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How To Maximise The Miles Earned On Big Ticket Spending

Aaron Wong

Aaron Wong

Last updated 03 March, 2023

Renovation, wedding or some other major life event happening in 2023? Here’s how to get the most miles out of your big ticket spending.

Major life events like renovations or weddings can take a big bite out of your wallet, no two ways about it. While many do well to set a budget, far too few stop to consider how they can get the most rebates on their spending by using the right credit cards.

After all, credit cards earn you miles or cashback. If your vendor accepts credit cards and you pay with cash, debit cards or bank transfers, you’re just leaving money on the table.

In this post, we’ll look at how you can maximise the miles you earn from your big ticket spending this year.


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Valid till 2 April 2023. T&Cs apply.

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  • Credit Cards: Amex Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer Ascend Card | Amex Platinum Card | Amex Platinum Charge Card | Standard Chartered Smart Card | Standard Chartered SimplyCash Card | Standard Chartered Rewards+ Card | UOB Absolute Cashback Card | UOB One Card | UOB EVOL Card | UOB Lady's Card | KrisFlyer UOB Card | UOB PRVI Miles AMEX Card | UOB PRVI Miles Visa Card | UOB PRVI Miles Mastercard

  • Travel Insurance: Starr TraveLead | MSIG TravelEasy

  • Car Insurance: FWD Car Insurance


Looking for the best credit cards to complement your spending patterns and expenditure in 2023? Check out our Ultimate Credit Card Guide that covers all things credit cards in Singapore – from choosing between a cashback, miles, or rewards credit card to planning your credit card strategy.

Maximise sign-up bonuses

Sign-up bonuses are one-time offers for new-to-bank customers, typically defined as those who do not currently hold any principal credit cards with a given bank, and have not cancelled one in the past 12 months.

In their general form, customers who spend S$X within the first Y months of approval will receive Z bonus miles. While there are some exceptions (e.g. insurance premiums, government transactions, utilities bills, certain hospital bills- consult the T&Cs for the full details) you can meet the minimum spend with most types of retail spending including renovation charges and wedding expenses.

Here’s a brief summary of the current offers on the market:


Min. Spend

Bonus Miles

Offer Ends

Citi Prestige



31 Mar 23

Citi PremierMiles Card



31 Mar 23

Citi Rewards Card



31 Mar 23

DBS Altitude AMEX



30 Jun 23

DBS Altitude Visa



30 Jun 23

DBS Vantage Card



30 Jun 23

KrisFlyer UOB Credit Card



30 Apr 23

OCBC Titanium Rewards



31 Mar 23

For example, if your renovations involve buying S$5,000 worth of appliances, you could sign up for a DBS Altitude AMEX (Spend S$2,000, get 31,000 bonus miles), KrisFlyer UOB Credit Card (Spend S$2,000, get 25,000 bonus miles) and Citi PremierMiles Card (Spend S$800, get 30,000 bonus miles) and have a total of 86,000 bonus miles to show for it.

A few important points to note.

First, sign-up bonuses are dynamic, and by the time you read this post, the bonuses or terms may have changed. Always refer to the relevant websites for the latest updates before applying.

Second, your new-to-bank status is only valid for the first card you apply for. If you apply for both the Citi PremierMiles and Citi Rewards Cards, for instance, you will only enjoy the bonus on the first approved card (subsequent to which you count as an existing customer).

Third, since sign-up bonuses are generally reserved for new-to-bank customers, you should take stock of the current cards you have, and consider cancelling unused ones. This way, you can “start the clock” on the countdown until you’re considered new-to-bank again.

Fourth, consider the timing of your purchases and apply for cards accordingly. Different sign-up bonuses have different windows for spending- some as little as 30 days, some as much as 90 days. It helps to sit down and plan when each of your payments will take place, and match that period to the relevant card.

Fifth, don’t forget that sign-up bonuses apply on a principal cardholder level. If you and your spouse each apply for a principal card and meet the minimum spend, you can effectively double the bonus miles you earn. On the other hand, if your planned expense is relatively smaller, you can apply for a principal card and give your spouse a supplementary card instead. This way, your combined spending will be taken into account when determining whether the minimum spend has been met.

Maximise category bonuses

Unlike sign-up bonuses, category bonuses are recurring offers for cardholders who spend on certain categories.

For example, if you’re planning a wedding and your venue is a hotel, you can consider using the following cards to maximise your miles.


Earn Rate for Hotels


HSBC Revolution

4 mpd

S$1,000 per month

UOB Lady’s Card

4 mpd*

S$1,000 per month

UOB Lady’s Solitaire Card

4 mpd*

S$3,000 per month

*The UOB Lady’s Card requires you to choose a quarterly bonus category. For hotel spending, choose “travel”

Note how each of these cards has a monthly cap- banks can’t afford to give out 4 mpd willy-nilly! Because of this, you should try and work out the payment schedule with the venue such that you can max out each month’s cap nicely.

If you’re planning a wedding and your venue is a restaurant, you can consider using the following cards to maximise your miles:


Earn Rate for Dining


Maybank Horizon Visa Signature

3.2 mpd^

S$4,285 per month

Amaze + Citi Rewards Card

4 mpd#

S$1,000 per month

HSBC Revolution

4 mpd

S$1,000 per month

UOB Lady’s Card

4 mpd*

S$1,000 per month

UOB Lady’s Solitaire Card

4 mpd*

S$3,000 per month

^A minimum monthly spend of S$300 is required

*The UOB Lady’s Card requires you to choose a quarterly bonus category. For restaurant spending, choose “dining”

Unfortunately, there are no cards offering bonuses for payments to renovation firms, but to the extent that the company has a physical credit card terminal and accepts contactless payments, you can earn bonus miles with the following cards:


Earn Rate for Contactless Spending


UOB Preferred Platinum Visa

4 mpd*

S$1,110 per month

UOB Visa Signature

4 mpd^

S$2,000 per month

*Must use mobile payments; tapping the physical card will not qualify

^A minimum spend of S$1,000 is required, caps and minimum spend are based on statement month, not calendar month

Obviously, you can use the above two cards for payments at hotels and restaurants for weddings too!

What if your vendor doesn’t take credit cards?

Credit card payments shave precious points off the merchant’s margin, so some vendors may only accept PayNow or bank transfers.

Not all is lost, however. Provided you’re OK with paying a small fee, you can still earn credit card miles on such transactions via bill payment services like CardUp and Citi PayAll.

How this works is you submit your vendor’s details to CardUp/Citi PayAll. Cardup/Citi PayAll will then pay the vendor via bank transfer, and charge your credit card for the amount due plus an admin fee.

For example, CardUp offers a year-round admin fee of 2.25% for one-time general payments (use the code GET225), with even lower fees for rent or recurring payments. Based on this fee, your cost per mile varies as follows:

If your card earns…

Your cost per mile with a 2.25% fee is…

1.6 mpd

1.38 cents

1.5 mpd

1.47 cents

1.4 mpd

1.57 cents

1.3 mpd

1.69 cents

1.2 mpd

1.83 cents

Obviously, the higher your card’s earn rate, the lower the cost per mile. That’s why I’d recommend using the UOB PRVI Miles (1.4 mpd) or DBS Vantage (1.5 mpd) to pay bills via CardUp (there are cards which earn 1.6 mpd, but these are generally reserved for private/privilege banking customers or high income earners).

Citi PayAll charges a flat 2% fee for all payments, which results in the following cost per mile figures.

If you have…

Your cost per mile with a 2% fee is…

Citi ULTIMA (1.6 mpd)

1.25 cents

Citi Prestige (1.3 mpd)

1.54 cents

Citi PremierMiles (1.2 mpd)

1.67 cents

Citi Rewards (0.4 mpd)

5 cents

Citibank runs tier-up promotions throughout the year, which either increase the earn rate or lower the admin fee. Recent offers we’ve seen have upsized the earn rate to as high as 2.5 mpd, or offered Grab and eCapitaVouchers to offset the cost of the admin fees.


SingSaver Exclusive Offer: Receive a Dyson V8 Absolute™ (worth S$609) or Sony WH-1000XM5 (worth S$575) or Flujo Ayla Ergonomic Office Chair (worth S$1,139) or S$300 cash when you make a min. spend of S$500 within 30 days of card approval. Valid till 2 April 2023. T&Cs apply.

Plus, enjoy up to 2% cashback on all qualifying spend and up to S$646 worth of exciting gifts when you apply for the Citi Cash Back+ card and join Citi Plus. T&Cs apply.


While big ticket expenses are hard to swallow, earning a good-sized rebate through your credit card can make it that much more palatable.

