The next time you head to the petrol kiosk, be sure to have one of these cards on hand for the best petrol discounts and cash rebates in town.
Words by Lee Weiliang
We all know the hefty costs of owning a car in Singapore. Paying for petrol, road tax, servicing and maintenance, Electronic Road Pricing (ERP), car park fees…all these add up to a substantial amount in a car owner’s day-to-day expenditure.
Although financially-savvy people recognise it as a big liability, the convenience that owning a private vehicle brings can sometimes supersede monetary value.
[Free Ebook] How should you invest your first $20,000?
We asked 14 Singapore finance bloggers to share what they would do if they could go back in time and invest their first $20,000. They can no longer rewind time, but you can learn from their experience and hopefully start with a better footing.
With that in mind, let’s take a look at the credit cards that will give you the best bang for your buck when refuelling your car.
Best at Esso
Why you need this card:
- If you frequent either Esso and Shell, which have the largest network of petrol kiosks across Singapore, you’ll love the generous discounts that this sleek blue card gives. You save up to 18.3% pumping petrol at Esso and 18.1% at Shell respectively.
- At Esso, the 3% savings is due to a 5% Esso site discount, 5% Esso Smiles Card discount, 4% Citibank Card discount, plus 5% Citibank DIVIDEND Card cash rebate on nett purchase. Do note that you’ll need the Esso Smiles Card to hit the highest 18.3% discount, and that the cash rebate earned on your card has a validity period of 15 months.
- Here’s an example to illustrate how the savings are calculated.
Assuming a 2,000cc car with a petrol tank capacity of 7 litres, pumping RON 95 at $2.05 per litre:
Petrol cost: $143.50
As the cost is above the minimum transaction sum of $50, the Citibank DIVIDEND Card will immediately give you 14% off, which works out to a bill of $123.41. Factor in the cash rebate of 5% of the discounted amount (which is $6.17 in this case), and your total discount adds up to $26.26 or about 18.3%.
- As a welcome gift, new applicants who apply for both the Citibank DIVIDEND Card and the Esso Mobil Privilege Card will also receive $100 cash rebates at Esso. Every minimum $10 nett transaction at Esso service stations entitles you to a $10 cash rebate, up to a maximum of $100 cash rebate.
- Whereas at Shell, the 18.1% savings comprises a 5% Shell site discount, 5% Shell Escape Card discount, as well as a 4% Citi Rebate and 5% Citibank DIVIDEND Card cash back, both of which apply after the Shell discounts. In addition, there is also an ongoing Peel & Win Card promotion, whereby you stand a chance to win $5,000 worth of Shell fuel vouchers.
- For all other fuel stations (namely, Caltex and SPC), you earn up to 5% cashback in savings.
- To further sweeten the deal, the Citibank DIVIDEND Card also allows you to save up to 2% off all dining spends, and 5% off (3% cash back and 2% Citi Rebate) on all groceries and health and beauty/pharmacies spends at preferred merchant partners such as Cold Storage, Giant, Guardian, GNC and Watsons.
Best at Shell
Why you need this card:
- Outperforming its sibling, the HSBC Visa Platinum, the HSBC Premier MasterCard offers the highest effective savings of 19.16% savings if you pump petrol at Shell stations.
- The 16% savings is calculated based on a 5% onsite discount, 5% Shell Escape discount and 4% exclusive HSBC card instant discount, together with an additional cash rebate of 6% (if you spend a minimum of $800 per month for all 3 months in a quarter) or 3% (if you spend a minimum of $400 per month for all 3 months in a quarter). Note that the cash rebates are capped at $120 or $60 per quarter, depending on your expenditure tier.
- Under the HSBC-Shell Escape programme, you earn 1 Shell Escape point for every $5 charged to your HSBC credit card and also get 20% more Shell Escape points when you pump Shell V-Power.
