Here in Singapore, one of the world’s most expensive cities, we’re used to paying a premium for lots of things. Whether it’s housing or cars, we Singaporeans rightfully complain a lot about the high costs, but ultimately still fork out thousands of dollars because for many of us, these are necessities.
So if there’s a high chance that you’ll be spending thousands of dollars in a short time, you might as well earn something for it. Like charging it to an air miles credit card.
If I’m going to be spending so much money, shouldn’t I use a cash back credit card instead?
Cash back credit cards are great if you’re spending smaller amounts of money regularly on specific categories like dining, groceries and petrol. Because of minimum spending requirements and maximum cash back rebates each month, it would be a waste to use most of them for big ticket expenditures.
Air miles credit cards, on the other hand, often have no minimum spending requirement or maximum limits to the amount of air miles you can earn. What’s more, many air miles credit cards have sign-up bonuses and other promotions to encourage you to spend large amounts with the card.
That said, of course it ultimately depends on whether you’re interested in accumulating air miles. I expect most Singaporeans do, however. According to a Visa study, about 95% of Singaporeans travelled overseas for leisure in the past two years.
Okay, say I want to earn air miles from my spending, which credit card should I get?
Although there are many air miles credit cards currently offered in Singapore, the most popular are the UOB PRVI Miles Card, the Standard Chartered Visa Infinite Credit Card, the American Express Krisflyer Ascend Card and the Citibank PremierMiles Card. Some of these cards are popular because of their high accrual rate, while others are popular because of the generous sign-up bonuses and other promotions.
Let’s take a look at each of them.
1. UOB PRVI Miles Card
The UOB PRVI Miles Card has one of the best miles accrual rates at 1.4 Miles per Singapore dollar spent locally, 2.4 Miles per dollar for every Singapore dollar spent overseas, and 6 Miles for every dollar spent on participating hotel and airline bookings on Expedia, Agoda and UOB Travel.
The UOB PRVI Miles Card has lowered its minimum annual income requirement for the MasterCard and Amex versions of the card to $30,000 per annum, down from the previous $50,000 so the card is definitely more accessible now.
If you are interested in the UOB PRVI Miles Card, you can apply here.
2. Standard Chartered Visa Infinite Credit Card
The Standard Chartered Visa Infinite is the other top credit card for air miles accrual rates at 1.4 Miles per Singapore dollar spent locally, and 3 miles per Singapore dollar spent overseas.
Sign Up Bonus: Most Impressively, the Standard Chartered Visa Infinite Credit Card has the most generous sign-up bonuses right now with the ability to earn a total of up to 86,000 miles if you spend $12,000 within the first 2 months and pay for the first year’s annual fee. Here’s how: By paying the annual fee, you receive 35,000 miles as a welcome gift. Then, spend $12,000 in the first 2 months overseas and earn 3 miles per dollar for a total of 36,000 miles. Finally, get an extra 15,000 miles for meeting a minimum spend of $12,000 in the first 2 months to get a total of 86,000 miles.
For priority banking customers with Standard Chartered, the Standard Chartered Visa Infinite Credit Card is easily attainable if you’re a Singaporean/PR drawing an annual income above $30,000, or if you’re a foreigner drawing $60,000 a year. However, if you’re not a priority banking customer, you’ll need to have a minimum annual income of $150,000.
If you are interested in the Standard Chartered Visa Infinite Credit Card, you can apply here.
- Local Spend
- S$1 = 1.2 Miles
- Overseas Spend
- S$1 = 2 Miles
- Grab rides
- S$1 = 3.2 Miles
The KrisFlyer Ascend Card earns 1.2 Miles per Singapore dollar spent locally and 2 Miles per Singapore dollar spent overseas.
Sign Up Bonus: In addition, you get 5,000 KrisFlyer miles the first time you charge to the card, and another bonus 15,000 KrisFlyer miles if you spend $6,000 in the first 3 months of your Card approval. Every $50 spent locally also increases your chances of winning a pair of business class tickets in their year-long lucky draw to new exotic countries every month.
