Tag Archives: visa

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]

Third night free with the Visa Signature Hotel Collection

Remember that awesome (short-lived) one-for-one deal that was running last year? If you’d missed it, here’s your chance to get acquainted with its lesser cousin, which offers a potential 33% discount in place of last year’s 50%.

In this new promotion, you’ll get the third night free at Conrad, Waldorf Astoria and Curio hotels if you book by 30 Sep 2017 and stay before 31 Oct 2017. However, this promotion targets weekends and is valid only for stays beginning on Thursday, Friday or Saturday.

If you’re staying for longer, there’s nothing stopping you from booking three nights on the Visa Signature platform and adding separate consecutive bookings elsewhere (e.g. if you can find a cheaper rate, or with a points redemption). It’s also possible to chain this promo if you have multiple guests in the room, e.g. booking a total of 6n under two different guests’ accounts/cards/names – Hilton points earned will be deposited into separate accounts if so, though it’s now possible to transfer Hilton points for free between accounts anyway. Hotels are usually able to combine the bookings and make it a seamless experience for you; you can also email the property ahead to request for this, though in my experience it’s not been necessary to do so.

Booking process

To make use of this deal, you’ll need to make use of the Visa Signature Luxury Hotels booking platform that Aaron’s previously written about.  You get extra benefits such as…

  • Automatic room upgrade when available
  • Complimentary in-room wifi
  • Complimentary continental breakfast daily
  • USD$25 F&B credit
  • 3PM check-out when available
  • “VIP” guest status

Most of these are stuff you’ll already enjoy if you are a Hilton Gold/Diamond member, though the extra US$25 credit is still an added bonus.

I wasn’t able to make use my Visa Infinite card on the system last year for some reason, but local Visa Signature cards seem to work (I used a DBS Altitude Visa).

The reservation email lists the total price of the booking, but upon check out they will discount the third night from your final bill. Based on what I experienced with the previous promo, that discounted sum is charged to Visa and you still get points accrued from the complimentary night, which is especially great if you’re staying at an expensive property like Conrad Koh Samui.

Silkair promo synergy

The current 50% redemption promo for Silkair flights is valid for travel between 1 July and 31 October 2017 (book by 11 July), so there’s a nice possible overlap if you’re able to align reservations for:

  • Bali
  • Koh Samui
  • Xiamen
  • Maldives

Conrad property reviews

There are many eligible properties on the list, but for your reference here’re some that we’ve visited:

Low risk – book first?

The bookings are generally cancellable until the day before the stay , and charges are only made upon check out, so if you’re worried that they might pull the promotion early again this year, there’s nothing stopping you from making multiple reservations first and cancelling those you won’t be utilising. Do read specific terms for your targeted specific before pulling the trigger, though.

Check out the full details of the promotion here!

Putting this 1.2/1.4 mpd and rounding issue to bed

A common objection I get when I recommend UOB cards for miles earning is that these banks round your transaction down to the nearest $5, so a $9.99 transaction earns the same amount of miles as a $5 transaction ($5 @ 1.4 mpd with the UOB PRVI Miles).

Other banks, like Citibank/HSBC, award miles to the nearest $1, so that same $9.99 transaction would earn you 10.8 miles ($9 @ 1.2 mpd.

But the key question you need to ask yourself is this- what is my average/median transaction size? This determines whether or not the enhanced miles earning of a UOB PRVI Miles card (1.4 mpd) can make up for the rounding down effect.

How big a problem is rounding?

Here’s a simple table showing how you end up with transactions ranging from $4.99 to $99.99, comparing a hypothetical 1.2 mpd arrangement (Citibank Premiermiles Visa) with a 1.4 mpd arrangement (UOB PRVI Miles)

(EDIT: 13 July- some of these calculations are technically wrong because I haven’t taken into account UOB’s rounding down of partial UNI$ amounts. The conclusions in this article don’t change, but you can refer to this if you want the technically correct calculations)

Red= you lose out with a the 1.4 mpd, rounding down card. Calculations for 1.4 mpd based on transactions rounded down to the nearest $5, calculations for 1.2 mpd based on transactions rounded down to the nearest $1

What you can see is that once your transaction goes above ~$30, the incremental 0.2 miles you earn with UOB offsets the rounding down effect. The gap only grows bigger the larger the transaction is.

Or fine, let’s take the Citibank Premiermiles AMEX (1.3 mpd) instead and see what happens.

Red= you lose out with a the 1.4 mpd, rounding down card. Calculations for 1.4 mpd based on transactions rounded down to the nearest $5, calculations for 1.2 mpd based on transactions rounded down to the nearest $1

Now, as expected, the “sweet spot” moves upwards in that transactions of ~$55 or above favor the UOB card.

My median transaction size is just under $30, but my average is $270 (it’s skewed because of large business expenses). So although 50% of my transactions are under $30 (and I’m losing out on some miles due to rounding there), I’m still winning overall by using a card like the PRVI because the marginal 0.2 mpd is being earned on some significantly large transactions. 

What you need to realise is that even if you are using the UOB PRVI and have, say, 30 transactions where you’re losing out on 2-3 miles each time, all it takes is a large single transaction of ~$300-450 to put you in the same position as if you were using a 1.2 mpd, no rounding card. And that’s what most people’s transactions will look like, right? You’ll have maybe 30 small transactions in a period and the occasional big ticket purchase.

I mean, sure, if you really wanted to there’s nothing stopping you from swapping between your Citibank Premiermiles and UOB PRVI, depending on the transaction size. But that’s a step too far, even for me.

Other considerations

Moreover, the mpd rate is no doubt important but there are other things you need to consider as well. If you’re comparing the DBS Altitude cards (1.2 mpd, rounding down to nearest $5- for more details on rounding please see the comments where johnnyboy has some excellent analysis. It’s not exactly as simple as I’m making it sound) to Citibank Premiermiles (1.2 mpd, rounding down to nearest $1) then the Premiermiles card seems to be better, but better here is in the context of miles earning potential.

Think about pooling (Citibank has two different currencies (ThankYou points and Premiermiles) that you can’t pool, which forces you to pay two conversion fees), think about transfer partners (Citibank has so many more transfer partners than DBS), think about card and mile earning promotions (like the one currently happening with the DBS Altitude Visa), think about expiry of miles, and the picture becomes a bit different.

So I’d encourage you to do a serious analysis of your own spending patterns in deciding whether the rounding issue will be a hindrance to you.