Asia Miles Credit Cards KrisFlyer

Credit Card Review: UOB Preferred Platinum Visa

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Here’s our review of the UOB Preferred Platinum Visa (PPV) card, which forms part of our series of credit card reviews, all of which are summarised on our dedicated Credit Cards page.

Dollar amounts refer to SGD, and ‘miles’ refer to KrisFlyer Miles, except where stated. This review was updated on 5th May 2020.

Fast Facts

Card3

Annual fee: $192.60/yr (first year free)
EIR:
26.9%
Sign-up bonus:
None
Local & overseas earn rate: 0.4 miles per $1
Bonus categories earn rate:
4.0 miles per $1*

Foreign transaction fee:
3.25%
Minimum age:
21
Minimum income:
$30,000/yr (Singaporean / PR)
Minimum income:
$60,000/yr (Foreigner)
* See below for details.

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Annual fee

The annual fee for the UOB PPV card is $192.60, however this is waived for the first card membership year.

Sign-up bonus

There is no current miles sign-up bonus for the UOB PPV card, however new applicants between 1st March and 30th June 2020 are entitled to a $150 cash credit subject to a minimum spend of $1,500 within 30 days from the card approval date.

As usual with UOB, it’s limited to the first 800 new-to-bank cardholders to meet the spend threshold, so don’t count on getting it (they won’t even tell you if the promotion is fully taken up).

Earning rates

The UOB PPV earns:

  • 0.4 miles (1 UNI$ per $5) for every $1 spent both locally and overseas (i.e. transacted in foreign currency)
  • 4 miles (10 UNI$ per $5) for every $1 spent on bonus category transactions – selected online purchases and all contactless transactions, capped at $1,110 spend per calendar month across both categories

Note: From 22nd May 2020 contactless transactions will only include those made on mobile devices using Apple Pay, Android Pay, Fitbit Pay, Google Pay, Samsung Pay and UOB Mighty.

No minimum monthly spend applies for the 4 miles per dollar earn rate to take effect.

Why $1,110?

The terms and conditions document for the UOB PPV card states that “The total UNI$ awarded to each Cardmember from qualifying spend on Selected Online Transactions and Contactless Transactions is capped at UNI$2,000 for each calendar month”.

That would lead you to conclude that the maximum eligible spend per month in these categories is $1,000 (2,000 UNI$ / 10 UNI$ x $5).

In fact it’s applied a different way than the T&Cs suggest. It’s the bonus UNI$ which are capped, not the total amount awarded. That means only the additional 9 UNI$ awarded in these categories are capped (at 2,000 UNI$).

The maximum you therefore spend each calendar month is 2,000/9 = 222 ‘blocks’ of $5, which is $1,110 (222 x 5).

Until mid-2017 the bonus spend cap was UNI$24,000 per annum, however it was then changed to UNI$2,000 per calendar month. Sadly that makes earning a large volume of miles for a ‘big ticket’ purchases impossible.

Selected online transactions

The first category for the enhanced earn rate of 4 miles per dollar using the UOB PPV card is for “selected online transactions”. UOB advertises this as “shopping for clothes, shoes, bags, electronic items, books or even paying for the latest app, movie tickets and your fast food delivery order online”.

Delivery Steps 1 (foodpanda)
Foodpanda deliveries are included in the 4 mpd category. (Photo: Foodpanda)

The actual eligibility for these purchases being awarded the enhanced earn rate is based on the Merchant Category Code (MCC) of the retailer, which must fall under one of the following:

Department Stores and Retail Stores
MCC Description MCC Description
4816 Computer network/information services 5732-
5735
Electronics sales, computer software, music stores
5306
5309

5310
5311
Duty Free stores, discount stores, department stores 5912
5942
Pharmacies, book stores
5262
5331
5399
Online marketplaces, variety stores, miscellaneous general merchandise stores 5964-
5970
Direct marketing (catalog / telemarketing)
5611
5621
5641
5651
5699
Clothing stores 5992
5999
Florists and miscellaneous / specialty retail Stores
5631
5661
Accessory stores and shoe stores
Supermarkets, Dining and Food Delivery
Entertainment and Ticketing
MCC Description MCC Description
5811
5812
5814
Caterers, restaurants, fast food restaurants,  7278
7832

