OCBC Credit Cards: 3 Important Changes Cardholders Need To Know

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OCBC has announced a series of updates to the terms and conditions of its three major points-earning cards: the OCBC 90N, OCBC Titanium Rewards and OCBC VOYAGE.

These take effect from 1 June 2020, and will affect the accumulation of miles and places where you can earn them. 

Changes that affect all cards

1. Points will be earned in blocks of $5

From 1 June 2020, OCBC cards will earn points in blocks of $5, instead of the current $1. What does that mean and why does it matter?

Let’s take the OCBC 90N Card, for instance. Here’s how the earn rates change before and after June 1. 

Type of SpendUntil 1 June 2020From 1 June 2020
Local Spending1.2 miles/ $16 miles/ $5
Overseas Spending2.1 miles/ $110.5 miles/ $5

Those of you good at mental sums may have concluded that nothing’s changed. You used to earn 1.2 miles per $1 spent, now you earn 6 miles per $5. It’s two sides of the same coin, isn’t it?

Not quite. The devil is in the details. From 1 June 2020, OCBC will round all transactions down to the nearest $5 before awarding points. That’s to say, a $9.99 transaction will earn the same number of miles as a $5 one, and a $14.99 transaction the same as $10. If you spend less than $5, you’ll earn 0 points. 

Here’s an illustration of how this works:

Amount (Local Spending)Until 1 June 2020From 1 June 2020
$4.995 miles0 miles
$9.9911 miles6 miles
$14.9917 miles12 miles
$19.9923 miles18 miles
$24.9929 miles24 miles

Granted, the most miles you lose on any transaction is five, which isn’t something to lose sleep over. At the same time, it’s not terribly intuitive that someone who spends $24.99 should be rewarded the same as someone who spends $20. Moreover, the cumulative losses over a year can add up, and you’ll need to be careful not to use your OCBC card for any transactions under $5. 

For ease of reference, here’s the minimum spend required to earn points on some of the more popular miles cards:

Card Minimum Spend to Earn Points
image
UOB PRVI Miles
$5
image
KrisFlyer UOB
$5
image
DBS Altitude
$1.67
image
Citibank PremierMiles
$1
image
AMEX KrisFlyer
$0.46
image
AMEX KrisFlyer Ascend
$0.42
image
Standard Chartered Bank X
$0.17
image
Bank of China Elite Miles World Mastercard
$0.01

2. New rewards exclusion categories

From 1 June 2020, OCBC will add some new rewards exclusion categories. The main ones to note are transportation and public/non-profit hospitals.

Transportation

The following MCCs will no longer earn points:

  • MCC 4111: Public transport
  • MCC 4121: Taxicabs and limousines
  • MCC 4131:  Bus lines

The exceptions to this rule are Grab, Gojek, and Comfort or CityCab. OCBC has clarified that other taxi companies like Prime Taxi and SMRT Taxi will continue to earn points, but other ridesharing apps like TADA and Ryde will not be eligible. 

Unfortunately, SimplyGo (MCC 4111) falls under the exclusion category too, which means you will no longer earn points on bus or MRT rides

Public or non-profit hospitals

OCBC is excluding any public or non-profit hospitals or clinics that fall under MCC 8062. This means you will no longer earn points for paying bills at government hospitals like Changi General Hospital and Khoo Teck Puat Hospital, polyclinics and specialist centres like the National Skin Centre, National Heart Centre and National Cancer Centre. 

However, you can continue to earn points for card charges at private hospitals and clinics, such as Raffles Medical and Mt Elizabeth Hospital. 

3. Changes for OCBC VOYAGE cardholders

OCBC Voyage Card

OCBC has also unveiled some changes that specifically affect the VOYAGE card. 

Revised earning rates

OCBC VOYAGE cardholders will see a change in the number of miles they earn from 1 June 2020. 

Type of SpendUntil 1 June 2020From 1 June 2020
Local Spending1.2 mpd1.3 mpd
Overseas Spending2.3 mpd2.2 mpd
Dining1.6 mpd1.3 mpd

Cardholders are worse off if they spend a lot overseas (4% worse) or on dining (19% worse). However, they will see a slight increase in the earn rate on local spending (8% better).

Here’s how OCBC VOYAGE measures up to other premium cards (those with annual fees of at least $500) in the market after the changes: 

CardLocal SpendOverseas Spend
OCBC VOYAGEBefore 1 June: 1.2 mpd
After 1 June: 1.3 mpd
Before 1 June: 2.3 mpd
After 1 June: 2.2 mpd
UOB Visa Infinite Metal Card1.4 mpd2.0 mpd
Citi Prestige1.3 mpd2.0 mpd
SCB X Card1.2 mpd2.0 mpd
Maybank Visa Infinite1.2 mpd2.0 mpd
HSBC Visa Infinite1.0/1.25 mpd*2.0/2.25 mpd*

*1.25/2.25 mpd rates if cardholder spends at least S$50K in previous membership year, otherwise 1.0/2.0 mpd

The earn rates for the OCBC Premier, OCBC Premier Private Client and Bank of Singapore VOYAGE cards have not changed. These cards will continue to earn 1.6 mpd on all local spend, and 2.3 mpd on overseas spend. 

Increased spending for airport limo

Currently, OCBC VOYAGE cardholders who spend $3,000 per month receive a complimentary airport limousine ride, capped at two per month. 

From 1 June 2020, the spending requirement will be increased by 67% to $5,000 in a month, with the same cap. That makes the VOYAGE’s spending requirement the second highest in the market. 

CardQualifying Spend for LimoRides per Qualifying Spend
UOB PRVI Miles AMEX$1,0002
HSBC Visa Infinite$2,0001
Maybank Visa Infinite$3,0002
OCBC VOYAGE$5,000 (from 1 June)1
Citi Prestige$12,0002

Conclusion

None of these changes are deal breakers, but you’ll want to pay careful attention to how you use your OCBC credit cards from 1 June, especially with small transactions. If you’ve got your OCBC card saved as the default option in a ride hailing app other than Grab or Gojek, or in your mobile wallet to use for SimplyGo, you may want to swap that out too.

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By Aaron Wong
Aaron started The MileLion to help people travel better for less and impress “chiobu”. He was 50% successful. This is his story.