OCBC Titanium Rewards nerf: What’s the game plan now?

From November 2023, the OCBC Titanium Rewards loses its annual bonus cap, as well as some key bonus categories. What now?

Earlier this month, OCBC announced that from 1 November 2023, the OCBC Titanium Rewards would be changing its list of 4 mpd bonus categories, and switching the bonus cap from annual to monthly.

T&Cs (till 31 Oct 23)
T&Cs (from 1 Nov 23)
FAQs

While the former is bad enough, it’s the latter which really torpedoes the core value proposition.

The OCBC Titanium Rewards adopts a more finicky “whitelist approach” for bonus transactions (i.e. no 4 mpd unless it’s on this specified list), but has historically compensated by applying an annual bonus cap. Switching from an annual cap to monthly cap removes one of the main use cases for this card: big-ticket purchases.

Moreover, it’s relatively easy to make one large transaction that maxes out the 120,000 bonus OCBC$ cap, then stop spending on the card for the rest of the year. Going forward, you’ll need to make transactions of S$1,110 for 12 consecutive calendar months, which realistically speaking means bonus OCBC$ left on the table.

Needless to say, I’ll be using the OCBC Titanium Rewards a whole lot less from November, and if you’re a cardholder too, here’s a few things to think about.

Recap: OCBC Titanium Rewards changes

For those out of the loop, here’s what’s happening to the OCBC Titanium Rewards from 1 November 2023.

The list of MCCs and merchants eligible to earn 10X OCBC$ (i.e. 4 mpd) will be changed as follows:

💳 OCBC Titanium Rewards Bonus Whitelist
MCCExamples
(non-exhaustive)
MCC 5309 Duty Free Stores  new Lotte Duty Free, King Power Duty Free, The Shilla Duty Free
MCC 5311 Departmental StoresTakashimaya, TANGS, Isetan, OG, Metro, BHG, Marks & Spencer
MCC 5611 Men’s and Boys’ Clothing and Accessories StoresBenjamin Barker, Timberland, Edit Suits, Berluti
MCC 5621 Women’s Ready to Wear StoresZara, H&M, Mothercare
MCC 5631 Women’s Accessory and Speciality StoresTory Burch, Love Bonito, Pandora
MCC 5641 Children’s and Infants’ Wear StoresKiddy Palace, Mummys Market, Pupsik, Motherswork
MCC 5651 Family Clothing StoresUniqlo, ASOS, Club 21, Burberry, Yoox
MCC 5655 Sports and Riding Apparel  new Nike, Lululemon, Adidas
MCC 5661 Shoe StoresSkechers, Charles & Keith, Bata, Foot Locker, Pazzion
MCC 5691 Men’s and Women’s Clothing StoresEzbuy, Zalora, Fartech
MCC 5045 Computers, Peripherals, and SoftwareApple, Aftershock, Prism Plus, Dell
MCC 5732 Electronics StoresBest Denki, Harvey Norman, Gain City
MCC 5699 Miscellaneous Apparel and Accessory ShopsQoo10, Cotton On, Reebonz
MCC 5941 Sporting Goods Stores  new Decathlon, Fila, New Balance
MCC 5948 Luggage or Leather Goods Stores  new Louis Vuitton, Coach, Rimowa
Specified Merchants
  • Alibaba
  • AliExpress
  • Amazon^
  • Courts
  • Daigou
  • Ezbuy
  • Guardian  new 
  • IKEA
  • Lazada
  • Mustafa Centre^
  • NTUC Unity  new 
  • Qoo10
  • Shopee*
  • Taobao
  • TikTok Shop  new 
  • Watsons  new 
^Amazon and Mustafa Centre transactions under MCC 5411 are not eligible to earn any OCBC$
*Shopee Pay transactions under MCC 5262 are not eligible to earn any OCBC$

Duty free stores, sports and riding apparel, sporting goods and luggage/leather good stores have been added to the whitelist, together with Guardian, NTUC Unity, TikTok Shop (yes, there’s a TikTok Shop)and Watsons.

However, computer and electronics stores, Courts and IKEA have all been removed.

In addition to this, the maximum bonus OCBC$ that can be earned will be changed from 120,000 OCBC$ per membership year to 10,000 OCBC$ per calendar month.

 CurrentFrom 1 Nov 2023
Bonus OCBC$ Cap120,000 OCBC$ per membership year10,000 OCBC$ per calendar month
Equivalent toS$13,335 per membership yearS$1,110 per calendar month

Any spend in excess of the cap earns 1 OCBC$ per S$1, or 0.4 mpd. 

