OCBC has some great credit cards in their portfolio. The OCBC Titanium Rewards Card is an absolutely fabulous shopping credit card, and the OCBC FRANK Card works great as an entertainment card. But when you look at the travel section, OCBC has only one card – the OCBC VOYAGE Card. The question that concerns us is – how good is this air miles or travel card?
Before we start getting into the specifics of the OCBC VOYAGE Card, let’s consider what we expect from an air miles card. For us, a good travel credit card should have at least the following features:
- High miles-earning rate
- Travel-related perks such as airport lounge access, free travel insurance, and concierge services
- Overseas spending benefits
Global discounts and deals on dining, travel bookings and shopping would be welcome too, of course.
Now that we’ve established what we want from an air miles credit card, let’s see what the OCBC VOYAGE Card offers.
OCBC VOYAGE Card Review: A Miles Card in Its Own League
Features and benefits of the OCBC VOYAGE Card
- Welcome bonus options:
- S$488 and get 15,000 VOYAGE Miles
- S$3,210 and get 150,000 Miles
- 2.3 VOYAGE Miles/dollar spent overseas in foreign currency
- 1.6 VOYAGE Miles/dollar spent on local dining
- 1.2 VOYAGE Mile/dollar spent locally
- VOYAGE Miles never expire
- Pay income tax using this card and earn miles at the local spend rate
- Can be used to book flights on any airline and has no blackout dates
- 24/7 VOYAGE Exchange Personal Concierge services, customised experiences and exclusive event access
- Unlimited free Plaza Premium airport lounge access throughout the year
- Free travel insurance of up to S$1.5 million
- 2 free limousine transfers to Changi Airport per month on spending S$3,000 or more
- Exclusive Visa Infinite as well as OCBC privileges on travel, golfing, dining, and shopping
- 19% instant discount on fuel spend at Caltex
How many miles can you earn from the OCBC VOYAGE Card?
When we wrote this review in 2017, the OCBC VOYAGE Card was offering 2.3mpd (miles/dollar) on overseas spends AND local dining, but a meagre 1mpd for other local retail spends.
Now, OCBC has revised the earning potential for the VOYAGE Card and made the base earning rate at least on par with other popular air miles cards like the Citi PremierMiles Visa Card or DBS Altitude Card. It won’t replace the credit cards that earn you 4mpd, but earning 1.2mpd for local retail spend does make the OCBC VOYAGE Card much more usable.
Just purely looking at miles earning potential, the HSBC Revolution Card and Maybank Horizon Card are the best credit cards for earning miles from dining. For foreign currency spends, the UOB PRVI Miles Card does better with 2.4mpd.
If you’re also paying your taxes using this card, you might earn another 8,400 miles assuming your income tax is around S$7,000 a year. But remember that the card charges a 1.9% processing fee on tax payments.
The OCBC VOYAGE Card, interestingly, allows you to buy more miles by paying a higher annual fee. You have a choice of paying S$3,210 to get 150,000 miles, which works out to be 2.14 cents/mile. That’s not as good as most other cards’ renewal bonuses, but it does let you buy the miles in a large quantity.
VOYAGE Miles vs. other miles
Now, the most interesting part about VOYAGE Miles is that it can be used for any flight or hotel booking. Most credit cards have specific tie-ups with a number of frequent flyer programmes or hotel loyalty programmes, such as KrisFlyer or Starwood.
Should you wish to convert your VOYAGE Miles, you can only convert them to KrisFlyer miles at a rate of 1-to-1. There will be a wait time and conversion fee (currently waived) when doing so.
But the great thing about having VOYAGE Miles is that you don’t have to convert them to air miles. You can use VOYAGE Miles directly for your bookings. All you need to do is call the VOYAGE Exchange and tell the consultant to help you with the travel booking.
OCBC also claims that no blackout dates apply on the bookings. The tickets are subject only to seat availability on your chosen flight. Depending on how soon you’re making a reservation or the seating class you’re requesting, you are *probably* more likely to get a confirmed flight ticket through VOYAGE Miles than the KrisFlyer redemption system.
It looks like the OCBC VOYAGE Card is NOT a team player when it comes to miles
So what does this actually mean for most people in the ‘miles game’? Most of us have multiple miles-earning cards in our wallet, and the plan is to optimise our card portfolio to get the most miles for our spending.
But with VOYAGE Miles, since it’s an “either VOYAGE Miles or KrisFlyer Miles situation”, your OCBC VOYAGE Card is more like a standalone credit card. Having other miles from other cards defeats the purpose of accumulating VOYAGE miles.
Plus, your VOYAGE Miles never expire, making it easier to use the card for the long term.
How about other travel credit cards in Singapore?
Let’s quickly compare the OCBC VOYAGE Card with a couple of other prestigious travel cards in Singapore:
a) Citi Prestige Card vs. OCBC VOYAGE Card
Citi Prestige’s miles-earning rate is 1.3 miles per dollar on local spends and 2 Miles per dollar on transactions outside Singapore. Now, this could be better or worse than the OCBC VOYAGE Card, depending on what you spend on. But we think that the OCBC VOYAGE Card has a slight edge here.
The bonus miles are higher with Citi Prestige – 25,000 Miles – but the annual fee is also higher – S$535 (same cost/mile as VOYAGE). Citi Prestige also gives unlimited airport lounge entries and 8 free limo transfers to Changi if you spend an equivalent of S$1,500 in a foreign currency.
Both the cards offer no annual fee waiver and require you to have an annual income of S$120,000.
b) Standard Chartered Visa Infinite Card vs. OCBC VOYAGE Card
The SC Visa Infinite Card gives you 1.4 miles per dollar on local spends and 3 miles per dollar spent overseas, subject to a minimum monthly usage of S$2,000. You’ll most likely end up earning more miles on this card.
The SC Visa Infinite comes with a welcome bonus of 35,000 miles – WAY more than what OCBC VOYAGE gives – and a non-waivable annual fee of S$588.50, which again, is higher than both OCBC VOYAGE and Citi Prestige. That said, the cost per mile is only 1.68 cents!
The SC VI has no complimentary limousine transfers and gives you only 6 free entries to Priority Pass lounges a year. But it does have some amazing offers in hotel accommodation, dining and luxury yacht charters, among others. Check out our review of the Standard Chartered Visa Infinite Card here.
So here’s what we think
The OCBC VOYAGE Card has definitely caught our attention with its recent improvements. It no longer fails in the miles-earning aspect and couple that with a lot of flexibility in redeeming the VOYAGE Miles, we are definitely pleased with it.
With the card’s 24/7 VOYAGE Exchange, high travel insurance benefits and unlimited lounge access, it doesn’t pale in comparison to the competition either.
The OCBC VOYAGE Card a uniquely positioned card in the market. If you’re keen on getting a great Visa Infinite card and dislike using numerous cards to earn miles, you should consider this.
Read these other credit card reviews from us as well:
- HSBC Revolution Card Review: Is This a Good Card to Have?
- Citi PremierMiles Credit Card Review: A Must-Have to Fuel Your Wanderlust
- American Express Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer Credit Card Review: What to Know Before Applying
|OCBC VOYAGE Card Features and Benefits||Details|
|Annual Fee||Principal card options:
Supplementary card: S$188 (1-year waiver for first 2 cards)
|Effective interest rate||25.92% p.a|
|Eligibility||21 years old and above
Annual income requirement: