7 Best Credit Cards in Singapore for Overseas Spending (2023)

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 a well-deserved overseas holiday. But before you blow the rest of your cash on your trip, here’s a word of advice: make sure you choose the right credit card for your travel needs.
November 23, 2023
7 Best Credit Cards in Singapore for Overseas Spending (2023)

This article originally appeared on MoneySmart.

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 a well-deserved overseas holiday. But before you blow the rest of your cash on your trip, here’s a word of advice: make sure you choose the right credit card for your travel needs.

“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.

With many products in the market, which card should you apply for then?

Key Factors to Consider When Choosing a Credit Card for Overseas Expenses

When it comes to travel credit cards, there’s a world of incentives and benefits to explore. Each card caters to different preferences and offers unique advantages:

  1. Acceptance and Convenience: Credit cards are recognised worldwide, making them a convenient payment option for all travellers. No need to carry loads of cash or deal with currency exchange. With a credit card, you can easily pay for purchases, book hotels, and cover other expenses hassle-free.
  2. Currency Conversion: When using a credit card for overseas transactions, the currency conversion is taken care of by the issuer. This often means better exchange rates compared to cash exchanges, putting more money back in your pocket.
  3. Travel Rewards: Numerous credit cards provide travel rewards tailored for spending abroad. Earn bonus miles or points on international purchases and redeem them for discounted flights, hotel stays, and more.
  4. Fraud Protection: Credit cards come with built-in fraud protection, ensuring the security of your overseas transactions. Credit card companies monitor for suspicious activity and provide zero-liability policies, so you’re not held responsible for unauthorised charges. Enjoy worry-free shopping, even in unfamiliar places.
  5. Emergency Assistance: Some credit cards go the extra mile by offering emergency assistance services and complimentary travel insurance. This includes a 24/7 helpline for travel emergencies and support for lost or stolen cards. It’s a valuable resource to have during unforeseen situations while travelling abroad.

Taking your travel preferences into account is essential when choosing a travel credit card.

  1. Air Miles: Earn air miles for every dollar spent with an air miles credit card, perfect for boosting your mileage balance and enjoying seat upgrades or free air tickets during your overseas journeys.
  2. Cashback: Get cashback rewards on your overseas spending and use them to offset future purchases. Some cards have minimum spending requirements, but there are also options available with no minimum spend.
  3. Deals & Rewards: Earn rewards points for every purchase made overseas and redeem them for products or vouchers from partner companies. Keep in mind that the points-earning rate for each bank’s reward programme will vary.

Best Credit Cards in Singapore for Overseas Spending

To make an informed decision, we’ve curated a list of the best credit cards in Singapore for your travel adventures. Here are 7 top picks that offer great benefits:

1. Citi PremierMiles Card – for travel explorers

Citibank logo

With the Citi PremierMiles Card, you earn up to 4 Citi miles for every S$1 spent on all overseas transactions, whether it’s shopping, dining, or exploring the local attractions. No matter the category, every experience you purchase (no minimum spend) contributes to the rapid accumulation of miles.

What sets this Card apart is its exclusive partnerships with booking sites like Agoda, Expedia, and Kaligo. Booking your hotel stays, flights, or complete vacation packages through them to earn up to 10 Citi miles for every S$1 spent. Better yet, these miles never expire.

Furthermore, CitiBank offers exclusive discounts with deals to make your dream vacation a memory to cherish always:

  • Up to 10% off for Emirates and Qatar Airways
  • Up to 15% savings for Pan Pacific Hotels Group in 11 Countries
  • 15% off Royal Albatross’ cruises
  • $50 off Klook travel experiences

There is a myriad of benefits for travel, dining, shopping, and entertainment deals across various popular destinations. Check them out here.

At a glance

  • Annual Interest Rate: 26.90%
  • Annual Fee: S$192.60
  • Minimum Income Requirement:
  • Singaporean/Permanent Resident: S$30,000
  • Foreigner: S$42,000

2. DBS Altitude Signature Card – for airport lounge and hotel aficionados

DBS logo

If you’re someone who loves to check in early for the ultimate airport experience, the DBS Altitude Signature Card is probably your best friend. With the Altitude Signature, you’re guaranteed exclusive perks at airport lounges and hotels like never before:

  1. Complimentary Lounge Visits: Indulge in luxury with two complimentary lounge visits per year. Access over 1,200 airport lounges worldwide and relax in style before your flights.
  2. Digital Priority Pass™ Access: Immerse yourself in exclusive airport lounge experiences with access to over 1,300 lounges worldwide. Enjoy personalised services and amenities during your travels.
  3. Exclusive Membership Benefits: As a DBS Altitude American Express® Cardholder, you’ll receive a complimentary membership to Mr. and Mrs. Smith SilverSmith. Enjoy a 2% loyalty payback at over 1,500 luxury hotels and villas worldwide.
  4. Travel Insurance Coverage: When you charge your full travel fare to the card, you receive up to S$1 million in travel accident insurance coverage, providing you with added peace of mind during your journeys.

This card also helps to clock up your miles worth to maintain your prestigious flyer status with choice airlines:

  • 3 miles for every $1 spent on online flights & hotel transactions (capped at S$5,000 per month)
  • 2 miles for every $1 spent on overseas spend
  • 10 miles for every $1 spent on hotel transactions at Kaligo
  • 6 miles for every $1 spent on flight, hotel, and travel packages at Expedia

At a glance

  • Annual Interest Rate: 26.80%
  • Annual Fee: S$192.60
  • Minimum Income Requirement:
  • Singaporean/Permanent Resident: S$30,000
  • Foreigner: S$45,000

3.  HSBC Advance Credit Card – for foodies & those who love maximum cashback

HSBC logo

Save up to over $4,000 in cash back annually with the HSBC Advance Credit Card. With no minimum spend required, enjoy up to 2.5% base cashback on both local and overseas purchases and an additional 1% on the HSBC Everyday+ Cashback program.

With the HSBC Advance Credit Card, you not only enjoy a one-year annual fee waiver but also attractive sign-up rewards like up to S$200 cashback or a Samsonite Prestige 69cm Spinner Exp luggage (worth S$670). This card is perfect for financing big-ticket expenses, offering higher cashback tiers for monthly spends above S$2,000, allowing you to earn up to 3.5% cashback with a generous cap of up to S$570.

Foodies take note! Apart from complimentary coverage for online purchase losses or damages, HSBC offers its cardholders 1-for-1 offers on the ENTERTAINER with the HSBC app to dine at prominent restaurants locally and overseas.

With the Visa Digital Concierge, you have a 24/7 digital personal assistant while travelling abroad to recommend places and experiences and make reservations to restaurants on your behalf anytime anywhere.

At a glance

  • Annual Interest Rate: 25.90%
  • Annual Fee: S$192.60
  • Minimum Income Requirement:
  • Singaporean/Permanent Resident: S$30,000
  • Foreigner: S$40,000

4. UOB Lady’s Card – for all ladies, as the name suggests

UOB logo

Being one of the oldest ladies-centric cards around, the UOB Lady’s card has since upgraded to offer better incentives – 15X UNI$ (or 30 miles) per S$5 spent on your selected category with no minimum spend or 4 miles per dollar spent (capped at $1k per month). Categories include:

  • Beauty & Wellness
  • Fashion
  • Dining
  • Family
  • Travel
  • Transport
  • Entertainment

The caveat: you may only select one preferred category for local and overseas spending. However, you have the option to change the category for rewards each quarter. Aside from the standard online shopping and travel insurance, ladies can use the UOB Lady’s LuxePay Plan, a 6 to 12-month instalment plan with no interest rate charged, to finance your big ticket items (e.g. branded bags) while shopping overseas.

Whether you’re single, married, or with kids, this is the card that accounts for the different considerations based on your life stage while travelling.

When combined with the UOB Lady’s Savings account, account holders can earn monthly cash rewards when you credit at least 20% of your salary into the account or top up your child’s Junior Savers Account. Plus. Also, enjoy free female cancer coverage of up to S$200,000 and other medical and dental benefits.

Apply now to enjoy S$350 Grab Vouchers for the first 200 new-to-UOB credit card customers who successfully apply and spend a min. of S$1,000 for 2 consecutive months. Valid till 30 June 2023.

At a glance

  • Annual Interest Rate: 26.9%
  • Annual Fee: S$194.40
  • Minimum Income Requirement:
  • Singaporean/Permanent Resident: S$30,000
  • Foreigner: S$60,000

5. KrisFlyer UOB Credit Card – for Singapore Airlines & Scoot loyalists

UOB logo

The beauty of the KrisFlyer UOB credit card is that it directly accumulates Krisflyer miles. With conventional credit cards, you must pay to convert the accumulated points into airline miles. Whereas, for KrisFlyer UOB, every $1 spent (locally and overseas) will be automatically converted into KrisFlyer miles and deposited into your KrisFlyer account:

  • 3 miles per $1 spent on Singapore Airlines, Scoot, KrisShop & Kris+ purchases
  • 3 miles per $1 spent on dining, food delivery, online shopping, travel, and transport (with min. annual spend of $800 on Singapore Airlines, Scoot, and KrisShop)*

*The only downside is that 1.2 miles will be first deposited into your account with the remaining 1.8 miles accounted for at the end of each year. You can’t redeem all your calculated miles till a year later.

With KrisFlyer UOB, users can fast-track their way to KrisFlyer Elite Silver status, enjoy $15 off Grab rides to and from the airport, enjoy priority check-in and boarding, seat selection, and additional baggage allowance with Scoot.

Also, multiply your mileage rewards when you indulge with over 100 international brands at KrisShop. Get a complimentary tier upgrade to KrisShopper Insider with no min. spend required and earn up to 5.5 KrisFlyer miles per S$1 spend. Simply purchase your order wherever you are in the world and have them delivered to you on your flight.

BONUS PROMO: From 29 May 2023 to 28 August 2023, KrisFlyer UOB Credit Card offers up to 5 KrisFlyer miles per $1 spent overseas (instead of the usual 3 KrisFlyer miles).

At a glance

  • Annual Interest Rate: 27.8%
  • Annual Fee: S$194.40
  • Minimum Income Requirement:
  • Singaporean/Permanent Resident: S$30,000
  • Foreigner: S$40,000

6. CIMB Visa Signature Card—for frequent travellers to Malaysia & Indonesia

CIMB logo

While the CIMB Visa Signature Card only offers 2x Bonus Points for every Singapore Dollar equivalent spent on overseas transactions, it makes up for this by offering over 1,000 deals across dining, retail and lifestyle outlets in Singapore, Malaysia, and Indonesia. These points can be redeemed for a wide range of services, vouchers, and more under the CIMB Member Rewards Programme and remain valid for a generous period of three years.

Furthermore, the CIMB Visa Signature Card offers deals off premium experiences in the region:

  • Up to S$100 off hotels and flights on Trip.com
  • One Night Free Stay at Banyan Tree Hotels & Resorts
  • Up to 30% off Resort Stays and complimentary experiences with Patina Maldives

In addition to earning Bonus Points, this card offers attractive cashback rewards for your overseas spending. With a minimum spend of S$ 800 in a statement month, you can earn 10% bonus cashback on specific categories, including:

  1. Online shopping
  2. Groceries
  3. Beauty and wellness
  4. Pet shops and veterinary services
  5. Cruises

Though, each category’s cashback is capped at S$ 20 per month with the total cashback capped at S$ 100.

At a glance

  • Annual Interest Rate: 25.90%
  • Annual Fee: S$0
  • Minimum Income Requirement:
  • Singaporean/Permanent Resident: S$30,000
  • Foreigner: N/A

7. OCBC 90°N Card – for frequent flyers

OCBC logo

While the OCBC 90°N Card offers standard miles that are nothing out of the ordinary, it’s the travel privileges that are attractive and worth considering – especially for virgin globetrotters.

With normal expenditure, this card offers 1.3 Miles per S$1 spent in local currency and 2.1 Miles per S$1 spent in foreign currency. However, a booking on Agoda earns a generous 6 miles per $1 on local spending and 7 miles per $1 on overseas spending.

