Credit Cards News

OCBC slashes Voyage card earn rates and benefits from June

OCBC is cutting its earn rates and benefits on the Voyage card from 1st June 2020

Background 2

OCBC released a new set of terms and conditions for its popular high-end Voyage credit card yesterday, with some changes set to take effect from 1st June 2020. The good news is a slight increase in the card’s local miles earning rate, though unfortunately this is to be ‘offset’ by a cut in the earn rate for both local dining and all foreign currency transactions.

Those with OCBC Premier status or Bank of Singapore Voyage cards will retain their previous earning rates, but all cardholders will be hit with a regressive new S$5 rounding policy for miles earning.

Miles earn rate changes

Here’s how the OCBC Voyage card earns miles for transactions up to 31st May 2020 and once the new changes kick in on 1st June 2020.

OCBC Voyage earn rates
Category Until 31 May From 1 Jun
Local spend 1.2 mpd increase 1.3 mpd
FCY spend 2.3 mpd decrease 2.2 mpd
Local dining 1.6 mpd decrease 1.3 mpd
Overseas dining 2.3 mpd decrease 2.2 mpd

There’s no change for:

  • OCBC Premier
  • OCBC Premier Private Client
  • Bank of Singapore Voyage

cardholders, who will continue to earn 1.6 mpd for all local spend and 2.3 mpd for all overseas spend, regardless of the category.

The good news

  • The local general spend earn rate increases by 8% from 1.2 mpd to 1.3 mpd.
  • OCBC Premier and Bank of Singapore cardholders have no rate changes, though this means their ‘benefit’ for local (non-dining) spend over ‘regular’ cardholders falls from 33% to 23%.

The bad news

  • Local dining transactions take a hit, simply earning the general local rate. That’s a 19% drop from 1.6 mpd to 1.3 mpd.
  • All foreign currency spend takes a hit, a 4% drop from 2.3 mpd to 2.2 mpd.

S$5 earning blocks introduced

Currently any eligible transaction for Voyage miles earning on your OCBC Voyage card is rounded down to the next whole dollar, before being assessed for miles earning.

That’s not a significant rounding issue, except for the smallest transactions with a lot of ‘cents’ involved (e.g. S$1.99 rounds down to S$1).

From 1st June 2020, here’s what’s happening:

all VOYAGE Miles earned shall be calculated based on each block of S$5 charged to the Card per transaction, and Cardmembers shall not be entitled to any partial or pro-rated award of any VOYAGE Miles for any amount charged that does not amount to a S$5 block”

That shifts the OCBC Voyage card to a UOB-style earning mechanism, where a host of smaller transactions will suffer significant rounding down (unless they are in exact S$5 blocks) and even for larger transactions that don’t round to an exact S$5 – the bank always wins.

Here’s an example of how it works now for some smaller transactions, and how it will work from 1st June 2020, assuming local spend at the 1.2 mpd (after 1 Jun 1.3 mpd) earn rates.

Voyage Miles awarded
Charge Until 31 May From 1 Jun
$4.99 4.8
(0.96 mpd)
0
(0 mpd)
(- 100%)
$5.00 6
(1.2 mpd)
6.5
(1.3 mpd)
(+ 8%)
$9.99 10.8
(1.08 mpd)
6.5
(0.65 mpd)
(- 40%)
$10.00 12
(1.2 mpd)
13
(1.3 mpd)
(+ 8%)

As you can see at the ‘exact’ S$5 levels you’re better off, but stray outside those rounded totals and the earn rate can drop significantly for these smaller transactions – even to zero.

Note: OCBC’s 90°N Mastercard also suffers the same new S$5 rounding for miles earning from 1st June 2020, though the Titanium Rewards card appears to be immune from the new policy.

