If you earn miles through one of the UOB credit cards in Singapore, you’ll probably be used to the S$25 fee payable each time you transfer a block of your UNI$ into KrisFlyer miles. Like some other banks UOB has now added an ‘auto conversion’ feature, allowing you to pay a one-off annual fee for your miles to be transferred automatically each month.
The annual fee for the service is S$50, which will be charged to your credit card account on enrolment, then again at the same time each year for the subsequent year.
That’s enough for two manual transfers, so as you can see you’ll need to be the sort of person who transfers UNI$ to KrisFlyer miles at least three times a year for there to be any saving here.
How it works
UNI$ will be converted at the end of each month in blocks of UNI$2,500 for 5,000 KrisFlyer miles.
A minimum balance of UNI$15,000 will remain in your account and must be maintained at all times.
That UNI$15,000 will not be auto converted to KrisFlyer miles. Only your UNI$ amount above UNI$15,000 will be automatically converted to KrisFlyer miles each month, on the last calendar day.
It means you’ll need at least UNI$17,500 in your rewards account for a transfer to take place that month.
Should the last calendar day of the month fall on a Saturday, Sunday, or Public Holiday, the auto conversion will take place on the next working day.
Note that your credit card account will be temporarily charged with the usual S$25 conversion fee when the UNI$ are auto converted to KrisFlyer miles. This charge will be reversed within seven working days.
If you wish to enrol in the auto conversion programme, the application instructions are here.
Is it worth it?
If you transfer your UNI$ to KrisFlyer miles more than twice per year then you are technically making a saving here by using the auto conversion method.
This brings the benefit of not having to worry about the 2 year expiry rule for your UNI$, however since they will be transferred into KrisFlyer each month they will then be impacted by the 3 year miles validity deadline in that programme.
The UNI$15,000 minimum balance is annoying though, as it’s worth 30,000 KrisFlyer miles. That’s a significant volume to leave sitting in your account, and it’s not clear how you will ever be able to access it once you sign up to the auto conversion scheme, or what happens if they expire.
We’ve reached out to UOB for some clarification on those points and will update here once we know.
Another negative aspect is that auto conversion removes your UNI$ to Asia Miles transfer option, as only KrisFlyer transfers are supported using this method.
Since your miles will automatically convert into KrisFlyer each month you would have to cancel the arrangement, accrue the UNI$ you wanted, then pay the usual S$25 transfer fee to make an Asia Miles transfer.
Rather like the DBS Altitude auto conversion option, though that one transfers quarterly, is cheaper and more flexible with minimum 1,000 KrisFlyer mile transfer blocks.
I doubt most UOB credit card holders in Singapore are transferring their UNI$ across to KrisFlyer more than twice per year, and the ‘minimum balance’ rule is confusing to say the least, so this is probably one most will avoid.
We’ve updated our review of the UOB PRVI Miles cards to reflect this new option.
Remember this will not affect the KrisFlyer UOB Mastercard, since that co-brand product automatically transfers your miles into KrisFlyer each month for no additional fee.
Hat-tip to reader ZW for alerting us.
(Cover Photo: UOB Group)