UBS joins the premium credit card battle


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If credit cards had arms, it would be an all-out brawl.

Swiss-based UBS this week announced the creation of the UBS Visa Infinite, a card with loads of extras that place it among the top premium rewards credit cards. Compare it, for example, to the Chase Sapphire Reserve or the American Express Platinum.

The new card, which launches May 27, is chock-full of the perks, benefits and rewards we’ve come to expect in a high-end credit card.

And yes, it will be made of metal.

Highlights of the card include:

  • A 50,000-point bonus after charging $3,000 within the first three months. That’s worth $900 toward airfare through the UBS portal or $500 as a statement credit.
  • Three points per dollar spent for commercial air travel, two points per dollar spent for gas and groceries, and one point per dollar spent for all other eligible purchases.
  • A $250 airline credit, redeemable at one airline of your choice.
  • Unlimited, complimentary access to Priority Pass Select lounges at over 1,000 locations worldwide.
  • A $100 Global Entry application fee statement credit, which includes TSA Pre-Check.

Hefty annual fee

A customer service representative tells us anyone can apply for this card. It is not exclusive to UBS wealth management clients.

The card comes with a big price tag — a $495 annual fee. But big spenders can earn a $500 statement credit toward airport lounge access fees outside of the Priority Pass Select network if total spending on the card reaches $50,000 or greater in a calendar year. If that fee is a huge roadblock, consider a travel credit card that charges a lower — or no — annual fee.

Other ways to possibly justify a steep annual outlay includes a $100 airfare discount when booking two or more tickets on the Visa Infinite Discount Air website, 12 complimentary Gogo in-flight WiFi sessions and special benefits and discounts with several car rental agencies and luxury hotel properties. The card also offers primary insurance coverage on rental cars and doesn’t charge foreign transaction fees.

Those with tighter budgets can redeem points to offset the fee at a rate of 10,000 per $100, which means those who earn the sign-up bonus will earn back their first-year card fee.

Who the UBS Infinite is good for

Should you get this card? Maybe.

Unless you plan on paying your balance in full every month, the value of the rewards and benefits will be mitigated by the interest charges you’ll pay. The UBS Visa Infinite card has a 15.99 percent variable APR.

If that’s not an issue, and you don’t already have a premium rewards card with similar attributes to what the UBS Visa Infinite is offering, it’s a card worth considering for its air travel and rewards perks.

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