UOB has launched a new payment facility called PRVI Pay that lets you use your PRVI Miles card to make any sort of payment where credit cards are not accepted. You earn 1 mile per S$1 spent with a processing fee of 2%, i.e. 2 cpm.
When someone first told me about it, I felt a bit meh. I mean, 2 cents per mile was the ceiling price I’d pay to buy miles, and I’m all for more options but this didn’t seem like a price at which I had to jump on.
Then I thought about it a bit more and changed my mind. I don’t think it’s a must grab deal still, but it’s certainly got its uses.
Let’s recap the options that exist right now for buying miles in Singapore
Options for buying miles in Singapore
I went to research the different options that are available for buying miles, the effective cost per mile, the limit you can buy each year and the implied income you need to take advantage of each option. This really deserves a separate article which I’ll get to in a bit.
For now, look at how the PRVI Pay facility stacks up against other options.
|Method||Type||Implied Income Req||Cents Per Mile||Annual Limit|
|SCB VI Tax Payment- >$2K p.m||Payment Facility||150000||1.14||Tax bill|
|HSBC VI IRAS Payment- >$50K p.a (1)||Payment Facility||120000||1.2||Tax bill|
|HSBC Premier MC IRAS Payment (2)||Payment Facility||30000||1.25||Tax bill|
|HSBC VI- Premier Customer||Welcome Gift||120000||1.39||35000|
|HSBC VI IRAS Payment- <$50K p.a||Payment Facility||120000||1.5||Tax bill|
|SCB VI Tax Payment- <$2K p.m||Payment Facility||150000||1.6||Tax bill|
|SCB VI||Welcome Gift||150000||1.68||35000|
|HSBC Visa Plat/Revo Tax Payment||Payment Facility||30000||1.75||Tax bill|
|Citibank PM AMEX||Annual Fee||80000||1.78||15000|
|iPayMy/Cardup with UOB PRVI||Payment Facility||50000||1.81||Unlimited|
|HSBC VI- Regular Customer||Welcome Gift||120000||1.86||35000|
|UOB Reserve VI "Pay Anything"||Payment Facility||Invitation||1.9||Unlimited|
|Citibank PM Visa||Annual Fee||50000||1.93||10000|
|DBS Altitude||Annual Fee||30000||1.93||10000|
|OCBC Voyage- Option 3||Annual Fee||120000||2||500000|
|UOB PRVI Pay||Payment Facility||50000||2||Unlimited|
|iPayMy/Cardup with DBS Altitude||Payment Facility||30000||2.11||Unlimited|
|OCBC Voyage- Option 2||Annual Fee||120000||2.14||150000|
|Citibank Prestige||Annual Fee||120000||2.14||25000|
|DBS Altitude- Tax Payment||Payment Facility||30000||2.5||Tax bill|
|OCBC Voyage- Option 1 (3)||Annual Fee||120000||3.25||15000|
|Buy from Singapore Airlines (4)||Stupid||0||5.51||Unlimited|
(1) The HSBC website says that $1=0.4 miles for tax payment facility, but I have received reports that VI holders have received 1/1.25 mpd as per their relationship bonus
(2) The income requirement to get a HSBC Premier MC is $30,000, but you need $200K in deposits to open a HSBC Premier account
(3) OCBC Voyage Option 1 involves paying $488 to get 15,000 Voyage miles. These can be converted to Krisflyer miles at a 1:1 ratio but are technically more valuable than Krisflyer miles as they can also be used to pay for revenue fares at a fixed value per mile.
(4) SQ charges US$40 per 1,000 miles purchased. Price shown here is reflective of current exchange rates. The only way I could justify paying this is if I needed the miles right this minute, as SQ will credit them instantly
This table shows you that there are indeed many ways of buying miles for less than 2 cents each. However, the amount you can buy is limited. You could pay the annual fees on certain credit cards, but the amount of miles you can buy is limited because you can only pay the annual fee once per year. You could use your credit card to pay your tax bill, but the amount you can buy is capped by your actual tax bill.
When it comes to buying an unlimited quantity, only a handful of options exist. The two cheapest (and most accessible) ones are UOB PRVI Pay and iPayMy/Cardup.
But you could argue that iPayMy and Cardup aren’t truly “unlimited” in the sense that there needs to be some bona fide business transaction before you can use them. You need a tax bill, or a condo management fee, or a tuition payment etc.
When you use UOB PRVI Pay, all you need to do is fill on the form where you want your funds credited. UOB doesn’t ask you what the money is for. UOB doesn’t care.
UOB doesn’t make the payment on your behalf to anyone- the mechanism through which this works is they credit a cash amount to your designated bank account (it could be your own), then bill your card for the amount + admin fee. Obviously you need to be within your credit limit, but this is still easier than going through iPayMy/Cardup.
It’s interesting if you think about why UOB decided to start offering this facility- they’re the only miles card on the market that does not offer renewal miles when paying the annual fee, so perhaps this was their way of throwing people a bone. I also wonder if this is the reason why UOB stopped offering 10X on Cardup payments recently.
Nothing in the T&C raises any eyebrows for me, but do note that the PRVI Pay facility will only be available until 31 Dec 2017. Presumably UOB is testing this on a trial basis and may extend it based on response. Also note that if you have a UOB PRVI Amex, this amount does not count towards your $50,000 annual spend to earn 20,000 bonus miles.
The folks on HWZ aren’t too impressed, but this is something I could see going for if I needed to load up on miles and had exhausted other, cheaper options, or if my income didn’t let me access the payment facilities of higher tier cards.