Here’s the Milelion’s review of the UOB Visa Infinite Metal Card, which UOB launched in 2018 to replace the existing “classic” Visa Infinite.
UOB really wants you to know the card is made of metal, so much so it slapped “metal” in the official product name. It’s certainly got the look and feel of a premium credit card, but is it, as the marketing materials say, “all style, all substance?”
|💳 tl;dr: ★★|
|All style, little substance. The UOB Visa Infinite Metal Card is outgunned at every turn, and its S$642 asking price represents poor value.|
|The good||The bad|
|This UOB Visa Infinite Metal Card review forms part of my collection of credit card reviews. I’m constantly adding new ones, and you can browse the entire collection here.|
Overview: UOB Visa Infinite Metal Card
Let’s start this review by looking at the key features of the UOB Visa Infinite Metal Card
|Income Req.||S$150,000 p.a||Points Validity||2 years|
|FCY Fee||3.25%||Transfer Fee||S$25|
|Local Earn||1.4 mpd||Points Pool?||Yes|
|FCY Earn||2.0 mpd||Lounge Access?||Yes|
|Special Earn||None||Airport Limo?||No|
|Cardholder Terms and Conditions|
How much must I earn to qualify for a UOB Visa Infinite Metal Card?
When the original UOB Visa Infinite Card first launched back in 2003, it carried an income requirement of S$350,000, making it one of the most exclusive cards in Singapore.
Fast forward a decade and a half and its descendant, the UOB Visa Infinite Metal Card, has an income requirement of “just” S$150,000– still substantial, but not as high as it used to be. The mantle of UOB’s most extinguished (sic) card has been passed to the UOB Reserve, and the UOB Visa Infinite Metal Card now competes with the so-called “$120K segment”.
That said, it’s unclear how strictly UOB enforces this threshold- several customers have reported receiving invitations to apply when their incomes were closer to the S$100,000 mark.
How much is the UOB Visa Infinite Metal Card’s annual fee?
|Principal Card||Supp. Card|
The UOB Visa Infinite Metal Card has one of the highest annual fees in its segment at S$642. Supplementary cards are available at S$288 per year, with the first year’s fee waived.
|Annual Fees for Cards in the $120K segment|
No waivers are available for the principal cardholder. UOB is very clear about this, stating it numerous times on its website and in the T&Cs:
For avoidance of doubt, the annual card membership fee of S$642 cannot be waived.
Cardholders receive 25,000 miles each year the annual fee is paid. That’s a fairly unattractive 2.57 cents per mile, but remember, we need to look at the benefits in totality.
What sign-up bonus or gifts are available?
No review of the UOB Visa Infinite Metal Card would be complete without talking about UOB’s notorious sign-up bonuses and gifts.
UOB is fond of adopting “first X to do Y will get Z” language in its T&Cs. How do you know you’re still in the first X? You don’t. You go ahead and do Y and pray that Z will show up. It’s an all-or-nothing proposition, and you’re basically gambling.
Unfortunately, this is par the course for UOB sign-up offers. With some limited exceptions, they all follow this format, and you’re just going to have to decide if you want to roll the dice.
In addition, I want to point out that UOB has been up to some major shenanigans with its sign-up bonuses lately. During the last promotion for the UOB Visa Infinite Metal Card in October 2019, it took the unprecedented step of excluding supplementary cardholder transactions from the spending threshold. In other words, if the spending threshold was S$5,000, you’d have to spend that entire amount on your principal card- supplementary cardholder spending would not count.
It just comes off as silly, because there’s absolutely no reason to exclude supplementary cardholder spending. Moreover, it’s not particularly hard to circumvent; all you need to do is add your principal card to the digital wallet of your spouse/partner. This is pure shenanigans, plain and simple.
There is currently no sign-up offer available on the UOB Visa Infinite Metal Card.
How many miles do I earn?
|🇸🇬 SGD Spending||🌎 FCY Spending||➕ Bonus Spending|
|1.4 mpd||2.0 mpd||None|
UOB Visa Infinite Metal Card members earn UNI$3.5 for every S$5 spent in Singapore Dollars, and UNI$5 for every S$5 spent in foreign currency (FCY).
1 UNI$ is worth 2 airline miles, so that’s an equivalent earn rate of 1.4 mpd for local spending, and 2 mpd for FCY spending.
