The Milelion is delighted to be featured in today’s Zaboao Finance section.
Here’s a translated version for those of us who are bilingual in other ways (and thank you very much to Ms Milelion for the translation)-
Besides being convenient to carry around, credit cards can also be used to collect air travel miles which makes travel in so much more affordable – so how should consumers efficient allocate their spending to get the most miles and points within the shortest period?
The travel season is here! For those avid travelers out there – perhaps you might consider using your credit card to accumulate miles to lower your traveling expenses.
For some, accumulating points in exchange for rewards is like a game – the objective being to get the most value out of the points one has.
As savvy consumers, how do we game the system when it comes to accumulating points?
Although most banks issue air miles credit cards which appear to provide similar returns on the surface, the devil lies in the details.
The biggest characteristic of air miles credit cards is that they allow consumers to accumulate air miles when they charge their expenditure. Hence the miles per $ expenditure ratio is the most important feature which determines the “attractiveness” of the air miles credit card
<lian he zaobao> has compared the most common air miles credit card on the market, and found that the UOB PRVI MILES Visa card can earn you more points per $ spent than the other cards (see table)
Use different cards for different types of expenditure for greater returns
It is worth mentioning that banks will collaborate with different merchants and hence the certain types of expenditure will give you more miles than others on the same card. Hence, using different cards for different types of spending can help you collect miles and points faster.
For example, you can obtain 3 miles for every dollar spent on SIA/Silkair or KrisShop transactions with your UOB PRVI Miles card.
As expected, ANZ has close links to all things Australian and Kiwi, and hence every dollar spent on Qantas, JetStar or any overseas spending in Australia or NZ can earn you 2.8 miles per dollar.
Citibank has linked up with a number of different merchants, including the accommodation booking website kaligo.com. Using Citi’s premier miles Visa card, you can obtain 10 miles per dollar spent on kaligo.com (promotion valid till the end of this year)
Aaron Wong, the founder of The Milelion, thinks that in order to most efficiently accumulate air miles, one needs to have more than one credit card and use each card depending on the type of expenditure.
According to him, if a person spends $15000 per year on his card, he may earn more that twice the amount of miles by allocating the spending among 5 different cards (depending on the type of expenditure) than using a single card.
Aaron said, “you have to spend time and effort to get this right. To make things simpler, you can apply to pay you credit card bills via GIRO. However, if you find it difficult to control your spending, then this hobby may not be for you. I clear all my credit card debts at the end of the month and I purely use credit cards for earning points and never for borrowing money.
The founder of GET.com, Ms 郑美琪 said during our interview: “Although Singapore has quite a wide range of air miles credit card, consumers should analyze their spending patterns so that they can allocate their expenditure accordingly to earn miles more efficiently.”
She added that for those who travel on a frequent basis, it would be wise to make use of an air miles card that gets you more miles per dollar of overseas expenditure. Based on the websites’ information, PRVI Miles and DBS Altitude are the better cards on the market for this purpose. The former earns you 2.4 miles per dollar spent overseas, while the latter earns you 2 miles per dollar spent overseas. Furthermore, the Altitude card also earns you 3 miles for each dollar spent on online air travel and accommodation bookings.
郑美琪 said “if you don’t travel much, you should use a card which gets you more miles per dollar spent locally. However this card should also give you the flexibility to exchange points for other rewards such as cashback options. Consumers should not only analyze the perks each card gives, but should choose one which fits his or her own personal needs”
Air miles credit card also gives you points
When promoting credit cards, banks usually will structure the perks of each card depending on their target audience a for example, air miles card are targeted at those who love air travel, while women’s’ cards usually provide shopping perks and rewards. General spending cards on the other hand, will provide discounts on groceries shopping and petrol.
Actually, even though some cards are not marketed as air miles cards, they can also be used to accumulate points. In facts, most credit cards operate on a points accumulation system – such as DBS points or UOB’s UNI$ – these points can then be converted into different rewards, and air miles is one such reward.
However, it is worth it to note that every points to miles conversion comes with a conversion charge. Most banks charge $25 for each conversion, while others charge $42.80 on an annual basis for the conversion.
黄宣明指出，星展银行的女士世界万事达卡（DBS Woman’s World MasterCard）在网上购物每花1元可赚取4里，有些人或许不知道，男士其实也可以申请这张卡。他本身就使用这张卡来网购，并且说服了不少男同事申请这张卡。
Aaron mentioned that the DBS Woman’s World MasterCard lets you earn 4 miles per dollar spent for online shopping. While some may not be aware, men can also apply for this card. Aaron himself uses this card for his online shopping and managed to convince his male colleagues to do the same.
Aaron, who treats air miles accumulation as a hobby, has already managed to travel on first class and Suites using the miles he has collected over the years. He believes that as long as one is willing to spend time and effort, he will be able to reap a handsome return.
Aaron says “I find this hobby very fun and addictive, it’s just like a game of discovering loopholes in the system. I’ve discovered that as long as I use the right credit card, I can accumulate so many more miles and I hope accumulate enough so I can take my family on amazing holidays abroad”
Please have a read of the full Q&A because there are some good tips in there for first-timers to the miles and points game!