2016: Which card to use when?

2016 is here and it’s time to review the gameplan. I’ve sort of covered this already in the 2016 Credit Card strategy, but that was more specific to me. Here I’m going to lay out the credit card landscape as of 1 Jan- which cards should you use in order to maximise your miles earning for 2016?

Consolidation is the name of the game for me in 2016. An audit of my ANZ and Citibank accounts showed that I have 11,378 ANZ Travel$, 12,338 Citibank Premiermiles and the equivalent of 13,942 miles in my Citibank Rewards card. I understand I can manually get the CSO to transfer the Citibank points at one go and only incur 1 transfer fee, but I’m still a bit iffy about incurring $25 to cashout those 11,378 Travel $ in ANZ (in any case the maximum I can get out is now 10,000 thanks to their new minimum transfer amounts)

For each of these categories I’m going to tell you what you “should” use (to get the most miles, i.e. what is technically the best card to use in that situation) versus what I “will” use (in order to consolidate my miles within UOB/DBS as far as possible)

Keep in mind that promotions may pop up throughout the year that will require you to re-evaluate your strategy.

General spending- Local

The UOB PRVI Miles portfolio reigns supreme still at 1.4 miles per $1. No reason to change a winning formula, so I’m going to stick with this one for 2016. I predict this will form the bedrock of my overall spending strategy

Should use: UOB PRVI Miles

Will use: As above

General spending- Overseas

The word on the street is that UOB has stopped taking applications for the UOB Visa Signature card at this point, but those of us who already have it can continue spending to enjoy 4 miles per $1 on overseas spending, capped at the first S$2,000 per statement period (not month!). You have to spend a minimum of S$1,000 to qualify for the bonus though.

After I’ve maxed out the S$2,000 I will switch back to the UOB PRVI Miles card to enjoy the 2.4 miles per $1

Should use: UOB Visa Signature for first S$2,000, then back to UOB PRVI Miles

Will use:  As above

Paypal

paypal

I make a lot of Paypal payments so this is an important category for me. I learned, a bit late unfortunately, that Paypal payments made with an SG-registered Paypal account are processed through an SG-based payment processor. So even if you use Paypal to pay in foreign currency, UOB will award miles based on 1.4 miles per $1, ie the local spend rate.

Because of this, the right thing to do is use UOB PRVI Miles for Paypal transactions in SGD, and DBS Altitude for Paypal transactions in forex (where you’ll earn 2 miles per $1)

Even better, remember that Paypal transactions count as online spend for the purpose of maxing out your $2,000 DBS Woman’s World card at 4 miles per $1.

Should use: DBS Woman’s Card for first $2,000 (local or forex), DBS Altitude for subsequent forex payments, UOB PRVI Miles for subsequent SGD payments

Will use: As above

Dining

dining

I’ve covered this previously in the Dining card analysis article, so check that one out. Long story short, so long as UOB Preferred Platinum AMEX is in the game, stick with that. After which, Citibank Clear Platinum for me. I know that HSBC Advance Visa Platinum is a better choice in that you get 4 miles per $1 for dining spend, but you need to set up a special account to get that card (and besides I have no interest in creating further orphan miles

Should use: UOB Preferred Platinum AMEX OR HSBC Advance Visa Platinum

Will use: UOB Preferred Platinum AMEX with Citibank Clear Platinum Visa as a backup

Shopping

shopping

For online shopping you can use either the Citibank Rewards Card or the DBS Woman’s World Card. I’m sticking with DBS Woman’s for consolidation reasons, and also because they award the 4 miles for any online transaction, not just “shopping”.

Citibank Rewards on the other hand will not award bonus points for bill payments, fine payments, subscription fees, buying movie tickets etc.

For offline shopping, I’m sticking to the Citibank Rewards card in the hope of building up a critical mass (say, 50,000 miles?) sometime in 2016 before cashing out my Citibank points and cancelling the PremierMiles card. I will keep the Citibank Rewards card for Amazon purchases and for the occasional purchase of the big-ticket item.

