3 best credit cards for petrol discounts at Esso, Shell, SPC & Caltex (2021)

PHOTO: The Straits Times

Using a credit card for petrol in Singapore is practically compulsory for any seasoned driver or motorcyclist.

Petrol credit cards get you such a huge discount that it doesn’t make sense not to use them — if you’re paying for your petrol with cash or NETS, then you’re just throwing money down the drain.

We’ve done the research for you and identified the best petrol credit cards in Singapore, so you can drive off happily into the sunset.

Three best credit cards for petrol discounts in Singapore

While there are heaps of credit cards with petrol station tie-ups, we’ve selected the 3 best credit cards that are the most versatile and can be used as just about any petrol station.

Citi Cash Back  OCBC 365 UOB One Card
Esso 20.88 per cent 20.2 per cent up to five per cent
Shell 20.88 per cent Five per cent 21.15 per cent
SPC Eight per cent Five per cent 24 per cent
Caltex Eight per cent 22.1 per cent up to five per cent
Sinopec Eight per cent 26.8 per cent up to five per cent

1. Citi Cash Back Card – Esso & Shell credit card discounts

PHOTO: Citibank

While some credit cards only offer credit card discounts at certain chains, the Citi Cash Back Card offers some kind of discount at all petrol stations.

  • Esso: 20.88 per cent fuel savings
  • Shell: 20.88 per cent fuel savings
  • Other petrol stations: Eight per cent cashback

If you’re looking for a credit card that you can use not just at your regular petrol station but also on those isolated occasions when you’re running out of petrol on the road and desperately need to fill up your tank at a random petrol station, the Citi Cash Back Card is a good contender.

The card also offers six per cent cashback at restaurants and cafes, as well as eight per cent cashback on groceries. Cashback is capped at $80 a month.

The catch is that you need to spend at least $800 in a month to qualify for the cashback. So, unless you are a Grab or taxi driver pumping lots of petrol, you’ll need to use the card on dining and groceries.

2. OCBC 365 Card – Esso, Caltex & Sinopec credit card discounts

PHOTO: OCBC

Similar to the Citi Cash Back Card, the OCBC 365 Card offers varying discounts at all petrol service chains:

  • Caltex: 22.1 per cent fuel savings
  • Esso: 20.2 per cent fuel savings
  • Sinopec: 26.8 per cent fuel savings
  • Other petrol stations: Five per cent cashback

That’s not all. The card also gives you six per cent cashback on dining and online food delivery, three per cent on groceries, online grocery delivery, transport (including taxi rides and private hire car rides), utilities and online travel bookings.

To qualify for the cashback, you’ll need to spend at least $800 in a calendar month, and you’re entitled to up to $80 worth of cashback per month.

Given the wide range of spending qualifying for cashback, hitting the minimum spending requirement is a bit easier with this card than, say, the Citi Cash Back Card. But even if you don’t qualify for the cashback, you’ll still enjoy decent instant fuel discounts at Caltex, Esso and Sinopec.

3. UOB One Card – Shell & SPC credit card discount

PHOTO: UOB

UOB is a partner of Shell and SPC, so using a UOB card to pay at these petrol stations will earn you a fuel discount. On top of your fuel savings, you can also earn cashback as per the usual credit card mechanics.

In a perfect world, the card would bring your maximum petrol savings to:

  • Shell: 21.15 per cent discount
  • SPC: 24 per cent discount
  • Other petrol stations: up to five per cent cashback

The UOB One card is advertised as giving you anywhere from 3.33 per cent to five per cent cashback on all your spending, depending on which cashback tier you hit.

To earn up to 3.33 per cent cashback, you need to spend at least $500 or $1,000 in all three months in a quarter. Do that faithfully, and you’ll get lump sum cashback of $50 (for spending $500 x 3), or $100 (for spending $1,000 x 3) at the end of the quarter.

To earn up to five per cent cashback, you must spend at least $2,000 per month for three months in a quarter. You will receive $300 cashback for your trouble. Any amounts you spend above your qualifying threshold will not earn any cashback.

I like to complain about this card’s enraging mechanism, but if you’re a consistent spender and can regularly hit the minimum spending requirements, it is generous, whether for petrol or miscellaneous spending, especially if you spend more than $2,000 a month.

ALSO READ: Best petrol credit cards in Singapore (2021)

Runner-up petrol credit cards in Singapore

So the abovementioned credit cards are your best bets if you drive around and don’t want the hassle of having to look for a particular chain whenever you need to pump petrol.

But what if you’re loyal to a particular chain? Here are three runners up that might find a slot in your wallet.

Petrol station Discount
DBS Esso Card Esso 21.2 per cent
Standard Chartered Unlimited Caltex 21.3 per cent
POSB Everyday Card SPC 20.1 per cent

1. DBS Esso Card – Esso credit card discount

PHOTO: DBS

As its name suggests, this card is meant for people who pump petrol at Esso. While it’s not the only card that you can use to get a discount at Esso, it’s by far the most straightforward.

There is no minimum spending requirement and no cap, and the card’s sole benefit is that it gives you petrol savings at Esso. No need to worry about hitting any minimum spending requirement or wonder where else you should be using the card.

You get up to 21.2 per cent fuel savings as well as 2.4 per cent Smiles savings when you use this card to pay together with your Esso Smiles loyalty card.

2. Standard Chartered Unlimited Cashback Card – Caltex credit card discount

PHOTO: Standard Chartered

This card is a gloriously simple unlimited cashback card that gives you a flat cashback rate of 1.5 per cent on everything, with no mimimum spending requirement and no cashback cap.

In your first three months, you get five per cent cashback capped at $250, ie. on up to $5,000 worth of spending, which makes this a good card to use when you’re about to incur a big expense like a wedding dinner or renovation.

So why is this card even on the list? It also gets you up to 21.3 per cent savings at Caltex petrol stations. This offer is valid till Dec 31, 2021.

3. POSB Everyday Card – SPC credit card discount

PHOTO: POSB

If you’re an SPC pumper, the POSB Everyday Card will get you 20.1 per cent savings there. Until Aug 31, 2021, you can get an additional two per cent rebate if you manage to spend $800 in a calendar month.

Other than SPC discounts, the card offers a chapalang mix of benefits. These include five per cent on groceries at Sheng Siong, three per cent on dining and at Watsons and Pet Lovers Centre, and one per cent on electricity or Starhub bills.

If you spend at least $800 in a month, you can also get 10 per cent cashback on Deliveroo and foodpanda deliveries, and five per cent on certain websites including Amazon.sg and Lazada.

Making the most of your petrol credit card

While petrol credit cards can get you a great discount, you need to use them correctly in order to enjoy maximum benefits. Here are some tips:

  • Know which petrol station you’re going to be using most often, and use the right card for it. We’ve given you a broad overview above.
  • Always bring along your loyalty card (e.g. Esso Smiles, Shell Escape, SPC&U) and use it together with your credit card to get the maximum petrol discount. Hand over both cards to the cashier when you pay.
  •  You’re accumulating rewards points with your petrol station loyalty card, so don’t forget to check your balance from time to time. You can exchange your points for petrol vouchers.
  • If your card has a minimum spending requirement, consolidate other expenses (ideally those that are cashback categories too) on your card to make it easier to qualify for bonus cashback.
  • Pick a card with mechanics that suit your lifestyle, so you don’t feel compelled to overspend just to meet the minimum spending requirement.

This article was first published in MoneySmart.