Burn your remaining annual cap

If you’ve been meaning to buy some IKEA furniture, now would be the time…

Before we talk about what you should do post-nerf, let’s briefly cover what you should be doing now.

If there’s one silver lining to this whole debacle, it’s that existing OCBC Titanium Rewards Cardholders can fully consume what’s left of their 120,000 annual bonus OCBC$ cap by 31 October 2023. 

Here’s how OCBC puts it:

Your OCBC$ earned before 1 November 2023 will follow the annual cap of 120,000 OCBC$, depending on your card anniversary date. The monthly bonus cap takes effect from 1 November2023 for all cardholders, regardless of your card anniversary date

To illustrate:

  • Suppose my membership year runs from 1 April to 31 March each year, and I’ve already utilised 40,000 bonus OCBC$ so far
  • I have until 31 October 2023 to use the remaining 80,000 OCBC$ in my annual cap
  • From 1 November 2023, my monthly cap will be 10,000 bonus OCBC$, regardless of how many OCBC$ I’ve utilised in the months prior

This means that my bonus OCBC$ for this particular membership year will actually be more than 120,000 OCBC$.

💳 OCBC Titanium Rewards Illustration
(for cardholder with membership year bet. 1 April to 31 March)
PeriodBonus OCBC$
1 April 2023 to 31 October 2023120,000 OCBC$
1 November 2023 to 31 March 202450,000 OCBC$
(5 mo. x 10,000 OCBC$ each)
Total bonus OCBC$ for membership year170,000 OCBC$

So you basically have a few more weeks to finish up your annual bonus cap, preferably on big-ticket purchases such as computers or electronics (both of which drop off the MCC whitelist from 1 November 2023).

And even if you don’t have any immediate purchases planned, there’s always the option of buying gift cards from Courts, Harvey Norman or IKEA to “frontload” the 4 mpd. As far as I know, gift card purchases will code the same as any regular retail spend at these establishments. 

Why bother with the OCBC Titanium Rewards?

After the nerf, I personally don’t see myself using the OCBC Titanium Rewards very much, given the abundance of superior alternatives. 

In fact, I can think of half a dozen or so cards I’d sooner use before the Titanium Rewards.

CardEarn RateCapRemarks
Citi Rewards Card
Apply
4 mpdS$1K per s. month Online spend ex. travel
DBS WWMC
Apply
4 mpdS$2K per c. monthOnline spend
HSBC Revolution
Apply
4 mpdS$1K per c. monthGroceries, dining, travel, transport, shopping
UOB Lady’s Card
Apply
6 mpdS$1K per c. month Choice of 1 bonus category
UOB Lady’s Solitaire
Apply
6 mpdS$3K per c. month Choice of 2 bonus categories
UOB Pref. Plat. Visa
Apply
4 mpdS$1.1K per c. monthMobile contactless  spend
UOB Visa Signature 
Apply
4 mpdS$2K per s. month*Contactless spend
*Min S$1K spend per statement month

All these cards offer:

  • Comparable or higher earn rates
  • Comparable or higher monthly bonus caps
  • a wider range of bonus categories

I want to expand on that third point a bit more because it cuts to the heart of the issue. The OCBC Titanium Rewards has one of the smallest whitelists of any specialised spending card. Cardholders could close one eye when an annual bonus cap was in place, but change it to a monthly one and it quickly drops to the back of the pecking order. 

Let’s not forget the S$5 earning blocks (which UOB has too, but makes up for with better card quality), underwhelming conversion ratios, and high minimum conversion amounts (at least if you want KrisFlyer). 

That said, I can think of a few scenarios where the OCBC Titanium Reward would still come in handy.

If you max out the bonus caps on other cards

If you’re a big spender who regularly maxes out the bonus caps on other specialised spending cards, then having the OCBC Titanium Rewards and its extra 4 mpd cap is still better than not having it.

In that scenario, you might use the OCBC Titanium Rewards for transactions on Amazon, Lazada, Qoo10 and Shopee, while saving the bonus caps on the Citi Rewards Card and DBS Woman’s World Card for other online transactions that don’t fall under the Titanium Reward’s whitelist.

If you have a big ticket purchase which can be split across cards

While the OCBC Titanium Rewards will no longer be able to absorb big ticket purchases on its own, it can still come in useful in situations where you can split the transaction over multiple cards.

