UOB targets affluent travellers across region

After tantalising foodies with its card privileges and discounts for restaurants, United Overseas Bank (UOB) now wants to attract the affluent traveller.

The strategy kicks off in earnest today with a programme that allows UOB cardholders across the region to win up to 60,000 KrisFlyer miles by spending $300 in one receipt. This in turn gives them a chance to win one of 500,000 prizes.

The bank aims to give away an equivalent of 10 million KrisFlyer miles until January. The miles can be used for Singapore Airlines, SilkAir, Scoot and Tigerair flights.

"This establishes us as a regional bank player, pulling together our partnerships in the local markets to drive cross-border and travel spend," said Ms Jacquelyn Tan, UOB regional head of cards and payments.

UOB's latest survey of affluent travellers from Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand found that 91 per cent travel overseas at least once a year for a holiday, with 67 per cent choosing destinations in Asia.

Ms Tan told The Straits Times yesterday that travel is just one piece of a larger picture. "Dining, retail, cross-border travel and e-commerce contribute more than 70 per cent of card billings," she said. "As travel has shown double-digit year-on-year growth, it is a continued strategy for us to ensure we've the right product and offers to serve the travel segment."

She also noted that card billings - what people spend on UOB plastic - are up about 10 per cent this year over 2015 in the four countries the bank operates in: Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia and Thailand.

This is "consistently outpacing the market growth rate of card billings in those markets", she said.

Ms Tan said UOB's strategy is to make its cards attractive, to dominate spending categories and to issue cards across its markets to offer similar rewards.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 23, 2016, with the headline 'UOB targets affluent travellers across region'. Print Edition | Subscribe