Tuesday, October 23, 2018
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Concierge, plane tickets: A credit card for the very affluent

BPI’s Visa Signature, which targets the top 2 percent of the market, will be launched on Aug. 8
/ 05:05 AM August 07, 2018

Dan Wolbert of Visa is flanked by BPI executives Jojo Ocampo and Jenny Lacerna

Banking executive Josephine “Jojo” Ocampo is flying to Sydney to meet up with her children. One of her agendas is to watch the Tony Award-winning musical “Book of Mormon” at the Sydney Lyric Theatre.

Using her new credit card and dialing 1-800, she requests the Visa Concierge to book her four tickets at the best value. With some research, the Visa Concierge finds a date where the ticket prices were mid-range.


Increased personal service, generous perks and lower foreign exchange conversion rates are among the perks of the BPI Visa Signature Card, targeted toward a discriminating market.

Ocampo, head for unsecured lending and cards group of the Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI), and other executives got first dibs before the formal launch.


International companies such as Visa have been supporting bank issuers to cobrand cards aimed at more affluent transactors. Visa promotes the Visa Signature card with its tagline, “The card that goes beyond ordinary rewards.”

BPI has a portfolio of credit card users, ranging from millennials to executives. Still, it needed to tap the under-served two percent of the country’s population.

Jenny Lacerna, BPI head of cards, explained: “We had options for the rest of the market: BPI Family Savings Bank Card, Petron card for motorists; BPI Amore Visa for perks at Ayala Malls; the Platinum and Gold cards. We have been heavy on the middle market segment, and we have a card for the starter set. We didn’t have the card for the very affluent.”

Travel perks

Ocampo recalled that in 2013, the bank conducted a survey of its high net-worth individuals. They earn a minimum of P1 million a year or P80,000 a month.

“We looked into the void in the market of what the credit cards did not fulfill. A one-size-fits-all card is not the name of the game anymore. We need to be more ‘customer-centric.’ They need flexibility and convenience,” said Ocampo.

Flexibility means a wider choice of reward options, including not only air miles but also rebates and gifts.


The convenience is addressed through the BPI My Voyage, the online portal for BPI Visa Signature card holders, where they can use accumulated points to book flights, rental cars and hotels.

Lacerna said, “The traveler has two options. If you are a frequent flier of PAL (Philippine Airlines), Sky Miles, Get Go, you can transfer your points to their existing miles program with your BPI points.

“The advantage of the BPI Visa Signature is that you have the option to use your points to purchase airline tickets through the portal My Voyage. You won’t be subjected to block date, and there is no need to transfer points to the mileage program. It’s as if you are buying online.”

These clients can just flash their cards to get unlimited access to the Pacific Club Lounge at Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 3.

Dining delights

On the cobranding, Dan Wolbert, Visa head of business development in the Philippines and Guam, said, “While BPI is the issuing bank, Visa is the payment network for this card. BPI provides a variety of benefits for the affluent segment.”

The Visa Concierge program helps high-end customers with their special needs, such as reservations. The Dragon Pass is a digital platform that provides BPI Visa Signature cardholders access to airport lounges, facilitated immigration service, meet and greet and limousine service to and from the airport.

The Visa Luxury Hotel collection allows BPI Visa Signature cardholders to avail of discounts at partner deluxe hotels and other travel-related benefits.

“This is why we believe in branding it as a Signature card, because it’s unique to a certain segment and it’s your signature on it,” said Lacerna.

The function isn’t just limited to purchasing, in which every P20 spend is equivalent to one premium point.

They get perks at the best hotels and restaurants. For a limited period, they get 50-percent discount at Mireio in Raffles Makati.

Also, for half the price, they can book the luxurious Horizon Deluxe rooms at Shangri-la at the Fort and the Fairmont Gold rooms at Fairmont and Raffles Hotel.

Lower conversion rate

If you spent P300,000 in the first three months of the new card, you are entitled either to a free round-trip ticket to Hong Kong via Philippine Airlines or a voucher of P14,000 in cash rebate.

“There is a benefit in consolidating your regular payments—such as utility bills, tuition and other expenses—in one card rather than spreading them around,” said Ocampo. The advantage is that the cardholder earns points while spending.

For travel, BPI Visa Signature card offers a lower conversion rate of 1.85 percent, compared to other companies that charge 2.5 to 3.5 percent.

To get the card, the BPI depositor coordinates with the relationship manager. “There’s no need to submit your income document,” said Ocampo.

Although there are other high-end cards that offer creative rewards, Lacerna said that BPI’s advantage is its vast network. “Multinationals have limited branches. We have many branches backing up the card. That is the difference. Even if you are a depositor from another branch, just show your BPI Visa Signature card, and the staff will give you a preferential rate when you want to buy foreign currency. It’s the power of having 850 branches.” —CONTRIBUTED

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TAGS: Josephine “Jojo” Ocampo, Sydney Lyric Theatre
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