UOB has published a prospective update to its credit card rewards T&Cs that comes into effect early next year.
From 1 February 2021, payments to hospitals, automobile parking lots and garages will no longer earn UNI$, cash rebates or KrisFlyer miles on all UOB credit cards. An exception has been carved out for the UOB Reserve and UOB Visa Infinite Metal Cards, which will continue to earn UNI$ on hospital transactions.
UOB’s latest rewards exclusion list
With the latest additions, UOB’s revised rewards exclusion list now reads as follows:
|5960||Direct Marketing – Insurance Services|
|6012||Member Financial Institution–Merchandise and Services|
|6050||Quasi Cash–Financial Institutions, Merchandise and Services|
|6051||Quasi Cash–Merchant (Non-Financial Institutions – Foreign Currency, Non-Fiat Currency, Cryptocurrency)|
|6211||Securities–Brokers and Dealers|
|6513||Real Estate Agents & Managers – Rentals|
|6529||Quasi Cash-Remote Stored Value Load-Financial Institute Rentals|
|6530||Quasi Cash-Remote Stored Value Load-Merchant Rentals|
|6534||Quasi Cash-Remote Money Transfers|
|6540||Stored Value Card Purchase/Load|
|7349||Clean/Maint/Janitorial Serv aka Property Management|
|7511||Quasi Cash – Truck Stop Trxns|
|7523||Automobile Parking Lots and Garages (wef 1 Feb 2021)|
|7995||Gambling – Betting, including Lottery Tickets, Casino Gaming Chips, Off-Track
Betting, and Wagers at Race Tracks
|8062||Hospitals (wef 1 Feb 2021)|
|8211||Schools, Elementary and Secondary|
|8220||Colleges, Universities, Professional Schools and Junior Colleges|
|8244||Schools, Business and Secretarial|
|8249||Schools, Trade and Vocational|
|8299||Schools and Educational Services–Not Elsewhere Classified|
|8398||Organizations, Charitable and Social Service|
|9211||Court Costs including Alimony and Child Support|
|9223||Bail and Bond Payments|
|9402||Postal Services—Government Only|
|9405||Intra-Government Purchases—Government Only|
|9399||Government Services—not elsewhere classified|
|UOB cards will not earn UNI$ or KrisFlyer miles at SMART$ merchants, or at SPC stations|
That’s a pretty extensive list of exclusions, although to be fair there isn’t anything here that other banks haven’t excluded too. Some of it boils down to Merchant Discount Rates (MDRs)- organizations like schools and non-profits tend to be accorded discounted MDRs, which makes rewards economically unviable. Others transactions such as gambling present an increased risk of fraud and chargebacks, hence their exclusion (although UOB, amusingly, still awards bonus points on porno).
What’s interesting is that the UOB Visa Infinite Metal Card and UOB Reserve have both been spared from this change, and will continue to earn UNI$ as per normal. I can only surmise that UOB is afraid of angering its high net worth customers, who may well be charging hefty medical checkup packages to their cards.
There’s been no mention of UOB’s other Visa Infinite cards, namely the “classic” Visa Infinite and the Privilege Banking version. If you’re holding on to one of these, it’s well worth checking with the bank (and getting a response in writing).
Hospital classification explained
Hospitals in Singapore can be segmented into public, not-for-profit and private, further subdivided into acute and community facilities. Here’s how the MOH organizes things:
1. Alexandra Hospital
|1. Bright Vision
2. Jurong Community
3. Outram Community
4. Sengkang Community
5. Yishun Community
|Not-for-Profit||1. Mount Alvernia||1. AMK- Thye Hua Kwan Hospital
2. Ren Ci Community
3. St Andrew’s Community
4. St Luke’s
|Private||1. Concord International
2. Farrer Park
4. Mount Elizabeth
5. Mount Elizabeth Novena
6. Parkway East
7. Raffles Hospital
8. Thomson Medical Centre
|The following specialist centres are also classified as public institutions: National Cancer Centre, National Heart Centre, National Neuroscience Institute, National Skin Centre, Singapore National Eye Centre, National Dental Centre|
|🏥 What about restructured hospitals?|
|You may hear the term “restructured hospital” mentioned in insurance materials. This is basically a public hospital. As per the MOH: “The Government has restructured all its acute hospitals and specialty centres to be run as private companies wholly owned by the government.”|
This distinction matters because of MCC. There are two main MCCs that hospitals can code as:
- 8062: Hospitals
- 9399: Government Services Not Elsewhere Classified
Almost every bank excludes 9399 from earning points, but not every bank excludes 8062.
Despite the government association, not all public hospitals code under 9399. Instead, most (but not all) fall under 8062, such as Changi General, NUH, and SGH. There is no comprehensive list of which hospitals code as what. When in doubt, always test a small amount first and check the MCC with the bank’s CSO.
Based on past data points, polyclinics code as 8062 and not 9399. Stand-alone dental clinics code as 8021, which is not excluded by any bank.
What cards still earn rewards for hospital transactions?
With these latest changes, here’s a summary of which banks still award points for hospital transactions:
Except 9399, and public & non-profit hospitals
Except 9399. From 1 Feb 2021, hospitals will be excluded except on Reserve & Visa Infinite Metal Cards
You’ll notice I hardly mentioned the parking lot exclusion, because in the Singapore context it only really affects Parking.sg. Since UOB cards require a minimum spend of S$5 to earn any points, they were never good options for this in the first place.
While it’s unfortunate that yet another bank is excluding hospitals wholesale, there are still (for the moment) other cards that you can switch to. Given how high the average hospital bill is, you certainly don’t want to get caught on your heels here.
For a more detailed analysis on which card to use at hospitals, refer to the guide below.