While travel may not be on your mind at the moment, given the current global climate of Covid-19, I’m sure it’s something you’d like to embark on soon.
And if you’re planning to travel soon, did you know that the more you spend, the more you earn, the more likely you are to get a free flight ticket?
Well, that’s what miles credit cards are for!
In this article, we will be exploring the best credit cards for airline miles.
5 Best Air Miles Credit Cards in Singapore
Get It Here
Best Air Miles Credit Card
Citi PremierMiles Credit Card
Best Air Miles Credit Card for SIA/Krisflyer
American Express (AMEX) Singapore Airlines Krisflyer
Best Air Miles Credit Card with Minimal Fees
Best Air Miles Credit Card for Shoppers
Best Air Miles Credit Card for Frequent Flyers
UOB PRVI Miles Card
Comparison of Air Miles Credit Cards in Singapore
The following table depicts our 5 picks for the best credit cards for airline miles according to the 3 factors of annual fees, mile per dollar ratio, and redemption fees.
|Card||Annual Fee (S$)||Miles Earned (local)||Miles Earned (overseas)||Redemption fees (per redemption)|
|Citi PremierMiles Card||S$192.60*||S$1 = 1.2 miles||S$1 = 2 miles||S$25|
|Maybank Horizon Card||S$180*||S$1 = 3.2 miles for dining, petrol, transport, and on Agoda (with min. monthly spend of S$300)||S$1 = 2 miles (with min. monthly spend of S$300)||S$25|
|UOB PRVI Miles Card||S$256.80*||S$1 = 1.4 miles||S$1 = 2.4 miles||S$25|
S$1 = 4 miles (for online and contactless payments)
S$1 = 0.4 miles (for non-contactless payments)
|Information not available||Information not available|
American Express (AMEX)
Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer
S$1 = 3.1 miles (for eligible Grab transactions)
S$1 = 2 miles (for Singapore Air online & App, SilkAir, KrisShop in-flight & online purchases)
S$1 = 1.1 miles (for eligible local spending)
|S$1 = 2 miles||None|
*Fee waiver possible
Note: credit card and miles’ offers are accurate as of 14/1/2022 and are subject to changes.
The following table is a breakdown of fees and additional features or requirements for each card (including the appealing factors for some).
|Citi PremierMiles Card||
· No minimum spend for miles earned locally or overseas
· Free Travel Accident Insurance up to S$1,000,000 coverage, Medical Assistance Programme and Travel Inconvenience Coverage
· Miles never expire
· Annual fee payable after the first year
· Bonus 45,000 miles as a welcome gift
|Maybank Horizon Card||
· A generous 3.2 air miles for every S$1 spent on dining, petrol, taxi fares (including Grab), and hotel bookings
· Free Travel Insurance up to S$1,000,000
· Annual fee waived for 3 years
· Subsequent annual fee payments can be waived if you spend S$18,000 in a year
· Minimum spend of $300 per month
|UOB PRVI Miles Card||
· Miles earned per dollar for overseas rate includes online shopping on overseas websites
· No minimum spend
· No cap on earned miles
· Complimentary Travel Insurance coverage of up to S$500,000 (T&Cs apply)
· 1-year fee waiver for the annual fee
· No annual fee
· 4 miles per S$1 spent on airline bookings, food delivery, and retail – online shopping and through contactless payments such as Visa PayWave, Google Pay, and Apple Pay (great for earning miles daily)
· No minimum spend
|American Express (AMEX) Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer||
· 3 different miles per dollar ratios (or 3 different ways to earn miles) – S$1 = 1.1 miles (for local spending), S$1 = 2 miles (for shopping with the airlines), and S$1 = 3.1 miles (for Grab purchases)
· Miles earned per dollar for the local rate at S$1 = 3.1 KrisFlyer miles for Grab purchases, capped at S$200 per month (maximum of 620 miles to be earned)
· Miles directly credited into KrisFlyer account (hassle-free transaction) – zero conversion fee
· Free Travel Insurance
· 1st-year fee waiver for the annual fee
· Bonus 5,000 miles upon first use of the card
Note: for all cards, the minimum annual income requirement for Singaporeans is S$30,000 (S$2,500 per month)
Now that we have established the 5 credit cards and their specifications, which one should you get?
