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Week 2 & 3 Winners: All about credit cards

cover photo by peaceful-jp-scenery


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Sorry for the delay in the competition! I’ve been busy travelling and work has piled up in my absence. But don’t worry, we’re going to have a bumper giveaway this week with Weeks 2 & 3 combined.

We have 2 great questions today, from Ling and Jason. First question is from Jason-

Best cards for 1st time travellers?

The answer to this question again depends on your objectives. I’m assuming that since you came here you’re interested in earning miles and points instead of cashback (which by the way, is totally the right decision). So therefore I’ll answer in that manner.

Assuming your income allows it, you should have the following gameplan

1. Get the DBS Altitude Visa, make a first spend of S$800 and get 12,000 miles. Thereafter put card into storage

2. Get the AMEX Rewards card, make a first spend of S$1,500 and get 13,333 miles. Transfer the miles for S$20 and put the card into storage

3. Get the Krisflyer Ascend card and go for the first year fee waiver option. Go to Watsons and buy a packet of tissues, pay with the card to get your 5,000 mile activation bonus. Put card into storage.

4. Get the ANZ Travel card, spend S$500 and get 2,000 bonus miles (on top of the 700 miles that this spending would normally generate)

5. Get the DBS Altitude AMEX. Apply online so you get 2,000 free miles. For the next 6 months, put all general/overseas/online spending on this to get the 50% bonus. 1.8 miles for local general spend, 3 miles for overseas spend and 4.5 miles for online purchases of airtickets and hotels (per S$1). Get the UOB Preferred Platinum Card and use it for all restaurant bills- 4 miles per S$1

There- you’ve now got 6 cards (which is completely manageable- just make sure to set up GIRO and cancel them before annual fees are charged). Of these 6, you only need 3 in your wallet- the DBS Altitude AMEX, the UOB Preferred Platinum AMEX and the ANZ Travel Card (to be used where AMEX is not accepted)

You’ve also spent $2,801 (assuming your Watson’s tissues cost $1) and got 35,033 miles out of it- that’s enough for a one way economy class ticket to most SQ destinations (but you shouldn’t be using your miles on that, of course), or a one way business class ticket to Japan.

You’re also in a great position to build up those miles over the next 6 months thanks to the 50% bonus on your AMEX Altitude. Just remember that the 4.5 miles per S$1 is only valid for hotel and flight bookings that are transacted entirely online. That’s to say- if you book a prepaid rate and make payment online for a hotel, that’s ok. If you use your card to secure a refundable rate and make payment later at the hotel, that’s not counted and you’ll earn either 1.8 miles or 3 miles, depending on the currency the transaction goes through.

Now, I certainly believe that 6 cards is more than manageable (I’m on 11 now, but that’s probably a bit too much for most people). However, if I had to pick 3, as ling asks in the question below, what would I do?

 if I only want a max of 3 cards, and the bulk of my expenses are dining, online and misc, am I right that the correct cards are Citibank rewards, Uob preferred platinum Amex and Anz travel card?

If you only want 3 cards, and if that’s your pattern of spending you should get the following

  • ANZ Travel Card (use on general spending, 1.4 miles per S$1)
  • UOB Preferred Platinum card (4 miles per S$1 on restaurants
  • DBS women’s card (for online shopping, online transactions, 4 miles per S$1 up to S$2,000 per month)

The Citibank card is an ok call if you mainly shop for clothes, handbags, shoes, or at department stores. You get 4 miles per S$1 with no cap. However, if you do most of your shopping online the DBS Women’s card is more flexible. Remember- you get bonus points for all your online transactions- so even things like Uber, airline tickets etc will get 4 miles per dollar. Refer here for a list that the helpful people over at HWZ have compiled that shows their track record for getting 4 miles.

can points from different credit cards go towards claiming a single plane ticket?

Ling’s second question was about whether points can be pooled. Short answer, yes they can all be pooled. For example if i have a DBS, citibank and uob card, all I do is specify my FFP number at the time I transfer the miles. You’ll be paying 3 separate transfer fees, though, approx $20 per transfer (DBS’s fee is about $40 but that’s a fee that covers unlimited conversions for the year).

But if you’re asking whether someone else can transfer points from their card to your FFP, the answer is a bit less clear. This is definitely possible- in fact if you look online you’ll find points brokers who offer to sell you miles at a particular rate. But it’s against the T&C of the FFP, and if you’re caught they can shut down and confiscate all your miles. In any case, you need to enter your FFP number when registering to transfer points, and the name on the FFP should match the name you have with the bank.

Keep sending those questions in- 1 week of the competition left!

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