Here’s our review of the OCBC Voyage Visa Infinite credit card issued in Singapore. It forms part of our series of credit card reviews, which are all summarised on our dedicated Credit Cards page.
Dollar amounts refer to SGD, and ‘miles’ refer to KrisFlyer miles, except where stated. This review was updated on 19th July 2018.
Annual fee: $488.00/yr
Sign-up bonus: 15,000 miles
Local earn rate: 1.2 miles per $1*
Overseas earn rate: 2.3 miles per $1
Minimum Age: 21
Minimum income: $120,000/yr
* – 1.6 miles per $1 spent locally on dining, or all transactions if you’re also an OCBC Premier, OCBC Premier Private Client or Bank of Singapore Voyage cardmember.
The annual fee for the OCBC Voyage Visa card is high at $488.00, though this also gets you 15,000 bonus miles at each yearly renewal. On its own that’s not worth it – you’re paying 3.25 cents per mile which is way too high, but the card does come with some other useful benefits which may make up the value for you.
The current sign-up bonus for the OCBC Voyage Visa card is one of the following options:
- 15,000 miles for a $488 annual fee (3.25 cents/mile)
- 150,000 miles for a $3,210 annual fee (2.14 cents/mile)*
- 500,000 miles for a $10,000 annual fee (2.00 cents/mile)*
* – For these sign-up options, miles awarded must be converted to KrisFlyer miles (you cannot hold them as Voyage Miles, see below). Note that the 500,000 miles option ends on 31st August 2018.
|500,000 KrisFlyer miles at 2 cents each
One of the options with the OCBC Voyage Visa card is to take up their offer of 500,000 miles for a first year annual fee of $10,000. Yes you read right, there were no typos there, half a million miles for a cool ten grand.
We talk a lot about not paying more than 2 cents per mile to obtain KrisFlyer miles, and you’ll notice this offer nicely meets that exact valuation, but that doesn’t mean we would endorse it without sensible limits!
While you should easily achieve a better value from those 500,000 miles, especially if used for first and business class redemptions, we would want to have a very clear idea about what to do with them, and quite quickly too.
You’ll be wanting to secure ‘Saver’ awards to get the best value for the miles, which can be hard to come by unless your dates are very flexible, and a devaluation of the scheme could happen at any time rendering your miles value highly diminished with little warning.
Having said that, 500,000 miles is (currently) sufficient for a business class return to Tokyo, a suites return to Sydney, a business class return to San Francisco and a suites return to Hong Kong. Quite a nice list of trips to look forward to, over a year perhaps, assuming you could find the saver redemptions on the right dates, and even after all that you’d still have 3,000 miles left at the end.
Note that the 500,000 miles enhanced sign-up bonus offer ends on 31st August 2018
The ‘enhanced’ sign-up bonus options (with 150,000 or 500,000 miles) were also reportedly being re-offered at annual renewal for some cardholders last year, though there is nothing in the terms and conditions about this so it is likely a targeted or temporary offer. You may or may not receive the option.
The OCBC Voyage Visa card earns 1.2 miles for every $1 spent locally (i.e. transacted in SGD), and 2.3 miles for every $1 spent overseas (i.e. transacted in foreign currency).
For local dining transactions, you’ll get 1.6 miles for every $1 spent.
If you are an OCBC Premier, OCBC Premier Private Client or Bank of Singapore Voyage cardmember, your local earning rate increases to 1.6 miles for every $1 spent, regardless of the spending category.
|A note about Dynamic Currency Conversion (DCC)
Beware the ‘Dynamic Currency Conversion’ (DCC) offer you’ll often experience overseas when paying with your Visa or MasterCard. It’s very common when settling your overseas hotel bill, for example, to be offered to pay in SGD instead of local currency. This is a terrible idea, because:
a) you’ll suffer financially, even after the credit card foreign exchange fee is accounted for. If you remember the SGD amount you were offered to pay, then pay in local currency instead, once the transaction appears on your credit card statement you’ll generally find they were scamming you, you’d have paid at least 2% more using DCC.
b) you will earn credit card miles at the local spend rate if you accept DCC, because the transaction will take place in SGD, not the local currency.
