The Milelion Credit Card Omnibus Week 1: OCBC

The Milelion is running a new series that aims to profile every credit card available in Singapore. Each week we will cover a different bank. The appendix below will be updated weekly with hyperlinks as more banks are added, allowing you to navigate between weeks seamlessly

Week 1- OCBC
Week 2- DBS
Week 3- UOB
Week 4- Citibank
Week 5- ANZ
Week 6- American Express
Week 7- HSBC
Week 8- Standard Chartered


Week 1: OCBC

I’ve reviewed a couple of OCBC cards in detail before  from a miles earning point of view, and it’s safe to say I wasn’t unduly impressed. If you’re looking for a miles earning card, OCBC still does not offer a compelling product you must add to your wallet. Even their A-list miles card, the OCBC Voyage, turns out to be a cashback card by another name (since your “miles” have a fixed redemption value of about 3 cents each when redeeming for revenue tickets). Their Titanium line, while promising “up to” 2 miles for overseas spend, mentions in the fine print that you need a minimum $1,500 spend to qualify for this.

So is there any value in the OCBC credit card product range? Let’s look at the cards in detail

ocbc portfolio

Miles Cards

OCBC Voyage Card

ocbcvoyage

Key Features

  • Annual Fee: $488 (no waiver available)
  • Income Req: $120,000 p.a
  • Variants: Visa Infinite only
  • Marketing Spiel: 2.3 miles for overseas spend ,1 mile for local spend (per $1). Redeem your miles for any airline and any seat
  • The catch: This is a cashback card because it gives your miles a fixed value. The redemption cost in terms of miles will differ depending on which airline you redeem it on and which period you travel

Analysis

I’ve covered this card in detail here and here. Suffice to say- this is a miles card in name only. Get a real miles card and save yourself a lot of money.

OCBC Titanium Credit Card

ocbctitanium

 

Key Features

  • Annual Fee: $192.60 (first 2 years free)
  • Income Req: $30,000 p.a for Singaporeans/PRs, $45,000 p.a for Foreigners
  • Variants: Mastercard only
  • Marketing Spiel:  2 miles per $1 overseas, 1 mile per $1 local spend, complimentary jetquay access
  • The catch: Mile earning rates only apply if you spend $1,500 a month, otherwise you get 1.2 miles and 0.4 miles for overseas and local spending respectively

Ahhhh, Titanium. The one card that summed up OCBC’s desperate miles gambit once upon a time. The card proudly trumpeted the ability to earn 1 mile per $1 of local spend and 2 miles per $1 of overseas spend. Then they put in small brackets, subject to minimum spend of $1,500 per month.

This was sad for 2 reasons. First, it was already possible to earn 40% more miles on local spend with other, better cards like the ANZ Travel Card and the PRVI Miles. Second, those cards didn’t have any minimum spend. You’d get 1.4 miles per $1 whether you spent $1 or $10,000. Till this day I can’t figure out why OCBC is so unwilling to bite the bullet and introduce a card that at least matches those offerings (off tangent: I remember once upon a long time ago when American Express proudly said that it was going to award 1 mile per $1 spent so that it was easier for consumers to remember. That despite the fact that rivals were offering 20-30% more. But hey! Easier to remember! That’s something!)

There really is no compelling reason to get this card. JetQuay access is an interesting pitch, but it’s limited to 70 redemptions per month until the end of September 2015 and only for 1 companion, so if you’re travelling as a family this is not an option. In any case the JetQuay “luxury” lounge is extremely underwhelming based on reports online (the only meal options are instant noodles)

Yay or Nay: Nay

Cashback Cards

OCBC 365 Credit Card

OCBC_Rebates Card_White_280414_Opt4_PATH

Key Features

  • Annual Fee: $192.60 (first 2 years free)
  • Income Req: $30,000 p.a for Singaporeans/PRs, $45,000 p.a for Foreigners
  • Variants: Visa Signature only
  • Marketing Spiel: Earn 6% cashback on weekend dining, 3% cashback on weekday and overseas dining, 3% cashback on online spending, 5% cashback on petrol, 3% cashback on groceries, 3% on telco bills, 0.3% on everything else
  • The catch: You need to spend a minimum of $600 per month to unlock those % mentioned above. Spend less than $600 and get a flat 0.3% cashback. Cashback per month is capped at $80

Analysis

As a golden rule, cashback cards will never triumph miles cards in terms of sheer quantum of rebates, precisely because the banks are loathe to part with cash. That said,  if you have no interest in travelling, or believe that the quantum of your credit card expenditures does not make miles cards feasible, then cashback cards are worth a look.

