Press Release 2016

UOB: Affluent Malaysians travel with an eye on the Ringgit

First region-wide travel programme lightens load on the pocket

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, 27 December 2016 - According to the United Overseas Bank (UOB) Affluent Consumer Survey 20161, travel is a significant part of the lifestyles of affluent Malaysians. On average, more than nine in 10 affluent Malaysians go overseas on holiday at least once a year.

Yet, in light of slow global economic growth and as their financial considerations grow more pronounced, these well-heeled travellers are opting to holiday within the region. The survey showed that more than seven in 10 polled have chosen Asian destinations2 for their vacations, with Singapore (46 per cent) and Thailand (42 per cent) topping the list.

Ms Julia Goh, United Overseas Bank (Malaysia) Bhd (UOB Malaysia) Economist noted that Malaysian consumers are becoming more cost conscious, especially in light of the weaker Ringgit.

"Given the weak Ringgit particularly, Malaysian consumers with a yen for travel are choosing Asian destinations to maximise their purchasing power. Their preference for Asian holiday destinations is aided by the increasing number of flights within the region and more competitively-priced fares for journeys to and from these countries," said Ms Goh.

The survey also found that location and travel expenses are the top two considerations for respondents when planning their next holiday destination.

Mr Ronnie Lim, Managing Director and Country Head of Personal Financial Services, UOB Malaysia said that to stay relevant in serving the affluent Malaysian population, businesses must provide cost-efficient products and solutions that suit their needs today.

"From credit cards such as the UOB PRVI Miles that help customers earn frequent flyer miles faster to travel deals, wealthy customers in the region want products and services that can meet their lifestyle needs and this includes their travel habits.

"To match the travel expectations of the affluent in Malaysia, we have embarked on regional partnerships with strategic travel-related brands to strengthen our offers to these customers. These partnerships continue to enhance our suite of offerings as we increase our market share in this segment. We aim to grow our local credit and debit cards base by 13 per cent and total billings by 14 per cent in the next four years," said Mr Lim.

Strategic partnerships key to UOB's growth ambitions
To meet its cards growth ambitions, UOB has partnered established names in the travel sector such as Singapore Airlines, Expedia and Kaligo for the Bank's first-ever region-wide travel campaign. The campaign aims to help customers stretch their vacation Ringgit, especially in the Southeast Asian countries that they frequent.

With Singapore Airlines, UOB Malaysia cardmembers stand a chance to receive up to 60,000 KrisFlyer miles3, which can be redeemed for a round-trip ticket to either Europe, US, Australia, Japan or Korea, by spending RM750 in a single receipt4. UOB Malaysia is giving away an equivalent of 10 million KrisFlyer miles in total until 31 January, which can also be redeemed for SilkAir flights. This means that UOB Malaysia cardmembers would be able to derive more value out of their year-end shopping and travelling, which is traditionally when they spend the most5.

Earlier this year, UOB Malaysia also introduced the UOB Privileges Passport, a regional rewards programme that offers cardmembers access to exclusive local benefits while travelling in Singapore, Indonesia, and Thailand. For example, through partnerships with Bangkok's premier Siam Paragon Mall and Singapore's exclusive Club 21 outlets, a cardmember from Malaysia can enjoy the same suite of benefits and rewards available through a Thai or Singapore-issued UOB credit card.

Mr Lim added, "As Malaysia's affluent continue to strike a balance between their wanderlust and their economic sensibilities, we anticipate that intra-regional travels will continue to grow among this segment. As such, we will continue to explore partnerships with relevant brands to ensure a robust suite of regional offerings that is relevant to our customers."


1 The UOB Affluent Consumer Survey 2016 polled 509 respondents in Malaysia, aged 25 years and above with a minimum investable assets of RM500,000. 
2 Asian countries mentioned include Singapore, Thailand, Indonesia, Japan and China
3 Customers will be given the equivalent of KrisFlyer miles won in UNIRinggit.
4 This is part of UOB’s first ever regional year-end campaign. From November to January 2017, customers can win the over 10 million Krisflyer miles that are up for grabs as well as more than 500,000 prizes, including flights to popular destinations like Bali and Tokyo.
5 Source: UOB Malaysia card data

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