 miles
  • Bonus: 10,000 miles when you pay the annual fee and renew
  • Read Our Full Review

Best No Annual Fee Miles Credit Card: DBS Altitude Visa Card

Consider this if you a good miles credit card with an easily waived annual fee

Annual Income Requirement S$30,000
Foreigner Income Requirement S$45,000

DBS Altitude Card is a great miles credit card to use overseas for people who want to avoid high annual fees. Its mile rewards matches other leading miles credit cards in Singapore, with 1.2 miles for every S$1 of local expenditure and 2 miles for every S$1 of overseas spending. Not only that, DBS actually waives this card's annual fee of S$192.6 for those who spend more than S$2,000 a month (or S$25,000 per year). Hence, if you value annual fee waivers over bonus mile awards, DBS Altitude could be a great way to earn miles without the burden of paying the annual cost.

Highlights

  • Annual fee: S$192.6, waived when you spend at least S$25,000 a year
  • Option to earn 10,000 bonus miles when paying the annual fee to renew
  • 1.2 miles for S$1 of local spend and 2 miles for overseas spend
  • 3 miles for S$1 spent on online travel bookings
  • Up to 10 miles per S$1 spent on online travel booking sites like Kaligo and Expedia
  • Foreign exchange transaction fee: 2.8%
  • 14% discount on petrol at Esso
  • Complimentary travel insurance: S$1mn in accident & death
  • 2 Complimentary Global Airport Lounge Access visits per year with Priority Pass Membership
  • Promotion: 10,000 miles welcome gift for Amex card if you spend S$2,000 per month for the first 3 consecutive months; 1 chance to win 2 SIA suites class tickets for every S$500 spend (5x for travel bookings)
  • Read Our Full Review

Best for Local Dining & Overseas Spending: Maybank Horizon Visa Signature Card

Consider this if you want to maximise miles earned on dining and petrol

Annual Income Requirement S$50,000
Foreigner Income Requirement S$60,000

Maybank Horizon Visa Signature Card is particularly relevant for people who drive and dine out a lot, as it awards 3.2 air miles for every S$1 you spend on dining or on petrol, some of the highest miles rewards for these two spending categories. It can also earn miles when you use it to shop overseas, as it rewards 2 miles per S$1 spent of foreign currency transactions. It is also one of the most affordable miles cards in Singapore because its annual fee of S$180 is waived for those who spend S$1,500 on the card per month (S$18,000 per year). By providing great mile award rates for your travel expense as well as your daily needs, Maybank Horizon Visa Signature Card helps you build up miles while saving up on the annual fee you would otherwise have to spend with other cards.

Highlights

  • Annual fee: S$180, waived with S$18,000 of annual spend
  • 2 miles for S$1 spent on air tickets, travel packages and foreign currency transactions
  • 3.2 miles for every S$1 spent on local petrol, dining, taxi fares (including GrabTaxi) and hotel bookings via agoda.com/horizon
  • Foreign exchange transaction fee: 2.75%
  • Complimentary access to selected VIP airport lounges & travel insurance
  • Bonus: Receive a complimentary Samsonite Orfeo 69cm Spinner worth S$420 when you apply for 2 Maybank Credit Cards and CreditAble
  • Read Our Full Review

Best Miles Card for Shopping: Citi Rewards Visa Card

Consider this if you want to maximise miles rewards on shopping expenses

Annual Income Requirement S$30,000
Foreigner Income Requirement S$42,000

Citi Rewards Visa Card is great for people who like to shop both in Singapore and overseas because it provides 4 miles for every dollar you spend online, offline and even in foreign countries. Besides shopping, it also helps you save money on petrol at Esso and Shell (up to 14%), though 0.4 miles on other purchases is quite subpar compared to other miles rewards cards. For this reason, we highly recommend Citi Rewards Visa Card only to active shoppers who can earn enough miles to offset the high S$192.6 of annual that is waived only for 1 year.

Highlights

  • Annual fee: S$192.6, waived 1st year
  • 4 miles (10 reward points) for every S$1 spent on shopping (including online), 8 miles (20 reward points) at selected department stores in Singapore
  • Foreign exchange transaction fee: 2.5%
  • Up to 14% off on petrol at Esso and Shell
  • Welcome Bonus: S$120 cash rebate welcome gift
  • Read Our Full Review

Best Air Miles Card for Online Shopping Without Annual Fee: OCBC Titanium MasterCard Credit Card

Consider this if you want to earn miles and mobile payments without paying an annual fee

Annual Income Requirement S$30,000
Foreigner Income Requirement S$45,000

In our opinion, OCBC Titanium MasterCard Credit Card is a great shopping credit card to use overseas, especially those want to avoid paying the high annual fees. It provides 4 miles for every S$1 spent on shopping (in Singapore, online and overseas), and 0.4 miles for S$1 spent on all other things. In 2018, OCBC has made this card even more versatile by offering 4 mile for every dollar spent on mobile payment platforms like Apple Pay and Android Pay. Not only that, OCBC Titanium Card is actually quite "cheap" to use because its annual fee of S$192.6 is waived for 2 years, and waived in subsequent years as long as you spend at least S$10,000 on the card annually.