Should use: DBS Woman’s World card for online, Citibank Rewards card for offline

Will use:  As above

Paywave Merchants

paywave

I wanted to include this as a separate category because I’ve received quite a few questions on it. TL;DR version. If a paywave merchant awards Smart$ (cash rebate), you will not earn UNI$ (which are convertible into miles) on the same transaction

Here is the list of Paywave Merchants (1)

Here is the list of SMART$ Merchants (2)

If you find someone on list (1) BUT NOT list (2), go ahead and use your UOB Preferred Platinum Visa there and enjoy 4 miles per $1. Unfortunately, most of the big fish like Cold Storage, Giant and Caltex all award SMART$.

Should use: UOB Preferred Platinum Visa

Will use: UOB PRVI Miles (unless someone is kind enough to go through both lists and figure out which merchants are kosher)

Air Tickets & Hotels

airplane2

Both of these are online transactions and as such you should be using the DBS Woman’s World card. Note that there are a couple of exceptions where you won’t earn 4 miles per $1 (eg if you use the SQ mobile app to book tickets), so check it against this list before you buy anything.

EDIT: When it comes to hotels, using the DBS Woman’s World Card is ok for Expedia, Agoda and other OTAs, but if you book via the official website (www.hilton.com for example) you don’t get the online bonus

That said, suppose you’ve maxed out your $2K for the month- what next?  DBS Altitude will earn you 3 miles per $1 for hotel and airfares- but do remember that this is only for online hotel payment. That is, suppose you book a refundable rate, secure it with your Altitude card, check in and at check out swipe your Altitude card again at the front desk to make payment. That does not count as an online hotel payment! Contrast that to me booking a non-refundable rate online and paying with the DBS Altitude card. In this case, the payment is taken immediately from my card and counts as online hotel spend for the purposes of Altitude bonuses. Remember- payment must be done online!

Note that if you are currently within the sign up promotion period for the DBS Altitude cards, then those should absolutely be your first port of call here (4.5 miles or even 6 miles is a possibility)

One key difference to point out between the UOB PRVI Miles and the DBS Altitude- UOB gives 3 miles per $1 on SQ and MI spending, DBS gives 3 miles per $1 on all airlines (first $10,000 spend per month).

Should use:  DBS Woman’s card for first $2,000, DBS Altitude subsequently

Will use:  As above

Other Categories

You might like to know that Kaligo still has an ongoing bonus with Citibank Premiermiles where you earn 10 miles per $1. That’s an incredible value and if you’re committed to consolidating on Citibank then that’s something to take note of.

Also, Expedia has a promotion for 6 miles per $1 for Citibank Premiermiles cards until end July 2016.

You may want to read this article about bill payments as well.

Are there any other categories you can think of other than the ones I’ve mentioned here that earn bonus miles?

cover photo by uditha

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70 thoughts on “2016: Which card to use when?”

  1. Loving the work Milelion! Your research makes my life a lot easier!

    I have the HSBC advance credit card so trying to consolidate with that and Prvi card. Although the minute hsbc stop the 10x points promo points like they did for a few months last year the card is then useless.

    Also for hotels I see you are booking a lot through OTA’s however with the major chains you won’t be able to get any loyalty points and miles unless book direct. With all the points promos and status matching from them at the moment I would of thought this is a better way.

    1. Oh, I always book direct when it comes to starwood. however, if the local market doesn’t have one I then consider OTAs to be the next best option at least get some miles out of a no-name hotel stay. That said, given that I now have hilton diamond/hyatt diamond status, I might want to stay in one of those properties at least once to enjoy the benefits, for which i’ll need to book through the official channel

      1. How about Airbnb, roomorama, 9flats? Can we book and get the miles with dbs altitude and get miles after maxing out dbs world women?

