Here’s our review of the UOB PRVI Miles credit cards issued in Singapore. It forms part of our series of credit card reviews, which are all 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 1st May 2021.
|UOB PRVI Miles|
|UOB PRVI Miles|
Mainly Miles Says
An entry-level income requirement and attractive miles earning rates, plus no annual fee in the first year, makes UOB’s PRVI Miles cards look like an obvious addition to your wallet for general spend both in Singapore and overseas.
They do have their drawbacks however, including an annoying rounding issue relating to how miles are awarded for smaller transactions, plus no complimentary lounge access benefits.
Let’s take a look at the details.
There are three versions of the UOB PRVI Miles credit card, covering all the major network operators – Visa, Mastercard and American Express.
The fees, miles and benefits of the three cards are almost identical, except where we’ve specified otherwise in this review.
- Minimum Age: 21
- Minimum Income (Singaporean / PR): $30,000/yr
- Minimum Income (Non-Singaporean / PR): $40,000/yr
The UOB PRVI Miles cards previously had a $50,000 annual income requirement ($80,000 for the Visa card), however this was cut in 2018 to the more accessible entry-level $30,000 per year for Singaporeans and Permanent Residents, making them widely accessible.
Annual Fees & Interest Rates
- Annual Fee (principal): $256.80 (first year free)
- Annual Fee (supplementary): $128.40 (first two cards always free)
- Fee waiver: PRVI Miles Amex annual card fee waived with $50,000+ retail spend in the previous membership year
The annual fee for the UOB PRVI Miles cards is $256.80, though it is waived for the first year. The Amex version has annual fee waiver if you spent at least $50,000 on the card (including on supplementary cards) in your previous membership year.
Other fees and interest rates for the UOB PRVI Miles cards include:
- EIR: 26.9%
- Interest-free period: 21 days
- Minimum payment: 3% (capped at $50)
- Late payment fee: $100
- Cash advance fee: 8% (minimum $15)
- Overlimit fee: $40
Regular earn rates
The UOB PRVI Miles cards earn:
- 1.4 miles for every $1 spent locally (i.e. transacted in SGD), and
- 2.4 miles for every $1 spent overseas (i.e. transacted in foreign currency*).
These are currently the highest earn rates for general spend among entry-level (30k income) cards in Singapore.
Later on we’ll take a look at how the earn rates may not be quite as they seem for smaller transactions, however, due to UOB’s miles rounding policy.
* Note that for this card online transactions made in foreign currencies, but where the merchant payment gateway is in Singapore, will not be treated as overseas transactions and will earn the regular 1.4 miles per $1 spent.
Bonus earn rates
There are some higher earning rates for using the UOB PRVI Miles cards at specific travel companies, as follows:
- 6 miles per $1 spent on hotel bookings at Agoda. Valid until 31st December 2020, with bonus miles credited up to three months after departure from the hotel. See agoda.com/prvimiles for full details.
- 6 miles per $1 spent on selected flight and hotel bookings at Expedia. Participating airlines include Finnair, Garuda Indonesia and Turkish Airlines. Valid until 30th April 2022. See expedia.com.sg/prvimiles for full details.
- 6 miles per $1 spent on selected flight and hotel bookings at UOB Travel. Participating airlines include British Airways, Cathay Pacific, Emirates and Qatar Airways. Valid until 31st December 2020. See prvi.uobtravel.com for full details.
UOB is currently running a promotion for PRVI Miles cardholders to earn 4.4 miles per dollar on SimplyGo (ABT) bus and MRT transactions between 1st September 2020 and 31st December 2020 (capped at S$80 spend per month).
To be eligible, you’ll need to make sure you have not used your card for any contactless payment for local public train and bus rides during the two month period between 1st July 2020 and 31st August 2020.
Registration is required. See full details of this promotion in our article here.
There is currently no miles-earning sign-up bonus for the UOB PRVI Miles cards.
When a sign-up bonus is offered, typically 10,000 miles for meeting a certain spend threshold in the first 60 days of card membership, UOB annoyingly limits the promotion to the first ‘x thousand’ to apply and meet the spend criteria (here’s an example).
That usually means at the end of the spend period having pushed potentially several thousands of dollars spend through the card, you may well be told that you simply didn’t qualify and therefore receive nothing. It’s effectively gambling and something other banks in Singapore do not expect you to do in our experience.
UOB though are masters at this, so when the next sign-up bonus for the PRVI Miles cards comes along, don’t expect anything different!
Ongoing miles bonus (Amex)
If you opt for the American Express PRVI Miles card, and spend a minimum of S$50,000 on the card in each membership year, you’ll have the annual fee waived and will also receive 20,000 bonus miles.
Eligible transactions on the UOB PRVI Miles card for miles earning are all retail purchases including recurring payments, with the exception of NETS and NETS-related transactions, 0% Instalment Payment Plans, SmartPay, personal loan, balance/funds transfers, cash advances, fees, interests, finance charges, late payment charges, annual fee charges, reversals, other financial charges.
