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Bank of China slashes BOC Elite Miles card earn rate from 15 Jun

The revised rates are abysmal, so remember to cash out your points by 15 Jun

BOC with its spectacular BOC Elite Miles card, has finally blinked.

BOC Elite Miles card

The card, which has one of the highest local spend earn rates for a general spending card, will be effectively reducing the earn rate of BOC Elite Miles card from 15 Jun, according to a revised terms and conditions document sent out to cardmembers yesterday (via SMS, no less).

The keyword here being ‘effectively’ because of the way the change is made. Most other banks will usually change the earn rate of the cards, but BOC has taken the other approach by changing the conversion rate.

BOC will be changing the conversion rate of your BOC points to miles from 15 Jun, as follow:

Frequent Flyer ProgrammeCurrentlyFrom 15 Jun
Krisflyer30,000 points to
10,000 miles
45,000 points to
10,000 miles
Asia Miles18,000 points to
6,000 miles
27,000 points to
6,000 miles

This means that the conversion cost of your BOC points has gone up by 50%, effectively reducing your earn rate by 33.3%.

Spend typeCurrentlyFrom 15 Jun
Local spend1.5 mpd1 mpd
Overseas spend3 mpd2 mpd

While the change will kick in on 15 Jun, note that the change will impact all BOC points held on the account, including those that are earned before 15 Jun.

Excerpt from the revised T&C document

What the new conversion rates mean

As Milelion rightfully pointed out, the change in conversion rate effectively diminishes the ‘earnings’ before 15 Jun, given that BOC has decided to tweak the conversion rate rather than the earn rate.

The key issue with this approach is that it penalises past spending, given that the decision (to use the card) was taken in consideration of alternatives available at that point in time. Interestingly, if you refer to the current terms and conditions, there is actually no mention of the conversion rate. The earn currency listed in the document is also BOC points, so legally I reckon they are pretty well protected.

Final thoughts

Sneaky one, this bank.

When this card first launched in 2018, it generated a lot of fanfare given its incredible earn rates for a general spending card, possibly the highest among its competitors in those days. The popularity was reflected in an oversubscription of sign ups, to the point where the bank couldn’t cope and applications were taking up to a month to process.

Over the two years while the card last, there were a lot of scandalous moments with the card, such as BOC unilaterally deducting points in lieu of an annual fee ‘waiver’ (I personally experienced it and needed to call to claw them back after many painful conversations), and also the very backward method of converting points to miles, given you literally have to print out a form, fill it up, scan it and send it back.

So if you still have yet to cash in on your BOC points, this is the time to do it. The danger for you is that BOC has not been clear whether it will take 15 Jun as the submission cut-off date, or the actual conversion date. This little detail is critical, as in my own experience, BOC took at least two weeks to convert the points to miles.

So, good luck everyone.

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