Credit Cards

How Do You Maximise Travel Expenses? With a Miles Credit Card, Of Course!

We all know that miles can be extremely great for vacations, but how useful can they be, and how can you maximise them with the correct credit card?

Everyone is eager to travel during the June holidays. Finally, getting a break in the middle of the year to recharge again. As you go to the computer or your smartphone to book the next flight or the next hotel, you are shocked to see that aeroplane tickets are getting more expensive. In fact, Singapore Airlines predicts that “airfares are expected to come back down within a few months after increasing due to travel demand"

According to SIA group commercial executive vice-president Mr Lee Lik Hsin: "Airfares are a function of demand and supply. The reality is that flights for the next two months or so are quite booked up for many sectors, and so in those sectors, you will see higher prices."

During my freshman year, I found out that some people always flew in business classes. They told me a little secret they use to make their business class tickets more affordable for them. The secret? Credit Card Miles.

What are Credit Card Miles?

Black credit card on white background

Credit card miles are a form of reward programme created by airlines and credit card companies that uses a point system called miles to reward you for every dollar you spend using their services (like booking a flight or spending via credit card). These miles can be exchanged for:

  • Airline tickets and upgrades,
  • Accommodation(hotels/resorts)
  • Other transpor modest (car rentals)
  • Travel activities (Tour Packages/Attraction Admission Tickets)
  • Merchandise via airline shops like KrisShop
  • Cash
  • Gift vouchers

How Do I Accumulate Miles?

There are a few ways you can collect miles to spend on your following holidays. Once you find the correct miles card suitable for your everyday use, you can start ruling the skies.

Local Spending

Not all of us travel overseas all the time. For most of us locals, we spend 90-95% of our lives in Singapore (If you are someone from another country stumbling upon this, hi!). Therefore one of the best cards to collect miles while spending money locally on dining and transport costs like taxis and petrol is to use the Maybank Horizon Visa Signature Card

Maybank Horizon Visa Signature Card

  • Market-leading 3.2 mi/S$1 local dining & transport spend
  • Promotions: Get Samsonite Harts 68/25 Spinner worth S$550 when you apply for a new Maybank Credit Card and CreditAble and spend a min. of S$300 for each of the first two consecutive months upon approval (Limited to the first 4,500 approved applicants)
  • Foreigners are eligible for this promotion: Apply for a new Maybank Credit Card an charge a min. of S$350 for each of the first two consequtive months upon approval
  • Subsequent approved applicants will receive S$100 Cash Credit. Terms and Conditions apply
  • Read Our Full Review
  • Stand-Out: Market-leading 3.2 mi/S$1 local dining & transport spend
  • Promotions: Get Samsonite Harts 68/25 Spinner worth S$550 when you apply for a new Maybank Credit Card and CreditAble and spend a min. of S$300 for each of the first two consecutive months upon approval (Limited to the first 4,500 approved applicants)
  • Foreigners are eligible for this promotion: Apply for a new Maybank Credit Card an charge a min. of S$350 for each of the first two consequtive months upon approval
  • Subsequent approved applicants will receive S$100 Cash Credit. Terms and Conditions apply
  • Read Our Full Review

The Maybank Horizon Visa Signature Card makes it great for local spending because it allows for 3.2 miles per S$1 local spending on dining, petrol, taxis, and grab. If you want to use this card overseas, they provide 2 miles per S$1 spent on air tickets, travel packages, and foreign currency transactions.

The annual fee is waived with a minimum spend of S$18,000 annually. And unlike similar cards that unlock reward rates with a S$600 monthly spend, You only need to spend S$300 monthly to unlock reward rates. All these benefits make it suitable for accumulating miles locally.

Foreign Spending

Miles tend to be heavily associated with travelling, so it would make sense to be using a miles card for foreign currency transactions. The DBS Altitude Visa Card provides greater flexibility for you if you spend a lot overseas.

DBS Altitude Visa

  • 5 miles per S$1 spend on online flight & hotel transactions and overseas spend, miles earned through this card will never expire.
  • Promotions: None currently available
  • Read Our Full Review
  • Stand-Out: 5 miles per S$1 spend on online flight & hotel transactions and overseas spend, miles earned through this card will never expire.
  • Promotions: None currently available
  • Read Our Full Review

The DBS Altitude Visa Card provides greater flexibility for you if you spend a lot overseas. Despite the 2 miles per S$1 spent on overseas expenses, you can waive the S$192.60 annual fee if you spend S$25,000 annually. This makes it suitable if you want to spend and be rewarded when travelling from destination to destination!

