My take on the UBS 100K bonus offers

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UBS 100K offer
UBS Wealth Management is out with 100K offers for their Visa Signature Cards.  One is a consumer card and the other is a business card.  Are the UBS 100K offers worth pursuing?

UBS 100K Offers
The structure of each offer is the same:

  • First year annual fee is waived.
  • Earn 50,000 points after $10,000 spend in 3 months.
  • Earn 50,000 additional points after paying the second year annual fee.
Card Offer
UBS Visa Infinite
Up to 100K points (call to apply)
50K after $10K spend in 3 months + 50K after paying 2nd year annual fee

No Annual Fee First Year, Then $495

How to apply

UBS doesn’t make it easy to apply.  The landing pages for these cards state:

To learn more about the UBS Visa Signature credit card, call 800-762-1000 or contact your UBS Financial Advisor.

According to US Credit Card Guide, here’s how to apply:

Everyone can apply. If you are an existing UBS customer, just contact your UBS Financial Advisor to apply. If not, call 888-762-1232 and press 3, tell the CSR you want to apply for this card and they will physically MAIL a form to you, then you need to fill out the form and mail to UBS to complete the application.

What are points worth?

Points can be redeemed for 1 cent each or you can buy airfare at a favorable rate if the total comes to just under $350 or, better yet, $900:

  • Redeem 25,000 points for a ticket up to $350 (up to 1.4 cents per point value)
  • Redeem 50,000 points for a ticket up to $900 (up to 1.8 cents per point value)

For tickets costing more than $350 or more than $900, the difference in price must be paid at a rate of 5,000 points for any additional cost of up to $50. Additional payments may be made 5,000 points at a time.  In other words, a $901 ticket would cost 55,000 points (1.6 cents per point value) and so would a $950 ticket (1.7 cents per point value).

Doctor of Credit says that with the consumer card you can redeem 35K points to cover the card’s annual fee.  Meanwhile, US Credit Card Guide says that it costs 40K points to cover the annual fee.  My bet is that US Credit Card Guide’s info is more recent.  I don’t know whether the business card has a similar feature but I’ll update this post once a reader lets me know.

For the purpose of estimating first year value, we set the per point value to 1.5 cents per point based on the idea of redeeming a $750 flight for 50,000 points.

What are the signup bonuses worth?

When we show credit card offers and estimate first year value (see: Credit card signup bonus estimation details), we do not include bonuses that are received in the second year.  So, the signup bonuses for these cards are more valuable than shown since they include a second 50,000 point bonus after paying your second year annual fee.

If we continue to assume that 50,000 points are worth about $750, then we can calculate second year value by simply subtracting out the annual fee:

  • UBS Visa Infinite: $750 – $495 = $255
  • UBS Visa Infinite Business: $750 – $550 = $200

The above calculation doesn’t include the fact that you could make use of airline fee credits a second time.  We usually value airline fee credits at 90% of face value and so here are the second year values with airline fee credits added in:

  • UBS Visa Infinite: $750 – $495 + 90% of $250 = $480
  • UBS Visa Infinite Business: $750 – $550 + 90% of $350 = $515

As you can see above, either card is clearly worth keeping in the second year even if you don’t value any other perks.

Are the cards worth keeping beyond year 2?

The USB Visa Infinite cards are ultra-premium cards with some high end features.  Here are some of the benefits that the two cards have in common:

  • Priority Pass Select airport lounge membership
  • $100 towards Global Entry or TSA Pre√
  • Travel accident insurance, emergency medical evacuation coverage, delayed & lost luggage, trip delay, trip interruption, trip cancellation
  • Price protection, event ticket protection, return protection, extended warranty, purchase protection
  • No foreign transaction fees

Here are some features that are specific to the consumer UBS Visa Infinite Card:

  • $250 annual airline fee credit for selected domestic airline
  • 12 Gogo inflight wifi passes
  • Primary car rental collision and theft insurance coverage
  • 3x for commercial air travel, 2x for gas and groceries, and 1X elsewhere else

Here are some features that are specific to the UBS Visa Infinite Business Card:

