Read the latest news about Air Miles Credit Cards in Singapore and the best money saving tips.
What do you get from paying the annual fee?
Some credit cards reward you with miles for paying your annual fee. For example, you can receive 10,000 miles when you renew your OCBC 90°N card and pay the annual fee of S$192.60. There are also credit cards, such as the Citi PremierMiles and Standard Chartered X card, that pair the annual fee payment with a spend goal to earn bonus miles.
Is it more worthwhile to ask for an annual fee waiver or claim my miles?
This would depend on how much you think a mile is worth and whether you are comfortable choosing to pay the fee rather than opting for a fee waiver. For example, if paying the annual fee of S$192.60 earns you 10,000 miles, this would mean that the cost of every mile is about 2 cents.
You can read this article to find out when it makes sense to pay your credit card annual fee.
Are there any other benefits to paying the annual fee?
Many premium credit cards require you to pay the annual fee. This entitles you to the perks offered by the premium credit card, such as higher miles earn rate, stays at luxury hotels, complimentary lounge visits, airport transfers etc.
Base earn rates are typically low, so it takes time to earn sufficient miles for a trip if you use it for small transactions like grocery shopping. The fast lane for accumulating miles involves using the right credit cards for your purchases. Here are 5 travel hacks that can help you speed up your miles journey.
You can use your air miles to redeem a flight ticket for free, or to offset the cost partially. Redeeming points at a discounted rate for a companion is also possible. You can also use your air miles to upgrade from economy to business class, or business to first class. This can cost around 50,000 air miles or more, depending on the seat class that you want to upgrade to, and the airline offering the flight.
Besides flight tickets, your air miles can also be used to redeem other items such as gifts, workshops, free entry to events, discounted set menus at select restaurants and other rewards. Such redemptions would depend on the air miles reward program affiliated with the credit card provider.
For example, Singapore Airlines’ KrisFlyer programme now has KrisFlyer Experiences, allowing you to exchange your KrisFlyer miles for special experiences.
In Singapore, the Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer Miles is the most popular air miles program. Most credit cards have a partnership with KrisFlyer so you can earn miles for every purchase made with the card. Asia Miles is also another popular air miles program available in Asia, along with Japan Airlines ANA Miles. Of the basic entry credit cards, the Citi PremierMiles card has the widest network of transfer air miles partners.
If you are looking for a specific frequent flyer programme, you can go to credit card providers’ rewards catalogue to check if your points can be converted into miles of your choice.
These refer to airlines’ frequent flyer programmes. Miles credit cards can use different programmes to let you accumulate miles. Certain cards credit miles directly into an established frequent flyer programme like the Singapore Airlines’ KrisFlyer, which eliminates the hassle (and cost) of conversion.
However, as there is no single universal miles programme, banks often use their own proprietary points system which allows you to accumulate points on your spending. These points can then be converted into miles of a frequent flyer programme that is available on the banks’ rewards catalogue. This points to miles conversion often comes with a conversion fee.
Get a miles card that suits your spending habits. Figure out which categories you spend the most on and get miles credit cards with a higher miles per dollar earn rate for those categories. Some common categories include online shopping, dining, beauty, transport, entertainment and travel.
If you have an upcoming big-ticket item to pay for, such as your wedding or buying new furniture, you can consider a miles credit card that offers generous welcome miles for a minimum spend.
You can also read this article to find the best air miles credit cards in Singapore.
Some credit cards will directly convert your spending to air miles without any extra fees or procedures required, such as the Amex KrisFlyer Blue or Amex Krisflyer Ascend.
However, some cards require customers to redeem their credit card points earned for miles. This comes with a conversion fee (typically around S$25) that is incurred for every batch of points converted. To reduce the cost incurred, you should try to accumulate more points to make a single conversion rather than to make multiple conversions.
Miles credit cards may charge annual fees and late payment fees. You should look out for the option to earn bonus miles by paying your annual fee.
You should also look out for the miles conversion fee, a fee you incur when converting the points earned on your credit card into miles. This fee typically ranges from S$25 to S$30. If you want to avoid a conversion fee, you can consider miles cards such as those offered by American Express that directly credit your Krisflyer miles into your Krisflyer account, at zero cost.
This depends on your spending habits as well as your ability to pay your credit card bills on time. You can consider having multiple miles credit cards if you spend on multiple categories and want to maximise the miles earn rate for each category.
Ensure that you are not spending beyond your means just because you decided to take up an extra miles credit card or two. You can also check out the credit card combinations SingSaver staffers use to maximise rewards.