For our 5 picks, the spectrum of customers will be from prudent to lavish spenders.
If you are cautious with your expenses, the best air miles credit card for you would be one with a cheaper annual fee and redemption fee, as well as a higher mile per dollar ratio.
Although you may lose out on certain benefits due to the premium you won’t be paying, this way, you can still spend less, but earn sufficient miles as you use your credit card.
Thus, the best cards for you would be the Citi PremierMiles Card, Amex Card, and HSBC Revolution Card.
1. Best Overall Miles Credit Card: Citi PremierMiles Card
Overall, of the 3, I’d say that the Citi PremierMiles Card is the best (but also the most expensive.
Its annual fee is slightly higher than the AMEX card but still affordable. However, typically, the higher the annual fee, the more benefits the card provides.
This is true for Citi PremierMiles, as it offers travel perks such as insurance, a medical assistance programme, and travel inconvenience coverage.
Additionally, it also has a munificent free gift of 45,000 miles and no minimum spend.
With the Citi PremierMiles’ bonus miles, it would allow you to get a free Economy Class return ticket to Bangkok or Hong Kong, without you even spending anything yet!
Alternatively, if you are aiming for more exotic destinations like Europe and such, you can choose to continue earning your miles – which don’t expire!
This means that you can take your time spending and earning your way to your dream vacation, without having to worry about starting all over again when they expire.
The only downside is that, compared to the HSBC Revolution card, you might take a little longer to earn your miles (local rate for HSBC is 4 miles/S$1 while Citi’s is 1.2miles/S$1).
However, as not many cards have non-expiring miles, I’d say that the Citi PremierMiles is still a really good deal.
2. Best Miles Credit Card for SIA/KrisFlyer Patrons: AMEX Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer
Next, if your budget is a little tighter, you have an airline preference for SIA flights only, and want a straightforward airline credit card, the AMEX card is for you.
Their annual fee is slightly cheaper than other air miles cards with a first-year fee waiver, and their miles-per-dollar ratios are quite worthwhile.
You can earn miles in 3 different ways: through eligible local spending, shopping with the airlines directly, or my favourite, with Grab purchases.
Though, while you can only earn a maximum of 620 miles per month with Grab purchases, this card does have attractive freebies such as free travel insurance and a bonus of 5,000 miles upon your first use of the card.
However, the most appealing factor for this card, is of course, their zero redemption fees.
With the AMEX card, you can have an easy redemption as the miles will be directly credited into your KrisFlyer account!
Overall, the AMEX card doesn’t have much to complain about, other than their S$200 cap per month to gain miles with Grab, which may be an issue if you tend to spend more.
3. Best Miles Credit Card with Minimal Fees: HSBC Revolution
Lastly, if you really want to save on the annual fees, not have to worry about a spending limit, then your best player is the HSBC Revolution card.
While it lacks the travel perks that Citi and AMEX offer with their cards, the HSBC Revolution card is still decent.
You enjoy zero annual fees, no minimum spend, and can still earn up to 4 miles per S$1 spent on airline bookings, food delivery, and retail (provided it is online or via contactless payments).
Also, if it’s worth knowing, their 4 miles per S$1 offer is actually one of the highest miles-per-dollar ratios.
Not to mention, as more people become more digitally savvy and shop online to avoid contracting Covid-19 by shopping outside, if you are someone who regularly splurges on online shopping, this card is suitable for you.
With their high miles-per-dollar ratio, even if they may expire, you can still earn fast if you spend a lot.
If you fall into the lavish spender category and are willing to give more to get more, then the cards for you are the Maybank Horizon and UOB PRVI Miles cards.