  • $350 annual airline fee credit for selected domestic airline
  • Primary rental car coverage for business rentals
  • 3x for air travel and hotel stays, 2x for eligible business expenses (office supplies, business cable/internet, shipping, business phone and advertising), 1X everywhere else

And here are more complete details about the cards and their point earning rates:

  • Card Name w Details No Review (no offer)
    UBS Visa Infinite

    Annual Fee: First year free, then $495

    Card Type: Visa Infinite

    Base
    Travel
    Gas
    Grocery

    Earning rate: 3x for commercial air travel, 2x for gas and groceries, and 1X everywhere else

    Big spend bonus: Up to $500 credit towards airport club day pass or annual airport club membership after $50K calendar year spend.

    Noteworthy perks: Priority Pass Select ⚬ $250 annual airline fee credit for selected domestic airline ⚬ 12 Gogo inflight wifi passes ⚬ $100 towards Global Entry or TSA Pre√ ⚬ Primary car rental collision and theft insurance coverage ⚬ Travel accident insurance, emergency medical evacuation coverage, lost luggage, trip delay, trip cancellation ⚬ No foreign transaction fees

    See also: My take on the UBS Visa Infinite bonus offers

  • Card Name w Details No Review (no offer)
    UBS Visa Infinite Business

    Annual Fee: First year free, then $550

    Card Type: Visa Infinite

    Base
    Travel
    Phone
    Office
    Biz

    Earning rate: 3x for air travel and hotel stays, 2x for eligible business expenses (office supplies, business cable/internet, shipping, business phone and advertising), 1X everywhere else

    Big spend bonus: Up to $500 credit towards airport club day pass or annual airport club membership after $50K calendar year spend.

    Noteworthy perks: Priority Pass Select ⚬ $350 annual airline fee credit for selected domestic airline ⚬ $100 towards Global Entry or TSA Pre√ ⚬ Primary rental car coverage for business rentals ⚬ Travel accident insurance, emergency medical evacuation coverage, delayed & lost luggage, trip delay, trip interuption, trip cancellation ⚬ Price protection, event ticket protection, return protection, extended warranty, purchase protection ⚬ No foreign transaction fees

    See also: My take on the UBS Visa Infinite bonus offers

Both cards appear to offer a very nice selection of travel and purchase protections (but I haven’t yet dug into them to see how good they are compared to the competition).  The business card has an advantage in that it includes $100 more airline fee credit than the personal card but costs only $55 more per year.  On the other hand, the personal card includes 12 Gogo passes per year which could be valuable to some.

Both cards have 2X and 3X bonus categories.  If you believe that you’ll average 1.5 cents per point value when you redeem points, then those categories are like 3% and 4.5% rebates towards flights.  At 1.8 cents per point (the theoretic maximum point value), those categories are like 3.6% and 5.4% rebates towards flights.  Those are impressive numbers but not necessarily the best available.  For our roundup of the best of the best, please see: Best Category Bonuses: Which card to use where?

Bottom Line

You might think that this is a bad time to be thinking about signing up for ultra-premium travel cards.  I agree.  On the other hand, if you’re pretty sure that you’ll be flying within the next two years and that you can make good use of the cards’ points towards flights, then it’s worth considering these offers.  Both offers are very strong.  Even if you end up cashing out points at 1 cent each, you’ll come out ahead as long as you cancel at the end of year 2.

My recommendation is to wait until July to see how the world looks at that time.  Both offers are advertised as available until July 31, 2020.

Can you apply for both cards?  I don’t know.  The terms make it sound like the intended answer is no: “Bonus offer is not available to either current or previous UBS credit cardmembers.”  However, if you apply for both at once, you would be neither a current nor previous cardmember.  If you’re interested in applying for both I’d recommend simply asking whoever you talk to when you call to requent an application (or two).

Will I apply?  Probably not.  It sounds like a lot of work.  Supposedly they’ll mail you an application that has to be filled out and sent back in.  Bleh.

