Credit Cards

UOB (re)launches the UOB Visa Infinite Metal Card

The UOB Visa Infinite is reborn, in metal this time.

UOB’s Visa Infinite card, with an income requirement of $350,000, was always in a bit of an odd position. It was placed in the gap between the $120-150K entry-level prestige credit cards (Citi Prestige, OCBC VOYAGE, SCB VI and HSBC VI) and the $500K behemoths (AMEX Centurion, UOB Reserve VI, DBS Insignia, Citi Ultima). The question, however, was whether there was a need for such a positioning.

Evidently, UOB’s decided the answer was “no”, because it’s relaunched the card as the UOB Visa Infinite Metal Card (yes, “metal” is in the official product name), reducing the income requirement to $150,000 and switching up the features.

uob infinite
Bling inherent from source
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The new metal (UOB goes to great pains to emphasise this repeatedly) Visa Infinite card has an annual fee of $642 a year, well below the old fee of $1,926 but still on the upper end of the $120,000 segment. For comparison’s sake:

Of course, actual value depends on what the card’s annual fee comes with, and you can read my comparison of the rest of the $120K cards here. In the meantime, let’s break down the offering of the new and improved (?) UOB Visa Infinite Metal Card.

25,000 miles upon payment of the annual fee, TUMI gift for new sign ups

Paying the non-waivable annual fee gets you 12,500 UNI$, which can be transferred to 25,000 KrisFlyer or Asia Miles. A conservative valuation of 2 cents per mile puts the value of that at $500. As a reminder, here’s what the rest of the entry-level prestige cards get:

  • Citi Prestige- 25,000 miles ($535)
  • HSBC Visa Infinite- 35,000 miles ($488/$650)
  • SCB Visa Infinite- 35,000 miles ($588.50)
  • OCBC VOYAGE- 15,000 VOYAGE miles ($488) (these are technically not the same thing as miles, although they can be converted to KrisFlyer at a 1:1 ratio)

Instead of the 25,000 miles, new UOB credit cardholders who sign up before 30 September 2018 (defined as those who have not held a UOB credit card within the past 6 months prior to 5 July 2018) will receive a TUMI Gift Set, limited to the first 1,000 customers. 

Existing UOB credit cardholders can also join this promotion, but the mechanic is a bit different. First up, you’ll have to give up the 25,000 miles, and second, you need to charge a minimum of S$12,000 to your card within the first 2 months and be among the top 500 qualified cardmembers in terms of overall spending. I do wonder what happens if you give up the miles with the hope of taking part in this promotion and fail to hit the S$12,000 threshold or aren’t within the top 500 spenders. Can you get the miles as a consolation prize?

1.4 mpd on local spending, 2.0 mpd on overseas spending

The old UOB Visa Infinite earned 1.2 mpd on local spending and 2.0 mpd on overseas spending. The new version has kept the latter, but tweaked the former up to 1.4 mpd. An earn rate of 1.4 mpd is marginally the highest among its competitor set, so no complaints here.

  • Citi Prestige- 1.3 local /2.0 os
  • HSBC Visa Infinite- 1.0 local/2.0 os initially, 1.25 local/2.25 os from second year if previous year spend >$50K
  • SCB Visa Infinite- 1.0 local/os if monthly spend <$2K, 1.4 local/3.0 os if monthly spend >$2K
  • OCBC VOYAGE- 1.2 local/2.3 os for regular version, 1.6 local/2.3 os for Premier and Private banking versions

Buy all the miles you want for 1.9 cents each

UOB has a PRVI Pay facility that lets you buy as many miles as you want (capped only by your credit limit) at 2 cents each. The UOB Visa Infinite has its own version of this which basically works the same, but reduces the price to 1.9 cents. That may sound like a small difference, but it can add up when you’re buying miles in the hundreds of thousands.

Example: if you’re able to find an instantly-confirmable business class saver award to San Francisco, buying miles at 1.9 cents each would price the ticket at $3,344 plus taxes (versus $3,520 if you bought miles via PRVI Pay). It’s a significant discount from revenue rates, of course, if you can find the award space.

