Credit Cards

Year-End Holidays: Read This Before Booking Anything

year end holiday credit card travel

Peter Lin


It’s the end of the year and you’re ready to get away for a much needed holiday with your family. You add up the price of the flight tickets, the hotel booking charge, the amount your kids are going to cost you when they destroy priceless art at every museum you visit, and you shit your pants.

But say you’ve already set aside enough cash for your trip, don’t book that flight just yet. You can save even more money when using your credit cards instead of paying by cash. Here are four categories in which your credit card can save you money on your year-end holiday:

  • Flight Booking
  • Hotel Booking
  • Overseas Spending (Shopping, Dining, etc.)
  • Other Benefits


Flight Booking

Depending on where you fly to, which credit card you use goes a long way into saving you money on your year-end holiday. The Citi PremierMiles card gets you discounts with Emirates and United Airlines. Obviously, for a trip to Australia or New Zealand, you’ll instead want to fly Qantas with the ANZ Travel Visa Signature card to earn the most miles.

holiday flight booking credit card

Hotel Booking

The online hotel booking industry is booming with so many options, but when it comes to value, you can’t go wrong with Mastercard. Using a Mastercard gives you 20% off over 200 hotels in the Asia Pacific region. If you’re travelling to Malaysia, use a Citibank card to get 15% off hotels. The HSBC Visa Platinum card can give you discounts up to 9% and additional cash rebates of up to 6%.

holiday hotel booking credit card


Overseas Spending (Shopping, etc.)

The ANZ Travel Visa Signature is the clear winner, earning 2.8 air miles for every $1 you spend in Australia or New Zealand. If you’re headed somewhere else for your holiday, consider the OCBC Titanium card if you’re planning to spend over $1500 in the month. Otherwise, the Citi PremierMiles Visa card earns you a flat 2 air miles with no minimum spend or a “conversion fee” of S$25 per transfer, which is a good deal.

holiday overseas shopping credit card

Of course, when spending overseas in any foreign currency, you should also be aware that banks may not use the foreign exchange rate at the time of your transaction. There are also “hidden” fees like the foreign exchange conversion fee which is included in your transaction amount. So expect all your foreign currency transactions to cost at least 1-2% more than expected. Here are some other credit card fees you might not know about.

Be sure to also read this article on how to avoid credit card fraud when overseas.


Other Benefits

The ANZ Travel Visa Signature comes out tops for the additional services it provides like Veloce VIP and Priority Pass membership, as well as up to $1m in travel insurance. Being a Visa Signature card as well, it also gives you discounts on car rentals, among other privileges. Coming in a close second is the Citi PremierMiles card, which has many of the same benefits.

holiday travel insurance credit card

The “free” travel insurance packages these credit cards offer seem comprehensive, but do avoid these common mistakes. You can also consider using our travel insurance comparison tool to find one that best suits your needs.

Which credit card is best for travel?

The results speak for themselves. If you’re travelling to Australia or New Zealand this year-end, you definitely should pick up the ANZ Travel Visa Signature card. If you’re headed somewhere else in the world, we would highly recommend the Citi PremierMiles card, which gives you discounts on flights, hotels and rewards you generously for spending overseas. Also, forgetting travel insurance could be a costly mistake, so get the best package to suit your needs over at MoneySmart’s Travel Insurance Comparison Page.

Where are you planning to go this year-end holiday? Which credit card are you bringing? Do share with us!

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Peter Lin

I am the poster boy for reinventing one's self. I've been a broadcast journalist, technical writer, banking customer service officer and a Catholic friar. My life experiences have made me the most cynical idealist you'll ever meet, which is why I'm also the co-founder of a local pop culture website. I believe ignorance is not bliss, and that money is the root of all evil only if you allow it to be.