One key weakness of OCBC credit cards is that they only have a single transfer partner: Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer.
While that might be sufficient for the vast majority of cardholders, true miles and points junkies will know that other frequent flyer programmes (FFP) have sweet spots of their own, whether it’s BA Executive Club short-haul awards, Miles&Smiles tickets to Europe, or Etihad Guest’s eclectic mix of partner airlines. Each FFP is like a different tool, and all things equal, wouldn’t you rather have a fully-loaded toolbox?
Fortunately, the situation is going to get a whole lot better by the end of 2022, with OCBC set to add seven new airline and hotel transfer partners.
OCBC adding 7 new transfer partners
While poking around on the OCBC VOYAGE website, I came across the following under the “benefits” section.
“Convert VOYAGE miles to loyalty points at 8 airline and hotel partner programmes”. That’s certainly new!
I asked OCBC about this, and they confirmed the following:
- OCBC intends to add seven new airline and hotel transfer partners by December 2022
- These will be available for all rewards currencies: VOYAGE Miles, Travel$, OCBC$
OCBC wasn’t able to disclose the names of the new partners or the transfer ratios, but if they’re adding seven at one go, it almost certainly means they’ll be using Ascenda Loyalty’s TransferConnect.
TransferConnect is a points exchange network that allows customers to tap Ascenda’s pre-existing network of airline and hotel partners, avoiding the hassle of individual negotiations. It’s how Standard Chartered launched the SC X Card and added 11 transfer partners overnight.
Ascenda Loyalty partners with the following airline and hotel loyalty programmes:
If I had to guess, I’d say we’ll see the following additions for OCBC in December:
- Accor Live Limitless
- Asia Miles
- British Airways Executive Club
- Emirates Skywards
- Etihad Guest
- IHG One Rewards
- Qantas Frequent Flyer
While I’d love to see more “exotic” programmes like Aeroplan and LifeMiles, that might be a bit too niche for the local market.
In terms of transfer ratios, we shouldn’t expect to see a uniform rate applied across the board. Using Standard Chartered as an example, conversions range from 2,500-3,500 bank points to 1,000 partner miles.
|Frequent Flyer Programme
(SC Points: Partner)
This suggests that the cost price of Emirates Skywards and Qatar Privilege Club miles is more than Qantas points or FlyingBlue miles, for example, and I’d expect OCBC to apply similar ratios if they’re featured.
Transfer partners by bank
As a reminder, here’s the current list of transfer partners by bank.
Singapore Airlines is the obvious leader, partnering with all nine points-awarding banks. Cathay Pacific in second place with seven, followed by Qantas in third with four.
More rare are partners like Turkish Miles&Smiles, Accor Live Limitless and Marriott Bonvoy- I certainly hope to see more banks getting them on board!
OCBC is set to add seven new airline and hotel transfer partners by December 2022, giving cardholders alternatives to KrisFlyer.
It’s yet to be confirmed who the seven are, but Cathay Pacific is almost a nailed-on certainty, as well as one of Accor Live Limitless, IHG One Rewards or Marriott Bonvoy. And if OCBC introduces one completely new partner to the Singapore market, well, I wouldn’t complain either!
So if you’re holding on to a big stash of VOYAGE Miles, Travel$ or OCBC$, don’t cash them out for KrisFlyer miles just yet.
Which transfer partners are you hoping to see?