4 free lounge visits a year

Image result for dragon pass lounge
Generic Airport Lounge Photo

The UOB Visa Infinite Metal Card offers 4 free lounge visits a year with Dragon Pass, which has partner lounges in more than 600 airports (and train stations) worldwide. These free visits can be shared with a guest, but subsequent visits are chargeable at US$25 each.

This, to me, is a major disappointment especially when you consider what the competition offers:

  • Citi Prestige- unlimited lounge visits for cardholder and a guest (Priority Pass)
  • HSBC Visa Infinite- unlimited lounge visits for cardholder and supp cardholder (Priority Pass)
  • SCB Visa Infinite- 6 lounge visits a year (Priority Pass)
  • OCBC VOYAGE- unlimited lounge visits for cardholder and a guest (Plaza Premium)

4 free visits, for a card with one of the highest annual fees in its segment, just comes off as stingy. That said, the VOYAGE card offered only 2 lounge passes a year when it first launched, before later improving its offering dramatically. Let’s hope UOB does something similar with this, because 4 visits just doesn’t cut it.

Complimentary SingTel ReadyRoam 1GB Plan

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This is an interesting benefit which we haven’t seen other cards offer before. If you hold a postpaid Singtel plan, you can get a complimentary Singtel ReadyRoam plan that provides you with 1GB of data in the following countries: Australia, Austria, Bangladesh, Belgium, Brunei, Cambodia, Canada, China, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Egypt, Fiji, Finland, France, Germany, Ghana, Greece, Hong Kong, Hungary, India, Indonesia, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Kenya, Laos, Macau, Malaysia, Mexico, Mongolia, Myanmar, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nigeria, Norway, Pakistan, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Qatar, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Korea, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, Thailand, Turkey, UAE, UK, USA and Vietnam.

This plan would normally cost $12-35 for 1GB, depending on which country you visited. The T&Cs for this benefit are very unhelpfully worded- it says there is no cap on the number of rebates you can receive in a calendar year, then puts in brackets (i.e. 12 times a year). Huh?

My interpretation of this is as follows: you get a maximum of 12 free ReadyRoam rebates in a calendar year. Each package is good for 1GB. If you exceed 1GB, you’re liable to pay the excess charge ($12-35 per GB). So if you go on an 8 day trip and use 12GB surfing…video intensive websites, you can’t “bring forward” the rest of your 12 rebates. Is that slightly less confusing?

I quite like this benefit, I have to say. It makes sense for someone who travels a lot for work and leisure, although obviously it’s useless to you unless you have a Singtel account. If you’re looking for other ways of saving money when using data overseas, I’ve previously reviewed the different options you have for data roaming.

Private club access

Image result for tower club singapore
Tower Club Singapore

Here’s where I think UOB is really trying to differentiate its cards and the rest of the $120K segment. None of the other cards in that segment provide private club access- that’s generally a benefit reserved for the $500K club.

The UOB Visa Infinite Metal Card comes with access to both the Tower Club and the China Club, the same as its $500,000 UOB Reserve Visa Infinite older brother. When you visit these clubs you enjoy:

• 50% off dim sum at Ba Xian on Saturdays
• Enjoy a complimentary bottle of premium wine/champagne on your birthday
• Complimentary evening valet parking

Private club access is nice to have for a card at this price point, though I’d much prefer unlimited airport lounge access.

Complimentary Gourmet Collection membership

The Gourmet Collection is a dining and lifestyle club of IHG that was launched back in October 2016. It covers the following properties in Singapore: InterContinental Singapore, Crowne Plaza Changi Airport, Hotel Indigo Singapore Katong, HI Singapore Atrium and Orchard City Centre, HIX Singapore Clarke Quay, Katong and Orchard. It also covers selected properties in Malaysia and Batam.

The UOB Visa Infinite Metal Card covers the $388 Tier 1 membership cost for the first year.

[Update: As per Jeff & Josh on the comments, the Gourmet Collection card provided with the UOB Visa Infinite Metal card does not include the vouchers below. Do call UOB to confirm this if you intend to apply]

Tier 1 membership (the website’s version, not necessary the version UOB gives)

  • 25% off the total gross bill (ex-service charge) at all participating bars and restaurants
  • 15% off best flexible rate on all room types
  • 2 hours of free parking when dining at any participating restaurant (ex-Crowne Plaza Changi and HI Singapore Atrium)
  • 3 x $40nett Gourmet Collection Certificates for each one of the participating hotels excluding Holiday Inn Express® hotels.
  • 2 x $40nett Gourmet Collection Certificates, valid across all participating IHG Singapore and Batam properties excluding Holiday Inn Express® hotels.
  • 1 Group Dining Certificate per hotel, offering 50% off the total food bill, for up to ten persons. Not valid at Holiday Inn Express® hotels. Cannot be used with Gourmet Collection card discount.
  • 1 Complimentary Cake per hotel, valid at any restaurant. Valid with a minimum of two diners ordering of two main courses or buffets where applicable. Advance order of 2 days is required. Not valid at Holiday Inn Express® hotels.
  • 1 Complimentary Bottle of House Wine per hotel, for a minimum of two diners ordering of two main courses or buffets where applicable. Not valid at Holiday Inn Express®hotels.
  • 1 “Stay One Night, Receive One Night” Room Certificate including breakfast for two guests, subject to availability. Black-out dates apply. Valid on Friday, Saturday or Sunday night only. Valid at any participating IHG® Singapore and Batam hotels.

If you spend at least S$1,000 at participating hotels, the subsequent year’s membership fee will be waived. If you don’t hit that threshold, you can pay a discounted rate of $68 to renew your membership.

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This seems like a great benefit to have.

Grand Hyatt dining discounts

UOB’s been running this for a while on their old Visa Infinite, and it’s good to see this privilege carries over to the new version. You can get up to 50% off weekday lunch bills at Pete’s Place, Oasis and StraitsKitchen.

Celebrity Chef restaurants and RWS dining discount

This is again a benefit you expect to see more on $500K credit cards, so it’s nice to see this popping up on the new Visa Infinite too. Booking selected top-tier restaurants through the UOB Visa Infinite concierge gives you some additional benefits like a complimentary glass of wine. The real challenge, for me, is whether they can get you a booked out venue on short notice- but the T&C seem to suggest you need to give them at least 7 days notice.

The RWS dining discount requires a minimum spend of $200, but hey at least you get free valet parking. Both these benefits are also available to holders of the Reserve Visa Infinite.

1 for 1 lunches and set dinners with UOB Gourmet Stories

This reminds me of the 1-for-1 $100 gourmet promotion that Citi Prestige used to offer its members last year. UOB has its own version called Gourmet Stories, and I do fancy an atas 1 for 1 set lunch at $50++. Some examples of restaurants which have hosted UOB Gourmet Stories include:

  • Xi Yan Private Dining
  • Salted & Hung
  • Lewin Terrace
  • Fleur De Sel
  • Bam!
  • SEAR
  • Wooloomooloo Steakhouse
  • Horse’s Mouth
  • Don & Tori
  • Sinfonia Ristorante
  • Burlamacco

Other benefits

The website lists a few other benefits like the Visa Luxury Hotel collection and Hertz/Avis discounts, but in reality these are benefits available to anyone who holds a Visa Signature card or higher. There are also some benefits provided by the UOB Medical Concierge and the UOB Visa Infinite Assistance Services, which you can read about here if you’re interested.

What’s missing?

The conditions needed to qualify for the UOB Visa Infinite Metal Card’s airport transfer are extremely restrictive. You need to spend a minimum of S$5,000 on packages with the UOB Travel Concierge to get a one-way car transfer. In contrast, the Citi Prestige only requires S$1.5K in quarterly overseas spending to unlock four limo trips to or from the airport. Other $120K cards also allow any sort of spending to count towards limo qualification.

Conclusion

In my assessment, the UOB Visa Infinite has a solid gourmet offering (perhaps even stronger than its $3,852 annual fee Reserve Visa Infinite, thanks to the inclusion of the Gourmet Collection), but a disappointing travel proposition.

4 free lounge passes and a hyper restrictive airport limo transfer policy mean this isn’t the right card for jetsetters. Yes, you can point to the complimentary ReadyRoam package as something that would make travelers happy, but that in my mind doesn’t offset the weak lounge and airport transfer offerings (plus, you need to be a Singtel subscriber to benefit from that).

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My $120K card slot is already occupied by the Citi Prestige, so I doubt I’ll shell out for this one. However, if you like the gourmet privileges and private club access, this might be something worth considering.

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antajaya
Member
antajaya

Hi Aaron, great summary as always. However for the Singtel ReadyRoam, I believe you also have to charge your postpaid recurring bill to the card to be eligible.

AAA
Guest
AAA

The old rate was actually 1.2… so 1.4 is an improvement…

AAA
Guest
AAA

The Big Brother is 1.6… can still find the 1.2 rate for the old visa infinite with a quick Google search ?

WYC
Guest
WYC

It says the card earns 1.4 mpd, is it still stick to old UOB $5 rounding policy?

wolfain
Member
wolfain

thats great news.. i guess? Im currently using the UOB visa infinite but its kind of a ‘white elephant’ credit card, but if it earns 1.4mpd now, i’m happy to replace my PRVI.

Ken
Guest
Ken

Hey Aaron.. Is this card also for the Extinguished..? ?

Thanks for another great write-up/ heads-up! ?

KJF
Guest
KJF

Do I get further miles at 1.4mpd if I were to purchase miles from UOB ?

ginkoka
Member
ginkoka

Amex is also launching the metal version of its Plat charge card this month.

Imran
Guest

Really? I’m on the plastic one- how does one get the metal upgrade?

KL
Guest
KL

I’m on the plastic one too and received a mailer with an offer to upgrade to the metal one.

Nicholas
Guest
Nicholas

By coincidence (or not), AmEx is converting their Platinum charge card to metal by the end of this month. This new UOB VI does seems promising with some privileges not offered by other existing VI credit cards on a similar tier. Thanks for the update!

Nicholas
Guest
Nicholas

Hi Aaron, I was interested in this card, but on scrutiny of the T&C, I like to share some things I discovered: (1) While the Gourmet Collection is stated as being worth $388, it doesn’t explicitly say it provides Tier 1 benefits. There’s vouchers for 2 complimentary glasses of house pour, but what’s noticably missing are the other vouchers you would get as a Tier 1 member. (2) RWS dining benefits are valid only until 30 Sep. Free parking valet is actually an existing perk open to all as long as you spend $200, without the need for this card.… Read more »

Ken
Guest
Ken

You are right that “the devil is in the details”.. thanks for sharing your insights.. However, with the points you mentioned, and of course this is just my opinion and everyone else is entities to his/her own, and although as Aaron has pointed out, that his go-to card will still be his Citi Prestige MasterCard, which I also agree as it would be mine too still, this new UOB card (and btw, as a customer service of the bank goes, I personally haven’t had good experiences with them) is “ok”… just the sign-up bonus miles alone (for existing UOB Card… Read more »

Nicholas
Guest
Nicholas

I share most of your thoughts and experiences too. I concur if one were to hold just one 120-150k card, the Citi Prestige would be the most well-rounded. Furthermore, what stands in their favour is they value existing cardholders with their renewal bonus and occasional promotions, as opposed to some other VIs which offer good value for new sign-ups but not renewal. My experience with UOB’s customer service is probably not far away from yours, which has put me on my toes whenever I look at their new promotions. I also do think this new card has its value propositions,… Read more »