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Jan

I just called to apply, they said the current offer for the personal card is 85k after $3k spend in 3 mos. The business offer was $150 after $5k spend. Yet they said they are NOT able to provide the language of this offer in writing, either online or on paper when they mail the application. So i would have to trust the word of a CSR which to me is not worth the risk. They literally won’t give me proof of the existence of the SUB offer in writing.

Jason

I called them to get an application, but I was told that this offer is only available to certain UBS clients with significant investments. The public offer was substantially different: 25,000 points for spending $3K in 3 months and the annual fee is not waived in the first year. Maybe I ran into a bad agent, but if others are experiencing the same thing, that should really be called out in this post.

YoniPDX

Been on the fence about just cashing in our UR/MR USB AR points.

¹l CSR/CSP 48 month interim card

In some ways depending on where you are with CSP/CSR 48 month bonus cycle (we are 2017/18) as well as other Premium cards. This card could make sense.

I haven’t done due diligence on this card for DP for a few things, also is this a niche product like CNB Infinite visa (RIP) – much more lucrative. Than the pimped Ultra premium cards.

Do AU get PP as well? You get up to 24 AU’s for free (its not CNB with travel credits).

2) Price Protection – last card standing?

Based on DOC – haven’t checked if still alive and kicking but Price protection up to $500 per and $1.5K per year.

+/- Event ticket protection up to $500 per event ticket, $2,000 per event, and $4,000 per year

100K points worth a pair of $900 ($1,800) airline tickets reedmed for air travel thats 13-33 months from approval and/or MSR – as long as no devaluations take place.

Might not be for everyone with $10K MSR – if it has to be organic rather than MS.

Aaron

The first year annual is waived on this current offer, making it significantly more valuable. Because the 2nd year component provides more points than it takes to pay the fee, most people will want to keep the card for year 2, getting additional value from the application and inquiry.

Ed k

Sorry if this was in the article and I didn’t notice. Can you redeem the bonus for a statement credit or cash back or strictly travel? I realize travel is more “valuable” redemption-wise, but it’s of no use for me for the next couple years. Been to Italy in 2019 and they were already having a virus outbreak due to too many tourists via AirBnB. They should have placed visitor limits last year in a number of hotspots that used to be very expensive to stay at hotels. When certain areas approved homes bei g opened up to tourists for less money/points it was their downfall and the CDC didn’t notify or were not notified about the Rotavirus. Then, on the plane home in first class there was just one person coughing real bad and some of us got bronchitis. I wasn’t even supposed to sit next to him, but the seat me and my wife selected almost a year earlier (my seat was broken). Still an ok trip in sone regards, but avoiding crowded places is imperative now. Sorry for my rant today at over-tourism that could have been prevented and an airline that didn’t even compensate me with points (BA/AA).

Mark

Yeah, statement credit is available at 1 cpp. It seems like if you’re interested in statement credit, your best bet would be to save some points to pay the 2nd year fee as that yields > 1 cpp.

Sophia

What charges does the airline fee credit cover?

Mark

My understanding is that the airline credits work just like amex’s where one has to select a specific airline and the intended use is incidentals. No idea about whether any of the same tricks apply.

DaveS

Thanks for the discussion. Obviously value varies a lot depending on personal circumstances. I don’t value airline fee credits much in normal conditions, and would consider them virtually worthless right now. The other perks are duplicated by cards I have already and am more likely to keep. The only real value is in the bonus points, and that’s not exceptional compared to other options.

Ed k

I agree. In fact, banks will have to realize that in order to really attract some of us we are mainly interested in bonuses and continued point redemptions that allow cash back or at least a statement credit. Traveling is yesterday’s big thing and obviously no one really wants go or even can travel now. In the future, then sure. But, it’s going to be a while before many of us big travelers venture. Even if you find a remote place that is untouched by recent events, you still have to go through airports to get there. And right now, those places require US travelers to be quarantined for 2 weeks before you can actually get to your preferred hotel (think island chains). Most just want cash. Show me the money! The banks are wallowing in trillions of dollars, but they need to do business now or they will lose customers and even high valued ones.