Here’s the Milelion’s review of the UOB Preferred Platinum Visa, the star of the “Preferred Platinum” family, and the easiest way to earn 4 mpd almost everywhere.
Regardless of what misgivings you may have about UOB’s sign-up bonuses, S$5 earning blocks, automatic UNI$ deductions, overseas payment processor requirements and all manner of shenanigans, this card is a must-have for any miles collector.
|💳 tl;dr: ★★★★★
|It’s hard to find fault with the UOB Preferred Platinum Visa and its 4 mpd on mobile payments, online shopping and entertainment. Simply put, it’s a must-have for any miles collector.|
|The good||The bad|
|This UOB Preferred Platinum Visa 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 Preferred Platinum Visa
Let’s start this review by looking at the key features of the UOB Preferred Platinum Visa.
(First Year Free)
|FCY Fee||3.25%||Transfer Fee||S$25|
|Local Earn||0.4 mpd||Points Pool?||Yes|
|FCY Earn||0.4 mpd||Lounge Access?||No|
|Special Earn||4 mpd on mobile payments, online shopping||Airport Limo?||No|
|Cardholder Terms and Conditions|
The UOB Preferred Platinum Visa is part of UOB’s “Preferred Platinum” series, which includes such luminaries as the Preferred Platinum AMEX (no longer available, sadly), and the Preferred Platinum Mastercard (no longer available, thankfully).
All three cards have very different features, so don’t mix them up:
- The UOB Preferred Platinum Visa earns 4 mpd on mobile contactless payments, and online shopping & entertainment
- The UOB Preferred Platinum AMEX earns 4 mpd on dining
- The UOB Preferred Platinum Mastercard is useful for removing spinach and other debris from between teeth after you’ve used your UOB Preferred Platinum Visa/AMEX to settle the bill
How much must I earn to qualify for a UOB Preferred Platinum Visa?
The UOB Preferred Platinum Visa is positioned at the entry level, with a S$30,000 annual income requirement.
If you do not meet the minimum annual income, you can place a S$10,000 fixed deposit with UOB to get a secured version of the card. Visit any UOB branch for further details.
How much is the UOB Preferred Platinum Visa’s annual fee?
|Principal Card||Supp. Card|
|First Year||Free||Free, S$96.30 for 2nd onwards|
|Subsequent||S$192.60||Free, S$96.30 for 2nd onwards|
The UOB Preferred Platinum Visa has an annual fee of S$192.60, which is waived for the first year. The fee for the first supplementary card is waived in perpetuity, with the second card onwards charged at S$96.30 per year.
Waivers are fairly easy to get in my experience, but UOB’s default behavior is to automatically deduct your UNI$ come renewal time to cover the annual fee. You can get this reversed if you call up, but the onus is on you to monitor your balance. Look at the expiry date on your credit card- the month corresponds to the month your annual fee will be charged.
|⚠️ Beware the auto UNI$ deductions!|
|Do note that UOB will automatically deduct 6,500 UNI$ from your account when the UOB Preferred Platinum Visa’s annual fee is due! It’s up to you to watch for this and request a waiver when it happens. If you have insufficient UNI$, you will be charged in cash.|
What sign-up bonus or gifts are available?
UOB veterans will know that the bank 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 simply do Y and hope that Z will show up later.
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.
Here’s the current sign-up bonuses available:
|🎁 Current Sign-Up Bonuses/Gifts|
The first 400 customers to apply from 1 July- 31 August 2020 and spend S$1,500 within 30 days of approval will receive S$150 cash credit
|Offers valid till 31 August 2020|
How many miles do I earn?
|🇸🇬 SGD Spending||🌎 FCY Spending||➕ Bonus Spending|
|0.4 mpd||0.4 mpd||4.0 mpd on mobile contactless payments, online shopping & entertainment|
Regular SGD/FCY Spending
The UOB Preferred Platinum Visa earns 1 UNI$ for every S$5 spent in Singapore Dollars or foreign currency (FCY).
