Undeniably one of the largest KrisFlyer miles sign-up bonuses lately has been possible with the OCBC Voyage Visa Infinite Card, which offers a 500,000 miles option for new cardholders on payment of a (significantly elevated) annual fee in the first year of S$10,000.
The bonus was also reportedly offered to some cardholders on annual renewal if they wished to take up the offer either for the first time or as a subsequent ‘purchase’. These are the current sign-up bonuses applicable to the OCBC Voyage card:
- 15,000 miles for an annual fee of S$488 (3.25 cents / mile)
- 150,000 miles for an annual fee of S$3,210 (2.14 cents / mile)
- 500,000 miles for an annual fee of S$10,000 (2.00 cents / mile)
The cents / mile costs shown above are simplistic of course as they don’t take into account the value of the benefits of the OCBC Voyage card. These will differ from person to person but for regular travellers the unlimited Plaza Premium lounge access (with 1 guest) and up to two complimentary airport limo transfers per month could justify a large chunk of the annual fee. See our review for details.
Note that for the 150,000 and 500,000 miles sign-up options, miles must be transferred immediately to KrisFlyer (the sole frequent flyer program for OCBC Voyage miles transfers). For the 15,000 miles sign-up these can be held and used as Voyage miles if you prefer, or transferred to KrisFlyer at a later date.
Forced instant crediting to KrisFlyer for the larger sign-up bonuses means the 3 year expiry comes into consideration (Voyage miles on the other hand never expire)
OCBC has been tinkering with a few of its credit card terms and promotions lately (see the Titanium Rewards premature mobile payments bonus ending article here) and has now also called time on the highest sign-up bonus level for the Voyage card with confirmation that the 500,000 miles option will no longer be available after 31st August 2018.
Is that bad?
Not really – for most people it’s just not important as this option wasn’t worth considering or even possible to consider due to the significant upfront price tag for these miles.
As we’ve said a few times it involves ‘buying’ KrisFlyer miles right at the top end of the rate we personally endorse, then leaves you with half a million miles which will last only 3 years and could easily be devalued by Singapore Airlines at short notice.
For those comfortable parting with such a large sum in one go we’ve also said you should have a pretty specific idea how you would use these miles and relatively quickly too as we wouldn’t personally be comfortable with such a large KrisFlyer balance we had paid top dollar for sitting around for long (again, a scheme devaluation is the main concern here).
That said if you have a specific use in mind you should still get good value from these miles if used correctly, primarily for First or Business class saver redemptions, or perhaps some of the Star Alliance ‘sweet spots’ we listed in our article last month.
We don’t think many people were in the market for shelling out S$10k for half a million KrisFlyer miles, however enough people presumably took advantage to cause OCBC to rethink this option lately. The restriction might also be coming from the KrisFlyer side, if Singapore Airlines were becoming uncomfortable about the number of members suddenly obtaining such high balances this way.
We broadly recommend ‘buying’ KrisFlyer miles at a maximum rate of 2 Singapore cents each as you should still get good value from them at this level provided they are redeemed correctly. To be openly cautious about this offer therefore seems like a contradiction, however we’ve always felt for most people it exceeds a sensible limit to buy at this upper level.