Review: UOB PRVI Miles Card

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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.

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
★★★1/2
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
  • Highest-earning general spend card in Singapore (at the S$30K mark)
  • Airport limo benefit (for AMEX)
  • Periodic bonus miles offers
  • No-questions-asked miles purchase facility
  • Rounding policies, UOB$ merchants, automatic UNI$ deductions and overseas payment gateway clauses all feel like gotchas
  • 2 year points expiry
  • No miles with annual fee payment
  • No lounge access
💳 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. 

Apply (AMEX)
Apply (MC)
Apply (Visa)
Income Req.S$30,000 p.a.Points Validity2 years
Annual FeeS$256.80
(FYF)
Min.
Transfer
5,000 UNI$
(10,000 miles)
Miles with
Annual Fee
N/ATransfer
Partners
  • SIA
  • Cathay Pacific
FCY Fee3.25%Transfer FeeS$25
Local Earn1.4 mpdPoints Pool?Yes
FCY Earn2.4 mpd
Lounge Access?No
Special Earn6 mpd on Agoda, Expedia, UOB TravelAirport Limo?Yes 
(AMEX only)
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 CardSupp. Card
First YearFreeFirst 1 free, S$128.40 after
SubsequentS$256.80First 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 mpd2.4 mpd6 mpd on Agoda, Expedia, and UOB Travel

SGD/FCY Spend

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).

CardsLocal MPDFCY MPD
UOB PRVI Miles1.42.4
OCBC 90°N Mastercard1.22.1
Citi PremierMiles1.22.0
DBS Altitude1.22.0
AMEX KrisFlyer Ascend1.22.0*
AMEX KrisFlyer Credit Card1.12.0*
OCBC 90°N Visa1.02.0
BOC Elite Miles1.02.0
KrisFlyer UOB Credit Card1.21.2
*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. 

CategoryMerchants
Dining
  • 8 Degrees Taiwanese Bistro
  • Aburi-EN Grand (Paragon)
  • Baker & Cook
  • Bee Cheng Hiang
  • Bones ‘N Slaw
  • BreadTalk
  • Canteen by Trapeze Rec. Club
  • Cellarbration
  • CHICHA San Chen
  • Co Chung
  • Chicken Claypot House
  • Famous Kitchen
  • Fatburger & Buffalo’s
  • Feng Tian Xiao Chu
  • Hard Rock Cafe
  • Hitoyoshi Ramen & Gril
  • Hitoyoshi Yoshi Sushi
  • Indian House
  • I.N.U Cafe & Boutique
  • Mr Coconut
  • Mun ZUk
  • Nam Kee Chicken Rice Restaurant
  • Patisserie G
  • Pazzion Cafe
  • Polar Puffs & Cakes
  • Potato Corner
  • Prince Kitchen
  • Qin Ji Rougamo
  • Q-WA Izakaya
  • Ramen Hitoyoshi
  • Starbucks
  • Tangmen Restaurant
  • Tian Tian You Yu
  • ToastBox
  • Wangzi Music Restaurant
  • Xiu Jie Shan Cheng Fish
  • Yuan Cuisine Group
Gourmet Dining
  • Bincho at Hua Bee
  • Bincho at Min Jiang
  • Marguerite
  • Hortus
  • Kotuwa
  • Majestic Bay
  • Meatsmith Little India
  • Meatsmith Telok Ayer
  • Restaurant Majestic
  • Salted and Hung
Groceries
  • Cold Storage
  • Giant
Retail & Services
  • agnes B
  • Buf’d Nail Spa
  • bYSI
  • Crocodile
  • Delta Dental Surgeons
  • DermaCurate
  • EMW Physiotherapy & TCM
  • Fenjiu Flagship Store
  • Gordon Max
  • G-Star Raw
  • Guardian
  • Honey World
  • iRUN
  • King Koil & Ashley Homestores
  • Limited Edit Underground
  • Marco Nail Spa
  • Masculine Men Skincare
  • Miniso
  • MissFit
  • New Era
  • Optique Paris Miki
  • Osman Silk House
  • Pazzion
  • Perky Lash
  • Picota Nail Spa
  • Qoosh Nail Spa
  • Replay
  • Salivan Beauty Clinic
  • Sports Fashion
  • United Overseas Insurance
  • Winter Time
  • Western Corp
  • Yangyi Beauty and BodyCare
Travel & Entertainment
  • Cathay Cineplexes
  • City Tours

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. 

Bonus Spending

For bookings made through this Expedia link, UOB PRVI Miles Card members will earn 6 mpd with selected hotels or the following airlines. 

