Best Rewards Credit Cards 2019

With so many cards offering cashback, points, miles and other perks, picking a credit card can be very difficult. To help you navigate this complex market, we have compared over 100 cards in detail, and selected the best credit cards that Singapore has to offer.

CardBest ForCardBest For
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Citi Cash Back CardOverall Cash Back
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SC Unlimited Cashback CardUnlimited Cashback & EZ-Link
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OCBC 365 CardNo Annual Fee
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HSBC Advance Credit CardAffluent Consumers
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Citi PremierMiles Visa CardAirline Miles Credit Card
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DBS Altitude CardAirline Miles Credit Card
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Amex Krisflyer CardWelcome Bonus Miles
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Standard Chartered Visa Infinite CardOverseas Spend & Business Travel

Our Picks for the Best Cashback Credit Cards in Singapore

After careful analysis, we’ve identified the best cashback credit cards in Singapore for 2019. Read our detailed reviews below to see which cards best fit your needs.


Best Cashback Rewards Credit Card: Citi Cash Back Card

Consider this if you spend mostly on food and transportation

Annual Income Requirement S$30,000
Foreigner Income Requirement S$42,000
Promotions:
  • Up to S$120 cash rebate welcome gift
  • 8% cash back on Grab (valid till 31 Mar 2019)

Citi Cash Back Card rewards consumers with high spend on food and transport with 8% cashback on dining, groceries, petrol and Grab rides after a S$888 minimum spend, capped at S$100 per month (S$1,200 per year). While general spend earns just 0.25%, food and transport make up most of the average spender’s budget. Cardholders also earn 10% savings with select merchants through Citi Rebate and up to 20.88% in fuel savings at Esso and Shell.

Read Our Full Review

  • Annual fee: S$192.6, 1-year waiver
  • 8% cashback on dining, grocery, petrol (any station) and Grab rides
  • Up to additional 10% discounts with Citi Rebate
  • Up to 20.88% fuel savings at Esso and Shell
  • Annual fee: S$192.6, 1-year waiver
  • 8% cashback on dining, grocery, petrol (any station) and Grab rides
  • Up to additional 10% discounts with Citi Rebate
  • Up to 20.88% fuel savings at Esso and Shell

Best Cashback Cards for Affluent Spenders

Several cashback credit cards are especially well-suited for affluent consumers and high spenders. Read our reviews below for more details.

Unlimited Cashback + EZ-Link: Standard Chartered Unlimited Cashback Card

Consider this if you want unlimited amount of cash rebate and can spend more than S$5,000 per month

Annual Income Requirement S$30,000
Foreigner Income Requirement S$60,000
Promotions:
  • Up to S$100 in cashback + Up to S$150 in Prime Now credits, 10% cashback & free Amazon Prime
  • Up to 10% off bookings with Hotels . Com

High-spending commuters can benefit from Standard Chartered Unlimited Cashback Card’s unlimited 1.5% cashback rate and dual functionality as an EZ-Link Card. While cardholders need to spend at least S$5,000 per month to maximise cashback (low rewards rate, but unlimited earning potential), transport benefits are outstanding with rebates for Top-Ups, 15% cashback on Grab rides, and up to 24% fuel savings at Caltex.

Read Our Full Review

  • Annual fee: S$192.6, 2-year waiver
  • 1.5% flat rate cashback, unlimited & no min. spend requirement
  • EZ-Link compatible (Top-Ups eligible for rebates)
  • Up to 15% cashback on Grab (S$30/month cap), 24% fuel savings at Caltex
  • Annual fee: S$192.6, 2-year waiver
  • 1.5% flat rate cashback, unlimited & no min. spend requirement
  • EZ-Link compatible (Top-Ups eligible for rebates)
  • Up to 15% cashback on Grab (S$30/month cap), 24% fuel savings at Caltex

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
Promotions:
  • A Samsonite Astra 55cm luggage (worth S$350) or S$100 cash back for new customers (S$50 for existing customers)
  • Bonus 5% cashback on contactless payments, up to S$100 (ends 28 Feb 2019)
  • Up to 10% discount on hotel bookings with Expedia, Agoda

HSBC Advance banking customers who spend S$3,500 monthly can earn up to S$1,500 per year with HSBC Advance Credit Card. After a S$2,000 minimum spend, Advance customers earn 3.5% flat cashback capped at S$125 per month, with no annual fee. Non-banking customers earn lower cashback rates, have a lower cap, and pay an S$180 fee–so if you’re an above average spender looking for a low-maintenance card, it’s worth checking out HSBC Advance accounts in conjunction with this credit card.

