OCBC Finally Has an Air Miles Card! 5 Facts About the OCBC 90°N Card
For the longest time, OCBC simply did not have a decent air miles credit card in their lineup. Just how this makes any business sense in travel-crazed Singapore, I have no idea.
Sure, there’s the OCBC Voyage Visa Infinite, but that’s for those with super-high incomes and out of reach for most. The closest thing to a miles card for regular people is the OCBC Titanium, which is a very good credit card for earning rewards points, but not exactly a miles card.
All that has changed now that OCBC has launched its first miles card in recent memory — the OCBC 90°N Miles Card. Rejoice!
Despite its impossible-to-remember name (I’ve heard it referred to as the “OCBC 90 Degree Card” and even “OCBC N90 Card”… you think what? Haze mask ah?), the new OCBC miles card has some excellent features that should make any wanderluster sit up and take note.
Let’s dive in.
1. Insanely high overseas earn rate of $1 = 4 miles with no cap!
The most glaring benefit of the new OCBC miles card is its insanely high overseas spending earn rate of $1 = 4 miles, until 29 Feb 2020.
Here’s a summary of the card’s miles earn rates:
|Type of spending||OCBC 90°N Miles Card earn rate|
|Local||$1 = 1.2 miles|
|Overseas||$1 = 4 miles (until 29 Feb 2020) / 2.1 miles (from 1 Mar 2020)|
|Agoda, Expedia, Airbnb||$1 = 8 miles (until 29 Feb 2020)|
|Airlines, duty free shopping||$1 = 4 miles (until 29 Feb 2020)|
|Netflix, Spotify||$1 = 4 miles (until 29 Feb 2020)|
OCBC defines “overseas spending” as transactions in foreign currency, so actually, you might be able to earn $1 = 4 miles even with online shopping transactions on non-Singapore websites. (Taobao spree, anyone…?)
While some other miles cards require the transaction to also be made outside of Singapore, there’s no such requirement with the OCBC 90°N Card.
In any case, with the upcoming December holidays and CNY in end-Jan 2020, most Singaporeans should have no problem swiping this card overseas and racking up an enormous amount of miles. (And if you happen to be getting married overseas in the next 6 months… lagi best lah.)
The promotional earn rate will end by 29 Feb 2020, but, thereafter, their regular earn rate of $1 = 2.1 miles is still all right.
Also, the foreign transaction admin fee for this OCBC card is 3%, which is reasonable considering other miles cards such as the UOB PRVI Miles Card charge 3.25%.
2. Up to $1 = 8 miles (!) on travel bookings, again with no cap
As if the $1 = 4 miles wasn’t generous enough, the OCBC 90°N Card also gets you and incredible $1 = 8 miles when you make travel bookings on:
- Agoda (via OCBC booking link)
- Expedia (via OCBC booking link)
- Millennium Hotels
- Mr & Mrs Smith
While most of these are for accommodation, it’s also possible to earn 8 miles per $1 on flights via Expedia, as long as it’s on the OCBC booking link.
You can also earn $1 = 4 miles on a lot of other travel bookings, even if they’re in SGD:
- Singapore Airlines
- Jetstar Asia
The promotion expires 29 Feb 2020, same as the $1 = 4 miles promotion for overseas spending. Plenty of time for you to maximise your end-of-year travel.
During the promo period, you will also earn $1 = 4 miles on duty free shopping (DFS Singapore + The Shilla Duty Free), Netflix and Spotify.
Again, there is no cap on your miles, which is incredibly generous.
3. Miles have no expiry, no conversion fee, low minimum for conversion
Although I just promoted the heck out of the OCBC 90°N Card’s “headline benefits”, most miles chasers would also pay close attention to the boring back-end details such as expiry dates and conversion process.
In fact, that’s where OCBC’s miles card stands out as a sustainable long-term miles card that you’ll want to keep around even after the generous promos end.
OCBC lets you earn miles in Travel$ (Travel$1 = 1 KrisFlyer mile), and they never expire, so you can earn them for as long as you like.
