Here’s The MileLion’s review of the UOB PRVI Miles Card, which I’m convinced is a social experiment designed to test how much people will tolerate for miles.
On the one hand, the UOB PRVI Miles Card has the highest earn rates of any general spending card in Singapore at the S$30,000 income mark (in fact, its overseas earn rate of 2.4 mpd is the highest of all, period). Its UNI$ pool with other high-earning cards like the UOB Preferred Platinum Visa, UOB Visa Signature, and UOB Lady’s Card, and it has the lowest minimum spend for an airport limo.
On the other, UOB’s penchant for mischief, whether it’s punitive rounding policies, non-miles accruing UOB$ merchants, automatic UNI$ deductions for annual fees, “first X” sign-up bonuses, or requiring customers to divine where a merchant’s payment gateway is located, are reason enough for some to give up on the bank altogether.
And therein lies the question: which side of the fence do you fall on?
|UOB PRVI Miles Card|
|Do the higher earn rates of the UOB PRVI Miles Card justify UOB’s shenanigans? Only you can be the judge of that, but it does bring some worthy features to the table.|
|👍 The good||👎 The bad|
|💳 Full List of Credit Card Reviews|
Overview: UOB PRVI Miles Card
Let’s start this review by looking at the key features of the UOB PRVI Miles Card.
|Income Req.||S$30,000 p.a.||Points Validity||2 years|
|Miles with |
|FCY Fee||3.25%||Transfer Fee||S$25|
|Local Earn||1.4 mpd||Points Pool?||Yes|
|FCY Earn||2.4 mpd||Lounge Access?||No|
|Special Earn||6 mpd on Agoda, Expedia, UOB Travel||Airport Limo?||Yes |
|Cardholder Terms and Conditions|
The UOB PRVI Miles is issued across all three card networks: American Express, Mastercard, and Visa. Earn rates are the same for all, though the American Express version has two unique features:
- 20,000 bonus miles for spending at least S$50,000 in a membership year
- Complimentary airport limo transfers
I’ll discuss these in more detail below.
How much must I earn to qualify for a UOB PRVI Miles Card?
Once upon a time, the UOB PRVI Miles Card required an annual income of S$80,000. However, the requirement was gradually lowered, and today the card has been repositioned at the S$30,000 entry-level segment.
If you don’t meet the income requirement, you can place a S$10,000 fixed deposit with UOB and get a secured version of the card. Visit any UOB branch for further information.
How much is the UOB PRVI Miles Card’s annual fee?
|Principal Card||Supp. Card|
|First Year||Free||First 1 free, S$128.40 after|
|Subsequent||S$256.80||First 1 free, S$128.40 after|
While other general spending cards like the Citi PremierMiles and DBS Altitude carry S$192.60 annual fees, the UOB PRVI Miles is slightly more expensive.
Principal cardholders are charged S$256.80 per year, with the first year waived. There is a perpetual fee waiver for the first supplementary card, and a S$128.40 annual fee for the second card onwards.
Most general spending cards charge you an annual fee if you don’t hit a minimum annual spend, but award you some miles in return. With UOB, it’s the opposite.
- If you spend at least S$50,000 in a membership year on the UOB PRVI Miles AMEX, your annual fee will be waived and you’ll receive 20,000 miles. This will be credited in the form of 10,000 UNI$ within two statement periods from the card’s anniversary date
- If you miss the threshold, or if you hold the UOB PRVI Miles Mastercard or UOB PRVI Miles Visa, you’ll be billed the annual fee at the start of the second year with no miles to show for it.
Fee waivers are possible, 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, and it’s up to you to monitor your balance and request a waiver when this happens. If you have insufficient UNI$, the annual fee will be billed in cash.
