A Guide to Redeeming Miles From Credit Card Rewards in Singapore

This is how you can convert your credit card points into miles and maximise the best rewards from your rewards credit card.

aeroplane flight on air miles using credit card rewards

While travel credit card rewards are quite attractive, they’re typically less straightforward than cashback or rebate cards. Most of the time, spend actually earns points, not miles. As the conversion process from points to miles can sometimes be a bit confusing, this article describes the steps in easy-to-read terms in the guide below.

Related: Best Cashback Credit Cards in Singapore

Most Travel Cards Actually Earn Points

credit cards inside passport
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Travel credit cards are quite popular in Singapore. They typically advertise their rewards rates as offering a certain number of miles rewards per S$1 spend, and may provide perks like airport lounge access or free travel insurance. While this may seem fairly standard, it may come as a surprise that most of these credit cards actually reward spend with points rather than actual miles. The points earned can be redeemed on the issuer’s rewards platform for specific types of air miles (typically KrisFlyer miles).

Travel Card Points & Miles Equivalent

Credit CardMiles Value per 1 Point
Standard Chartered Journey Credit Card3 miles per S$1 spent on online transactions (transportation, grocery and food delivery merchants)

2 miles per S$1 spent overseas

1.2 miles per S$1 for all other local spend

Citi PremierMiles Card10,000 bonus annual renewal miles

1.2 miles per S$1 local spend, 2 miles overseas

KrisFlyer UOB Credit Card3 miles per S$1 spend on SIA brands (SIA, SilkAir, Scoot, KrisShop)

3 miles per S$1 spend on dining, transport, online shopping and travel bookings with S$800 minimum SIA spend per year

1.2 miles per S$1 on general spend

10,000 annual renewal miles

DBS Altitude Visa Signature Card1.3 miles per S$1 locally

2.2 miles overseas

Up to 10 miles for online travel bookings

Note that conversion rate from points earned to air miles is not the sole indicator of a card’s value. The rewards rate, or earn rate, at which points are accumulated also determines its ultimate value.

This may be beneficial to some consumers because they can technically redeem points earned for other rewards (perhaps gift items or rebate vouchers). However, redemption rates are usually far less competitive when points are redeemed for such alternatives. Frequent travellers who opt for cards with travel-related perks are especially more likely to benefit from miles rewards than other options. While some credit cards directly offer air miles as rewards (like American Express Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer Credit Card), the majority require consumers to follow a set conversion and redemption process.

Common Rules & Regulations for Points-to-Miles Redemption

passport and credit card
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As mentioned, a few credit cards allow consumers to earn air miles that are directly credited to a frequent flyer or loyalty programme account. This is an exception to the general rule, however. For the most part, cardholders must go through several steps in order to convert their rewards.

Step 1: Save credit card rewards points

The first step in this process is simply to save. Points are converted into miles in blocks of set amounts, and the number of points converted is usually limited per day. For example, Citi PremierMiles Visa cardholders must convert at least 500 CitiMiles (card-specific points equal to 1 air mile) at a time, capped at 100,000 CitiMiles per day.

Step 2: Convert points to miles

These rewards points are then converted to miles and are credited to a frequent flyer or airline loyalty programme. Cardholders, as a result, must already have such a loyalty programme set up and linked to their credit card. Usually, redemption rates are the same regardless of the airline. However, once redeemed, a consumer can’t transfer these miles to a different airline if they change their travel plans.

Step 3: Redeem air miles

Finally, cardholders can redeem their air miles online or on the phone when they book a flight. In most cases, the “cost” of flights in terms of credited miles is based on ticket class and flight duration. When comparing the spend amount required to earn each mile and their value once applied, redemption values are typically highest for business/first-class tickets and long-distance flights.

Related: Here Are The Best Cards To Pay Income Tax With (Based on Miles Accumulation)

How Transfer Fees Can Cut Into Overall Credit Card Rewards

credit card terminal
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Redeeming points for air miles typical incurs an administrative fee, also called a conversion or transfer fee. This fee, which usually comes to about S$25, may seem small but still detracts from ultimate earnings. Cardholders are charged for every conversion made, which can add up for those who make frequent transfers.

Sometimes, cardholders have the option to enrol in an auto-conversion programme. These programmes automatically convert points earned into miles when they reach a certain threshold. These programmes also tend to have fees, however, which approximate S$40 per year. Such programmes aren’t especially common, but where available, they’re beneficial to those who convert rewards at least twice a year.

Planning Ahead to Prevent Unwelcome Surprises

Finally, converting points may take more time and effort than anticipated. Transfers can take anywhere from a few days to up to 2+ weeks to complete, and errors can occur that slow the process. Additionally, some airlines have blackout dates (typically around the holidays) where consumers aren’t able to redeem miles for bookings. Ultimately, it’s essential to plan ahead when organising your vacation, making sure to leave enough time for credit card rewards conversions while also checking the airline’s policy for blackout dates.

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