When I covered UOB’s reduction of the income requirement for their PRVI Miles cards, I noted that it was curious that the income requirements for the AMEX and Mastercard versions were cut to 50K, but the Visa remained at 80K.
At the time I wrote it off as an oversight, figuring that UOB would update the site a few days later. After all, it wasn’t like the PRVI Miles was a special tier of Visa- as per the branding on the card it was just plain vanilla Visa, not Gold, Platinum, Signature or Infinite.
And then I got this comment from Dennis
Aaron – not sure how much truth is in this but running the PRVI Miles Visa BIN through a bunch of online databases seems to suggest that it’s an Infinite :O
Even though the bank doesn’t market it as such (unlike the MC version which is clearly marketed as a WMC), perhaps that’s the reason why the income req hasn’t come down yet. (and also how they’re able to make enough money to sustain 1.4mpd)
Pffft. I thought. Some nutjob on the comments. Just humour him.
And then I got this from Matthew
I can indeed confirm that UOB Privi Miles codes under Visa Infinite.
I registered for Visa Infinite Concierge under with the card as well as the Hilton Fast Track to Gold with 2 stays/ 4 Nights.
A bit of a shocker for me as well.
I follow the principle that if one person tells me something it’s unreliable, but if two people tell me something it’s gospel truth. This philosophy has worked out swimmingly for me, which is why I am convinced global warming is a liberal hoax. Stupid polar bears.
Gospel truth or not, I still decided to verify it for myself with my friend’s card (I only have the AMEX and MC versions). But how do you tell if something is a Visa Infinite when it doesn’t say so on the tin?
(1) Checking the bin on bindb
For the uninitiated amongst you, a Bin is a Bank Identification Number. I’ll let bindb explain it better.
The Bank Identification Number, also known as the credit card bin can tell you the name of the bank that issued the card, the type of card like Debit or Credit, brand of card Visa, MasterCard and level of card like Electron, Classic and Gold. From the bindatabase you can also check other details about the card and issuer. Credit card bin numbers are the first 6 digits of a card number.
I plugged in the six digits and this is what came out
That’s pretty much game, set, match, but in case you wanted more proof…
(2) Registering for Visa Infinite Concierge
What’s relevant is that before you use the service yo need to register, and the form asks you for the first 9 digits of your Visa Infinite card. Entering the UOB PRVI Visa numbers checked out
So that’s two data points in favor.
(3) Registering for the Hilton Gold fast track offer
I decided to do one more test.
Once upon a time anyone with the first six digits of a Visa Infinite card could get instant Hilton Gold status. But that got abused like you can’t imagine, so they eventually tightened the system up to the point where it’s no longer a straight match but rather a status challenge.
Registration for this worked perfectly with the PRVI Visa.
What’s going on?
Ok, so the PRVI Miles Visa is a Visa Infinite. But why isn’t it branded as one? This is going to involve a lot of speculation from me because I’m not privy to the B2B dealings between Visa and various banks. If you know better, please feel free to chime in.
First, does it cost UOB more to issue a Visa Infinite than a Visa Signature/Platinum/regular card? Intuitively it seems the answer should be yes. After all, Visa Infinite has a concierge and a few other exclusive perks and those all cost money to provide. But if it does, why wouldn’t UOB want to play that up in its branding? It would certainly help raise the card’s profile, because Infinite branding still means something (unlike how Platinum and Signature have become mass market). But instead, UOB has just stuck a regular Visa logo on the cardface. Why would UOB be paying more (assuming it is) and not reaping the branding benefits of that?
Could it be because there’s some minimum income required if you want to market a Visa Infinite card? Based on what I know, all Visa Infinite cards in Singapore have a minimum income requirement of S$120K (I know CIMB will issue a Visa Infinite if you put a fixed deposit collateral of $50K, but let’s ignore that for the moment). So perhaps UOB isn’t allowed to market the card as a Visa Infinite because its income requirement is only $80K. But that brings us back to the previous question- why would UOB want the PRVI Visa to be a Visa Infinite in the first place? What benefit does it give them when they don’t market it that way?
Perhaps it’s because UOB doesn’t want to cannibalize demand for its UOB Visa Infinite. But that still doesn’t add up to me, because the UOB Visa Infinite @ $350K annual income is appealing to a very different market from the PRVI. And besides, the UOB Visa Infinite comes with a host of different privileges (eg special invitations to frou frou events) that the PRVI can’t hope to compete with. And it still doesn’t answer why UOB wants the PRVI Visa to be a Visa Infinite when it doesn’t even market it as such.
So that’s what I can’t figure out now. Help me out guys. What is the purpose of having a stealth Visa Infinite?
Do you need a Visa Infinite?
I’m not completely sold on the benefits of having a Visa Infinite, but just so you know what you’re getting yourself into, here are some of the exclusive benefits (I’ve only listed those which are truly unique to Visa Infinite- a lot of the benefits that banks list for their Visa Infinite cards are really things you could get with Signature/Platinum/any other type of Visa, eg the Visa Luxury hotel collection)
- Hilton Gold fast track offer with 2 stays or 4 nights
- Concierge service
- Discounts, upgrades, breakfast and early/late check in/out at Ritz Carlton, Starwood and Mandarin Oriental Hotels
- National Car Executive status
- Complimentary green fees at Serapong Course, Sentosa Golf Club
Of the benefits listed above, I’d say National Car and Hilton status are the most useful, It’s good to have National Car Executive status because it gives you access to the Executive Aisle, which normally has nicer car options stocked in it than the usual Emerald Aisle. If you have no idea what I’m talking about read this and this. Likewise, Hilton Gold is arguably one of the best mid-tier statuses to have.
From time to time there are special offers that pop up on the internet for Visa Infinite cardholders only. So it could be useful to have a VI on hand to take advantage of such deals.
[HT: Dennis and Matthew]