More exclusions

More MCC codes have been added to the list of transactions not eligible for miles earning through the card from 1st June 2020:

  • MCCs 4111, 4121, 4131: Transportation and Tolls, except that you will still earn VOYAGE Miles for transactions with Grab Transport, Gojek and Comfort/Citycab.
  • MCC 4784: Tolls and bridge fees
  • MCC 5993: Cigars stores and stands
  • MCC 8062: Transactions to Singapore Government Public Hospitals including Non-Profit Hospitals, Community Hospitals and Polyclinics

Basically – no miles for Grab top-ups, cigar smokers (for whatever reason) need to find a new credit card, and payments to government and public hospitals will be out.

For the OCBC 90°N Mastercard there are also the following new exclusions kicking in:

  • MCCs 4111, 4121, 4131: Transportation and Tolls, except that you will still earn VOYAGE Miles for transactions with Grab Transport, Gojek and Comfort/Citycab.
  • MCC 7394: Cleaning, maintenance and janitorial services
  • MCC 4784: Tolls and bridge fees
  • MCC 5993: Cigars stores and stands
  • MCC 8675: Automotive associations
  • MCC 8699: Labor union

$5k for a free limo ride

OCBC is upping the minimum spend on its Voyage card to trigger a complimentary limo transfer, and not by an insignificant amount.

Limo Chauffeur (SS)
Each limo ride is about to become two-thirds more expensive with the OCBC Voyage card. (Photo: Shutterstock)

Currently for every S$3,000 you spend locally or overseas on your OCBC Voyage Visa Infinite card, you’ll be entitled to a free airport limo transfer.

From 1st June 2020 this is being hiked by 67% to a minimum spend of S$5,000 to trigger each free ride, which continues to be capped at two transfers per month (yep – S$10,000 spend in that case).

Extra stops, previously available from S$10 provided the trip wasn’t more than 2km ‘out of the way’ are now charged at S$20 regardless, for a maximum 5km deviation from the routing.

You can see details of all the credit cards in Singapore offering free limo rides at our dedicated page here.

AXS Pay + Earn

Every S$1 spend on AXS Pay + Earn transactions currently earns 1 VOYAGE Mile. This will change on 1st June 2020 and instead every S$5 spend on AXS Pay + Earn transactions will earn 5 VOYAGE Miles, suffering the same new rounding policy common to all transactions with this card.

While that’s the same effective miles earning rate of 1 mpd, currently a transaction of S$9 through AXS Pay + Earn will earn 9 miles, while from 1st June 2020 it will earn only 5 miles, since each whole block of S$5 spend will be assessed separately for miles earning.

That could be a big impact for these typically smaller transactions.

Summary

Mostly bad news for OCBC Voyage cardholders. With one month’s notice the local dining and overseas miles earn rates for most cardholders have been cut, though there is some improvement in the local earn rate for general spend.

Those with OCBC Premier status or Bank of Singapore Voyage cards have the least to worry about here – their earn rates are remaining on par with current levels even after 1st June.

Unfortunately all cardholders will ultimately suffer from the new UOB-style S$5 transactions rounding issue for miles earning. Unless your spend hits a S$5 denomination exactly – the bank always wins.

Dining takes one of the biggest hits here in our opinion – this card’s excellent 1.6 mpd rate is cut to 1.3 mpd, the same as for all general local spend. That’s worse than the UOB PRVI Miles cards (which incidentally ‘boast’ the same painful S$5 miles rounding issue soon coming to these cards), plus the BOC Elite Miles card which earns 1.5 mpd for all local spend.

There are now certainly fewer and fewer reasons to consider the OCBC Voyage card in our opinion.

You can check the full terms and conditions for the OCBC Voyage card here:

If you’re interested in changes for the OCBC 90°N Mastercard, the terms and conditions can be found here:

Fast Facts
Card 2020 v2

Annual fee: $488.00/yr
EIR:
26.9%
Sign-up bonus: 
15,000 miles
Local earn rate (from 1 Jun):
1.3 miles per $1*
Overseas earn rate (from 1 Jun):
2.2 miles per $1
Foreign transaction fee: 3.25%
Minimum age:
21
Minimum income: 
$120,000/yr
* 1.6 miles per $1 spent on all local transactions if you’re also an OCBC Premier, OCBC Premier Private Client or Bank of Singapore Voyage cardmember.

APPLY HERE

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