  2. The HSBC Advance also have a cap of 200 dollars per month for any transitions to EZ-Link Pte Ltd. This can be a big considerations when considering transactions for Im@g1ne/F3v0. However, its good if you want a huge purchase online like for example, an engagement ring from James Allen. For paywave, its mainly Cold Storage/Shen Siong and Coffee Bean that are the common merchants. The work around is to use DBS Woman pair with other cards for buying groceries.

    Also, I had apply the UOB AMEX Dining card via SMS but didnt get it.

  3. Corrections, the 3 common merchants are Cold Storage, Coffee Bean and Giant that won’t earn UNI$ for using the UOB Preferred Platinum. Work around its to earn points if buying groceries with them is to be creative and explore combining different cards benefit together.

    1. So the workaround instead, is to visit FairPrice, Starbucks, although with Starbucks, using the CitiRewards gets you both miles AND a 10% rebate. 🙂

  4. Great post as always :)!

    The only thing I’ll add is that the UOB VISA Signature requires a minimum of $1K spend overseas, capped at $2K, in order to earn 4 miles/$.

      1. @Aaron, you may also want to add the caveat about the credit card currency options at most places. The cardholder has to select the Foreign Currency option when charging to the card, else if billed in SGD, it counts as a local transaction, even if physically overseas.

    1. You cant apply it at branch office physically, that’s what had happened to me. The person serving me said that UOB intended to replace the miles card with visa signature, but had yet to update the website to reflect the changes. I got the card via online application last month.

  5. Hi Milelion,

    Thanks for the comprehensive summary! Just wanna check with you…what’s the success rate like for the recommended cards mentioned above to get a waiver off the annual fees? I am assuming that the above recommendation will only be worthwhile without the fees incurred?

    Cheers!

    1. Hey man. Really depends on the banks. Anecdotally, the only bank to ever deny me a fee waiver is OCBC, which is why I don’t use their cards anymore. I’ve just been billed the annual fee for the DBS woman’s card, the anz travel card and the citibank premiermiles card. one phone call each got those fees waived. as a datapoint, i spent no more than 24K on the DBS woman’s, ~12K on anz travel and ~10k on citibank premiermiles in the membership year. So i don’t think you need to hit a very high spending minimum to get it (on the other hand ,if you’ve spent absolutely nothing on those cards they might be less inclined to waive it)

      I’ve mentioned before in this post why you should never pay annual fees (unless you get something out of it, in which case you can consider if the miles you get are worth it)

  6. Just got the UOB Preferred Platinum AMEX today, which previously I thought I am not going to get it. I applied the card via SMS.

    1. That is fantastic news. So it appears they’ve not made any changes on the back end then. I’d better highlight this to everyone

  7. While applying for the DBS Woman’s World Card & Altitude Visa card (due to the Signup Bonus), I was informed by someone from the call centre that Altitude Visa card can earn miles, while Woman’s World Card can only earn DBS points, but cannot be exchange for miles.

    That seems to be incorrect, as based on DBS Rewards Site (https://www.dbs.com.sg/Resources/personal/docs/cards/rewards/dbs_rewards_booklet_6.pdf), you can exchange 5k DBS points for 10k KF miles.

    Do let others know, in case they get confused by DBS call centre.

    1. that’s really quite ridiculous. i don’t know what kind of training the CSOs are getting. in fact, both Altitude and Woman’s card earn DBS points, not miles. you convert those DBS points into miles at a rate of 1 DBS point= 2 miles (min 5K dbs points). There is no card that “directly” earns miles (except the co-branded AMEX Krisflyer cards where they credit the miles directly to your KF account). UOB, ANZ etc all have their own currency which you then convert into miles.

      thanks for the heads up!

  8. I have a few questions for large spendings. My wedding banquet will cost a minimum of $40k and the furnishing of my new flat will cost another $20k or more. Do you have any recommendation to maximise miles rewards for my given situation?

    Amex Ascend is offering a bonus of 40,000 miles for spending of $10k. With 0.8 miles for every $1 spend, I will get a total of 48,000 miles for $10,256.80 (inclusive of annual fee) which comes to 4.67 miles per dollar.

