BOC Elite Miles World Mastercard: All you need to know

Aman Saxena
10.12.19
5 minute read

One of Bank of China’s most air miles focused credit cards is the BOC Elite Miles World Mastercard. It has an attractive dollars-spent-to-BOC-points ratio, that can be used to trade in for air miles. But having the BOC Elite Miles World Mastercard can feel confusing at times.

Since its launch in 2018, there’s been changes to their terms and conditions, leading to loss of certain benefits and changes to how you accumulate points. Plus, keep an eye on those fees- for a travel credit card, you can be charged quite a hefty amount for overseas transactions and for converting your points to miles. Read on to learn more about the BOC Elite Miles World Mastercard.

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How does the BOC Elite Miles World Mastercard work

The BOC Elite Miles World Mastercard works like a normal credit card. If you aren’t able to pay back the full amount you have spent using the card, you’ll be charged an interest rate on the next statement. But that’s not all. There are additional fees and charges that go along with this card. Here is a break down of those charges.¹

Annual fee

Paying an annual fee is pretty standard across most travel credit cards. For this particular card, the annual fee is SGD 203.30 including (GST) per year for the principal cardholder. This fee can be waived for the first year. Supplementary cardholders have an annual fee of SGD 101.65 inclusive of GST. As you pick up BOC bonus points with this card, you can use them against your annual fee.

Annual interest rate

The annual interest rate for the BOC Elite Miles World Mastercard is currently at 28.88%. While not the highest, it is easily higher than some other travel credit cards out there. There is also a minimum charge requirement of SGD 3 for transactions.

Late payment fee

If you miss your monthly payment, you will get hit with a minimum fee of SGD 100 of 5% of the minimum payment amount, whichever is greater, on your next statement.

Minimum monthly repayment

Every month, you'll get a statement with your minimum monthly payment. For this credit card, it is calculated by looking at 3% of your outstanding balance plus any fees, over-limit spends and unpaid minimum payments. You can expect your minimum payment to be at least SGD 50 unless your balance is below that.

Foreign currency transaction fee

The foreign transaction fees can really start to add up with the BOC Elite Miles World Mastercard. And this goes for any purchases that are processed outside of Singapore, including online shopping even if you are sitting at home.

You will be charged an admin fee of 2% plus another 1% charged by Mastercard. So for every overseas transaction you make, you’ll be paying at least 3% in fees. On top of that, Mastercard sets their own exchange rate, which may be weaker than the mid-market exchange rate you see on Google. In giving a less than favorable exchange rate, you get hit with this hidden fee on your purchases.

Cash advance transaction fee
You always need a little cash on hand, especially as you travel. That’s why the BOC Elite Miles World Mastercard allows for cash advances against your card’s credit line, at a cost. You will be charged the higher of a fee of SGD 20 or 6% of the amount taken out in cash. Then, you will be also charged with an interest rate of 2.41% per month until the amount is paid in full.

Overlimit fee

Went above your credit line? You’ll automatically be charged a fee of SGD 40 when you spend over your limit.

What is the eligibility for BOC Elite Miles World Mastercard?

To be eligible for the credit card, Singaporeans and Permanent Residents need to earn at least SGD 30,000 per year. That goes up to SGD 60,000 if you are a Foreigner.

If you are Singaporean or a Permanent Resident, you can easily apply through MyInfo online. Foreigners can go by a BOC bank branch and apply, or send an SMS with “BOCCARD mbank [your name]” to 79777 and the bank will get back to you in 5 business days.²

What can I do with BOC Elite Miles World Mastercard?

The BOC Elite Miles World Mastercard can be used anywhere around the world that accepts Mastercard. The more you use the card, the more benefits you get through points and miles. Since you get points through local spending in Singapore, you can use it for your day to day purchases as well as large, overseas ones too. There are a few more perks that go along with this card, let’s look deeper.

BOC Elite Miles World Mastercard air miles

Every time you spend using your BOC Elite Miles World Mastercard you will be rewarded with bonus points that can be converted into miles. But there are some restrictions on which transactions qualify for bonus points. Payments to government institutions, utility payments, donations to charities or topping up prepaid accounts like GrabPay, Youtrip, EZlink and more, don’t qualify for bonus points. For most other payments, you will get the BOC points. Every dollar you spend earns you points:

Type of spendPoints per SGD 1Air Miles equivalent
Local spend in Singapore4.5 BOC Bonus Point1.5 Air Miles
Overseas spend9 BOC Bonus points3 Air Miles

To take advantage of these points, you will have to first register with the BOC Air Miles Program. Only Principal cardmembers who are registered can convert their points to miles. But this comes with a fee too. Every time you transfer from points to miles there is a non-refundable fee of SGD 30.

There is no minimum or maximum amount of points you can get. You can also transfer your air miles to your own frequent flyer program account with your name on it, but only in sets of 10,000 KrisFlyer miles or 6,000 Asia miles. You will also be capped at 10 blocks of air miles transfer to your frequent flyer program.³

BOC Elite Miles World Mastercard travel insurance

Unlike other travel credit cards that offer travel insurance, this card does not. Instead, you can have access to a 24/7 concierge assistance wherever you are in the world.

BOC Elite Miles World Mastercard lounge access

The lounge access was a previous perk that was offered to cardholders earlier this year. Cardholders at that time could get up to 4 complimentary visits to specified airport lounges in regional airports. However, it seems as that is no longer an option for new applicants and cardholders.

Overseas spend with BOC Elite Miles World Mastercard

For all its hype as a quick earning air miles card, it may be suggested to look a little closer at the BOC Elite Miles World Mastercard. First off, for a travel card, there are a lot of fees for traveling. Whether its taking cash from an ATM, foreign transaction fees of 3%, weak exchange rates and interest rates, in the end, the card may be taking more money than necessary out of your wallet. Then to convert the points you have accrued using the card, you will be charged another fee just to get the air miles they advertise. There is a better way to travel, shop, eat and have fun abroad without losing more money to the banks- the Wise borderless account.

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The Wise borderless card is for those that want to make travel a breeze. You can load up your borderless account with over 40+ currencies beforehand, or you swipe the card as you shop, and spend like a local.

That also means free cash withdrawals from your Wise account up to SGD 350 per month, and just a small fee after that, wherever you are. To exchange from SGD to one of the currencies, you will always get the mid-market exchange rate, so there is no markup here. Just one small conversion charge and that’s it.

So even if you are shopping on other online platforms like Alibaba, Amazon, Qoo10 and Grab, you can use your borderless account and save 7x the banks. And with the award-winning Wise app, you can always be on top of your spending with instant push notifications. It’s that simple.

Sources used for this article:

  1. Fees & Charges
  2. Eligibility
  3. Air Miles

This publication is provided for general information purposes only and is not intended to cover every aspect of the topics with which it deals. It is not intended to amount to advice on which you should rely. You must obtain professional or specialist advice before taking, or refraining from, any action on the basis of the content in this publication. The information in this publication does not constitute legal, tax or other professional advice from TransferWise Limited or its affiliates. Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome. We make no representations, warranties or guarantees, whether express or implied, that the content in the publication is accurate, complete or up to date.

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