1 UNI$ is worth 2 airline miles, so that’s an equivalent earn rate of 0.4 mpd for both local and FCY spending. All foreign currency transactions are subject to a 3.25% fee.
Mobile Contactless Spending
The UOB Preferred Platinum Visa earns a bonus 9 UNI$ for every S$5 spent on mobile contactless payments, or 4 mpd in total.
The following mobile contactless payment methods are eligible:
(does not include MST)
|⚠️ Don’t use the physical card!|
From 22 May 2020, tapping the physical UOB Preferred Platinum Visa card at a contactless terminal does not earn you 4 mpd. You’ll only earn the base 0.4 mpd. Once you get your card, add it to your mobile wallet and put it in the drawer.
Repeat after me: Anyone who uses their physical UOB Preferred Platinum Visa card needs to be slapped with a large trout (yes, I’m a child of the mIRC days).
This bonus makes the UOB Preferred Platinum Visa the swiss army knife of the miles & points game. So long as the transaction doesn’t fall afoul of the UOB Rewards blacklist (e.g education, government services- see below), you’ll earn 4 mpd. Dentist’s appointment? Hairdresser? Stationery shop? Mini-mart? Car repairs? If there’s a contactless terminal, 4 mpd is yours.
For the avoidance of doubt, both local and overseas mobile contactless transactions will qualify for 4 mpd, capped at a maximum of S$1,110 per calendar month.
UOB’s T&Cs state that “The total UNI$ awarded to you from qualifying spend on Selected Online Transactions, Contactless Transactions and/or Mobile Contactless Transactions is capped at UNI$2,000 for each calendar month”. This leads many to conclude the cap is S$1,000 (2,000/10×5).
Not true. In practice, the bonus UNI$ is what’s capped, i.e 9 UNI$ per S$1. Therefore the 4 mpd cap for each month is 2000/9×5= S$1,110.
Do be careful of SMART$ merchants, however. 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$50 at Cold Storage, you wouldn’t earn the expected 70 miles (@ 1.4 mpd)- you’d earn a pathetic 0.3% rebate instead, or 15 cents.
|Mercifully, SMART$ merchants are only a problem for in-store purchases. Online transactions at SMART$ merchants (e.g Cold Storage) will earn UNI$ as per normal|
SimplyGo transactions are not classified as mobile contactless transactions, even if paid with your mobile device. You’ll only earn 0.4 mpd here, so use a different card instead.
Online Shopping & Entertainment
The UOB Preferred Platinum Visa also earns a bonus 9 UNI$ for every S$5 spent on online shopping and entertainment, or 4 mpd in total.
The following categories are eligible:
|Category||Merchant Category Codes (MCCs)|
|Department and Retail Stores||4816, 5262, 5306, 5309, 5310, 5311, 5331, 5399, 5611, 5621, 5631,5641, 5651, 5661, 5691, 5699, 5732-5735, 5912, 5942, 5944-5949, 5964-5970, 5992, 5999|
|Supermarkets, Dining and Food Delivery||5811,5812,5814, 5333, 5411, 5441, 5462, 5499, 8012, 9751|
|Entertainment and Ticketing||7278, 7832, 7841, 7922, 7991, 7996, 7998-7999|
For those of you who don’t speak MCC, this includes online transactions at:
- Department and Retail Stores: Amazon, Book Depository, Courts, Harvey Norman, Lazada, Qoo10, Shopee, Taobao, and surprisingly this
- Supermarkets, Dining and Food Delivery: Cold Storage, Deliveroo, FairPrice ON, foodpanda, GrabFood, WhyQ
- Entertainment and Ticketing: Cathay Cineplexes, Golden Village, SISTIC, Universal Studios Singapore
The list above is far from comprehensive. If you’re curious about which merchants fall under what MCC, you can always try entering the code on WhatCard and see what comes up.
The 4 mpd is capped at a maximum of S$1,110 per calendar month, and shares the same cap with mobile contactless payments.
When are UNI$ credited?