OCBC’s 365 card promises high cashbacks in the marketing materials, but has a nasty catch- if you spend less than $600 per month, you get a flat 0.3% cashback. So unless you’re sure you can hit $600, you shouldn’t use this card. Also note that no matter what your cashback per month is capped at $80.

To maximise this card, you should only use it for weekend dining and perhaps petrol, provided you’re certain you can hit the $600 minimum per month. If not, you’d be better off looking at other cards

Yay or Nay: Mostly nay

OCBC Frank Credit Card

ocbcfrank

Key Features

  • Annual Fee: $32.10 (first 2 years free)
  • Income Req: $30,000 p.a for Singaporeans/PRs, $45,000 p.a for Foreigners
  • Variants: Visa Platinum only
  • Marketing Spiel: Earn 6% cashback on online spend and NETS Flashpay Auto-topups
  • The catch: Online spending excludes insurance, hospitals, schools, membership fees, parking lots, utilities, donations, personal Paypal accounts, prepaid services and government institutions. Cashback per month is capped at $60 AND you must spend a minimum of $500 each month to enjoy this.

Analysis

OCBC Frank is positioning itself as an online spending card. Although you get 6% cashback, this is capped at $60 per month, meaning that you would max this out with a spend of $1,000. If you’re booking airline tickets or hotels online, it’s quite likely you’d exceed this cap. When you consider that there are alternatives like the DBS Woman’s World Card where you get 4 miles per $1 on online spend (which equates to anywhere from a 8% to a 20% rebate, depending how you redeem those miles), it’s hard to make a convincing case for this card.

Also, you need to spend at least $500 a month to get this 6% rebate.

Yay or Nay: Definitely nay

Co-branded Cards

OCBC Robinsons Card

ocbcrobinsons

Key Features

  • Annual Fee: $192.60 (first year free)
  • Income Req: $30,000 p.a for Singaporeans/PRs, $45,000 p.a for Foreigners
  • Variants: Visa Platinum only
  • Marketing Spiel: Earn 5% cash rebate on spend at Robinsons, Marks and Spencer, John Little, Coast, Oasis, RSH, Golf House, Bebe, Lacoste, Nautica, Quiksilver, DC Shoes, Reebok, Samba, Speedo, Sperry, Ted Baker and Vans. No cap on earnings. Get invitations to members-only sales,
  • The catch: Not so much a catch as such, but using this card outside of the stores mentioned above is a massive waste because you earn $1 off at Robinsons, M&S or John Little for every $400 spent. That’s a whopping 0.25% rebate

Analysis

This card is potentially useful if you shop at the outlets listed above. I can’t help but feel that a shopping-focused card like the Citibank Rewards Card would provide more value with its 10X points on shopping (which translates into 4 miles, or can be used for other gifts from the Citibank rewards catalogue), but if it’s cold hard cash you want instead of points, then this is a decent option.

If nothing else, I feel the real reason to get this card would be to take advantage of the members only sales. During Christmas I think the % can be as high as 15%, which can result in substantial savings if you were going to spend money at Robinsons or its associated shops anyway.

Do note that there is currently a “free money” promotion till 30 Sept 2015 which I’m definitely taking advantage of- when you apply for this card you get $20 of Robinsons vouchers and $20 of RSH vouchers, with no minimum spend. I don’t know about you, but I’m definitely going to take that and get me some free tennis balls.

