If you are into accumulating miles through your credit card spending in Singapore, chances are you will hold the UOB PRVI MasterCard (or Visa, or it’s more affluent counterpart – Amex).
While the earn rate is now somewhat on the average side with newer entrants such as the BOC Elite Miles card, one of the most powerful function of this card is the ability to buy miles on demand through PRVI Pay.
What is PRVI Pay?
Launched in 2017, PRVI Pay is essentially a cash advance facility offered by UOB with a 2% fee for a one-time drawdown (which means you need to pay back at the end of your billing cycle), or a 2.2% fee if you want to break the about into a 3-month instalment. As with any other unsecured loan, you do not actually need to show that you actually need the money and it is credited into your bank account directly.
The cash advance also earns you an effective rate of 1 mile per dollar drawn through PRVI Pay, awarded in blocks of 2.5 UNI$ per $5 drawn. This means you are effectively buying miles at 2 cents per mile, or 2.2 cents per mile if you opted for the 3-month instalment version (PSA: you should not be taking out instalments from your credit cards anyway).
What is changing
From 15 March 2019, PRVI Pay will increase the admin fee to 2.1% for the one-time drawdown, and remove the instalment option altogether.
This means that you are paying 2.1 cent per mile and the sum will have to be cleared off within the grace period of your statement. While this is a nominal increase, the amount can quickly add up: if you were planning to ‘buy’ 10,000 miles, you will need to pay $210 in fees alone. Not the best way to earn miles, if you ask me.
This is still cheaper than buying miles outright from Singapore Airlines or Asia Miles, if you are short. For the record, you can’t actually buy miles from Singapore Airlines, you can ‘top up’ through the ‘Mix Miles & Cash’ option at a rate of roughly 5.4 cents per mile. As for Asia Miles, you are able to purchase them in blocks of 1,000 at about 4.4 cents per mile.
So should you still use PRVI Pay?
There are several instance where PRVI Pay is still useful. For instance, if you are very close to having enough miles for a upcoming redemption you need (like for Spontaneous Escapes), and this will come in handy without having to splurge on buying miles outright.
Also remember, there is a one-time fee of S$25 each time you transfer UOB’s UNI$ into Asia Miles or Krisflyer, and the transfer needs to be done in blocks of 10,000 miles.
The real good thing about PRVI Pay is the fact that it can be used to pay for anything you want, or even just to round trip the number back into your credit card balance, since UOB make the payment directly to your bank account. This in itself makes it a mile-buying mechanism more than anything else.
Given that the rate has become even less attractive, plus the fact that there are many other credit cards and channels to earn miles at better rates (e.g. iPayMy, CardUp), you should really save this for a incredibly turbulent and rainy day.