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 Spend||🌎 FCY Spend||➕ Bonus Spend|
|1.4 mpd||2.4 mpd||6 mpd on Agoda, Expedia, and UOB Travel|
UOB PRVI Miles Card members earn UNI$3.5 for every S$5 spent in Singapore Dollars, and UNI$6 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 2.4 mpd for FCY spending. This is the highest earn rate for any general spending card at the S$30,000 income level, but be warned! You might be earning less than you think on smaller transactions, thanks to UOB’s nasty rounding policy (more on that below).
|Cards||Local MPD||FCY MPD|
|UOB PRVI Miles||1.4||2.4|
|OCBC 90°N Mastercard||1.2||2.1|
|AMEX KrisFlyer Ascend||1.2||2.0*|
|AMEX KrisFlyer Credit Card||1.1||2.0*|
|OCBC 90°N Visa||1.0||2.0|
|BOC Elite Miles||1.0||2.0|
|KrisFlyer UOB Credit Card||1.2||1.2|
|*June and Dec only, otherwise 1.1 mpd|
The other thing you need to be careful about are UOB$ merchants. 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|
All overseas transactions are subject to a 3.25% fee, and using your UOB PRVI Miles Card overseas represents buying miles at 1.35 cents each.
Unfortunately, there’s another UOB quirk 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, card transactions made overseas but effected/charged in Singapore dollars and online transactions effected in Singapore dollars or in foreign currencies at merchants with payment gateway in Singapore will not be treated as overseas transactions and will earn UNI$3.5 per S$5 spend
In other words, if you’re shopping on an online website which bills you US$100 (~S$140), but processes the payment within Singapore (Hotels.com is an example), you’ll earn miles at the local spending rate of 1.4 mpd.
How do you know where the payment processing is done? You don’t. This is something you’ll just have to learn as you go along, by tracking your points carefully.
This applies to bookings made by 30 April 2023, with travel by 31 July 2023. You can find the full T&C of this offer here.
For bookings made through this Agoda link, UOB PRVI Miles Card members will earn 6 mpd on hotel reservations made by 31 December 2022 and used by 30 June 2023. You can find the full T&C of this offer here.
For bookings made through this UOB Travel link, UOB PRVI Miles Card members will earn 6 mpd with any hotel, or the following airlines:
Bookings must be made by 31 December 2022. You can find the full T&C of this offer here.
One caveat: hotels booked through the links above may be more expensive than publicly-available rates. Always compare prices before booking, and make sure you’re not overpaying for miles.
When are UNI$ 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 PRVI Miles 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|
|FCY Spend||Round down transaction to nearest S$5, then divide by 5 and multiply by 6. Round down to the nearest whole number|
Unfortunately, UOB has one of the most punitive rounding policies in the game, which can adversely affect your earn rates especially on smaller transactions.
UOB first rounds your transaction down to the nearest S$5, divides it by 5, then multiplies the amount by 3.5 UNI$ (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$9.99 on your UOB PRVI Miles Card. You might figure that’s 14 miles (S$9.99 @ 1.4 mpd), but…
- The S$9.99 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$ (6 miles), an effective rate of just 0.6 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 PRVI Miles 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 PRVI Miles Card with SimplyGo?
Don’t worry: for Mastercard, SimplyGo transactions are batched and posted every 5 days, 21 transactions, or S$15, whichever comes first. For Visa, UNI$ 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 having a higher headline rate, you may earn fewer miles on the UOB PRVI Miles Card than the Citi PremierMiles Card depending on transaction size. Consider the following:
|UOB PRVI Miles|
Earn rate: 1.4 mpd
Earn rate: 1.2 mpd
|S$5||6 miles||6 miles|
|S$9.99||6 miles||11 miles|
|S$15||20 miles||18 miles|
|S$19.99||20 miles||23 miles|
|S$25||34 miles||30 miles|
|S$29.99||34 miles||35 miles|
|S$35||48 miles||42 miles|
|S$39.99||48 miles||47 miles|
If you’re an excel geek, here’s the formulas you need to calculate points:
|Local Spend||=ROUNDDOWN (ROUNDDOWN (X/5,0) * 3.5,0)|
|FCY Spend||=ROUNDDOWN (ROUNDDOWN (X/5,0) * 6,0)|
|Where X= Amount Spent|
For the full list of formulas that banks use to calculate credit card points, do refer to these articles:
What transactions aren’t eligible for UNI$?
