The shiny gold Bank of China Elite World Mastercard was definitely the most popular miles credit card in 2018, when they offered 2 miles per dollar for local spending and 5 miles per dollar for spending in foreign currency. However, that promotion had ended by 31 Dec 2018, and now the earn rates are 1.5 mpd for local spending and 3 mpd for overseas spend.
There is hardly any information on this credit card online unless you refer to blogs. The Bank of China website is rarely updated. Their mainpage still shows their Chinese New Year angpow promotion for 2018! Furthermore, their online banking is archaic – each time you sign up for a new credit card, you need to go down to the branch to have it “linked” to your online banking system – something which I cannot fathom in this day and age.
I chanced upon this Terms and Conditions on the Bank of China Elite Miles World MasterCard which is available online here and given that was published on 28 Dec 2018, this was not widely publicised to its cardmembers! Worse still, there are certain changes inside the T&C which are so subtle and not highlighted to cardmembers which I really frown on.
- Change to the definition of “overseas spend”
The above shows the definition from the T&C booklet given when I first signed up for the credit card. “Overseas spend” means card transactions posted in foreign currencies – this simply means that one can buy stuff from Amazon US for instance, charge in USD and earn as an “overseas spend”. However, the definition below now reads “Overseas spend means all card transactions made overseas“. This is same same but different! It means that one has to be overseas, swipe the card at a shop before one can earn the 3 miles per dollar!
When the card was first launched, there was some confusion as to whether the miles would expire in Jun 2019 or 2020 (refer to Milelion’s post here). Eventually, it was settled as 30 Jun 2020 for miles that were accumulated in 2018 as what was sent in the old hardcopy T&C (as seen above). However, if you refer to the new table in the latest T&C, you will realise that the dates have been revised to 2019 Jun. And hence, every single mile that you earn from now till 30 Jun 2019 will expire on 30 Jun 2019.
3. Removal of Plaza Premium Lounge Benefit?
Previously, this card offered 4 free visits to the Plaza Premium Lounges for the principal cardholder (benefit till 30 Jun 2019). However, this clause seems to have been removed from the latest T&C. Well, this would not be a major issue for most people who are mile-chasers since there are many credit cards with free priority passes tied to the card and they will accord free lounge visits to various other lounges.
Bank of China is a very large bank in China. However, there are definitely some issues with its operations in Singapore, especially with their local outdated webpage. Now, they are behaving like some other banks which like to change their Terms and Conditions subtlely without any major announcements since they reserve the right to “amend, vary or modify the award and computation of BOC Rewards Points under these Terms and Conditions, including the withdrawal or alteration of the Card Sign-up Promotion at any time, from time to time without prior notice and/or assuming any liability to any part”. However, if one were to look past all these, the earn rate of this credit card is still great since 3 mpd for overseas spend is still the highest in the field, and DBS Women’s World Mastercard also has a similar expiry date for the DBS points earned. If you want to keep this card, then do set a reminder to clear out your miles annually.