Here’s The MileLion’s review of the UOB Visa Signature Card, which this year marks its 16th anniversary. Veterans may remember it originally came in purple and was positioned as a mass affluent card- though that only required an annual income of S$60,000 in 2006, instead of S$120,000 now!
Old it may be, but sometimes old is gold. Even if you’re not a fan of the usual UOB shenanigans (S$5 earning blocks, “first X” sign-up bonuses, automatic UNI$ deductions for fee waivers), this is one card you’ll still want to have.
|UOB Visa Signature|
|Assuming the pesky minimum spend doesn’t trip you up, the UOB Visa Signature is a great way to earn 4 mpd almost everywhere.|
|👍 The good||👎 The bad|
|💳 Full List of Credit Card Reviews|
Overview: UOB Visa Signature
Let’s start this review by looking at the key features of the UOB Visa Signature
|Income Req.||S$50,000 p.a.||Points Validity||2 years|
(First Year Free)
|Miles with |
|FCY Fee||3.25%||Transfer Fee||S$25|
|Local Earn||0.4 mpd||Points Pool?||Yes|
|FCY Earn||4.0 mpd||Lounge Access?||No|
|Special Earn||4.0 mpd on contactless payments and petrol||Airport Limo?||No|
|Cardholder Terms and Conditions|
How much must I earn to qualify for a UOB Visa Signature?
The UOB Visa Signature has a slightly unusual S$50,000 annual income requirement; more than the MAS-mandated S$30,000 minimum, but not quite the rarefied air of the S$120,000 segment.
I wouldn’t let this deter you from applying, however, since any income requirement above S$30,000 is essentially arbitrary. I’ve heard of people successfully getting approved in the S$30,000-50,000 range, and if you never try, you’ll never know.
How much is the UOB Visa Signature’s annual fee?
|Principal Card||Supp. Card|
|First Year||Free||Free, S$107 for 2nd onwards|
|Subsequent||S$214||Free, S$107 for 2nd onwards|
The UOB Visa Signature has an annual fee of S$214, 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$107 per year.
Waivers are fairly easy to get in my experience, but be warned that UOB’s default behaviour is to automatically deduct your UNI$ come renewal time to cover the annual fee. 6,500 UNI$ (13,000 miles!) will be deducted to cover the annual fee (if you have insufficient UNI$, you’ll be billed in cash), and it’s up to you to monitor your balance and request a waiver when this happens.
Look at the expiry date on your credit card- the month corresponds to the month your annual fee will be charged.
How many miles do I earn?
|🇸🇬 SGD Spending||🌎 FCY Spending||➕ Bonus Spending|
|0.4 mpd||4.0 mpd||4.0 mpd on contactless payments & petrol|
Regular SGD/FCY Spending
The UOB Visa Signature earns:
- 1 UNI$ for every S$5 spent in Singapore Dollars
- 10 UNI$ for every S$5 spent in foreign currency (FCY), provided you spend at least S$1,000 per statement month, and capped at S$2,000 per statement month.
1 UNI$ is worth 2 airline miles, so that’s an equivalent earn rate of 0.4 mpd for local and 4 mpd for FCY spending.
|⚠️ Statement Month vs Calendar Month|
Calendar month is straightforward (e.g. 1-31 January), but statement month needs a little explaining. Generate your UOB e-statement and look for the statement date at the top right hand corner. This tells you what your statement month is; in the example below, it’s 13th to the 12th of the following month.
The UOB Visa Signature’s 4 mpd cap resets at the start of each statement month, but if it simplifies matters, you can always call up customer service and ask them to change your statement date to follow the calendar month instead.
Do note a particular quirk of UOB. While other banks simply define FCY transactions as those charged in currencies other than Singapore Dollars, UOB further requires that the payment gateway be overseas.
As per the T&Cs:
Card transactions made overseas but effected in Singapore dollars will be treated as transactions in Singapore dollars and will earn UNI$1 per S$5 spend. Online transactions effected in Singapore dollars or in foreign currencies at merchants with payment gateway in Singapore will also earn UNI$1 per S$5 spend.
In other words, if you transact on a website which bills you US$100 (~S$140) through a payment gateway in Singapore (Hotels.com is an example), you’ll earn miles at the local spending rate of 0.4 mpd.
How do you know where the payment gateway is? You don’t. That’s the unfair thing about this rule; it puts the onus on the customer to know information that’s usually opaque to them.
If it’s any consolation, this will only be an issue with e-commerce transactions. Using your card while physically overseas guarantees you 4 mpd, so long as you don’t fall victim to DCC (i.e. always opt to pay in the overseas currency and not in SGD).
All foreign currency transactions are subject to a 3.25% fee, so using your UOB Visa Signature overseas is like buying miles at 0.81 cents each (3.25%/4 mpd).
Petrol & Contactless Spending
The UOB Visa Signature earns a total of 10 UNI$ for every S$5 spent (4 mpd) on petrol (excluding SPC and Shell) or contactless payments.
(does not include MST)
|👍 Physical Card OK|
Ever since 22 May 2020, tapping the physical UOB Preferred Platinum Visa at a contactless terminal will only earn 0.4 mpd instead of 4 mpd.
There is no such restrictions for the UOB Visa Signature. You can either tap the physical card or use it via a mobile wallet to earn 4 mpd.
This is subject to a minimum local spend of S$1,000 per statement month, and capped at S$2,000 per statement month. For avoidance of doubt, petrol and contactless payments share the same cap.
