Credit Cards KrisFlyer

Credit Card Review: OCBC Titanium Rewards

Cover 2020

Here’s our review of the OCBC Titanium Rewards 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 1st May 2020.

Fast Facts

Card trans

Annual fee: $192.60/yr (first 2 years free)
EIR:
26.9%
Sign-up bonus:
None
Local & overseas earn rate: 0.4 miles per $1
Bonus earn rate: 4 miles per $1*
Foreign transaction fee: 3.25%
Minimum age: 21
Minimum income (Singaporean/PR): $30,000/yr
Minimum income (Foreigner): $45,000/yr
* Specific categories, $5 rounding applies from 1 June 2020

APPLY HERE

Annual fee

The annual fee for the OCBC Titanium Rewards card is $192.60, however it’s waived for the first two years of card membership.

Thereafter (in year three onwards), provided you charge at least $10,000 to the card within your subsequent membership years (i.e. each 12-month period from your card issue anniversary date), the annual fee continues to be waived.

Sign-up bonus

There is no current sign-up bonus for this card.

The last sign-up bonus was in March / April 2019, worth 12,800 miles if you activated the card and spent just $300 in the first month. Sadly that has not been repeated this year, as it was one of the easiest sign-up bonuses to achieve for a fee-free card.

Earning rates

The OCBC Titanium Rewards card earns:

  • 0.4 miles per $1 spent on general spending both in Singapore and overseas
  • 4 miles per $1 spent on specific shopping transactions

Clearly the basic earn rate is very poor and to be avoided, with a range of entry-level cards in Singapore offering 1 to 1.5 miles per dollar for general local spending and at least 2 miles per dollar expected for overseas spend.

The true key to this card is the 10X reward points spending categories, which will get you 4 miles per $1 spent, and that’s fantastic – especially locally.

Note: The OCBC Titanium Rewards card is moving to S$5 miles earning blocks from 1st June 2020. Full details of the impact will appear here soon.

Shopping transactions

The enhanced 4 miles per $1 earn rate is only applicable on the following transactions, either in Singapore (i.e. transacted in SGD) or overseas (i.e. transacted in foreign currency):

  • Clothes, shoes and bags
  • Department stores
  • Electronics and gadgets
  • Babies’ and children’s wear
  • Additional specific eligible merchants

Here’s the full list of Merchant Category Codes (MCCs) which do qualify for 4 miles (10 OCBC$) per $1 spent both locally and overseas, including online transactions:

  • MCC 5611: Men’s and Boys’ Clothing and Accessories Stores
  • MCC 5621: Women’s Ready to Wear Stores
  • MCC 5631: Women’s Accessory and Speciality Stores
  • MCC 5641: Children’s and Infants’ Wear Stores
  • MCC 5651: Family Clothing Stores
  • MCC 5661: Shoe Stores
  • MCC 5691: Men’s and Women’s Clothing Stores
  • MCC 5045: Computers, Peripherals, and Software
  • MCC 5732: Electronics Stores
  • MCC 5699: Miscellaneous Apparel and Accessory Shops

Additionally, transactions at the following retailers will accrue 4 mpd (10 OCBC$) when performed in-store only (online purchases excluded).

  • MCC 5311: Department Stores

All transactions at the following merchants are confirmed by OCBC to qualify for the 4 mpd (10 OCBC$) earn rate:

Alibaba Amazon
Daigou IKEA
Mustafa Centre Shopee
AliExpress Courts
Ezbuy Lazada
Qoo10 Taobao
IKEA Store Singapore
Online or in-store spend at IKEA is eligible for 4 mpd with the OCBC Titanium Rewards card

Which other merchants?

The MCC of a particular merchant is not decided by the banks, but by the card networks (Mastercard in this case). There is also currently no publicly available database in Singapore showing which merchant processes transactions under which MCC.

This excellent crowdsourced spreadsheet by HWZ forum users lists a host of retailers where the enhanced 4 mpd rate has been achieved using the OCBC Titanium Rewards card (click the OCBC tab on the spreadsheet to see them). These include:

  • Apple (in-store and online)
  • Amazon Prime Singapore
  • Audio House
  • Challenger
  • Gain City
  • Harvey Norman
  • Isetan
  • Marks & Spencer
  • Muji
  • Robinsons online
  • Uniqlo

Pro Tip: Don’t forget to ‘double dip’ by also earning KrisFlyer miles through KrisPay at Challenger and Harvey Norman when making in-store purchases.