In other words, you’ll pay more, and lose miles. Always insist on paying in the local currency of the country you are in.
Are KrisFlyer miles credited directly?
No, in fact rather than being credited miles directly you’ll accrue ‘Voyage Miles’ for your regular spending on this card. These transfer to KrisFlyer miles at a 1:1 ratio, so for $10,000 of local spending (non-dining, regular cardmember), you’ll net 12,000 Voyage Miles, which can be converted to 12,000 KrisFlyer miles.
Do Voyage Miles expire?
No they don’t, which is great because as you will probably know once transferred into KrisFlyer miles they will then only last for three years. That means no need to keep an eye on the expiration date at the OCBC side, just transfer to KrisFlyer when you need to.
What is the transfer cost to KrisFlyer miles?
Here’s a great benefit of the OCBC Voyage card, transfer to KrisFlyer miles are free. That’s quite unlike other cards in Singapore, which typically charge $25 each time you transfer your points to KrisFlyer miles.
That means no need to wait around to accumulate a decent level of Voyage Miles before transferring to KrisFlyer to ‘dilute’ the fee to a reasonable level per mile, you can do so as soon as you’ve reached one of the transfer thresholds if you wish.
Just bear in mind as we stated above, once the miles are transferred into KrisFlyer you’ve got three years to use them, so unless you have an urgent need then it may be better to keep them as Voyage Miles for as long as possible.
Is there a minimum transfer amount?
The minimum volume of miles you can transfer into KrisFlyer is 8,000. Then it’s 10,000, and thereafter they must then be transferred in blocks of 10,000.
How long do miles take to credit to KrisFlyer?
The official line is “approximately 21 working days”. That’s probably the worst transfer time between credit card reward points and KrisFlyer miles in the whole of Singapore.
Since I don’t hold this card myself, I can’t claim my personal experience relating to miles transfer time, hopefully someone can confirm that it doesn’t actually take an entire month to receive your points when transferred from the card?
Edit: One of our readers shared with us that a recent OCBC Voyage to KrisFlyer miles transfer took only 24 hours – February 2018
Which loyalty schemes can I transfer into?
Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer is the sole frequent flyer program for OCBC Voyage Miles redemptions.
What else can Voyage Miles be used for?
Here’s an interesting angle to the OCBC Voyage Miles scheme, rather than transfer them to KrisFlyer you can use them to book revenue flight tickets directly – with any airline.
As these are not redemption tickets, award availability does not have to be available, and you will earn the normal airline frequent flyer miles and relevant status credits from the ticket purchased using Voyage Miles (they are basically converting Voyage Miles into cash at a specific rate for you in this case).
It sounds too good to be true and that’s where the downside comes in – the value of the miles isn’t that great when they are used this way. It’s more of a ‘cashback’ scheme, and based on reports the value does not always ‘fix’ at the same rate for different bookings. You’ll need to call up to find out what they will quote you in Voyage Miles for the revenue ticket of your choice.
Generally Voyage Miles appear to be worth anywhere between 1.1 cents and 2.2 cents per mile when used this way, clearly a lot poorer value than a KrisFlyer redemption, so you’ll almost always want to transfer into KrisFlyer to achieve better value.
Remember though the flexibility offered is not to be totally discounted. Some frequent flyer schemes, like British Airways Avios, allow their gold status members to ‘force’ a redemption where one isn’t available by paying double the number of miles required, provided commercial (cash fare) availability exists for a seat in that class on that flight.
In a sense, that’s what you’re doing here, paying more miles (perhaps 50-60% more according to online reports) for the flexibility you don’t always get from KrisFlyer due to redemption availability constraints.
Whether that represents acceptable value to you or not is a different matter of course.
