OCBC 90°N Cards offering 25,500 miles upfront sign-up bonus

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From now till 30 June, enjoy an upfront sign-up bonus of 25,500 miles with a new OCBC 90°N Card. Just a pity about the hefty minimum spend!

 ⚠️ OCBC has retroactively added a “first 500” cap on this offer, per T&Cs dated 8 May 2023 (the date is obtained from the PDF file’s metadata)

Back in February, OCBC launched an interesting new sign-up offer for the OCBC 90°N Mastercard. Instead of the usual “spend first, miles later”, OCBC flipped the script to “miles first, spend later”, giving cardholders 25,500 miles upfront provided they undertook to spend at least S$15,000 over six months. 

That offer was originally set to lapse on 31 March 2023, but OCBC has now renewed the promotion till 30 June 2023, and expanded it to the OCBC 90°N Visa as well. Both 90°N cards have shared the same CVP since March, with a flat 1.3/2.1 mpd for local/overseas spending. 

Unfortunately, the hefty minimum spend of S$15,000 remains, and if you have that much spending in the tank, you’d be better off utilising it for other sign-up bonuses instead.

OCBC 90°N Card 25,500 miles sign-up bonus

From now till 30 June 2023, new-to-bank cardholders who sign-up for an OCBC 90°N Mastercard or OCBC 90°N Visa will receive: 

  • 10,000 90°N Miles for paying the first year’s S$194.40 annual fee
  • 25,500 90°N Miles for spending S$15,000 during the qualifying period (defined below)
❓ New-to-bank

New-to-bank customers are defined as those who:

  • do not currently hold a principal OCBC credit card, and
  • have not cancelled one in the past six months prior to the commencement of the promotion period (15 Feb 23 for the 90°N Mastercard, 17 Mar 23 for the 90°N Visa)

The 35,500 90°N Miles will be automatically credited within 2 weeks of card approval date.

The qualifying period to meet the S$15,000 spend depends on your approval month, but can be up to seven months depending on when approval comes through (e.g. if you get approved on 1 March 2023 you have till 30 September 2023 to make the minimum spend). 

Approval Min. Spend By
1-31 March 202330 September 2023
1-30 April 202331 October 2023
1-31 May 202330 November 2023
1-30 June 202331 December 2023

If you have not met the S$15,000 spend by the end of the qualifying period, one of two things will happen:

  • If you have at least 25,500 90°N Miles in your account, 25,500 90°N Miles will be clawed back
  • If you have 25,499 90°N Miles or less in your account, OCBC will charge you S$540. This fee will not be pro-rated, i.e. it’s not the case that if you have 12,750 90°N Miles in your account, 12,750 90°N Miles will be clawed back with a S$270 fee

I’m sure you see that this sign-up bonus has the potential to be a bit of a poisoned chalice, because the cost per mile that OCBC will charge is a hefty 2.11 cents. If you fail to meet the minimum spend, you would have been much better off buying your miles elsewhere!

In addition to the bonus miles, cardholders will earn base miles on their S$15,000 spend as follows:

  • 1.3 mpd for local spend
  • 2.1 mpd for overseas spend

On a side note, you may notice OCBC referring to this offer as “up to 55,000 miles”. How they get that is by adding the base miles you earn from spending S$15,000 @ 1.3 mpd (19,500 miles) to the 25,500 bonus miles from spending S$15,000 and 10,000 miles for paying the annual fee. 

OCBC markets the offer as 55,000 miles, but this includes the base miles from the S$15,000 minimum spend

Can I get a first year fee waiver?

Yes. Cardholders who do not wish to pay the S$194.40 annual fee can send the following SMS by 15 April 2023:

📱 SMS to 72377
90NMCwaive<space>Last 8 digits of your card
e.g. 90NMCwaive 1234

OCBC will then reverse the S$194.40 annual fee and deduct 10,000 of the 35,500 90°N Miles awarded. Obviously, you won’t be able to get a waiver if your 90°N Miles balance is below 10,000, so be careful not to transfer everything out if that’s the plan.

What counts as qualifying spend?

Qualifying spend refers to in-person or online retail transactions, excluding transactions such as:

  • Charitable Donations
  • Education
  • Government Transactions
  • GrabPay top-ups
  • Hospitals
  • Insurance
  • Utilities

The full list of non-qualifying spend can be found in the OCBC 90°N Card’s T&Cs.

CardUp spending will count towards the minimum spend, and with CardUp offering some solid deals, that could be a viable way of going about things. CardUp is offering the following promotions:

  • 1.5% fee, valid for any payment made by a new CardUp user with an OCBC 90°N Card
  • 1.75% fee, valid for any income tax payment made by a new or existing CardUp user with any Visa card
  • 2% fee, valid for any payment made by a existing CardUp user with an OCBC 90°N Card

Terms & Conditions

The T&Cs for this offer can be found below:

Note that OCBC will claw back both the 25,500 90°N Miles from spending and the 10,000 90°N Miles from paying the annual fee should the card be closed within six months from 30 June 2023.

What can you do with 90°N Miles?

Etihad Guest will soon be a transfer partner for OCBC

90°N Miles (the new name for Travel$, if you haven’t caught on by now) can only be converted to Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer miles at the moment, but additional partners are supposed to come online soon. “Soon” being a relative term, because the original deadline of end-2022 has now slipped till Q2 2023 at the earliest!

In any case, we already know who the eight new transfer partners will be:

✈️ Airlines🏨 Hotels
  • Air France-KLM Flying Blue
  • British Airways Executive Club
  • Cathay Pacific 
  • Etihad Guest
  • United MileagePlus
  • Accor Live Limitless
  • IHG One Rewards
  • Marriott Bonvoy

All transfers will be charged a conversion fee of S$25.

Is this a good deal?

While I have to give OCBC credit for thinking outside the box with the mechanics, I can’t say this is a particularly attractive offer.

As I wrote about recently, we’re in a bit of a charmed period now when it comes to sign-up bonuses, with more than one dozen to choose from.

Roundup: Credit card sign-up bonuses (March 2023)

If you do the math, the OCBC 90°N Mastercard’s offer is 25,500 bonus miles for S$15,000 spend, or a payoff ratio of 1.7 (bonus miles divided by spend). That’s hard to swallow when you can leverage your new-to-bank status to get a much better sign-up offer with the OCBC Titanium Rewards Card: 11,520 miles with a spend of just S$100, or a payoff ratio of 115. Put it another way: compared to the OCBC 90°N Card, the OCBC Titanium Rewards offers just under 50% of the bonus miles for 0.67% of the spending!

There’s just so many better offers out there for the Citi PremierMiles, Citi Rewards, or DBS Altitude AMEX; even the notorious UOB is breaking character by offering an uncapped sign-up bonus for the KrisFlyer UOB Credit Card: 25,000 bonus miles for S$2,000 spend.

Factor in the consequences of not meeting the hefty S$15,000 minimum spend, and this sign-up offer feels like something you should pass on. 

Conclusion

The OCBC 90°N Card has extended its upfront sign-up bonus till 30 June 2023, which awards 25,500 90°N Miles with S$15,000 spend in the first 6-7 months, plus 10,000 90°N Miles for paying the S$194.40 annual fee. 

Offering the bonus upfront is certainly intriguing, but the lacklustre return relative to the minimum spend means there are much superior alternatives out there.

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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