Yay or Nay: Yay, for the vouchers and maybe if you’re a big spender at Robinsons. Nay for everyone else

OCBC Best Denki Card

ocbcbest

Key Features

  • Annual Fee: $160.50 (first 2 years free)
  • Income Req: $30,000 p.a for Singaporeans/PRs, $45,000 p.a for Foreigners
  • Variants: Mastercard only
  • Marketing Spiel: 2% cash rebates at Best Denki, free delivery with $200 spend, extra 2% voucher rebate if annual spend is >$10,000, extra 2.5% rebate if annual spend is >$20,000
  • The catch: N/A

Analysis

The interesting thing about this is I’m not aware of any miles earning credit card which gives category bonus for spending at electronics stores. Therefore ,your alternative would be a general spending card, the best of which gives 1.4 miles per $1 spent (ANZ Travel Card, UOB PRVI Miles cards) or 1.8 miles, if you’ve managed to get in on the DBS Altitude AMEX 6 months sign up promotion)

Note that the incentive for spending >$10,000 per year comes in the form of Best Vouchers instead of cash, a form of captive currency. Assuming you made some really big ticket purchases this year and spent $20,000 with Best (a figure I’m not sure is financially sustainable), you’d have $400 cash rebate plus a $200 Best voucher. That puts your overall rebate somewhere around 3%, assuming you’d have spent the Best voucher anyway. Not sure I’d call that the deal of the century

Yay or Nay: Nay. You can do better buying your electronics overseas or buying at the IT shows

 OCBC Plus Credit Card/ NTUC Plus! Credit Card

ocbcplus

Key Features

  • Annual Fee: $80 (first 1 year free)
  • Income Req: $30,000 p.a for Singaporeans/PRs, $45,000 p.a for Foreigners
  • Variants: Visa Platinum only
  • Marketing Spiel: 5% off at FairPrice,
  • The catch: The savings are awarded in the form of LinkPoints

Analysis

Since there is no good mile earning card for groceries, I’d encourage you to take a look at this if you’ve got substantial grocery spend. The rebates are awarded in the form of LinkPoints and not cash, but groceries are such a frequently bought item that the loss of liquidity doesn’t bother me that much (as opposed to some other captive currency like Robinsons $, where I may only shop once or twice a year).

You can also earn LinkPoints on things lik ez-Link reloads, electric/ gas bills and telco bills.

EDIT: Straits from the comments below just reminded me of the UOB Preferred Platinum Visa which earns you 4 miles per $1 on groceries spending at Fairprice/Shengsiong (you need to use paywave so transactions must be <$100 each time, and this is subject to an annual cap of $12,000 spend)

EDIT EDIT: Do note that you will not earn these bonus miles when you spend at merchants which give SMART$, eg Cold Storage. So when you pay with this method at Cold Storage, you get SMART$ instead of UNI$. Thanks Shayne

Yay or Nay: Mostly yay

Others

OCBC Platinum Credit Card

ocbcplatinum

Key Features

  • Annual Fee: $160.50 (first 2 years free)
  • Income Req: $30,000 p.a for Singaporeans/PRs, $45,000 p.a for Foreigners
  • Variants: Mastercard only
  • Marketing Spiel: Discounts at selected attractions (Zoo, Night Safari, Madame Tussads) and enrichment programs
  • The catch: N/A

Analysis

This is possibly one of the most confusing cards ever because I’m not quite sure who it is targeting. The marketing materials say it is a family oriented card, and I can see why they’d say that. Nothing says family like visits to the zoo and enrichment centres.

I suppose if you were really into saving money and were going to the zoo anyway, you could apply for the card, save 20% off admission, then cancel the card later (it has a 2 year fee waiver), but that’s a bit extreme, even for me.

If you’re the type of parent who sends their kids for enrichment, then you could save $200 on a MindChamps course, which is a promotion I’m quite certain they’d be willing to extend to anyone.

Yeah, I don’t know what else to say.

Yay or Nay: Nay, nay, nay

OCBC Arts Credit Card

ocbcarts

Key Features

  • Annual Fee: $160.50 (first 2 years free)
  • Income Req: $30,000 p.a for Singaporeans/PRs, $45,000 p.a for Foreigners
  • Variants: Mastercard only
  • Marketing Spiel: Priority bookings for shows, up to 20% off show tickets, 1.2 miles per $1 when you buy from SISTIC
  • The catch: N/A

Analysis

OCBC, to its credit, is a strong supporter of the arts scene in Singapore. I believe that if you own any OCBC credit card, you’re entitled to special rates for quite a few shows.