    Ascend is also offering 300 bonus miles for every $500 spend which comes to 1.43 miles per dollar. I believe this is comparable to UOB PRVI Miles of 1.4 miles per dollar right? Just wondering how come your verdict for UOB is to keep as the main card for general spend but to cancel Ascend?

    UOB PRVI Amex is offering 8,000 welcome bonus miles and 20,000 bonus miles for spending of $50k. With 1.4 miles for every $1 spend, I will get get a total of 98,000 miles for $50,000 which comes to 1.96 miles per dollar.

    I plan to apply for 2 Ascend card (my wife and myself) and 1 PRVI Amex (myself) to maximise the miles for $70k. Do you think this is the right way to go about it? How will this affect me when I am using the miles?

    Sorry for the lengthy post as I have been using cashback cards. Thanks a lot in advance!

    1. congrats on getting hitched! you definitely want to focus on maximising the credit card sign up bonuses if you’re in that situation. I don’t recommend AMEX ascend for general spending but if your specific aim is to max out the AMEX ascend welcome offer it’s definitely worth looking at. Don’t rely on the Ascend multiplier. Remember this bonus is only awarded in blocks of $500 spend AND you need to spend minimum of $1,000 a month to enjoy this. UOB on the other hand awards 1.4 miles per $1 full stop which is why I much prefer their system.

      With regards to the UOB PRVI Amex bonus of 20k miles for spending $50K, note that as per the T&C those bonus miles are only awarded at the end of the membership year (i don’t know if in practice they award it immediately upon hitting $50K even if you’re only a few weeks/months into your membership year, and I haven’t tested it before. I hit $50K on the 2nd last day of my membership year).

      You might also want to consider the AMEX rewards card which has a sign up bonus of 24,000 MR points (13,333 KF miles) for spending $1,500 within the first 3 months.

      Getting separate cards for you and your wife can work, especially if you’re aiming to maximise the sign up bonuses. Do note that you are not able to “share” miles so you and her will each have to make separate bookings through your own krisflyer accounts. some argue that if you’re waitlisted (Which is almost certainly going to be the case if you want business saver/first saver tickets) it’s better to be on 1 booking so you can clear together, but others say that 2 single bookings is better than 1 combined booking for 2 people. again, hard to say definitively.

      so for your overall plan (i’m going to add in the DBS altitude cards now because they have sign up promos)
      $1.5k on AMEX rewards (13,333 miles)
      $10K on AMEX Ascend (48,000 miles as per your maths- the 40,000 they advertise on the website doesn’t already include the base spend of 8,000 you’re sure?)
      $ 1K on DBS Altitude Visa (8,000 miles, must be $500 each month for 2 months)
      $800 on DBS Altitude AMEX (3,000 miles, you might want to consider this as your general spending card because it has 2.4 miles per $1 for max $6,000 each month)
      The remainder would then go on UOB PRVI (you might want to do the maths quickly to see whether it makes sense to hit $50k on uob prvi or whether it makes more sense to max out the DBS altitude amex $6,000*2.4 miles each month- intuitively i think it makes more sense to max out DBS altitude amex!)
      IF you spread out like this, you’d be paying a few diff conversion fees (1 for AMEX MR, 1 for DBS, 1 for UOB) but i think you’d have quite a hefty total

      make sure your banquet/furnishing guy is willing to split the amounts across a few cards so you can just nice hit the min spends.

      1. Thanks Aaron for the detailed advise. After considering what you have said I’m likely not to go with PRVI card. Realised the 8000 miles is only applicable for the first 1000 cardholders only. It will be difficult to hit the $50k target as well.

        You asked if Ascend will give 40,000 or 48,000 miles for $10k spend. I’m not sure as well. I thought 40,000 is bonus ontop of the base miles they give. Likewise for Altitude Visa, will I get 8,000 miles or 9,200 miles for the spending $1k?

