Nerfed: OCBC VOYAGE slashes limo rides, adds miles conversion fees

From 1 February 2023, OCBC VOYAGE Cardholders will see their free limo allowance slashed from 24 to 8 per year, and pay S$25 per miles transfer.

2023 may not be a happy year for OCBC VOYAGE Cardholders, who will see their complimentary limo ride allowance slashed from 24 to 8 per year (with an increase in the minimum spend per ride), as well as an end to complimentary transfers to KrisFlyer miles. 

These changes take place from 1 February 2023, with OCBC providing just over one month’s notice. 

OCBC VOYAGE charging $25 conversion fee

Unless you hold a Singapore Airlines cobrand card, most credit cards will impose a conversion fee of around S$25 when converting bank points to airline miles. 

OCBC VOYAGE Cardholders currently enjoy free conversions of VOYAGE Miles to KrisFlyer, with a minimum conversion of just 1 mile. This is a great way of making small, ad-hoc top-ups to a KrisFlyer account. 

Unfortunately, this will end from 1 February 2023 when an admin fee of S$25 nett will apply for every conversion whether to KrisFlyer, or any of the other seven transfer partners OCBC is intending to add (a move that was previously slated to take place by December 2022, but has now been delayed).

This is almost certainly a by-product of the bank shifting to the Ascenda loyalty platform, which will handle all points to miles conversions going forward. OCBC has confirmed with me that the minimum conversion block will remain at 1 mile for VOYAGE cardholders, but really, there’s no reason you’d want to transfer amounts that small when a S$25 fee applies.

What about other OCBC cards?

There are currently three other OCBC cards that do not charge conversion fees:

  • OCBC 90°N Mastercard 
  • OCBC 90°N Visa
  • OCBC Premier Visa Infinite

OCBC has confirmed with me that these cards will also start charging conversion fees from February 2023. That’s a real shame, especially since for a time OCBC was taking the lead in abolishing conversion fees, and I had serious hopes this might catch on in the market. 

How does this compare to other banks?

For comparison, here’s a rundown of the conversion fees charged by other banks. The fees below reflect the adjustments that will take place from 1 January 2023, when the prevailing GST rate increases to 8%. 

Issuer Per Conversion Annual Option
S$20 N/A
S$30 N/A
S$27 N/A
$27 S$43.20*
N/A S$43.20
S$27 N/A
S$25 N/A
S$27 N/A
S$25 S$50^
*Automatic conversions in blocks of 500 DBS points (1,000 miles) each quarter. Addition ad-hoc redemptions can be done for free
^Automatic conversions in blocks of UNI$2,500 (5,000 miles) each month for balances above UNI$15,000. Additional ad-hoc redemptions cost S$25

With the exception of Bank of China (naturally), the conversion fee is the same regardless of how many points you transfer. In other words, it costs the same to transfer 5,000 DBS points (10,000 miles) as it does 500,000 DBS points (1,000,000 miles), provided you do it in a single transfer.

Notwithstanding the table above, some cards are exempt from conversion fees. Read about those in the article below. 

Which credit cards don’t charge miles conversion fees?

OCBC VOYAGE slashing free limo rides

  Till 31 Jan 2023 From 1 Feb 2023
Min. Spend S$5,000 per calendar month S$12,000 per calendar quarter
Rides Per Min. Spend 1 2
Maximum Rides 2 per calendar month 2 per calendar quarter

OCBC VOYAGE Cardholders currently earn one complimentary limo ride with a minimum spend of S$5,000 per calendar month, capped at two rides per calendar month

From 1 February 2023, cardholders will need to spend at least S$12,000 per calendar quarter to unlock two complimentary limo rides. This is capped at two rides per calendar quarter, defined as:

  • January to March
  • April to June
  • July to September
  • October to December

If it’s any consolation, this change will take place from February 2023, which means you can “double dip” on January’s spending. 

For example, if I spend S$10,000 in January, I’ll unlock two rides for the month. Subsequently, if from February to March I spend a further S$2,000, I will unlock two more rides for the quarter.

