Tag Archives: visa infinite

CIMB Visa Infinite replaces Priority Pass with DragonPass

You’ll remember I wrote about the CIMB Visa Infinite, the no-fee Visa Infinite card you can get so long as you earn $120,000 or more in a year. The card per se doesn’t have great perks, but hey, it’s a free Visa Infinite. And it comes with a Priority Pass that has 3 free lounge visits a year.

Image result for cimb visa infinite singapore

I received an SMS today informing me that this is set to change from 1 October 2017. More information can be found here.

If you currently have a Priority Pass issued by CIMB Visa Infinite, you’ll still be able to use your visits until 30 Sept. From 1 October onwards, your lounge visits made on your Priority Pass will be chargeable.

What is DragonPass?

Image result for dragonpass lounge

DragonPass is a competing lounge network to Priority Pass. It claims to have 900+ lounges

As you might have guessed from the name, the company is based in China and has some exclusive privileges there, such as access to lounges at high-speed train stations. You can also use your DragonPass to get dining discounts at selected dining locations of up to 50%.

As per CIMB’s FAQ, you’ll have 3 complimentary visits via DragonPass, the same you’d have with Priority Pass (so I guess this doesn’t really count as a devaluation), and subsequent visits will cost US$25 each. The FAQ also states that free visits cannot be shared with your guest, and you’ll need to buy a separate US$25 pass for them too.

It’s worth noting the T&C state that lounge access is limited to 2 hours unless otherwise stated, whereas lounge access with Priority Pass was 3 hours if I’m not mistaken. I can imagine there’ll be some really nit picky lounges that will enforce this, but I can’t see this being a big problem most of the time.

To give you a taste of DragonPass, here’s what they offer in Singapore

That’s a pretty decent selection, more or less the same as what Priority Pass has. However, what it does offer beyond Priority Pass is discounts at airport restaurants. At Changi you get the following discounts

  • Kaveri Indian Vegitarian (10%)
  • Chutney Mary (10%)
  • Crystal Jade (10%)
  • The Green Market (10%)

The app will also pop up with random deals and promotions from time to time.

For me, I’m indifferent to the change as I already have a lot of Priority Passes from my other credit cards. In fact, it might even be useful having a DragonPass, just for purposes of diversification.

If you’re got a CIMB Visa Infinite issued Priority Pass, you might want to quickly burn through your remaining free visits in the next couple of months.

The UOB PRVI Miles Visa Infinite Mystery

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

Hi Aaron,
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.
Cheers.

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?

Image result for uob prvi miles visa

(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

Holy moley. To make sure it wasn’t just this site saying it, I also looked it up on binlist.net, binchecker.com, bincodes.com, and exactbins.com. All of them concurred.

That’s pretty much game, set, match, but in case you wanted more proof…

(2) Registering for Visa Infinite Concierge

One of the centrally-provided services that Visa has for its Infinite card tier is a concierge service. I wasn’t too wowed when I used them a few months ago, but that’s not what’s relevant here.

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)

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.

Click here to apply for a UOB PRVI Miles Visa card

[HT: Dennis and Matthew]

What do you make of the new Standard Chartered Visa Infinite sign up offer?

I received a nice glossy mailer from Standard Chartered (getting snail mail makes me feel alive) advertising a new sign up offer for their Visa Infinite card.

Image result for standard chartered visa infinite

For successful applications approved before 17 June 2017, SCB is offering a choice of two promotions (T&C here)-

  • 86,000 miles with S$12,000 spending within 60 days of approval OR
  • 66,000 miles + 28 inch Samsonite bag with S$12,000 spending within 60 days of approval

The 35,000 mile welcome gift was always available with the payment of the $588.50 annual fee (SCB used to disclose the annual fee before GST but now includes it, as per their obligations under the income tax act. Sorry, but this always bugged the accountant in me), and the 36,000 base miles would have been yours anyway had you spent $12,000 overseas under the regular T&C of the card. Therefore, the real carrot they’re offering is the 15,000 miles you get when you spend S$12,000 within 60 days of approval.

I’ll have a fair amount of overseas spending on my upcoming RTW trip, and gave some serious thought as to whether I could make this work.

