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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.

Table of contents

 

SS_CC_FD_BLOGARTICLE_800x250-1

SingSaver's Exclusive Flash Deal: The first 5 applicants of any participating Citi, Standard Chartered, CIMB and HSBC credit cards at 12pm and 3pm daily will receive a PlayStation5 Console (SLIM) Disc Edition (worth S$799) or S$500 eCapitaVoucher on top of their existing promotional offers.

Valid till 29 February 2024. T&Cs apply. Click here to check out our past Lucky Draw winners!

 


 

 


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:

Card

Min. Spend

Bonus Miles

Offer Ends

Citi Prestige

CITI-Prestige_2019

 

 

S$800

48,000

31 Mar 23

Citi PremierMiles Card

CITI-PremierMiles-Visa_2019


 

S$800

30,000

31 Mar 23

Citi Rewards Card

CitiRewardsMC


 

S$800

16,000

31 Mar 23

DBS Altitude AMEX

 


 

S$2,000

31,000

30 Jun 23

DBS Altitude Visa

DBSAltitudeVisaSignatureCard-e1568109609752


 

S$2,000

25,000

30 Jun 23

DBS Vantage Card

DBS Vantage Card. Rewards your way. | DBS Singapore

 

 

S$4,000

60,000

30 Jun 23

KrisFlyer UOB Credit Card

KrisFlyer-UOB-Credit-e1556382005772

 


 

S$2,000

25,000

30 Apr 23

OCBC Titanium Rewards

OCBCTitaniumRewardsPinkCard

 

 

 

 

S$100

11,520

30 Apr 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.

Card

Earn Rate for Hotels

Cap

HSBC Revolution

HSBC-Revolution-New


 

4 mpd

S$1,000 per month

UOB Lady’s Card

UOB-Ladys-card


 

4 mpd*

S$1,000 per month

UOB Lady’s Solitaire Card

UOBLadysSolitaire

 

 

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:

Card

Earn Rate for Dining

Cap

Maybank Horizon Visa Signature

Maybank-Horizon-Visa-Signature-Card


 

3.2 mpd^

S$4,285 per month

Amaze + Citi Rewards Card

Amaze-Front-1-01CitiRewardsMC

 

 

 

 

 

4 mpd#

S$1,000 per month

HSBC Revolution
HSBC-Revolution-New

 

4 mpd

S$1,000 per month

UOB Lady’s Card

UOB-Ladys-card


 

4 mpd*

S$1,000 per month

UOB Lady’s Solitaire Card

UOBLadysSolitaire

 

 

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:

Card

Earn Rate for Contactless Spending

Cap

UOB Preferred Platinum Visa

uob-preferred-platinum-visa-card-472x332-e1598324543137-300x191

 

Looking for the best credit cards to complement your spending patterns and expenditure in 2024? 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.

 

4 mpd*

S$1,110 per month

UOB Visa Signature

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.

 

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SingSaver's Exclusive Offer: Receive the following rewards when you sign up for a Citi Credit Card:

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Citi PremierMiles Card and Citi Rewards Card Only: Receive an Apple iPad 9th Gen 10.2 Wifi 64GB (worth S$508.30) or Dyson Supersonic (worth S$699) or Dyson V8 Slim Fluffy (worth S$509) or S$300 Cash via PayNow upon activating and spending a min. of S$500 within 30 days of card approval. Valid till 29 February 2024. T&Cs apply.

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Conclusion

While big ticket expenses are hard to swallow, earning a good rebate through your credit card can make it 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 & Travel Credit Cards

Credit Card Best for/Benefits Details Min. Annual Income
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 Foreign 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$196.20 (First year free)
 - Local/PR: S$30,000

- Foreigner: S$42,000
DBS Altitude Card
DBSAltitudeVisaSignatureCard-e1568109609752


 

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

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

- S$1 = 2.2 miles on Foreign Spend
 
- S$1 = 1.3 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$196.20 (First year free)
- Local/PR: S$30,000

- Foreigner: S$45,000
OCBC 90°N Miles Card
OCBC_90N_VISA-1
OCBC_90N_MASTERCARD_UPDATED
- S$1 = 1.3 miles on Local Spend
 
- S$1 = 2.1 miles on Foreign Spend
 
- S$1 = 7 miles on Agoda Bookings in Foreign Currency
 
- S$1 = 6 miles on Agoda Bookings in Local Currency
- 90°N Miles never expire
 
- 1 90°N Mile = 1 KrisFlyer Mile
 
- 90°N Miles can be redeemed per blocks of 1,000 Miles
 
- Annual fee: S$196.20 (Frist year free)
- Local/PR: S$30,000
 
- Foreigner = S$45,000
Maybank Horizon Visa Signature Card
Maybank-Horizon-Visa-Signature-Card-1

- S$1 = 2.8 miles on Overseas Spend and Air Tickets (All Airlines)*

- S$1 = 1.2 miles on Local Retail Spend^ on Shopping, Dining, Food Delivery, Supermarket, Transport, Hotels, Cruises, Travel Packages, Car Rentals

- S$1 = 0.25 miles on Utilities, Education, Insurance, and Medical expenses

- Complimentary access to Selected VIP Airport Lounges

- Up to S$1 million Complimentary Travel Insurance Coverage

- Min. S$800 spend per month required, otherwise 1.2 mpd only
 
- Miles awarded in the form of TREATS Points
 
- *Capped at 40,000 Bonus TREATS Points per calendar month for Air Tickets. Up to 3.2 mpd for a limited time only. T&Cs apply.
 