But that’s only a transitionary concession, and this change effectively increases the minimum spend per limo ride from S$5,000 to S$6,000. Keep in mind you won’t actually get a limo ride with S$6,000 spend; you must hit at least S$12,000! Moreover, the maximum limo rides you can earn a year has been cut from 24 to just eight. 

Card Qualifying Spend Cap
Citi Prestige S$12K per quarter for 2 rides 2 per quarter
HSBC Visa Infinite S$2K per month for 1 ride*
24 per year
Maybank Visa Infinite S$3K per month for 2 rides 8 per year
OCBC VOYAGE S$12K per quarter for 2 rides 2 per quarter
*First 2 (Regular customer) or 4 (HSBC Premier) per membership year are free

OCBC is essentially matching what Citi Prestige did back in 2019, when it nuked its limo benefit by hiking the minimum spend by 13X and cutting the allowance in half. 

As before, each free ride will be valid for three months, and can also be converted into a S$20 statement credit if the cardmember so prefers. 

Other limo ride changes

OCBC has updated the T&Cs of the limo ride entitlement, with the following noteworthy changes:

  • Drop-offs are now possible at Queen Street Bus Terminal and Woodlands & Tuas Checkpoints
  • The midnight surcharge of $12, previously imposed for rides commencing between 11 p.m to 7 a.m, has been officially removed
  • In addition to the standard 4-seater Mercedes, a 7-seater Toyota Velfire can also be requested with no upgrade charge (previously a S$10 fee was applicable)

Conclusion

OCBC VOYAGE Cardholders will not be happy campers come February, when their annual limo allowance gets cut from 24 to 8, while the average spend per limo ride increases by 20%. 

They will also need to get used to paying a S$25 conversion fee for VOYAGE Miles transfers, which were previously free. This will affect the OCBC 90°N Card and OCBC Premier Visa Infinite as well, which means an end to all free transfers for OCBC cardholders. 

Let’s hope OCBC has some genuine enhancements in store for VOYAGE Cardholders next year. 

(HT: Ansley)

Aaron Wong
Aaron Wong
Aaron founded The Milelion to help people travel better for less and impress chiobu. He was 50% successful.

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Jem

What happens if I my spend is in late Dec and my billing cycle ends 30th? Do I get the limo ride in the next quarter? Unless the bank is expecting that I use the 2 rides on 31 Dec itself lol

Jem

Ah thanks

cheesecake

Don’t forget UOB PRVI AMEX – 2 limo rides a quarter for spending $1,000 in foreign currency.

Abc

I would say the commencement of miles conversion fees affects quite a lot of OCBC cardholders, not just Voyage, since the rewards currencies had fee-free routes that are seemingly impacted (Travel$ from 90N, OCBC$ from the Premier Infinite) – it’s a bigger change than the headline suggests… (I was almost going to skip this article since I am not a Voyage cardholder).

eugene

does this affect the premier version of the voyage too?

sadly

yes

june

suckssss

Eric

Just to confirm the limo rides refer to calendar month and not statement month? Thanks

JoshC

Just got an email from OCBC stating

New airline partners:
• Air France – KLM Flying Blue
• British Airways Executive Club
• Cathay Pacific
• Etihad Guest
• United MileagePlus

New hotel partners:
• ALL – Accor Live Limitless
• IHG One Rewards
• Marriott Bonvoy®

Not particularly exciting but better than only have KF as a transfer partner

kenneth

seems like the $10 fee (or 500 voyage miles) still applies for all requests for the 7 seater vellfire.

kenneth

i was thinking if ymmv, but i tried calling in twice and seems like it still applies. just silent in the updated t&c

Voyager Shiraz

Hi everyone, is it just me, or has OCBC Voyage stopped conversion of limo rides to cash?

Tan

Called them and they said it ended in 2022.

George

Yes, it is no longer able to cash out the limo rides for $20 credit

James Quek

I got a rude shock when I was being told by the OCBC Voyage Card hotline officer that for this quarter, one needs to spend $12K from Feb – Mar, Jan 23’s spending is not counted. This is insane!

Anoy

Do note that OCBC deems a Toyota Alphard / Vellfire to be similar to a Toyota Noah… Surprised at the downgrade.