Credit Cards KrisFlyer

OCBC Voyage Card Review (2020)

This is our review of the OCBC Voyage 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 30th August 2020.

OCBC Voyage
Card 2020 v2 Small
1.3 mpd
local spend

Unlimited
lounge access

Free airport
limo rides
APPLY HERE
OCBC Voyage
Card 2020 v2 Small

1.3 mpd
on local spend

Unlimited
lounge access

Free airport
limo rides
APPLY HERE

  Mainly Miles Says


The OCBC Voyage card benefits from some nice perks, including a competitive local earn rate and flexible, fee-free transfers into KrisFlyer miles.

There are also complimentary airport limo rides for those spending over $5,000 per month, however the drawbacks include the bank’s new annoying $5 rounding policy for miles accrual, plus a limited selection of airport lounges compared to other cards in this high annual fee category.

  Pros   Cons
  • Voyage Miles never expire
  • Unlimited fee-free transfers to KrisFlyer
  • 1-mile transfer blocks
  • Generate ‘unlimited’ miles from 1.9 cents
  • 15,000 miles on annual renewal
  • Up to 24 airport limo rides per year
  • Only one miles transfer partner
  • Min. $5 spend to earn miles
  • $5 earning blocks adversely affect ‘real’ earn rate
  • Points don’t pool with other OCBC cards
  • Limited airport lounge selection
  • OCBC’s “Any flight, any time” redemptions can be poor value

  Eligibility


  • Minimum Age: 21
  • Minimum Income: $120,000/yr

The OCBC Voyage card has a $120,000 per year income requirement for all applicants.

  Annual Fees & Interest Rates


  • Annual Fee (principal): $488
  • Annual Fee (supplementary): $188
  • Fee Waiver: $60k+ annual spend (regular), $30k+ (Premier)

The annual fee for the OCBC Voyage Visa card is high at $488, though this also gets you 15,000 bonus miles on sign-up and 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.

If you meet a minimum spend of $60,000 in your card membership year, you’ll currently be eligible for automatic annual fee waiver. Premier customers can unlock fee waiver with a reduced spend of $30,000. Any other fee waiver is on request from OCBC. If the annual fee is waived on renewal, the 15,000 bonus miles will not be credited.

You monthly statement shows how much more you need to spend in the current membership year to trigger automatic annual fee waiver on renewal.

Supplementary cards can be added to your account for an annual fee of $188 each, with the same waiver policy described above.

Other fees and interest rates for the OCBC Voyage card include:

  • EIR: 26.9%
  • Interest-free period: 23 days
  • Minimum payment: 3% (or $50, whichever greater)
  • Late payment fee: $100
  • Cash advance fee: 8% (min. $15)
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  Sign-up bonus


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)

For the 150,000 miles sign-up option, the entire bonus must be converted to KrisFlyer miles (you cannot hold them as Voyage Miles, see below).

Fun fact: The OCBC Voyage card previously offered a 500,000 miles sign-up bonus option for a $10,000 annual fee, however this was withdrawn in August 2018.

The ‘enhanced’ sign-up bonus option (with 150,000 miles) was 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.

  Regular earn rates


The OCBC Voyage Visa card earns:

  • 1.3 miles for every $1 spent locally (i.e. transacted in SGD), and
  • 2.2 miles for every $1 spent overseas (i.e. transacted in foreign currency).

These revised earn rates took effect in June 2020, with the card’s bonus earn rate for dining transactions (1.6 mpd) withdrawn.

If you have a banking relationship with OCBC you may be eligible for an OCBC Premier or Bank of Singapore Voyage card. (Photo: OCBC)

If you are an OCBC Premier, OCBC Premier Private Client or Bank of Singapore Voyage cardmember, you’ll get higher earning rates of:

  • 1.6 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).
Fun fact: The OCBC Voyage card used to cap Voyage Miles accrual to 230,000 per month. That’s right – you couldn’t earn more than 2.76 million miles a year through this card! In case you were worried, there is no longer any cap on the maximum number of Voyage Miles earning.

  Bonus earn rates


OCBC Voyage cardholders can earn up to 7 miles per dollar for hotel bookings in foreign currency and 6 miles per dollar for SGD bookings at Agoda.

This is valid for bookings made before 31st July 2021, for stays through to 31st December 2021, via the following dedicated link:

  www.agoda.com/Voyage

Note that this promo is for prepaid bookings through Agoda, so be careful to shop around for the best price first. Initially you’ll earn at the regular 1.3 mpd (SGD) / 2.2 mpd (FCY) rates, with the bonus element awarded within two calendar months of your completed stay.

