UOB launched a 20% bonus points transfer offer on Wednesday this week for those wishing to convert their UNI$ (UOB’s loyalty currency) across to Cathay Pacific Asia Miles between now and 9th June 2018.
The process and terms for this offer are quite straightforward. Firstly you must actually have an Asia Miles account – that’s pretty simple as you can join here.
Then simply “successfully convert” your UNI$ across to your Asia Miles account between now and 9th June 2018 and you will receive a 20% bonus on the transferred total.
There is no limit to the number of UNI$ you can transfer, but the minimum amount is 5,000 UNI$ (converting to 10,000 regular + 2,000 bonus Asia Miles) and they then must be transferred in blocks of 5,000 UNI$ as usual.
The 20% bonus miles will be credited to your Asia Miles account by 30th June 2018, suggesting the bonus miles will follow as a separate transaction – so don’t worry if you initially get the regular transfer rate.
When they say “successfully convert” during the period we assume the conversion must be completed by the end of the offer. After all a conversion is hardly “successful” until the miles are in your account – right?
We contacted UOB about this and they weren’t sure on the exact interpretation. Their team is due to get back to us with the answer but this probably won’t be until Monday. We’ll update the article once we know.
However they choose to interpret it – for now plan to allow about 3 working days for the transfer to complete into Asia Miles in case they hold you to the ‘letter of the law’ on this term. We’d therefore recommend planning to initiate the transfer no later than 5th June if you want to take advantage.
Those of you holding the UOB PRVI Miles card (see our review here) will no doubt be familiar with the ‘PRVI Pay’ facility. In a nutshell you can pay yourself directly into your bank account while your card is charged for the transfer plus a one-off 2% fee.
It effectively means you can generate an almost unlimited number of KrisFlyer miles or Asia Miles (subject of course to your credit limit) at 2 cents each. That’s our upper ceiling to buy as most of you know, and there are generally cheaper ways to accrue miles you should explore first, but here the 20% bonus makes all the difference.
You can effectively ‘buy’ Asia Miles at 1.67 cents each. For example:
- Apply for $5,000 from your PRVI Miles Payment Facility
- UOB transfers $5,000 to your bank account
- UOB charges $5,100 to your credit card ($5,000 + 2% fee)
- UOB credits 2,500 UNI$ to your reward account
- 2,500 UNI$ convert to 5,000 KrisFlyer miles (2.00¢ each)
- 2,500 UNI$ currently convert to 6,000 Asia Miles (1.67¢ each)
What’s an Asia Mile Worth?
We value Asia Miles approximately the same as KrisFlyer miles – at about S$0.02 each. You should be achieving better than that with Cathay business class redemptions just like you would using KrisFlyer miles for Singapore Airlines business redemptions for example.
The Points Guy values Asia Miles and KrisFlyer miles identically too – at about 1.4 US cents (that’s around 1.9 Singapore cents).
Getting a 20% bonus on transfers to Asia Miles (compared to KrisFlyer miles) should therefore be a good deal – provided you have a meaningful enough balance to transfer and a good use for them.
Note that like KrisFlyer miles, Asia Miles have a 3-year validity from the date of earning.
Asia Miles Benefits
If you’re new to Asia Miles you may be wondering what they’re good for. Well first of all you’ll correctly predict they can be used for Cathay Pacific and Cathay Dragon redemptions – but remember they also open up awards on all the oneworld alliance carriers too.
In our ‘Roo Returns’ article from February we noted how Asia Miles are an excellent way to redeem Qantas First and Business class seats for a significant miles saving over Qantas Frequent Flyer or BA Avios points.
For example 45,000 Asia Miles will get you from Singapore to Australia in Qantas business class or for 70,000 miles non-stop to London in business. At the very front end of the Qantas A380 you can fly those same routes in first class for 70,000 or 105,000 miles respectively (we tried it recently and it didn’t disappoint).
Other good uses of Asia Miles include Qatar Airways Business Class and Japan Airlines First and Business Class (though JAL redemptions must be round-trip).
On that note another thing to remember when using Asia Miles is to try and book a return redemption where possible as unlike most other frequent flyer programs these come in at slightly less than double the one-way miles cost, so there’s a saving to be had.
Obviously it’s a more complicated program whose maximum value can be extracted by knowing all the nuances including stopovers, open-jaw tickets and relatively good value round-the-world redemptions – but this is just a brief summary of what you can do.
Asia Miles Devaluation
There have been some rumours of an upcoming devaluation of the Cathay Pacific Asia Miles scheme – perhaps later this year. That may or may not happen but it is something to be aware of.
Assuming you’re new to Asia Miles and you do want to take advantage of this bonus transfer – have a reasonably clear idea of what you’ll do with the miles first then our advice would be to lock in the redemption as soon as possible.
Any devaluation would not occur overnight and you would still likely be free to use your miles under the current rates for a certain period but there would then be a deadline looming you probably wouldn’t want to cross, especially if you had transferred a large miles balance.
A good offer if you have a decent UNI$ balance sitting around without any plans for them. It’s even possible to top-up your balance quickly if you hold the PRVI Miles card as we mentioned above using ‘PRVI Pay’, for what we see as a very reasonable cost per mile.
If you transfer into Asia Miles anyway as a regular user of the scheme this is a no-brainer – do it. If not our advice is to have a good plan for the miles if you’re interested in doing this (a program devaluation might be coming), then make the transfer by 5th June (the terms are too vague for our linking).
Full details and terms and conditions for this promotion are available here.
(Cover Photo: Cathay Pacific)