Read Our Full Review

  • Annual fee: S$180, waived for Advance Customers
  • Up to 3.5% flat rebate for HSBC Advance Customers (2.5% for non-customers)
  • Up to 16% fuel savings at Caltex, 14% with Shell
  • Annual fee: S$180, waived for Advance Customers
  • Up to 3.5% flat rebate for HSBC Advance Customers (2.5% for non-customers)
  • Up to 16% fuel savings at Caltex, 14% with Shell

Best No Annual Fee Cashback Credit Card: 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
Promotions:
  • S$50 cashback when you apply for 2 OCBC credit cards online

OCBC 365 Card rewards everyday spend and has an easily-waivable fee, offering 6% cashback on dining, 3% on groceries, land transport, recurring bills, and online travel, and up to 24% on petrol. For those who spend at least S$10,000 per year (less than S$1,000/month), the annual fee of S$192.6 is waived. Consumers who can meet the minimum qualifying spend of S$800 can earn up to S$80/month, equivalent to S$960 per year.

Read Our Full Review

  • Annual fee: S$192.6, 2-year waiver (subsequently with S$10,000 annual spend)
  • 6% on dining and online food deliveries
  • 3% on groceries, transport (like Grab), recurring bills, online travel
  • Up to 24% fuel savings at Caltex
  • Annual fee: S$192.6, 2-year waiver (subsequently with S$10,000 annual spend)
  • 6% on dining and online food deliveries
  • 3% on groceries, transport (like Grab), recurring bills, online travel
  • Up to 24% fuel savings at Caltex

Best Cashback Card for Low Income Consumers: Maybank Platinum Visa Credit Card

Consider this if you spend S$300 to S$1,000 per month

Annual Income Requirement S$30,000
Foreigner Income Requirement S$60,000
Promotions:
  • Receive S$50 cash credit after S$700 spend

If you spend S$300 to S$1,000 per month, Maybank Platinum Visa Card is one of the best ways to earn no-fee cashback for local spend. Cardholders earn quarterly rebates at a 3.33% rewards rate–those maintaining a minimum spend of $300 for 3 months earn S$30; those maintaining S$1,000 spend earn S$100. Because it’s a no-fee card, consumers can earn up to S$400 per year with no maintenance–nearly impossible for low spenders to achieve with other cards on the market.

Read Our Full Review

  • Annual fee: Free
  • Service fee: S$20/quarter, 3-year waiver (subsequently with card use at least 1x/quarter)
  • Up to 3.33% cash rebate on all expenditures (max S$100 per quarter)
  • Free travel insurance
  • Annual fee: Free
  • Service fee: S$20/quarter, 3-year waiver (subsequently with card use at least 1x/quarter)
  • Up to 3.33% cash rebate on all expenditures (max S$100 per quarter)
  • Free travel insurance

Our Picks for the Best Air Miles Credit Cards in Singapore

We’ve reviewed the market and identified some of the best air miles-earning travel credit cards in Singapore. Read our analyses below to see which best align with your daily needs.

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
Promotions:
  • 21,000 bonus miles after paying 1st annual fee and spending S$7,500
  • Up 10 miles per S$1 spend, 15% off hotel bookings on Agoda, Expedia and Kaligo

Citi PremierMiles Visa Card allows average spenders to maximise miles earned while offering travel perks and bonus miles. Cardholders earn rates of 1.2 miles per S$1 local spend, 2 miles overseas, and up to 10 miles with promotional travel merchants, plus receive free travel insurance and airport lounge access. While consumers must pay a S$192.6 fee, they receive 10,000 renewal miles per year (S$100 value) which offset this cost.