Highlights

  • Annual fee: S$192.6, 2-year annual fee waiver, with subsequent years waived with annual spend of S$10,000
  • 4 mile for every S$1 on shopping (offline, online and overseas) and mobile payments (Apple Pay, Android Pay, Samsung Pay)
  • Foreign exchange transaction fee: 2.8%
  • Min annual income: S$30,000 (S$45,000 for foreigners)
  • Promotion: S$50 cashback when you apply for 2 OCBC credit cards online
  • Read Our Full Review

No-Fee Card for Local Dining and Overseas Spending: Standard Chartered Rewards+ Credit Card

Consider this if you want a no-fee credit card for dining & foreign currency or overseas spending

Annual Income Requirement S$30,000
Foreigner Income Requirement S$60,000

Standard Chartered Rewards+ Credit Card could be a decent rewards credit card for dining and travelling, especially for budget minded consumers. First, it comes with a rewards rate of around 3% on foreign currency and overseas spends on retail, dining and travel, with another 1.5% rewards on local dining transactions. Its 3% rewards rate is particularly high for those spending categories compared to other cards in the market. Secondly, its annual fee of S$192.6 is waived automatically for 2 years. Although an average person can only earn about S$60 to S$70 of rewards per year on this card, we think it can work decently well for low income individuals with limited budget or for those who want a specialised dining or travel credit card to complement another general purpose credit card.

Highlights

  • Annual fee: S$192.6 waived for 2 years
  • About 3% rewards on foreign currency or overseas transactions (retail, dining and travel)
  • About 1.5% rewards on dining transactions in SGD
  • No minimum spending requirement
  • Promotion: Up to S$100 in cashback
  • 15% discounts & more on all Grab rides, GrabRewards Platinum Tier Status
  • Read Our Full Review

Best Cashback Card for Affluent Consumers: HSBC Advance Credit Card

Consider this if you either make S$3,500 per month, have S$30,000 of cash savings or have a home loan with HSBC

Annual Income Requirement S$30,000
Foreigner Income Requirement S$40,000

For wealthy consumers who can qualify for HSBC Advance tatus, HSBC Advance Credit Card is the best no-fee cashback card to use overseas. For Advance customers, HSBC waives this card's annual fee of S$192.6 and provides a flat rate cashback of up to 3.5%. Not only that, HSBC Advance Credit Card's high monthly rebate cap of S$125 (compared to S$50-S$70 for most cards) makes it especially rewarding for big spenders. However, this card loses its effectiveness for non-Advance customers, so we highly recommend that you read our detailed review to see if you can qualify for HSBC Advance program.

Highlights

  • Annual fee: S$192.6, waived for Advance Customers
  • Rebate: Up to 3.5% of cash rebate for HSBC Advance Customers (1.5% for non-Advance customers)
  • Foreign exchange transaction fee: 2.5%
  • 16% discount on petrol at Shell and Caltex
  • Welcome Bonus: A Samsonite Astra 55cm luggage (worth S$350) or S$100 cash back for new customers (S$50 for existing customers)
  • Promotion: Save up to S$10,000 with 1,000 Entertainer 1-for-1 deals
  • Read Our Full Review

Cashback Rewards in Singapore and Malaysia: Maybank Family & Friends MasterCard Credit Card

Consider this if you spend a lot of time in both Singapore and Malaysia

Annual Income Requirement S$30,000
Foreigner Income Requirement S$60,000

Maybank Family & Friends MasterCard Credit Card is ideal for those who spend time and money in both Singapore and Malaysia. Its cashback of 8% on petrol, transportation and groceries applies in both countries, thereby reducing the need to use two sets of different cards each time you cross the border. Maybank Family & Friends card is extremely easy to use due to its low annual fee and minimum spend requirements.