But OCBC’s miles card is actually better in several ways. There’s also no conversion fee for redeeming miles (this normally costs $25 with other cards) and miles can be redeemed in blocks of 1,000 (as opposed to 10,000 typically).
Here’s a quick comparison of the 3 entry-level miles cards. All 3 cards have the same minimum income ($30,000) and annual fee ($192.60, first year waived):
|OCBC 90°N||DBS Altitude||Citi PremierMiles|
|Earn rate (local)||$1 = 1.2 miles||$1 = 1.2 miles||$1 = 1.2 miles|
|Earn rate (overseas)||$1 = 4 (until 29 Feb 2020) / 2.1 miles||$1 = 2 miles||$1 = 2 miles|
|Earn rate (travel)||$1 = 4 / 8 miles on flights & hotels (until 29 Feb 2020)||$1 = 3 miles on flights & hotels / 4 miles on SQ||$1 = 7 / 10 miles on Agoda / Kaligo|
|Minimum for redemption||1,000 miles||10,000 miles||10,000 miles|
The OCBC 90°N Card is definitely the best in terms of redemption flexibility. But when it comes to the other benefits, OCBC will be a lot less competitive when the opening promotion ends next year.
4. Major drawbacks: Only KrisFlyer miles supported, no lounge benefits
Although the OCBC 90°N Card certainly sounds like a dream come true, it does have a few weaknesses.
First, OCBC Travel$ is not particularly flexible as miles currency. The only frequent flyer programme it supports is KrisFlyer, so you cannot redeem miles under any other programme.
This is a shame, because you can redeem flights for fewer miles with other frequent flyer programmes, such as Cathay Pacific’s Asia Miles. SQ has also been known to devalue KrisFlyer miles from time to time, which can make earning miles frustrating if you have no other options.
The OCBC rewards catalogue also isn’t fantastic, so if you ever decide to stop accumulating miles or want to redeem your orphaned miles, hm… Not ideal lah. Cannot even redeem CapitaLand vouchers.
A second possible dealbreaker: No airport lounge benefits. It’s now standard for even the most entry-level of miles cards (like the DBS Altitude and Citi PremierMiles mentioned above) to provide 2 x free access to airport lounges a year.
The OCBC 90°N Card only gives you paid access to the LoungeKey network at US$32 per visit. … Nah.
A final objection I have is that most of the key benefits of the OCBC 90°N Card are limited to the promotion period (up to 29 Feb 2020). So if OCBC does not renew its accelerated miles for travel-related spending after that, it’s going to fall a bit flat.
5. OCBC 90°N Card promotion: New signups get 7,000 miles with $5,000 spend
If you’re already dying to get your hands on OCBC’s new miles card, there’s a decent welcome bonus if you sign up and get your application approved by 31 Oct 2019.
As long as you are new to OCBC credit cards, you will get:
- $50 cash rebate upon approval (no minimum spend)
- 7,000 miles bonus if you spend $5,000 within the first 3 months
Actually, the welcome miles bonus is on the low side compared to what other banks are offering, such as the 60,000 miles carrot (min. spend $6,000) that Standard Chartered dangles for its new X Card.
I don’t think OCBC’s promotion is attractive enough to warrant signing up to optimise a one-off big purchase, but if you’re already planning a big blowout holiday at the end of the year, then sure, why not?
By the way, there’s a first-year fee waiver on this thing. If you decide to keep the credit card and pay the annual fee of $192.60 next year, you will get 10,000 miles in return.
OCBC 90°N Miles Card terms & conditions
|OCBC 90°N Miles Card|
|Annual fee & waiver||$192.60 (waived for 1 year)|
|Supplementary annual fee||$96.30 (waived for 1 year)|
|Interest free period||23 days|
|Annual interest rate||26.88%|
|Late payment fee||$100|
|Minimum monthly repayment||3% or $50, whichever is higher|
|Foreign currency transaction fee||3%|
|Cash advance transaction fee||6% or S$15, whichever is higher|
|Minimum income||$30,000 (Singaporean) / $45,000 (non-Singaporean)|
Would you sign up for the OCBC 90°N Card? Tell us your thoughts in the comments.