This article isn’t about where to pump the cheapest petrol. No matter which station you go, prices are usually about the same. They hardly differ by anything more than $0.05 per litre, which is just $2 for a full 40L tank. What you should really be comparing are the number of petrol kiosks near your home and workplace, as well as credit card discounts.
With that, let’s find out what are the best credit cards for petrol at Singapore’s leading fuel companies Esso, Shell, SPC and Caltex.
|Petrol company||Best credit card to use||Cash rebate||Max savings|
|Esso||Citi Cash Back Card||8%||20.88%|
|Shell||Citi Cash Back Card||8%||20.88%|
|SPC||POSB Everyday Card||6%||20.8%|
|Caltex||OCBC 365 Credit Card||5%||21.1%|
Citi Cash Back Card – best credit card for petrol at Esso & Shell
Citi Cash Back Card
- Up to 20.88% discount at Esso stations: 5% Esso site discount + 5% Smiles card discount + 4% Citi Card discount + 8% Citi Cash Back Card cash back* (applies after Esso discount)
- Up to 20.88% discount at Shell stations: 5% Shell site discount + 5% Shell Escape discount + 4% Citi Card discount + 8% Citi Cash Back Card cash back* (applies after Shell discount)
- 8% cash back is valid with a minimum retail spend of $888/statement month on the Citi Cash Back Card
- Effective savings 20.88%
- Instant discount 14%
(5% loyalty card discount + 5% site discount + 4% Citi Card discount)
- Credit card cashback 8% (on final amount billed, capped at $25)
- Min. spend $888
The Citi Cash Back Card comes out tops for me – it offers the same an impressive 20.88% savings for Esso and Shell.
You get 14% off immediately (5% for the Esso Smiles / Shell Escape card + 5% Esso / Shell site discount + 4% Citibank card discount), plus another 8% cashback when you get your bill.
The minimum spend is $888, which shouldn’t be too hard if you’re already spending over $250 on petrol monthly.
The 8% cashback for petrol is capped at $25, but that’s reasonable. You can spend up to $312.50 on petrol per month, which is just about right for an average driver (if you’re a Grab driver, don’t say lah).
It doesn’t hurt that Esso and Shell have the most kiosks in Singapore too.
Are there any close contenders? Yes, the DBS Esso Card for Esso and the UOB One Card for Shell.
For Esso, the DBS Esso Card gives you an on-the-spot discount of 17%, but that’s it. There’s no additional cashback, just bonus Smiles points (about 2.4% more savings).
DBS recently launched the Smiles Private Hire Card and it’s got the highest savings in the market (up to 30.4%), but sadly, it’s exclusive to private hire drivers (e.g. Grab drivers).
The Smiles Private Hire Card is to be used with DBS Visa debit cards, and to get the maximum rebate you mustn’t make any cash withdrawals and must spend over $400 per month.
The latter is easy if you drive for a living, but the former may be troublesome if your main spending account is DBS/POSB and you use your debit card as an ATM card. If you bank elsewhere, it’s the complete opposite: Getting these cards is a great way to game the system and track your driving expenses for work.
For Shell, the next best card is probably the UOB One card that for 15% instant discount and SMART$ rebates. It gives you about the same effective savings if you add the 5% cashback during billing, but that requires a monthly spend of $2,000, which is very high.
POSB Everyday Card – best credit card for petrol at SPC
POSB Everyday Card
- Up to 20.1% cash rebate at SPC
- 5% cash rebate at Sheng Siong. S$50 cash rebate cap per calendar month.
- 3% cash rebate at Watsons, and local medical spend (dental, clinic, hospital)
- 1% cash rebate on recurring utilities bills from SP Group and recurring StarHub mobile/digital cable/broadband bills and ins-tore purchases
- Get 0.3% on everything else
- No minimum spend required
- Effective savings 20.8%
- Instant discount 15%
(5% loyalty card discount + 5% site discount + 5% DBS/POSB Card discount)
- Credit card cashback 6% (on final amount billed, no cap)
- No min. spend
You may be disappointed to hear that compared to the other fuel companies, SPC has far less credit card perks. But the one that stands out more than makes up for the few bank tie-ups.
For SPC, the POSB Everyday Card is a clear winner. It offers 6% bonus cashback and a direct 15% discount (5% for SPC&U card + 5% SPC site discount + 5% DBS/POSB card discount), making the effective savings 20.1%.
The best part? Not only is there no minimum spend, there is absolutely no cashback cap.
That’s right – that means that this is also the best card to get if you drive more than an average 2 trips a day because you can continue earning cashback for all your trips. (Attention, Grab drivers and property agents!)
The only card that comes close is the UOB One Card (effective 24% savings, with 15% instant discount + additional $3 off min. $51 spend + 5% cashback), but again, there’s the $2,000 minimum spend to look out for.
OCBC 365 Credit Card – best credit card for petrol at Caltex
OCBC 365 Credit Card
- 3% Cashback on Weekday and Overseas Dining, Grocery and Recurring Telecommunications bills, and all Online spend
- 6% Cashback on Weekend Dining
- Up to 23.8% Fuel Savings at selected petrol stations
- Minimum spend of $600/month, $80 cap /month. For spend less than $600, a flat 0.3% cashback is awarded
- Effective savings up to 21.1%
- Instant discount 14%
(5% loyalty card discount + 5% site discount + 4% OCBC Card discount)
- Credit card cashback 5% (on final amount billed, capped at $80)
- Min. spend $600
My pick for pumping petrol at Caltex is the popular OCBC 365 credit card. You get 14% right off the bat and 5% cashback – that adds up to effectively 18.3% savings.
If you spend at least $300 on petrol that month (should be no sweat), you get another $10 bonus cash rebate, making it up to 21.1% effective savings.
It doesn’t seem much compared to the perks at other fuel companies, but the truth is that Caltex is the smallest player in the industry. The minimum spend is a manageable $600, and the cashback cap is $80 – do note, however, that this cap is shared across all bonus cashback categories like dining, groceries and online shopping.
Other cards for Caltex fans to consider are the HSBC Revolution and Visa Platinum credit cards. Both have an effective 18.3% savings as well, or 20.2% if you pay using the Outdoor Fuel Payment Terminal (promotion valid until 30 Dec 2018). Both cards require $800 minimum spending for 3 months.
I chose the OCBC 365 because it has better overall perks (dining, groceries, online shopping, etc.) and a lower minimum spend requirement.
Do you have a favourite credit card you use for petrol? Share it with us in the comments below!
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