- Not a fan of Shell? Not a problem, you can also refuel at Caltex and similarly enjoy the 14% instant discount when you charge your bill to your HSBC Premier MasterCard. Same thing as with Shell: you will also earn an additional 5% cash rebate if you charge a minimum of $800 or 3% rebate if you charge a minimum of $400 per month for all 3 months in a quarter.
- Other perks of this card include up to 2% cash rebates on dining and up to 5% cash rebates on groceries. Also, the HSBC Rewards points you accumulate through spending can be converted to Vacations vouchers to offset or even fully pay for your next holiday.
- Do note, however, that as compared to the other credit cards on this list, the HSBC Premier MasterCard comes with more spending restrictions, which might be difficult to hit if you don’t use the card as your primary spending card. Also, another drawback is that this card is offered only to HSBC Premier customers. This means that you’ll have to maintain a minimum of $200,000 in deposits, investments and/or insurance with HSBC to qualify.
Best at Caltex and SPC
3. UOB One Card
Why you need this card:
- The UOB One Card comes in particularly handy, especially if you frequent Caltex or SPC. It gives you up to 21.7% savings at Caltex and 20% savings at SPC.
- At Caltex, you get a 5% Caltex site discount and 1.25% Caltex Thanks! points, on top of the 11% UOB Card discount, 2% UOB SMART$ rebate, and 3.33% UOB One rebate, adding up to an attractive 21.7%. Do note that in order to accumulate Caltex Thanks! points, you’ll have to sign up for a Caltex Thanks! card first. You earn 1 Thanks! point with every litre pumped, and every 40 points offsets $1 off your next Caltex purchase.
- For example, assuming you’re pumping $50 worth of Caltex Platinum 98 with Techron at $1.97 per litre, you stand to save a total of $10.86 with the UOB One Card, as compared to $9.47 (18.9%) for other UOB cards.
- At SPC, you enjoy 15% off your petrol purchase if you own both the UOB One Card and SPC&U Card, plus an additional 5% discount in a single transaction for every $51 nett charged to your UOB card. Also, you can further boost your savings by exchanging your UNI$ instantly for cash rebates – UNI$600 is equivalent to $10.
- There is also an ongoing SG50 promotion, whereby you stand a chance to win $1000 worth of SPC vouchers with every $50 nett spent in a single receipt on fuel and/or Choices items, so long as you charge the bill to your UOB card. The promotion is valid till 30 June 2015.
- Apart from petrol perks, the UOB One Card also doubles up as a useful everyday card as it provides 3.33% cash rebate on all spending. The only criteria you have to meet is to make at least 3 purchases per statement period and spend a minimum of $300 monthly for all three months in a quarter.
- Furthermore, if you have an existing UOB One account, spending on your UOB One Card can help you earn higher interest rates of up to 3.33% per annum on your savings. This is one of the best interest rates available for bank savings accounts.
Other notable credit cards for petrol savings:
If you frequent Esso, the DBS Black Visa Card comes in a close second to the Citibank DIVIDEND Card. With this card, you enjoy up to 18% savings on your fuel purchases at Esso stations, which comprise a 5% site discount, 5% Esso Smiles Card discount, 4% DBS Card discount, and 4.66% fuel rebate to your DBS Black Visa Card. There are two catches though:
- You have to charge a minimum of $800 to your DBS Black Visa Card per calendar month during the promotional period 1 January to 30 June 2015.
- The 18% discount is only applicable from 7pm to 7am daily.
The DBS Esso MasterCard is a close contender to the DBS Black Visa Card, offering a direct 17% fuel discount (including a 5% Smiles member discount). You are automatically enrolled into Esso’s loyalty programme, the Esso Smiles Driver Rewards programme, which offers an additional 2.5% in fuel savings. You earn 1 Smiles point for every litre of Synergy fuel purchased. 300 Smiles points can be redeemed for $10 discount, while 750 Smiles points can be redeemed for $30 off.
Are you using any of these credit cards for petrol perks, or do you have other useful cards to recommend? Let us know in the comments box below!
Also in this series: