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UOB keeping PRVI Pay fee at 2% until end of 2019

UOB is keeping the cost of PRVI Pay at 2 cents per mile until the end of 2019, after supposedly hiking the fee in March this year.

Since July 2017, UOB has been offering PRVI Miles cardholders a service called PRVI Pay. This “no questions asked” payment facility allows cardholders to generate as many miles as they want for a fee, subject only to their credit limit.

In mid-March 2019, UOB hiked the PRVI Pay fee by 5% from 2 to 2.1 cents per mile (cpm). But since then, they’ve sent some mixed messages about the fee hike:

And now, UOB has made the decision to extend the 2 cpm rate until 31 December 2019, which means that for the majority of this year, we haven’t actually had to pay 2.1 cents at all (apologies to anyone who actually did!)

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How does PRVI Pay work?

A quick refresher for thsoe who need it:

Cardholders will earn UNI$2.5 for every S$5 they charge to PRVI Pay, equivalent to 1 mile per S$1 charged. A fee of 2% applies, and hence your cost per mile is 2 cents each. Remember that the UNI$ you earn can be converted into either KrisFlyer or Asia Miles, so you have options to choose from.

Even though the number of miles you can buy is capped at your credit limit, there’s nothing stopping you from pre-paying your card account through ibanking, effectively “topping up” your credit limit.

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How does this compare to other ways of buying miles?

The cost of buying miles in Singapore has fallen significantly over the past 12 months, so much so that I’ve revised my valuation of a KrisFlyer mile down from 2 cents to 1.8 cents each.

The table below summarizes your options for buying miles. Do keep in mind that not every method will be available to you, as some have income restrictions (e.g the SCB Visa Infinite’s tax payment facility requires a $150K p.a. SCB Visa Infinite card), and others require having particular types of payments (e.g. you can’t use RentHero unless you have a rental bill to pay).

MethodIncome RequiredCPMAnnual Miles Limit
SCB Visa Infinite Tax Payment (Spend >$2K p.m)$150K1.14Tax bill
UOB Reserve/DBS Insignia with RentHeroInvitation1.14Rental amount
HSBC Visa Infinite Tax Payment (Spend >$50K p.a in prev year)$120K1.2Tax bill
BOC Elite Miles World Mastercard with RentHero$30K1.21Rental amount
HSBC Premier MC Tax PaymentAUM: $200K1.25Tax bill
Citi PayAll with Citi UltimaInvitation1.25Bill amount
UOB PRVI Miles/SCB Visa Infinite (>$2K p.m)/UOB Visa Infinite Metal with RentHeroUOB PRVI Miles: $30K
SCB Visa Infinite/ UOB Reserve: $150K
1.30Bill amount
HSBC Visa Infinite Welcome Gift- Premier customer$120K + AUM $200K1.3935K
SC EasyBill with SCB Visa Infinite (Spend >$2K p.m)$150K1.43Bill amount
HSBC Visa Infinite Tax Payment (Spend <$50K p.a in prev year)$120K1.5Tax bill
DBS Altitude with RentHero$30K1.51Rental amount
Citi PayAll with Citi Prestige/Citi PremierMiles AMEXCiti Prestige: $120K
Citi PremierMiles AMEX: $80K
1.54Bill amount
SCB Visa Infinite Tax Payment (Spend <$2K p.m)$150K1.6Tax bill
Citi PayAll with Citi PremierMiles Visa$30K1.67Bill amount
SCB Visa Infinite Welcome Gift$150K1.6835K
CardUp with BOC Elite Miles World Mastercard$30K1.69Bill amount
HSBC Visa Plat/Revolution Tax Payment$30K1.75Tax bill
Citibank PremierMiles AMEX Annual Fee$80K1.7815K
Cardup with UOB PRVI Miles$30K1.81Bill amount
HSBC Visa Infinite Welcome Gift- Regular Customer$120K1.8635K
OCBC VOYAGE Tax Payment$120K1.9Tax bill
UOB Reserve VI Payment FacilityInvitation1.9Unlimited
Citibank PremierMiles Visa, DBS Altitude, KrisFlyer UOB Card, OCBC 90N Annual Fee$30K1.9310K
OCBC VOYAGE Payment Facility$120K1.9 or 1.95Unlimited
UOB VI Metal Payment Facility$150K2.0Unlimited
UOB PRVI Pay Facility$30K2.0 (until 31 Dec 19)Unlimited
SC EasyBill with SCB Visa Infinite (Spend <$2K p.m)$150K2.0Bill amount
Cardup with DBS Altitude/Citibank PM Visa$30K2.11Bill amount
OCBC VOYAGE Annual Fee- Option 2$120K2.14150K
Citi Prestige Annual Fee$120K2.1425K
DBS Altitude Tax Payment$30K2.5Tax bill
OCBC VOYAGE Annual Fee- Option 1$120K3.2515K

UOB PRVI Pay’s main advantage is that it’s a “no questions asked” facility- you don’t need an IRAS NOA, a tenancy agreement or anything of the sort to use it. So long as you have the credit limit, you can buy as many miles as you want.

However, there are cheaper “no questions asked” facilities out there, albeit with higher income requirements. OCBC VOYAGE cardholders (min income: $120K) can buy as many miles as they want for 1.9 or 1.95 cents each. UOB Reserve Visa Infinite cardholders (invitation only) can buy as many miles as they want for 1.9 cents each.

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In that sense, UOB PRVI Pay (min income: $30K) provides the most accessible “no questions asked” facility on the market, but if you do indeed have a rental or tax bill to pay, you’re going to want to consider the following cheaper options instead:

RentTax
  • RentHero- 1.85% fee, buy miles from 1.14 cents
  • CardUp- 1.9% fee with code SAVERENT19, buy miles from 1.17 cents (or get $20 off your first payment with code MILELION)
  • Citi PayAll- 2% fee, buy miles from 1.25 cents
  • SC EasyBill- 2% fee, buy miles from 1.43 cents
  • SCB Visa Infinite- 1.6% fee, buy miles from  1.14 cents
  • HSBC Visa Infinite- 1.5% fee, buy miles from 1.2 cents
  • Citi PayAll- 2% fee, buy miles from 1.25 cents
  • SC EasyBill- 2% fee, buy miles from 1.43 cents
General note: Do not make the mistake of comparing admin fee % to determine which is the lowest cost option! For example, Citi PayAll has a fee of 2%, but when paired with the Citi Prestige card (1.3 mpd) can generate miles at 1.54 cents each. UOB PRVI Pay has a fee of 2%, but earns 1 mpd with the UOB PRVI Miles card for 2 cents each. Same fee, different cost. Always refer to the table above for the relevant workings

Conclusion

At 2 cents per mile, PRVI Pay isn’t the deal of a century. However, if you’re just short of UOB’s transfer block of UNI$5,000 (10,000 miles), this could be a way of “topping up”.

I’d certainly explore the other options available before resorting to this, but if you need miles and need them quickly, PRVI Pay is still way cheaper than buying miles from Singapore Airlines at about 5 cents each.


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