Unlike other cards with minimum spending and miles cap, the OCBC 90°N lets you rack up unlimited miles without any restrictions. More importantly, the miles earned will never expire. Previously, cardholders could only exchange for miles with Singapore Airlines. Since February 2023, OCBC added 8 new airline and hotel partner programs where you can redeem your miles at:

  • Air France-KLM Flying Blue
  • British Airways Executive Club
  • Cathay Pacific
  • Etihad Guest
  • United MileagePlus
  • Accor Live Limitless
  • IHG One Rewards
  • Marriott Bonvoy

With a buffet of world-class airlines and hotels to choose from, you can look forward to redeeming a top-notch flight to anywhere in the world. Unfortunately, it’ll cost you $25 per transaction to redeem your Travel$ for KrisFlyer Miles at a conversion rate of 1:1, and in blocks of 1,000 Travel$.

Bonus: When you sign up now, OCBC is throwing in a FREE Samsonite Polygon Spinner 28″ luggage (worth S$640) when you charge at least S$500 within 30 days upon approval by 30 June. All set for your travels this summer.

At a glance

  • Annual Interest Rate: 26.88%
  • Annual Fee: $54
  • Minimum Income Requirement:
  • Singaporean/Permanent Resident: $30,000
  • Foreigner: $45,000

Overview: Best Credit Cards in Singapore for Overseas Spending (2023)

Credit Card Foreign Transaction Fees Overseas Spending Rewards Travel Insurance Coverage Rewards and Perks
Citibank PremierMiles Card

3.25%
S$1=Up to 2 Miles Comprehensive coverage up to S$500,000 Airline miles, airport lounge access
DBS Altitude Visa Card 2.50% S$1=2 Miles

S$1=3 Miles online travel spend
Trip cancellation, baggage protection Hotel loyalty points, exclusive hotel privileges
HSBC Advance Credit Card 2.8% 2.5% base cashback[R1] Emergency medical coverage up to S$500,000 Reward points, cashback on dining and entertainment
UOB Lady Card 3.25% S$5 = 2 Miles Complimentary travel insurance coverage of up to S$1 million. Exclusive discounts and privileges for women
KrisFlyer UOB Credit Card 3.25% S$1= 3 Miles

S$1= 5 KrisFlyer Miles
Up to S$500,000 in full coverage Air miles, exclusive online shopping discounts
CIMB Visa Signature Card 3% 10% cashback for overseas spend Coverage up to S$500,000 Bonus points and attractive cashback
OCBC 90°N Card

3%



S$1= 2.1 Miles
2.1% cashback for overseas spend
Travel insurance coverage Reward points, complimentary airport lounge access

Mastering Credit Card Usage Abroad—Extra Tips for Travelers

1. Register for Neobank Cards

To avoid currency conversion and foreign transaction fees, many overseas travellers are turning to neobank cards like YouTrip and Instrem Amaze. With these, you can shop in a foreign country without incurring any hidden fees or losing money on the exchange. Additionally, their user-friendly apps make it easy to manage and track your transactions in Sing Dollar.

2. Opt for Domestic Currency Payments

When using your credit card abroad, it’s important to choose to pay in the local currency rather than your home currency. Opting for dynamic currency conversion and paying in your home currency may inadvertently exclude you from earning better perks, cashback, or rewards that some credit cards offer for transactions in foreign currency.

3. Explore Multi-Currency Mobile Wallets

Consider using a multi-currency mobile wallet as an alternative to a dedicated bank account. Multi-currency mobile wallets offer convenient currency conversion to over 150 countries with lower intermediary fees. Rather than carrying a huge stash of cash with you, you can easily withdraw what you need at the local ATMs. It’s a convenient alternative, especially for those who are exploring different countries on a single trip.

Final words

There are always going to be many credit cards designed for overseas spending. With the increased competition and new players, chances are that most cards will waive their transaction fees and offer competitive exchange rates.

We say that choosing the right card will depend on what you intend to optimise your benefits for. Whether it’s the miles game, clocking up your rewards, or immediate cashback, pick one that would best benefit your lifestyle. Since you’re going to be spending while travelling around anyway, might as well get the most out of it.

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Dexter Zhuang
Dexter Zhuang

Dexter is the founder of Money Abroad, a weekly newsletter and website that help professionals build wealth overseas. Over the last decade, he's been building and growing internet products across Silicon Valley and Asia at top companies like Dropbox and Xendit. His work has been featured in global publications like Business Insider, CBS, US News & World Report, and Tech in Asia. He graduated from Dartmouth College.

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