While banks like DBS, Citi, and OCBC offer modest 1.2 mpd unconditional mile cards, UOB is decidedly more generous at 1.4 mpd, besting all the other entry-level uncondtional mile cards except Bank of China’s Elite Miles.
Is it a worthy card for mile chasers? Let’s take a closer look.
Features & Details
|Earn Rate||1.4 mpd on local spend|
2.4 mpd on overseas spend (3.25% fee)
|Points Details||Pooling of points|
Expire in 2 years
$25 conversion fee
|Conditions||Standard set of exclusions|
Paying at SMART$ don’t earn you miles
Gives miles in blocks of $5 spent
|Limits||No limit to miles earned|
The Amex version of the card currently gives $100 to new and existing UOB cardholders, which is by far one of the most generous for existing cardholders. New cardholders also get an additional $150 if they’re fast enough. See Sign-up Bonus below for more info.
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How much difference does 0.2 mpd make?
I have been putting spend on a 1.2 mpd card for the longest time, and it always irked me a little bit that there was a 1.4 mpd card I wasn’t making use of.
Mile cards isn’t as easy to switch between as cashback cards. After accruing points with one bank, you would want to continue doing so with that bank so that you would incur less conversion fees when the time comes to redeem your points for miles. Also, most cards only allow you to redeem in blocks of 10,000 miles, so having some spend with Bank A’s cards and some with cards of Bank B would lead to pocket of points that can’t be redeemed efficiently.
How much does an extra 0.2 mpd make?
|Annual Spend||1.2 mpd||UOB PRVI||Difference|
|$5,000||6,000 miles||7,000 miles||1,000 miles|
|$10,000||12,000 miles||14,000 miles||2,000 miles|
|$25,000||30,000 miles||35,000 miles||5,000 miles|
|$50,000||60,000 miles||90,000 miles*||30,000 miles|
*At $50,000 spend in a year, UOB PRVI Miles Amex gives a bonus 20,000 miles.
If your annual spend is relatively low at $5,000, an extra 1,000 miles may not be all that compelling. Most 1.2 mpd cards – OCBC 90°N, Citi PremierMiles, DBS Altitude – have no expiry on their points while UOB PRVI does, and earning miles slowly on a card with expiry is a path that should be avoided.
The 0.2 mpd start to become noticeable at higher spends, and I think at $10,000 a year, you might want to switch over from a 1.2 mpd card because 2,000 miles is worth paying an extra $25 of conversion fees for.
Pesky $5 rounding issues and SMART$ merchants
Unfortunately, there is a catch of sorts for PRVI Miles’ extra 0.2 mpd, and that is the card technically gives you 7 miles per $5. That means that if your transaction is $9, you are only awarded 7 miles which is less than 0.8 mpd. Yikes. This problem is most significant when your spending amount is small, but PRVI Miles’ extra 0.2 mpd starts to make sense at larger transactions:
|Amount||1.2 mpd||1.4 mpd|
|$4||4.8 miles||0 miles|
|$19||22.8 miles||21 miles|
|$49||58.8 miles||63 miles|
Also, aside from the Amex version of PRVI Miles, the card earns SMART$ At some merchants, and this translates into cash rebate, instead of UNI$ which can be traded for miles. If you’re using this card for miles, that’s probably not something you want to do. It’s a rather annoying pain point of sorts for mile chasers: I once got 0.3% cashback instead of 1.2 mpd on my UOB KrisFlyer card a $150 purchase. Ugh.
6 mpd on Agoda and Expedia And 4.4 mpd on public transport
You’ll also get 6 mpd on travel expenses if you book via Agoda or Expedia. After the death of OCBC 90°N’s 8 mpd offer, this may be the next option for mile-hungry people to clock swathes of miles on their holiday spend.
Unfortunately, 8 mpd wasn’t attractive enough to me when I can get 6% (and sometimes 12%!) cashback + 4 mpd when I book via ShopBack and using DBS Woman’s World card, so 6 mpd is obviously even more unpalatable.
You also get 4.4 mpd on your bus or MRT rides until 30th June by adding the Mastercard or Visa version of the card into your smartphone and registerIng with UOB. Unfortunately, this doesn’t apply for the Amex version, but since the points are shared across UOB cards, there isn’t any issue with having multiple variants of this card if you want to maximise the benefits.
Great 4 mpd companion cards
What really sets UOB PRVI Miles apart from the rest – including the slightly higher 1.5 mpd Bank of China Elite Miles card – is that you can pair other good 4 mpd condtional UOB mile cards with it, and the points are in the same account so you don’t have to manage multiple pockets of bank points.
One such card would be the UOB Preferred Platinum card, which gives 4 mpd on contactless and online transactions. That’s almost any type of transaction getting a high 4 mpd, while your 1.4 mpd PRVI Miles takes care of everything else.
Ladies also get UOB Lady’s Solitaire card which is a versatile card that gives 4 mpd on two categories of their choice, and a really high limit of $3,000 every month.
Attend my talk on the 20th March 2020 to find out how to utilise these cards for maximum benefit.
The only other bank I can think of that pools points and have good 4 mpd cards to go with their 1.2 mpd ones would be DBS with their Woman’s World and Altitude cards, and even then it lacks an option to get 4 mpd on contactless transactions, which means you’d only get 1.2 mpd at a lot of physical retail outlets.
You can sign up for UOB cards here, which supports my site and earns yourself some rewards in the process.
You get $100 for signing up through my link, and then making 5 transactions in the first 30 days of the card approval. There’s no minimum spend necessary, so it’s an incredibly easy requirement to meet. This offer is for both new and existing UOB cardholders alike, which is really generous for the latter category of people.
Limited: Get 1.8% p.a. on your savings
Banks usually only give about $20 to $30 to existing cardholders, with the most I’ve witnessed being $50 to $70 for StanChart cards recently, so $100 is fantastic. It’s a real first-world privilege to earn so much just by filling out an online form.
New cardholders get a chance for an additional $150 if you’re the first 800 cardholders to clock $1,500 on their card in the first month of approval. I would say that 800 is a tiny number and there’s no telling if you’d get this. The contest of sorts started 1st March, so if you want to try your luck, the time is now.
For people starting out on miles, UOB is a great starting point. PRVI Miles’ 1.4 mpd is one of the highest earn rates for unconditional cards – albeit with a slight annoyance with miles being awarded per $5 block – and can be coupled with a 4 mpd UOB card for fast accrual of points within the same pocket of miles.
- One of the highest earn rate for an unconditional mile card
- Shares points with UOB’s 4 mpd cards
- Lost miles if transactions are not in neat $5 blocks
- Unlike some competitors, this doesn’t come with lounge access
- Points expire in 2 years
- Spending a large amount at a merchant only to discover it’s a SMART$ merchant