The overseas earn rate is average for this segment, but the local earn rate is the highest. However, those S$5 earning blocks have nasty implications (see below).
|Local MPD||FCY MPD|
|OCBC VOYAGE||1.3 mpd
|HSBC Visa Infinite||1.25 mpd*||2.25 mpd*|
|UOB Visa Infinite Metal Card||1.4 mpd||2.0 mpd|
|Citi Prestige||1.3 mpd^||2.0 mpd^|
|Maybank Visa Infinite||1.2 mpd||2.0 mpd|
|AMEX Plat. Reserve||0.69 mpd||0.69 mpd|
|*With minimum S$50K spend in previous membership year. Otherwise (or if first year), 1 mpd for local, 2 mpd for overseas
^Additional 0.02 to 0.12 mpd awarded based on tenure with bank
It is possible to earn a bonus 5-6 mpd on your spending if you open a KrisFlyer UOB deposit account, but I’d strongly advise you against doing this, . This account pays a measly 0.05% interest, and caps the bonus miles you can earn at a mere 5% of your monthly average balance.
For example, if you put S$50,000 inside the account, the maximum bonus miles you could earn each month is just 2,500 (5% of 50,000), which you’d hit after spending just S$500 on your UOB Visa Infinite Metal Card. Keep in mind, you’d be earning 0.05% interest on your S$50,000 balance too.
When dealing with UOB cards, you need to be extra careful of SMART$ merchants. SMART$ is UOB’s card-wide cashback program, offering instant rebates at selected places. What’s wrong with instant rebates, you say? Well, you don’t earn any UNI$ at SMART$ merchants.
|Entertainment||Petrol||Shopping & Wellness|
In other words, if you spent S$50 at Cold Storage, you wouldn’t earn the expected 70 miles (@ 1.4 mpd)- you’d earn a pathetic 0.3% rebate instead, or 15 cents.
|☝️ Do note that SMART$ aren’t issued for online transactions- so you can use your UOB Visa Infinite Metal Card for online shopping at Cold Storage’s website if you so please.|
All overseas transactions are subject to a 3.25% fee, so using your UOB Visa Infinite Metal Card overseas represents buying miles at 1.63 cents each.
Unfortunately, there’s another UOB shenanigan here- while other banks define overseas transactions simply as those charged in currencies other than Singapore Dollars, UOB further requires that the payment gateway be overseas. As per the T&Cs:
For the avoidance of doubt,transactions incurred overseas but are charged in Singapore dollars will be treated as Local Card
Transactions. Online transactions charged in Singapore dollars or in foreign currencies at merchants with payment gateway in Singapore will also be treated as Local Card Transactions.
In other words, if you’re shopping on an online website which bills you US$100 (~S$140), but processes the payment within Singapore (Hotels.com is an example), you’ll earn miles at the local spending rate of 1.4 mpd.
How do you know where the payment processing is done? You don’t. This is something you’ll just have to learn as you go along, by tracking your points carefully.
When are UNI$ credited?
UNI$ are credited when your transaction posts, which generally takes 1-3 working days.
How are UNI$ calculated?
Here’s how you can work out the UNI$ earned on your UOB Visa Infinite Metal Card
|Local Spend||Round down transaction to nearest S$5, then divide by 5 and multiply by 3.5. Round down to the nearest whole number|
||Round down transaction to nearest S$5, then divide by 5 and multiply by 5. Round down to the nearest whole number|
Now there’s something unfair about the way UOB calculates UNI$. You get hit twice by rounding.
UOB first rounds your transaction down to the nearest S$5, then multiplies the amount by 3.5 UNI$ (assuming it’s a Singapore Dollar transaction). This UNI$ figure is then rounded down again to the nearest whole number.
So imagine you spent S$9 on your UOB Visa Infinite Metal Card. You might figure that’s 12.6 miles (@ 1.4 mpd), but…
- The S$9 is rounded down to S$5
- S$5 is awarded 3.5 UNI$
- 3.5 UNI$ is rounded down to 3 UNI$
You actually earn 3 UNI$, or 6 miles, yielding a mere 0.67 mpd!
