Asia Miles Credit Cards KrisFlyer

Credit Card Review: UOB Preferred Platinum Visa (2020)

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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 22nd 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)

APPLY HERE

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 mobile* contactless transactions, capped at $1,110 spend per calendar month across both categories

* Note: Mobile contactless transactions 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 Mobile 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, food stores, confectionary stores, bakeries 7991
7996
7998
7999
Tourist attractions / exhibits, amusement parks, aquariums, zoos

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.

Mobile contactless transactions

The major benefit of the UOB PPV card in our opinion is the 4 miles per dollar rate on mobile contactless (e.g. Apple Pay, Google Pay).

“Earn rewards faster with up to UNI$10 per S$5 on mobile contactless transactions when you tap and pay securely and conveniently with your mobile wallet.” UOB

Mobile contactless transactions made overseas with your UOB PPV card in foreign currency are also included in the offer.

PayWave (Visa)
Remember you must physically tap your mobile device to qualify for a mobile contactless transaction. Tapping the card itself will not earn any bonus UNI$. (Photo: Visa)

The crucial point is that you’ll only achieve the bonus 4 mpd earn rate by waving your mobile device against the Visa payWave reader when making your purchase. Waving the card itself or making magnetic stripe transactions will not be eligible.

You will therefore need a mobile device (smartphone or smartwatch) with near field communication (NFC) capability to earn the bonus rate in this category, though almost all mobile phones these days have this function. Most of us have probably already switched to mobile wallets like Apple Pay or Android Pay for contactless payments with cards like the UOB PPV.

Pro Tip: Once the UOB PPV is stored in your mobile wallet, leave the physical card at home. That way you won’t mistakenly tap it, and given that it’s only good for selected online and mobile contactless transactions there should be no need to physically carry it in your wallet anyway.

This bonus miles category is exclusive to mobile contactless transactions, made via:

Apple Pay Apple Pay
Android Pay

Android Pay

Fitbit Pay

Fitbit Pay

Google Pay

Google Pay

Samsumg Pay

Samsung Pay

UOB Mighty

UOB Mighty

Apple Pay UOB 2
Apple Pay is one of the ways to use your UOB PPV for 4 mpd. (Image: UOB)

Once you have your UOB PPV card, these are the instructions you’ll need to follow to add it to your mobile wallet:

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 mobile 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 contactless 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 mobile 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
Card3
Charge General Spend Mobile 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.

Foreign currency fee / cpm overseas

One thing you won’t be wanting to do with this card is make transactions in foreign currency at the basic 0.4 mpd earn rate.

With UOB’s 3.25% foreign currency fee, that’s equivalent to ‘buying’ miles at an obscene 8.57 cents each, way more than you can ever realistically achieve in value.

At the 4 mpd bonus rate though, which would apply for example on a contactless mobile payment charged to the card at a Starbucks in Hong Kong or an online purchase from a florist in Perth (Australia or Scotland!), it’s a different matter altogether.

Here’s how that cost per mile compares to other credit cards in Singapore offering 4 mpd for at least some form of eligible transactions in foreign currency.

Cost per mile on overseas credit card transactions (4 mpd cards)
(Best to worst, May 2020)

Card Fee Miles per $ Cost per mile
Card3UOB PPV
3.25% 4.0 0.86¢
$Card MC 2020Citi Rewards 3.25% 4.0 0.86¢
CardDBS WWMC 3.25% 4.0 0.86¢
Card 2UOB VS 3.25% 4.0 0.86¢
Card transOCBC TR 3.25% 4.0 0.86¢

Cost per mile also accounts for an additional 0.3% ‘spread’ over money changer currency rates, though this doesn’t apply to all banks and all foreign currencies, so is a worst-case scenario.

As you can see with the same 3.25% foreign transaction fee across all these cards, the UOB PPV card matches the others with a very competitive 0.86 cents per mile.

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 mobile contactless transactions (using mobile devices like Apple Pay, Google Pay and Android Pay at Visa payWave readers) is a very useful perk.

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 the mobile wallet linked to 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) mobile 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 1.4 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

APPLY HERE

(Cover Photo: Shutterstock)

3 comments

  1. This card is a dud…had it for years, then dropped it…far better options at UOB (and other banks) with less red tape to earn miles..

    That said, all of this stuff is “on-hold” and will be “re-geared” post-corona with airlines & banks….devaluations, end of earning/burning partnerships, etc, etc.

    My advice is burn your miles now and get some tech gear or something with it vs. the realities to come…KrisShopping never made more sense!

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