OCBC VOYAGE offering up to 1.54 cents per mile when redeeming cash rebates

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OCBC VOYAGE cardholders can cash out VOYAGE Miles at 1.54 cents each till 31 Dec- not too bad, given the current environment.

I’ve previously written about why it’s bad value to redeem credit card points for cash rebates. Long story short, the value you receive is typically so poor that you might as well have used a cashback card in the first place.

However, every now and then there are exceptions to the rule, and we just might be seeing one for the OCBC VOYAGE.

Redeem VOYAGE miles at up to 1.54 cents each

OCBC VOYAGE cardholders should have received the following SMS about an opportunity to redeem VOYAGE miles (VM) for cash rebates at a discounted rate. 

<ADV> OCBC Premier VOYAGE: Your VOYAGE Miles just got better! From now till 31 December 2020, get up to 35% off when you use your VOYAGE Miles to exchange for cash in your card account. For example, you will get S$50 in exchange for 3,500 VOYAGE Miles (usually 5,000); 32,500 VOYAGE Miles (usually 50,000) will give you S$500. Go to www.ocbc.com/rewards to make your redemptions. Questions? Call 1800 773 6437. To unsubscribe, SMS unsub to 72377

I’ve confirmed with OCBC that this is not a targeted promotion; it’s in fact open to all VOYAGE cardholders. You should see this reflected when you login to the OCBC online rewards portal.

OCBC VOYAGE cardholders can choose from the following options:

  • Redeem 5,000 3,500 VM for S$50 cash (1.43 cents/mile)
  • Redeem 50,000 32,500 VM for S$500 cash (1.54 cents/mile)
⚠️ Some users are reporting an IT glitch on the OCBC website whereby points are deducted, but an error page shows after clicking “redeem”. OCBC is looking into this, but in the meantime, you can find proof of your redemption in the “Rewards”  tab in online banking, under “Transaction History”

All redemptions must be made by 31 December 2020, and there’s no cap on the maximum redemptions that can be done. For example, even if your current card balance is S$300, you can redeem as many sets of S$500 as you have points. 

Is it worth it?

Based on the regular VOYAGE earn rates, this promotion represents a rebate of up to 3.5%– higher than what you’d get with any unlimited cashback card on the market. 

  Local Spend* Overseas Spend*
OCBC VOYAGE 1.3 mpd
(2.0%)
2.2 mpd
(3.4%)
OCBC Premier, PPC, BOS VOYAGE Card 1.6 mpd
(2.5%)
2.3 mpd
(3.5%)
*Rebates based on conversion rate of 32,500 VM for S$500 cash

Sure, 1.54 cents per mile may not be phenomenal value, but for those who have a hefty chunk of VMs and no way of spending them, it’s roughly about the minimum threshold I’d be willing to accept. 

It’s worth noting that VMs can be redeemed for up to 2.97 cents per mile when spent on airfare, depending on destination. At least that was the case in 2018; the math may have changed by now.

In fact, it reminds me of the promotion that American Express ran for the AMEX Platinum Charge card earlier this year, where members got double points and double value for statement credits. Opting for the statement credit option yielded a similar value of 1.54 cents per mile, and I did cash out a fair chunk of points to finance my staycation reviews. 

The main difference between the AMEX offer and the OCBC one is flexibility. AMEX allowed you to redeem Membership Rewards points for statement credit in any denomination, while OCBC requires that you do so in blocks of S$50/S$500.

Arbitrage opportunities?

One interesting opportunity this promotion presents is for those who have bill payments to make.

Imagine you used your OCBC VOYAGE card with CardUp to pay rent, taxes, MCST fees, education bills, insurance premiums etc. With the current promo codes on the market, you’re looking at the following cost per mile (in cents). 

  1.75%
(Tax)*
1.9%
(Rent)^
2.25%
(Others)#
OCBC VOYAGE 1.44 1.55 1.85
OCBC Premier, PPC, BOS VOYAGE Card 1.08 1.17 1.39
*Use code ML175TAX20, schedule by 26 Oct 20 (More info)
^Use code SAVERENT19, schedule by 31 Dec 20 (More info)
#Use code GET225, schedule by 31 Dec 20 (More info)

The OCBC VOYAGE Card isn’t really worth considering in this case, but the OCBC Premier, PPC, BOS VOYAGE present much more attractive options (thanks to their higher base earn rate of 1.6 mpd). 

To illustrate, suppose an OCBC Premier, PPC, BOS VOYAGE cardholder pays a S$2,150 bill with CardUp using the SAVERENT19 code (1.9% fee):

  • His card will be charged S$2,190.85 (S$2,150 + S$40.85 fee)
  • He will earn 3,504 VM (@ 1.6 mpd)
  • The cost per mile is 1.17 cents each (S$40.85/3,504)

He can use 3,500 VM to redeem a S$50 statement credit, and now he’s S$9.15 and 4 VM ahead. 

Conclusion

1.54 cents per mile may not be the highest value you could theoretically derive for your VMs, but I’d say it’s worth considering for someone who has “too many”. How many is “too many” depends on the person, of course, but for those in the market for staycations, this can also be seen as an indirect way of redeeming VMs for hotels. 

Do note that there is a separate offer for the OCBC 90°N Card as well, but this one maxes out at 1.43 cents per mile. I’ll do a separate post on this shortly. 

Aaron Wong
Aaron founded The Milelion with the intention of helping people travel better for less and impressing chiobu. He was 50% successful.

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James

Do you think it’s worth it if I convert Travel$ to VM, then redeem the cash rebates through this promo?

Ethan

Tried doing a redemption for the $500 option. However did not see it. Called up OCBC and they confirmed they have pulled the $500 Cash rebate option.

Ethan

Thanks Aaron!

noob

waiting for the next cardup promo!

timeline was too tight to meet the payment for income tax for this month.

the arbitrage is definitely worth the time value of money of installments.

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