Anyone who says Singaporeans live to eat isn’t telling the full story. We live to eat—and travel, which is why we’re some of the world’s most frequent travellers, with the average Singaporean having made an average of 5.2 overseas trips over the past year according to a survey earlier this year.
So it’s safe to say that being able to amass KrisFlyer miles is something that would interest most of us.
The only problem is, when you’re a fresh grad with a less-than-stellar starting pay, accumulating enough frequent flyer miles to be able to go anywhere with them isn’t so easy. After all, you need to spend money to earn miles, whether on flights or on a credit card does gives you miles.
Here are three tactics you can use to earn air miles even on a modest starting salary.
Get a credit card whose miles don’t expire
Earning air miles is easy if you’re already loaded and can spend thousands of dollars every month on one single credit card.
But when you’re broke, you’ll find that your miles might expire before you can even collect enough to exchange for a decent flight. What’s more, with an average starting pay, you won’t qualify for most of the better cards with higher income requirements which offer more attractive miles conversion rates.
The solution? Get a credit card whose miles/rewards points to be converted to miles don’t expire. This is essential if you actually want to be able to use your points someday. That way, even if it takes 20 years before you can claim a decent flight, your miles will still be there for you.
We recommend: Points accrued on the DBS Altitude card don’t expire, so you can let them accumulate until you’re ready to convert them to miles.
Get a rewards card with points acceleration
If your salary is nothing to write home about, your air miles will accrue so slowly you’ll be dead by the time you can claim a flight anywhere further than KL.
The solution is to get a credit card which gives you more bang for your buck by enabling you to chock up points at an accelerated rate.
Many cards offer a better miles conversion rate if you spend in specific categories. So pick one that rewards you for, say, online shopping or groceries, and then always use it to pay for spending in that category. Just spending a bit of money in categories that earn you a miles at a higher rate is a lot more effective than spending tons of money but only earning points at a base rate.
We recommend: Citi Rewards Card, with its relatively low annual income requirement of $30,000, is within reach of many fresh grads. The card enables you to earn 10 times the number of rewards points when you shop for shoes, bags and clothes, whether online or off/locally or overseas, as well as for shopping at department stores. These points can then be exchanged for air miles.
Pay for everything using your cards
Each time you pay for something in cash, you are losing the opportunity to earn miles on that spending.
So use your cards to pay for everything you can. And if you’re not going to be spending that much on your own given your current salary, sneakily find ways to pay for your friends and family and have them give you the money back in cash.
For instance, if you’re in a group of five people, you can offer to pay for the group using your card and have them return you the money in cash. People are usually fine with that… unless there’s another person who is also competitive about earning air miles. You can also get a supplementary card for family members so they can help you to earn points, too.
We recommend: One card that rewards you for spending any amount in any category is the Amex Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer credit card. We normally would recommend the Amex Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer Ascend credit card, but the income requirements for that card are significantly higher.
- Local Spend
- S$1 = 1.1 Miles
- Overseas Spend
- S$1 = 2 Miles
- Grab rides
- S$1 = 3.1 Miles
Which frequent flyer programmes are you a member of and how do you normally amass points? Tell us in the comments!