9 Best Air Miles Credit Cards in Singapore (Jun 2024)

best-air-miles-credit-card-singapore

Ah, the air miles credit card. Clearly the most glamorous of all credit cards. Every time you use one, you’re reinforcing your image as a globetrotting, wanderlusting, jet-setter.

But more importantly, you earn frequent flyer miles at the same time. As you go about planning your next holiday, wouldn’t it be nice to be able to swap your air points for a free air ticket?

Trouble is, if you just sign up for the first air miles card you see and only use it when you remember it exists, chances are you’ll never collect enough points to even make it to KL. Collecting air miles needs to be done strategically with the right card.

Here are the best credit cards for air miles in Singapore, plus some useful info on how they work so you can game the system.

The Best Air Miles Credit Cards in Singapore (Jun 2024)

    1. Best air miles cards in Singapore 2024
    2. Citi PremierMiles Card
    3. DBS Altitude Card
    4. OCBC 90°N Card
    5. HSBC Revolution Credit Card
    6. Amex KrisFlyer Card
    7. UOB KrisFlyer Card
    8. Maybank Horizon Card
    9. UOB PRVI Miles Card
    10. Standard Chartered Journey Credit Card
    11. Entry-level vs premium miles cards in Singapore
    12. What are air miles and how do they work?
    13. What should you look out for in a miles card?
    14. MoneySmart tip: Use a rewards credit card as a miles card

 

1. Best air miles cards in Singapore 2024

Best for  Best air miles credit cards
Miles that don’t expire Citi PremierMiles, DBS Altitude, OCBC 90°N
Earning KrisFlyer miles Amex KrisFlyer, UOB KrisFlyer
Everyday spending UOB KrisFlyer, Maybank Horizon, HSBC Revolution
One-off expenses UOB PRVI Miles, Amex KrisFlyer
Petrol Maybank Horizon, DBS Altitude
Dining UOB KrisFlyer, UOB PRVI Miles
Online shopping UOB KrisFlyer, OCBC 90°N, HSBC Revolution, Standard Chartered Journey Credit Card
Overseas spending (foreign currency) UOB PRVI Miles, DBS Altitude

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2. Citi PremierMiles Card

Sponsored
Citibank logo
MoneySmart Exclusive
REWARDS RUSH HOUR FLASH DEAL
Local Spend
S$1 = 1.2 Miles
All Foreign Currency Spend including Retail and Online
S$1 = Up to 2 Miles
Selected Online Hotel Bookings
S$1 = Up to 10 Miles
MoneySmart Exclusive:

[REWARDS RUSH HOUR | FASTEST GIFT FULFILMENT]
Get UPSIZED CASH REWARDS of S$430* or 5,100 SmartPoints + S$80 Trip.com Coupon, in as fast as 4 weeks from meeting the S$500 spend criteria! T&Cs apply.
 
For a limited time, get additional Rewards Rush Hour gifts ON TOP of your baseline gift when you meet the flash deal criteria!

  • Apple Watch Series 9 (GPS), 41mm (worth S$604.50) or
  • Apple 10.9-inch iPad (10th Gen), 64GB (worth S$529) or
  • Sony PlayStation®5 (SLIM) Digital Edition (worth S$669)

 
Use 5,100 SmartPoints to fully redeem a product from our Rewards Store. If the product costs more, redeem with your points and top up the rest by purchasing additional SmartPoints e.g. get an Apple 10.9-inch iPad Wi‑Fi 64GB (10th Generation) at only S$104 on top of your earned SmartPoints.

Valid until 23 Jul 2024
Should you get the Citi PremierMiles Card?
Pros—What we like about it Cons—What we wish they could do better
– High earn rate of up to 10 Citi Miles per S$1 on online travel bookings via Kaligo and Agoda
– Citi Miles never expire.
– Citi Miles convert to airline miles/hotel points at a 1:1 conversion rate
– 2 complimentary airport lounge visits
– Complimentary travel insurance
– Attractive welcome gifts
If the Citi PremierMiles card had higher miles earn rates and/or bonus earn categories, they’d edge out the competition.

