If you’re a BOC Elite Miles cardholder in Singapore, you’ll almost certainly (hopefully) have heard by now that the bank is soon taking a huge swipe at the value of your BOC Points balance, by altering the transfer ratio to both Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer miles and the Cathay Pacific Asia Miles programme.
In case you missed the news, we covered it in detail last week.
Here’s a quick recap on what’s happening. BOC isn’t changing the number of BOC Points you’ll accrue from your transactions with this card, which remain fixed at 4.5 Points per dollar spent locally and 9 Points per dollar spent overseas.
What’s changing is the transfer ratio to frequent flyer miles. This currently stands at 3:1, meaning your 4.5 Points per dollar spent locally is equivalent to 1.5 miles and your 9 Points per dollar in foreign currency is equivalent to 3 miles.
From 15th June 2020 any transfers you make from your BOC Points to frequent flyer miles will shift to a 4.5:1 ratio, devaluing not only any subsequent transactions you make with this card but all the BOC Points you currently have sitting in your account.
Here’s a summary of the changes.
|Now||From 15th June 2020|
|Local Earn Rate (S$)||1.5 mpd||1 mpd|
|Overseas Earn Rate (FCY)||3 mpd||2 mpd|
|Conversion Ratio||30,000 points
→ 10,000 miles
→ 10,000 miles
|Conversion Ratio||18,000 points
→ 6,000 miles
→ 6,000 miles
The key point to remember here is that it’s not the earn rate itself that is directly changing, but the transfer ratio to miles. That means you’ll have to cash out as many BOC Points as possible into one of the bank’s two frequent flyer programme partners before 15th June 2020.
What’s the latest you can transfer?
BOC confirmed to Mainly Miles yesterday that provided you send the redemption form to them by 14th June 2020, conversion of your BOC Points to KrisFlyer miles or Asia Miles will be at the existing rates, even though it will then be processed after this date.
If your form arrives with them on or after 15th June 2020, the new rates will apply (presumably, there will also be a new form reflecting the changes).
As you probably know, BOC has an archaic miles transfer process requiring you to print a PDF form, complete and sign it, then email it to them for the miles conversion to the processed.
When you do this, BOC will send a confirmation email letting you know that they have received your request. For our last four transfers from BOC Points to KrisFlyer, we’ve received the confirmation email from BOC after sending our form anywhere from the same day to 2 working days later.
Since you’ll obviously want to be sure that the form has safely reached them in time, and 13th/14th June 2020 is a weekend, we recommend emailing the form no later than 10th June 2020.
How to find your BOC Points balance
On the desktop site after logging in:
- Click ‘Credit Card’ from the menu on the left side
- Click ‘Account Information’, then select your BOC Elite Miles Card from the dropdown list and press the ‘Inquiry’ button.
- Your current BOC Points balance is shown on the fourth line down on the right side (‘Reward Points’)
On the mobile app after logging in:
- Click the menu button on the top left, then click ‘Credit Cards’
- Below your BOC Elite Miles Card account, click the ‘Account Information’ button
- Your current BOC Points balance is shown on the third from bottom line (‘Reward Points’)
There’s still time to spend
BOC Points are added to your account at transaction level, as soon as each transaction is posted to your account. That means you don’t have to wait for the next statement date to see the points reflected.
As soon as a transaction is posted, the BOC Points balance on your mobile app or through the online portal should be updated, and you can then transfer this displayed balance to miles at any time.
Local transactions tend to post within a day or two, but overseas (FCY) transactions can take up to five days to reflect (and therefore for the BOC Points balance to update).
We therefore recommend completing your additional spending to reach your desired points transfer threshold no later than 5th June 2020.
Here are the transfer blocks for Asia Miles and KrisFlyer.
|Air Miles Transfer ‘Blocks’|
Each transfer (i.e. one of the blue or yellow boxes in the table) costs S$30, so if you want to ‘mix and match’ with one Asia Miles transfer and one KrisFlyer miles transfer be aware it will set you back S$60 in total.
The maximum number of BOC Points you can convert for each S$30 transfer fee is 180,000 for Asia Miles and 300,000 for KrisFlyer miles.
If you have more than 300,000 BOC Points, you will probably need to do two transfers anyway, in which case you cannot avoid paying the S$30 fee twice.
