Well well well. I wrote an article a while back when the DBS Altitude cut its income requirement to $30K about how it was nice to see that good miles earning cards were gradually coming within reach of more people.
Another great general spending card has just dropped its income requirement- the UOB PRVI Miles has cut its annual income threshold from $80K to $50K on both the AMEX and Mastercard versions.
Curiously enough, the Visa version still has an $80K income requirement. Perhaps UOB just hasn’t updated the site, because I can’t think of any reason why the income requirement should be different across card issuers. It’s not even like the Visa version is a Visa Infinite or even Signature, it’s just a basic Visa. (I know the Citibank Premiermiles AMEX and Visa have different income requirements at $80K/$50K, but the AMEX has a better earn rate of 1.3 mpd vs 1.2 mpd plus 15K renewal miles vs 10K)
Based on stories I’d been hearing recently, UOB had already been loosening the qualification criteria for the PRVI. Still, it’s good to see that this is now an official policy and hopefully those who were left out in the cold before can now get one of the better general spending cards on the market.
There’s a generally predictable trend that happens with all newly-launched premium cards. They’ll start with a high income requirement to create a sense of exclusivity, but as time goes by those requirements drop. For example, the DBS Altitude was originally an $80K card when it came out, before dropping to $50K and eventually its current $30K threshold now.
Recap of the UOB PRVI Miles Card
If you’ve traditionally ignored this card because it was out of your reach, here’s a quick refresher of some of its key features
- Local spending earns 1.4 mpd
1.4 mpd is the best general spending rate you can get for local currency spend*, what with the ANZ Travel card’s imminent demise. Most other miles earning cards will earn in the 1.2-1.3 mpd range.
Because of the way UOB calculates points, you need to spend a minimum of $5 to earn any points. I’ve detailed this more in an article about the rounding policies of different banks.
*technically the UOB Visa Infinite/ Privilege Reserve gives 1.6 mpd on local spend but has a prohibitively high income requirement
- Overseas spending earns 2.4 mpd
The 2.4 mpd overseas earn rate is also the strongest in the market (unless you can get your hands on a UOB Visa Signature which offers 4 mpd for spending up to $2K each statement period with a minimum $1K spend) for a general spending card. The benchmark for other cards is around 2.0 mpd.
However, be aware that the PRVI charges higher foreign currency transaction fees than other cards which might explain the more generous overseas earning rate
- Expedia, Agoda, UOB Travel bookings earn 6 mpd
UOB PRVI advertises 6 mpd when booking major airlines and hotels through Expedia, Agoda or UOB Travel. Unfortunately, there’s a glaring omission in the form of Singapore Airlines (it’s strange that SilkAir would qualify for 6 mpd and SQ doesn’t)
- Spending on Kaligo earns 10 mpd
Kaligo is a milesback OTA site that offers you bonus airline miles when you book hotel stays with them. Their rates can sometimes be more than other OTAs so I’d advise you to shop around and see whether you’re paying a premium to book via Kaligo, and if so whether the 10 mpd makes it worth it.
UOB PRVI sign up bonus
UOB is running a sign up bonus on its PRVI Miles card from now till 30 Sept 2017.
- If you’re a new UOB PRVI Miles cardholder and haven’t owned any UOB card before, you can get 12,000 miles when you spend $4,000 within 60 days.
- If you’re a new UOB PRVI Miles cardholder and have owned a UOB card before, you get 5,000 miles with $4,000 spend within 60 days.
I’m not a big fan of the way UOB does its sign up bonuses, because you need to register via SMS and only the first 1,200 people to hit the spending threshold will qualify. UOB splits the promotion into 2 periods
There’s no way of knowing ex-ante whether the promotion has been exhausted, so if you want to be absolutely sure I’d try and time my card approval date as close to after the 16th of August as possible (careful not to pull the trigger too early and fall into the previous period…) and spend the $4,000 asap.
But it’s really frustrating not knowing beforehand whether or not the promotion still exists, and this is a major gripe I have with UOB’s sign up bonuses. Put it another way, I wouldn’t sign up for the card expecting to get the bonus. If I do, it’s a, er, bonus.
An interesting dynamic exists between the DBS Altitude and the UOB PRVI. The Altitude has better sign up bonuses (and ongoing promotions) but the PRVI has a better day to day miles earning rate. I own both cards and manage my spending between the two.
I’m of the opinion that credit card income requirements beyond $30K (MAS mandated minimum) are completely arbitrary and more often than not are to create a false sense of exclusivity. Let’s hope we see more income requirement reductions in the near future so more people can access great miles cards.