If the thought of spending thousands of dollars in just a couple of months makes you blanch, you need a card with miles that don’t expire so you can take your time to slowly accumulate them. This is especially the case if you’re a fresh grad or a generally frugal person without any big expenses coming up. Enter the Citi PremierMiles Card!

While the earn rate of such cards is typically not that great, the Citi PremierMiles offers a fairly attractive earn rate: 1.2 miles for every $1 of local spending, and 2 miles for every $1 spent on foreign currency spending.

But the best part about the Citi PremierMiles Card is that it’ll get you up to 10 Citi Miles per S$1 on online travel bookings via Kaligo and Agoda. That’s about as high as miles earn rates go.

What’s a miles card without travel benefits? You can get 2 complimentary airport lounge visits every year with your Citi PremierMiles Card and complimentary travel insurance with up to S$1 million in coverage when you use the card to buy your plane tickets.

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3. DBS Altitude Card

DBS logo
Online Promo
Earn Miles That Never Expire
Local Spend
S$1 = 1.3 Miles
Overseas Spend (made in foreign currency)
S$1 = 2.2 Miles
On Travel Spend at Agoda
S$1 = Up to 4.3 Miles
Should you get the DBS Altitude Card?
Pros—What we like about it Cons—What we wish they could do better
– DBS Points never expire.
– Good earn rates, with bonus earn categories
– Complimentary or discounted lounge visits
– Other travel benefits such flights and hotel deals
– You earn DBS Points per every $5, not per every $1
– $27.25 fee to convert DBS Points to miles

The DBS Altitude Card lets you accumulate air miles in the form of DBS Points, and these points never expire. The card is one of the highest-earning miles cards out there, rewarding you with:

  • 2.2 miles for every S$1 spent overseas
  • 1.3 miles for every S$1 spent locally

There aren’t many miles cards out there with higher earn rates. The HSBC TravelOne earns you 2.4 miles per S$1 overseas spend, but only 1.2 miles for every S$1 spent locally.

One card that edges out the DBS Altitude Card’s earn rates for both local and overseas spend is the UOB PRVI Miles Card, which earns 1.4 miles per S$1 local spend and 2.4 miles per S$1 overseas spend.

But when it comes to the DBS Altitude Card, miles are just the beginning. To sweeten the deal, the DBS Altitude Visa Signature Card also comes with 2 free lounge visits at over 1,500 airport lounges worldwide per year via its complimentary Digital Priority Pass membership.

While the DBS Altitude American Express Card used to come with complimentary Mr and Mrs Smith SilverSmith membership, but this ceased on 25 Feb 2024.

There are other travel privileges in the form of discounted flights, hotel bookings, car rentals and more. Usually these run for a limited time and may or may not be renewed, so check out the ongoing DBS Altitude Card travel offers for the latest deals.


ALSO READ: Best Bank Offers in Singapore (Jun 2024): Win $12,000 NTUC shopping vouchers, 1,500 ION+ Points and More


Okay, but what’s the catch? No card is perfect. After going through their T&Cs, I’ve found 2 things I don’t like about the DBS Altitude Card. Firstly, you earn with every S$5 spent per transaction, not every $1. So a transaction that comes up to $4.99 won’t earn you anything.

Secondly, you don’t earn miles directly but in the form of DBS Points (1 DBS Point = 2 miles). Some of us (myself included) might be lazy to convert them, but that’s just laziness. The bigger issue is that DBS charges an administrative fee of S$27.25 for each conversion of DBS Points to miles. The saving grace here is that DBS Points don’t expire, so you can accumulate a truckload of DBS Points before you convert them and make the flat admin fee worth your while.

The DBS Altitude Card’s annual fee is $194.40, but can be waived. If you do pay the annual fee and renew your card, you’ll receive a present of 10,000 miles from DBS.

