Bank of China (who until now was only wowing Singapore with their cashback and cash rebate credit cards) has decided to stir things up with their new BOC Elite Miles World Mastercard! In a market where the miles earning rate is more or less stagnant, this new entry has upped the game making this credit card one of the best miles cards for general spends.
BOC Elite Miles World Mastercard Review: Easily One of The Best Travel Credit Card for General Spending
Who is this card for?
- People who want a great miles card for general spends, such as groceries, taxes, bills, medical bills, insurance, pet supplies, etc.
- People who hold air miles credit cards like the DBS Altitude Card, Citi PremierMiles Visa Card, and UOB PRVI Miles Card, and are looking to do better than 1.2/1.4 miles per dollar.
- Those who frequently transact in foreign currencies.
What are the features of the BOC Elite Miles World Mastercard?
- 15 BOC Rewards Points (5 air miles) per S$1 spent overseas (or any spend not made in SGD)
- 6 BOC Rewards Points (2 air miles) per S$1 spent locally (including insurance and public transport (PayPass and ABT))
- Win a Singapore Airlines return ticket to Bangkok.
- 4X Complimentary access to Plaza Premium Lounges.
- Min. 30K annual income to apply
- Annual fee of S$190 p.a, waived in the first year
With this great mile earning rate, we wouldn’t blame you for thinking that there are multiple hoops through which you need to jump to get these air miles. But, this is far from the truth because there is no minimum spend and no cap on the miles you earn!
Here’s how you earn these air miles:
1. 15 BOC Rewards Points/5 air miles per S$1 spent overseas
All foreign currency spends get you 15 BOC Rewards Points which is equivalent to 5 air miles. And there is no minimum spend or cap to the air miles. We can’t believe it either, but it’s true!
Until 31 December 2018, that is.
So, spend to your heart’s content on overseas transactions until 31 December 2018 and you get 5 miles for every S$1. Post this date, you get 9 BOC Rewards Points or 3 miles per S$1 that you spend. Still a great miles earning rate if you ask us!
In fact, this earning rate is still higher than other air miles cards out there with a similar 30k income criteria – and with no minimum spend to boot!
2. 6 BOC Rewards Points/2 air miles per S$1 spent locally
This mile earning rate (once again until 31 December 2018) is the highest you can get on local spends with air miles cards. We love that BOC is allowing us to pay for insurance premiums still earn 2mpd. You can also earn 2mpd on your public transport spends, but you’ll need to register for Account-Based Ticketing (ABT).
After the promotional period, you end up earning 4.5 BOC Rewards Points which is equivalent to 1.5 air miles for every S$1 you spend. Just like for overseas spends, the local miles earning rate is the highest in Singapore for entry-level air miles cards
The only credit cards that offer better miles earning rate for spends made in S$ are the invitation-only Citi Ultima Card and the DBS Insignia Visa Infinite Card.
What this means is that, while it is a given that the miles earning rate during the promotional offer is one of the best you can find right now, it will continue to remain one of the best even post this promotional offer. Unless other banks improve their offer in order to compete, that is.
3. SQ return ticket to Bangkok
This promotional offer is less an offer everyone can take advantage of and more a game of chance. Nonetheless, if you are one of the 100 lucky applicants with the highest card spend by 31 December 2018, you win a return ticket to Bangkok on Singapore Airlines (Economy Class) for a travel period until 31 October 2019.
Only the ticket is on the house. You have to pay for everything else including travel insurance, airport taxes, fuel surcharge, and any other personal expenses you may incur.
Check out: How to Book Cheap Tickets for Your Vacations
4. Complimentary access to Plaza Premium Lounges
Unlike most other travel credit cards that offer up to 2 complimentary visits to airport lounges each year, the BOC Elite Miles World Mastercard offers you 4!
That’s right! You get 4 free visits to Plaza Premium Lounges between now and 30 June 2019.
All you need to do to enjoy this benefit is to register your card on arrture.com and then download the Arrture mobile application from either the App Store or the Play Store. It takes around 5 working days for your access to be updated, so make sure you register as soon as possible to enjoy the benefits of relaxing at a Plaza Premium Lounge while you travel.
Seems like the perfect card, doesn’t it? So, what’s the catch?
1. Varying points validity of 12-24 months
We established that the miles earning rate on this card is great. What’s not so great is the validity of the points. You see, the points you earn don’t really have a fixed validity period. All points that you accumulate in the first year from the time your card is approved expire on 30 June of the following year. All points that you earn after that expire on 30 June of each successive year.
Here’s a screenshot from the terms and conditions for this card:
The table shows that the points can expire anywhere from 12 to 24 months.
Points earned on 1 July will have a maximum validity of 24 months, and points earned on 30 June have a validity of 12 months.
One of the concerns we all have with expiring points is whether we can convert them quickly enough. You are allowed to convert your BOC reward points to KrisFlyer miles in blocks of 10,000, and to Asia Miles in blocks of 6,000. Whichever you choose, you’re bound to have some excess points that can’t be converted, but the good thing is that you can redeem your excess BOC points for vouchers from Grab, SPC, Golden Village, etc.
2. Slightly higher conversion fee for your BOC points to miles
Each time you convert points to air miles, you have to pay a conversion fee of S$32.10 (GST inclusive). This is slightly higher than the standard S$26.75 (GST inclusive) that most other banks have.
3. No tie-ups with travel sites for accelerated miles
You’ll also want to know that BOC currently doesn’t have any tie-ups with travel sites like Agoda, Expedia, or Kaligo to offer accelerated miles. If you plan to use these sites, you may want to use other air miles credit cards.
How does the BOC Elite Miles Card compare with other S$30,000 travel credit cards?
|BOC Elite Miles World Mastercard||UOB PRVI Miles||DBS Altitude||Citi PremierMiles Visa Card|
|Earnings on local spends||1.5 miles per S$1||1.4 miles per S$1||3 miles per S$1 on online hotel and flight transactions
1.2 miles per S$1 on retail transactions
|1.2 miles per S$1|
|Earnings on overseas spends||3 miles per S$1||2.4 miles per S$1||2 miles per S$1|
|Cap on earnings||–||–||3 miles on online flight and hotel transactions are capped at the first S$5,000||–|
|Points expiry||Between 12-24 months||UNI$ are valid for 2 years||Points do not expire|
|Complimentary travel insurance||–||Up to S$1 million|
|Airport lounge access||4 complimentary visits per year (until 30 June 2019)||–||2 free lounge visits each year|
|Annual fee||S$190 (1-year fee waiver)||S$256.80 (1-year fee waiver)||S$192.60 (1-year fee waiver)|
|Income requirement||S$30,000 p.a. for Singaporeans and PRs|
Here’s what we think of the BOC Elite Miles Card
Apart from the points expiry (which can be worked around), the BOC Elite Miles World Mastercard is a great new entry. For a category of credit cards that had grown complacent in offering around 1.2 to 1.4 miles on the dollar, this card sure has shaken things up.
Not only does it offer you the chance to accumulate miles quickly, but the annual fee is one of the lowest (although we don’t suggest paying unless you get something in return) and the number of free visits to airport lounges is 4 per year instead of the standard 2.
The end verdict is that as an entry-level miles card for general spending in Singapore, the BOC Elite Miles World Mastercard blows all its competition out of the water. By a mile – if not more!
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