Here’s a hypothetical example. Suppose you want to buy a S$10,000 Louis Vuitton bag, because it fills the empty void within you. 

You know the MCC is 5948, so assuming the salesperson lets you break up the spending over different cards, you could put:

AmountEarn Rate
S$1,000 on the UOB Lady’s Card
(with Fashion selected as bonus category)
 6 mpd 
S$2,000 on the UOB Visa Signature
(pay with contactless)
 4 mpd 
S$1,110 on the UOB Pref. Plat. Visa
(pay with mobile contactless)
 4 mpd 
S$1,000 on the HSBC Revolution
(pay with contactless)
 4 mpd 
S$1,110 on the OCBC Titanium Rewards 4 mpd 
S$3,780 on the KrisFlyer UOB Card + Amaze
(with min. S$800 spend on SIA Group transactions in a membership year)
 3 mpd 

This would earn a total of 38,220 miles, even more if you get both the Blue and Pink versions of the OCBC Titanium Rewards (each of which have their own bonus caps).

That’s still incremental miles compared to a scenario where you didn’t have the OCBC Titanium Rewards.

If you’re an OCBC 360 account holder

🏦 OCBC 360 Interest
 First S$75KNext S$25K
Salary2.0%4.0%
Save1.2%2.4%
Spend0.6%0.6%
Wealth (Insure)1.2%2.4%
Wealth (Invest)1.2%2.4%
Base Interest0.05%
Max EIR 7.65% 
Additional Grow bonus of 2.4% p.a. available if minimum ADB at least S$200,000

OCBC 360 account holders who spend at least S$500 per month on selected OCBC credit cards, including the Titanium Rewards, will earn an additional 0.6% p.a. on the first S$100,000 in their accounts.

This works out to an extra S$50 per month, so if you have the money in an OCBC 360 account anyway, you might as well earn the bonus interest.

Conclusion

If some of the above scenarios sound like stretches to you, that’s because they are. The cold hard truth is that from November onwards, use cases for the OCBC Titanium Rewards Card will become exceedingly rare.

Yes, it can still be a sponge for those who regularly max out the 4-6 mpd caps on other specialised spending cards. Yes, it can be useful for a big-ticket purchase that can be split across cards. Yes, it can help you earn some bonus interest on your OCBC 360 account.

But outside of these situations, the loss of an annual bonus cap means there’s very little reason for someone to choose the OCBC Titanium Rewards over the competition.

It’s been seven years since OCBC brought the Titanium Rewards Card back to life with a much-needed reboot. Now it’s sending it right back to the underworld/sock drawer, which is a shame if you ask me.

How will you be using your OCBC Titanium Rewards Card from 1 November onwards?

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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Kel

Game plan = End game. Plus this bank does not waive anything. Has the worst retail bank suite of products.

Jer

Transferring all my miles in November and cancelling the card 😂

Stajin

will throw the card in the garbage – wonder if its recyclable

JL Goh

Planning to cancel this card after Nov. Other than ensuring the bonus miles are credited, and miles are transferred out to airline partners – anything to be mindful of before cancelling?

Jer

If u have voyage u can convert the orphan ocbc$ to. Voyage Albert at a disc.

Jarnytha

Don’t forget to cancel this card. Reset NTB status.

Louis

Called in to cancel the card and got retention offer of $50 rebate upon 5 transactions within 2 months . Annual fee waived for 2 years

Freddy

Time to cancel the card

ksp210

I intentionally am not maxing out the 120k bonus OCBC$. Spent enough to hit the maximum multiple of 25k points (base plus bonus) so I can transfer to KF without leaving too many orphan miles. I’m not accumulating on any of the other Stack transfer partners so can’t use lower multiples.

Bradley

” high minimum conversion amounts (at least if you want KrisFlyer)”

Hi there, I just got the Ocbc titanium and wondering if i can make it in time for 31st October to buy an iphone and transfer the miles into Krisflyer? Is there a minimum number of OCBC$ i would need to have? Many thanks in advance!

A H

Any reason you see on why banks are self-sabotaging their best cards (like DBS Altitude)? Maybe too many miles being accumulated by increasing pool of consumers? Shouldn’t banks be more inclined to promote miles over cashback in high interest environment?

Nsy

Hi if I make a transaction on electronics on 31 oct and it only gets posted on 1 nov, do i still get the bonus points?

Bella

Any next best card now to use for big ticket electronics purchases? E.g. Harvey norman/bestdenki

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