Do be careful however, as merchants can have more than one MCC (for example, they might process your payment under a valid MCC for 4 mpd earning on one occasion, then under an invalid one the next time). The MCC of a merchant can also change.

For that reason before you make a large transaction at one of the retailers not specifically listed by OCBC, we recommend making a small ‘test purchase’ first.

Pro Tip: You can call OCBC (or send a secure message via online banking) as soon as any purchase is posted to your account to check which MCC it will be processed under (and therefore whether it will be eligible for the 4 mpd rate); there is no need to wait until the end of the following month to find out.

Upper cap

Transactions at the 4 mpd rate are collectively capped at $12,000 of spending per card membership year (i.e. a maximum of 120,000 OCBC$, or 48,000 miles).

The fact that the spending cap on this card is annual, rather than monthly, is a nice benefit compared to the Citi Rewards card for example, which imposes a $1,000 monthly cap.

That makes the OCBC Titanium Rewards card better for purchasing big-ticket items like furniture and electronic goods, which can easily exceed a monthly limit.

Your annual ‘cap counter’ will reset at the start of the equivalent month of account opening each year.

For example, if your card account was opened on 15th April 2019, the ‘cap counter’ for your next eligible 120,000 OCBC$ will be reset to zero on 1st April 2020.

If you continue to make transactions at 4 mpd (10 OCBC$) merchants after reaching your annual cap but before the start of your next membership year, you will earn at the basic 0.4 mpd (1 OCBC$) rate.

When do the bonus points credit?

You are initially awarded 0.4 miles (1 OCBC$) per $1 on all spending with this card when it is first posted to your account.

The additional 3.6 miles (9 OCBC$) are credited, provided the spending category was eligible for the transaction, by the end of the following month.

For example:

  • You make a purchase at IKEA on 15th April 2020 (transaction date), which is posted to your account on 17th April 2020. The remaining 9 OCBC$ will be credited in the following month (May 2020) since both the transaction date and posted date falls within the month of April.
  • You make a purchase at Courts on 29th April 2020 (transaction date), which is posted to your account on 2nd May 2020. The remaining 9 OCBC$ will be credited two months after the transaction month (June 2020), since the transaction did not post to your account until May 2020.

Ineligible transactions for reward points

As with most credit cards, there are spend categories which won’t earn you any OCBC$ with the OCBC Titanium Rewards card. That means not even 0.4 miles per dollar, the basic earn rate, will be awarded.

Here is the full list including relevant excluded MCC codes. It’s subject to change so do check the card terms and conditions for the latest information.

  • 4829 Wire Transfer Money Orders (WTMOs)
  • 4900 Utilities–Electric, Gas, Heating Oil, Sanitary, Water
  • 5199 Nondurable Goods (Not Elsewhere Classified)
  • 5960 Direct Marketing Insurance Services
  • 6012 Member Financial Institution–Merchandise And Services
  • 6051 Quasi Cash–Merchant (Non-Financial Institutions – Foreign Currency, Non-Fiat Currency, Cryptocurrency)
  • 6211 Securities–Brokers and Dealers
  • 6300 Insurance Sales, Underwriting and Premiums
  • 6513 Real Estate Agents and Managers–Rentals
  • 6540 Non-Financial Institutions – Stored Value Card Purchase/Load
  • 7349 Cleaning, maintenance and janitorial services
  • 7523 Automobile Parking Lots and Garages
  • 7995 Gambling – Betting, including Lottery Tickets, Casino Gaming Chips, Off-Track Betting, and Wagers at Race Tracks
  • 8211 Schools, Elementary and Secondary
  • 8220 Colleges, Universities, Professional Schools and Junior Colleges
  • 8241 Schools, Correspondence
  • 8244 Schools, Business and Secretarial
  • 8249 Schools, Trade and Vocational
  • 8299 Schools And Educational Services–Not Elsewhere Classified
  • 8398 Organizations, Charitable and Social Service
  • 8651 Organizations, Political
  • 8661 Organizations, Religious
  • 9211 Court Costs Including Alimony and Child Support
  • 9222 Fines
  • 9223 Bail and Bond Payments
  • 9311 Tax Payments
  • 9399 Government Services–Not Elsewhere Classified
  • 9402 Postal Services–Government Only
  • 9405 Intra-Government Purchases–Government Only

Note that you can tap and pay for bus and train rides in Singapore using your OCBC Titanium Rewards card and earn 1 OCBC$ per $1 spent (0.4 mpd). There are usually better offers for these transactions with other cards, however.