As always, remember to pay your bills in full and on time, and avoid carrying a balance on your card. We use credit cards to avoid leaving money on the table, not to put even more down!

Best Miles Credit Cards

Credit Card Best for/Benefits Details Min. Annual Income Promotion/Sign-up Bonus
Citi PremierMiles Card


- S$1 = 10 miles on Bookings at Kaligo

- S$1 = 7 miles on Hotel Books at Agoda

- S$1 = 2 miles on Overseas Spend
- S$1 = 1.2 miles on Local Spend
- 2 free airport lounge visits per year with Priority Pass

- Complimentary Travel Insurance
- Miles awarded as Citi Miles, which never expire

- S$27 per redemption

- Annual fee: S$194.40 (First year free)
 - Local/PR: S$30,000

- Foreigner: S$42,000
Apply and spend S$500 within 30 days to get a Dyson V8 Absolute™ (worth S$609) OR a Sony WH-1000XM5 (worth S$575) OR a Flujo Ayla Ergonomic Office Chair (worth S$1,139) S$300 cash.

Valid till 2 April 2023. T&Cs apply
DBS Altitude Card


- S$1 = 10 miles on Hotel Transactions at Kaligo

- S$1 = 6 miles on Flight & Hotel Transactions at Expedia

- S$1 = 3 miles on Online Flight & Hotel Transactions (capped at S$5,000 per month)

- S$1 = 2 miles on Overseas Spend
- S$1 = 1.2 miles on Local Spend
- 2 free airport lounge visits per year with Priority Pass
- Miles awarded as DBS Points, which never expire

- S$27 per redemption

- Annual fee: S$194.40 (First year free)

- Local/PR: S$30,000

- Foreigner: S$45,000
Apply with promo code 150CASH and spend S$800 within 60 days to get S$150 cashback.

Valid till 30 June 2023. T&Cs apply.
American Express Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer Credit Card
Amex_KrisFlyer Credit Card


- S$1 = 3.1 miles on Grab Transactions (capped at S$200 per month)

- S$1 = 2 miles on Singapore Airlines and KrisShop transactions (no cap)

- S$1 = 2 miles on Overseas Spend in June and December (no cap)

- S$1 = 1.1 miles on Local Spend (no cap)
- Receive 5,000 KrisFlyer miles on your first spend

- Annual fee: S$178.20 (First year free)
- Local/PR: S$30,000

- Foreigner: S$60,000
Maybank Horizon Visa Signature Card

- S$1 = 3.2 miles on Dining, Petrol, Taxi Fares and Agoda Hotel Bookings

- S$1 = 2 miles on Air Tickets, Travel Packages and Overseas Spend

- S$1 = 0.4 miles on General Spending

- Complimentary Travel Insurance
- Miles awarded as TREAT Points ,which is capped at 30,000 per month
- Min. S$300 monthly spend

- Annual fee: S$180 (First 3 years free)
- Local/PR: S$30,000

- Malaysian Citizen: S$45,000

- Foreigner: S$60,000
Apply for a credit card and CreditAble account, and spend and/or withdraw S$300 from your CreditAble account for 2 consecutive months to get a Samsonite Harts 68/25 Spinner (worth S$500). 

Valid for the first 4,500 applicants. Remaining applicants will get S$100 cashback. T&Cs apply.
UOB PRVI Miles Card


- S$1 = 6 miles on Selected Online and Flight Bookings at Agoda, Expedia, and UOB Travel

- S$1 = 3.2 miles on Overseas Spend

- S$1 = 1.4 miles on Local Spend

- Complimentary Travel Insurance 
- Miles awarded as UNI$
- S$25 per redemption

- Annual fee: S$259.20 (First year free)
- Local/PR: S$30,000

- Foreigner: S$40,000
Apply and spend S1,000 for 2 consecutive months to get 50,000 miles.

Valid till 31 March 2023. T&Cs apply.

Plus, score a BRONZE ticket (1x chance) in our March Madness Grand Lucky Draw when you apply, for a chance to win your share of over S$20,000 worth of prizes! Valid till 2 April 2023. T&Cs apply.


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Aaron founded The Milelion to teach people how to travel better for less, with credit cards, airline and hotel loyalty programmes. With 500,000 miles flown and counting, he’s keen to debunk the myth that you can’t travel in style without breaking the bank.