More Nerfed Than Buffed: OCBC 365 Gets Increased Cashback Cap, Adds More Categories But Removes Travel

From 1st July 2023, OCBC 365 will see some changes to its cashback mechanics. While there are improvements made to the card, the card is also significantly weakened by a couple of changes. Thanks to Angel y for sharing.

OCBC 365

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Get between 3 to 6% cashback on groceries, petrol, dining etc.

Buff: more categories

After the change, OCBC 365 will add new categories that’d earn 3% cashback – streaming, pharmacy, electric vehicle charging. In my view, these are pretty niche categories. After all, how much can one spend on streaming services like Netflix or Disney+?

Those with significant amounts of spends in pharmacy-related stuff or electric vehicle charging may beg to differ, and I guess we shouldn’t look a gift horse in the mouth. Improvements without strings attached are always welcomed.

Buff: higher cashback cap

Currently, the cashback cap of the OCBC 365 card is S$80. If you hit at least S$1,600 of eligible spending within a month, however, the cashback cap doubles to S$160.

This is great for people with higher spends. The OCBC 365 card generally gives 3% cashback for most of its categories which takes some S$2,666.67 of spend to hit, so people who are regularly hitting the cashback cap of their OCBC 365 already would find this an improvement.

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Nerf: removal of travel category

Unfortunately, this improvement does not come without strings attached, and travel will no longer get 3% cashback with OCBC 365 for transactions posted from July 2023 onwards. Instead, it will get a mere 0.25% cashback which is next to nothing.

Cashback cards are generally weak at travel transactions, with Citi SMRT excluding travel expenditure altogether. OCBC 365’s removal of the travel category is hence a huge blow for those who prefer cashback when booking their flights and hotels.

It’s such a pity too, because the increased cashback cap would have been so useful for those with higher travel expenses.

Nerf: dining’s cashback down to 5% from 6%

Another negative change from 1st July 2023 onwards would be that the cashback for dining will now drop to 5% from its current 6%.

Competing cards like Citi Cashback gives 6% for dining while Maybank Family and Friends gives 8% cashback, so this change does not help the OCBC 365 remain competitive.

Transactions in June affected if posted in July

If you have dining or travel transactions made in June 2023, they will be subject to the new cashback rates if the transactions are posted in July.

You should hence be wary of charging your travel transactions towards the end of June as they could end up being posted in July and getting only 0.25% cashback. Hotel bookings may prove to be particularly iffy since some hotels may charge the card some time after your booking, so that’s something to take note of.

Conclusion

OCBC 365 has not been a particularly competitive cashback card in recent years, but its silver lining was always its travel category which gave cashback users decent rewards for their flights and hotel bookings.

That will change from 1st July 2023 onwards, so if you have an upcoming trip to plan for and prefer cashback, you have to make your bookings soon.

Or perhaps it’s time to look at miles?

See OCBC’s website for more details.

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