7841
7922
Cinemas, DVD rental stores, theatres and ticket agencies
5333
5411
5441
5462
5499
8012
9751
Supermarkets, confectionary stores, bakeries 7991
7996
7998
7999
Tourist attractions / exhibits, amusement parks, aquariums, zoos

Latest Changes 28 Apr 2020: MCCs removed:

  • 5691: Men’s and Women’s Clothing Stores
  • 5944: Clock, Jewelry, Watch, and Silverware Store
  • 5945: Game, Toy, and Hobby Shops
  • 5946: Camera and Photographic Supply Stores
  • 5947: Card, Gift, Novelty, and Souvenir Shops
  • 5948: Leather Goods and Luggage Stores
  • 5949: Fabric, Needlework, Piece Goods, and Sewing Stores

MCCs added:

  • 5262: Online marketplaces

This list includes the following merchants in the Online Retail Stores category:

  • ASOS (MCC 5651)
  • Amazon (MCC 5964)
  • Amazon Prime (MCC 5999)
  • Courts (MCC 5732)
  • Harvey Norman (MCC 5732)
  • Lazada (MCC 5311)
  • Qoo10 (MCC 5699)
  • Shopee (MCC 5699)
  • Uniqlo (MCC 5651)

Food delivery includes:

  • Deliveroo (MCC 5499)
  • Foodpanda (MCC 5499)
  • GrabFood (MCC 5499)

Overseas online spend in foreign currency is included, within the correct MCC categories (e.g. a department store in Sydney).

Note: ipaymy, CardUp and RentHero payments do not earn UNI$ with this card, even at the basic earn rate.

Contactless transactions

The major benefit of the UOB PPV card in our opinion is the 4 miles per dollar rate on contactless (Visa payWave or mobile device payments).

“Earn rewards faster with up to 10X UNI$ per S$5 spend when you tap and pay securely with your Visa payWave card or mobile device at more than 10,000 retail outlets in Singapore.” UOB

First point to note is that despite the “in Singapore” statement, contactless transactions made overseas with your UOB PPV card in foreign currency are included in the offer.

PayWave (Visa)
Remember you must physically tap your card or mobile device to qualify for a contactless transaction. (Photo: Visa)

The second and crucial point is that payment must be made by physically waving your card or mobile device. Magnetic stripe transactions will not be eligible.

Note: From 22nd May 2020 contactless transactions will only include those made on mobile devices using Apple Pay, Android Pay, Fitbit Pay, Google Pay, Samsung Pay and UOB Mighty.

Be careful of SMART$

UOB partners with some retailers to offer SMART$ rather than UNI$. This is effectively a ‘cashback’ scheme, offering a means to offset your next purchase with accumulated SMART$.

Unfortunately, it overrides the UNI$ scheme. That means if you make a mobile contactless in-store transaction at an otherwise valid retailer which is part of the SMART$ scheme (e.g. Apple Pay at a Cold Storage outlet), you won’t earn 4 miles per dollar for your transaction.

Pro Tip: Don’t worry about earning SMART$ instead of UNI$ online at the likes of Giant, Cold Storage and Jasons with your UOB PPV card. SMART$ only apply to in-store purchases, with online transactions excluded from that programme, so you’ll earn UNI$ as usual.

Marketplace Tanglin
Your UOB PPV card won’t get you 4 miles per dollar at several supermarkets in Singapore, even if you make contactless payment

You can view a list of UOB SMART$ merchants here. Be careful of the following:

  • Cathay Cineplexes
  • Cold Storage
  • Giant
  • Guardian
  • Jasons
  • Marketplace
  • Shell

Don’t use this card (i.e. using mobile payment) if you make an in-store purchase at a merchant in this list, as you’ll get SMART$ instead of 4 miles per dollar in the form of UNI$.

Posting date, not transaction date

For spend in the two bonus categories, it’s the date the transaction is posted to your account not the date the transaction was made that determines which calendar month it is apportioned to.

For example a 31st July transaction which posts on 1st August will be considered an August transaction in terms of the monthly spend cap.

How much is a UNI$ worth?

Anything from around 1 cent, when used to purchase gift vouchers or achieve cash rebates, through to 3.8 cents, when converted to KrisFlyer miles or Asia Miles.