Are KrisFlyer miles credited directly?

No, rather than being credited miles directly you’ll accrue ‘OCBC$’ for your spending on this card. These transfer to KrisFlyer miles at a 2.5:1 ratio (so the standard accrual rate is 1 OCBC$ per $1 spent, which translates to 0.4 miles per $1, and the bonus rate is 10 OCBC$ per $1 spent, which is 4 miles per $1).

What is the transfer cost to KrisFlyer miles?

It’ll cost you $25 each time you transfer your points to KrisFlyer miles.

Is there a minimum transfer amount?

Yes, the minimum volume of miles you can transfer into KrisFlyer is 10,000, and they must then be in blocks of 10,000.

In other words every block of 25,000 OCBC$ can be converted into 10,000 KrisFlyer miles.

Unfortunately that’s not as competitive as the transfer blocks for OCBC’s 90°N card (1,000-mile blocks) or the Voyage card (1-mile blocks), plus those two cards also benefit from zero miles transfer fee.

Transfer Blocks

Do note that OCBC$ and both Travel$ (for the 90°N card) and Voyage Miles (for the Voyage card) are not transferable or interchangeable with one another, nor do they ‘pool’ if you hold more than one of these cards.

Get two cards

You’ll notice the OCBC Titanium Rewards card comes in two colours – blue and pink. These are treated as separate card accounts, and OCBC has confirmed that there is nothing stopping you applying for both cards, in which case you will get the 4 mpd earn rate on $12,000 worth of eligible spending on each card.

Promo Square

That means once you’ve reached $12,000 on the blue card, for example, apply for the pink one and you’ll get another $12,000 spending cap for that at the bonus rate.

This strategy means you can accrue 96,000 miles per year in total, provided you can (carefully) spend a total of $24,000 per annum in the designated categories across the two cards.

Do OCBC$ expire?

Yes, OCBC$ are valid for two years from the month of accrual. In other words they will expire on the last day of the month 24 months after the month in which they were earned in your rewards account.

For example:

OCBC$
Earn Date
OCBC$
Expiry Date
July 2019 31st July 2021
August 2019 31st August 2021
December 2020 31st December 2022

Once transferred to KrisFlyer miles, they will then have a further three years validity.

How long do miles take to credit to KrisFlyer?

What OCBC state here and the reality are (thankfully) two different things.

“The process of successful conversion of OCBC$ to KrisFlyer miles will take up to 15 working days from the date of redemption of the relevant amount of OCBC$” OCBC

This is a slight improvement on what the bank was promising in 2018, when they quoted “approximately 21 working days” as the transfer time to KrisFlyer.

The good news is that it doesn’t actually take that long. In reality transfers take just 24 hours.

This was first shared with us by one of our readers in February 2018, and also confirmed on the FlyerTalk forum transfer time post in September 2018 (a 12-hour turnaround that time 11pm to 11am the next day).

I personally transferred OCBC$ accrued on the Titanium Rewards card from my rewards account in August 2019 at around 12pm on a Thursday. The miles were credited in my KrisFlyer account at 11.30am the following day (Friday).

That’s one of the quickest turnarounds out there from a credit card, and even made it onto our list of instant and quick ways to transfer miles to KrisFlyer.

Points rounding

Your transactions on this card will first be rounded down to the nearest whole Singapore Dollar (after conversion from the foreign currency amount if applicable), and then multiplied by the prevailing rate depending on the transaction type.

Note: The OCBC Titanium Rewards card is moving to S$5 miles earning blocks from 1st June 2020. Full details of the impact will appear here soon.