You also receive travel perks such as complimentary travel insurance, lounge visits, dining, and golfing privileges.

Online Spending

What if there is a way to collect miles via online shopping? Nowadays with the rise of ecommerce and more and more people shopping online, getting miles from purchasing something from the web can be extremely useful to them.

If you are someone who shops online often and uses Singapore Airlines often, the HSBC Revolution Card can really benefit you by providing up to 4 miles per S$1 spent on online shopping on platforms like Lazada, Amazon, Shopee, Taobao and more!

HSBC Revolution Card

The HSBC Revolution Card is great for social spenders who shop online and prefer to avoid annual fees. In addition to offering 4 miles (10 points) per S$1 spent on all online and contactless payments, this card also has no annual fee. There is, however, a monthly cap of S$1,000.

What Should I Spend My Miles On?

Air Tickets

This is self-explanatory as miles are initially designed for booking airline tickets or upgrading your seats from economy to business or first class. For example, KrisFlyer miles can be redeemed on airlines such as Singapore Airlines, SilkAir, Scoot and Tigerair. The UOB PRVI Miles American Express Card is grest for people who are frequent flyers.

UOB PRVI Miles American Express Card

  • Up to 20k bonus miles & fee waiver w/ S$50k annual spend
  • Promotions: No promotion currently being offered
  • Read Our Full Review
  • Stand-Out: Up to 20k bonus miles & fee waiver w/ S$50k annual spend
  • Promotions: No promotion currently being offered
  • Read Our Full Review

With the UOB PRVI Miles American Express Card, you can earn up to 6 miles per S$1 spent on major airlines & airports and book selected airlines on Expedia and UOB Travel. If you spend about S$50,000/year, you can get a bonus of 20,000 miles. UOB PRVI Miles Card even offers a few travel perks, like free airport transfers, travel insurance, and dining privileges with American Express Essentials.

Hotels

Accommodation is the second most expensive expense for overseas travel, and you can use credit card miles to book hotels. AsiaMiles allows you to redeem miles to book hotels in chains such as Sofitel, Ibis, Mecure etc. KrisFlyer Vroom lets you book hotels and car rentals by redeeming Krisflyer miles. You can also use frequent flyer miles on sites such as Expedia.

In fact, you can also earn credit card miles whenever you book a hotel using the Citi PremierMiles Visa Card provides you with the best miles per dollar spent.

Citi PremierMiles Visa

  • Earn 2mi/S$1 overseas, 2 free lounge visits/yr
  • Promotions: Receive a Dyson Supersonic (worth $649), or Sony WH-1000XM5 (worth $569), or Apple Bundle [AirPods Pro (2nd Gen) + MagSafe Charger] (worth $418) or S$350 cash via PayNow upon activating and spending (min. S$500 spend) within 30 days of card approval
  • No promotion for existing card holders
  • Promotion period: 3 – 16 October 2022
  • Read Our Full Review
  • Stand-Out: Earn 2mi/S$1 overseas, 2 free lounge visits/yr
  • Promotions: Receive a Dyson Supersonic (worth $649), or Sony WH-1000XM5 (worth $569), or Apple Bundle [AirPods Pro (2nd Gen) + MagSafe Charger] (worth $418) or S$350 cash via PayNow upon activating and spending (min. S$500 spend) within 30 days of card approval
  • No promotion for existing card holders
  • Promotion period: 3 – 16 October 2022
  • Read Our Full Review

The Citi PremierMiles Card is one of the best cards to book a hotel, especially on travel platforms such as Kalgo and Agoda. They provide up to 10 miles per S$1 spent when you book a hotel via Kaligo and 7 miles per S$1 when you book your hotel on Agoda. If you like to collect miles by booking for travel expenses, this is the card for you.

Conclusion

Miles is a great way to save on expenses when you travel overseas. The best thing about miles is that you accumulate better miles per dollar spent overseas, making it more helpful in spending abroad. Credit cards also maximise your miles accumulation via booking for travel expenses, where the miles can be used for a future booking of the same travel expenses. But regardless of where you are, there will be different miles credit cards that you can maximise via daily spending on transport, shopping online, or dining.

Want to know which miles credit card is the best for you? We have a comparison page that you can use to make your decisions!

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Tan Boon Hun

Boon Hun spent over five years in the content marketing space as the managing editor of Goody Feed creating interesting and relevant content for the social media generation. In 2022, he moved to the FinTech space while remaining true to his roots, intending to bring financial literacy to more people in Singapore. When not doing his work, he can be found watching people build homes on YouTube.

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