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4. OCBC 90°N Card

OCBC logo
MoneySmart Exclusive
LUCKY DRAW | Earn Miles That Don't Expire
on Agoda accommodations worldwide
S$1 = Up to 7 Miles
on Foreign Currency spend
S$1 = 2.1 Miles
on Local spend
S$1 = 1.3 Miles
MoneySmart Exclusive:

[LUCKY DRAW | TRIP.COM FLASH DEAL]
Stand a chance to win A Pair of Cat 1 Tickets to Jay Chou Carnival World Tour 2024 - Singapore (worth S$796) when you apply & submit the MoneySmart Claim Form (without the Unique Redemption Code first*) by 4 Sept 2024! No min spend required!
 
[MONEYSMART EXCLUSIVE GIFT]
Get an additional S$80 Trip.com Coupon on top of 1,890 SmartPoints or S$200 Cash via PayNow when you apply and spend a min. of S$500 in qualifying spends within 30 days from card approval date. T&Cs apply.
 
Use 1,890 SmartPoints to fully redeem a product from our Rewards Store. If the product costs more, redeem with your points and top up the rest by purchasing additional SmartPoints e.g. get an Apple 10.2 inch iPad Wi-Fi (9th Generation) 64GB at only S$315 on top of your earned SmartPoints.

Valid until 31 Jul 2024
Should you get the OCBC 90°N Card?
Pros—What we like about it Cons—What we wish they could do better
– Your 90˚N miles never expire.
– Good earn rates, with bonus earn categories
– Complimentary or discounted lounge visits
– Other travel benefits such flights and hotel deals
– You earn 90˚N Miles per every $5, not per every $1
– $25 conversion fee to convert 90˚N Miles to KrisFlyer miles

If you’re looking for a non-expiring air miles card to use on overseas online shopping sites, the OCBC 90°N Card is a good candidate.

In general, you earn 2.1 miles for every $1 spent in foreign currency and 1.3 miles for every $1 spent locally. For bookings made on Agoda, you’ll earn 7 miles per $1 spend in foreign currency, and 6 miles per $1 spend in SGD.

You earn 90˚N Miles (formerly known as Travel$) on your OCBC 90°N Card, which you can use to redeem air miles, cash rebates and more via the OCBC Rewards Portal. Alternatively, you can also convert your 90°N miles to KrisFlyer miles (1 90˚N Mile = 1 KrisFlyer Mile) under the Singapore Airlines’ KrisFlyer Programme, but this comes with a $25 conversion fee.

I also don’t like the fact that, similar to the DBS Altitude Card, 90°N miles are awarded in blocks of $5 spent. So even if you spent $4.99 locally, you will not earn any points until you meet the $5 minimum spend. If you spend $99, you’ll only earn on the first $95.

The OCBC 90°N Card comes in 2 iterations—one is the Mastercard version, and the other Visa. Each comes with their own set of travel privileges. For example, the OCBC 90°N Mastercard gives you access to the One Dines Free programme and VIP access to over 1,300 airport lounges worldwide under DragonPass access. The Visa version comes with deals on SHEIN, IHG Hotels & Resorts, and more.

When I first wrote about the OCBC 90°N Card, I was pleased to note that its annual fee was just $54—a lower annual fee than many other entry-level cards. But it’s since increased to $196.20 (including GST), which is pretty average for any entry-level credit card. The fee is waived for the first year, and don’t forget to get it waived for any subsequent years you hold the card.

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5. HSBC Revolution Credit Card

HSBC logo
Earn up to 4 miles per S$1 | Instant Activation*
on Online Spend and Contactless Payments
S$1 = 10X Points
on All Other Spend
S$1 = 1X Point
for every 10 Points
Earn 4 Miles
Should you get the HSBC Revolution Credit Card?
Pros—What we like about it Cons—What we wish they could do better
– High earn rate of 4 miles per $1 spend (2.5% cashback)
– Broad range of bonus earn categories—earn 4 miles per $1 on online purchases and contactless payments.
– No annual fee
– No fee to convert your points to miles (waived up till 31 Jan 2025)
– HSBC Rewards points expire after 37 months
– Bonus Reward points max out at $1,000 monthly spend
– Beware the nerfs! See below.

Like the DBS Altitude, the HSBC Revolution Credit Card is more like a rewards card than a miles card in that you earn points and not miles directly. Here’s how it works: You earn 10X Reward points on eligible online purchases and contactless payments, then convert these reward points to miles. 10 Reward Points is equivalent to 4 miles. So all in all, you’re earning 4 miles per $1 spend—a very decent earn rate! That’s basically 2.5% cashback. Plus, you earn per every $1, not every $5 unlike the OCBC 90°N Card and DBS Altitude Card.

The HSBC Revolution Credit Card earns you 10X Reward points for a wide range of transactions: Travel-related (airlines, car rental, cruise lines, etc), department and retail stores, supermarkets, dining, online food delivery, and more. You can find the full list of the relevant merchant category codes on page 3 of this T&Cs document.

The 10X Reward points are broken down into 9X bonus points and 1X base point. For the former, there’s a cap of 9,000 bonus Reward points per month—that’s when you hit $1,000 spend. Past this amount, you’ll only earn the base 1X Reward point for your spending.

However, there’s some bad news folks: nerfs. Lots of them.

  • From 1 Jan 2024, MCC 4722 (Travel Agencies and Tour Operators) and 7011 (Lodging – Hotels, Motels, Resorts, Central Reservation Services became ineligible for the 10x Reward Points.
  • From 15 Jul 2024, contactless payment will no longer earn you 10X Rewards points.
  • After 31 Dec 2024, travel-related transactions will be nerfed too.

These categories will just receive the 1X base Reward point that other non-bonus categories get.

The good news? The $40 (before GST) annual fee to join their Mileage Programme to convert your points to miles has been removed as of 20 May 2024. And according to point 6 under Miles/Hotel Points Redemption in their Rewards Programme T&Cs, the redemption fee for miles/hotel points redemptions will be waived up till 31 Jan 2025.

Another plus point of the HSBC Revolution Credit Card is that there is no annual fee.

Do note that HSBC Reward points come with an expiry date (as do the miles you can redeem them for). HSBC Rewards points earned expire after 37 months, so redeem them via the HSBC Singapore app within 3 years.

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6. Amex Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer Credit Card

American Express logo
MoneySmart Exclusive
TRIP.COM COUPON FLASH DEAL | LUCKY DRAW
Local Spend
S$1 = 1.1 Miles
Overseas Spend during June and December, with no cap
S$1 = 2 Miles
on Eligible Grab transactions, capped at $200 per calendar month
S$1 = 3.1 Miles
MoneySmart Exclusive:

[LUCKY DRAW | Trip.com Coupon Flash Deal]
Get S$80 Trip.com Coupon from MoneySmart and stand a chance to win a 3 Day 2 Night stay at Capella Ubud, Bali (worth up to USD4,000) or a Samsonite Choca Spinner 68/25 Luggage (worth S$700) when you apply and spend a min. of S$1,000 within 1 month from card approval! T&Cs apply.
 
[American Express Welcome Offer | 1 to 23 July 2024]
New American Express cardholder can get up to 17,000 KrisFlyer miles (enough to redeem a Return Trip to Bali*)when you spend a min. of S$1,000 within the first month of card approval. T&Cs apply.

Valid until 23 Jul 2024
Should you get the Amex Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer Credit Card?
Pros—What we like about it Cons—What we wish they could do better
– Earn KrisFlyer miles directly—that means no conversion fees
– 3.1 miles per $1 on Grab is a bonus
– Attractive welcome bonuses
We wish the foreign and local general spending earn rates were higher. Also, this isn’t really a disadvantage, but this card is meant for those only interested in earning KrisFlyer miles. Don’t get this card and mistakenly think you can earn miles for any miles programme.

The Amex Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer card is ideal if you’re collecting points for Singapore Airline’s KrisFlyer programme. There’s no need to redeem your points or pay a fee to convert them to miles—you’re already earning miles directly. All miles accumulated each month are automatically credited to your KrisFlyer account. Just be aware that KrisFlyer miles have a shelf-life of 3 years.