“OCBC$ shall be awarded to the Cardmember based on the amount of each Card transaction charged to the Card Account, rounded down to the nearest whole number.” OCBC

For example take three local (SGD) transactions at the basic earn rate (i.e. not in a 4 mpd category), therefore accruing 0.4 miles per dollar (1 OCBC$) per $1 spent.

  • $9.98 = $9 (rounded down) x 1 = 9 OCBC$
  • $67.73 = $67 (rounded down) x 1 = 67 OCBC$
  • $249.85 = $248 (rounded down) x 1 = 249 OCBC$

That means as soon as cents are involved in your transaction, you’re not quite getting 0.4 miles per dollar. For those three purchases combined you’ll receive 325 OCBC$ (equivalent to 130 KrisFlyer miles) for $327.56 spending (0.397 miles per dollar).

Let’s say you make the same three transactions at the 4 mpd enhanced earn rate. Here’s how the points rounding will work:

  • $9.98 = $9 (rounded down) x 10 = 90 OCBC$
  • $67.73 = $67 (rounded down) x 10 = 670 OCBC$
  • $249.85 = $248 (rounded down) x 10 = 2,490 OCBC$

Remember, the first OCBC$ (of 10 OCBC$ total awarded) will be almost immediately credited, but you’ll have to wait until the end of the following month for the other 9 OCBC$ to appear.

Here you’ll get 3,250 OCBC$ in total, equivalent to 1,300 KrisFlyer miles, for for $327.56 spending (3.97 miles per dollar).

Minimum spend to earn points

Since any amount in Singapore dollars will first be rounded down to the nearest dollar, $1.00 (SGD) is the minimum transaction amount to earn any reward points using the OCBC Titanium Rewards card, whether transacted in SGD or foreign currency.

Foreign currency fee / cpm overseas

One thing you won’t be wanting to do with this card is make transactions in foreign currency at the basic 0.4 mpd earn rate.

With OCBC’s 3.25% foreign currency fee, that’s equivalent to ‘buying’ miles at an obscene 8.57 cents each, way more than you can ever realistically achieve in value.

At the 4 mpd bonus rate though, which would apply for example at a department store in Sydney just as it would in Singapore, the equation means buying miles at 0.86 cents each, an excellent rate to accrue them.

Here’s how that cost per mile compares to other credit cards in Singapore offering 4 mpd for at least some form of eligible transactions in foreign currency.

Cost per mile on overseas credit card transactions (4 mpd cards)
(Best to worst, April 2020)

Card Fee Miles per $ Cost per mile
Card transOCBC TR
3.25% 4.0 0.86¢
$Card MC 2020Citi Rewards 3.25% 4.0 0.86¢
CardDBS WWMC 3.25% 4.0 0.86¢
Card3UOB PPV 3.25% 4.0 0.86¢
Card 2UOB VS 3.25% 4.0 0.86¢

Cost per mile also accounts for an additional 0.3% ‘spread’ over money changer currency rates, though this doesn’t apply to all banks and all foreign currencies, so is a worst-case scenario.

As you can see with the same 3.25% foreign transaction fee across all these cards, the OCBC Titanium Rewards card matches the others.

Which loyalty schemes can I transfer into?

OCBC is now the only major bank in Singapore not supporting transfers to any frequent flyer programmes (FFPs) other than the Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer scheme.

KF Logo trans

It is also one of only two banks (the other being Standard Chartered) not allowing transfers to Asia Miles.

You can see a full table of which credit card issuers transfer into which FFPs here. As you can see some banks permit transfers to 11 different programmes, so something to bear in mind with this card is that you’re significantly more restricted than that.

Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer is therefore the sole frequent flyer program for OCBC rewards redemptions.

What else can OCBC$ be used for?

Nothing particularly valuable. For example S$10 off your credit card bill will cost you 3,600 OCBC$, the same number is equivalent to 1,440 KrisFlyer miles, which we would value at approximately $27 when used against future flight redemptions.

There are also a range of vouchers available at similarly unattractive rates. You can see the full list at the OCBC Rewards portal.

Conversion into KrisFlyer miles is the best value proposition for your OCBC$.

Lounge access

The OCBC Titanium Rewards card comes with a basic membership to LoungeKey by Mastercard Airport Experiences.

