Sign-ups for UOB-KrisFlyer card exceed expectations

A new KrisFlyer UOB credit card seems to have hit the spot with customers since its launch a week ago.

The card is the first here that can be combined with a savings account so it helps users earn air miles with their daily spending and savings.

UOB said sign-up rates have exceeded expectations since the April 23 launch although it did not supply figures.

"This combination is new to the market and goes straight to the heart of most Singaporeans and their passion for travel," said Ms Jacquelyn Tan, head of personal financial services in UOB Singapore.

UOB data found that millennials - those about 30 to 40 years of age - have increased their spending on travel more than any other demographic group.

Their outlay on Singapore Airlines shot up 119 per cent last year over 2017 while their spending on the Singapore Airlines group of carriers - which includes SilkAir and Scoot - grew five times faster than with any other airline.

UOB also noted that travel was the No. 1 spend category among its card users from 2016 to 2018 while KrisFlyer miles were the most popular card reward.

UOB CEO Wee Ee Cheong (centre, back row) and SIA Group CEO Goh Choon Phong (second from right) at the launch of the KrisFlyer UOB credit card.
UOB CEO Wee Ee Cheong (centre, back row) and SIA Group CEO Goh Choon Phong (second from right) at the launch of the KrisFlyer UOB credit card. PHOTO: UOB

"Based on the take-up of the first KrisFlyer UOB Account, launched in 2017, we expect millennial customers will make up about half of all new sign-ups," said Ms Tan.

Customers can pair their KrisFlyer UOB credit card with the KrisFlyer UOB savings account.

Ms Clara Lim, a senior writer at the online personal financial portal MoneySmart, said the new credit card means KrisFlyer miles can be earned directly, without needing to convert them first.

"Previously, the Amex KrisFlyer and Amex KrisFlyer Ascend were the only credit cards that let you do this. All other cards require you to earn bank points. It's good that consumers have a new option," she said.

She also noted that one of the advantages of the card is that users can earn three miles per dollar on everyday local spending, unlike most other miles cards that only allow customers to earn higher miles on overseas spending.

"The only other miles card with similar bonus miles for selected local spending (dining, taxis) is the Maybank Horizon card, but the UOB KrisFlyer has a wider basket of bonus categories," said Ms Lim.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 29, 2019, with the headline Sign-ups for UOB-KrisFlyer card exceed expectations. Subscribe