        Overall plan
        $1,000 – Altitude Visa at 8 miles per dollar total 9,200 miles
        $1,500 – Rewards at 8.8 miles per dollar total 13,333 miles
        $10,000 – Ascend at 4.8 miles per dollar total 48,000 miles
        $18,000 – Altitude Amex at 2.5 miles per dollar total 46,200 miles
        Total of $30,500 – 116,733 miles

        Seems that getting my wife to apply for those cards will be more rewarding. But as you mentioned the conversion fees and card annual fees will be higher. But spending the remaining $30k at 1.2 miles per dollar will only get me 36,000 miles. Got to ponder on this as we move closer to our wedding date.

      2. Hi Aaron. I was considering the UOB privi for 1.4 MPD but I note that they award UNI $ per $5 spend. My qn is do they sum up total expenditure on the card in a month and divide by 5 before awarding the UNI$ or do they divide the spend per txn by 5? If they follow the latter, then one does not earn UNI$ for every expenditure <$5?

        Also is there a difference btw the privi master and privi visa? The bank privileges look the same to me but the master seems a little more appealing for the world master status which qualifies for the SPG gold promo.

    2. If the banquet is with a stand alone restaurant (and not a restaurant under a hotel). HSBC Advance CC will get you 4 miles per dollar.

      For KF account, I am not quite sure if you can tie your wife ascend card to your KF account. But I would say to give it a try to add your wife as a redemption nominee and tell amex that your wife do not have her own KF account.

    3. so i just verified with Amex Singapore website. the details are the same as when I was researching for my own wedding 🙂

      so. earn 5000 bonus miles on first transaction.
      another 15,000 bonus miles upon hitting $5k spent, within first 3 months.
      and another 20,000 bonus upon hitting $10k spent, within first 3 months.

      on top of that, each $1.20 spent will earn you 1 mile. monthly accelerator is once above $1000 spent, each block of $500 will earn you a bonus of 300 miles.

      for illustration, supposingly you spent exactly $10k in your first month after getting your card. you would earn:
      $10000/1.20= 8333.3333
      $(10000-1000)/500×300= 5400
      signup bonus= 5000
      full fee offer= 35,000

      total miles earned= 53,733 miles

      separately, if you have two cards each in yours and your wife’s names, the problem would be both will have to have separate krisflyer accounts and accumulation of miles will be separate. krisflyer will not allow your wife’s card’s miles to be credited to your krisflyer account. others have reported being called up and asked why the names differ.

      as a follow up to Aaron’s reply, do note the UOB awards miles in multiples of $5 spent. so $9.90 will earn the same as $5.00..

  9. Hi i spend about $3000 per month online. which other card do u recommend for maximizing my miles? i already have dbs women card but that is good for up to $2K

    1. UOB Preffered Platinum Visa also give 4 miles/$ for online transaction but with very strict exclusion :
      “Online retail transactions are transactions for purchases of goods or services via the internet using the Card. Online merchants include merchants that fall within the categories of bookstores, cinemas, entertainment, electronics, fast food, music and retail shopping, but excludes all merchants that fall within the categories of airline, travel, transport,top-ups for any pre-paid card, government, utilities, telecommunications, brokerage/securities, insurance, education/tuition, online money transfers and online gambling websites and such other categories of online merchants as UOB may exclude from time to time.”

    2. HSBC Advance CC, no cap for online spend except for 1 merchant. Least restrictive card for online spend. Also no annual fee with petrol rebate.

    3. Rio’s right. Or if you’re shopping online you can try Citibank Rewards card too, if you don’t mind creating some orphan miles in citi

  10. Hi Aaron, I am a longtime reader of the blog. I am planning to purchase a laptop that costs S$1.4k sometime very soon, and was wondering if you would recommend any particular credit card for this purpose? TIA!

    1. hello! thanks for reading. more details please- where are you planning to buy from (online/in store). have you recently applied for any credit card and are trying to reach a minimum spending limit?

    2. if buying online, cards that awards 4 per mile per dollar. DBS Woman/HSBC Advance/Citi Rewards/UOB PP Visa.