Full terms and conditions are available here.

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  Eligible transactions


OCBC awards Voyage Miles on all retail transactions, with the exception of the following:

  • All card fees and charges, card annual fees, membership fees, renewal fees, balance transfer and charges incurred for any balance transfer facility, cash-on-instalment facility and charges incurred for any cash-on-instalment facility.
  • Instalment payment plan, extended payment plan, income tax payment, interest, late payment charges, GST, cash advances, bill payments made via internet banking, and other fees and charges.
  • Payment of funds to prepaid accounts and merchants who are categorised as “payment service providers”, which include (without limitation) EZ-Link, NETS FlashPay, eNETS, SAM, Transit Link and AXS.

There are also some merchant-specific excluded MCC codes, including payments to charitable organisations and for utilities, insurance and education, plus payments to Singapore public hospitals. Grab top-ups are also excluded.

For a full up to date list of exclusions, see the card terms and conditions.

What about CardUp and ipaymy?


At the time of writing the OCBC Voyage card accrues miles normally at the local earn rate for both CardUp and ipaymy transactions, allowing you to accumulate miles on bill payments, monthly rental and income tax, among other invoices.

Remember to check the cost per mile based on the prevailing fee for your transaction type to make sure you’re ‘buying’ miles at a sensible rate when using card payment providers.

 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 (regular cardmember), you’ll net 13,000 Voyage Miles, which can be converted to 13,000 KrisFlyer miles.

  Which loyalty schemes can I transfer into?


Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer is the sole frequent flyer program for OCBC redemptions. With the obvious exception of the KrisFlyer co-brand credit cards, that makes OCBC the only bank in Singapore not offering an alternative miles transfer partner, such as Asia Miles or Emirates Skywards (even UOB supports Asia Miles transfers!).

That’s a big drawback of the OCBC cards in our opinion, as we often top up our balances in these other programmes to give us oneworld and other partner redemption opportunities.

Be sure to bookmark our continually updated list of which banks transfer where for the latest range of options.

For the best range of transfer partners, look towards Citi, American Express or Standard Chartered cards.

Transfers into KrisFlyer miles are the most popular among our readers, also unlocking Star Alliance redemptions, however it’s much better to have some alternatives too. (Photo: MainlyMiles)

Is there a minimum transfer amount?


The OCBC Voyage card is almost completely unique in Singapore in allowing single miles to be transferred to KrisFlyer.

That’s right, you can transfer as little as 1 mile across, with no upper limit applied.

That means you can transfer exactly the number you need for a redemption, with no wastage. For example if you have 91,250 miles but you want to lock in a Singapore to London saver award in Business Class priced at 92,000 miles, just transfer 750 miles across from your Voyage Miles.

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  When do Voyage Miles credit?


Voyage Miles should reflect in your account once your transaction posts, which takes anywhere between one and three days.

You won’t have to wait until your monthly statement for the points to be added, so if you’re making a purchase to achieve a short-term top-up they should be available to you within a few days.

For example, a $1,000 local purchase on a Monday should see 1,300 Voyage Miles added to your rewards account by Thursday the same week, which you can then transfer to KrisFlyer.

The only exception is bonus Voyage Miles earned from the Agoda promotion, which credit within two months of your completed stay, and Voyage Miles earned from payment of the annual fee, which are credited to your account only on publication of the associated monthly statement.

  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.

  Voyage Miles don’t pool


Unfortunately the Voyage Miles currency is unique to the OCBC Voyage card, so you can’t pool them with OCBC$ or Travel$ accrued on the Titanium Rewards or 90°N card.

As OCBC states in its terms and conditions “Voyage Miles cannot be transferred, assigned or carried on to any other card issued by OCBC Bank”.

  Three OCBC rewards ‘currencies’


It’s probably a good time to mention that OCBC has three rewards ‘currencies’ across its miles earning credit cards, none of which combine with one another and all of which work slightly differently.

With this card you’ll earn Voyage Miles, which are the most flexible of all with 1:1 transfers into KrisFlyer in single point denominations, and no transfer cost. They also never expire.

