It may not have the highest miles earn rates, but the Citi PremierMiles Visa is still a formidable tool in a travel hacker’s arsenal. Find out why.
Opinions expressed reflect the view of the writer (this is his story).
“What’s the best miles card in Singapore?”
It’s a loaded question, bound to ignite fierce debate. How do you define “best” anyway? Best for shopping? Best for dining? Lowest annual fees? Best customer service? The list goes on and on.
I’m not about to get drawn into that quagmire, but I would, however, dare to say the Citi PremierMiles Visa may be the most useful miles card in Singapore.
Now, reading the above may not impress you all that much, especially when you look at the mileage earning rate. 1.2/2.0 miles per dollar (mpd) on local/overseas spending is a decent rate, but other cards out there do much better.
The UOB PRVI Miles, for example, offers 1.4/2.4 mpd on local/overseas spending, and the BOC Elite Miles World Mastercard offers 1.5/3.0 mpd.
So why do I say the Citi PremierMiles Visa is the most useful of all the miles cards in Singapore? Simple answer: transfer partners.
Citibank has the most transfer partners of any bank in Singapore
In the table below, you’ll see the different frequent flyer programs that each bank in Singapore partners with. Although everyone partners with KrisFlyer, and almost everyone partners with Asia Miles, there aren’t many options beyond that.
With the exception of Citibank and American Express, no issuer offers more than three partners. In fact, Citibank boasts a grand total of 12 different miles transfer partners, the most of any bank in Singapore.
Ok, you say. But why would I want to transfer my miles to any program other than KrisFlyer anyway?
That’s a great question. Again, a simple answer for you: sweet spots. Sweet spots refer to a destination which costs much less when redeemed through a particular frequent flyer program. Let’s look at some examples:
Suppose you wanted to do a long weekend getaway to Koh Samui. If you only had miles with KrisFlyer, you’d need 25,000/43,000 miles for a round trip economy/business class ticket.
But if you had Citi Miles, earned through your Citi PremierMiles Visa, you could transfer them to Etihad Guest and redeem them on Bangkok Airways. Bangkok Airways operates direct flights between Singapore and Koh Samui, and it’s only 15,000/20,000 miles for a round trip economy/business class ticket!*
|Round Trip to Koh Samui|
*Strictly speaking, it’s insufficient to just consider differences in mileage requirements. We also need to take into account the fact that KrisFlyer does not impose fuel surcharges on SQ/MI redemptions while other FFPs may. However, the savings in terms of miles more than outweigh the increased cash cost in this scenario and the other scenarios I mention below.
Short haul flights within the region
Or perhaps you’re hoping to use your miles to travel around the region.
With KrisFlyer, you’d be spending between 25,000-40,000 miles to travel to popular regional destinations. Transfer your Citi Miles to British Airways Executive Club, and you’re paying between 15,000-25,000 miles for those same places.
|Round Trip Economy|
Flights to Europe
It’s not just short-haul destinations where miles from other frequent flyer programs can come in useful. Consider a trip to Europe.
This would set you back 76,000/184,000 miles in economy/business class with KrisFlyer. With Turkish Airlines Miles & Smiles, the same route would cost 60,000/90,000 miles! That’s fantastic value, especially in business class.
|Round Trip to Europe|
In the examples above, I’ve assumed you’re flying out of Singapore. However, there may be other situations where you need to redeem point-to-point flights outside of Singapore. In these cases, miles in programs other than KrisFlyer can still prove useful:
|Round Trip Economy|
|Flights within Japan||25,000||9,000-15,000 (via JAL)|
|Flights within Europe||25,000||8,000-20,000 (via BA, Finnair, Iberia, S7)|
|Flights within Australia||22,000-40,000 (via Virgin Australia)||9,000-25,000 (via Qantas)|
I hope the above figures convince you that it doesn’t have to be “KrisFlyer or bust” when it comes to miles collection!
Take advantage of Citi PremierMiles Visa’s sign up bonus
From now till 31 December 2019, Citibank is offering a signup bonus on the Citi PremierMiles Visa card. If you spend $7,500 within 3 months of card approval and pay the $192.60 annual fee, you get a total of 30,000 miles, which is split as follows:
- 9,000 base miles for spending $7,500 @ 1.2 mpd
- 10,000 miles for paying the $192.60 annual fee
- 11,000 bonus miles for meeting the spending condition
If you’re the sort who doesn’t like to pay annual fees, spend $3,000 within 3 months of card approval and get a total of 10,000 miles, split as follows:
- 3,600 base miles for spending $3,000 @ 1.2 mpd
- 6,400 bonus miles for meeting the spending condition
Note that both signup offers are only available for new-to-bank Citi customers, that is, those who do not currently hold any Citibank credit cards, and have not done so in the past 12 months.
1.5 mpd on local spend until 31 Dec 2019
From now until 31 December 2019, Citi Premier Miles cardholders will earn 1.5 miles per dollar on all local spend, subject to minimum spend of $3,000 per statement month.
That’s a 25% increase in miles earn rate compared to the previous earn rate of 1.2 miles per dollar, making Citi Premier Miles one of the top 6 credit cards to earn air miles. Do note, however, that you’ll have to hit the minimum $3,000 spend per month to qualify for the 1.5 mpd earn rate.
The good news is that you can also use Citibank’s CitiPayAll service to pay your rent, income tax, electricity bills and condo management fees — which also qualifies towards the minimum $3,000 spend per month.
With 12 different transfer partners, it’s easy to make the case for the Citi PremierMiles Visa being the most useful of all the miles cards in Singapore, at least in terms of flexibility. Start building your miles balance and explore the world beyond KrisFlyer!
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By Aaron Wong
Aaron started The Milelion to help people travel better for less and impress “chiobu”. He was 50% successful. This is his story.