- ^No min. spend, no cap
- Annual fee: S$196.20 (First 3 years free)
- Local/PR: S$30,000

- Malaysian Citizen: S$45,000

- Foreigner: S$60,000

UOB PRVI Miles Card
UOB_PRIVIMILES_MASTER
uob-prvi-resized-e1548402137533-2uob-prvi-amex-resized-3

- 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$261.60 (First year free; 9% GST w.e.f. 1 Jan 2024)
- Local/PR: S$30,000

- Foreigner: S$40,000

HSBC TravelOne Card
HSBC TravelOne

- S$1 = 2.4 miles on Foreign Spend
 
- S$1 = 1.2 miles on Local Spend
 
- 4 Complimentary Airport Lounge Visits per year (Primary cardholders only)
 
- Up to US$100,000 Complimentary Travel Insurance Coverage (including COVID-19)
25,000 Rewards Points = 10,000 Miles
 
5 free supplementary cards
 
No conversion fee for air miles or hotel points (Until 31 May 2024)
 
Annual fee: S$196.20 (First year free)
- Local/PR: S$30,000

- Foreigner/Self-Employed: S$40,000

Standard Chartered Journey Card
SC_Card_OM_Journey_20220816-AssetA-RGB-2500px_HENRY YEO

- S$1 = 2 miles on Foreign Spend
 
- S$1 = 1.2 miles on Local Spend
 
- S$1 = 3 miles on Select Local Online Categories like Transportation, Grocery, and Food Delivery*
 
- 2 Complimentary Priority Pass Airport Lounge Visits per year
 
- Up to S$1 million Complimentary Travel Insurance Coverage
- 360° Rewards Points never expire
 
- 25,000 Rewards Points = 10,000 KrisFlyer Miles
 
- *Capped at S$1,000 spend per statement month
 
- 45% off MSIG TravelEasy Travel Insurance (Single Trip) (Valid till 30 Jun 2024)
 
- Annual fee: S$196.20 (First year free)
- Local/PR: S$30,000

- Foreigner: S$60,000

KrisFlyer UOB Card
KrisFlyerUOBCreditCard

- S$1 = 3 miles on Everyday Spend (e.g. Dining, Online Food Delivery, Online Shopping, Online Travel, Local Transport, Car Rentals)*
 
- S$1 = 3 miles on Singapore Airlines, Scoot, KrisShop, and Kris+ purchases
 
- S$1 = 1.2 miles on All Other Spend
 
- Up to S$500,000 Complimentary Travel Insurance Coverage
 
- Fast track to KrisFlyer Elite Silver Status
 
- Other Membership Privileges on Scoot
- *Min. S$800 annual spend on Singapore Airlines, Scoot, and KrisShop required
 
- Earn KrisFlyer Miles directly to KrisFlyer Membership Account
 
- No cap on miles earned but only credited within 2 months of paying annual fee
 
- Annual fee: S$196.20 (First year free) 
- Local/PR: S$30,000

- Foreigner: S$40,000

AMEX Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer Credit Card
AMEX_SINGAPORE_AIRLINES_KRISFLYER

- S$1 = 1.1 miles on Local Spend

- S$1 = 2 miles on Foreign Spend during June and December

- S$1 = 2 miles on Singapore Airlines-Related Spend

- S$1 = 3.1 miles on Grab Singapore Transactions, capped at S$200 per month

- Up to S$350,000 Complimentary Travel Insurance coverage

- Hertz Gold Plus Rewards Loyalty Programme Perks

- Earn KrisFlyer Miles directly to KrisFlyer Membership Account
 
- Annual fee: S$179.85 (First year free)
Subject to American Express' approval

AMEX Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer Credit Card

AMEX_SINGAPORE_AIRLINES_KRISFLYER_ASCEND

 

- S$1 = 1.2 miles on Local Spend

- S$1 = 2 miles on Foreign Spend during June and December

- S$1 = 2 miles on Singapore Airlines-Related Spend

- S$1 = 3.2 miles on Grab Singapore Transactions, capped at S$200 per month

- Up to S$1 million Complimentary Travel Insurance Coverage

- Hertz Gold Plus Rewards Loyalty Programme Perks

- Earn KrisFlyer Miles directly to KrisFlyer Membership Account
 
- Annual fee: S$343.35 (First year free)
Subject to American Express' approval

HSBC Revolution Card
HSBC-Revolution-New

- S$1 = 4 miles on Online and Contactless Spend (e.g.Shopping, Groceries, Dining, Food Delivery, Ride-hailing)

- S$1 = 0.4 miles on All Other Spend

- Up to S$300,000 Complimentary Travel Insurance Coverage

- Capped at S$1,000 spend / 9,000 Bonus Rewards Points per calendar month
 
- No annual fee
- Local/PR: S$30,000

- Foreigner/Self-employed: S$40,000

Citi Rewards Card
CITI_REWARDS_MASTER

- 4 mpd on Selected Online Transactions (e.g. Shopping, Ride-hailing, Food Delivery, Groceries) and In-Store Shopping

- 0.4 mpd on All Other Retail Spend

- Up to S$1 million Complimentary Travel Insurance Coverage

- Capped at S$1,000 spend / 9,000 Bonus Rewards Points per statement month
 
- Annual fee: S$196.20 (First year free)
- Local/PR: S$30,000

- Foreigner: S$42,000

Read these next:

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.

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