OCBC reboots Titanium card, gives you 4 miles per $1 on shopping

I’ve often lamented over the fact that OCBC is missing a convincing miles earning card. And no, I don’t consider the Voyage card to be in that category (read a few thousands words about that here, here and here). Well, perhaps not any longer.

OCBC has just relaunched its Titanium card. The previous version of the Titanium card was underwhelming to say the least, as I mentioned in the OCBC Omnibus entry.

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)

The new and improved Titanium Rewards Card

The Titanium card has been rebranded as the Titanium Rewards card effective immediately.

There’s a lot of hue and cry on the website about this but the only thing you need to remember is $1=4 miles whenever you shop (offline or online).

The relevant categories are shown below-

EDIT: Adam on the comments has pointed out a big point of differentiation between the Citi Rewards card and the Titanium Rewards- Citi Rewards doesn’t give 10X on electronics shopping but Titanium does. Which means if you’re going to buy a big ticket electronics item like a desktop PC or a flatscreen TV, you would do a lot better by having a Titanium card (no other card offers bonus points for brick and motar electronics shopping to my knowledge). 

I suppose now it remains to be seen how strict the definition of “online shopping” is. The Citibank Rewards card, for example, has been a bit more liberal than you might expect in its interpretation of “online shopping”. Case in point: buying Starwood points from SPG.com qualifies as online shopping.

The other good thing is that you can get 4 miles per $1 whenever you pay using mobile payments like Android Pay, Apple Pay and Samsung Pay.

OCBC has actually provided a table to explain how the new Titanium Rewards card differs from the old one. I’ll show it here but basically all you need to know is: old card useless, new one kind of useful

The full T&C can be found here. The main points to note are

  • The maximum bonus you can earn per card anniversary year (not calendar year) is based on $12,000 of spending (or 48,000 miles)
  • You earn 10X points at the following merchants
    • MCC 5611: Men’s and Boys’ Clothing and Accessories Stores
    • MCC 5621: Women’s Ready to Wear Stores
    • MCC 5631: Women’s Accessory and Speciality Stores
    • MCC 5641: Children’s and Infants’ Wear Stores
    • MCC 5651: Family Clothing Stores
    • MCC 5661: Shoe Stores
    • MCC 5691: Men’s and Women’s Clothing Stores
    • MCC 5732: Electronics Stores
    • MCC 5699: Miscellaneous Apparel and Accessory Shops
    • MCC 5311: Department Stores
  • The bonus 9X points will be posted to your card account by the end of the next calendar month following the transaction
  • OCBC points last for 2 years before expiring (although once you transfer to Krisflyer you get another 3 years validity)

Conclusion

This is definitely a welcome move from OCBC and finally provides them with something of a competitive miles offerings. There are obvious overlaps with the Citibank Rewards card, but if you’re trying to hit the minimum spending requirements to earn bonus interest on your 360 account for example, it might be worth giving this card a look. Just remember that the more you spread out your points, the more you’ll need to pay in conversion fees. So unless you’re planning to do a whole lot of spending on shopping, this might not be the right option for you.

Another interesting thing that crossed my mind was whether this would be a Citibank type situation where you can’t pool your points and end up having to pay multiple conversion fees within one bank. For example, Citibank Rewards earns ThankYou points but the Citibank Premiermiles earns Premiermiles. The two cannot be converted together (by right- I know you can call in and ask for both to be done at once and the CSO might grant it to you as a “one time exception”) and therefore you end up paying 2 conversion fees which is really dumb. My suspicion is that it will be the same for Voyage + Titanium Rewards holders because the Titanium Rewards card earns OCBC$ but the Voyage earns Voyage miles (Assuming you wanted to convert your Voyage miles to Krisflyer miles which is a really dumb choice)

Credit card reboots can sometimes be gamechanging, and other times completely underwhelming. While I wouldn’t call offering 4 miles per $1 gamechanging (because it’s been done before), this is definitely a step in the right direction for OCBC.

23 thoughts on “OCBC reboots Titanium card, gives you 4 miles per $1 on shopping”

  1. Hey Aaron,

    Don’t you think this card is more superior to the citi Rewards card because it also accepts electronics and personal care spends?

    Though $12k spend limit is a little low. 😑

    1. electronics is definitely a useful category to have, but i do most of my electronics shopping on amazon anyway which would qualify for 10x with citi rewards. i can’t remember the last time I bought something from harvey norman/best denki. That said, if I were furnishing my house and needed to buy a big ticket item like a flat screen TV I would probably use harvey norman/best denki…and that would earn me a lot of miles if I used the titanium rewards card…

      so yes, I see your point. $12K cap is indeed low, but if you and your spouse are travelling together you can each apply for a card and try to max it out.

      updated the article to mention this, thanks

        1. oh small items like headphones, battery chargers, drone accessories.

          if you want to maximise- just buy a gift card from amazon and use it later

      1. Hi Aaron, isn’t shopping on Amazon for electronics more expensive than in brick and mortar store considering exchange rates and shipping fees?

  2. Just wondering. If buying SPG points using CITI rewards card has the 10x points does it mean booking SPG hotels online also gets you the bonus points? Can anybody confirm this…

    And on the OCBC Rewards. Looking forward to buying a new Mac and the iPhone 7 (yes, I’m slow that way…) soon. Any ideas if the Apple Store (online and authorised resellers) and telcos would fall under the 10x category?

    1. re: first point. I would very much doubt so given that points.com processes spg point transactions whereas online prepaid reservations are processed by another party.

      my reading of the t&c says that apple store would be 10x.

  3. One small point – 2 year expiry + cap of 48,000 miles per year, means you’d get a maximum of 96,000 miles before you’d have to transfer at a cost of $25.

    Transfers are in blocks of 10,000 miles, and as you pointed out, you might not be able to pool the rewards points (can’t think of any other card I’d use from the OCBC lineup anyway).

    So you’ll either be transferring 90,000 miles, or else you’ll have to find some way to earn 4,000 miles at a crappy earn rate. Not really sure if that’s worth it. Citi Rewards at least gives you a 5 year validity.

    1. that’s a good point too P, thanks for pointing it out. in that respect citibank gives you a bit more time to build up a balance (albeit with the same problem as ocbc- i.e. thankyou points vs premiermiles)

  4. You won’t be able to pool voyage miles and OCBC $. They are a separate entity. Based on my current accounts. Aaron, would your kindly share the contact the OCBC Voyage team that contacted u for your article? Can pm you my story.

  5. Hi Aaron,

    Just realize that Titanium Rewards is World Mastercard. Would that mean that currently this is the World Mastercard with lowest income requirement?

  6. Does OCBC bank do any sign up bonuses typically? I am interested to sign up for this but still hesitating in case they launch some sign up promos!

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