I've recently cancelled my UOB Preferred Platinum American Express card as UOB was pretty unwilling to waive the annual fees - I have no issues paying for the annual fees of credit cards so long bonus miles (or points!) are awarded. Since the future of the HSBC Advance Credit Card is unknown (10X points on dining expires on 31 March 2017) and it requires me to park S$30,000 to open a HSBC Advance account, I have decided to turn my attention to the OCBC VOYAGE Card instead.
The OCBC VOYAGE Card is a credit card with a higher-than-average income requirement - like most Visa Infinite credit cards in Singapore, it requires a minimum annual income of S$120,000. Alternatively, OCBC Premier Banking (check out my guide to Priority Banking in Singapore!) as well as Bank of Singapore customers can apply for this card (with added benefits) without having to meet the annual income requirement.
Are VOYAGE Miles equivalent to KrisFlyer Miles?
The short answer is yes but the long answer is no. If you wish to accrue KrisFlyer Miles (which you can then go on to redeem amazing flights like the Suites Class on Singapore Airlines), VOYAGE Miles can be converted into KrisFlyer Miles at a 1:1 ratio. The OCBC VOYAGE Card primarily allows cardholders to accrue VOYAGE Miles (which can be converted into KrisFlyer Miles) on all eligible spending. VOYAGE Miles can then be used to redeem for flights on any airline and cabin of your choice - these redemptions are actually revenue tickets which which means to say that you will continue to earn miles (both elite-qualifying and otherwise) on these flights. VOYAGE Miles will never expire so long your account is in good-standing.
How does the OCBC VOYAGE Card compare with Competition?
Most 'travel-hackers' and 'mile-chasers' in Singapore hold at least five credit cards - I have held over ten at one point in my life. These credit cards generally have the potential to earn up to 4 miles per S$1 on bonus category spend with an annual (or monthly) cap on bonus earn rate. In order to fully maximise miles accrual, you will have to use a combination of cards and be savvy enough to know what works and what doesn't. The OCBC VOYAGE Card is not positioned to take its place in this space - it really is more of a solo performer rather than a team player. At the time of writing, I am not sure if there are any real competitors to this card - the card may not earn up to 4 miles per S$1 but it stands out in various other departments.
How many Miles does the OCBC VOYAGE Card earn?
For all eligible transactions that is made in a currency different from SGD you will earn 2.3 VOYAGE Miles per S$1. Dining transactions (determined by Merchant Category Codes) in and outside (since it is charged in a foreign currency) of Singapore will too earn 2.3 VOYAGE Miles per S$1. All other eligible transactions will earn 1.0 VOYAGE Miles per S$1.
What are the Benefits of the OCBC VOYAGE Card?
Benefit One: Personal Concierge
The biggest benefit of the OCBC VOYAGE Card to me is the Personal Concierge service (marketed as VOYAGE Exchange). As I have already mentioned before, the OCBC VOYAGE Card does not aim to sit in your suite of cards that earn up to 4 miles per S$1. To fully understand the potential of this Personal Concierge Service, let's take a look at a number of things that I have tasked the VOYAGE Exchange to do in the past week.
1. Finding Limousine Transport
Since I travel quite a bit and I generally dislike to haggle with taxi drivers at the airport, I prefer to arrange for an airport transfer in advance. I understand that they are usually more expensive but you do get a meet and greet and a comparatively fuss-free experience in general. Instead of having to find out which limousine company to go for in a foreign land, simply call up the VOYAGE Exchange team (or email them!) and request for a quotation - they will then send a summary to you and you can decide whether you would like to book then.
2. Getting Restaurant Reservations
While restaurants on Chope are relatively easy to book (click HERE to find out how you can earn S$9 with your first booking!), some restaurants are notorious for being extremely difficult to get a reservation. With the OCBC VOYAGE Card, you can leave it to the VOYAGE Exchange Team - simply let them know when you would like to dine and allow them to work their magic. Obviously you won't get a 100% success rate but at least they would be the one coordinating this for you and from experience, they do generally have a better chance at securing a reservation for you on your behalf.
3. Other Relevant Requests
Obviously the airport limousine transport and getting restaurant reservations are just scratching the surface of the benefits that you may get out of the OCBC VOYAGE Card - remember you have already paid the Annual Fee for this card so make sure you use this benefit!
Benefit Two: Unlimited Plaza Premium Lounge Access (Cardholder + One Guest)
There are only a number of credit cards in Singapore that offer unlimited airport lounge access (The MileLion has a really nifty table of summary here!) - in fact, as far as I know the only few cards are the Citi Prestige and the elite Charge Cards from American Express. The OCBC VOYAGE Card allows unlimited Plaza Premium (not to be confused with Priority Pass) Lounge Access for the principal cardholder as well as one guest until 31 December 2017 - whether this will change or not beyond that date still remains to be seen. Supplementary cardholders will also receive the very same benefit. Remember you can also sign-up for an Arrture Membership to double-dip on this benefit.
Benefit Three: Airport Limousine
Receive a complimentary limousine transfer service when you spend a minimum of S$5,000 in a month - the requirement is definitely on the higher side since the UOB PRVI Miles American Express Card as well as the Citi Prestige only requires S$1,000 and S$1,500 respectively in a foreign currency. The OCBC VOYAGE Card loses a point in this aspect but this is not a deal-breaker obviously.
Benefit Four: Visa Infinite Benefits
Comparing the OCBC VOYAGE Card to say the HSBC Advance Credit Card is not an apple-to-apple comparison. Visa Infinite credit cards cater to a different demographic group and therefore it is only fair to compare this card to other Visa Infinite credit cards in Singapore. Unlike the Visa Infinite credit cards issued by other banks like Standard Chartered and CIMB, the OCBC VOYAGE Card does not seem to have a 'partner hotel group'. Cardholders of the Standard Chartered Visa Infinite Credit Card can enjoy dining and lifestyle benefits at The Fullerton Hotel Singapore while CIMB Visa Infinite cardholders enjoy some dining benefits at the Holiday Inn Singapore Atrium.
With that being said, the OCBC VOYAGE Card offers one of the best earn rates for a Visa Infinite credit card in Singapore - click HERE to find out more about getting a Secured Card in Singapore.
- OCBC VOYAGE Card (Visa Infinite) - 1.0 miles (local) and 2.3 miles (overseas). Bonus: 2.3 miles (local and overseas) for dining.
- CIMB Visa Infinite - Terrible card, don't bother.
- Standard Chartered Visa Infinite Credit Card - Minimum Spend of S$2,000 to earn 1.4 miles (local) and 3.0 miles (overseas) per S$1 - otherwise, 1.0 miles per S$1.
- HSBC Visa Infinite - Spend S$50,000 in previous year to earn 1.25 miles (local) and 2.25 miles (overseas) - otherwise, 1.0 miles (local) and 2.0 miles (overseas).
- Maybank Visa Infinite - 1.2 miles (local) and 2.0 miles (overseas).
- UOB Visa Infinite - 1.2 miles (local) and 2.0 miles (overseas). Bonus: 2.0 miles (local) for selected luxury fashion brands.
How Much are the Annual Fees of the OCBC VOYAGE Card?
The annual fees of the OCBC VOYAGE Card is S$488 a year and it comes with 15,000 VOYAGE Miles - there is also the option to pay S$3,210 for 150,000 KrisFlyer Miles (psst, last year there was a targeted offer to pay S$10,000 for 500,000 miles!). While it is definitely not the cheapest way to buy miles from paying the annual fees of credit cards, you do get access to the VOYAGE Exchange service which you can definitely get enough value out of each year.