Read Our Full Review

  • Annual fee: S$192.6, 1-year waiver
  • 1.2 miles per S$1 local spend, 2 miles overseas, up to 10 miles with select booking sites (Kaligo, Agoda, etc)
  • Free travel insurance & Priority Pass membership
  • Up to 14% fuel savings at Esso and Shell
  • Annual fee: S$192.6, 1-year waiver
  • 1.2 miles per S$1 local spend, 2.4 miles overseas, up to 10 miles with select booking sites (Kaligo, Agoda, etc)
  • Free travel insurance & Priority Pass membership
  • Up to 14% fuel savings at Esso and Shell

Best Miles Card Without Annual Fee: 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
Promotions:
  • Earn up to 3,100 miles after a spend of S$2,500 overseas and S$650 on Expedia travel bookings and earn 1 additional mile for every S$1 spend with an administrative fee of 2.2% (ends 31 December 2018)
  • Up to 10 miles per S$1 spend on flight & hotel transactions with Expedia, Kaligo and 50% more miles on transactions with Mileslife

Consumers who spend S$25,000 per year (about S$2,100 per month) can avoid paying an annual fee while earning miles and accessing travel perks with DBS Altitude Card. At this spend level, the S$192.6 fee is waived, allowing low-maintenance earnings at 1.2 miles per S$1 local spend, 2 miles overseas, 3 miles for online travel booking. Cardholders also receive free travel insurance, airport lounge access, and dining and golfing privileges. Not only is DBS Altitude Card affordable, it also delivers in terms of benefits.

Read Our Full Review

  • Annual fee: S$192.6, waived with S$25,000 annual spend
  • Alternative: Earn 10,000 bonus miles with payment of fee
  • 1.2 miles per S$1 local spend, 2 miles overseas, 3 miles for online travel bookings
  • Up to 10 miles per S$1 spend on select travel booking sites (Kaligo, Expedia, etc)
  • Up to 15% fuel savings at SPC, 14% at Esso
  • Priority Pass Membership for 2 free lounge visits per year
  • Free travel insurance, golfing & dining privileges
  • Annual fee: S$192.6, waived with S$25,000 annual spend
  • Alternative: Earn 10,000 bonus miles with payment of fee
  • 1.2 miles per S$1 local spend, 2 miles overseas, 3 miles for online travel bookings
  • Up to 10 miles per S$1 spend on select travel booking sites (Kaligo, Expedia, etc)
  • Up to 15% fuel savings at SPC, 14% at Esso
  • Priority Pass Membership for 2 free lounge visits per year
  • Free travel insurance, golfing & dining privileges

Best Mile Card for Young Adults: HSBC Revolution Card

Consider this if you spend mostly on shopping, dining and entertainment

Annual Income Requirement S$30,000
Foreigner Income Requirement S$40,000
Promotions:
  • A Samsonite Astra 55cm luggage (worth S$350) or S$100 cash back for new customers (S$50 for existing customers)
  • Bonus 5% cashback on contactless payments, up to S$100 (ends 28 Feb 2019)

HSBC Revolution Card is great for locally social consumers looking to avoid annual fees. While the base rate is just 0.4 miles per S$1 spend, consumers earn 2 miles per S$1 spend on local dining, entertainment, online spend (including travel bookings, bills, and EZ-Link payments). In addition, the S$160.5 fee is waived with each annual spend of S$12,500 (about S$1,000/month)–making the card especially accessible.

