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BOC Elite Miles Card – MoneySmart Review 2018

boc elite miles card

Eugenia Liew

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The Bank of China just recently launched its latest air miles credit card – the BOC Elite Miles Card – and I must say, it’s pretty damn impressive. In fact, it may even be one of the best credit cards for miles now.

Especially if you have a lot of big ticket purchases lined up this year, because there’s a promotional earn rate of $1 = 2 miles (local spend) and $1 = 5 miles (overseas spend) until 31 Dec 2018. That’s WAY above the market rate.

Assuming BOC does not extend the promotion (or come up with a new one), the subsequent base earn rate is $1 = 1.5 miles (local spend) and $1 = 3 miles (overseas spend), which is still one of the highest out there.

The BOC Elite Miles Card sounds like a godsend for mile junkies, but is there a catch? Let’s take a closer look.

 

BOC Elite Miles Card terms and conditions

BOC Elites Miles World Mastercard
Annual fee & waiver $190 (waived for 1 year)
Supplementary annual fee $95
Interest free period 23 days
Annual interest rate 28.88%
Late payment fee $100
Minimum monthly repayment 3% or $50, whichever is higher
Foreign currency transaction fee 2.5%
Cash advance transaction fee $20 or 6%, whichever is higher
Overlimit fee S$40
Minimum income S$30,000 (Singaporean), S$60,000 (Foreigners)
Card association MasterCard
Wireless payment MasterCard Paypass

 

How the BOC Elite Miles World Mastercard works

Looks-wise, the BOC Elite Miles Card isn’t really the kind that you’d feel proud to whip out of your wallet, unless you like to feel like an emperor from a period drama who yells “jiao wo huang shang”.

But look beyond its rather dated design, and you’ll realise this is a solid miles card that may give the popular UOB PRVI Card a run for its money. (UOB, are you paying attention?)

As we all know, the fastest way to earn miles is by spending a shit load of money and taking advantage of bonus miles – and that’s the BOC Elite Miles Card’s biggest selling point. Check out their promotional earn rates for this year:

BOC Elite Miles Card Now until 31 Dec 2018 From 1 Jan 2019
Earn rate (local spend) $1 = 2 miles $1 = 1.5 miles
Earn rate (overseas spend) $1 = 5 miles $1 = 3 miles

By the way, the BOC Elite Miles Card is one of the rare credit cards that allow you to earn points on public transport spending. (Most credit cards have EZ-Link/TransitLink on their list of non-eligible transactions.) You can use this ABT-enabled credit card to tap in and out of the MRT and buses – no topups needed.

Like most miles cards, the BOC Elite Miles Card has no minimum spend and no cap on how many miles you can earn. You do have to pay a $30 transaction fee to convert your BOC points into Asia Miles or KrisFlyer Miles – that’s higher than the usual $25 fee.

But biggest drawback of this card is that the BOC rewards points have a short lifespan, whereas some cards’ points never expire, which is great for those who want to play the long game and slowly earn their way to business class flights.

For the BOC card, points are accumulated on a yearly basis and expire on 30 June every year. In your first year, you’ll be given an extension to the following June.

For card accounts opened from now until 31 December 2018:

Points earned in the period of… Expiry
1 July 2018 to 30 June 2019 30 June 2020
1 July 2019 to 31 December 2019 30 June 2021

Another perk of the BOC Elite Miles Card is that it includes 4 free airport lounge access to Plaza Premium Lounges until 30 Jun 2019, which can be used for your guests too.

 

Who should use BOC Elite Miles World Mastercard?

As mentioned, the BOC Elite Miles Card is the most suitable for those who have a few big ticket purchases lined up.

For example, if you’re a young couple who’s planning your wedding banquet and are in the midst of furnishing your new home, this card can probably help you earn a free honeymoon.

$55,000 (wedding banquet) + $5,000 (other miscellaneous wedding expenses) + $10,000 (new home expenses) will earn you 140,000 miles, which is almost enough to exchange 2 return tickets to Europe.

And that’s assuming you swipe everything locally. If you have your pre-wedding photoshoot or hen’s night overseas, even better.

Another group that’ll greatly benefit from this are frequent travellers. Your overseas spending will chalk up miles in no time.

 

Alternatives to BOC Elite Miles World Mastercard

Although a new player, the BOC Elite Miles Card may potentially be the best miles credit card for a lot of people. Here are the closest competitors:

UOB PRVI Miles Card – Earn rate is $1 = 1.4 miles (local spend) and $1 = 2.4 miles (overseas spend), but there is a bonus category of flight and hotel bookings that’ll earn you 6 miles per dollar. Has a welcome bonus of up to 10,000 miles if you spend at least $6,000 within 3 months and sign up for a supplementary card.

Citi PremierMiles – Earn rate is lower at $1 = 1.2 miles (local spend) and $1 = 2 miles (overseas spend), but also has a bonus category for travel-related bookings (up to $1 = 7 miles).

DBS Altitude Card – Has the same earn rate as Citi PremierMiles – $1 = 1.2 miles (local spend) and $1 = 2 miles (overseas spend) – but slightly better miles accrual for travel-related bookings. It’s $1 = 3 miles for flights and hotels, 6 miles for Expedia and 10 miles for Kaligo.

In general, if the BOC Elite Miles Card seems superior to the above-mentioned cards, unless you’re playing the long game and are put off by the expiry of points. The miles accrual is higher even when not on promotion.

Frequent travellers who often find themselves booking flights and hotels on Expedia and similar sites may benefit from the other cards’ bonus miles earnings, but seriously, how much can you spend (and thus, earn)?

Do you think the BOC Elite Miles World Mastercard is worth your time? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below!

 

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Eugenia Liew

I’m a 90s millennial who’s starting to realise that #adulting is more expensive than it seems on Instagram. When I’m not writing for MoneySmart, I’m usually playing with drain-dwelling stray cats or shopping at Sephora.