This is an extreme example, of course, and the effect of rounding gets smaller as your transaction size increases. But it’s exactly why you should think twice about using your UOB Visa Infinite Metal Card for small transactions that aren’t in S$5 blocks- in fact, the minimum spend required to earn miles is S$5.
|🚆 What about SimplyGo?|
If the minimum transaction to earn miles is S$5, then what’s the point of using the UOB Visa Infinite Metal Card with SimplyGo? Don’t worry- for Visa, UNI$ are awarded based on the accumulated SimplyGo spending per calendar month. So with the exception of extreme circumstances (e.g where you take just 1-2 rides a month), you’ll definitely earn some miles.
This means that despite ostensibly having a higher headline rate, you may earn fewer miles on the UOB Visa Infinite Metal Card in some scenarios than, say, the Citi Prestige (1.3 mpd on local spend). Consider the following:
|UOB VI Metal||Citi Prestige|
|$5||6 miles||6.4 miles|
|$9.99||6 miles||11.6 miles|
|$15||20 miles||19.6 miles|
|$19.99||20 miles||24.8 miles|
|$25||34 miles||32.4 miles|
|$29.99||34 miles||37.6 miles|
If you’re an excel geek, here’s the formulas you need to calculate points:
|Local Spend||=ROUNDDOWN (ROUNDDOWN (X/5,0) * 3.5,0)|
||=ROUNDDOWN (ROUNDDOWN (X/5,0) * 5,0)|
|Where X= Amount Spent
For the full list of formulas that banks use to calculate credit card points, do refer to these articles:
What transactions aren’t eligible for UNI$?
A full list of transactions that do not earn UNI$ can be found in the T&C. I’ve highlighted a few noteworthy categories below:
- Charitable Donations
- Real Estate Agents & Managers
- Government Services
- GrabPay top-ups
These exclusions mean that you can’t use the UOB Visa Infinite Metal Card for RentHero transactions, although CardUp/ipaymy will earn points as usual.
What do I need to know about UNI$?
UNI$ expire after 2 years, which isn’t as good as the non-expiring points earned on the Citi Prestige, OCBC VOYAGE, or Maybank Visa Infinite.
On the plus side, UNI$ pool across cards. If you have 10,000 UNI$ on the UOB Visa Infinite Metal Card and 5,000 UNI$ on the UOB Preferred Platinum Visa, you can redeem 15,000 UNI$ at one shot and pay a single conversion fee. It also means that you don’t need to transfer your UNI$ out before cancelling the UOB Visa Infinite Metal Card, assuming it’s not your last UNI$-earning card.
UOB has only two airline transfer partners- KrisFlyer and Asia Miles. UNI$ transfer at a 1:2 ratio, with a minimum transfer block of 5,000 UNI$.
|Frequent Flyer Program||Conversion Ratio
UOB waives the usual $25 transfer fee for its Visa Infinite cardholders, but not for Visa Infinite Metal members, sadly.
Other card perks
Buy miles with UOB Visa Infinite Payment Facility
UOB Visa Infinite Metal Card members have access to a “no questions asked” bill payment facility that lets you buy miles at 2 cents each. In fact, you don’t even need a bill to pay- you can buy as many miles as you want, subject to your credit limit.
How it works is you fill out this form and email it to UOB. Specify how much you’d like to charge to the facility, e.g S$5,000, and designate a bank account. UOB will then:
- Deposit S$5,000 into your designated bank account
- Charge S$5,100 to your card (S$5,000 + 2% fee)
- Award UNI$ at a rate of UNI$2.5 per S$5
- This gives you a total of 2,500 UNI$ (5,000 miles- the payment facility fee doesn’t earn miles)
You take the S$5,000 they deposited to pay off your card bill, then you’re out of pocket S$100. You’ve basically bought 5,000 miles for S$100, or 2 cents per mile.
UOB periodically adjusts the price of the Visa Infinite payment facility, and we’ve seen prices as low as 1.7 cents in the past. This could be a relatively cheap way of topping off your account if you’re just shy of a 5,000 UNI$ transfer block.
Four complimentary lounge visits
Here’s an area where the UOB Visa Infinite Metal Card really falls short. Cardholders get four free visits a year, via DragonPass.
For a credit card with a S$642 annual fee, this simply isn’t good enough. Most of the other cards in this segment offer unlimited lounge visits; some allow you to bring a guest for free, and others extend the same benefit to supplementary cardholders.