If I were to bring along my UOB Visa Signature card for my overseas spending, I’d be able to get 4 mpd on $2,000 a statement cycle for the 2 cycles I’ll be overseas for. That’s a total of 16,000 miles.

Assuming I spent the other $8,000 on my UOB PRVI Miles at 2.4 mpd, I’d end up with a total of 16,000 + 2.4 * 8,000=35,200 miles for $12,000 of overseas spending.

If I went with the SCB Visa Infinite, I’d end up with 86,000 miles but would be out of pocket $588.50 for the annual fee. So conceptually speaking, I’d be paying $588.50 for the ability to acquire 50,800 more miles than my best alternative. This is about 1.16 cpm, a fairly decent amount.

My actual outlay would be less than $588.50, however, given that SCB is running a rebate promotion with Uber until 30 Sept 2017 that gives you 20% cashback on your Uber (Eats + regular Uber) spending each month, up to $50. You need to spend at least $600 a month on your SCB card to qualify.

After this promotion ends, the SCB VI card still offers 10% cashback on Uber spending capped at $100 a calendar quarter and $400 a year.

I use Uber a lot for work, so assuming I could max out this promotion, I’d get $50*5 (May-Sept, 20% rebate promotion)+ $100 (Oct-Dec, 10% rebate regular) + $100 (Jan-Mar, 10% regular rebate) and a bit more for April to May before my annual fee is due again. That’s about $450 in value, which sounds so generous I’m starting to think I’ve not done this calculation properly*.  And I’d need to spend upwards of $3,250 on Uber in under a year. Which means I’d need to order dinner for quite a few people in the office…

*The T&C of the 20% Uber rebate promotion doesn’t specify how it interacts with the usual 10% rebate granted to the SCB VI card, but I think it’s safe to assume they don’t stack. Likewise, I’m not sure if the bonus cashback earned on the 20% promotion will count towards the $400 annual cap on the SCB VI. 

But assuming it does, and I max out at $400, that’s an actual outlay of just below $200 which makes the card more palatable.

Benefits of the SCB Visa Infinite Card

I’ve written about the perks of the Standard Chartered Visa Infinite before here, but I believe some additional benefits have been added since then. To recap, you get

  • 1.4 mpd for local spending and 3 mpd for overseas spending, provided you spend a minimum of S$2,000 in a statement cycle. If you don’t, you get 1 mpd for both
  • 6 free lounge visits a year via Priority Pass
  • A free 4 hour yacht charter for 14 people if you spend $75,000 in a year (worryingly, blackout periods and 20% peak period surcharges apply)
  • The Uber credits I mentioned above

But then I asked Jeriel what he thought and he reminded me of what I’ve told many a person- don’t acquire miles speculatively. Thanks to our good friend the HSBC Advance card, I have a sizable amount of unconverted points with no travel plans in the near future. So the more I think about it, the more I can’t really justify paying the annual fee.

What does this mean for your sign up bonus strategy?

However, if you’ve got upcoming big ticket purchases (and meet the minimum income requirement of $150K per annum) you may want to consider this card. Note that if you spent that $12,000 locally instead of overseas, you’d end up with 35,000 (joining gift) + 15,000 (bonus) + 16,800 (base miles @ 1.4 mpd)= 66,800 miles from $12,588.50 of spend.

What other options do you have?

  • If you’re not already a Citibank credit card holder, you can get the Premiermiles card and spend $10,192.60 (including $192.60 annual fee) within 3 months of obtaining the card to get 42,000 miles
  • You could get the AMEX Rewards card, spend $1,535.50 (including $53.50 annual fee) within 3 months to get 13,333 miles
  • You could get the DBS Altitude Visa card, spend $2,000 ($1,000 a month for 2 months) to get 10,000 miles (for new DBS/POSB cardholders. Existing get 7,000)
  • You could get the Krisflyer Ascend card, spend $6,337.50 (including $337.50 annual fee) in the first 3 months after approval and get 20,000 miles (but please, don’t use the card after that)

This means that in theory, someone with an upcoming spend of ~$31,500 (renovation, wedding, paternity suit) could get just over 170,000 miles if they time their sign up bonuses just right (and were willing to pay a total of $1,172.10 in annual fees).

So I’ll probably not go for this sign up offer, but anyone who has upcoming big spending might want to see if they can build a strategy around this.