BOC Elite Miles Card launches 60,000 miles welcome offer

Expired

Just in time for Halloween, the BOC Elite Miles Card has been resurrected with a 60,000 miles welcome offer. But beware: ghouls lurk in the T&Cs!

They say that Halloween is a time when certain supernatural phenomena may be observed.

That’s certainly true in the credit card world, because the BOC Elite Miles World Mastercard has just been resurrected with welcome offer of up to 60,000 miles. 

And you know what? Compared to the previous welcome offer we saw back in December 2022, there have been improvements: no more “first X” cap, and no more sending in a physical redemption letter to claim your miles!

But don’t lose heart, fans of the paranormal. This being BOC, there’s still plenty of unusual things lurking in the T&Cs…

New BOC Elite Miles welcome offer

Apply Here

From 16 October to 31 December 2023, customers who apply for a BOC Elite Miles Card with the promo code BOCEM will be eligible for the following welcome offer:

  New-to-bank  New-to-card
Pay S$205.20 annual fee 20,000 miles 10,000 miles
Qualifying spend of
≥S$1,000
≥S$2,000
20,000 miles
40,000 miles
10,000 miles
20,000 miles
Total Up to 60,000 miles Up to 30,000 miles

In addition to applying with the promo code, cardholders must also register by sending the following SMS to 75665:

📱 SMS to 75665
BOCEM<space>Last 4 characters of NRIC or passport<space>Frequent Flyer Programme Number
(Example: BOCEM 234A 848583883)

You might find the extra step annoying, but I assure you: registration by SMS is space age stuff as far as BOC is concerned!

Eligibility

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

  • Do not currently hold any principal or supplementary BOC credit cards
  • Have not cancelled any principal or supplementary BOC credit cards in the past six months

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

  • Do not currently hold a principal or supplementary BOC Elite Miles World Mastercard
  • Have not cancelled a principal or supplementary BOC Elite Miles World Mastercard in the past six months

Unfortunately, BOC is sticking with its punitive definition of “new”, because holding a supplementary card will disqualify you from enjoying this welcome offer!

BOC is the only bank on the market to have such a policy, and it really makes you wonder why. It can’t simply be the case that their system is unable to distinguish between principal and supplementary cardholders, right?

Right?

Annual fee bonus

New-to-bank and new-to-card customers will receive 20,000 and 10,000 miles respectively for paying the first year’s S$205.20 annual fee.

The annual fee cannot be waived for the first year. It might be possible for the second year onwards, but (clickbait alert) BOC’s idea of a fee waiver WILL SHOCK YOU!

Qualifying spend bonus

New-to-bank and new-to-card customers will receive additional miles for meeting a minimum qualifying spend as follows:

  New-to-bank  New-to-card
Qualifying Spend S$1,000 20,000 miles 10,000 miles
Qualifying Spend S$2,000 40,000 miles 20,000 miles

For avoidance of doubt, customers can only qualify for the ≥S$1,000 or ≥S$2,000 tier, but not both. 

The minimum qualifying spend needs to be made by 31 December 2023, regardless of when the approval date is.

That’s weird, to say the least. It’s the first time I’ve heard of a bank using a fixed cut-off date for spending; normally there’s a 30-90 day qualifying period that starts from the date of approval.

I suppose the intention is to incentivise people to apply sooner rather than later, but that can cut both ways. If I learned about this promotion in mid-December, for instance, I wouldn’t feel particularly inclined to participate (unless I didn’t read the fine print, in which case this is a UOB-level gotcha).

Let’s not forget that BOC isn’t particularly known for rapid card approvals. If past performance is any indicator of future returns, you might have less time to meet the qualifying spend than you think!

Here’s another head-scratcher. BOC is defining qualifying spend very narrowly. The only transactions that will count as qualifying spend are:

  • Singapore Airlines
  • Scoot
  • KrisShop
  • Pelago

Hopefully you’re making plans to visit the Time to Fly Travel Fair…

Supplementary cardholder spend

For most banks, it’s a given that supplementary cardholder transactions will count as the spend of the principal cardholder.