Highlights

  • Annual fee: S$80, waived with S$12,000 of annual spend
  • 8% rebate on transportation (Grab, taxi, bus and train rides), fast food delivery (i.e. foodpanda), and other retail transactions at special merchant outlets
  • Up to 9.3% rebate on groceries including merchant discount
  • Up to 20.88% savings on petrol including merchant discount
  • Foreign exchange transaction fee: 2.75%
  • Above rebates apply in both Singapore & Malaysia
  • Promotion: Receive a complimentary Samsonite Orfeo 69cm Spinner worth S$420 when you apply for 2 Maybank Credit Cards and CreditAble
  • Read Our Full Review

Dining Rebate Overseas: OCBC 365 Credit Card

Consider this if you want to avoid high annual fees and spend at least S$800 monthly

Annual Income Requirement S$30,000
Foreigner Income Requirement S$45,000

OCBC 365 Credit Card is one of the best cash rebate cards we recommend for people who want to avoid paying annual fees on their cards. In terms of rewards on overseas spending, OCBC 365 Card provides 3% on dining expenditures outside of SIngapore. Otherwise, it offers 6% rebate on dining, 22% on petrol, and 3% on groceries and monthly bill, making it a quite versatile card to use in Singapore. Finally, OCBC 365 Card's annual fee is waived for those who spend at least S$10,000 every year. In summary, OCBC 365 Card presents a cheap and convenient way of earning rewards on daily needs in Singapore and dining expenses overseas.

Highlights

  • Annual fee: S$192.6, waived for 2 years and subsequently waived for annual spend of only S$10,000
  • Rebates: up to 6% on dining (3% on overseas dining), 3% on online shopping, groceries and recurring monthly bills
  • Foreign exchange transaction fee: 2.8%
  • Up to 22.2% on petrol
  • Min annual income: S$30,000 (S$45,000 for foreigners)
  • Promotion: S$50 cashback when you apply for 2 OCBC credit cards online
  • Read Our Full Review

Highest Flat Rate Cashback Rewards: UOB One Card

UOB One Card

Consider this if you want to maximise your cash rebate and spend about S$2,000 per month

Annual Income Requirement S$30,000
Foreigner Income Requirement S$40,000

UOB One Card is a great cash back card for those who can spend consistently spend S$2,000 in and out of Singapore. It provides up to S$100 of rebate per month as long as you spend at least S$2,000 every month. While this rule might be a bit difficult to follow for some people, UOB One Card could be an excellent choice for consumers who are willing to manage their expenses closely and make effort to maximize their awards. Spending S$24,000 in a year on this card would net a rebate of S$1,200 at 5% yield.

The only caveat is that not meeting the spending requirement for even one month could lower your cashback significantly. Given this, we think UOB One is suitable for people who have very consistent monthly expenses, i.e. families with large and recurring or fixed expenditures.

Highlights

  • Annual fee: $192.6, waived 1st year
  • Flat rate cashback of up to 5% (max S$100/month)
  • Foreign exchange transaction fee: 2.8%
  • Up to 24% discount on petrol at SPC and Caltex
  • Extra interest income of up to 3.33% on your UOB One Savings account
  • Promotion: S$80 cash credit for new card members
  • Read Our Full Review

Best Air Miles Rewards for Affluent Spenders: UOB PRVI Miles American Express Card

UOB PRVI Miles American Express Card

Consider this if you want to maximise mile rewards without paying an extravagant annual fee

Annual Income Requirement S$80,000
Foreigner Income Requirement S$80,000

UOB PRVI Miles American Express Credit Card provides an excellent opportunity to earn luxury mile awards without the luxury fee, especially on overseas spending. It matches other high flat-rate mile awards in the country at 1.4 miles for S$1 of local spend and 2.4 miles for S$2 of overseas spend. Also, UOB PRVI Miles card's S$256.8 of annual fee is roughly half of fees charged by other high-end mile credit cards. However, UOB PRVI Miles card doesn't provide perks like lounge access come with less perks compared to the more expensive cards. We think this card works quite nicely for people who want to earn high miles, and prefer low annual fee over perks like free lounge access or hotel rewards. This is especially true for affluent spenders who can spend S$50,000 on the card every year, which UOB rewards with 20,000 loyalty miles per year (exclusive to American Express version).

Highlights

  • Annual fee: S$256.8, waived 1st year
  • 1.4 miles for S$1 spent locally, 2.4 miles for S$1 spent overseas, 6 miles on S$1 spent on travel
  • Foreign exchange transaction fee: 3.25%
  • Bonus: 20,000 loyalty miles per year with S$50,000 of annual spend (exclusive to American Express version)
  • Promotion: 10,000 welcome bonus miles when you spend S$6,000 within 3 months of approval date
  • Read Our Full Review

CIMB Visa Infinite Card: No-Fee Cashback Card for Travel

CIMB Visa Infinite Card

Consider this if you want a no fee cashback card for travelling

Annual Income Requirement S$120,000
Foreigner Income Requirement S$120,000

CIMB Visa Infinite Card is a great no-fee cashback card for travellers. While it rewards 1% cashback on all local expenses, this card's rebate is boosted to 2% for travel, overseas and online foreign currency expenditures. To further increase this card's value as a travel credit card, CIMB provides other benefits like low foreign currency transaction fee of 1% (vs 2.5-3.5% from other banks), complimentary lounge access and travel insurance.