Ken
Guest
Ken

Thanks, Nicholas, no Tumi for me.. existing UOB Card holder.. have to choose between the luggage and the miles, and I’m up to my eyeballs w luggage at home, even have 2 ‘free gifts’ still unopened.. ha! I’ve forgotten that Voyage gets feee access to Tower.. sigh.. too many things to keep track off.. but I am going to drop the card.. the annual-fee:miles to me not worth, as is the 1.6 for local dining, to me, for that 0.2 more, actually less than cos I’ve got Citi relationship, taking up card space in wallet doesn’t fly w me.. at… Read more »

Nicholas
Guest
Nicholas

Tower access comes from AmEx rather than Voyage. But I was able to get annual fee waiver for my Voyage card (else the annual fee won’t be worth it). I used to hold the HSBC VI and utilize their airport transfers, but when it came to renewal sadly they won’t waive the annual fee or give any miles with that. If I’m not wrong there is a 6-12 month wait before one can sign up again and get the free miles.

Ken
Guest
Ken

Ahh.. Althought both Tower and China Clubs have been around for some years, and I’ve had opportunities to visit both, for different events/dinners, I simply (for one reason or other) never got down to doing so..

So now here’s my excuse..freshly-minted card has showed up in my mailbox a coupla days ago and is now in my wallet.. Must say, it is a pretty looking card.. visually nicer looking than the OCBC VOVAGE card.. my first charge/use will likely be at Ba Xian, 50% off Sat dim sum.. ?

JW
Guest
JW

What sucked then still sucks now. I still stand by that the best UOB cards are those discontinued.

Nicholas
Guest
Nicholas

“I still stand by that the best UOB cards are those discontinued.”
Agreed.

Ken
Guest
Ken

What’s going to really suck is life after July, when I have to go thru life without my 8mpd on Citi Apply Pay… ??

SGGOODLIFE
Guest

Thanks for the write up Aaron! Just yesterday I was researching on the various premier banking and their corresponding cards. This actually looks like a decent card for someone like me who don’t get to travel much due to my schedule. Whether I can eventually qualify for this card is another story though…

bluepanda
Guest
bluepanda

So the Uni$ will pool, and will expire too?

tim
Guest
tim

this card earn UNI$ or miles?

Justin g
Guest
Justin g

How Does the PRVI PAY facility work? Is the installment plan 3 months or 12 months

CK
Guest
CK

If I am existing “plastic” UOB VI cardholder, how do I convert to this new “metal” card ? Will auto receive it in my mail ? Or need to call up its hotline to ask for it ?

Taylor
Guest
Taylor

I called. CSO said no you will not get the metal card, you need to pay the annual fee.

What a great way to offend existing customers which signed up when the requirement were higher.

How much does it cost to make that card? $20~25SGD? Great way to disappoint existing card holders

Donald
Guest
Donald

If I read the t&c correctly new UOB customers won’t get the miles, only the Tumi gift. Please correct me if I’m wrong.
‘For all new principal applicants who do not hold any active or existing credit cards issued by UOB in
Singapore, they will not receive the UNI$12,500 in their first Card membership year but will qualify to receive the
TUMI Gift Set as detailed under Paragraph 4 below’

Nicholas
Guest
Nicholas

You are shockingly right. Given you may not even qualify for the Tumi gift set if you are not the first 1000 customers, it’s hard to justify how this card is worth it for new UOB credit card customers. $642 for a chance to play Russian Roulette? I’ll give it a miss.

Thanks for pointing this out. This exemplifies the current state of UOB’s credit card promotions. Sigh…

Taylor
Guest
Taylor

If I have the “old” plastic version, do I get moved up to the new “metal” version?

Taylor
Guest
Taylor

I called and ask -No.

What a great way of treating your existing customers.

Taylor
Guest
Taylor

I think its best to hold on to the plastic card so your friends who are into credit cards know you actually earn 350+ rather than 150+ . hahahahaha

Luke
Guest
Luke

Hi, I am also holding on to the old plastic card. No incentive to change. Just received a letter today stating that they will discountinue China club and tower club after 31st March. What has this card come to be.

