UBS Infinite Card
A $250 annual airline incidental credit (good on one airline) can partially offset the annual fee.
25,000 UBS Points
$3,000 initial spend
($70 net value, .02/$)Signup Bonus Chart
3x Airfare (≈4.5%)
2x Groceries and Gas (≈3%)
1x Everything Else (≈1.5%)
No Foreign Transaction Fee
The UBS Infinite Card is a not-very-well-known Premium Reward card that has some nice benefits. Unfortunately, it has a $495 annual fee, there is no online account management, and it is hard to get approved for the card.
Getting and Managing this Card
It is a bit of a pain in the *** to get and manage this card. The card is primarily reserved for people who already have an investing / banking relationship with UBS, which focuses on high net-worth customers.
If you don't have a relationship, you may still be able to be approved, but you typically aren't eligible for any promotional signup bonuses. You'll need to request and send in a paper application. It may take several follow up calls and a long period of time to get approved. And you won't have online access to your credit card account—no easy way to check your balance, see recent transactions, or make a payment (for many people that is enough reason to avoid this card).
You may be able to open a relationship management account with a small amount of money, both to secure a better signup bonus and to enable online access. If so, you'll need to pay around $200 in account management fees each year.
Collecting the Signup Bonus
The highest value redemption is purchasing airfare through the UBS website. The entire ticket price must be paid for with points. You'll get a $350 credit for 25,000 points or a $900 credit for 50,000 points and then pay 5,000 points for every remaining $50 chunk. For example, if you bought a ticket for $500, you would need to pay 25,000 points for the first $350 and 15,000 points for the remaining $150, for a combined value of 1.25 cents per point. The highest possible value would be a flight of exactly $900, when you'd be receiving 1.8 cents per point.
Another good value option is using 35,000 points to pay the annual fee. This provides about 1.4 cents in value. There are many other redemption options, but they tend to only offer around 1 cent per point.
The normal signup bonus is not that great. The typical signup bonus is 25,000 points. At a value of 1.4 cents per point, this works out to $350. In addition, the card comes with a $250 airline incidental credit, and because the credit is available every calendar year, you can earn it twice during your initial year. But since it can be hard to get full value from this credit, we only value it at 50% of its face value.
After subtracting the annual fee and the opportunity cost of using the card for $3,000 of spending, the calculated net value for the initial year is $70 (2 cents per dollar spent).
Airline Incidental Credit
- Like the other premium credit cards, the UBS Infinite card has a travel credit that can help offset the annual fee.
- Unfortunately, the UBS card's credit works like the one for the Amex Platinum card. It only applies to incidental airline purchases with a SINGLE airline that you choose each year. It doesn't reimburse you for actual ticket purchases, point purchases, gift cards, etc. The UBS card's credit is $250 per year and does include seat upgrades, along with things like inflight food and beverage purchases and baggage fees.
- The credit is automatically applied to any applicable charges. You simply use the card to pay the fee and it will be automatically offset on your credit card statement. If necessary, the credit will be spread across multiple charges.
- Because the credits are issued on a calendar-year basis, you can qualify for two credits the first year you have the card. For example, if you sign up for the card in August, you can get up to $250 credit for purchases made between August and December and you can get take advantage of another $250 credit between January and August.
- You are not supposed to receive the credit when you purchase a gift card from an airline. However, in practice, you are reimbursed with some airlines. If you don't have an opportunity to use the credit naturally, you can typically purchase $100 in gift cards, get reimbursed for your purchase, and then use the gift cards to eventually purchase actual airplane tickets. This works on some airlines and not others and you need to keep each purchase under an airline-specific maximum. But unfortunately, because the UBS Card is not very commonly held, there is not much information about what will count and what won't. And since you need to choose a single airline, you can't easily experiment. Get Full Value from Your Airline Incidental Credits.
- If you can take full advantage of the airline incidental credit, it makes the UBS Infinite Card's annual fee more reasonable. And it boosts the value of signing up for the card for the initial year.
Other Notable Benefits
- Airport lounge access. Like the other premium cards, a get a Priority Pass membership that provides free access to over a thousand airport lounges and restaurants. With this card, you can bring in unlimited guests. Get Free Airport Lounge Access from a Credit Card
- 12 Gogo passes per year. Each one is good for a free inflight Wi-Fi session. Gogo website.
- Free roadside assistance. The roadside assistance benefit that comes with most credit cards simply connects you a to nearby service provider. But this card actual pays for your roadside assistance services, including towing, lockout assistance, spare tire installation, jump starts, or emergency fuel. Up to $50 per incident, 4 incidents per year. Get Free or Discounted Roadside Assistance with these Credit Cards.
- Up to $700 in credits at Villas of Distinction properties every year. Credit amount is based on the cost of your Villa vacation.
- VIP amenities at select Ritz, Fairmont, Starwood, Mandarin Oriental, and Park Hyatt properties. You'll get free breakfast and other benefits at 650 hotels, when you book through UBS. Similar benefits are available through other luxury hotel programs. Take Advantage of Luxury Hotel Programs for Valuable Extra Perks.
- Access to Relais & Chateaux Club 5C status after only two nights.
- Great travel insurance coverage. Whenever you book travel with this card, you get free trip cancellation and interruption insurance and trip and baggage delay coverage (after 6 hours).
- Event ticket protection. If you use the card to purchase event tickets and you can't make it to a performance because of illness or other issues, they will issue you a refund.
- "Primary" rental car insurance. If you use this card to pay for your rental car, you'll get primary rental car insurance. Unlike the "secondary" insurance you get from most other cards, if you damage your rental car, you don't need to involve your personal auto insurance company. Credit Cards That Provide “Primary” Rental Car Coverage.
- Airport lounge membership credit. If you spend $50,000 on the card each year, you can get a credit worth $500 towards the purchase of an airport lounge membership. If you would have bought a membership anyway and spend exactly $50,000, this is like getting a bit less than an extra 1 cent per dollar on your spending.
- $100 TSA fee credit. Every four years, you can receive an automatic reimbursement of your Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application fee (up to $100).
- Car rental elite status. Like all other Visa Infinite cards, your card entitles you to elite status with National car rental. Instant Car Rental Elite Status.
- Visa Infinite Hotel benefit. Visa Infinite cardholders get access to the Visa Luxury Hotel program. At about 200 hotels, Infinite card holders get an additional benefit (typically some sort of $100 credit) on top of what is available to Signature cardholders. You'll also have access to the regular Visa Signature hotel program, which provides slightly weaker benefits at a much larger collection of hotels. Take Advantage of Luxury Hotel Programs for Valuable Extra Perks
- Access to Visa Signature Offers. Your card entitles you to a set of special offers available from Visa.
- There are better options for airfare, grocery, and gas purchases. The bonus category rewards from this card are more valuable than what you would earn from a good general-purpose reward card, but other cards earn even more valuable rewards. Even if you value the points at about 1.5 cents each, you are are only earning 3 cents per dollar on groceries and gas. The rate on airfare is better (at 4.5 cents per dollar), but still not as good as one of the cards that earns good rewards on travel spending. Best Credit Cards for Travel Spending. Best Credit Cards for Grocery Spending. Best Credit Cards for Gas Spending.
- You don't want to use this card for your everyday spending. You'll earn higher rewards from a good general-purpose reward card. Get a Great General Purpose Reward Card and Use It for All of Your Spending.
blog comments powered by Disqus