The basic earn rate is nothing to shout about. You get 2 miles for every $1 spent in foreign currency on eligible purchases during June and December every year, and 1.1 miles for every $1 spent on eligible local purchases. On the plus side, there’s no cap to these earnings.

What’s interesting is that they also reward you with 3.1 miles for every $1 spent on Grab in Singapore, valid for up to $200 per month. That’s an easy way to get a decent earn rate on your commutes, even if the cap is rather low.

The annual fee is $179.85, and it can be waived for the first year.

The card’s welcome bonuses are also quite attractive—you get up to 17,000 KrisFlyer miles if you spend at least $1,000 within the first month of approval. Valid from now till 30 Jun 2024.

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7. KrisFlyer UOB Credit Card

UOB logo
MoneySmart Exclusive
LUCKY DRAW | Earn up to 3 Miles per S$1 spend
on Singapore Airlines, Scoot, KrisShop, Kris+ purchases
S$1 = 3 Miles
on dining, food delivery, online shopping, online travel, and transport spend
S$1 = 3 Miles
on all other spend
S$1 = 1.2 Miles
MoneySmart Exclusive:

[LUCKY DRAW]
Stand a chance to win 54,000 Air Miles (worth a Round-Trip to Tokyo for 1) OR an Apple 11-inch iPad Pro WiFi, 256GB (worth S$1,499) OR an Apple Watch Series 9 GPS, 41mm (worth S$604.50) when you apply and meet the relevant spend criteria. T&Cs apply.
 
PLUS get up to 31,000 miles plus first year annual fee waived for new-to-UOB credit card customers who successfully apply for an eligible KrisFlyer UOB Credit Card and spend a min. of S$2,000 within 60 days of the card approval date on their card. T&Cs apply.

Valid until 11 Aug 2024
Should you get the KrisFlyer UOB Credit Card?
Pros—What we like about it Cons—What we wish they could do better
– Earn KrisFlyer miles directly—that means no conversion fees
– High earn rates of 3 KrisFlyer miles per $1 on selected categories
– Attractive welcome bonuses
– $800 minimum spend on Singapore Airlines-related transactions.

Most air miles cards let you earn more on your travel spending, but the KrisFlyer UOB Credit Card is one that offers a decent rate on everyday local spending. This stylish-looking card offers 3 KrisFlyer miles per $1 spent on dining, online shopping, online travel and transport card transactions. Like the Amex Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer Credit Card, there’s no miles conversion fees because you earn miles directly.

The catch is, to qualify for this earn rate, you must spend at least $800 per year on Singapore Airlines-related transactions (including KrisShop).

You also get 3 miles per $1 spent on Singapore Airlines, Scoot and KrisShop purchases, and 1.2 miles per $1 on other spending.

The card charges an annual fee of $196.20 which we can’t guarantee you can escape. But on the plus side, from now till 30 Jun 2024, you can get the first year’s annual fee waived and receive a welcome gift of up to 31,000 miles when you spend at least $2,000 within 60 days of the card approval date.

So while the UOB KrisFlyer card may not have the highest earn rates, it certainly offers lots of bonus miles as incentives.

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8. Maybank Horizon Card

Maybank logo
Online Promo
on Air Tickets and Foreign Currency Spend
S$1 = 7X Points
on local Shopping, Groceries, Dining, Hotel Bookings
S$1 = 3X Points
Rewards to Miles Conversion for Selected Airline Partners
1 Point = 0.4 Miles
Should you get the Maybank Horizon Card?
Pros—What we like about it Cons—What we wish they could do better
– High earn rate of 2.8 miles per $1 foreign spend and air tickets (in
– Fee waived for 3 years (usually it’s just the first year for many cards)
You have to work hard to snag the 2.8 miles per $1 spend rate—$800 minimum spend per month.