Read Our Full Review

  • Annual fee: S$160.5, 2-year waiver (subsequently with S$12,500 annual spend)
  • 2 miles per S$1 local dining, entertainment, & online spend (inc. travel bookings, bills, & transit payments)
  • Up to 16% fuel savings at Caltex, 14% with Shell
  • Annual fee: S$160.5, 2-year waiver (subsequently with S$12,500 annual spend)
  • 2 miles per S$1 local dining, entertainment, & online spend (inc. travel bookings, bills, & transit payments)
  • Up to 16% fuel savings at Caltex, 14% with Shell

Best Miles Card for Dining: 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
Promotions:
  • Receive S$50 cash credit after S$700 spend

Consumers with notable spend on transport and dining can maximise miles with Maybank Horizon Platinum Visa Card, and even avoid paying an annual fee. Cardholders earn 3.2 miles per S$1 spend on petrol, taxi fares, and local dining, plus 2-to-3.2 miles per $1 spend on travel bookings and foreign currency transactions. With S$18,000 annual spend (S$1,500/month), the S$180 fee is waived. Ultimately, value-conscious consumers can easily benefit from transport and dining spend.

Read Our Full Review

  • Annual fee: S$180, 3-year waiver (subsequently with S$18,000 annual spend)
  • 2 miles per S$1 spend on air tickets, travel packages and foreign currency transactions
  • 3.2 miles per S$1 spend on petrol, dining, taxi fares and hotel bookings via Agoda
  • Free travel insurance & airport lounge access
  • Annual fee: S$180, 3-year waiver (subsequently with S$18,000 annual spend)
  • 2 miles per S$1 spend on air tickets, travel packages and foreign currency transactions
  • 3.2 miles per S$1 spend on petrol, dining, taxi fares and hotel bookings via Agoda
  • Free travel insurance & airport lounge access

Best for Bonus Mile Award: American Express Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer Card

Consider this if you want an easy to use miles card and fly mostly on Singapore Airline's various brands

Annual Income Requirement S$30,000
Foreigner Income Requirement S$60,000
Promotions:
  • Up to 20,000 bonus KrisFlyer Miles when you spend S$5,000 in the first 3 months
  • 1,500 KrisFlyer Miles each for the first two approved supplementary cards
  • S$150 Cashback for use with Singapore Airlines when you spend S$12,000

Consumers seeking bonus miles should check out American Express Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer Card–perhaps the top travel card for promotions on the market. New cardholders can earn up to 13,000 KrisFlyer Miles after a S$3,000 spend and booking a Grab ride in the first 3 months. After S$12,000 spend, consumers receive S$150 cash credit to Singapore Air. Referrals and supplementary cards also earn bonuses. As for the card itself, consumers earn 1.1 KrisFlyer Miles per S$1 general spend, 2 Miles with Singapore Airlines brands, and 3.1 Miles on Grab rides. The S$176.55 annual fee is waived the first year.

Read Our Full Review

  • Annual fee: S$176.55, 1-year waiver
  • 1.1 KrisFlyer Miles per S$1 general spend, 2 KF Miles overseas (June & December only)
  • 2 KrisFlyer Miles per S$1 spend with Singapore Airlines brands
  • 3.1 KrisFlyer Miles per S$1 spend on Grab rides
  • Access to American Express Selects & Hertz Gold Plus Rewards Privileges
  • Annual fee: S$176.55, 1-year waiver
  • 1.1 KrisFlyer Miles per S$1 general spend, 2 KF Miles overseas (June & December only)
  • 2 KrisFlyer Miles per S$1 spend with Singapore Airlines brands
  • 3.1 KrisFlyer Miles per S$1 spend on Grab rides
  • Access to American Express Selects & Hertz Gold Plus Rewards Privileges

Best Miles Card for Overseas Spending & Business Travelers: 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
Promotions:
  • Up to S$100 in cashback + Up to S$150 in Prime Now credits, 10% cashback & free Amazon Prime
  • Up to 12% off bookings with Hotels . Com

Standard Chartered Visa Infinite Card is the best way for frequent business travellers to maximise miles, rewarding 3 miles per S$1 overseas spend, 1.4 miles locally. While the annual fee is high (S$588.5, non-waivable), the perks are top-notch–cardmembers receive HHonor Gold status, free travel insurance, airport lounge access, global discounts on Grab rides, golfing privileges and more. In both rates and benefits, SC Visa Infinite Card is a market leader.