BOC is not most banks.

During last year’s welcome offer, supplementary cardholder spend was explicitly excluded. This year, BOC is sending mixed messages:

  • Clause 2(c) and 13 suggest that only principal cardholder spend will count
  • Clause 17 says that supplementary cardholder spending counts too

Which one is it? Your guess is as good as mine. 

Crediting

Last year, in a lionhearted attempt to re-establish physical communication in a world that has gone coldly digital, BOC sent qualified customers a physical redemption letter in the mail. Customers would need to fill this out and send it back within a month to receive their bonus points. 

This year, sadly, BOC has done away with the letters and gone high tech. Customers will receive the bonus points credited to their account within 60 days from the end of the “calendar month.”

I assume they meant “promo period”, but with BOC you never really know.

What can you do with BOC Points?

BOC Points can be transferred to either KrisFlyer or Asia Miles at the following ratios:

Frequent Flyer Programme Conversion Ratio
(BOC Points: Miles)
45,000: 10,000
27,000: 6,000

However, BOC Points earned under this promotion can only be transferred to KrisFlyer.

It’s not clear how exactly they’ll enforce this, since points are fungible and customers will end up with promotional and non-promotional points comingled in the same account.

In any case, the usual BOC shenanigans regarding points transfers applies. You can only transfer a maximum of 10 blocks in a single conversion, either:

  • 100,000 KrisFlyer miles (450,000 BOC points), or
  • 60,000 Asia Miles (270,000 BOC points) 

Why? Because BOC said so. There’s absolutely no reason why a transfer of 11 blocks of miles should cost more than 10 blocks; it’s a pure money-grab on their part.

Each conversion has an admin fee of S$30.28. 

Terms & Conditions

The T&Cs of this sign-up offer can be found here. 

Is it worth it?

Assuming you’re willing to navigate the aforementioned hoops, you’ll find that this offer is actually none too shabby.

Given the annual fee of S$205.20, your cost per mile ranges from 0.34 to 1.03 cents.

✈️ Cost Per Mile
(Unadjusted)
  New-to-bank New-to-card
Qualifying Spend S$1,000 40,000 miles
(0.51 cents ea.)
20,000 miles
(1.03 cents ea.)
Qualifying Spend S$2,000 60,000 miles
(0.34 cents ea.)
30,000 miles
(0.68 cents ea.)

Granted, this figure should be adjusted for opportunity cost, since that spend on Singapore Airlines, Scoot, KrisShop or Pelago could earn up to 6 mpd with the UOB Lady’s Card. If you use the BOC Elite Miles, you’ll earn just 1 mpd (assuming SGD spend). 

But even so, you’re talking a difference of 5,000/10,000 miles (5 mpd at S$1,000/S$2,000), which won’t change the picture dramatically: 0.41 to 1.37 cents.

✈️ Cost Per Mile
(Adjusted for opportunity cost)
  New-to-bank New-to-card
Qualifying Spend S$1,000 35,000 miles
(0.59 cents ea.)
15,000 miles
(1.37 cents ea.)
Qualifying Spend S$2,000 50,000 miles
(0.41 cents ea.)
20,000 miles
(1.03 cents ea.)

The bigger issue is that outside the sign-up bonus, there’s no reason at all to stick with the BOC Elite Miles Card.

Do I need to count the ways?

  • You earn just 1 mpd on local spend and 2 mpd on FCY spend
  • You need to pay multiple conversion fees if converting anything beyond 100,000 KrisFlyer miles/60,000 Asia Miles
  • Transferring miles involves filling up a PDF form and waiting at least 2-3 weeks
  • Your internet banking interface will look like something from the early 2000s, complete with SimSun-esque fonts and menus that were obviously machine-translated. Oh, and get used to visiting physical BOC branches. You’ll need to do so to set up ibanking, and to link your BOC card to your account

For other delightful BOC shenanigans, be sure to read the full review below.

Review: BOC Elite Miles World Mastercard

At most I could see someone taking advantage of this for a quick pump-and-dump, especially if they qualify for the new-to-bank offer. But be careful not to cancel your card too soon- Clause 19 of the T&Cs gives BOC the right to claw back the welcome gift if you cancel your card before 30 June 2024.

Conclusion

Guess who’s back, back again?

The latest welcome offer for the BOC Elite Miles Card is a strange case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. 

On the Dr. Jekyll side:

  • There’s no cap on the number of eligible participants
  • Bonus points are credited automatically, instead of having to mail in a physical form
  • It’s an objectively good return for a relatively low minimum spend

On the Mr. Hyde side:

  • Qualifying spend is restricted to Singapore Airlines, Scoot, KrisShop and Pelago
  • Qualifying spend has a fixed cut-off date of 31 December 2023, regardless of when your card is approved (and BOC isn’t exactly known for speedy application processing)
  • Existing BOC supplementary cardholders are disqualified from participating
  • It’s ambiguous whether supplementary cardholder transactions count towards qualifying spend
  • BOC Points earned via this promotion can only be converted to KrisFlyer

I leave it to you to decide whether the bonus is worth it, hoping you’ll also factor in the quantum of hair you’re likely to lose during your tenure with BOC.

Just look at me.

BOC Elite Miles welcome offer. Yes or no?

(HT: @teoyangk)

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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keefe

I tried my best but could not resist and still pressed on your clickbait link ………

Yui

LOL! I am!

Jarnytha

Answer is an Easy No

Hello hello

Does award flight redemption qualify as eligible spending?

Jem

The apply here link leads to error 404?

Kevin

Hey Aaron, the link still leads to error 404 tho!

mongoose

Sorry to trouble you, Aaron, the 404 error still appears for me…

Separately, is there a time limit within which we must SMS 75665? Thanks!

Jem

Lol and thanks! I just happen to have a need to book flights on sq for family members so this promo works for me.

Sean

LOL, no. I still have the physical small change from closing the last account with BOC because they couldn’t transfer to another Singapore bank account. Never again.

Stajin

another card to the garbage can…

Anon

One particular area missed out, BOC is running a concurrent promotion to earn up to 6m/$ (4+2) on those qualifying categloue up to 5k spend per month (if my math didnt fail me). Till end of this yr iirc.

It’s one fb post above the sign up bonus. And yes, sms registration is required.

Overall quite a decent offer if you have upcoming plans to travel w SQ. Otherwise then it is a rather miss.

Last edited 7 months ago by Anon
Anon

Yeah you’re right. Since it is the same tnc as the application. Thought could have stack by sign up first then sms in after receiving the card.

Anon

Nay

George

Actually, come to think of it. Isn’t this considered a good deal just by paying the annual fee? $200 for 20k miles. The HSBC travel one card still require to meet the 1k qualifying transactions before getting the 20k miles.

CCW

Not worth the hassle!

Roy

Hi, do I send the SMS registration immediately after signing up online with the promo code or do I wait till I get the actual card then do the SMS registration?

J T

I am surprised you adopted a halloween theme despite your religious persuasion.

michael

BOC system unable to retrieve my data via singpass. probably have to go to a physical bank to process the card application. not helping when the bank branch nearest to me closes by 6pm

Michael

Coincidentally, my card is only approved today on 6nov right after SIA Time-to-fly fair concluded.

Zhi Wei

Hello Aaron, like to check with regard to the point “There’s no cap on the number of eligible participants” under “On the Dr. Jekyll side”, was this checked w BOC? As just a moment ago, out of curiosity I gave BOC a call after I managed to hit the $2000 spending, to check if I’m eligible. It was then mentioned that I’m on a first-come-first-serve basis. It’s also stated under Clause 9, under their T&C

Andro

Hi! I was told by BOC customer service that I need to wait for the annual fee to be charged before I start spending on the card. Is this true?

jiajia

has anyone gotten their bonus miles credited?

HRX

I think I just got the bonus directly in my Krisflyer account. The name is “EM ACQ Promo”, maybe that is why they asked Krisflyer number during sign up.

ChrisN

Yup, got 60k miles direct to the KF account yesterday 🙂

Mike

Same here. Got my 60k on 25 Jan 2024.