Eddie was in this situation and did a 300,000 > 100,000 miles transfer to KrisFlyer then had a suitable remaining balance to complete one of the Asia Miles transfer blocks. Since he had to spend S$60 anyway to clear his points balance and we make use of both FFPs, this was a logical way to do it.
Let’s say you have exactly 72,000 BOC Points, the obvious option from the table above is to transfer those into 24,000 Asia Miles.
However let’s say you don’t use the Asia Miles programme and you only want to transfer to KrisFlyer.
In this case you’ll have to either:
- transfer 60,000 points into 20,000 miles, then have 12,000 BOC Points leftover, or
- make the additional spend required to reach 90,000 BOC Points, then transfer 30,000 miles across.
S$4,000 (local), or
The additional spend between two consecutive rows in the table to reach the next transfer level is not always equal because the BOC Points block increments are not identical, assuming you are happy to transfer into either programme. It also depends where your BOC Points balance falls between the thresholds.
For example if you have 123,000 BOC Points the difference between transferring 40,000 KrisFlyer miles then having 3,000 BOC Points left over and upping your Points balance to 126,000 for 42,000 Asia Miles instead is only S$667 in local spend or S$333 in FCY spend.
S$667 (local), or
To calculate how much additional spend you need to reach the next transfer block:
- Local Spend: Extra BOC Points needed ÷ 4.5
- Overseas Spend: Extra BOC Points needed ÷ 9.0
To transfer your BOC Points balance to Asia Miles or KrisFlyer miles, you’ll need to download the following PDF form, print and complete it, then email it to email@example.com.
Remember to only tick the ‘BOC Bonus Points Redemption’ and complete the box below that on the left side (not the ‘Air Miles Redemption side on the right of the first page). Obviously you’ll also need to complete the enrolment particulars section, sign and date the form.
You’ll get an email acknowledgement once BOC has received your completed form.
What to do with orphan miles
It’s possible that you’ll still have a quantity of BOC Points leftover even once you’ve transferred to frequent flyer miles, for example because you didn’t want to spend any more to reach the next threshold, or you have only slightly more than 300,000 points.
We’re sure most of you will be cancelling this card once your final miles transfer is credited to Asia Miles or KrisFlyer, but if you end up with at least 5,000 BOC Points remaining, don’t let them go to waste.
Check the BOC Rewards Summary here, where you’ll find the options listed by category.
5,000 BOC Points (equivalent to 1,666 miles) will get you a S$10 voucher from a range of options, giving you only about a third of the value you’d expect to get compared to frequent flyer miles.
That’s obviously lousy value so do make sure you are exhausting the ‘extra spend’ then ‘hit optimal transfer threshold’ method first if you possibly can.
If you wish to redeem any of the voucher options, you’ll have to call BOC customer service on 1800-338-5335.
Of course since the ratio of BOC Points conversion to these ‘cash out’ voucher options is not changing on 15th June 2020, there is no rush for you to do this, however you probably wish to cancel the card before the next year’s annual fee is charged so treat that as your next ‘deadline’.
How long do BOC Points transfers take?
BOC’s official line on this is:
“The Air Miles transfer process will take approximately 14 to 21 working days”
Here are some of our actual achieved BOC Points to KrisFlyer miles transfer times:
- 35 days (Nov 2018)
- 8 days (Mar 2019)
- 18 days (Sep 2019)
- 13 days (Feb 2020)
Other readers have reported recent transfer experiences (in 2020) taking up to 27 days. There seems to be little consistency, just don’t expect your miles to arrive in a hurry and remember provided BOC has received your transfer request by 14th June 2020 you will get the existing transfer rate.
We weren’t sure initially whether BOC would start processing transfers at the new conversion rate when they got round to your application, leading us to suggest getting your points to miles transfer completed ASAP.
Thankfully BOC has clarified there is a little more breathing room, giving you approximately two weeks from now to increase your BOC Points balance through spending and another week to achieve a miles transfer at the existing rates.
With the competitive rates for general spend on the BOC Elite Miles card coming to an end, and no significant additional perks to enjoy, like us you’ll probably be cancelling it once you’ve followed this process.
(Cover Photo: Ross Parmly)