UOB credit card fee waivers: Don’t get more than 1 UOB card if you want to waive your annual fee!

UOB credit card fee waivers: Don't get more than 1 UOB card if you want to waive your annual fee
(Image credit: Avery Evans on Unsplash)

Disclaimer: I am PISSED OFF at UOB right now, so take this with as many grains of salt as you will.

Before I go into UOB credit card fee waivers, and why you shouldn’t get more than one UOB credit card if you want to waive your annual fee, let me give you some context so you get where I’m coming from and why I’m so mad.

(By the way, if what you’re looking for are the actual steps to go about applying for a credit card fee waiver, click here to jump ahead and skip my rant.)

One of my more frivolous goals in life is to be able to fly Suites/First Class in SIA whenever I travel — after this whole COVID-19 mess is over and we can fly again in luxury without fear of dying, or causing someone else to die.

(I’ve actually achieved this goal once. I flew Suites to London from Singapore in April 2019. One day, when I’m up to it, I’ll detail it here. It’s definitely an experience worth repeating.)

Since I’m not actually a millionaire, and never want to spend $20,000 of my own hard-earned money on a Suites ticket to London (or whichever long-distance flight would make it the most worthwhile), I’ve gone about this goal by collecting miles like crazy. My only goal for owning credit cards is to collect enough points to turn into miles, so I have several different cards that allows me to earn the most points in the areas of my life that I spend most frequently on.

(I’m sure at this point, some people will jump in and tell me that I should just consolidate all my spending into one credit card or something so I can earn points faster. To which I say: My system works for me and helps me earn the most miles from my spending, unlike consolidating all my spending in one card.)

So back to the point of this post: I’ve owned two UOB credit cards for about five years: a UOB Preferred Platinum Visa and a UOB Preferred Amex card. The Visa card gives me 10x UNI$ for mobile contactless payments, entertainment and online shopping — which equates to 4 miles/$1 spent — while the UOB Preferred Amex gives me 10x UNI$ for dining. (The UOB Preferred Amex is unfortunately no longer available for application.)

I’ve been able to get the annual fee waived off for the past few years, so I was a very satisfied customer. THIS YEAR however, UOB deducted 6,500UNI$ from my account for the annual fee, and absolutely REFUSED to credit it back. The bank reps told me that they could only do it if I consolidated both cards into one and cancelled the other card. In this case, my Amex will have to go, since I haven’t been able to do much dining this year. (HELLO, COVID-19 anyone???)

And yes, I tried my damndest to get a waiver. I called the UOB hotline 4 times, and even wrote in to them. No dice.

  • 1st time: Applied through phone banking. Didn’t get a reply.
  • 2nd time: Realised I didn’t get a reply when my next statement showed that my UNI$ weren’t reimbursed. Applied through phone banking again. Decided to speak with a rep, who told me they didn’t receive any fee waiver request. 😡 Asked the rep to submit it for me. Received an SMS rejection a few days later.
  • 3rd time: Called hotline. Asked why it was rejected. First, the rep told me it was subject to the bank’s approval and they don’t know the reason. She advised me to cancel my Amex to get the UNI$ deduction reversed — even though it was my Preferred Platinum Visa that incurred the annual fee, not the Amex. Then she said it was just the bank policy to charge an annual fee for people holding more than one UOB credit card. I told her I’d think about it.
  • Wrote in to UOB through the contact form to express my extreme displeasure at this bloody ridiculous bank policy. They told me they’re sorry, but my fee waiver request is still denied anyway.
  • 4th time: Called hotline again. Had to sacrifice my UOB Amex card in the end to get back my 6,500UNI$. Asked the bank rep if there’s any point in applying for another UOB credit card in future if UOB is going to punish me for owning more than 1 UOB credit card. He said I could try again since different UOB credit cards offer different rewards. Like duh, I know that — why do you think I own two cards in the first place? Why the hell would I try again??? (Then again, I can’t blame him. He’s only a lowly cog in this stupid machine of a bank.)

Yes, I know that all credit card fee waiver applications are subject to the bank’s approval, and they can reject it for absolutely no reason other than they feel like it. Which is what it seems happened in this case! 😡 (I always pay my bills in full and on time, so there’s no other reason for them to decline it.)

But as a customer who has been using both cards frequently for the past few years (though the Amex less, since it only rewards me in one category while the Visa rewards me in more), I feel absolutely cheated. I got the cards to collect miles, I didn’t get them because I absolutely love and adore UOB and want to give them my business. If they don’t give me my miles, what even is the point of being their customer?

I also hate that they made me choose between cancelling my UOB Preferred Amex card, which is no longer available for application, or hanging on to both cards and accepting that my 6,500 hard-earned UNI$ is gone forever. 🤬 It’s like forcing me to choose which arm I want to cut off. Um, NEITHER?