Read Our Full Review

  • Annual fee: S$588.5
  • 1.4 miles per S$1 local spend, 3 miles overseas
  • Free travel insurance, Hilton HH Gold status, golfing & dining privileges
  • Priority Pass Membership for 6 free lounge visits per year
  • Up to 15% cashback on Grab (S$30/month cap) & Hertz Asia privileges
  • Annual fee: S$588.5
  • 1.4 miles per S$1 local spend, 3 miles overseas
  • Free travel insurance, Hilton HH Gold status, golfing & dining privileges
  • Priority Pass Membership for 6 free lounge visits per year
  • Up to 15% cashback on Grab (S$30/month cap) & Hertz Asia privileges

Best Air Miles Credit Card for Affluent Consumers: UOB PRVI Miles American Express Credit Card

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$30,000
Foreigner Income Requirement S$40,000
Promotions:
  • Up to S$120 rebate with min. S$1,000 spend within 1st month
  • Up to 10 miles per S$1 spend with Kaligo
  • 4.8 miles per S$1 spend on overseas dining, shopping & accommodation (ends 31 Dec 2018)

UOB PRVI Miles American Express Credit Card is great for affluent consumers who prioritise rapid mile accumulation over luxury travel perks. Cardholders earn top rates of 1.4 miles per S$1 local spend, 2.4 miles overseas, and 6 miles with major hotels and airlines, and can avoid the S$256.8 fee–and simultaneously earn 20,000 bonus miles–with S$50,000 annual spend. This card does not offer perks like free lounge access or golfing privileges, but the speed and efficiency of miles accumulation sets UOB PRVI Miles Amex Card apart from competitors.

Read Our Full Review

  • Annual fee: S$256.8, 1-year waiver (subsequently with S$50,000 annual spend)
  • 20,000 annual renewal miles with S$50,000 spend
  • 1.4 miles per S$1 local spend, 2.4 miles overseas, 6 miles with major hotels & airlines
  • Free travel insurance, 8 free limo transfers, access to American Express Selects
  • Annual fee: S$256.8, 1-year waiver (subsequently with S$50,000 annual spend)
  • 20,000 annual renewal miles with S$50,000 spend
  • 1.4 miles per S$1 local spend, 2.4 miles overseas, 6 miles with major hotels & airlines
  • Free travel insurance, 8 free limo transfers, access to American Express Selects

Compare the Best Rewards Credit Cards

In case you want a quick look at our picks, here are ValueChampion's best credit cards for 2019.

Rewards CardsBest For...Annual Fee
Citi Cash BackBest CashbackS$192.6Learn More
OCBC 365No Annual Fee, CashbackS$192.6 (waiver)Learn More
HSBC AdvanceNo Annual Fee, High IncomeS$0.0 for Advance customersLearn More
Maybank Visa PlatinumNo Annual Fee, Low IncomeS$0.0Learn More
SC Unlimited CashbackUnlimited Rebate of 1.5%S$192.6Learn More
Citi PMVBest MilesS$192.6Learn More
DBS AltitudeNo Annual Fee, MilesS$192.6 (waiver)Learn More
SC Visa InfiniteOverseas Spend & Business TravelS$588.5Learn More
HSBC RevolutionOnline & EntertainmentS$160.5 (waiver)Learn More
Amex SA KrisflyerWelcome Bonus Miles and GiftS$176.55Learn More
Rewards CardsBest For...Annual Fee
Citi Cash BackLearn MoreBest CashbackS$192.6
OCBC 365Learn MoreNo Annual Fee, CashbackS$192.6 (waiver)
HSBC AdvanceLearn MoreNo Annual Fee, High IncomeS$0.0 for Advance customers
Maybank Visa PlatinumLearn MoreNo Annual Fee, Low IncomeS$0.0
SC Unlimited CashbackLearn MoreUnlimited Rebate of 1.5%S$192.6
Citi PMVLearn MoreBest MilesS$192.6
DBS AltitudeLearn MoreNo Annual Fee, MilesS$192.6 (waiver)
SC Visa InfiniteLearn MoreOverseas Spend & Business TravelS$588.5
HSBC RevolutionLearn MoreOnline & EntertainmentS$160.5 (waiver)
Amex SA KrisflyerLearn MoreWelcome Bonus Miles and GiftS$176.55

Compare the Best Rewards Credit Cards by Dollar Value

Based on the average consumer’s monthly expenditure of S$2,000, we have carefully analysed the best cashback cards on the market to estimate returned value-to-consumer after 2 years, accounting for rebates and netting out annual fees.