Both base and bonus UNI$ are credited when the transaction posts, usually within 1-3 working days.
|Base Points (1X)||Credited when transaction posts|
|Bonus Points (9X)
||Credited when transaction posts|
How are UNI$ calculated?
Here’s how you can work out the UNI$ earned on your UOB Preferred Platinum Visa:
|Base Points (1X)||Round down transaction to the nearest S$5, divide by 5, then multiply by 1.0|
|Bonus Points (9X)
||Round down transaction to the nearest S$5, divide by 5, then multiply by 9.0|
Do note that UOB rounds your transactions down to the nearest S$5 before awarding points, which means a S$9.99 transaction earns the same as a S$5 one, and a S$4.99 transaction earns no points at all.
To illustrate the effect of rounding, consider the following:
|UOB Pref. Plat Visa||Citi Rewards|
|$5||20 miles||20 miles|
|$9.99||20 miles||36 miles|
|$15||60 miles||60 miles|
|$19.99||60 miles||76 miles|
|$25||100 miles||100 miles|
|$29.99||100 miles||116 miles|
If you’re an excel geek, here’s the formulas you need to calculate your points:
|Base Points (1X)||=ROUNDDOWN (X/5,0)*1|
|Bonus Points (9X)
|Where X= Amount Spent
For the full list of formulas that banks use to calculate credit card points, do refer to these articles:
What transactions aren’t eligible for UNI$?
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
Don’t bother using the UOB Preferred Platinum Visa for CardUp/ipaymy/RentHero transactions, as no points will be earned.
What do I need to know about UNI$?
UNI$ expire after 2 years, and pool across cards. If you have 10,000 UNI$ on the UOB Preferred Platinum Visa, and 5,000 UNI$ on the UOB Lady’s Card, 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 Preferred Platinum Visa, assuming it’s not your last UNI$-earning card.
UNI$ transfer to frequent flyer programs at a 1:2 ratio, with a minimum transfer block of 5,000 UNI$.
|Frequent Flyer Program||Conversion Ratio
Transfers cost S$25 per program, regardless of how many points are transferred.
UOB also has an auto-conversion option for KrisFlyer, which costs S$50 per year. UNI$ will be automatically converted on the last day of the calendar month, in blocks of UNI$2,500 (half the regular conversion block).
However, you’ll need to keep a minimum balance of UNI$15,000 (30,000 miles) in your account at all times, for reasons I do not understand. UOB gives the following explanation:
|Why must a minimum balance of UNI$15,000 be kept KrisFlyer auto conversion programme?
This is to give card members the flexibility to convert the UNI$ to other items from UOB Rewards Catalogue. Card members can still choose to convert this UNI$15,000 to KrisFlyer miles by the one time miles redemption process through UOB Rewards Catalogue, subjected to S$25 conversion fee and must be in blocks of 10,000 miles.
I call BS on this, but there you have it.
You can enroll for the automatic conversion program here.
Summary Review: UOB Preferred Platinum Visa
The UOB Preferred Platinum Visa may not be marketed as a miles card, but it’s one of the best out there.
Simply put, there’s no other card on the market that offers what the UOB Preferred Platinum Visa does. Given the ubiquity of contactless terminals, this is pretty much a 4 mpd anywhere solution, making it suitable for those who struggle to memorize what card to use where.
|The UOB Visa Signature also offers 4 mpd on contactless transactions, but it requires a minimum spend of S$1,000 per statement month|
Used judiciously, a cardholder could earn slightly over 53,000 miles per year with ~S$13,000 spending, equal to a one-way Singapore Airlines Business Class flight to Dubai, Istanbul, Osaka, Seoul, or Tokyo.
The fact that UOB pools points makes the UOB Preferred Platinum Visa even more useful- it could be paired with the UOB PRVI Miles, UOB Lady’s Card, UOB Preferred Platinum AMEX, or UOB Visa Signature, creating a card portfolio that earns 4 mpd on a large proportion of your overall spending.
So that’s my review of the UOB Preferred Platinum Visa. 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|