DBS Esso Platinum Credit Card Review: Is It the Best Petrol Credit Card?

Maximise Fuel Savings at Esso Stations
DBS Esso Card
DBS Esso Card

DBS Esso Platinum Credit Card Review: Is It the Best Petrol Credit Card?

Maximise Fuel Savings at Esso Stations

3.7/5.0

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Rewards
Perks
Fees

Pros

  • Up to 21.2% fuel savings at Esso
  • Up to 2.4% Smiles savings

Cons

  • Annual fee of S$192.60 waived only 1st year
  • Low rewards rate for general spend (approx. 0.3%-0.4%)
DBS Esso Card
DBS Esso Card

DBS Esso Card offers drivers a great way to turn petrol purchases into fuel savings and rewards. Consumers earn up to 21.2% fuel savings at Esso and general spend earns points redeemable as rewards or further fuel savings. Cardholders are auto-enrolled in the Esso Smiles Driver Rewards Programme, which offers another 2.4% in fuel savings, and have access to the card's unique 0% interest instalment Payment Plan for Motor Insurance and Road Tax. DBS Esso Card is a great option if you want to maximise rewards as a frequent user of Esso, making it one of the best rewards credit cards in Singapore for drivers.

DBS Esso Credit Card Features and Benefits

  • Annual Fee: S$192.60, Waived for 1 year
  • Income Requirement: S$30,000 for citizens & PRs, S$45,000 for foreigners
Key Features:
  • Annual fee: S$192.60
  • Up to 21.2% fuel savings
  • 2.4% Smiles savings
  • 0% Interest-Free Instalment Payment Plan for Motor Insurance and Road Tax
Promotions:
  • No promotion currently being offered
Promotions:
  • No promotion currently being offered

Our Evaluation: Good Rewards for Frequent Drivers

DBS Esso Card is well-suited for frequent drivers who prefer to fuel up at Esso, and who would like to turn their petrol purchases into rewards. Cardholders can earn up to 21.2% in fuel savings at Esso, including 18% in instant savings and a S$7 discount, after a nett fuel spend of S$180. Consumers earn up to an additional 2.4% in savings as part of their auto-enrolment into the Esso Smiles Driver Rewards Programme. With this, every 1 litre of Synergy fuel earns 1 Point, which can later be redeemed for rewards, or free fuel.

DescriptionDiscount
Esso Station Discount18%
DBS Esso Card Discount3.2%
TOTAL DISCOUNT21.2%
Additional Smiles SavingsUp to 2.4%

Purchasing fuel at Esso can earn rewards fairly easily, but rewards rates for general spend are very low. Consumers can exchange 300 Points for S$10 worth of Synergy fuel. So, cardholders can earn about 3.4 litres of fuel either by purchasing about S$948 of Esso gas. DBS Esso Card maximises rewards for drivers, but is not a great option for daily spenders.

StepSpend on Esso Fuel
SPENDS$948
PURCHASE300 Litres Petrol
EARN300 Points
CONVERT300 Points equal S$10 worth Synergy Fuel
RECEIVEApproximately 3.4 Litres Petrol
Data based on S$3.16/litre price of Esso Synergy Supreme+ petrol in Singapore, as of January 2022

Another drawback is that DBS Esso Card has an annual fee of S$192.60 which is only waived the first year. Consumers who do not drive very often likely won't recoup enough in rewards to offset this cost. However, the card offers a unique 0% interest instalment plan with no administrative fee for motor insurance and road tax. This might help any driver looking to pay for insurance over time, without added cost. Ultimately, frequent drivers who prefer Esso might benefit from DBS Esso Card, but those who drive less often and who prefer rewards for diversified spend can earn more elsewhere.

How the DBS Esso Credit Card Rewards Program Works

Use our quick and easy-to-read guide below to learn how you can redeem DBS Esso Card rewards.