The lounge benefit is applicable to the principal cardholder only, and additional visits cost US$25 each.
Complimentary Singtel ReadyRoam packages
UOB Visa Infinite Metal Card members can receive complimentary overseas data roaming packages, provided they:
- Are Singtel subscribers who charge their mobile plan to the UOB Visa Infinite Metal Card on a recurring basis
- Activate a Singtel ReadyRoam plan and travel to a covered destination
There are three different ReadyRoam plans that range from S$12-40 each, and presumably there’s nothing stopping you from picking the most expensive one. There’s no cap on the number of rebates that cardmembers can receive each year, and rebates are credited within 3 months.
It’s certainly a nice benefit to have, but its usefulness will be limited. With three other telcos and many more MVNOs, the odds of a cardholder having a Singtel contract aren’t as large as they once were. Wouldn’t it be better if the card simply gave a fixed statement credit every month a mobile plan was charged to it, regardless of carrier?
Complimentary Gourmet Collection membership
UOB Visa Infinite Metal Card members receive a complimentary Gourmet Collection membership. The Gourmet Collection is IHG’s dining loyalty program, which gives members 25% off the bill at participating hotels like the Intercontinental Singapore or Crowne Plaza Changi Airport.
UOB describes this benefit as “worth S$388”, but that’s borderline misleading. S$388 is based on the retail price of a Gourmet Collection Tier 1 membership, which includes the following gift vouchers:
The Gourmet Collection membership offered through UOB has none of these vouchers, and you only enjoy 25% off dining, 15% off the best flexible rate for hotel stay, and two complimentary glasses of wine at participating restaurants.
In my opinion, 25% isn’t a big enough discount to get excited about, given how the AMEX Love Dining program can offer up to 50% off (and has much nicer restaurants to boot).
Do note that the Gourmet Collection Membership is only free for the first year. Membership will be automatically renewed if a minimum spend of S$1,000 is made at participating hotels; otherwise, a $68 renewal fee applies.
Other dining discounts include up to 50% off at the Grand Hyatt, for weekday lunch only.
Complimentary travel insurance
|Accidental Death||Medical Benefits||Travel Inconvenience|
|US$1,000,000||None||Connecting flight delay: S$800
Luggage delay: S$1,000
Travel delay: S$800
Lost luggage: S$2,000
Many cards offer complimentary travel insurance, but not all policies are made equal. Fortunately, the policy that UOB offers Visa Infinite Metal Card members is much better than the one for PRVI Miles customers.
Cardholders are covered for up to US$1,000,000 for accidental death or dismemberment while traveling on a scheduled public conveyance, with further coverage also for travel inconvenience like lost luggage or flight delays. However, there is no coverage for medical expenses or evacuation, so you’ll definitely want to get separate protection there.
Summary Review: UOB Visa Infinite Metal Card
UOB markets this card as “All Style, All Substance”. I’m going to have to disagree.
The UOB Visa Infinite Metal Card may be a looker, if you’re in the market for a premium credit card, there’s nothing it can do that other (cheaper) cards couldn’t:
- Lounge access (Citi Prestige, HSBC Visa Infinite)
- Miles with annual fee (Citi Prestige)
- Airport limo (HSBC Visa Infinite)
- Dining benefits (AMEX Platinum Reserve)
- Miles purchase facility (OCBC VOYAGE)
Sure, its local earn rate of 1.4 mpd is the highest of the segment, but you could just as well get that with a UOB PRVI Miles Card (which annual fee can be waived). There’s no free transfers, and your points expire after 2 years,
As a UOB Visa Infinite Metal Card member, you’re also going to have to deal with the usual UOB shenanigans like:
- The S$5 earning blocks and rounding
- SMART$ merchants
- The overseas payment gateway requirement for FCY bonuses
- All or nothing sign-up offers
Simply put, I don’t see any real use cases for this card, much less a path to recovering the S$642 annual fee.
So that’s my review of the UOB Visa Infinite Metal Card. What do you think?
So that’s my review of the DBS Woman’s World Card. What do you think?
|An essential card for miles chasers, with few viable alternatives|
|A very good card, although other equally good alternatives may exist|
|A decent card to round out your collection, but not absolutely essential|
|Very limited use cases, and outperformed by most other cards|
|Paperweight. Use for picking teeth or ninja stars|