I realise this can be confusing, so I’ll give a few scenarios:
|FCY||Petrol & Contactless||Outcome|
Total: 440 miles (S$600 @ 0.4 mpd + S$500 @ 0.4 mpd)
4 mpd rate is not triggered because the S$1,000 minimum spend has not been met on either the FCY or petrol/ contactless bonus categories
Total: 8,000 miles (S$1,000 @ 4 mpd + S$1,000 @ 4 mpd)
4 mpd rate is triggered for both FCY and petrol/ contactless bonus categories
Total: 8,400 miles (S$2,000 @ 4 mpd + S$1,000 @ 0.4 mpd)
4 mpd rate is triggered for both FCY and petrol/ contactless bonus categories, but the maximum 4 mpd is capped at S$2,000 per statement month
Total: 400 miles (S$900 @ 0.4 mpd + S$100 @ 0.4 mpd)
The 4 mpd rate on petrol/ contactless is not triggered as S$1,000 minimum local spend has not been met
The 4 mpd rate on FCY spend is not triggered as S$1,000 minimum FCY spend has not been met
While the minimum spend requirement can be annoying to track, it does make the UOB Visa Signature a jack-of-all-trades solution. So long as there’s a contactless payment terminal, it’s a potential 4 mpd opportunity.
That’s unless you’re dealing with a UOB$ merchant. UOB$ is UOB’s card-wide cash rebates scheme, and UOB cardholders (with the exception of UOB PRVI Miles AMEX) will not earn any UNI$ at UOB$ merchants.
|Retail & Services|
|Travel & Entertainment|
When are UNI$ credited?
Base UNI$ are credited when the transaction posts. Bonus UNI$ will be credited in the following statement period.
|Base Points (1X)||Credited when transaction posts|
|Bonus Points (9X)||Credited in the following statement period|
How are UNI$ calculated?
Here’s how you can work out the UNI$ earned on your UOB Visa Signature:
|Base Points (1X)||Round down transaction to the nearest S$5, divide by 5, then multiply by 1.0|
|Bonus Points (9X)||Sum all eligible transactions (including cents), round down total to the nearest S$5, divide by 5, then multiply by 9.0|
While you normally need to watch out for S$5 earning blocks with UOB cards, it’s less of an issue with the UOB Visa Signature than the UOB Preferred Platinum Visa. That’s because all unrounded transactions on the UOB Visa Signature are summed up during the calculation of the 9X bonus.
Here’s a simple example. Suppose you have three transactions for the whole month, S$99.99, S$199.99 and S$700.02.
- With the UOB Preferred Platinum Visa, each transaction is rounded down to the nearest S$5, so you’ll earn 3,960 miles (S$95*4 + S$195 *4 + S$700*4)
- With the UOB Visa Signature, each transaction is rounded down to the nearest S$5 for the purpose of 1X points (0.4 mpd), but all transactions are summed up for the purpose of 9X points (3.6 mpd). Therefore, you’ll earn 3,996 miles (S$95 * 0.4 + S$195 * 0.4 + S$700 * 0.4 + (S$99.99+ S$199.99+ S$700.02) *3.6)
If you’re an Excel geek, here’s the formulas you need to calculate your points:
|Base Points (1X)||=ROUNDDOWN (X/5,0)*1|
|Bonus Points (9X)||=ROUNDDOWN (Y/5,0)*9|
|Where X= amount spent, Y= sum of all eligible transactions|
For the full list of formulas that banks use to calculate credit card points, do refer to these articles:
What transactions aren’t eligible for UNI$?
A full list of transactions that do not earn UNI$ can be found in the T&Cs.
I’ve highlighted a few noteworthy categories below:
- Charitable Donations
- Government Services
- Prepaid account top-ups (e.g. GrabPay, YouTrip)
- Real Estate Agents & Managers
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 Visa Signature, 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 Visa Signature, assuming it’s not your last UNI$-earning card.
UNI$ transfer to frequent flyer programmes at a 1:2 ratio, with a minimum transfer block of 5,000 UNI$.
|Frequent Flyer Programme||Conversion Ratio |
Transfers cost S$25 per programme, 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$15,000 (30,000 miles) in your account at all times, for reasons I do not understand. UOB provides the following explanation:
This is to give card members the flexibility to convert the UNI$ 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$25 conversion fee and must be in blocks of 10,000 miles.
You can enroll for the automatic conversion programme here.
It’s also possible to convert UNI$ to KrisFlyer miles instantly via Kris+, but you’ll suffer a 15% haircut. 1,000 UNI$ will get you 1,700 KrisPay miles (which can be converted instantly to 1,700 KrisFlyer miles), instead of the 2,000 KrisFlyer miles you’d have received by going the regular route.
Summary Review: UOB Visa Signature
If you’re someone who regularly busts the 4 mpd cap on the UOB Preferred Platinum Visa (S$1,000), then the UOB Visa Signature is an excellent tool to add to your arsenal. So long as there’s a contactless terminal, you’re guaranteed 4 mpd (provided it’s not an excluded transaction or UOB$ merchant).
This makes it an ideal choice for those who struggle to memorise which card to use where. Assuming you max out the 4 mpd cap each month, you’re looking at 96,000 miles per year- just shy of a return Business Class ticket to Japan or South Korea.
The fact that UOB pools points makes the UOB Visa Signature even more useful. It could be paired with the UOB PRVI Miles, UOB Lady’s Card, or UOB Preferred Platinum Visa, creating a card portfolio that earns 4 mpd on a large proportion of your overall spending.
So that’s my review of the UOB Visa Signature. 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|