Highlights

  • No annual fee
  • Spend S$2,000 in a month to enjoy 2% rebate on travel, overseas and foreign currency transactions
  • 1% rebate on all other retail spends
  • Complimentary 3 lounge visits per year

Low Foreign Transaction Fee & Dining Rebate: CIMB Visa Signature Card

CIMB Visa Signature

Consider this if you want to maximise savings on your dining expenses

Annual Income Requirement S$30,000
Foreigner Income Requirement S$48,000

CIMB Visa Signature Card is a decent card to use overseas because it charges the lowest foreign transaction fee of 1%. Also, its 10% rebate on dining is the highest in the industry, though it has low cashback rate on general purchases. CIMB Visa Signature Card is completely free to use and has no monthly minimum spend, so it could also serve as a nice supplementary card to other rewards cards that are not quite so generous on dining rewards.

The only caveat to this card is that its 10% rebate on dining is capped at S$60 a month and requires a monthly spend of S$500 and 8 monthly transactions worth S$30 each. However, this should not be a major problem for most people who go out for dinners and drinks once or twice a week.

Highlights

  • No annual fee
  • Up to 10% cashback on dining
  • Unlimited 0.2% rebate on other things

Summary of Best Credit Cards for Overseas Use 2018

In case you want a quick look at our picks, here are ValueChampion's best credit cards for overseas spending in 2018.

Overseas CardsOverseas RewardsFX Transaction FeeAnnual Fee
SC Visa Infinite3 miles3.5%S$588.6Learn More
Citi Prestige2 miles2.5%S$535.0Learn More
OCBC Voyage2.4 miles2.8%S$488Learn More
Citi PremierMiles2 miles2.5%S$192.6Learn More
DBS Altitude2 miles2.8%S$192.6Learn More
Maybank Horizon2 miles2.75%S$180Learn More
Citi Rewards4 miles, shopping2.5%S$192.6Learn More
OCBC Titanium4 miles, shopping2.8%S$192.6Learn More
HSBC Advance2.5%2.5%S$0.0 for AdvanceLearn More
Maybank Family & Friends8% in Malaysia2.75%S$80Learn More
Overseas CardsOverseas RewardsFX Transaction FeeAnnual Fee
SC Visa InfiniteLearn More3 miles3.5%S$588.6
Citi PrestigeLearn More2 miles2.5%S$535.0
OCBC VoyageLearn More2.4 miles2.8%S$488
Citi PremierMilesLearn More2 miles2.5%S$192.6
DBS AltitudeLearn More2 miles2.8%S$192.6
Maybank HorizonLearn More2 miles2.75%S$180
Citi RewardsLearn More4 miles, shopping2.5%S$192.6
OCBC TitaniumLearn More4 miles, shopping2.8%S$192.6
HSBC AdvanceLearn More2.5%2.5%S$0.0 for Advance
Maybank Family & FriendsLearn More8% in Malaysia2.75%S$80

Compare the Best Overseas Use Credit Cards by Dollar Value

To help you find the best credit card for overseas spending, we have prepared a chart below organizing credit cards by 2-year dollar value*. We have estimated an average Singaporean's monthly expenditure patterns through research to model out likely savings from credit cards. You should note that the dollar value can heavily depending on your spending habits, so make sure to read through each card's review and see if it fits your monthly budget. There are also other "intangible" benefits like complimentary travel insurance and free access to airport lounges whose values are difficult to quantify but nevertheless incredibly valuable to some consumers.

A graph displaying how best credit cards for overseas spending compare to one another in terms of their rewards
Best Credit Cards for Overseas Spending By Estimated 2-Year Dollar Value

Footnotes

*ValueChampion calculates the dollar value of rewards based on S$2,000 of monthly spending. We sum the value of points, miles and cashback in dollar terms and subtract the annual fee over a 24-month period. The estimates here are ValueChampion's alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuer.

Duckju Kang

Duckju is the Senior Vice President of ValueChampion Singapore. He covers the financial services industry, consumer finance products, budgeting, and investing. He previously worked in the financial services industry, including at such hedge funds as Tiger Asia and Cadian Capital.

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