The Maybank Horizon Visa Signature doesn’t get much attention but is actually excellent for foreign spending. You earn 2.8 air miles (7X TREATS Points) whenever you spend on air tickets and foreign currency transactions—if you spend $800 a month. There’s no cap for TREATS Points earned for foreign spend.

You’ll also earn 1.2 air miles (3X TREATS Points) for every dollar you spend on local shopping, groceries, dining, hotel bookings and more.

You’ve probably guessed the main drawback to the Maybank Horizon Card. You need to spend at least $800 in a calendar month in order to qualify for the 2.8 miles earn rate. That’s a bummer considering a lot of air miles cards don’t even have minimum spending requirements.

Can’t meet the $800 spend requirement? You’ll earn 0.4 air miles (1X TREAT Point) per dollar with no minimum spend amount.

The card’s annual fee is $180, but waived for 3 years instead of the usual 1 year. If you spend at least $18,000 in a year you can get subsequent annual fee payments waived. There’s also no fees charged for supplementary cards.

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9. UOB PRVI Miles Card

UOB logo
MoneySmart Exclusive
LUCKY DRAW | Earn up to 6 Miles per S$1
Local Spend
S$1 = 1.4 Miles
Overseas Spend
S$1 = 2.4 Miles
Selected Online Hotel and Flight bookings
S$1 = 6 Miles
MoneySmart Exclusive:

[LUCKY DRAW]
Stand a chance to win 54,000 Air Miles (worth a Round-Trip to Tokyo for 1) OR an Apple 11-inch iPad Pro WiFi, 256GB (worth S$1,499) OR an Apple Watch Series 9 GPS, 41mm (worth S$604.50) when you apply and meet the relevant spend criteria. T&Cs apply.
 
PLUS get up to 50,000 miles from UOB when you spend a min. of S$1,000 on your new UOB PRVI credit card for 2 consecutive months from your card approval date, payable first-year annual fee and SMS registration required. T&Cs apply.

Valid until 11 Aug 2024
Should you get the UOB PRVI Miles Card?
Pros—What we like about it Cons—What we wish they could do better
– High general earn rates of 2.4 miles per $1 foreign spend, 1.4 miles per $1 local spend, bus and train rides
– High bonus earn rate of 6 miles per $1 with selected partners
– Attractive welcome gift—up to 50,000 miles
– No minimum spend, no cap on earned miles
 High annual fee of $261.60.

The UOB PRVI Miles Card offers the best rates for general overseas and local spending, at 2.4 miles per $1 spent overseas and 1.4 miles per $1 spend locally. You also get 6 miles per $1 spent on Agoda, Expedia and UOB Travel, as well as 1.4 miles per $1 spend on bus and train rides. All this, with no minimum spend and no cap on the miles you earn.

So, this card is a good one to use if you’re anticipating a big expense like a wedding banquet, as the 1.4 mile per $1 rate is among the highest you’ll be able to get on such miscellaneous local spending with no cap.

What about specific categories like dining and hotel bookings? You can get a generous 6 miles per $1 spend (UNI$15 per S$5 spend) on major airlines and hotels booked through Expedia and Agoda via the UOB PRVI Miles website. Psst, pair the UOB PRVI Miles Card with the Citi PremierMiles card to get the ultimate flight and hotel booking mile-earning combination!

The UOB PRVI Miles Card is certainly a notch above other miles cards with its fatter earn rates, but it also comes with a fatter annual fee of $261.60. Most entry-level miles cards don’t even cross the $200 mark in annual fees.

From now till 31 May 2024, UOB is also rewarding you with up to 50,000 miles for spending at least $1,000/month for 2 consecutive months, paying the annual card fee, and registering with UOB via SMS. It’s a pretty steep spending/payment requirement, but also a pretty generous bonus mile reward. If you only pay the annual credit card fee and don’t meet the spending requirements, you can still get up to 20,000 miles.

