Why Citi PremierMiles may be the most useful miles card in Singapore

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It may not have the highest miles earning rates, but the Citi PremierMiles 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 a 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 that the Citi PremierMiles may be the most useful miles card in Singapore. 

Here’s a recap of the key features of the Citi PremierMiles card:

Income Req.Annual FeeMiles with Annual FeeTransfer Cost
S$30,000S$192.6010,000S$25
Local EarnFCY EarnOther Benefits
1.2 mpd2.0 mpd2 lounge visits per calendar year

Now, reading the above may not impress you all that much, especially when you look at the mileage earning rates. 1.2/2.0 miles per dollar (mpd) on local/overseas spending is a decent rate, but there are other cards out there which do 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 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 American Express, no issuer other than Citibank offers more than three partners. In fact, Citibank boasts a grand total of 11 different frequent flyer 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:

Koh Samui

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, 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 Tickets To Koh Samui
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Economy 25,000 15,000
Business 43,000 20,000

*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 Class
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Bangkok 25,000 18,000
Hong Kong 30,000 22,000
Colombo 37,000 22,000
Perth 40,000 26,000

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 Ticket To Europe
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Economy 75,000 60,000
Business 184,000 90,000

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 Ticket Economy
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Flights Within Japan 25,000 12,000-18,000 (via JAL)
Flights Within Europe 25,000 8,000-26,000 (via BA, Finnair, Iberia, S7)
Flights Within Australia 22,000-40,000 (via Virgin Australia) 12,000-26,000 (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 the Citi PremierMiles sign up bonus

From now till 30 June 2020, Citibank is offering a sign up bonus on the Citi PremierMiles card. If you spend $9,000 within 3 months of card approval and pay the $192.60 annual fee, you get a total of 37,300 miles, which is split as follows:

  • 10,800 base miles for spending $9,000 @ 1.2 mpd
  • 10,000 miles for paying the $192.60 annual fee
  • 16,500 bonus miles for meeting the spending condition

Do note that this sign up offer 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. 

Conclusion

With 11 different transfer partners, it’s easy to make the case for the Citi PremierMiles 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!


SingSaver Exclusive Promotion

From 13 April till 19 April 2020, new to Citibank cardholders who apply for these following cards will receive a free Apple AirPods Pro (no gimmicks involved): Citi Cash Back+Citi RewardsCiti PremierMilesCiti Cash Back and Citi Prestige Card.


Read these next:
Can’t Fly Due To COVID-19 Circuit Breaker? Here’s What To Do With Your KrisFlyer Miles
Credit Card Signup Bonuses: How to Maximise Miles with Big Ticket Spending
Everything You Need to Know About Air Miles Credit Card Fees in Singapore
6 Credit Cards Which Give Free Access to Airport Lounges
Air Miles Cards: 8 Questions To Help You Choose the Right Card


Author - Aaron Wong

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.