      If buying offline in Singapore, trying leveraging on sign up bonus. HSBC Revolution (before 30 Jan 2016) offers a epicentre 500 dollar voucher, which you can use it to get an ipad to sell it. Alternatively, DBS Amex offers 2.4/4 miles per dollar in local/overseas for 3 months, so this card requires some planning in advance. Amex rewards offers 13333 miles for 1.5k spent in 3 months; that’s about 9 miles per dollar if the merchant accept amex.

      1. Hi Aaron, I have the Citibank Rewards,DBS World Woman and DBS Altitude AMEX and Visa. Am afraid that I just passed the 3-months period for DBS Altitude AMEX. An online purchase is ideal but I doubt I can find any online merchants selling the specific model that I am looking for. Think my best choice would be to leverage on sign-up bonuses as what Lionel suggested.

        Hi Lionel, I will look into the HSBC Revolution card… Gracias!

        1. HSBC revolution requires you to sign up first then spend 1.5k and be the first few hundred customer to get that vocher. If your not the first few hundred customer, you will end up with a luggage, you may want to evaluate your situation to see how it goes for you.

  11. Got to admit Amex rewards is still way safer than anything. You probably got to check with the merchant if it accept amex before signing the card. Playing with sign up bonus that limit to x people is really playing with fire.

    1. as mentioned I have already signed up for the DBS AMEX card last year and obtained the bonus miles … All thanks to milelion! Maybe I can call HSBC to figure out if I’m still eligible. Thanks!

      1. sorry, can’t remember if you’ve mentioned you had this card already but if not the AMEX rewards card is a good sign up, get bonus then throw away card. 1.5k to 13.3k miles.

  12. Hey Aaron (or anyone else),

    I’ve two quick questions to ask!

    1. I’m planning on redeeming a flight to Japan for Dec 2016, and have enough miles to redeem 3 Business Class on SQ, and am short of just 48000 miles for 3 First Class on SQ (I’ve about 40K miles lying across my bank points so I’m confident of filling that shortage soon). Is there a big, big difference between Business and First on SQ? It’s not exactly a long flight, and I want to surprise the two most important women in my life. Thanks!

    2. Is it worth it redeeming miles for RTW tickets? I understand Star Alliance RTW is 180K miles for economy. I’m talking about redeeming 180K miles for RTW economy vs say 1 First Class or 2 Business Class flights. I’m not exactly sure if the taxes, fuel, etc. is calculated the same for RTW tickets.

    Thanks again!

    -HiddenForNow

    1. to (1)- keep in mind that SQ operates the A330 on a couple of fights to Japan (HND and NRT) and on those flights I really wouldn’t shell out for J. That aircraft uses the regional angled flat seats in a 2-2-2 config and that’s nowhere near a true business class experience (at least not in 2016 standards). If you’re on the 77W which is 1-2-1 in business class then the difference between that and first is much smaller, at least in terms of the seat per se. the seat is very wide, private and I’d be hard pressed to shell out more just for a first seat. that said, first is a unique experience which you should definitely try at least once in your life, if only for private room access in singapore (and believe me, your female friends will be quite impressed by that- check out my trip report or simply google flyertalk for private room reviews. free flow of lobster and champagne!). and of course, your inflight experience will be different- your BTC options are wider, the champagne is vintage, you will get an amenities kit and PJs if it’s a sleeper flight, there will be caviar.

      so if you’re just looking at the seat alone, J and F on SQ’s 77Ws are equally good. but there’s something to be said about the whole experience of F and i’d definitely encourage you to try it at least once.

      (2)- Ah , rtw tickets. I’ve not actually redeemed them before. but it’s on my to do list. the taxes and fuel surcharges will be largely the same (except if you route through london, which charges premium cabin passengers a significantly higher passenger levy). but i consider RTW more of an aspirational thing so i dont think it’d make sense to splurge all those miles for economy.

      1. Hi Aaron, what about redeeming tickets for Suite Class. (I believe Japan has an A380 plane departing daily). Is the miles required still the same, and would it be possible to redeem it?

        1. i’d definitely spring for suites if i hadn’t tried it before and this were my only chance to do so for the foreseeable future. it’s definitely “possible” to redeem it, but whether or not you’ll find save availability depends a bit on your luck

      2. Thanks Aaron. I checked and it seems that the flight (SQ12) is an A380, worth Business Class?

        I’ll probably waitlist myself for the Business Class as this is a < 7 hour flight. Will work on getting a Suite or First Class in future… Let's see!

        1. the a380 business class product is similar to that in the 77W, but there are a few 77Ws which have the new business class product. both are completely lie flat but the a380’s seats should be showing their age by now. i still think it’s worth it for a red-eye flight

    2. I’ve travelled on both F (not Suites) and J.

      For a 7 hour flight, there’s not much difference and quite frankly not worth the difference in miles. The only bonus is the lounge at Changi and even then, if you are not flying Suites, you can’t get access to the Private Room.

      Having said that, if you redeem for F and there is a last minute change of aircraft OR your plans change, such that you need to fly on a 2 class plane, you will NOT get any refund in miles. This is the policy.

      1. wanted to correct one point there- you get TPR access so long as you are travelling in F on SQ. redemption/revenue tickets both apply.
        If there is a downgrade in aircraft they will refund you the difference in miles and maybe offer some compensation. have you experienced differently?

          1. I certainly hope you fought them on that! Intuitively, I can see them not reimbursing you anything if your 772/773 flight was downgraded to an A333, even though that means going from full lie flat to angled flat in J, because you redeemed for J and you got J (albeit not as per your expectations). But if you had bought a revenue F ticket and an equipment swap meant you flew in J, that would certainly have warranted compensation, at the bare minimum the difference in fares. I don’t see why award tickets should be any different, with the baseline compensation being the difference in miles. More details? Was the flight ex-Europe (in which case EC261 might apply)

  13. Hey Aaron.

    Loving the comments and discussion thread.

    Re your 2nd last category above – ‘Air Tickets and Hotels’ – correct me if I’m wrong, but several online hotel chain booking websites (including SPG and Hyatt) do not seem to qualify for 4x miles with the DBSWC as per the HWZ cc excel table. No reason is given (most flight booking websites qualify). As such, it seems safer to use the DBS Altitude for online hotel chain website bookings. Do you have any experience to the contrary?

    Thanks!

    1. yeah I should clarify that I meant for airlines mostly. Interestingly if you book hotels via expedia or agoda or other OTAs you will get 10x points (4 miles per $1). if you’re booking via the official website, you don’t.

      the one thing i want to remind everyone about dbs altitude for hotel bookings is that this is only for online bookings which are paid in full at time of reservation. if you’re only giving your cc to secure the booking and later on in the hotel they swipe your card again to take final payment, that is an offline transaction and does not earn the bonus miles.

  14. Thanks Aaron.

    Yep different hotels do it differently, I’ve come to realise. Even within the same chain. For example, SPG hotels in Tokyo are ‘unable’ to charge pre-paid bookings in advance and only charge your cc at checkout – this was what I was told at the Sheraton Miyako Tokyo. Even here in SG, a prepaid rate I booked at the Westin was charged in advance (as expected), but another prepaid non cancellable rate booked for the following night at the W was not charged in advance but rather showed up on my statement as ‘W Singapore Front of House’ and only after check out. As such, it’s difficult to tell in advance if the rate you’re booking online is actually ‘truly’ prepaid. It’s not so bad if it’s a foreign currency transaction and you earn 2 miles/$ instead of 3, but for staycations..

  15. Hi Aaron!

    As a first timer to this miles business, wonder if you have a post on how miles redemption work?