LoungeKey

This then allows you access to over 800 worldwide airport lounges for US$27 per visit (note – no free visit allowance, this is the basic membership).

Best Denki 2% cashback

You can get 2% cashback as well as earning 4 miles per dollar on your purchases at Best Denki’s retail outlets or online store with your OCBC Titanium Rewards card.

Best Denki Store

The cash rebate is credited to your card account by the end of the month following the transaction date.

For example:

  • 15th April: spend S$1,000 at Best Denki store with OCBC TR Card
  • Late May: earn 10,000 OCBC$ (4,000 miles) for the transaction
  • Late May: card account also credited with $20 cashback

The deal runs between now and 31st January 2021. Full terms and conditions are available here.

Promotions

OCBC runs relatively regular promotions for its Titanium Rewards cardholders. There’s a current deal running, for example, offering 8 miles per dollar with a range of merchants including Amazon and Deliveroo, capped at $500 spend (i.e. up to 4,000 miles).

Level Up Apr 2020

Other promotions have included a targeted 8 miles per dollar on all online spend during August 2019 (for $300 – $1,000 spend), after a similar offer for 6 miles per dollar in June the previous year.

There was also a 12 miles per dollar promo for ShopperBoard purchases in October 2018.

ShopperBoard Deal 2
30 OCBC$ is equivalent to 12 miles per dollar

Even though it was a while ago now, very few of us have forgotten the 12 mpd at IKEA promotion in March 2018, including gift card purchases!

I’ve also noticed that when I don’t use my OCBC Titanium Rewards card for a while, I tend to get promotions such as this:

OCBC Titanium Rewards: Earn 2,500 OCBC$ (worth 1,000 Miles) if you make at least two transactions this month.

Offers like that, which only require me to buy a couple of cartons of milk if necessary and pay using the card, are an easy way to earn a decent sum of extra miles.

One thing to bear in mind with some of these deals however is that the bonus points accrued may count towards your annual bonus cap per card of 120,000 OCBC$ (48,000 miles), so if you’ve already exhausted that level in your current card membership year you may not be eligible to participate.

The IKEA 12 mpd offer, for example, ran alongside your annual bonus cap and did not affect it (i.e. it was in addition), while the 12 mpd ShopperBoard offer was considered to be part of your annual bonus cap, not in addition to it.

Our summary

The OCBC Titanium Rewards card is one of a handful in Singapore offering a fantastic earn rate of 4 miles per dollar in specific spend categories, and benefits from an annual rather than a monthly spend cap – ideal for those big-ticket purchases.

Effectively you could spend all $12,000 of your annual cap in a single month if you like (potentially useful for a large electronics or furniture purchase, for example).

One drawback is the limited number of merchants OCBC is willing to guarantee this enhanced earn rate at, with a form of ‘trial and error’ from other card users generating a much more useful list of retailers, with the risk however that MCC codes can change over time.

On the plus side, there’s no annual fee for this card for the first two years, and even after that provided you churn $10,000+ of spending through it each year, you won’t ever be charged one. You can also get a second card, as it comes in both blue and pink versions, effectively doubling your annual benefit if you can spend enough in the designated categories.

Another factor worth considering is the regular bonus promotions for this card, with some form of enhanced miles earning opportunities usually popping up at least a couple of times a year. These have even included 12 mpd offers in the past.

Overall, 4 miles per dollar options may involve a bit more hassle and thought than your everyday spend cards, but this one is probably worth including in your lineup.

Card trans

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(Cover Photo: Shutterstock)

3 comments

  1. Hi Andrew, can I ask a stupid question, in order to get annual fee waiver in year three onwards, I will need to charge at least $10,000 to the card from the start of 3rd membership year? Or spend $10,000 in 2nd membership year to waive annual fee for 3rd years?

    1. I would think it’s the latter. I didn’t spend $10k in my 2nd year and was charged the annual fee at the start of my 3rd year. I couldn’t get the annual fee waived as well. I still had some points with them which wasn’t expiring yet and given the current covid situation, definitely not in need of miles. So I just applied for the pink card, canceled my blue card and retained all my points.

      1. alright thanks LF for the great guide and hint, will apply pink card when close to the end of 2nd year 🙂

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