For years and years, one of the biggest gripes miles collectors have had about OCBC’s credit cards has been their very limited selection of frequent flyer programme transfer partners. Unlike some other banks, offering as many as 10 options for points transfers, OCBC cards have only supported conversion to a single one – Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer miles.
Thankfully the bank has now corrected this limitation, with eight additional partner programmes now on board, and while this has been promised for some time (what’s seven months between friends?!), only now have the all-important details including the transfer ratios been revealed.
New OCBC conversion partners
OCBC has now added eight new frequent flyer programme (FFP) and hotel loyalty scheme partners for cardholders to transfer their points into, a significant improvement on the single FFP link maintained for so many years, boosting the options from one to nine.
OCBC New Transfer Partners
Frequent Flyer Programmes
Hotel Loyalty Schemes
|Air France-KLM Flying Blue||Accor Live Limitless|
|British Airways Executive Club||IHG One Rewards|
|Cathay Pacific Asia Miles||Marriott Bonvoy|
Here’s how OCBC’s credit card points transfer options now look, compared to other banks in Singapore.
Singapore credit card to FFP & loyalty programmes
= All miles cards for this bank
= For HSBC, only for the T1 card
Transfers to British Airways Executive Club can also be de facto transfers to Qatar Airways Privilege Club, with both FFPs using the Avios currency and free unlimited 1:1 transfers between your accounts as and when you please.
Qatar Airways Privilege Club doesn’t apply fuel surcharges to award tickets on its own flights, and recently slashed award rates on Oneworld and partner carriers, opening up attractive awards like Singapore to Koh Samui on Bangkok Airways for only 6,000 Avios points.
This is where the news sadly gets a little bit disappointing.
While the new extensive list of partners opens up many more options for OCBC cardholders, unfortunately the transfer ratios really decimate any advantage over a KrisFlyer transfer.
Let’s say you have sufficient points on your OCBC credit card to transfer them into 10,000 KrisFlyer miles, which would be 10,000 90°N Miles / Voyage Miles, or 25,000 OCBC$.
Here’s what you’ll get instead in these newly added partner programmes.
|Existing Option||Miles or Points|
|Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer||10,000|
|New Partner Programme||Miles or Points|
|Air France-KLM Flying Blue||10,000|
|IHG One Rewards||10,000|
|British Airways Executive Club||9,000|
|Cathay Pacific Asia Miles||7,500|
|Accor Live Limitless||5,000|
The good news for Flying Blue, IHG and Bonvoy programmes is that the normal full transfer ratio applicable to KrisFlyer miles is also in play for OCBC cardholders, though these schemes don’t really offer many valuable options for most of our Singapore-based readers.
British Airways Avios transfers (and indirectly, Qatar Privilege Club ones) and Etihad Guest both take a 10% hit on the transfer ratio – you’ll get 9,000 points or miles where you’d normally get 10,000 KrisFlyer miles.
Asia Miles and United MileagePlus are poorer ratios still, and Accor is the same ratio offered by its only other partner Standard Chartered – with this pure cashback option offering a fixed redemption value of EUR40 (around S$59) per 2,000 points.
Say what for Asia Miles?
Perhaps the biggest surprise here is Asia Miles. We can’t see anyone bothering to take a 25% sacrifice on miles with a transfer from OCBC to this programme, compared to KrisFlyer, especially given its looming devaluation.
Transferring enough points to Asia Miles to redeem a Singapore – Hong Kong – Frankfurt flight in Business Class with Cathay Pacific will require 84,000 Asia Miles from 1st October 2023, which would require a transfer of 112,000 Voyage Miles, for example.
112,000 Voyage Miles still transfers into 112,000 KrisFlyer miles, more than enough to redeem a non-stop Saver Business Class award from Singapore to Frankfurt on Singapore Airlines (103,500 KrisFlyer miles), not only avoiding the hassle of a transit stop but also saving around S$150 of fuel surcharge levied by Cathay Pacific.
Every bank in Singapore offers credit card points transfers to Asia Miles, except Standard Chartered, and in all other cases the transfer ratio is just the same as it is to KrisFlyer. Quite how OCBC thinks its customers will accept a 25% hit on their points for the same thing is truly beyond me.
Transfer blocks are smaller
One piece of good news with these new partners is that miles and points transfer blocks are smaller.
- For 90°N Miles and Voyage Miles, the minimum transfer is 1,000 miles, with subsequent blocks of 100 miles after that.
- For OCBC$, the minimum transfer is 10,000 miles, with subsequent blocks of 1,000 miles after that.
There is also no transfer fee for new partners from now until 30th October 2023, with the regular S$25 transfer fee then in force thereafter. KrisFlyer transfers don’t benefit from the discount and still attract the S$25 fee (even for a single mile transferred from the Voyage card, for example!).
Redemption is via STACK
Do note that transfers for these eight new loyalty programmes is only via OCBC’s STACK portal.
After logging in, click Points Exchange and you’ll see the new transfer options listed.
Do note that KrisFlyer miles transfers are still completed via OCBC’s standard Rewards portal, and not via STACK, which is a bit confusing.
OCBC has finally announced the transfer ratios and conversion options for its long-awaited list of eight additional frequent flyer and loyalty programme partners, first promised by December 2022 but only coming online some seven months later.
The bank now offers transfers to nine programmes in total, with the new eight only available via its STACK Rewards platform (luckily KrisFlyer is still available, but the old fashioned way!).
Unfortunately the transfer ratios for most useful partners are very disappointing, especially for Asia Miles where OCBC cardholders take a surprising 25% hit compared to a KrisFlyer transfer.
(Cover Photo: British Airways)