Last month OCBC launched a new sign-up offer for its 90°N Mastercard credit card, with new-to-bank customers who haven’t had any primary OCBC credit card for at least six months eligible to earn 25,500 upfront bonus miles when successfully applying.
The main catch was that you can only keep the bonus if you charge retail transactions of S$15,000 in the first 6 months from approval, equivalent to S$2,500 spend per month.
You can also pick up an additional 10,000 bonus miles, for a total of up to 35,500 bonus miles, by voluntarily paying the card’s first-year annual fee of S$194.40.
The deal has been extended
This sign-up promotion has now been extended, in two ways:
- OCBC 90°N Visa cards are now included in the offer
- The application end date has been extended by three months – to 30th June 2023
OCBC has also renamed its Travel$ accrued on these cards to “90°N Miles”, which just looks terrible when you write a number in front of it!
To be eligible for this sign-up offer, you’ll need to be new-to-bank, which means you’ll need to meet the following criteria.
- do not currently hold any principal OCBC credit card; and
- have not cancelled any OCBC credit card(s) within the last 6 months
If you are a supplementary OCBC cardholder, but not a primary cardholder on any such account (in the last six months), you will qualify as a new customer.
New-to-bank customers are eligible for the for the following two options when signing up for the OCBC 90°N Mastercard or Visa card.
be approved by 30th June 2023
in first 6 months of approval
|Fee waiver||Annual Fee:
As you can see, you’ll now need to apply and be approved by 30th June 2023 to pick up 25,500 miles bonus for spending S$15,000+ in the six months (you’ll earn 19,500 miles for the spend itself at the 90°N card’s 1.3 mpd local earn rate).
That’s no mean feat by the way – equivalent to an average of S$2,500 per month for six consecutive months!
However, if you can achieve it the bonus means scoring an equivalent of 3 mpd on the first S$15,000 of all eligible retail spend with this card (total 45,000 miles / S$15,000 spend).
Those opting to pay the first-year annual fee of S$194.40 will receive an additional 10,000 miles (35,500 bonus miles in total).
Here’s how the application with sign-up bonus works:
- Apply online
- Have your card account approved by 30th June 2023.
- Charge at least S$15,000 of eligible spend to your card within six full calendar months of your approval date.
Here’s how the eligible spend period is defined for your S$15,000 minimum retail transactions requirement.
- For cards approved in March 2023, the spend period is from card approval date to 30th September 2023.
- For cards approved in April 2023, the spend period is from card approval date to 31st October 2023.
- For cards approved in May 2023, the spend period is from card approval date to 30th November 2023.
- For cards approved in June 2023, the spend period is from card approval date to 31st December 2023.
The qualifying spend can be online or at point-of sale (in-person) and can be charged in SGD or foreign currency, or any mixture of these.
Spend is considered by transaction date, based on Singapore timing, and includes spend made by your supplementary cardholders.
Your S$15,000+ of eligible spend to qualify for the bonus miles under this promotion does not include the usual OCBC category exclusions for miles earning.
Here’s an example of excluded spend categories:
- All card fees and charges, card annual fees, membership fees, renewal fees, balance transfer and charges incurred for any balance transfer facility, cash-on-instalment facility and charges incurred for any cash-on-instalment facility.
- Instalment payment plan, extended payment plan, income tax payment, interest, late payment charges, GST, cash advances, bill payments made via internet banking, and other fees and charges.
- Payment of funds to prepaid accounts and merchants who are categorised as “payment service providers”, which include (without limitation) EZ-Link, NETS FlashPay, eNETS, SAM, Transit Link and AXS.
There are also some merchant-specific excluded MCC codes, including payments to charitable organisations and for utilities, insurance and education, plus payments to Singapore public hospitals. Grab top-ups are also excluded.
For a full up to date list of exclusions, see the card terms and conditions.
CardUp qualifies as eligible spend for this card, which could be a good way to capitalise on the 1.5% fee for first-time users with this card, or the 1.75% fee for income tax payments, or 2% fee for existing users making other payment types, when trying to hit the spend requirement.
Bonus miles are upfront
Here’s an interesting aspect of this particular sign-up promotion.
OCBC will basically assume that you’ll meet the required spend when signing up under this offer, and will pay the first-year annual fee, and will therefore simply award all new cardholders with:
- 35,500 90°N Miles (formerly Travel$), which convert 1:1 into KrisFlyer mile, within two weeks of card approval date
This assumes you’ll pay the annual fee of S$194.40 (10,000 90°N Miles bonus) and meet the S$15,000+ eligible spend criteria in the first six full calendar months (25,500 90°N Miles bonus).
