I got a text this morning that made me worried
First rule of the miles and points game. “Enhancement” is always a bad thing. I wonder why airlines/hotels/credit card companies continue to use that term, given that it’s been so widely abused it’s used sardonically by the frequent flyer community.
So, with much trepidation, I clicked on the link and found was greeted with this:
The image above summarises the 2 key changes
- From 31 May, you will no longer earn 3 miles on S$1 spent with SQ, MI and Krisshop. Instead, you earn 6 miles with every S$1 spent on participating air tickets with UOB Travel(Note that this 6 miles per S$1 on airtickets promotion only applies for ANA, Etihad, BA, Qantas, Cathay, Thai, Emirates and United. I can’t believe SQ isn’t on this list, really.)
- Promotion for new cardmembers- be among the top 6,000 spenders to earn 3 miles on all spend for first 3 months (registration required)
EDIT: The fine print says the maximum bonus you can earn is 3,600 miles. Seriously UOB?
The promotion for new cardmembers is nice enough, but I still think the DBS Altitude AMEX offer is far superior though. UOB’s is capped at 6,000 members and you won’t know ex-ante if you’re one of them.
In a way, this is great for UOB because people feel pressured to put as much spend as possible onto their cards. It’s something similar to the other promotions that UOB likes to run which promises bonus miles for the first X number of people to do Y action- and they don’t tell you when the X has been reached on purpose. I feel this is very cynical.
The eye-catching 6 miles per S$1 is clearly an attempt by UOB to push business to their travel arm.
I am always suspicious when a bank tries to promote its own booking portal, because they might make back what they give to you in miles in the form of higher fares.
Is UOB Travel more expensive? Here’s an unscientific search of an arbitrary date for a trip to London in economy class.
|United||Not offered||Not offered||N/A|
I don’t think it’s more expensive necessarily, but there are fewer options. There’s no reason not to consider Thai on this route, for example, given that it prices among the cheapest options.
DBS Altitude is much better in this respect because it gives 3 miles per $1 on all air tickets, regardless of airline (although the $10,000 monthly cap was recently reduced to $5,000 spend per month)
Overall this is definitely a devaluation, because I think it’s safe to say that more card members were spending with SQ/MI than with the 8 new airlines UOB proposes to offer the 6 miles with.
Your best options for online air ticket purchases will now be
- DBS Altitude (3 miles per $1, first $5,000 per month only)
- DBS WWMC (4 miles per $1, first $2,000 per month only)
- UOB Visa Signature (4 miles per $1, min $1,000 max $2,000 per month, for forex-denominated air tickets where payment is processed outside of Singapore)
I’d still recommend the UOB PRVI Miles card overall because of its great 1.4/2.4 earn rate on local and overseas spending, but it’s worrying to see that banks are slowly reigning in the freebies.
Has your day been enhanced yet?