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UOB offers 1.9% fee for PRVI Pay – buy miles for 1.9 cents each

UOB PRVI Miles cardholders can buy miles for 1.9 cents each, without even having a bill to pay

UOB Branch (UOB Bank)

UOB can’t seem to decide exactly how to price its ‘buy miles’ benefit in Singapore, allowing PRVI Miles cardholders to transfer cash to their own bank account for a fee while generating UNI$ in their rewards account – subsequently transferable to both KrisFlyer and Asia Miles.

Our regular readers will know that lately the bank yo-yos between hiking and cutting the fee for this service, sometimes in a targeted manner and sometimes for all cardholders, several times a year.

We’ve seen anything from 1.8% to 2.1% offered, and this month the bank is back with it’s latest deal – payments at 1.9% fee. That’s the equivalent of ‘buying’ miles for 1.9 cents each, between now and the end of 2019.

How PRVI Pay works

The beauty of the PRVI Pay scheme is that you can pay any bill you like (even if you don’t actually have a bill to pay) by simply requesting an amount to be transferred from your credit card to your bank account for the appropriate one-time fee.

In essence, although the ‘price’ is relatively high, the flexibility is also very good.

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You can request any amount to be paid using the facility, provided both the amount requested and the admin fee are within your credit limit at the time of application.

The usual cost for PRVI Pay is a 2.0% fee. It was hiked to 2.1% in March 2019, then later reduced back to 2.0% in a promotion, which ended up becoming the ‘default’ rate even after the promotion ended two months ago.

Here’s how PRVI Pay works for a typical payment, at the usual 2.0% fee:

  • $5,000 income tax bill arrives
  • 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 ($5,000 + 2.0% fee)
  • UOB credits 2,500 UNI$ to your reward account (5,000 KrisFlyer miles)
  • Effective purchase rate $100/5,000 = 2.0 cents per mile

You can also transfer UNI$ to Asia Miles at the same rate.

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Remember, you don’t even need to have an income tax bill to pay, or even produce. Provided you have a sufficient credit limit, UOB will do this “no questions asked”.

The latest promotion

UOB is currently offering all PRVI Miles cardholders the option to take advantage of a discounted 1.9% fee when using the PRVI Pay facility. That means the ability to generate ‘unlimited’ miles for a more reasonable (but still top end) 1.9 cents each.

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For example, under this 1.9% fee promotion:

  • $5,000 income tax bill arrives
  • Apply for $5,000 from your PRVI Miles Payment Facility
  • UOB transfers $5,000 to your bank account
  • UOB charges $5,095 to your credit card ($5,000 + 1.9% fee)
  • UOB credits 2,500 UNI$ to your reward account (5,000 KrisFlyer miles)
  • Effective purchase rate $95/5,000 = 1.9 cents per mile

This promotion is valid for payments processed until 31st December 2019. Here are the full terms and conditions.

FAQs are also available here.

Is it a good deal?

As our regular readers will know, we value KrisFlyer miles at around 1.9 cents per mile. It’s the upper limit at which we would be willing to ‘buy’ miles, in order to be comfortable that we will achieve at least that valuation or more when redeeming them.

You’ll notice that in this offer you are ‘buying’ KrisFlyer miles for exactly 1.9 cents each ($95 / 5,000).

It isn’t a terrible deal, but it is right up at the ceiling level where we think anyone should be ‘buying’ KrisFlyer miles, with the possible exception of a relatively small amount at the last minute to achieve a specific redemption.

That means this offer won’t be of enormous interest to many of our readers, unless you know you will achieve outsize value for your KrisFlyer or Asia Miles stash.

The top-up option

While the headline rate isn’t heat-racing, this can be a good way of topping up your miles to the nearest 10,000 prior to making a transfer, so that you don’t end up with a small leftover amount.

This comes about because you must transfer UNI$ to frequent flyer miles in 10,000 miles (5,000 UNI$) batches.

For example 24,000 UNI$ = 48,000 KrisFlyer miles, but you’d only be able to transfer 40,000 due to the transfer block rule. Asking UOB for a $2,000 payment through ‘PRVI Pay’ will cost you $38 with this offer, but generates the extra 2,000 miles (1,000 UNI$) required to shift 50,000 miles across to KrisFlyer in one block.

Do note that you’ll also be charged a $25 fee each time you transfer your UNI$ to KrisFlyer miles, however if 50,000 miles is what you need to achieve your desired redemption, these additional fees (e.g. S$38 + S$25) may be worth paying.

Cheaper options

Remember there are still cheaper options to ‘buy’ miles for large payments like income tax, rent and home renovation bills. These include RentHero (from 1.14 cpm with our promo code), ipaymy (from 1.15cpm with our promo code), CardUp (from 1.15 cpm on rental payments) and Citi PayAll (from 1.25 cpm).

Some of these may charge a higher fee than PRVI Pay (e.g. 2%) but they allow the full miles accrual rate on your card (e.g. 1.4 / 1.6 miles per dollar), rather than the 1 mile per dollar being offered by UOB. This often leads to a much lower cost per mile, so do the maths before taking advantage of this promotional offer.

You can also effectively ‘buy’ miles by paying the annual fee for a number of credit cards while taking advantage of their sign-up bonus. See our up-to-date list here.

There’s also the other “no questions asked” OCBC Voyage Payment Facility, allowing you to generate miles from 1.9 cents each, though realistically it’s actually a cost of 1.95 cents per mile for most cardholders, and there is a minimum payment request of S$10,000 making it far less flexible.

Summary

UOB tinkers with its PRVI Pay fee every few months or so lately, however this is the best rate we’ve seen available to all cardholders so far this year.

The scheme is certainly very flexible, given that no bills or proof of payment is required. It now comes in with this deal at our upper limit to buy miles of 1.9 cents each, so you do need to consider carefully if that’s a rate at which you are willing to purchase.

To us a nice benefit of PRVI Pay is when you’re just looking to top up your miles balance to meet a redemption threshold, but can’t wait to meet the next ‘block’ through your normal spending. This will often be at relatively low cost if you’re only short by a few miles.

If you don’t currently have a UOB PRVI Miles card, there is a 10,000 miles sign-up bonus (of sorts) running until the end of the year. Check out our full review for more details of the other benefits too.

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Read our full review

(Cover Photo: UOB)

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