What kind of stupid bank is this? Why are they deliberately provoking their customers and causing them to be apoplectic with rage every time they think of UOB??? Seriously, I will NEVER give them my business again if I can help it. You bet I will research and explore every single bloody option on the market before I choose UOB for anything ever again.

I was SO angry at the bank that I thought of cancelling both UOB cards. However, I still use the UOB Preferred Platinum Visa frequently enough that it would be silly to cancel it in a moment of pique.

Now I have no credit cards that’ll give me extra points for dining. The one good thing about mobile contactless payments is that most places, including restaurants, have Visa payWave nowadays, so I can use Apple Pay to pay with my UOB Preferred Platinum Visa and still get 10x UNI$. (Except for these places, which give you SMART$ instead. I have zero use for SMART$, so I use another credit card for those places.)

It seems that there’s a payment limit for Visa payWave for transactions of above $200 though. I’m not entirely sure about this because I’ve only used it for transactions over $100 so far. So if I spend more than $200 in a restaurant, I’ll have to go back to my general spending card, which is my DBS Altitude Card which gives me 1.2 miles per $1 spent.

(The UOB Privi Miles card gives 1.4 miles per $1 spent, but like my subject header says: “UOB credit cards: Don’t get more than 1 if you want to waive your annual fee!”. I will be an absolute forking idiot if I fall for that nonsense and apply for another UOB card.)

Anyway, I will continue holding on to my UOB Preferred Platinum Visa, since it’s still useful to me. But if UOB repeats this nonsense again and doesn’t give me a fee waiver next year, I will cancel that card too and say good riddance to bad rubbish. There are so many banks in Singapore, and DBS and OCBC hasn’t let me down (yet) in terms of their credit card policies or fee waiver approvals. There’s no need for anyone to stick with UOB.

*rant over*

Steps to get a UOB credit card fee waiver

By the way, if you are here to actually find out how to get a credit card fee waiver, not listen to me rant about stupid UOB and their stupid policies, here are the steps you can take:

  1. Call the UOB hotline (1800-222-2121), and have your credit card ready. The answering machine will guide you through the process of submitting your application and entering your credit card details. It’s automated, and you’ll receive an SMS in 7 to 10 business days on the outcome of your fee waiver application. Sometimes if you’re lucky, you’ll receive an immediate answer on whether it’s approved or denied.
  2. Email the bank through the contact form. I’m not sure why this contact form is SO difficult to find, but it’s NOT located in any of the links found in the “Contact Us” page that is linked in the footer menu of the UOB website.
    1. You have to sign in to your UOB personal internet banking account first, then click on “Help” on the top right corner, which will lead you to this page.
    2. Scroll until you see “Contact Us” on the left sidebar and a link for “Online Form” right below it. (I’m listing down the steps in case the links no longer work.)
Sample UOB Personal Internet Banking homepage
Sample UOB Personal Internet Banking homepage (“Help” button on the top right corner)

If your application isn’t successful, call the bank hotline, and keep pressing options until you find one that lets you speak to a human customer service rep. Ask them what is going on and why your credit card fee waiver request is denied. Be polite! No matter how frustrated you are, remember it isn’t their fault that the bank is being stupid! They’re just people trying to make a living.

Possible reasons why your credit card fee waiver request is unsuccessful

Because the initial application process through phone banking is automated, the bank has set some criteria so that the system can determine whether to approve or reject your application based on whether you’ve met the criteria or not. Since I don’t work at the bank, or any bank, I’m just hazarding a few guesses as to why your fee waiver application might have been rejected:

  1. Do you pay your credit card bills on time?
  2. Do you pay your credit card bills in full every month or do you only pay a minimum/partial sum?
  3. Do you use your credit card frequently?
  4. Have you met the minimum spending amount for the card per year?

There are probably more questions than just the above, but like I said, I don’t work for the bank, so I don’t know what they are.

If the answer to one of these questions is no, you can try calling the bank hotline to speak to a human customer service rep, to see if there’s anything they can do to help you get a fee waiver. In my case, I suspect that I haven’t met the minimum spending amount for the UOB Amex card. But since the customer service rep said it’s because I have two UOB credit cards and I have to get rid of one, I’ll take them at their word, even though I’ve had two UOB credit cards for the past 5 years and had never had a problem with getting a fee waiver before. 😡

If the answer to most of these questions is no, then I’m sorry, but I cannot imagine any reasonable circumstance in which the bank will give you a credit card fee waiver. 😥 You can try cancelling your credit card instead to avoid the fee, but you can only do that if your bills have been paid in full and you don’t owe any installments on your card.

Just be careful when using your credit cards. Don’t owe any unnecessary credit card debt, and always pay your credit card bill in full if you can! Make sure you don’t owe the bank anything, so you can extricate yourself from an unpleasant, sour relationship at any time you choose.