  • Air Macau 
  • Air Mauritius
  • Air Niugini
  • Cambodia Angkor Air
  • China Eastern 
  • China Southern
  • Finnair
  • Garuda Indonesia
  • Hawaiian Air
  • Korean Air
  • Lao Airlines
  • Myanmar Intl Airlines
  • Saudia
  • Shenzhen Airlines
  • Sichuan Airlines
  • THAI
  • Turkish Airlines
  • Xiamen Airlines

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:

  • Air China
  • Air France
  • American Airlines
  • Asiana
  • British Airways
  • Cathay Pacific
  • China Airlines
  • China Eastern
  • China Southern
  • Emirates
  • Etihad
  • EVA Air
  • Finnair
  • Garuda Indonesia
  • Japan Airlines
  • KLM
  • Lufthansa
  • Qantas
  • Qatar Airways
  • Starlux Airlines
  • SWISS 
  • United

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 SpendRound 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
citi premiermiles card reviewCiti PremierMiles
Earn rate: 1.2 mpd
S$56 miles6 miles
S$9.996 miles11 miles
S$1520 miles18 miles
S$19.9920 miles23 miles
S$2534 miles30 miles
S$29.9934 miles35 miles
S$3548 miles42 miles
S$39.9948 miles47 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
  • Education
  • Government Services 
  • Insurance
  • Prepaid account top-ups (e.g. GrabPay, YouTrip)
  • Real Estate Agents & Managers
  • Utilities

UNI$ will be awarded for CardUp transactions, but not ipaymy.

What do I need to know about UNI$?

❌ Expiry↔️ Pooling✈️ Transfer Fee
2 yearsYesS$25

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.

uob prvi miles lies

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 ProgrammeConversion Ratio
(UNI$: Partner)
krisflyer logo5,000: 10,000
asia miles logo5,000: 10,000

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)

Not only is the UOB PRVI Miles AMEX the only S$30,000 credit card to feature a limo benefit, it also has the lowest spending requirement on the market.

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. 

CardQualifying
Spend (QS)
Cap
UOB PRVI Miles AMEX
S$1K (FCY) per quarter for 2 rides2 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 rides8 per year
OCBC VOYAGE
S$5K per month for 1 ride2 per month
Citi Prestige
S$12K per quarter for 2 rides2 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

Apply (AMEX)
Apply (MC)
Apply (Visa)

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?

Overall Score
★★★1/2
Ratings Guide
5 Stars
★★★★★
An essential card for miles chasers, with few viable alternatives 
4 Stars
★★★★
A very good card, although other equally good alternatives may exist
3 Stars
★★★
A decent card to round out your collection, but not absolutely essential
2 Stars
★★
Very limited use cases, and outperformed by most other cards
1 Star

Paperweight. Use for picking teeth or ninja stars

 

Aaron Wong
Aaron Wong
Aaron founded The Milelion to help people travel better for less and impress chiobu. He was 50% successful.

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SQ Flyer

This has come down a long way. Back in the day before all the various category multipliers came about, the PRVI Miles Amex was a leading 1.6/2.8mpd for local and overseas spend respectively.

Wei zong

I wonder what card would be given a 5*

Adam

Maybe a card that has a decent general spend rate, along with a range of 4 mpd bonus categories, uncapped. Something like the UOB krisflyer card without the delayed miles caveat.

Adam

1 star card candidates:
BOC Elite Miles
Krisflyer UOB debit card
UOB Preferred Platinum Mastercard
OCBC Platinum Card

Last edited 2 years ago by Adam
Wilfred

Timely reminder to check my statement for that annual fee and it looks like June is when my annual fee is due, for which they’ve quietly deducted 6000 UNI$

Is UOB worth your time?

They’ve updated the list of merchants on UOB$ programme again. Seems like King Koil and some merchants have been removed and others added

Hawaii

For me, this is a very decent card. If you can hit $50k spend in 1 year, that’s effectively 1.8 miles per dollar for spending $50,000. Forget about all the other “perks” (for me, I never use UOB for them) and just make I don’t use the card for things like utilities or insurance, then it works well for me. No annual fees after $50k spend, so that is the magic number to make this card worth it.

Hawaii

i would say, zero to minimal

CY Lee

But Amex Highflyer limits conversion of 30K miles a year for each Krisflyer account. Spending $50K will take me 3 years to convert to miles.

intransitmostlikely

Looks poor. OCBC Voyage next, please! 🙏

Frustrated

Have a very unpleasant experienced with UOB Prvi Miles card. They could not recongised one overseas transaction due to special characters in the merchant name (it is in Swiss) hence no UNI$ rewarded. Have called UOB CS numerous times but they just kept saying have raised this up to their relevant department and no follow up at all. Standard reply is “please allow 5 to 7 working days to get back to you” and when there is no SMS, you called CS and then the cycle repeats. End of the story: Think twice when you decide to use this card… Read more »

Frustrated

Have a very unpleasant experience with UOB Prvi Miles card. They could not recognised one overseas transaction due to special characters in the merchant name (it is in Swiss) hence no UNI$ rewarded. Have called UOB CS numerous times but they just kept saying have raised this up to their relevant department and no follow up at all. Standard reply is “please allow 5 to 7 working days to get back to you” and when there is no SMS, you called CS and then the cycle repeats. It has been 2 months and it have not been resolved. So you… Read more »

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