A full list of transactions that do not earn UNI$ can be found in the T&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
UNI$ will be awarded for CardUp transactions, but not ipaymy.
What do I need to know about UNI$?
|❌ Expiry||↔️ Pooling||✈️ Transfer Fee|
UNI$ expire after 2 years, which isn’t as good as the non-expiring points earned on the Citi PremierMiles, DBS Altitude or OCBC 90°N.
On the plus side, UNI$ pool across cards. If you have 10,000 UNI$ on the UOB PRVI Miles 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 PRVI Miles Card, assuming it’s not your last UNI$-earning card.
UOB’s marketing materials claim that you can redeem miles from “over 40 partner airlines”, but that’s a flat-out misrepresentation.
In reality, UOB has only two airline transfer partners: KrisFlyer and Asia Miles. Where the “over 40” claim comes from is the fact that KrisFlyer miles can be used to redeem flights on all 26 Star Alliance members, and Asia Miles on all 13 oneworld members. But that’s not the same as cardholders being able to redeem Turkish Airlines or British Airways miles, both of which have their own sweet spots.
UNI$ 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$15,000 (30,000 miles) in your account at all times, for reasons I don’t quite understand. UOB provides the following explanation, for what it’s worth.
This is to give card members the flexibility to convert the UNI$ 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 in the process. 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.
Other card perks
Buy miles with UOB Payment Facility
The UOB Payment Facility is a “no questions asked” bill payment facility that lets you buy as many miles as your credit limit allows. The regular price is 2 cents, but we often see this cut to 1.8 cents during periodic promotions.
How it works is you 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$5,000 + 2% admin fee, which may be lower during promotions)
- Award UNI$ at a rate of UNI$2.5 per S$5
- This gives you a total of 2,500 UNI$ (5,000 miles; the admin 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$100, or 2 cents per mile.
While I’m of the opinion that 1.8 cents per mile is on the high side to pay, it could be a relatively cheap way of topping off your UNI$ balance if you’re just shy of a 5,000 UNI$ transfer block.
Complimentary airport limo (AMEX only)
By spending S$1,000 in foreign currency (excluding phone, mail or online transactions) in a calendar quarter, cardholders receive two complimentary airport limo transfers to Changi Airport.
This is the lowest spending requirement of any card in Singapore, and even more generous than cards in the $120K segment.
|UOB PRVI Miles AMEX||S$1K (FCY) per quarter for 2 rides||2 per quarter|
|HSBC Visa Infinite||S$2K per month for 1 ride|
(First 2 [Regular] or 4 [Premier] per year are free)
|24 per year|
(includes free rides)
|Maybank Visa Infinite||S$3K per month for 2 rides||8 per year|
|OCBC VOYAGE||S$5K per month for 1 ride||2 per month|
|Citi Prestige||S$12K per quarter for 2 rides||2 per quarter|
Limo services need to be booked at least 2 days in advance of travel. Your card will initially be charged S$45, which will be automatically reimbursed within two months after quarter ends, if the spending criteria is met.
A maximum of two free rides can be booked per quarter.
Summary Review: UOB PRVI Miles Card
The UOB PRVI Miles Card certainly has things going for it: the highest earn rates of any entry-level general spending card, pooling UNI$, and a very generous airport limo benefit for the AMEX version.
On the other hand, UOB cards present their own set of gotchas:
- S$5 earning blocks and rounding
- Automatic UNI$ deductions for annual fees
- UOB$ merchants which don’t earn miles
- The overseas payment gateway requirement for FCY bonuses
- A UNI$15,000 minimum balance to use the automatic conversion features
- “First X” style sign-up bonuses (at least historically speaking; to their credit, they’re running one right now which has no cap)
It feels like you constantly need to be on your guard, and if that’s not the kind of relationship you’re looking for, then the UOB PRVI Miles may not be the right card for you (I’m much more willing to overlook these faults with the UOB Preferred Platinum Visa and UOB Visa Signature, simply because of the potential for 4 mpd almost everywhere).
So that’s my review of the UOB PRVI Miles 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|