Clearly the 1 cent option is unattractive, representing a poorer return than you would expect to achieve from many cashback cards, so we don’t recommend that.

Conversion into frequent flyer miles is the best deal.

Are KrisFlyer miles credited directly?

No, in fact rather than being credited miles directly you’ll accrue ‘UNI$’ for your regular spending on this card. These transfer to KrisFlyer miles at a 1:2 ratio (so for $1,000 of local spending in the 4mpd (10X) bonus categories, you’ll net 2,000 UNI$, which can be converted to 4,000 KrisFlyer miles).

What is the transfer cost to KrisFlyer miles?

It will cost you $25 each time you transfer your points to KrisFlyer miles.

Auto conversion option

There is also the option to enrol in UOB’s auto miles conversion program, with payment of $50 per year. In that case your miles will be transferred automatically to KrisFlyer each month.

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.

That means you’ll need at least UNI$17,500 in your rewards account for a transfer to take place. That’s not an attractive proposition for a card like this, which you’ll likely only be using for up to $1,110 of contactless or online transactions each month. It would be better to spend $25 each time for the transfer as you need it.

If you do wish to enrol in the auto conversion programme, the application instructions are here.

Is there a minimum transfer amount?

The minimum volume of miles you can transfer into KrisFlyer or Asia Miles is 10,000 (i.e. 5,000 UNI$), and they must then be in blocks of 10,000.

Do UNI$ expire?

Yes, your UNI$ expire 2 years after you earn them (by quarterly period). This is a downside to the UOB cards because many other banks tend not to have expiry rules for their loyalty points.

Remember your points will have a further three years validity once transferred to KrisFlyer miles, and will never expire if transferred to Asia Miles provided you earn or redeem at least 1 mile every 18 months.

How long do miles take to credit to KrisFlyer?

14 to 21 working days is the official period stated by UOB rewards, which implies that it might take over a month. If you had your eye on a redemption seat, it may be long gone by then!

Luckily the FlyerTalk forum post where KrisFlyer members share the actual number of days taken to transfer miles across from various banks, suggests that 1 to 3 days is more typical from UOB, with 7 days being the longest. That’s not the fastest on the market, but it is much more reasonable.

Which loyalty schemes can I transfer into?

Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer and Cathay Pacific Asia Miles.

KF & AM trans

The same earning rate, transfer cost, and minimum transfer ‘blocks’ apply if you choose to credit to Asia Miles.

Points rounding

One big drawback of UOB credit cards is that UNI$ are awarded for every $5 block of spending charged to your card.

When you are charging smaller amounts, that does start to have a big impact on the effective miles per dollar rate you are actually earning for the transaction.

UNI$ awarded
Charge General Spend Contactless /
Eligible Online Spend
$4.99 0
(0 mpd)
0
(0 mpd)
$5.00 1
(0.4 mpd)
10
(4 mpd)
$9.99 1
(0.2 mpd)
10
(2 mpd)
$10.00 2
(0.4 mpd)
20
(4 mpd)

One cent can make all the difference here, and to truly optimise the maximum number of UNI$ earned, you should plan your spending in $5 blocks especially at the lower transaction levels (e.g. $5 / $10 / $15).

Try to avoid falling just below a $5 block if possible, or only exceed a $5 block by a small amount.

The impact becomes less important with higher amounts, for example let’s say you make a valid online transaction with your UOB PPV card under one of the MCCs listed above:

  • $249.99 – 490 UNI$ awarded (980 miles / 3.92 mpd)
  • $250.00 – 500 UNI$ awarded (1,000 miles / 4 mpd)

As you can see falling 1 cent short of a $5 block size in this case isn’t significantly affecting your miles per dollar rate in the same way that a $9.99 vs. $10.00 spend is.

UNI$ pool with your other cards

If you earn UNI$ through an existing credit card account, such as the UOB PRVI Miles card, your points balance will be pooled together into a single balance for you to redeem from.

If you cancel your card, any UNI$ accrued will survive in your ‘pool’ provided you still have at least one other UOB credit card earning UNI$.

Minimum spend to earn points

With no UNI$ awarded for transactions below $5, the minimum spend to earn points is of course $5.

