Which Credit Card is Best for Earning KrisFlyer Miles?

|Posted by | Credit Cards

best krisflyer credit card in singapore

We take a look at different air miles credit cards in Singapore to find out which one earns you the most KrisFlyer miles at the lowest cost.

This article was first published on 27 September 2016. Credit card terms and conditions are valid as of 9 May 2017.

There are two ways to get KrisFlyer miles fast. The first is to buy them through KrisFlyer at a rate of USD 40 for 1,000 KrisFlyer miles – but only if you have 50% of the miles required to redeem your ticket. This comes down to a cost of about S$0.054 per mile.

Then there are air miles credit cards, which are handy tools for earning KrisFlyer miles passively. Every dollar you spend in Singapore or overseas earns you about one mile when you use your card. You earn even more when you make online bookings with the card’s travel partners.

But which credit card lets you earn the most KrisFlyer miles? Because each card comes with their own terms, conditions, and offers, it’s hard to tell looking at the base miles alone.

best krisflyer card (2)

Which Credit Card Earns the Most KrisFlyer Miles?

To find out, let’s compare credit cards based on some assumptions:

  • Let’s say you spent around S$18,000 a year in Singapore (~S$1,500 a month)
  • During this year, you went on two trips abroad, where you paid S$3,000 on travel bookings ($900 on flights and S$2,100 on hotels) using the card’s airline and hotel partners
  • You also spent S$5,000 overseas on both trips.

If you had used one credit card for all these purchases, which card would have given you the most KrisFlyer miles at the lowest cost?

Here what we found:

American Express Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer Card

Citi PremierMiles Visa Card

ANZ Travel Visa Signature Card

DBS Altitude Visa Signature Card

UOB PRVI Miles Visa Card

Annual Fee

S$176.55 (first year waived) S$192.60 S$200 (first year waived) S$192.60 S$256.80 (first year waived)

Miles Earned Locally

1.1 miles = S$1 1.2 Citi Miles = S$1 1.4 miles = S$1 1.2 DBS miles = S$1 1.4 miles = S$1

Miles Earned Overseas

2 miles = S$1 (June and December only) 2 Citi Miles = S$1 2.8 miles = S$1 retail spend in Australia and New Zealand, and flight bookings with Jetstar and Qantas
1.4 miles elsewhere in the world
3 DBS miles = S$1 until 28 Feb 2017 2.4 miles = S$1

Miles Earned on S$18,000 Local Spend

19,800 KrisFlyer Miles 21,600 Citi Miles 25,200 Travel$ 21,600 miles 25,200 miles

Miles Earned on S$5,000 Overseas Spend

10,000 KrisFlyer Miles if spent during June and December, OR 5,500 KrisFlyer Miles if spent during other times of the year 10,000 Citi Miles 14,000 Travel$ if spent in Australia and New Zealand OR 7,000 Travel$ if spent elsewhere in the world 10,000 miles 12,000 miles

Accelerated Miles From S$900 Flight Bookings and S$2,100 Hotel Bookings

4,110 KrisFlyer Miles
1,800 KrisFlyer Miles from S$900 flight booking via SIA + 2,310 KrisFlyer Miles on hotel bookings (no extra miles)
19,500 Citi Miles
2,700 Citi Miles from S$900 flight bookings at Expedia (3 Citi Miles* = S$1) + 16,800 Citi Miles from hotel bookings at Agoda (8 Citi Miles^ = S$1)
5,460 Travel$
2,520 Travel$ from flight bookings at Qantas or Jetstar + 2,940 from hotel bookings (no extra miles)
18,000 DBS Miles on flight and hotel bookings at Expedia (6 miles = S$1) OR 9,000 DBS Miles on flight and hotel bookings at SIA, Cathay, Qatar Airways, Agoda, Expedia, and AirBnb (3 miles = S$1) 18,000 miles on flight and hotel bookings at Expedia or UOB Travel (6 Miles = S$1)

Bonus Miles

8,000 KrisFlyer Miles
5,000 KrisFlyer Miles during first charge + 3,000 KrisFlyer Miles for spending S$700 in the first 6 months
15,000 Citi Miles if you spend any amount within the first 3 months 12,000 Travel$
10,000 Travel$ upon payment of your first year annual fee + 2,000 Travel$ when you spend S$500 in the first month  
10,000 bonus miles when you apply online and charge S$1,000 per month to your new Card for the first 2 months

Receive additional 10,000 bonus miles when you pay the annual fee. (Alternatively, spend more than S$25,000 per annum to receive annual fee waiver.)

