Frequent readers of the site will know that I’m no big fan of the Voyage card. Although I applaud OCBC for offering something different in the form of a miles earning card that lets you spend your miles like currency on any airline, I felt that the overall haircut you’d take on miles earning (~16-30% lower local spending rates), the relatively low valuation of Voyage Miles plus the hefty, non-waivable annual fee (S$488) meant it wasn’t worthwhile.
However, as per The Shutterwhale, from 1 January 2018 there will be some key changes to the Voyage Card’s earning rates.
|Currently||From 1 Jan 2018|
|Local Spend||1.0 VM /$1||1.2 VM/ $1|
|Overseas Spend||2.3 VM/ $1||2.3 VM/ $1|
|Dining Spend||2.3 VM/ $1||1.6 VM/ $1|
The biggest change for me is the miles awarded from local spend increase by 20% from 1 VM/$1 to 1.2 VM/$1. This puts the Voyage card on par with other general spend cards like the DBS Altitude/Citibank Premiermiles Visa. In fact, given that 1 VM is worth more than 1 Krisflyer mile (because a VM can be converted into a Krisflyer mile at a 1:1 ratio plus can be used as currency to offset revenue ticket costs on any airline), you could argue that the Voyage card is better for general spending than the Altitude/Premiermiles.
Earning on dining spend is reduced from 2.3 VM to 1.6 VM per $1, but that doesn’t really bother me because I wouldn’t be using the Voyage card for dining spending anyway. You could use the UOB Preferred Platinum AMEX, Mileslife + UOB PPV, UOB PPV (where Paywave is accepted), Maybank Horizon Visa Signature or HSBC Revolution and come away with more miles on dining than with the Voyage’s revised rate.
Overseas spending remains unchanged at 2.3 VM per $1. I’ve never had an issue with that, because it’s a very competitive rate. The DBS Altitude/Citibank Premiermiles Visa offer 2 mpd, and although the UOB PRVI Miles slightly edges the Voyage at 2.4 mpd, we again come to the conceptual point that a VM is worth slightly more than the regular miles that other bank cards earn.
The revised earning rates make the Voyage a viable general spending card in my mind, if you’re ok with paying the $488 annual fee. It should be noted that you could get a UOB PRVI Miles card that would match/outperform the Voyage card in terms of sheer miles earning plus have an annual fee that is about half that of the Voyage (and, in my experience, can be waived). Also, for a slightly higher annual fee ($535) you’d be in the ballpark for a Citibank Prestige card, which is for all intents and purposes a solid $120K income card, providing benefits that the Voyage doesn’t have like unlimited lounge access through Priority Pass plus limo transfers at a lower spending requirement ($1.5K for Prestige vs $3K for Voyage). EDIT: Have been reminded that the $1.5K for Prestige is foreign currency spending, whereas for the Voyage it can be spending of any sort
All things considered I am glad that OCBC has reoriented the Voyage card to be more competitive with the other offerings on the market. I’m planning to do an updated article on how the OCBC Voyage card now compares to traditional miles cards in view of this year’s Krisflyer devaluation so be on the lookout for that.