Credit Cards

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 Frank Card

OCBC Frank Card


Card Benefits

    • 6% rebate on online shopping
    • 3% rebate on first 2 top-ups for NETS FlashPay Auto Top-Up
    • 0.3% rebate on everything else
    • Up to 5% rebate for entertainment
    • S$60 monthly capped rebate with monthly offline min. spend of S$400 (excludes online and NETS FlashPay Auto Top-Up spend)
    DBS Altitude Visa Signature Card

    DBS Altitude Visa Signature Card


    Card Benefits

      • S$1 = 1.2 miles (Local spend)
      • S$1 = 2 miles (Overseas spend)
      • S$1 = 3 miles (Online flight & Hotel transactions)
      • 6 miles/S$1 spend at Expedia; 10 miles/S$1 spend at Kaligo
      • Get 10,000 Bonus Miles when you renew your annual membership
      • Enjoy 2 Complimentary Global Airport Lounge Access visits and get up to S$1 million travel accident insurance coverage for you and your family members

       

      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 Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer Ascend Credit Card

      American Express Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer Ascend Credit Card


      Card Benefits

        • Apply through MoneySmart from 22 Mar - 19 Apr 2018 to get S$100 worth of Grab OR NTUC Vouchers. Application must be approved by 3 May 2018. Submit your (i)Contact Details and (ii)14-digit Reference Number on the Thank You Page upon completion at this link before 19 April 2018. T&Cs
        • 1.2 KrisFlyer Miles = S$1
        • 2 KrisFlyer Miles = S$1 in foreign currency spent overseas on eligible purchases in June & Dec
        • 3.2 KrisFlyer Miles = S$1 for Grab and Uber rides, capped at S$200 per month
        • Spend above S$15,000 on eligible purchases on singaporeair.com within first 12 months of Card approval and get upgraded to KrisFlyer Elite Gold Membership
        • Four complimentary lounge access to participating SATS Premier and Plaza Premium Lounge each year
        • Complimentary night's stay each year at one of over 90 participating Millennium Hotels and Resorts properties worldwide
        • Up to $1 million travel insurance coverage
        Maybank Horizon Visa Signature Card

        Maybank Horizon Visa Signature Card


        Card Benefits

          • Earn 3.2 air miles (8X TREATS Points) for every S$1 spent on dining, petrol, taxi fares and hotel bookings at Agoda.com/horizon
          • Earn 2 air miles (5X TREATS Points) for every S$1 spent on air tickets, travel packages and foreign currency transactions
          • Minimum spend: S$300/month
          • Capped at 30,000 Bonus TREATS Points per month
          • Earn 0.4 air miles (1X TREAT Point) with no minimum spend amount
          • Complimentary lounge access with minimum spend of S$400
          • Complimentary Travel Insurance up to S$1,000,000
          Citi PremierMiles Visa Card

          Citi PremierMiles Visa Card


          Card Benefits

          • Get S$200 NTUC Fairprice OR CapitaLand Vouchers with Citibank!
          • S$1 = 1.2 Citi Miles on Local spend
          • S$1 = 2 Citi Miles on Foreign currency spend
          • Earn up to 7 Citi Miles per S$1 spent on Agoda.com/bonusmiles (valid till 31 Jul 2019), 3 Citi Miles per S$1 spent on Expedia.com.sg/bonusrewards (valid till 31 May 2019) and 10 Citi Miles per S$1 spent on Kaligo.com/bonus-miles (valid till 31 Dec 2019)
          • Citi Miles never expire
          • Priority Pass™ membership gives you access to more than 600 airport lounges twice a year
          • Complimentary Travel Accident Insurance up to S$1,000,000 coverage, Medical Assistance Programme and Travel Inconvenience Coverage

           

          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.
          Citi PremierMiles Visa Card

          Citi PremierMiles Visa Card


          Card Benefits

          • Get S$200 NTUC Fairprice OR CapitaLand Vouchers with Citibank!
          • S$1 = 1.2 Citi Miles on Local spend
          • S$1 = 2 Citi Miles on Foreign currency spend
          • Earn up to 7 Citi Miles per S$1 spent on Agoda.com/bonusmiles (valid till 31 Jul 2019), 3 Citi Miles per S$1 spent on Expedia.com.sg/bonusrewards (valid till 31 May 2019) and 10 Citi Miles per S$1 spent on Kaligo.com/bonus-miles (valid till 31 Dec 2019)
          • Citi Miles never expire
          • Priority Pass™ membership gives you access to more than 600 airport lounges twice a year
          • Complimentary Travel Accident Insurance up to S$1,000,000 coverage, Medical Assistance Programme and Travel Inconvenience Coverage
          HSBC Revolution Credit Card

          HSBC Revolution Credit Card


          Card Benefits

            • 5X Rewards points (or 2 air miles) per $1 spent on Online transactions
            • Includes airline/movie/concert tickets, hotel/travel/taxi bookings, food orders, insurance premiums, and online shopping sites
            • Excludes brokerages/securities and money payment/transfer websites

             

            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 Titanium Rewards Card

            OCBC Titanium Rewards Card


            Card Benefits

            • Supports Department, Retail & Online stores
            • 10x OCBC$ (10 points or 4 Miles) for every S$1 spent on clothes, shoes, bags, department stores, kidswear, electronic gadgets, online, offline, locally and overseas
            • 2% Cash Rebate when you spend at BEST Denki, on top of the existing 10 OCBC$ (worth 4 Miles) OCBC Titanium Rewards Cardmembers earn on a usual basis. Valid till 31 Jan 2019

             

            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 Everyday Card

            POSB Everyday Card


            Card Benefits

              • Up to 20.1% cash rebate at SPC
              • 5% cash rebate at Sheng Siong. S$50 cash rebate cap per calendar month.
              • 3% cash rebate at Watsons, and local medical spend (dental, clinic, hospital)
              • 1% cash rebate on recurring utilities bills from SP Group and recurring StarHub mobile/digital cable/broadband bills and ins-tore purchases
              • Get 0.3% on everything else
              • No minimum spend required
              American Express Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer Ascend Credit Card

              American Express Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer Ascend Credit Card


              Card Benefits

                • Apply through MoneySmart from 22 Mar - 19 Apr 2018 to get S$100 worth of Grab OR NTUC Vouchers. Application must be approved by 3 May 2018. Submit your (i)Contact Details and (ii)14-digit Reference Number on the Thank You Page upon completion at this link before 19 April 2018. T&Cs
                • 1.2 KrisFlyer Miles = S$1
                • 2 KrisFlyer Miles = S$1 in foreign currency spent overseas on eligible purchases in June & Dec
                • 3.2 KrisFlyer Miles = S$1 for Grab and Uber rides, capped at S$200 per month
                • Spend above S$15,000 on eligible purchases on singaporeair.com within first 12 months of Card approval and get upgraded to KrisFlyer Elite Gold Membership
                • Four complimentary lounge access to participating SATS Premier and Plaza Premium Lounge each year
                • Complimentary night's stay each year at one of over 90 participating Millennium Hotels and Resorts properties worldwide
                • Up to $1 million travel insurance coverage

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

                Image Credits:
                MIKI Yoshihito, fredoBrian Costelloe

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