Singapore: Craze about Bank of China’s New Elite Miles World Mastercard

There’s a new card in Singapore, and it’s been the talk of the whole town. Bank of China made a splash last week when they unveiled the Elite Miles World Mastercard.

Bank of China (Singapore) Elite Miles World Mastercard

In the past Bank of China hasn’t really offered much in the way of attractive rewards for miles chasers; they’ve mostly had only cashback credit cards and some brand tie-up offerings.

 

Bank of China’s Elite Miles World Mastercard

Then came the Elite Miles World Mastercard. Apart from being contactless (non-swipe, mostly non-signature) which is quite standard, it stands out for being more generous than the current competition.

Whereas most banks in the country offer earning rates of 1.2~1.4 miles per Singapore dollar (or mpd) spent, this one offers 1.5 mpd. A minor difference, you say, but everything adds up when you use it on everyday spend.

And the BOC Elite Miles card is less fussy about its special rate for overseas spend, which is 3 mpd where others are mostly 2~2.4 mpd only. In this case, anything charged and converted from a non-Singapore dollar currency qualifies as overseas spending. Simple.

 

Special Promotional Rates

And the good news doesn’t stop there. For the rest of the year (that is, until December 31st, 2018) the miles earning rates are boosted to 2 mpd for local charges, and 5 mpd for overseas spending. This is sure to help customers rack up the miles really quickly.

The benefits of the Bank of China – Singapore Elite Miles World Mastercard is summarized thus:

Benefits of the Elite Miles World Mastercard

For those not particularly loyal to any airline or group such as the Star Alliance, the complimentary access to Plaza Premium is quite a boon. This gives the card owner a few entries to their lounges around the world with each card membership year.

 

Requirements, Fees and Transfers

There are a few things to keep in mind when applying for the Elite Miles World Mastercard:

  • Annual fee is $190, but it is waived for the first year. Supplementary cards will cost another $95 each.
  • Locals and permanent residents with annual income of S$30,000 are eligible to apply. Expatriates, meanwhile, need an income of at least S$60,000 to apply.
  • Foreign currency transactions incur a 2.5% fee.
  • Point-earning cycles start every July 1st. All miles earned expire on June 30th the year after each earning period. (i.e. Miles earned from July 1st, 2018 to June 30th, 2019 all expire on June 30th, 2020.)
  • Miles are awarded in BOC rewards points. 3 BOC points = 1 mile.
  • Miles can be transferred to either Singapore Krisflyer or Cathay Pacific Asia Miles programs, for S$30 + tax per conversion.
    • Convert blocks of 30,000 BOC points to earn 10,000 Krisflyer miles.
    • Convert blocks of 18,000 BOC points to earn 6,000 Asia Miles.

 

Final Word

While this card may have been hyped around miles chaser circles in Singapore, the card is quite impressive at face value. Bank of China has made an offering that’s difficult to ignore. With the higher permanent and promotional earning rates, it is quite an exciting time for traveling rewards points hackers.

Will we see competing banks respond in kind? It is likely just a matter of time.