On Tuesday this week OCBC announced a puzzling and somewhat concerning change to its sign-up bonus for the Titanium Rewards card, stating that the deal had been “fully redeemed” over two weeks before it was due to end.
The worrying part was that the terms and conditions for the offer didn’t mention that it was capped in any way – was this a sign that the bank was going down the UOB-esque “first xxx applicants” for its bonus miles offers?
Technically the bank always has a term in its offer conditions stating that it can pull a deal early at its discretion, and we simply had to assume that’s exactly what they had decided to do in this case.
The deal is back on
On Wednesday morning and – perhaps not coincidentally – 15 hours after our article reporting the change was published, OCBC had a change of heart.
The bank removed its website message that the deal had been fully redeemed, and has since confirmed to us that the sign-up bonus “is still on-going”.
It’s not clear why OCBC announced that the offer had been pulled early, but there was certainly a negative backlash to the news in our article and on our social media post!
Up to 11,520 miles
Now that the offer is back, here’s a reminder of how it works, since it’s quite a good one and you should probably consider using it to pick up some easy cheap miles, if you’re eligible.
Provided you don’t currently hold an OCBC credit card (any variant, not just the Titanium Rewards pair), and you haven’t held one in the last six months, successful applicants for either of the Titanium Rewards cards under this promotion (blue or pink) will receive the following sign-up bonus:
- 28,800 OCBC$ (11,520 miles) on meeting a minimum spend of S$100 within 30 days of card approval
Existing OCBC primary cardholders (or those who have held one in the last six months) will be eligible for the following offer:
- 14,400 OCBC$ (5,760 miles) on meeting a minimum spend of S$100 within 30 days of card approval
Simply apply through the OCBC link to be eligible for this offer:
You will only be eligible for the sign-up bonus once, either for the blue or pink version of the OCBC Titanium Rewards credit card (sadly, there is no opportunity to ‘double-down’ by applying for both!).
If you hold an OCBC credit card as a supplementary cardholder (but not as a primary cardholder on any such account in the last six months), you’ll be eligible for the full 11,520 miles bonus.
Other things to know about the promo
- Qualifying spend for the required S$100 in retail transactions to earn the sign-up bonus excludes categories as outlined in Section 5 of the promotion Terms and Conditions.
- Eligible spend no-nos include payment for insurance premiums, bus / MRT and transit spend, and other specific MCCs mentioned in Section 3i here.
- The sign-up bonus, paid as OCBC$ which can then be converted to KrisFlyer miles, will be credited by the end of the month three calendar months after your card approval month (e.g. approved in March 2023, bonus credited by 30th June 2023).
- You must apply and have your card approved by 31st March 2023 at the latest, to be eligible for the promotion. Approval can take a few days, so sooner rather than later is the best plan for this one.
Things to know about the OCBC TR cards
Not a particularly exciting card for general spending, the OCBC Titanium Rewards earns just 0.4 miles per S$1 spent either in Singapore or overseas.
The major benefit of this card comes into play with the bonus (10x) earning categories, which fall under shopping. Provided you get the MCC right, you’ll earn 4 mpd at the right outlets, 10x the regular earn rate, both in Singapore and overseas.
Retailers selling items such as clothes, shoes and bags, electronics and gadgets are included, with online transactions also eligible. Spending at department stores like TANGS also counts, as does eligible spend with Kris+ merchants falling under the eligible MCC list.
Here’s the full list of Merchant Category Codes (MCCs) which qualify for 4 miles 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 5311: Department 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
This includes retailers like Apple, Courts, Best Denki, iStudio, H&M, TANGS and Amazon.
Note that since 1st March 2023, transactions made at Amazon and Mustafa Centre using the OCBC Titanium Rewards Credit Card will not earn 4 mpd if they fall under Merchant Category Code (MCC) 5411 (Grocery stores, Supermarkets).
This includes Amazon Fresh purchases, which was previously a nice way to clock spend for many cardholders.
Historically the card has also offered 4 miles per dollar on mobile transactions, though we can probably safely say there’s no return for this one – it was even cut short from its original duration back in August 2018 (like it first appeared this sign-up bonus had been!).
Before you take the plunge with the OCBC TR cards, here are a few key points to note.
Bonus points are capped annually
The 10x reward earning bonus points are capped at S$12,000 spend per card membership year, however you can get two cards (the blue and the pink) and effectively double your annual allowance in this category to S$24,000.
This is better than some other cards with 10x earning categories, like the Citi Rewards which moved to a monthly earnings cap a few years ago, rather than an annual limit.
That makes the OCBC TR cards more suited to big ticket purchases in the bonus categories. 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).
S$5 earning blocks are enforced for miles earning
Unfortunately in June 2020, OCBC shifted to a S$5 earning block policy for miles accrual on its Titanium Rewards cards. That annoying policy means you effectively get a lower earn rate if your transaction is not in an exact block of S$5.
For example, a S$9.90 transaction will only earn the same number of OCBC$ as a S$5 transaction, while a S$4.90 transaction won’t earn anything at all! Smaller purchases are most adversely affected.
You can only transfer to KrisFlyer, in 10k batches
OCBC$ only convert to the Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer frequent flyer program. Even Asia Miles are not an option with this one, though OCBC is promising an expanded list of partners (with as yet unknown transfer ratios) from
late 2022 February 2023 who knows when!
Also if 11,520 KrisFlyer miles sounds like just the sort of top up you need, bear in mind that OCBC enforces conversion blocks of 10,000 miles (25,000 OCBC$), in whole blocks.
You won’t be able to earn 11,520 bonus miles then extract that exact sum into KrisFlyer after your S$100 spend, instead you’ll basically have to continue to accrue OCBC$ until you’ve reached at least the next 10,000-mile block. That’s quite a bit more spend, as you’ll need to have accrued 50,000 OCBC$ (20,000 miles) in this example.
Transfers cost S$25
Also worth noting is the fee to convert OCBC$ to KrisFlyer miles, which is S$25 per transfer, no matter how many ‘blocks’ you are converting. Clearly it makes sense to convert as large a quantity as possible to dilute the conversion cost per mile.
For full details, see our full review of this credit card.
Terms and conditions
Full terms and conditions for the OCBC Titanium Rewards sign-up bonus are available here:
OCBC has done an about-face on its early withdrawal of the 11,520 miles sign-up bonus for the Titanium Rewards card, which is very reassuring news given that the terms and conditions for the offer didn’t specify any upper cap on how many applicants could take advantage.
The last thing we needed was another bank going down the UOB route of capping deals to the first xxx applicants, and it’s good to see OCBC has now decided against this, even if it is uncomfortable about the volume of OCBC$ already dished out as part of this promo.
As for the deal itself – it’s a good one. This is an easy way for many of our readers to top up their miles balance by 11,520 miles (or 5,760 miles) for only S$100 of retail spend, and the card is fee-free for the first two years.
If you’re interested you should apply soon, since only approvals by 31st March 2023 will be eligible.
(Cover Photo: Shutterstock)