On top of that, from now till 30 Sept 2017, spend an additional $4,000 in 3 months and get a swanky Samsonite Luggage case as well. Sign up bonuses aside, Amex is also running a Supplementary Cards offer, awarding 1,500 miles for every card applied. Their Member Get Member (MGM) program also gets you 2,000 miles if you refer a friend, so this all adds up to a significant number of miles that don’t require you to spend more money, especially with a first year fee waiver for supplementary cards.
The American Express Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer Ascend Credit Card is eligible for Singaporeans and PRs with a minimum annual income of $50,000. Foreigners need a minimum annual income of $60,000.
If you are interested in the American Express Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer Ascend Credit Card, you can apply here.
4. Citi PremierMiles Card
- Local Spend
- S$1 = Up to 1.2 Miles
- All Foreign Currency Spend including Retail and Online
- S$1 = 2 Miles
- Selected Online Hotel Bookings
- S$1 = Up to 10 Miles
The Citi PremierMiles Card earns 1.2 Miles per Singapore dollar spent locally and 2 Miles per Singapore dollar spent overseas.
You can earn 3 Citi Miles per Singapore dollar spent overseas (50% more) if you use it during the long weekends of the year. You can also earn up to 6 Miles per Singapore dollar spent on Agoda.com and 10 Miles per dollar spent on Kaligo.com.
Sign Up Bonus: To encourage you to spend, the Cit PremierMiles Card rewards up to 42,000 Miles. You get 15,000 Miles just for using the card. You also earn another bonus 15,000 Miles when you spend a total of $10,000 within the first 3 months. And because you’ve spent $10,000, you will earn at least 12,000 Miles at the rate of 1.2 Miles per Singapore dollar spent locally. However, this is only for new to Citi Credit Card customers who opt to pay first year card annual fee of $192.60. The Citi PremierMiles Card is eligible for those with a minimum annual income of $50,000.
[Update: As of 1 Mar 2018, the Citi PremierMiles Card is no longer running the promotion.]
If you’re interested in the Citi PremierMiles Card, apply here.
Hmmmm… so if I’m planning to spend a lot of money, which air miles credit card should I use?
Whether it’s a for a wedding banquet, your honeymoon holiday, renovation costs, or a new home theatre system, you may find yourself spending around $12,000 in a few months. Using that amount as an illustration, let’s see how many air miles you can earn from each card. For simplification, let’s assume it’s all local expenditure.
|UOB PRVI Miles Card||Standard Chartered Visa Infinite Credit Card||American Express Singapore Airlines Krisflyer Ascend Card||Citi PremierMiles Card|
|Sign-up bonus miles||N/A||35,000 Miles||5,000 Miles|
|Spending bonus miles||12,000 Miles||15,000 Miles||15,000 Miles|
|Miles Accrual||$12,000 x 1.4 Miles = 16,800 Miles||$12,000 x 1.4 Miles = 16,800 Miles||$12,000 x 1.2 Miles = 14,400 Miles|
|TOTAL||28,800 Miles||66,800 Miles||34,400 Miles|
So if you’re planning to spend about $12,000 in the next few months, and looking at how many air miles you could earn, it’s clear that the Standard Chartered Visa Infinite Credit Card is currently way ahead of the competition.
Of course, it must be said that this is only for new customers who opt to pay the first year annual fee of $558.50. But when you think about it, the opportunity to earn so much miles compared to other credit cards is worth spending the annual fee. If you aren’t going to spend that much, then consider how much you need to spend to hit the bonus miles accrual.
The UOB PRVI Miles card only requires a spend of $4,000 within 2 months to hit the 12,000 bonus miles (for new to bank customers) so consider how much you are going to spend within the stipulated time period for these sign up bonuses
Do you choose a credit card based on how many air miles you can earn? Let us know.