The OCBC Arts Card gives you special discounts on selected OCBC-sponsored performances. The discounts can be as high as 20%, which can result in substantial savings on some of the more expensive performances. I’d say this card is worth it provided you watch 2-3 shows a year. In any case, the annual fee is not levied for 2 years, so you really have nothing to lose. 20% off a show is better than any miles card.

Yay or Nay: Yay if you watch plays

OCBC Cashflo Card

ocbccashflow

(also comes in a Great Eastern version which allows you to pay your insurance premiums in 12 interest free installments)

Key Features

  • Annual Fee: $85.60 (first 2 years free)
  • Income Req: $30,000 p.a for Singaporeans/PRs, $45,000 p.a for Foreigners
  • Variants: Mastercard Platinum only
  • Marketing Spiel: Get 6 months of interest free payments for  purchases at department stores, luxury brands, insurance, travel, electrical & furniture and hospitals. 3 months interest free payments for everything else. 1% cash rebate on everything else
  • The catch: The 1% cash rebate is capped at $100

This has to be one of the more innovative products that OCBC has launched in recent times. Let’s ignore for the moment whether or not it is financially prudent to spend more than you have (it’s not) and consider the financial proposition here.

I’m not a hardcore investor myself, but I’d love to hear what those of you who do invest think- this card is basically allowing you to hold on to your money for longer, giving you the ability to invest that money which would otherwise have gone into paying off your bill in whatever financial instrument you dabble in. I’d say this is great if you use that money to invest, not so great if you use that money to buy even more stuff you can’t afford.

All purchases above a certain trigger amount will automatically be enrolled into the installment payment plan. Suppose my trigger amount is $100 and I buy plane tickets costing $1,200 on SQ. For this month and the next 5 months, I’ll be billed $200 monthly. I’m hesitant about recommending this because I’m wary about the possibility of overspending this way, but if you know what you’re doing and have other investments, this is potentially a very interesting proposition

Yay or Nay: Yay if you know what you’re doing. If you’re the type who is liable to overspend, stay far, far, far away

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22 Comments on "The Milelion Credit Card Omnibus Week 1: OCBC"

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Haha mostly nays for OCBC then?

Why not use the UOB preferred platinum visa to paywave at ntuc or sheng siong? As long as you break it down to less than 100 per transaction and keep under 12k a year..

With reference to comment above, just note that T&Cs say bonus points will not be issued at UOB SMART$ merchants. Which means paywave using preferred plat visa at Cold Storage / Marketplace (as grocery spend) will not earn bonus points.

OCBC refused to waive annual fees for many of my friends (and me). And I have also heard the same from many people on social media. Quite a big number of people have cut up their OCBC cards.

OCBC doesn’t have what I’d call the best approach towards credit cards so I’m not surprised. Out of curiosity did you spend a decent amount of money with them over the year?

I didn’t so I can understand why. My friends do, though. But I don’t use DBS a lot too, and I still got it waived. Hmm.

Hi Aaron,

Can we pay credit card to earn miles and pay with credit card?

Example pay by DBS Women World card and then pay by OCBC Cashflo to repay in installment.

Thanks

if can pay credit card bill with other credit card then there is a scenario to collect unlimited miles with charge and pay loop

I’m a OCBC 360 account holder and spending $500/mth gets me 0.5% interest on $60,000, which works out to $300/yr extra cash. I’m new to the miles game and am getting my feet wet.

Would you have any recommendation as to which would be the OCBC best card for this? Given your analysis above, it appears that the “best card” to use would be for some type of spending which doesn’t get 4miles/$ on other cards. Look forward to your advice.

+1

Same situation here.

OCBC has relaunched the titanium into titanium rewards. 4 miles for shopping similar to citibank rewards. Tempting…on the other hand, i’m cancelling my voyage and the cso said I’ve to pay the following year’s AF. For a card I’m cancelling before the renewal date?!! I gave her my two cents worth.

I can’t seems to find the expiry for ocbc$ earned on titanium. Any clues?

OCBC is getting bad… in recent months.
Refused to waive any late fees – an I am spending over $1500 monthly..
Going to dump this card …

wpDiscuz