Smaller transactions, including those converted from foreign currency into SGD which are charged to your card at less than $5, will not earn any points.

Annual fee waiver

Some cardholders have reported being automatically charged 2,500 UNI$ for their annual card renewal, rather than the $192.60 fee.

If you call UOB, you can usually get the annual renewal fee for this card waived. If they won’t do so however and you still want to keep the card, 2,500 UNI$ (which converts to 5,000 miles, worth about $95) is probably a better offer than paying $192.60 in cash.

Other benefits

As an entry-level 30k income requirement card, there are few other perks with the UOB PPV card. The key additional benefits which will be of most interest to our readers are:

  • 1 UNI$ (2 miles) per $5 spend on SimplyGo transit rides, based on the accumulated spend on SimplyGo Transactions per calendar month, and awarded to Cardmembers on the 7th calendar day of the following month (details here). Note that with this promotion you must register your PPV card with SimplyGo then charge the journeys to your Transit Card via your mobile phone using Apple Pay, Fitbit Pay, Google Pay and/or Samsung Pay, do not simply tap the card.
  • A range of Dining Promotions common to all UOB cards.
  • UOB Privileges Passport, including up to 10% cashback at Booking.com and 8% off Hotels.com bookings.

Our summary

The UOB PPV card isn’t really sold as a miles-earning proposition in Singapore, so is often overlooked as such an option.

While it certainly doesn’t ooze other benefits, for us the 4 miles per dollar rate on contactless transactions (Visa payWave and using mobile devices like Apple Pay, Google Pay, Android Pay at Visa payWave readers) is a very useful perk.

Note: From 22nd May 2020 contactless transactions will only include those made on mobile devices using Apple Pay, Android Pay, Fitbit Pay, Google Pay, Samsung Pay and UOB Mighty.

With a $1,110 limit each month, this can potentially net you 53,280 miles per year with relative ease, more than enough for a Business Class flight on SIA from Singapore to Tokyo or Seoul.

A350R J Class (MM)
A Business Class saver award to or from Tokyo on Singapore Airlines is possible by tapping your UOB PPV card for around $1,000 of spend each month. (Photo: MainlyMiles)

Remember we value KrisFlyer miles at around 1.9 cents each so at the 4 mile per dollar rates you’re earning close to 8% ‘value back’ on your purchases.

There is a limited but potentially useful list of online retailers, where spend using this card will also be at the 4 mpd rate, however the bonus UNI$ cap is applied across both that and the (much easier) contactless transactions category.

Outside the bonus rates, it’s a very poor earning rate on this card of 0.4 miles per dollar, so we would strongly recommend having an alternative for your day to day spending where you should be earning at least 1 mile per dollar, and ideally 1.2 to 1.5 miles per dollar.

This is especially important if you exceed the $1,110 bonus cap each month. Consider the DBS Woman’s World Mastercard, with a less restrictive $2,000 monthly cap for online transactions at 4 mpd, or the Citi Rewards card with a $1,000 cap for all online spend.

Another key aspect of this card to be aware of is the two-year validity period for UNI$ accrued, so do make sure you transfer your points into KrisFlyer or Asia Miles in good time.

Card3

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(Cover Photo: Shutterstock)

9 comments

  1. After reading your previous post (2020 strategy) I went ahead and got this card on top of my main Citi Prestige. But so far I find it’s quite difficult to use this card effectively due to so many exceptions for online transactions and some Pay Wave payments. I’m a moderate~high spender who achieved Citi’s year-end bonus point promotion with hefty threshold, but couldn’t hit the mere $1,500 threshold for the sign-up promotion of this card. For the moment, I’m not sure if I renew it.

  2. Also note payment via Samsung Pay MST (I.e non paywave reader) is not considered by UOB as a Contactless transaction and thus will not be eligible for the additional UNI$.

      1. Thanks for the reply Andrew, noticed Grab Food transactions are charged to the card under a generic Grab transaction. Will it defer from the normal Grab ride in the statement to the bank for 4X miles?

      2. Good question, not sure. Should appear as GRAB FOOD as far as I know but if its not separated then it might not award correctly. May need to query with UOB once the transaction is posted (they should be able to check which MCC it has recorded under).

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