OCBC 90°N Card – MoneySmart Review 2022

ocbc 90 n card review

For the longest time, OCBC simply did not have a decent air miles credit card in their lineup. Sure, there’s the OCBC Voyage Visa Infinite, but that’s for those with super-high incomes ($120,000 to be exact) and out of reach for most. The closest thing to a miles card for regular people was the OCBC Titanium Rewards Card, which is a very good credit card for earning rewards points, but not exactly a miles card.

All that changed when OCBC launched the OCBC 90°N Mastercard in 2019. At long last came an air miles credit card from OCBC! Then, they followed up with the launch of the OCBC 90°N Visa.

OCBC logo
Earn Miles That Don't Expire
Cash Back on Eligible Spend
1.2%
on Overseas spend
S$1 = 2.1 Miles
on Local spend
S$1 = 1.2 Miles

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 OCBC miles cards have some excellent features that should make any globe trotter sit up and take note. 

Let’s dive in.

OCBC 90°N Miles Cards terms & conditions

OCBC 90°N Mastercard OCBC 90°N Visa 
Annual fee & waiver $53.50 $53.50
Supplementary annual fee $53.50 (waived for 1 year) $53.50 (waived for 1 year)
Interest free period 23 days 23 days
Annual interest rate 26.88% 26.88%
Late payment fee $100 $100
Minimum monthly repayment 3% or $50, whichever is higher 3% or $50, whichever is higher
Foreign currency transaction fee 3.25% 3.25%
Cash advance transaction fee 6% or S$15, whichever is higher 6% or S$15, whichever is higher
Overlimit fee $40 $40
Minimum income $30,000 (Singaporean) / $45,000 (non-Singaporean) $30,000 (Singaporean) / $45,000 (non-Singaporean)
Card association MasterCard Visa

Higher earn rate for travel bookings and bonus categories

Let’s start with the OCBC 90°N Mastercard. When you book your accommodations on Agoda.com, the earn rate for foreign currency gets bumped up to 7 Travel$ per S$1 on bookings made in foreign currency and 6 Travel$ per S$1 on bookings made in local currency. If you have upcoming travel in your calendar, this is a fast track to accumulating miles.

Not just that, from dining vouchers to spa credits, there are plenty more perks to pick from.

Or, if your favourite four letter word is cash, you also enjoy up to 2.1% cash rebates from your Travel$. For every 1,000 Travel$ earned (based on 3 Travel$ earned for every S$1 in foreign currency spend, you need to spend S$476), you can redeem a cash rebate of $10. You might just be better off converting Travel$ into miles.

The OCBC 90°N Visa, on the other hand, offers higher earn rates for bonus categories. New OCBC 90°N Visa Card holders can earn up to 5 Travel$ per S$1, on overseas spending. A pretty sweet deal but if you’re not a newbie to the card, you can still earn up to 3 Travel$ per S$1 on streaming, online shopping, food delivery, and groceries.

It might not be the best earn rate we’ve seen but given that the miles do not expire and there’s no conversion fees, it’s still something to think about. Plus, if you have both the Mastercard and Visa, you can stack your Travel$!

Miles have no expiry, no conversion fee, low minimum for conversion

If you’re a seasoned player in the miles game, you would know to pay close attention to the boring back-end details such as expiry dates and conversion process. The nitty gritty details are just as important as the headlining promos and perks of miles cards.

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. Ka-ching! 

This puts the OCBC 90°N Card in the same category as the beginner-friendly air mile cards DBS Altitude and Citi PremierMiles credit cards, whose miles also do not expire. 

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Local Spend
S$1 = 1.2 Miles
All Foreign Currency Spend including Retail and Online
S$1 = 2 Miles
Selected Online Hotel Bookings
S$1 = Up to 10 Miles
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PLUS stand a chance to win a ROLEX or PlayStation 5!!! T&Cs apply.

Valid until 10 Jul 2022
DBS logo
Earn Miles That Never Expire
Local Spend
S$1 = 1.2 Miles
Overseas Spend
S$1 = 2 Miles
Staycation bookings
S$1 = 10 Miles

But both the OCBC 90°N Miles Visa and Master Cards are 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 4 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 Mastercard  OCBC 90°N Visa  DBS Altitude   Citi PremierMiles
Earn rate (local) $1 = 1.2 miles $1 = 1 mile $1 = 1.2 miles $1 = 1.2 miles
Earn rate (overseas) $1 = 2.1 miles $1 = 2 miles $1 = 2 miles $1 = 2 miles
Minimum for redemption 1,000 miles 1,000 miles 10,000 miles 10,000 miles
Conversion fee Free Free $25 $26.75
Miles expiry None None None None

The OCBC 90°N Cards are definitely the best in terms of redemption flexibility. 

OCBC 90°N Miles Cards promotion

There’s an ongoing promo till 30 June 2022 that awards you 2.5 Travel$ per $1, instead of the usual $2 Travel$ per $1 for the OCBC 90°N Visa and $2.1 Travel$ per $1 for the OCBC 90°N Mastercard, for overseas spending. This is capped at the first $2,000.  

Major drawbacks: Only KrisFlyer miles supported, no lounge benefits

If you’re familiar with miles cards, you know how it is. There are the good things and then, there are the compromises that you have to make with each card. It’s just the way it is – like there are no perfect partners in the world, you just have to find one that compliments you the best. Here are a few things to note with the OCBC 90°N Miles Visa and Master Cards. 

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. Before you exit the browser and turn away from the OCBC 90°N miles cards, it’s worthy to note that you do get preferential rates till 31 July 2022 on hotel, flight, or car rental bookings. Just in time for that long-awaited summer vacay! 

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 MasterCard only gives you paid access to the LoungeKey network at US$32 per visit. The OCBC 90°N MasterCard, on the other hand, has no airport lounge benefits at all. …Nah.

Conclusion

The OCBC 90°N Mastercard and Visa cards key draws would be that the miles have no conversion fees, do not expire, and there’s a low minimum for conversion. Considering that the world is still in the midst of opening up and you might not be travelling as often as you’d like, being able to keep your miles is a saving grace!