For a card charging a $488 per year annual fee – the OCBC Voyage Visa Infinite is a little light in terms of additional perks. Some of the key benefits which will be of most interest to our readers are:
- VOYAGE Exchange – personal concierge service. This can be helpful for arranging things like restaurant reservations, limo transfers or concert tickets.
- Complimentary unlimited Plaza Premium Lounge access including 1 accompanying guest. This covers around 80 airport lounges worldwide including 4 in Singapore. Offer valid until 31st December 2018, and includes supplementary cardholders.*
- Free airport limo transfer for each $3,000 spent in a month, capped at 2 free transfers earned per month. Each limo transfer earned is then valid for three months.
- 19% off fuel at Caltex.
* – Technically this reverts to 2 complimentary visits per year after 31st December 2018, but the unlimited access deal was renewed last year, and so is likely to renewed be again.
Voyage Tax Payment
The OCBC Voyage is one of the few credit cards in Singapore allowing you to pay your income tax bill using your credit card and accrue the usual miles earning rate. While this facility is already available for any credit card through CardUp (see our article), the processing fee using the OCBC method is 1.9%, compared to 2.6% with CardUp, so it’s therefore often a better deal to use the OCBC Voyage.
Note that for income tax payments through the Voyage tax payment facility only 1 Voyage Mile (convertible to 1 KrisFlyer mile) is awarded per $1 rather than the usual 1.2 or 1.6 mile rates.
Funds are credited to your specified bank account (you must then arrange the income tax payment to IRAS yourself), and of course you must have sufficient credit balance to cover the total.
- Annual Income Tax Bill: $5,000
- OCBC 1.9% Fee: $95
- Total Payable: $5,095
- Miles Accrued: 5,095 (5,095 x 1.0)
- Cost per mile: 1.86 cents (we value KF miles at 2 cents each)
This is a good way to accrue miles at a reasonable cost, but note that the Standard Chartered Visa Infinite (SCVI) tax payment facility, which we detailed in our review here, comes out much better with a lower fee and higher miles earning rate – an equivalent cost per mile of 1.1 cents.
You can also refer to our April 2018 update on the best options for earning miles paying income tax in Singapore which shows how the OCBC Voyage card stacks up against various options as there are some other cards offering a better ‘purchase rate’ here including a couple of CardUp methods.
Note that even once OCBC pay the total sum of your income tax bill into your bank account under this program, this does not compel you to then pay your income tax to IRAS in one lump sum if you don’t wish to. You can use the credited funds to settle the amount on your credit card statement (usually posted the following month), and then set up a GIRO to pay your income tax in interest-free instalments over the year as normal. That’s what I do, albeit with the SCVI card due to the lower fee.
The OCBC Voyage Visa Infinite is, unsurprisingly, a Visa Infinite product. That means the card automatically comes with a few additional perks including:
- Avis and Hertz Car Hire discounts
- 8% off Hotels.com bookings
- Hilton Honors Gold status with 2 stays or 4 nights
The full list of Visa Infinite benefits can be found here.
The OCBC Voyage Visa Infinite card is made of metal. This frankly couldn’t interest us less, but if it does it for you…
The OCBC Voyage Visa Infinite has some nice features – especially a great local earning rate on dining transactions. The ability to buy a large chunk of KrisFlyer miles from the outset is a rather unique option some will find useful.
Fee-free transfers to KrisFlyer miles are another unique and welcome benefit for this card.
Potentially if you spend enough on the Voyage card you could get 24 complimentary airport limo transfers per annum, and for regular travellers that’s probably saving you close to $300 versus a year’s worth of medium-distance taxi or Uber rides.
On the flip side – the income requirement is high, as is the annual fee, and personally we would sway towards the UOB PRVI Miles card to allay both of those concerns, or go all-out on the SCVI card for the higher miles earning rates and superior income tax payment facility.
Our recommendations for credit cards and other similar products on this site do not constitute financial advice.