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10. Standard Chartered Journey Credit Card

Standard Chartered logo
MoneySmart Exclusive
Up to 45k Miles Offer
for every S$1 spend on Transportation, Food Delivery & Online Grocery merchants. Capped at 3,000 Miles in a statement cycle
S$1 = 3 Miles
for all Eligible Foreign Spends
S$1 = 2 Miles
for all Eligible Local Spends
S$1 = 1.2 Miles
MoneySmart Exclusive:

[Trip.com Coupon FLASH DEAL]
Get UPSIZED REWARDS of up to S$230* when you apply through MoneySmart and spend a min. of S$500 in eligible transactions within 30 days from card approval date! T&Cs apply.
 
PLUS earn up to 45,000 Miles when you sign up for the Journey Credit Card, meet the eligible spends and pay your card's first year Annual Fee. T&Cs apply.

Valid until 31 Jul 2024
Should you get the Standard Chartered Journey Credit Card?
Pros—What we like about it Cons—What we wish they could do better
– High general earn rate of 3 miles per $1 spend on transportation, food delivery and online grocery merchants
– 360 Rewards Points never expire
– Attractive welcome gift—up to 45,000 miles
We wish the general spend earn rates were higher—2 mpd on foreign spend and 1.2 mpd on local spend are pretty average rates.

If you spend regularly on transport and food online, the Standard Chartered Journey Credit Card might be the miles card for you. An entry-level credit card, it offers a high earn rate of 3 miles per S$1 on online transactions for transportation, food delivery and online grocery merchants. This is capped at 3,000 miles, which means you max out the bonus rate at S$1,000.

The SC Journey Credit Card also offers decent earn rates of 2 miles per S$1 foreign spend and 1.2 miles per S$1 local spend, which is comparable to most other air miles cards on this list. All earnings come in the form of 360 Rewards Points, which never expire and can be redeemed for miles, cash rewards, or shopping vouchers.

On top of the card’s promised complimentary travel insurance (up to $500,000 coverage) and 2 complimentary visits to Priority Pass lounges each year, Standard Chartered is also dangling another carrot to tempt you into getting their miles card: a welcome bonus of up to 45,000 miles!

From now till 30 Jun 2024, Standard Chartered is awarding up to 45,000 miles if you sign up for the Standard Chartered Journey Credit Card. The only downside is that the requirements to get this welcome bonus are pretty steep—you need to spend $3,000 in 2 months and pay the annual fee of $194.40.

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11. Entry-level vs premium miles cards in Singapore

All of the above credit cards are entry-level ones, meaning you can sign up once your annual income hits about $30,000.

But premium air miles credit cards for those more well off tend to offer better air miles earn rates and/or sign-up bonuses.

For instance, the American Express The Platinum Card is handing out a welcome bonus of 135,000 Membership Rewards points when you sign up for the card. That’s worth a return trip to the USA West Coast! Alternatively, you can receive S$500 Statement Credits + 69,500 Membership Rewards points. The catch? You must be prepared to fork out an annual fee of S$1,744 and meet the minimum spend requirement of $6,000 within the first 2 months of card approval.

And while Amex hasn’t disclosed the exact minimum income requirement, the usual $30,000 sum probably won’t cut it.

American Express logo
MoneySmart Exclusive
LUCKY DRAW | Membership Rewards Point never expire
for every S$1.60 spent with Singapore Airlines and Scoot
Earn 5 Membership Rewards® Points
for every S$1.60 spent with 10Xcelerator by Membership Rewards®
Earn 20 Membership Rewards® points
on Membership Rewards® Points
No Expiry Date
MoneySmart Exclusive:

[LUCKY DRAW | 1 to 23 July 2024]
Get up to 10 chances to win a 3 Day 2 Night stay at Capella Ubud, Bali (worth up to USD4,000) or a Samsonite Choca Spinner 68/25 Luggage (worth S$700) when you apply for The Platinum Card® and meet the requirements in the MoneySmart x American Express Lucky Draw! T&Cs apply.
 
[American Express Welcome Offer | 1 to 23 July 2024]
New & Existing American Express cardholder can get 98,000 Membership Rewards® points (enough to redeem a Return Trip to Auckland, New Zealand*) when you pay the card's annual fee and spend a min. of S$8,000 within the 2 month of card approval! T&Cs apply.

