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).