6 Smart Ways to Use Your Credit Cards to Get Travel Perks

6 Smart Ways to Use Your Credit Cards to Get Travel Perks

If you’re like most people in Singapore, each time a long weekend rolls around you frantically search for ways and means to get out of the country. In recent years, Singaporeans have been making more than 8 million trips abroad per year.

If you’re frequently fleeing the country on overseas holidays, there are scores of credit cards that can get you a discount on your air ticket or accommodation, as well as other freebies like lounge access that will make your trip even more enjoyable. Here are four types of benefits that credit cards give travellers.

 

Cash back or frequent flyer miles for bookings

Air tickets and accommodation are likely to be the most expensive parts of your overseas trip, and there’s a high chance you’re going to be booking yours online. In fact, if you are flying to another continent, you will spend more than $1,000 or $2,000 on online bookings. Using a credit card that gives you generous cash rebates on your bookings or rewards you with frequent flyer miles can make your current or future trip a little cheaper.

  • OCBC Frank – Get a 6% cash rebate when you make online bookings. When you book a $1,000 air ticket, this means you get a $60 rebate.
  • DBS Altitude Visa Signature Card – Get a very generous 3 miles on every $1 spent online on flight and hotel transactions.

If you’re not sure which credit cards you would benefit most from, check out MoneySmart’s credit card wizard, where you can compare the best credit cards for cash back and air miles.

OCBC logo
Cash Back on Online Spend
6%
Cash Back Cap per month
S$75
Min. Spend per month on Total Purchases
S$600
Online Promo: Receive S$50 Cashback when you apply and additional 4% Cashback on eligible spend! Applicable to new-to-bank cardholders. Valid till 30 Sep 2020.
DBS logo
Local Spend
S$1 = 1.2 Miles
Overseas Spend
S$1 = 2 Miles
Online spend and offline shopping spend
S$1 = 4 Miles

 

Use of the airport lounge

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If you’ve never ever chilled out in an airport lounge, you might not realise how much comfort and convenience they can offer before or after a long flight. There’s a free buffet at most airport lounges, as well as free workstations with wifi.

You can read the newspapers, charge your phone or take a nap while waiting for your flight. Some lounges also have free shower facilities. Many credit cards give you free access to airport lounges. Here are some to check out.

  • American Express KrisFlyer Ascend Card – Get four free passes to SATS Premier Lounges all over the world each year.
  • Maybank Horizon Platinum Visa – Access selected lounges in Singapore, Malaysia and Hong Kong when you charge $400 in a single transaction on air tickets or travel packages.
  • Citi PremierMiles Visa Card – Gain two complimentary visits to Priority Pass airport lounges.
American Express logo
MoneySmart Exclusive
Local Spend
S$1 = 1.2 Miles
Overseas Spend
S$1 = 2 Miles
Grab rides
S$1 = 3.2 Miles
MoneySmart Exclusive: Get S$100 Cash via PayNow when you apply and spend! Applicable to new-to-bank cardholders only. Valid till 31 Jul 2020.
Maybank logo
on Dining, Petrol, Taxi and Hotel Bookings at Agoda
S$1 = 8X Points
on Air Tickets, Travel Packages and Foreign Currency Spend
S$1 = 5X Points
Rewards to Miles Conversion for Selected Airline Partners
1 Point = 0.5 miles
Online Promo: Get S$100 Cash Credit with Maybank Credit Cards and CreditAble! Valid till 31 Dec 2020.
Citibank logo
Local Spend
S$1 = Up to 1.2 Miles
All Foreign Currency Spend including Retail and Online
S$1 = 2 Miles
Selected Online Hotel and Flight bookings
S$1 = Up to 10 Miles
Promotion: Get S$200 Cash via PayNow when you apply and spend! Applicable to new-to-bank cardholders only. Valid till 14 Jul 2020.

 

Discounts on booking sites

If you frequently book accommodation and air tickets on websites like Agoda and Expedia, before you enter your credit card details to pay for your purchase, always do a quick google search to determine if you are eligible for any discounts. Some bank or other is almost always offering seasonal discounts on such sites.

  • POSB / DBS credit cards – Until 31 Dec 2015, all Platinum cardholders get 7% off hotel reservations, while all other POSB / DBS cards get you 5% off.
  • UOB credit cards – Get 10% off Expedia hotel bookings by entering the coupon code and paying with a UOB card.

 

Free travel insurance

Probably the last thing you want to see before you're about to board
Probably the last thing you want to see before you’re about to board

We certainly hope you’re not foolhardy enough to travel without insurance. Nobody should travel without adequate protection, especially when there are so many credit cards that will have you insured during your travels for free.

  • Citibank PremierMiles Card – Pay for your tickets using your card and you get up to $40,000 coverage for medical expenses, amongst others.
  • HSBC Revolution – Free personal accident insurance offering up to $300,000 of coverage when you book your flights on the card.
Citibank logo
Local Spend
S$1 = Up to 1.2 Miles
All Foreign Currency Spend including Retail and Online
S$1 = 2 Miles
Selected Online Hotel and Flight bookings
S$1 = Up to 10 Miles
Promotion: Get S$200 Cash via PayNow when you apply and spend! Applicable to new-to-bank cardholders only. Valid till 14 Jul 2020.
HSBC logo
on Online, Dining and Entertainment
S$1= 5X Points
on All Other Spend
S$1= 1X Point
Rewards to Miles Conversion for Selected Airline Partners
1 Point = 0.4 Miles

 

Free airport transfer

It can be a nightmare trying to get to Changi Airport from the West or North of Singapore, especially if you’ve decided to brave public transport with a giant suitcase. Taking a cab to the airport can cost a pretty penny if you live on the other side of the island, and someone in Jurong West can expect to pay over $40 during peak hour.

  • CIMB Visa Signature – Spend $500 on the card within 3 months of your trip and you are eligible for a free airport departure transfer.
  • OCBC Titanium – Travel on a full cost airline and enjoy the use of JetQuay lounges.
OCBC logo
on Online, Offline, Local and Overseas spend
S$1 = 10 OCBC$
with 18,000 OCBC$
S$50 Titanium cash
Rewards to Miles Conversion
10 OCBC$ = 4 Miles

 

Credit Cards That Incentivise Overseas spending

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While using your credit card to pay for every single expense you incur overseas is rarely a smart choice, when you do pay using plastic, use a card that rewards you generously for overseas spending. You might be charged currency conversion and admin fees, but if you get generous cash rebates or a high air mile accrual rate in exchange,

POSB logo
Cash Rebates on dining and online shopping at selected E-Marketplaces
Up to 8%
Cash Rebates on SPC, Sheng Siong and Watsons.
Up to 6%
Cash Rebate on selected Electricity/ Telco bills
1%
American Express logo
MoneySmart Exclusive
Local Spend
S$1 = 1.2 Miles
Overseas Spend
S$1 = 2 Miles
Grab rides
S$1 = 3.2 Miles
MoneySmart Exclusive: Get S$100 Cash via PayNow when you apply and spend! Applicable to new-to-bank cardholders only. Valid till 31 Jul 2020.

Which credit cards do you use for travel-related expenses? Tell us in the comments!

Image Credits:
MIKI Yoshihito, fredoBrian Costelloe