A graph displaying how best rewards credit cards compare to one another in terms of their rewards
Best Rewards Credit Cards in Singapore by Estimated 2-Year Dollar Value

Dollar value is heavily dependent on spending habits, so be sure to read through each review for rewards details. "Intangible" benefits (like free travel insurance and airport lounge access) are valuable, but difficult to quantify. Read more about how to choose the best rewards card in our guide below.

How to Find The Best Rewards Credit Card

To help you best evaluate which card is best for you, we have prepared a list of things to consider. Every person has unique needs and circumstances to which different cards may best cater. Use this framework to guide your evaluation process for any credit card offers you come across to help you assess how each card might fit into your personal spending decisions.

Your Spending Habits

While most consumers shopping for a rewards credit card just want to find out "What is the best rewards card?", the answer unfortunately depends on many different factors. Which rewards card will be the best for you will depend entirely on your personal spending, travel and credit habits. Taking a moment to consider your personal preferences before searching for a card will go a long way in helping you find the best deal.

Do You Keep A Balance On Your Credit Card?: In exchange for giving you bonuses and rewards, rewards credit cards always charge an extremely high interest rates around 25%. If you're unable to pay off your monthly charges in entirety, additional interest will easily exceed what you earn in rewards. Therefore, rewards card are only beneficial for consumers who pay off their credit card bills on time on a monthly basis. If you are having difficulty in doing this, you should consider getting a low interest credit card or sticking to using cash. You're much better off reducing your interest payments than trying to get few percentage points in rewards.

How Do You Use Your Rewards?: For you to benefit from rewards cards, you actually have to use them. People tend to rack up miles and points that are never used. Even worse, many miles and reward points expire within a certain time frame. For those consumers these rewards might as well be worth nothing. Since some rewards expire, you might want to consider whether you like save up towards one big redemption or want to be redeem rewards as frequently as possible.

Also, take inventory of what kind of rewards you actually will be likely to use. Do you travel frequently, and would like to get free air tickets? Or would you rather receive cashback for daily purchases?

Lastly, you should consider how much you value flexibility. While cashback rewards are often immediately awarded, redeeming miles often take weeks of preparation because of processing time, and it may be more difficult to earn a free trip than you would like.

How Much Money Can You Spend?: Cards with the highest rewards rates often come with a high annual fee and minimum spend requirements. With many no-fee rewards credit card options available, the decision to pay an annual fee will depend on the amount you will spend on the card. As a rule of thumb, you should plan to spend at least S$500 a month per card for a fee-based rewards card to be viable.

Below, we have prepared real life examples of how these factors can influence how each card works differently for individuals with varying preferences.

Example 1: Why Your Spending Pattern Matters

What credit card you should choose should depend first on how much money you spend. For example, my friend Robert makes S$50,000 a year, and spends about S$2,000 on his UOB One Card on a monthly basis. UOB One Card is a great cashback card that provides up to 5% cash rebate for all of your expenditures, plus some other benefits like discounts on petrol. Based on Rob's spending level, this translates to about S$1,200 of cash rebate annually, which nets out to S$2,207.4 in rebate over 2 years after subtracting S$192.6 of annual fee (which is waived for 1 year). While this may seem great, one should wonder: what if Robert spends less money?

Because UOB One Card requires at least S$2,000 of monthly spend to qualify for the 5% rebate, anything less would only earn maximum 3.33% of flat rate cashback. This means that my other friend Henry, who only spends S$1,000 on his card every month, can only earn S$607.4 in net cash rebate over 2 years if he uses the UOB One Card. In this case, Henry may have been better off by using a card like OCBC 365 Card, which earns cash rebate and waives the annual fee for anyone who spends S$10,000 per year on the card. To be specific, OCBC 365 earns 24% on petrol, 3% on online shopping, up to 6% on dining and 3% on groceries, among other things.

Comparing UOB One Card and OCBC 365 Card's Total Benefits In Terms of Cashback Earned Net of Fees Over 2 Years for Monthly Spending Levels of S$2,000 and S$1,000
Comparing UOB One Card and OCBC 365 Card's Benefits

Let's now assume that my third friend Tom is a foodie who loves to eat well. However, he doesn't care that much about traveling, shopping or entertainment (i.e. bars, karaokes, etc.). Therefore, he spends about 60% of his monthly budget on dining and groceries, while Henry only spends 35% of his spending on these two categories. In this case, Tom should prefer to use Citi Cashback Card over using OCBC 365 Card, since Citi Cashback card earns 8% cash rebate on all of his dining and grocery bills.

Comparing OCBC 365 Card and Citi Cashback Card's Total Benefits In Terms of Cashback Earned Net of Fees Over 2 Years for Someone Who Spends S$1,000 per Month
Comparing OCBC 365 Card and Citi Cashback Card's Benefits

Example 2: Why How You Redeem Your Rewards Matter (Miles vs Cash Back)

There are many other factors besides your spending patterns that you must consider before choosing the right credit card. For instance, you may want to go for an air miles credit card instead of a cash back carf if you tend to travel frequently. This is especially so for people who like to redeem their miles for business class or first class seats. Our study has shown that 1 mile can be worth up to S$0.08 for longer and more expensive flights, compared to S$0.01 conversion rate for economy flights.

Let's consider our example of Robert again from the scenario above, who spends about S$2,000 per month on his card. If he used a Citi PremierMiles Card, he could be earning about 110,920 of miles over 2 years, plus additional savings on petrol, according to our calculations. This is because Citi PMV card awards 1.2 miles for every S$1 you spend locally, 2 miles for S$1 you spend overseas, 15,000 miles for customers who use the card within the first 3 months, and another 10,000 miles when you pay the S$192.6 of annual fee to renew your card. It can also earn 14-15% discounts on petrol in Singapore. If you were to convert the 111,000 miles you earn at a S$0.03 to 1 mile rate (i.e. short-haul business class seat), that's worth significantly more than the cashback Robert would earn on UOB One Card even after subtracting the annual fees. On the other hand, if Rob used his miles at a S$0.01 per mile rate, or never redeemed his miles at all, then UOB One Card would be the better deal.

Comparing UOB One Card and OCBC 365 Card's Total Benefits In Terms of Cashback Earned Net of Fees Over 2 Years for Someone Who Spends S$1,000 per Month
Comparing UOB One Card and OCBC 365 Card's Benefits for Someone Who Spends S$2,000 per Month

Understand How Each Card Is Different

In examining the different rewards credit cards, we looked at different factors that should influence your decision. Understanding all these different aspects can help you figure out just how good a card really is.

How Do the Rewards Work?: While most cards use the same set of terms (points, miles, cash back), the ways these rewards work will vary significantly. Some rewards can be applied as statement credits, as cashback, as reward points or as miles. Some cards will even allow for conversion between rewards points and miles. While cashback and statement credits are two best options for most people, miles can be highly valuable for those who redeem them for long-haul flights on business class or better. Some cards also allow you to transfer your rewards to other loyalty programs giving you another way to use what you've earned.

Rewards Rate: If your rewards card is going to be your primary card then the rewards rate for general spending is very important. For everyday spending you can expect to earn up to 5% of what you spend as rewards. As a rule of thumb, the more flexible the type of reward you get, the lower the rewards rate you can expect. Otherwise, you could pick a few cards that collectively offer high award rates on most of your expenditures.

Welcome & Renewal Bonuses Matter: The promotions offered to new card holders and renewal bonuses are major contributors of the value you can get from rewards cards. Most of these bonuses require you to either make a purchase on the card or spend a certain amount within a set time limit. Because the value of welcome bonuses and renewal bonuses can range from S$50 - S$500, you should make sure to fulfill the qualifications.

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.

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