Happy Camper
Guest
Happy Camper

Hahaha.. Just so happened, that I called in to cancel my card two days ago…

Credit where credit due (pun intended), it IS a pretty-looking card design..

trackback

[…] Even if you convert 20,000 SPG points and get a 5,000 mile bonus (i.e. 25,000 miles total), you’re looking at paying 1.82 US cents per KrisFlyer mile. 1.82 US cents is 2.47 SG cents. There’s no reason you should be paying this much for miles, especially when you can buy as many miles as you want for 2 cents each via UOB PRVI Pay (and potentially at 1.9 cents each if you can afford the UOB Visa Infinite Metal Card) […]

Nik
Guest
Nik

I have called up and checked further. The current plastic VI I am holding is different from the metal VI. i.e. BOTH are treated as 2 DIFFERENT cards. Customer applying for the plastic VI is still subject to the requirements of 350k eligibility and the metal VI is 150k eligibility. i.e. anyone holding the plastic VI will still pay the $1926 annual fee while the metal VI will pay $642. Key differences are the plastic VI annual fee is waivable subject to approval and of course you won’t get the renewal miles equivalent to 60,000 but the plastic VI is… Read more »

Ken
Guest
Ken

Thanks for sharing, Nik.. shed quite a bit of light indeed.. You’re right.. compared to Citi Prestige MC, the UOB Metal VI card can’t touch it so far as benefits and perks are concerned.. even on the mpd-earning-front too.. But I did apply for (and got) it… and here’s why.. Using my Sungei Rd purchased calculator (yes, it’s warpped and doesn’t work very well) this is how I justified the acquisition.. $388 was a frivolous buy of the Gourmet Card which I probably won’t ever use.. and then I bought 25,000 Miles for an incredibly cheap price of 1 cent… Read more »

Jeff
Guest
Jeff

Did you get the full Tier 1 package of the Gourmet card including all vouchers?

Ken
Guest
Ken

Hi Jeff.. Not yet..

“..The principal Cardmember will receive his/her GC Membership within two (2) months from the issuance of the Card. .”

I’ll let you know once I get the pack…

Josh
Guest
Josh

I’ve just received my Gourmet memberships card. you DO NOT get the full tier 1 package. only 25% discount on food, 15% discount on room rates, free parking and gift voucher for 2 free wine when u purchase 2 meals. MEH TO THE MAXX

Alan
Guest
Alan

Hi Ken
Was wondering is it strictly 150k annual income requirements?
Thanks

Ken
Guest
Ken

Sorry, Alan, under the circumstances, I couldn’t tell you..

Nik
Guest
Nik

Lol. I recalled I saw your Sungei Road calculator in another article. Anyway I might just apply for one to get the miles and probably test out the GC. Can let my baby try to bend the metal version to test the quality since he always bend the plastic version.

Ken
Guest
Ken

Hahaha.. Isn’t my Sungei-Rd-Edt calculator awesome? Isn’t 1 cpm incredible? Haha…

Your baby can have my VOYAGE card to play with.. I’ve decide (using a non Sungei Rd Edt calculator) that the card doesn’t give me any value anymore.

Btw, just so you know.. and no, it doesn’t matter to me.. the metal material used for the UOB MVI isn’t the same used for UOB Reserve, VOYAGE and/or Centurion.. in that the UOB MVI doesn’t ‘clank’ like metal.. ‘clanks’ kinda like plastic..

trackback

[…] UOB Visa Infinite Metal Card […]

Ken
Guest
Ken

I’ve just opened envelope from “Gourmet Collection” and I can’t help but to ROTFL… If you go to http://www.gourmetcollectionsea.com/index.html , you’ll find either Tier 1 or Tier 2 membership options.. well.. my pack came with a special Tier 0.15 Membership… The only voucher in pack, was a “Two Complimentray Glasses of Wine” valid at participating outlets, with of course a whole bunch of Ts & Cs… Out of the entire list of Benefits listed out here on Tier 1 benefits http://www.gourmetcollectionsea.com/benefits-tier1.html I got the 2 glasses voucher, 15% off Best Rate and 25% off Gross Dining bill at participating outlets…… Read more »