  OCBC$ Travel$ Voyage
Miles
Card(s) BluePink Card-2-small-1 Card 2020 v2 Small
Transfer Ratio 2.5:1 1:1 1:1
Min. Transfer 25,000 1,000 1
Transfer Cost $25 Free Free
Expiry 2 years Never Never

Unfortunately as mentioned above if you hold other OCBC credit cards, you’ll have separate pools of non-combinable points, which are less flexible than Voyage Miles (though the Travel$ associated with the OCBC 90°N card are the most similar).

  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 whenever 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.

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  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.

The good news is – it doesn’t actually take that long at all. A few data points show that transfers from Voyage Miles (or OCBC$ if you hold the Titanium Rewards card / Travel$ if you hold the 90°N card), take just 24 hours.

Our most recent transfer from OCBC$ to KrisFlyer met the 24-hour turnaround (transfer requested 12.30pm on a Wednesday, credited to KrisFlyer by 11.30am on the Thursday).

That’s actually one of the faster points to miles transfer times in Singapore.

That means OCBC conversions even make it into our Instant and quick ways to transfer miles to KrisFlyer rundown (also featuring Amex and Citi, for the sake of completeness).

  Points rounding


Since June 2020 a big drawback of OCBC credit cards is that reward points are awarded for every $5 block of spending charged to your card. Any amount charged is rounded down to the next $5 denomination.

That means unless your spend hits a $5 denomination exactly – the bank always wins.

“As an illustration, a customer who spends an amount between S$10 and S$14.99 in a single transaction can earn 23 Voyage Miles (i.e. 11.5 miles per block of S$5 spent). However, a customer who spends S$4.90 in a single transaction, or who spends S$2.50 in one transaction and S$2.50 in another transaction, will not be awarded any Voyage Miles.”

OCBC

When you are charging smaller amounts, it begins to have a big impact on the effective miles per dollar rate you are actually earning for the transaction.

Voyage Miles awarded
Card 2020 v2 Small
Charge
(SGD)
Local Spend FCY Spend
$4.99 0
(0 mpd)
0
(0 mpd)
$5.00 6.5
(1.3 mpd)
11
(2.2 mpd)
$9.99 6.5
(0.7 mpd)
11
(1.1 mpd)
$10.00 13
(1.3 mpd)
22
(2.2 mpd)

One cent can make all the difference here, and to truly optimise the maximum number of Voyage Miles earned, you should plan your spending in $5 blocks especially at the lower transaction levels (e.g. $5 / $10 / $15).

Try to avoid falling just below a $5 block if possible, or only exceed a $5 block by a small amount.

The impact becomes less important with higher amounts, for example let’s say you make a local transaction with your OCBC Voyage card as follows:

  • $244.99 – 312 Travel$ awarded (312 miles / 1.27 mpd)
  • $245.00 – 318.5 Travel$ awarded (318.5 miles / 1.3 mpd)

As you can see falling 1 cent short of a $5 block size in this case isn’t significantly affecting your miles per dollar rate in the same way that a $9.99 vs. $10.00 spend is.

Minimum spend to earn points


Since any amount in Singapore dollars is first rounded down to the next $5 denomination, $5.00 is the minimum transaction amount to earn any reward points using the OCBC Voyage card.

Smaller transactions, including those converted from foreign currency into SGD which are subsequently charged to your card account at less than $5, will not earn any points.

For sub-$5 transactions, consider the DBS Altitude card (see our review) with a $1.67 minimum spend to earn miles, or the Citi PremierMiles card (see our review) with a $1 minimum spend.

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  FCY fee / cpm overseas


OCBC used to charge a 3% fee for credit card transactions in foreign currency, however this was increased to 3.25% in December 2019.

That makes it a fairly average card to use for overseas purchases, with a cost per mile of 1.56 cents. There are still some better cards to focus your FCY spending on, including the UOB PRVI Miles and HSBC Visa Infinite options.

Cost per mile on overseas credit card transactions by card
(Best to worst, August 2020)

Card Fee Miles per $ Cost per mile
image_standard-chartered-visa-infinite@2x02.pngSCVI 3.5% 3.0* 1.22¢*
HSBCviNEW2HSBC VI
(Step up rate)
2.8% 2.25** 1.33¢**
AscendCC.pngKF Ascend
(Jul & Dec)
2.5% 2.0 1.36¢
Card Trans.pngUOB PRVI Miles 3.25% 2.4 1.43¢
Card.pngMaybank Horizon Visa 2.75% 2.0 1.48¢
HSBCviNEW2HSBC VI
(Regular rate)
2.8% 2.0 1.50¢