  • All spend earns Smiles Points
  • Smiles Points can be redeemed for fuel vouchers,or rewards
  • 300 Smiles Points redeemable for S$10 worth of Synergy Fuel
  • 750 Smiles Points redeemable for S$30 worth of Synergy Fuel
  • Points credited to active accounts within 60 days after month in which they were earned
  • Points are non-exchangeable, non-transferable and non-replaceable
  • Points do not expire, even if credit card expires, unless account holder does not purchase fuel at Esso at least once every 12 months

What You Should Know: Limits, Minimums and Exclusions

Some credit card expenditures are ineligible for cash back or rebate. We identify these exclusions in the table below.

Exclusion CategoryDescription
Bank FeesInterest and finance charges, cash withdrawal and balance transfer, fees charged by the Bank, online/banking bill payment transactions,
Transfers & Bill PaymentsSmart cash; payment of funds to prepaid accounts and merchants who are categorized as “payment service providers;” Payment made via AXS and SAM; EZReload (Auto Top-Up) transactions, eNets transactions and bill payments via internet banking; any top-ups or payment of funds to any payment service providers, prepaid cards and any prepaid accounts; any other transaction effected via any medium or channel, electronic or otherwise, which transaction, medium or channel the Bank may in its sole and absolute discretion choose to disallow.
Institutional PaymentsAssociation and membership fees; payments to financial institutions (including banks and brokerage), professional service providers, educational institutions, government institutions and services (court cases, fines, bail and bonds, tax payment, postal services, parking lots and garages, intra-government purchases and any other government services not classified here), insurance companies (sales, underwriting, and premiums), non-profit organisations;
Betting or GamblingBetting (including lottery tickets, casino gaming chips, off-track betting, and wagers at race tracks) through any channel
OtherNon-fuel purchases at Esso service stations

How does DBS Esso Credit Card Compare Against Other Cards?

Read our comparisons of DBS Esso Card with other cards and learn what makes each card unique in their own way. We compare and contrast each card to highlight its uniqueness to help you identify the card that you need.

DBS Esso Card performs well below the market average for value-to-consumer after two years based on an average monthly spend of S$2,000, likely because its rewards structure focuses only on petrol savings

DBS Esso Card v. Citi Cash Back Card

Consider this if if you spend mostly on food and transportation
  • Pros
    • Great dining and groceries rewards
    • High petrol discounts
    • Cons
      • Lacks shopping and entertainment rewards
      • Not suitable for lower budgets

      Citi Cash Back Card is a great option for average spenders looking for flexible cashback on petrol, combined with high rewards for daily essentials like dining and groceries. Consumers are more likely to maximise cashback for daily spend with Citi Cash Back Card than with DBS Esso Card. Cardholders earn 8% cashback on dining, groceries, and often, a rotating promotional category after a minimum monthly spend of S$888. In addition, consumers earn up to 20.88% on petrol at Shell and Esso, and 8% fuel savings at all other stations worldwide.

      While Citi Cash Back Card's petrol cashback policy may seem flexible, the rates are less accessible. Consumers that can't meet the S$888 minimum spend can only earn 14% savings at Shell and Esso and 0.25% at all other stations. DBS Esso Cardholders receive 18% in instant savings and earn up to 21.2% after only S$180 nett spend on petrol at Esso. Low spenders who prioritise petrol may benefit more from DBS Esso Card.

      DBS Esso Card v. Standard Chartered Visa Infinite Card

      Consider this if you travel frequently for business
      • Pros
        • Great rewards for high overseas spend
        • Rewards banking activity
        • Cons
          • Not suitable for average spenders who mostly buy local essentials
          • Annual fee

          Affluent travellers looking to maximise rewards on petrol while rapidly accruing miles might be interested in Standard Chartered Visa Infinite Card. While the card has a non-waivable annual fee of S$588.5, it leads the market by offering up to 26.57% fuel savings at Caltex, after a minimum spend of S$600. Cardholders also earn 3 miles per S$1 spend overseas and 1.4 miles locally, after spending S$2,000 each month.

          For consumers that can afford the fee and spend at least S$2,000 per month, SC Visa Infinite Card is an excellent way to accumulate miles and maximise rewards for petrol purchases. Lower spenders who are focused explicitly on fuel savings are more likely to benefit from DBS Esso Card.

