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OCBC Voyage drops admin fees for Krisflyer transfers; boosts miles earning rate

Elite versions now earn 1.6 mpd on local general spending.

Credit card admin fees for miles transfers are pretty much the industry norm now – for those of you currently chalking up 4mpd on the OCBC Titanium Rewards card, for instance, you’ll probably one day find yourself looking at the redemption screen and groaning at the dreaded ‘+$25.00’.

Interestingly enough, corresponding redemptions for the Voyage Card no longer seem to include the $25 admin fee! (addendum: OCBC bills them as ‘waived’, which probably means they’re reserving the right to restore the fee when they one day feel like it.)

With this change, I now see the OCBC Voyage as a pretty flexible source of buffer miles to supplement my 4 mpd earn from other sources. Since there’s no admin charge incurred for transferring Voyage Miles, you’re free to move them in smaller quantities if desired (including that little 8,000 mile block, which can allow you to transfer smaller amounts closer to what you actually need).

For some, this change might even make it worthwhile paying additional annual fees to buy VMs – I imagine it to be pretty useful having a reservoir of miles to tap on as and when required, with no additional charge for transferring them over to KrisFlyer, although I would not advise over-investing in this. (Update: It’s been highlighted in the comments, and confirmed by HWZ CSO, that miles earned by paying additional annual fees would be transferred to KrisFlyer automatically, with no option to retain them as Voyage Miles.)

I’d transferred VMs as recently as Oct 2017 and was charged $25 then, so I’m pretty sure this is a recent development – possibly in tandem with the 2018 rate revision, which put it on par with the other general spend cards.

In related news – as it turns out, the elite versions of the card (carried by OCBC Premier, OCBC Premier Private Client or Bank of Singapore customers) now receive 1.6mpd for local general spend. On the card’s official website, you can actually click on a dropdown arrow to reveal the enhanced earning rates.

The 1.6mpd earn rate beats a previous top contender, the UOB PRVI (1.4mpd), although it loses narrowly for overseas spend (2.4mpd – addendum: though as Tiger9119 has commented, the lower FCY fees for OCBC Voyage almost certainly more than makes up for it). Plus, none of that rounding-down-to-$5 nonsense, which makes it useful even for small transactions (although it might still be affected by exclusions for transactions to government institutions). Overall, that makes it a really viable card for general spend.

While I can’t recommend that you lock up funds just for a good miles card (OCBC Premier status, already the lowest of the lot, requires $200,000 worth of assets under management), it is worthwhile looking into getting the card if you already possess elite OCBC status.

[HT: The Shutterwhale]


Since first typing this post, I’ve received the following letter from OCBC formally announcing:

  • 2018 rate revision
  • Waiver of $25 KrisFlyer transfer fee
  • 19% discount at Caltex (also highlighted in comments by gariontjk)

The third point’s the only new point of data here, but if you pump at Caltex that’s probably going to make this card even more attractive (although I personally think the OCBC Titanium Rewards via mobile payment with 4mpd, coupled with 14-16% discount for OCBC cards, is the superior choice).

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41 Comments on "OCBC Voyage drops admin fees for Krisflyer transfers; boosts miles earning rate"

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Received the mailer about this revision and somewhat disappointed with the drastic reduction from 2.3 to 1. 6 for local dining. Darn. 🙁

Me too. Got the card to use for dining, which is my main expense. But with this change… 🙁

But a 1.6 miles general spend with visa level of acceptance……Mmmm…… (cue insert Homer Simpson drooling face)

Only if you’re a ‘premier’ customer. Which I presume many of us general consumers won’t be. Oh well.

My personal experience is that they have been quite lax. My main transaction with them is the 70k in the 360 account to max out the interest earned.

OCBC Voyage overseas spend earn rate of 2.3 miles per $ is still better than UOB PRVI 2.4 miles due to its lower foreign transaction fee (2.8% vs 3.25%)

true. and also need to consider that 1 VM is worth slightly more than 1 Krisflyer mile (call option to convert)

And recently there was a promo of 3mpd for overseas transactions.

Does anyone know if CardUp payments would qualify as “other local retail spend”?

Maybe you should call them to check.

from OCBC:
1.3.20 Payment of funds to prepaid accounts and merchants who are categorised as “payment
service providers”. OCBC Bank has the absolute discretion to determine which provider is
considered a “payment service provider”.

I believe the miles from paying the annual fees are credited to Krisflyer immediately, not stored on the card

What happens if the transaction done locally is neither retail nor dining? eg. Payment at local hospital or hotel.
Will it still earn 1.6MPD?

This line in the T&Cs is also weird…
1.1.4 Overseas Retail and Dining Spend :
… For the avoidance of doubt, any overseas retail and dining spend
charged to the Card in Singapore dollars will earn VOYAGE Miles at a rate of S$1: 1 VOYAGE Mile;

Shouldn’t it fall back to 1.6MPD if the overseas retail spend is charged in SGD?

Not forgetting there is an 19% instant discount on petrol at caltex, with no minimum spend.

Assuming your overseas spending is in USD at an exchange rate of 1.35 UOB PRVI: USD100 x 1.35 + 3.25% = SGD139.38 (324 miles) OCBC Voyage: USD100 x 1.35 + 2.8% = SGD138.78 (317 miles) 324-317 = 7. 0.60$/7 miles = 8.5cts per mile UOB PRVI: USD101 x 1.35 + 3.25% = SGD140.78 (336 miles) OCBC Voyage: USD101 x 1.35 + 2.8% = SGD140.26 (322 miles) 336-322 = 14. 0.62$/14 miles = 4.4cts per mile UOB PRVI: USD500 x 1.35 + 3.25% = SGD696.93 (1668 miles) OCBC Voyage: USD500 x 1.35 + 2.8% = SGD693.90 (1593 miles) 1668-1593 = 75.… Read more »

I’m lost (math noob here lol), but curious. May I know how is it that the difference for USD 100 spend is so much higher at 8.5cts per mile, while in a scenario of USD 101 spend it could be brought down to just 4.4 cts per mile? Am i conceptually missing something? Thanks.

because of UOB rounding down policy. For spending of SGD139.38 , you only get miles for SGD135.

I have a feeling that OCBC voyage miles will be devalued soon . I think it is cheaper for OCBC to transfer VM to krisflyer miles.

On the contrary, because VM aren’t going to be devalued, the bank wants you to transfer to KF? VM technically allows one to redeem a revenue ticket with any airline. I would have considered the 150k miles offer if that would allow me to redeem a business class ticket to Europe. HWZ seems to have conflicting reports of how much 1 VM is worth. Oddly enough like Aaron’s previous article, it’s worth more redeeming econ class tickets haha!