UOB, KrisFlyer launch new account that rewards with air miles

(From left) Mr Tan Kai Ping, senior vice-president of marketing planning, Singapore Airlines; Ms Jacquelyn Tan, head of personal financial services Singapore, UOB; Mr Goh Choon Phong, chief executive of SIA; and Mr Wee Ee Cheong, deputy chairman of U
(From left) Mr Tan Kai Ping, senior vice-president of marketing planning, Singapore Airlines; Ms Jacquelyn Tan, head of personal financial services Singapore, UOB; Mr Goh Choon Phong, chief executive of SIA; and Mr Wee Ee Cheong, deputy chairman of UOB; launching the KrisFlyer UOB Account, which targets millennials with a new current account and debit card.PHOTO: UNITED OVERSEAS BANK

United Overseas Bank and KrisFlyer have tied up to target the millennial market with a new current account and debit card that reward users with air miles for their savings and spending.

The KrisFlyer UOB Account allows customers with deposits of between $3,000 and $100,000 to earn 1.4 KrisFlyer miles for every dollar they spend, if their expenditure totals at least $500 on the card in a month.

So, a customer with a monthly average balance of $20,000 in their account who spends $1,000 a month over 12 months, would earn 16,800 KrisFlyer miles - enough to redeem flights on Singapore Airlines (SIA) or SilkAir to Bali, Langkawi or Lombok.

This earn rate is comparable with those offered by popular travel credit cards on the market.

UOB's own PRVI credit card rewards users with 1.4 air miles for every dollar spent locally or 2.4 air miles for every dollar spent overseas.

The ANZ Travel Visa Signature Card also offers 1.4 air miles for every dollar spent locally, while Citi's PremierMiles Visa Card rewards users with 1.2 miles per dollar spent locally.

Those with higher balances in their KrisFlyer UOB Account will earn even more air miles for their spending.

Customers with deposits of between $100,000 and $350,000 will earn 3.4 KrisFlyer miles for each dollar spent, while those with $350,000 and above will earn 5.4 air miles for every dollar spent.

The new UOB card is the first one here with air miles that can be redeemed for flights or travel vouchers on all four carriers within the Singapore Airlines Group - SIA, SilkAir, Scoot and Tigerair.

Ms Jacquelyn Tan, UOB's head of personal financial services Singapore, said the account and debit card will give the bank an edge in winning over the millennial segment. "For millennials who have just started working, do not earn $30,000 annual income and don't qualify for credit cards yet, this gives them not only a banking solution but also travel privileges," she said.

"We do recognise that millennials will be the backbone of the Singapore economy in the next five to 10 years, and our ambition is to grow with them as they progress through their careers."

Debit cards and travel spending are both becoming more popular, Ms Tan noted.

Overall spending on UOB debit cards grew 40 per cent from 2014 to last year, she said.

Travel-related expenses accounted for 22 per cent of all spending on UOB credit and debit cards last year.

The bank expects to open at least 200,000 KrisFlyer UOB Accounts, with some $1.5 billion of deposits in the next five years.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 19, 2017, with the headline 'UOB, KrisFlyer launch new account that rewards with air miles'. Print Edition | Subscribe