The following transaction types are also excluded from miles earning:
All transactions which are classified under the following Merchant Category Codes:
Miles are also not awarded for:
Notable exclusions for these cards are payments for education, Grab wallet top-ups, and insurance.
Note that Hospitals, Automobile parking lots and Garages were be added to the exclusion list from 1st February 2021, while Utilities and ipaymy transactions are being added from 1st August 2022.
This list is subject to change, so check the UOB PRVI Miles Terms and Conditions (section 1) for the latest information.
Are KrisFlyer miles credited directly?
No, instead of being credited miles directly you’ll accrue ‘UNI$’ for your regular spending on this card.
These transfer to KrisFlyer miles at a 1:2 ratio (so for $10,000 of local spending, you’ll net UNI$7,000, which can be converted to 14,000 KrisFlyer miles).
Be careful of SMART$ merchants (Visa / MC)
UOB partners with some retailers to offer SMART$ rather than UNI$. This is effectively a ‘cashback’ scheme, offering a means to offset your next purchase with accumulated SMART$ (the rate is not attractive compared to miles earning).
Unfortunately, it overrides the UNI$ scheme. That means if you make an in-store transaction at a retailer which is part of the SMART$ scheme (e.g. at a Cold Storage outlet), you won’t earn 1.4 miles per dollar for your transaction.
This applies to the UOB PRVI Miles Visa and Mastercard, however you will still earn miles as normal with the American Express version, which does not participate in the SMART$ programme.
Pro Tip: Don’t worry about earning SMART$ instead of UNI$ online at the likes of Giant, Cold Storage and Jasons with your UOB PRVI Miles Visa or Mastercard. SMART$ only apply to in-store purchases for these cards, with online transactions excluded from that programme, so you’ll earn UNI$ as usual.
You can view a list of UOB SMART$ merchants here. Be careful of the following:
- Cathay Cineplexes
- Cold Storage
Don’t use your PRVI Miles Visa or Mastercard if you make an in-store purchase at a merchant in this list, as you’ll get SMART$ instead of 1.4 miles per dollar.
When do UNI$ credit?
UNI$ should reflect in your account once the transaction posts, which takes anywhere between one and three days.
You won’t have to wait until your monthly statement for the UNI$ to be added, so if you’re making a purchase to achieve a short-term top-up they should be available to you within a few days.
Do UNI$ expire?
Yes, your UNI$ expire 2 years after you earn them (by quarterly period). This is a significant downside to the UOB credit cards because many other banks tend not to have expiry rules for their loyalty points.
For example, miles accrued with the DBS Altitude and Citi PremierMiles cards do not expire as long as your card account remains active.
Remember your UNI$ 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 in that programme.
UNI$ pool with your other cards
If you earn UNI$ through an existing credit card account, such as the UOB PPV 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$.
What is the transfer cost to KrisFlyer miles?
It’ll cost you $25 each time you transfer your UNI$ to KrisFlyer miles.
Auto conversion option (KrisFlyer)
There is also the option to enrol in UOB’s auto miles conversion program, with payment of $50 per year. In that case your miles will be transferred automatically to KrisFlyer on the last calendar day of each month.
UNI$ 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.
If you 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 is 10,000 (i.e. UNI$5,000), and they must then be in blocks of 10,000 (i.e. UNI$5,000).
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, much more reasonable.
Which loyalty schemes can I transfer into?
Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer and Cathay Pacific Asia Miles. The same earning rate, transfer cost, and minimum transfer ‘blocks’ apply if you choose to credit to Asia Miles.
Note that the auto conversion option mentioned above does not support Asia Miles transfers. If you enrol in the auto conversion programme you will not be eligible to transfer into Asia Miles.
Instant free transfer to KrisFlyer miles via KrisPay
You can also link your UOB Rewards and KrisPay accounts and instantly transfer as little as UNI$1,000 into KrisPay miles.
The transfer ratio is 1:1.7 (e.g. UNI$1,000 = 1,700 KrisPay miles).
You won’t want to be using them there due to the awful value against purchases of 0.67 cents per mile, but you can immediately transfer them 1:1 into your KrisFlyer account as KrisFlyer miles.
As you’ll notice this is a 15% ‘hit’ on the usual UNI$ to KrisFlyer transfer rate, so it’s only of interest if you need a small amount to meet a specific redemption threshold, or have a small balance ‘stuck’ in UNI$ (less than 5,000), which you aren’t going to be adding to in future.
You shouldn’t be using this as your regular UNI$ to KrisFlyer transfer method, as it effectively devalues your miles earning rate to 1.19 mpd locally and 2.04 mpd for FCY purchases.
There are two golden rules to be aware of, firstly you’ll have to move any points transferred from UNI$ to KrisPay into KrisFlyer miles within seven days, otherwise they are stuck in KrisPay (where you definitely don’t want them).
The second is just as important, you cannot use any of the KrisPay miles you have earned from your UNI$ transfer for any KrisPay