    Some of my questions off the top of my head would be:
    i would like to accumulate miles through wedding expenses for honeymoon trip.
    – can I buy tickets for 2 using 1 kf account? Or can I just buy for myself?
    – thus should I accumulate all miles on my card or split it between mine and my partner’s card?
    – can miles from 2 people’s cards be redeemed into 1 kf account? Or can miles from 1 card be split into 2 kf accounts of needed?
    – do names need to match for all miles redemption from credit card to kf account?

    P.s. Looking through your posts I already have an idea of what cards to use for wedding expenses. 🙂 thanks!

    Sorry for the basic questions! Appreciate your advice 🙂

    1. hi anna- quick responses

      1. you can nominate up to 5 individuals to redeem tickets for from your sq account. these can be family, friends, well wishers, tinder mates, whatever
      2. there are 2 lines of thought here. one is that since sign up bonuses are awarded on an individual card basis (eg the amex rewards spend $1.5k get 13.3k miles), if you believe you and your partner are able to hit the minimum spending thresholds it’s always better for each of you to get their own card so you can enjoy “double” the sign up bonus. of course, if your partner is not earning income then that’s not an option and you’ll have to get them a supp card (which will still earn miles which pool into your principal card)
      3. no, there is a 1 to 1 mapping between cards and KF account. krisflyer does not allow pooling of miles from different people (although you can, of course, transfer miles from all your different credit cards) and banks will only allow you to transfer to 1 KF account
      4. the names should match to avoid any complications, however i dont think it needs to match character for character. note that the name on the credit card need not match the name on the kf account, rather the official name with the bank needs to match the offical name on the kf account. for example, on my credit card i don’t put my HYPY name, but it’s there in my bank account. on my KF account i have my HYPY name. i dont think minor differences are material, eg my HYPY name has a hyphen in it but not in my KF account name and it’s never led to any issues

      let me know if this helps! and wedding expenses is quite a common question, think i’ll put together something on that when I have time…

      1. Hi Aaron

        Your replies were really helpful for me to understand the system! 🙂 thank you!

        Yeap we will probably get our own cards, in order to take full advantage of the DBS women’s world card and imagine combi. Though we will still have excess spend to channel elsewhere, and we already have the DBS altitude visa so can’t enjoy the sign up bonus. Any other card good for hotel spend? Otherwise guess I’ll just use my altitude visa to pool the points..

    1. I believe that prudential can be paid using UOB’s recurring bill payment service. but the best you will be able to get is 1.4 miles per $1, since this will not code as online pay. however, it appears that prudential is an option at the axs machine, so if it is true that you can use masterpass to pay at axs machines, using your dbs woman’s card would get you 4 miles per $1… (i’ve yet to try this myself, but some people on FT say it can be done)

  16. Hi Aaron,

    I’m intending to book a hotel stay at Ibis Styles Ipoh (approx $150+) for March. I also just signed up for the DBS WWMC and Altitude card. (VISA/AMEX not chosen yet) but the VISA option with 8,000 miles bonus looks more attractive I guess?

    Should I book this stay through Accor website or OTAs like Expedia or booking.com as I read from your post above that booking through hotel websites doesn’t qualify for the online bonus (meaning 10X DBS points?).
    I don’t have any Accor status so I’m open to both options.

    Thanks!

    1. as per the crowdsourced google doc, accor will not earn 4 miles (10x) per $1 for DBS WWMC (https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1ffbzrIlK7iTO_IAT7nzk8ULWf1zsRX9F-rniLbRwwR4/edit#gid=2)

      booking via expedia will. if you don’t intend to stay that much with accor no point going for the loyalty points, just go for the miles. before you book via expedia, remember to sign up for a shopback account (use my link and get $5 bonus cashback https://www.shopback.sg/?raf=4jOJhK)
      you get 8% additional off (https://www.shopback.sg/expedia)

  17. Another option will be to pay at the hotel after your stay. It can help towards clocking the 1k requirement for UOB Visa Signature.

  18. Hi Aaron

    On Kaligo you must select which merchant offer you want. Which would you choose followed by which credit card to maximise the miles you receive?

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