None

Redemption Fee

none S$25 per redemption S$25 per redemption S$25 per redemption S$25 per redemption

Foreign Transaction Fees

2.5% 2.5% 2.5% 2.5% 2.5%

Total Miles Earned After 1 Year

From 37,410 KrisFlyer Miles (if overseas spend happened outside June and December) to 41,910 KrisFlyer miles (if overseas spend happened in June and December) 66,100 Citi Miles
1 Citi Mile = 1 KrisFlyer Mile
From 49,660 Travel$ (overseas spend outside Australia and New Zealand) to 56,660 Travel$ (overseas spend within Australia and New Zealand)
1 Travel$ = 1 KrisFlyer Mile
From 50,600 miles to 59,600 miles (flight and hotel bookings on Expedia)

1 DBS Mile = 1 KrisFlyer Mile

55,200 miles

This table is a simple calculation. Credit card terms and conditions are valid as of 18 January 2017, and subject to change without notice. Please read and understand each card’s Terms and Conditions.  
* Valid until 28 Feb 2018 ^Valid till 31 May 2017

best krisflyer card

The Winner: DBS Altitude Visa Signature Card

From our assumptions, we see that the Citi PremierMiles Visa Card earns the most KrisFlyer miles in a year (66,100 miles). However, this is primarily due to the accelerated earn rate of 8 miles per S$1 spent on agoda.com. This promotion is valid until 31 May only, which makes it highly unlikely for anyone to make full use of the promotion.

On the other hand, for the DBS Altitude Visa card, you can earn 6 miles per S$1 spent at Expedia, from now till 31 Mach 2018. This gives a much better chance for our assumed scenario to be borne out.

Double miles until 31 July 2017: Additionally, if you spend more than S$2,500 in a month, all the miles you earned that month will be doubled. This will dramatically earn your air miles earn rate, furthering cementing this credit card as our top pick for earning KrisFlyer miles.

A generous welcome offer of 10,000 miles, combined with bonus miles from online travel bookings and a decent earn rate of 2 miles per S$1 spent overseas, makes the DBS Altitude Visa Signature Card a cost-efficient tool for earning KrisFlyer Miles.

dbs-altitude-visa-card-minfind-out-more_button-300x59

The catch is that you need to spend S$1,000 per month for the first 2 months to claim the 10,000 welcome miles (In our scenario, you’re spending S$1,500 per month). This comes down to a cost-per-mile of S$0.20, which is higher than buying them through KrisFlyer.

Another good thing is DBS has changed their miles redemption fees to match the widely held standard of S$25 per redemption, meaning you won’t need to worry about paying more than users of other air miles cards. 

Other perks of the DBS Altitude Visa Signature Card include free access to Priority Pass airport lounges twice a year and complimentary travel insurance when you charge your full travel fare to the card.

It’s a solid travel card all in all, and anyone who wants to do some serious globetrotting should consider keeping one in their wallet.

There’s More to an Air Miles Card Than Just the Miles

It’s a good first step to check how efficient a card is at earning miles, but it’s also worth seeing what other benefits they have. A card with lower base miles may have more to offer in terms of service and local discounts.

For instance, American Express has a reputation for having impeccable customer service. While they may not offer the most miles per dollar, being an American Express Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer cardmember gives you access to their 24/7 hotline, which you can reach during a travel emergency. This becomes very useful in case you lose your card or – God forbid – your passport. This card also has an Airbnb credit card promotion that saves you S$50 on your first booking.

air miles cards for krisflyer miles

Make Sure You Aren’t Overpaying in Fees and Sign-Up Bonuses

Because everyone has different spending needs, you need to comb through the fine print to see if the fees and conditions for welcome offers are right for you. Otherwise, you could be spending beyond your budget.

A good example is the UOB PRVI Miles Card’s 10,000-mile signup bonus. It’s a generous offer – but only if you are a top spender who charges at least  S$1,800 on the card within your first month. 

Also, note that to you are charged a foreign transaction fee of around 2.5% every time you use your card abroad. It might not seem like much, but it adds up to a lot. In our hypothetical example above, you would have paid around S$125 in foreign transaction fees for spending S$5,000 overseas. Perhaps this is why card issuers offer more miles on foreign spending.

Always Pay Your Bill in Full and On Time

It goes without saying that you should only use your card as a mode of payment (i.e. as a way to earn miles). Tempting as it might be, you must never use your card as a way to travel when you can’t afford it.

When you charge more than you can pay for, you lose out on interest rates, which can be as high as 25% p.a. And if you think you can just earn those miles without paying your dues, think again. Card issuers don’t give out air miles or rewards on accounts with an outstanding balance.

So if you have the discipline to pay your bill in full and control your spending, a credit card can be your two-way ticket to seeing the world for less.

You can use SingSaver.com.sg’s free comparison tools to find the right air miles credit card for you.

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Lauren Dado

By Lauren Dado
Lauren has been a content strategist and digital marketer since 2007. As SingSaver.com.sg’s Content Manager, Lauren edits and publishes personal finance stories to help Singaporeans save money. Her work has appeared in publications like Her World, Asia One, and Women’s Weekly.