So what if you don’t pay the annual fee and/or meet the spend?
Here’s where it gets a little more complicated.
If you wish to have first-year annual fee waiver (whether or not you hit the S$15,000+ spend):
- You must SMS 72377 with the message ’90Nwaive [space] last 8 digits of your new card number’ by 31st July 2023 at the latest.
- 10,000 90°N Miles will be deducted from your account.
- If you do not opt out in time, or you have already redeemed the bonus, and you then have 9,999 90°N Miles or less in your account, no fee waiver will be granted (i.e. you’ll have to pay it).
Here’s the more important bit.
If you don’t hit S$15,000+ in eligible transactions during your eligible spend period:
- 25,500 90°N Miles will be deducted from your account.
- If you have already redeemed the bonus, and you then have 25,499 90°N Miles or less in your account, OCBC will charge S$540 in lieu of the 90°N Miles clawback. No pro-ration of the charge is allowed, regardless of your current 90°N Miles balance (which remains intact).
- The clawback 90°N Miles deduction or cash charge (which you’ll no doubt want to avoid in both cases by simply making the required spend!) will be applied within two months of the end of your eligible spend period.
In case you’re wondering, the bonus miles clawback really isn’t worth paying – you’re ‘buying’ miles at an unattractive 2.1 cents each in this case. Make sure you’ll meet the spend, or leave the 90°N Miles intact in your account if you won’t, to avoid this fee.
Regular miles earning is in addition
The bonus miles outlined above are awarded in addition to the regular miles you will earn for making the S$15,000 minimum spend with the OCBC 90°N cards, at the following rates:
- 1.3 miles for every $1 spent locally (i.e. transacted in SGD), or
- 2.1 miles for every $1 spent overseas (i.e. transacted in foreign currency)
In its marketing for this offer, OCBC is including the 19,500 miles (15,000 x 1.3) you would earn anyway for local spend, even without a promotional sign-up offer running.
Don’t be fooled – the true bonus for your S$15,000 spend is 25,500 miles.
The additional 19,500 miles for the spend itself is year-round. The additional 10,000 miles for paying the first-year annual fee is year-round. They are not part of this promotion.
In some cases you may even be taking a hit by diverting spend away from 4 mpd cards to achieve the S$15,000 OCBC 90°N card spend threshold over an extended period (six months), so there’s a potential loss to consider here too in your own personal calculation for this deal.
Which FFPs can you transfer into?
You can currently only transfer OCBC 90°N Miles into Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer miles.
90°N Miles transfers to airline miles, previously free, now all incur a fee of S$25 per conversion (min. 1,000 90°N Miles per conversion).
However, in 2022 OCBC revealed it would be dragging itself out of the dark ages when it comes to airline and hotel transfer partners in Singapore, by improving its offering from this single programme (Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer) to a nine-partner repertoire, from December 2022.
Unfortunately the execution doesn’t seem to be going to plan, with the additional options then slated for February 2023, but still no sign of them here in late March 2023!
The OCBC 90°N product page now lists these partners as “coming soon” (as is Christmas!).
The eventual full list of programmes will be:
- Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer
- Air France – KLM Flying Blue
- British Airways Executive Club
- Cathay Pacific
- Etihad Guest
- United MileagePlus
- ALL – Accor Live Limitless
- IHG One Rewards
- Marriot Bonvoy
While the all-important conversion ratios have not been announced yet, an accrual of 90°N miles on your OCBC 90°N card in 2023 might give you more flexibility than you think.
Terms and conditions
Full terms and conditions for this promotion are available here:
OCBC has extended its upfront 25,500 bonus miles deal for new-to-bank applicants picking up its 90°N Mastercard up to 30th June 2023, and also added the 90°N Visa to the offer for those who may prefer that product.
You’ll still have to spend S$15,000 in the first full six calendar months in order to qualify, which is a big ask.
There’s an additional 10,000 miles on offer if you wish to voluntarily pay the first year annual card fee (you’ll need to opt-out by 31st July 2023 if you don’t want to pay this).
One good part of the deal is that the bonus miles are upfront – OCBC will award them within two weeks of card approval on the expectation that you’ll meet all the requirements in advance.
The downside is that if you fail to meet the required spend, miles will either be clawed back or you’ll be landed with a a S$540 fee for “the equivalent value of the gift” if you already transferred the bonus out, so make sure you’ll achieve the spend if you sign-up!
(Cover Photo: Angela Compagnone)