4. More Affordable Miles Credit Card with Some Luxury Perks: Maybank Horizon
Firstly, if you still have a limit to how much you’ll spend, but are still looking for a few luxury perks, the Maybank Horizon card might be suited to you.
With its minimum spend of S$300/month and a 3-year annual fee waiver, it may be a little more financially manageable.
Though you might have to keep at the habit of meeting the minimum spend monthly (since the miles may expire), if you use the card for your monthly groceries shopping, taxi fees, and dining, I’m sure you can hit S$300.
As for earning miles, as they also offer a rather grand ratio for their local spending, it might even allow you to reach your desired number of miles faster, if you spend a lot.
Overall, the card is still more affordable than the UOB card, but it is more fit for daily local expenditures.
5. Best Miles Credit Card for Frequent Flyers: UOB PRVI Miles Card
As for the UOB card, you get to enjoy travel privileges such as insurance coverage of up to S$500,000.
Though you pay a higher annual fee, the insurance coverage is still lower compared to Citi and Maybank’s cards which offer up to a million dollars.
So, if you’re wondering why UOB’s annual fee is significantly higher, it’s because it is more catered towards frequent flyers, who can earn 6 miles for every S$1 spent on Expedia, Agoda, and UOB Travel. Thus, if you fly frequently, you can earn more with this card than the rest.
Additionally, they also have an annual fee waiver for the first year and no minimum spend or cap on earned miles, so you can still save a little money.
However, if you aren’t a frequent flyer, but shop on overseas websites a lot, this card is still a good choice for you, as the miles-per-dollar ratio for the overseas rate includes online shopping on websites.
What Are Miles Credit Cards and How To Choose One?
Otherwise also known as travel credit cards or airline credit cards, miles credit cards are like a membership benefit that some credit cards offer, in which customers are rewarded for spending.
How it Works
While it differs for each credit card and its partnered airline company, typically, the way these cards work is the more you spend, the more ‘miles’ you earn.
The term ‘miles’ can be viewed as the reward points, that reflect the amount of money you have spent. As such, when you have earned a certain number of miles, you can redeem free flights – subject to the partnered airline company’s miles requirements.
Not to be confused with frequent flyer programs that airlines offer, miles credit cards allow you to accumulate ‘miles’ by using the credit card, rather than by actually travelling frequently. Hence, you can earn your miles by using your credit card for travel or non-travel purchases.
In other words, while you may be accustomed to saving money on the side for travel, but still spending money for your daily needs, travel credit cards allow you to kill two birds with one stone, by spending and earning simultaneously.
Do note, however, that the miles you need to earn for whatever destination you have in mind, can range from 25,000 to 80,000 – depending on the airline company, your ticket class, and the destination itself. Thus, it might take months or even years to accumulate enough miles, depending on your spending habits.
Factors to Consider
When choosing the right miles credit card, it is important to first determine what your needs are, as each credit card caters to different people.
When considering your needs, there are many aspects you may want to prioritise, such as your budget, travel habits, daily expenditure, etc.
Thus, to make the comparison simpler, the following are a few factors we will use to evaluate the best miles credit card:
- Annual fee of the credit card (a yearly fee for use of the card)
- Mile per dollar ratio – both locally and overseas (how many miles you earn per dollar spent), and
- Redemption fees – if any (a fee to convert your credit card miles to the partner airline’s miles)
Additionally, to distinguish the most suited card for you, we will also be taking a look at the following appealing factors, if applicable:
- Bonus miles (awarded for certain purchases, allowing you to reach your desired number of miles sooner)
- The miles’ expiry
In a nutshell, when it boils down to which card is the best, the answer may be different based on what your needs are.
Are you looking for more perks?
Do you want to spend less?
Or do you want a bit of both?
Therefore, as always, when it comes to financial decisions, establish your needs first, do your own research, then make a choice.