Earn miles when you pay for MRT and bus rides using SimplyGo, and use public transport to fuel your next overseas trip.
Opinions expressed reflect the view of the writer (this is his story).
You can now earn miles from just taking public transport. (And if you're into cashback, we haven't forgotten you! Check out these cards you can use).
Back in April 2019, Singapore’s LTA officially launched SimplyGo, which enabled public transport commuters to pay for rides with their contactless-enabled Mastercard. This meant no more top-ups to EZ-link cards, plus the opportunity to earn rewards points, air miles and cashback in your daily commute.
On 6 June, Visa cards were added to SimplyGo, which means even more options when paying for rides.
Here’s a breakdown of the best cards for earning air miles on MRT and bus rides.
|Credit card||Miles Per Dollar (mpd)||Remarks|
UOB Lady's/ Lady's Solitaire Card
|4.0||Only applies if "Transport" is selected as your preferred category for 10X|
DBS Altitude Visa
|4.0 (bus, train and taxi)||Limited time offer from 1 Aug - 31 Dec 2019, capped at $1,200. Only valid for Simply Go rides. Register for offer here|
Maybank Horizon Visa Signature
|3.2||Spend at least $300 on the card in a month to qualify for 3.2 mpd|
KrisFlyer UOB Credit Card
|3.0||Earn 1.2 mpd now with the extra 1.8 mpd credited within 2 months from your card anniversary. Subject to a minimum of S$500 of spending on SIA group in a year|
BOC Elite Miles World Mastercard
UOB PRVI Miles Mastercard
|1.4||Be careful of the Visa version (see below)|
Standard Chartered Visa Infinite
|1.4||Min. spend of S$2K per statement cycle required to unlock an additional 0.4 mpd. Otherwise, 1.0 mpd. Priority Banking version earns 1.0 mpd|
HSBC Visa Infinite
|1.25||Minimum spend of S$50K in previous membership year required, otherwise 1.0 mpd|
|1.2||OCBC Premier VOYAGE and Bank of Singapore VOYAGE earn 1.6 mpd|
A few things to note:
(1) If your card doesn’t support contactless payments (like OCBC VOYAGE), you can digitize your card by adding it to your mobile wallet (eg Apple Wallet, Google Pay, Samsung Pay), and use that to tap into the gantry.
(2) DBS Visa cards which expire between May 2019 and April 2020 are not enabled for public transport fare payment. Neither are UOB Visa cards with an expiry date before April 2020. You can request replacement cards from your bank, or simply digitize your card as in (1)
(3) For now, SCB supplementary cardholders cannot use SimplyGo unless they digitize their cards
(4) Citibank cards are missing from the table above. That’s because Citi has explicitly stated that SimplyGo transactions will not earn any rewards, be it miles, points or cashback. That’s a bummer, and I can’t figure out why they’d do that, but it is what it is.
(5) To earn miles and points from SimplyGo transactions, tap your card (or mobile phone) at the gantry to enter. Topping up your CEPAS compliant cards via GTM machines will not earn you any points, notwithstanding the fact they accept credit cards.
(6) For UOB cards, SimplyGo fares are charged differently, depending on whether you use Visa or Mastercard. With Mastercard, your card is billed when your total outstanding balance hits $15, or five days, whichever is earlier. With Visa, your card is billed daily.
UOB awards UNI$ in blocks of $5, so any spending below $5 does not earn any points. This means if you’re using the UOB PRVI Miles Visa and your daily public transport bill is $4.99, you earn nothing at all. In contrast, if you used your UOB PRVI Miles Mastercard, you’d still be ok so long as you spend at least $5 over 5 days (which isn’t difficult).
This quirk is unique to UOB, so you’ll be fine with any other Visa card.
(7) If you simply love good, old-fashioned EZ-link cards, you can still earn a very respectable 2 mpd by pairing the HSBC Revolution with EZ Reload. This applies to the first $200 of top-ups each month
What promotions are available for SimplyGo?
Here’s a summary of the ongoing promotions offered for SimplyGo.
|Bank||Promotion||Capped at||Valid Till|
|OCBC||Receive $5 cashback with $30 of SimplyGo transactions on OCBC Visa||30,000 cardholders||31 July 2019|
|HSBC||Get $10 rebate on all SimplyGo transactions on HSBC Visa card||8,000 cardholders||5 July 2019|
|UOB||Get 25% cashback with min $40 spend on SimplyGo, capped at $15||10,000 cardholders (Visa), 2,000 cardholders (Mastercard)||Three qualifying periods:6-30 Jun 20191-31 Jul 20191-31 Aug 2019|
|SCB||Get $10 rebate on SimplyGo transactions||15,000 cardholders||31 July 2019|
These promotions are likely to be used up quickly, so hop on while you still can!
Even if you have an epic daily commute, it’s unlikely that you’ll be jetting off to Paris on SIA Suites, thanks to miles from SimplyGo alone. That said, every little bit helps, and there’s no reason why you shouldn’t be earning miles or cashback from public transport rides too.
Read these next:
‘I Have 19 Credit Cards But You Only Need Three’
Best 6 Credit Cards For Overseas Spending
The New KrisFlyer UOB Credit Card: The Good, The Bad And The Ugly
How To Get Around the Singapore Airlines Waitlist
7 Ways To Earn More Miles With Everyday Expenses