          DBS Esso Card v. OCBC 365 Card

          OCBC 365 Credit Card
          OCBC 365 Credit Card
          Consider this if you are looking for a credit card for general day-to-day use
          • Pros
            • 6% rebate on dining, 3% on groceries, transport, recurring bills, online travel
            • Fee waiver with S$10,000 annual spend
            • Up to 22.1% fuel savings at Caltex, 20.2% at Esso
            • Cons
              • 0.3% rebate on general spend
              • High S$800 minimum spend requirement

              Consumers who both drive and frequently take public transport can maximise fuel savings as well as earn daily, no-fee cashback with OCBC 365 Card. In addition to earnings on dining, groceries, utilities, and travel bookings, cardholders receive 3% cashback on local and overseas private hire and taxi rides, as well as up to 23% fuel savings with Caltex, 20.4% with Esso. Whether taking a Grab ride while on vacation or just driving to work, consumers earn rebates.

              While it has an easily waivable annual fee, OCBC 365 Card is better for average spenders. Fuel purchased at Caltex and Esso receive instant savings of 16% and 14% respectively; an additional 5% is only unlocked with a S$800 minimum monthly spend. DBS Esso Card offers 18% instant savings at Esso and consumers earn a S$7 rebate with S$180 net fuel spend per month. Overall, average spenders with balanced spend on transport might consider OCBC 365 Card, but DBS Esso Card's fuel savings rate is more accessible.

              DBS Esso Card v. Maybank Family and Friends Card

              Get Samsonite Harts 68/25 Spinner worth S$550
              Consider this if you spend a lot of time in both Singapore and Malaysia
              • Pros
                • Good for budgets of S$800/month
                • Awards 8% cashback on 5 categories of your choice
                • 3 year annual fee waiver
                • Great to use in Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia and the Philippines
                • Cons
                  • Merchant restrictions
                  • Lacks miles & travel perks

                  Maybank Family and Friends MasterCard is great for families who prefer a no-fee card and spend at least S$1,000 per month on groceries, fast food delivery, transport, health and wellness, leisure, and kid-friendly retail. While consumers earn 8% cashback on select merchants in each of these categories, they are also eligible to save up to 20.88% on petrol. What makes Maybank Family and Friends MasterCard unique is that nearly all petrol stations in Singapore and Malaysia (Caltex, Esso, Shell, SPC, Smart Energy, BHPetrol, Petron, and Petronas) receive instant discounts of 14%. An extra 8% is applied on top of these discounts–as well as to bus, train, and taxi rides–as part of the card's special rebate rate.

                  Unfortunately, rebates for all spend at the 8% rate are capped at S$50/month. Once this cap is reached, petrol savings return to a relatively low 14%. Even though the card's annual fee is waived for 3 years, and thereafter with each S$12,000 annual spend, Maybank Family and Friends MasterCard may not be as valuable to frequent drivers seeking petrol savings as DBS Esso Card.

                  Methodology: How We Evaluate Credit Cards

                  Our analysis of consumer credit cards involves calculating the total value of a card's rewards rates, bonuses, and discounts minus the cost of its annual fee, rewards caps, and required spend. Temporary promotions and intangible perks are considered, but do not necessarily enter the equation when we calculate final value.

                  ValueChampion makes certain assumptions when estimating the rewards value of credit cards. These matter because most cards offer different cashback or miles rates based on the type of spend involved. Our profiles reflect a best guess at the spend decisions of a typical consumer on an average budget.

                  If you would like to see how our calculations work on your own budget, head over to our RealValue Rewards Calculator and type in how much you spend in various categories to see an instant comparison of the predicted rewards value of dozens of cards.

                  Read Also:

                  Zoryana Melesh

                  Zoryana is a Senior Research Analyst at ValueChampion, who focuses on evaluating credit cards, savings and fixed deposits in Singapore. She holds a BA in Political Science and an MPA in International Finance and Economic Policy, both from Columbia University. Prior to joining ValueChampion, Zoryana worked in treasury management consulting.

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