Valid until 23 Jul 2024

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12. What are air miles and how do they work?

Air miles are part of frequent flyer programmes (FFP), the best-known one here being Singapore Airlines’ KrisFlyer programme. KrisFlyer miles can be used on many partner airlines, including all of Star Alliance.

Technically, you can buy miles with cold hard cash. That’s what some people do — buy KrisFlyer miles because they have nothing better to spend their money on.

But why do that when a credit card will help you earn them for free, right? When you spend on an air miles credit card, you can accumulate frequent flyer miles either directly or by earning points (which you then convert to miles).

Once you’ve got your miles, you can put them towards your next holiday’s airfare. Woohoo!

Here’s a look at the bigger and more well-known FFPs in Singapore:

FFP

Airline

Notes

KrisFlyer

Singapore Airlines

Offered by all air miles cards (pay conversion fee).

Possible to earn directly (no conversion fee) with these SQ co-branded cards.

KrisFlyer miles can be used with SQ, Scoot, Star Alliance and SQ partner airlines.

Asia Miles

Cathay Pacific

Offered by many air miles cards (pay conversion fee).

Asia Miles can be used with CX, British Airways, Japan Airlines, Qantas, Lufthansa, Swiss and many others.

Miles & More

Lufthansa

Europe’s largest FFP, not available through air miles cards in Singapore.

But most Miles & More airlines are under Star Alliance, so you can use KrisFlyer miles.

 

how-do-air-miles-credit-cards-work

13. What should you look out for in a miles card?

Here are some factors you need to consider when evaluating miles cards:

  • Miles expiry date: Borders may largely be open now, but you never know when the next pandemic wave may hit and if travel restrictions will kick into high gear again. Or, maybe you just don’t travel frequently and need miles that don’t expire, such as those for the Citi PremierMiles Card and DBS Altitude Card. On the other hand, KrisFlyer miles expire in 3 years from the date they are credited to your account. If your card requires you to accumulate and then convert miles, you’ll also want to check the expiry date so you can convert them as late as possible.
  • Flexibility to redeem miles for other rewards: For a while, COVID-19 totally wrecked our ability to travel, and many of us might have started to wonder if we could spend our miles on something else. That’s why checking what else you can redeem miles for in an important consideration. See if you can use them to redeem other rewards or convert them to cashback. If you’re under the KrisFlyer programme, you can use your mile to make purchases at the online KrisShop.
  • Ease of earning miles without travelling: Many cards reward you more handsomely for spending overseas, but earning high rates for local and/or online spending will help you accumulate more miles faster while still in Singapore. The Maybank Horizon Card is a good option for high local spending earn rates.

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14. MoneySmart tip: Use a rewards credit card as a miles card

Before you rush to sign up for an air miles card, you should also know that rewards credit cards are a viable alternative to air miles cards.

So what’s the secret? Well, you actually earn rewards points (rather than miles) with many air miles cards. You can earn those same points with a rewards card as well, and later convert them to miles. In fact, you can think of air miles cards as simply a subset of rewards cards as the points-collecting mechanism is usually the same.

Broadly speaking, air miles cards reward travel-related spending, while rewards cards reward general local spending e.g. shopping and dining.

Good rewards credit cards offer high bonus points for the latter, making it possible to earn air miles more quickly. For example, the HSBC Revolution Credit Card we discussed above earns you the equivalent of 4 miles per $1 on online shopping and contactless payments.

However there are usually reward caps on these—for example, the HSBC Revolution card limits you to 9,000 Bonus reward points per month (about $1,000 spend), which may not be a large enough cap for heavier spenders (there’s no cap for the base points though). The best card (or combo of cards) really depends on your actual spending habits.

So if you want to be really thorough, check out some of the best rewards credit cards in Singapore as well.

 

Apply for the best air miles credit cards in Singapore and get attractive gifts for certain cards!

You can also check out our guide to Air Miles Credit Cards in Hong Kong.