Many in Singapore will agree that eating (and queuing) is our national past time. We're famous for our chilli crabs worldwide, chicken rice, laksa and a whole slew of dishes that people have a love or hate relationship with. While I can't make recommendations on how to save money on the smaller cash purchases, here are some credit cards that will be great to have if you're interested in cash rebates or earning miles! Although the accrued credit card points can be utilised in redeeming for a range of other options (e.g. free movie tickets or dining vouchers), it is clear to those in the know that such redemptions are generally a bad deal.
This entry is the first of two parts in the Dining in Singapore guide and will cover on maximising miles or cash backs when dining out. This entry is not a credit card review and therefore will not cover all aspects of the credit cards featured - only those that matter in dining!
1. UOB Preferred Platinum American Express (AMEX) Card (4 Miles for S$1)
The UOB Preferred Platinum American Express Card is in my opinion, the best credit card for dining (so long the restaurant/dining establishment accepts AMEX of course). This card is specifically for the mile hunters - it gives you 4 miles per S$1 of eligible spend. More accurately, the card gives you 20 miles per S$5 of eligible spend on dining establishments (restaurant, bar or cafe).
Like all other UOB Credit Cards, the total spend amount will be calculated and rounded down to S$5 intervals. Please see below for a couple of examples:
S$4.95 Spend Amount: 0 UNI$ (equivalent to 0 miles)
S$150 Spend Amount: 300 UNI$ (equivalent to 600 miles)
S$354 Spend Amount: 700 UNI$ (equivalent to 1,400 miles)
Considering how much we Singaporeans love our food, this is a great card to have in earning miles! Some popular restaurants that I enjoy going to which takes AMEX as a mode of payment includes:
- Imperial Treasure
- PS Cafe
- Jones the Grocer
- Dean & Deluca
- Shin Yeh Restaurant
There's a huge list of AMEX merchants and it is by no means exhaustive in any way at all. In fact, since UOB has a rather extensive dining privilege program, you can usually double dip in promotions (e.g. S$10 return voucher for S$100 spend at Imperial Treasure with UOB Cards).
2. OCBC 365 Card (up to 6% cash back)
If you spend a minimum of S$600 a month, you can earn 6% cash back on weekends when you dine locally and 3% cash back on weekdays when you dine locally and overseas. Dining cash back is applicable to all restaurants, cafes, fast food outlets and caterers with the exclusion of F&B outlets located within hotels. Do note that the S$600 spend does not apply only to dining expenditures but pretty much everything that you charge to the card.
If you charge less than S$600 to your card in a month, you will not receive the promotional 3% or 6% cash back for dining out and will only receive 0.3% cash back for all spend under S$600. Cash backs are also capped at S$80 a month. If you only use this card for weekend dining, you will only earn 6% cash back for the first S$1,333 of dining expenditure.
The OCBC 365 Card is a Visa credit card which means there's a much greater acceptance rate across all dining establishments. It is definitely less restrictive when compared to the UOB Preferred Platinum Amex in terms of merchant acceptance.
3. UOB One Card (up to 5.33% cash back)
If you the satisfy the following three conditions, you should most definitely get the UOB One Card.
- You do not wish to carry more than one credit card. Period.
- You do not wish to spend more than S$1,500 on your credit card per month.
- You prefer cash backs over miles.
The UOB One Card gives you a flat 3.33% cash back as long as you spend at least S$300 per month for the whole quarter. Please be mindful that with this card, if you fail to hit S$300 for one out of three months in a quarter, you will not get the 3.33% cash back.
The maximum cash back cap for this card is S$150 per quarter (S$600 a year).
You will also receive an additional 2% cash rebate if you use your card overseas (including restaurants overseas).y. For the purpose of the Promotion, overseas spend shall be
capped to a maximum total sum of an equivalent of SGD5,000.00 in foreign currency per
4. American Express Platinum Credit Card (added on 26-January-2015!)
The American Express Platinum Credit Card is the less popular sibling on the American Express Platinum Charge Card and the American Express Centurion. The latter two cards are well-known for the limitless credit and the perceived power that comes with it. Anyhow, for everyone else, the Platinum Credit Card can be yours to own and cherish should be make at least S$50,000 an annum.
You will receive a complimentary Palate Membership (worth S$457.96) which gives you to up to 50% savings on food orders at a wide selection of popular restaurants. In addition, you can enjoy 15% savings on beverage at some of the island's trendiest bars.
You will also receive a complimentary The Far Card Classic Membership (worth S$425) which offers accommodation experiences as well as year-round savings of up to 50% on dining. The Far Card Classic Membership entitles you to special savings for unlimited visits at your choice of 10 restaurants at Fairmont Singapore, Swissôtel The Stamford Singapore, Equinox Complex and Swissôtel Merchant Court.
Also, it has been rumoured that one may get invited to join the ranks of the Platinum Charge Card simply by holding the Platinum Credit Card for a number of years but YMMV.
All three cards featured in this post requires a minimum annual income of S$30,000 (for locals) which is pretty standard for most credit cards in Singapore. My personal favourite as a mile hunter is definitely the UOB Preferred American Express Card but I think the OCBC 365 Card is really great if you dine out on weekends a lot. Furthermore, if you combine the OCBC 365 Card with your OCBC 360 Account (click HERE for my review), you will be eligible for the bonus 1% interest on your savings.
If I missed out on anything, please leave a comment below and I will be sure to feature it too!
Links to featured Credit Cards