7 Best Credit Cards in Singapore for Overseas Spending (2019)
So you’ve been saving up your annual leave and spending every hour searching for cheap air tickets online. And now, it’s time to embark on well-deserved overseas holiday. But before you blow the rest of your cash on your trip, make sure you get yourself one of these best travel credit cards in Singapore.
“Wait, why can’t I just use my usual credit card?” you ask. You can, of course, but you should first check the T&Cs. Not all credit cards give you the same generous cash rebates or rewards points on overseas spending.
Another reason you might want to get a dedicated travel credit card is that the foreign currency transaction fee (which varies from bank to bank and sometimes even credit card to credit card) may erode whatever rebates you’re currently getting.
In short: Use the wrong credit card on holiday, and you’ll come back to a depressing credit card bill. Let’s see which credit cards are best for travel.
7 best credit cards for overseas spending (2019)
|Credit card||Overseas spending rewards||Foreign transaction fee|
|OCBC 90* N Card||$1 = 4 miles (until 29 Feb 2020)||3%|
|UOB Visa Signature Card||$1 = 4 miles (min. $1,000/month, max. $2,000/month)||3.1%|
|UOB PRVI Miles Card||$1 = 2.4 miles||3.25%|
|UOB YOLO Card||8% or 3% cashback on dining, entertainment, Grab (min. $600/month)||3.1%|
|Maybank Family & Friends||8% or 5% cashback on dining, groceries in Malaysia (min. $800 or $500/month)||2.5%|
|Amex True Cashback Card||3% cashback (up to $5,000/first 6 months)||2.5%|
|ICBC Dual Currency Cards||Varies; there are 3 versions||0% for RMB / USD|
OCBC 90°N Card — best for a blowout holiday in 2019
If you happen to be planning a massive Europe shopping trip, an expensive skiing trip to Niseko, perhaps a honeymoon in the Maldives…
…In other words, if you’ll be spending a crapload of money overseas at the end of the year (“What recession?“) then OCBC’s brand new miles card is pretty much perfect for you.
The OCBC 90°N Miles Card has an insane opening promotion where you can earn 4 miles per $1 spent in foreign currency, with no minimum spend and no cap. The promo ends on 29 Feb 2020, so you can also earn tons of miles if you’re going overseas over Chinese New Year too.
UOB Visa Signature Card — best for spending $1,000 to $2,000
I can’t believe I forgot to include this card in the previous update for this article. The extremely underrated UOB Visa Signature Card is one of the best credit cards in Singapore for overseas spending.
It’s totally a miles card disguised as a rewards card. You earn the equivalent of 4 miles per $1 spent overseas — and no, that’s not a promotional rate, but a permanent feature.
The only drawback is that you need to spend at least $1,000 that month in foreign currency to earn the bonus miles. But considering the average Singaporean’s obsession with extravagant travel, that should be no issue. There is, however, a maximum of $2,000 spending a month.
UOB PRVI Miles Card — best general miles card for overseas spending
- S$1 = 1.4 miles (Local spend); S$1 = 2.4 miles (Overseas spend)
- S$1 = 6 miles for spends on major airlines and hotels booked through Expedia, UOB Travel, and Agoda
- No minimum spend and no cap on earned miles
- 20,000 loyalty miles every year with min. spend of S$50,000 in a year; Up to 8 complimentary airport transfers to Changi Airport in a year (Exclusively for UOB PRVI Miles American Express Card)
- Complimentary travel insurance coverage of up to S$1,000,000. T&Cs apply.
All kinds of new miles cards have come on the scene, but the UOB PRVI Miles Card still has one of the best permanent earn rates for overseas spending.
Be warned, though, that UOB charges the highest foreign currency transaction fee on this list. In fact, the fee higher for the PRVI Miles than for its other credit cards. Damning evidence here:
UOB YOLO Card — best for spontaneous weekend getaways
- 16%* cash rebate on weekend Dining & Entertainment**; 3% cashback on weekday Dining & Entertainment
- 3% cash rebate on Online Travel^ and fashion
- Minimum spend: S$600. Cashback cap: S$60/month
- 1 year principal card fee waiver; no annual fees for first supplementary card
- Base rate: 0.3% cashback if minimum spend of S$600 is not met
We’ve covered the local benefits of the UOB YOLO Card pretty extensively already, but what’s often overlooked is that their generous 8% cashback on weekend dining, entertainment and Grab rides apply overseas too.
That makes the UOB YOLO Card a terrific choice for swiping on weekend getaways to nearby places like JB, KL, Batam, Bintan and Bangkok. (On weekdays, the rebate drops to 3%.)
Do your hotel and flight bookings online and you’ll get a 3% rebate on them too, making it a good all-rounded travel credit card. The minimum spend of $600/month is reasonable, even for budget travellers.
Maybank Family & Friends Card — best for frequent JB trips
- Up to 8% cash rebate on groceries, shopping, dining, food deliveries, petrol, and entertainment spend
- Up to 8% cash rebate on bus, train, and taxi rides
- 8% or 5% cash rebate with minimum spend of S$1000/S$500 per month respectively. Cash rebate cap at S$600/year
- Get 0.3% cash rebate on all other spend with no cap on cash rebates
Despite already being a solid credit card for raising kids (so darn expensive) in Singapore, the Maybank Family & Friends Card has recently revamped its cashback benefits and it’s even better than ever — especially for those who treat Johor as their second home.
Now, you can get 5% or 8% rebate (depending on whether you spend $500 or $800 a month) on ALL restaurants, supermarkets, petrol kiosks and taxis in Malaysia as well as Singapore.
Maybank does charge a foreign transaction fee, but that’s acceptable since the rebates-to-effort ratio is pretty low for a cashback card.
Amex True Cashback Card — best for travelling to western countries
- MoneySmart Exclusive - Bonus S$80 Cash
- Apply through MoneySmart from 22 Mar - 19 Apr 2018 to get S$100 worth of Grab OR NTUC Vouchers. Application must be approved by 3 May 2018. Submit your (i)Contact Details and (ii)14-digit Reference Number on the Thank You Page upon completion at this link before 19 April 2018. T&Cs
- 1.5% Cashback on any purchase you make, anytime
- 3% Cashback for the first 6 months up to $5000 spend
- Enjoy first year fee waiver
- Eligible for use with Apple Pay
After all these generous rebates, the standard 1.5% offered by American Express True Cashback Card is bound to seem rather stingy. However, you get a bumped-up 3% cashback in the first 6 months of card membership. This is good for up to $5,000.
Note that the 2.5% foreign currency fee will erode some of the rebate though. Also, Amex isn’t as widely accepted worldwide as Visa/Mastercard, so it’s suitable only for certain destinations.
ICBC Dual Currency Cards — no transaction fees for RMB & USD
Always jetting to mainland China to visit your WeChat buddies and to stock up on Xiaomi electronics? Then it’s worth your while to sign up for one of Chinese bank ICBC’s dual currency credit cards: The Koipy UnionPay card or the regular UnionPay version.
These UnionPay cards are not terribly useful in Singapore, but are accepted everywhere in China. There are some minor cashback benefits but those are peripheral — the main benefit is that all RMB transactions are charged directly in RMB and have no transaction fees whatsoever!
If you’re ICBC also has a USD-SGD dual currency credit card (thankfully a Visa) that works in pretty much the same way, except with USD instead of RMB.
Which is your favourite credit card to use for overseas spending? Share your recommendations in the comments!
Also, check out the latest credit card promotions in Singapore before you apply for one.