The MileLion’s 2024 Credit Card Strategy

With all the nerfs that 2024 has seen so far, it's time to rethink card strategy. Here's my revised game plan for the rest of 2024

2024 hasn’t even reached the halfway point yet, but we’ve already seen nerfs to miles game favourites like the DBS Woman’s World Card, HSBC Revolution, UOB Lady’s Solitaire Card and Citi PayAll. That’s not to mention non-miles nerfs like the HSBC Everyday Global Account and UOB Absolute Cashback Card!

This means it’s time for an update to The MileLion’s 2024 Credit Card Strategy, so it remains an up-to-date resource to forward to your friends, family and Tinder dates (and if the last two are one and the same, I really don’t need to know about it).

💳 2024 Credit Card Strategy
Abbreviations: c. month= calendar month, s. month= statement month, m. year= membership year

Before we start

Before we talk about specific cards, here’s a few important points to make. 

Not a comprehensive listing

First, this article is not intended to be a comprehensive listing of the best cards for each category.

For example, in the public transport section I’ve not included the StanChart Smart Card, even though it earns an impressive 5.6 mpd on bus and MRT rides. Likewise, for shopping I’ve omitted the OCBC Rewards Card which offers 4 mpd.

That’s because OCBC and StanChart cards don’t otherwise feature in my regular rotation, and by adding a single card I’d likely end up with orphan miles. Remember, the goal here is to share my strategy, not an encyclopedia. 

If you’re interested in a comprehensive listing of the best cards for a given category, you should instead refer to the articles below.

💳 What’s the Best Card for…
❓ Overall Guide
✈️ Air Tickets
🌎 Amaze  💗 Charity
🍽️ Dining
🏫 Education 🥡 Food Delivery
🏨 Hotels ☂️ Insurance
📱 Kris+
⚕️ Medical 🏖️ Overseas Petrol
🚍 Public Transport 🛒 Supermarkets 🚰 Utilities

Don’t forget sign-up bonuses

Second, this article doesn’t take into account ongoing sign-up bonuses.

These are opportunities for new cardholders to earn a lump sum of miles by spending a minimum amount within a certain period following approval. You should absolutely try and leverage these first, because the effective earn rate (in terms of miles awarded to dollars spent) will be superior to many of the cards in this post.

I publish a monthly article that covers all the sign-up bonuses in detail, and you can also bookmark my Welcome Offers page to keep tabs on the latest promotions.

Categories can overlap

Third, categories can overlap or be subsets of each other, so don’t think about them too rigidly.

For example, a card which earns bonuses on contactless payments can be used at a restaurant, department store, supermarket, or anywhere that contactless payments are accepted. Likewise, if a card earns bonuses on foreign currency spend, it doesn’t matter whether that spend is dining, shopping or travel-related.

Check the definitions

Fourth, different cards may define the same category differently.

For example, what counts as “dining” for HSBC may be different from UOB. Always refer to the T&Cs for the exact list of eligible MCCs, and if you need to check the MCC of a given merchant, use the methods below.

❓ What’s the MCC?
Method Ease of Use Reliability
HeyMax ●●●
📱 Instarem app ●● ●●
🤖 DBS digibot
●●●

Overall strategy

Broadly speaking, there’s two types of miles cards out there:

  General Spending Cards Specialised Spending Cards
Selected Categories 1.2-1.6 mpd 4 mpd
Everything Else 0.4 mpd

General spending cards (e.g. UOB PRVI Miles) earn a flat rate of 1.2-1.6 mpd on all transactions, whereas specialised spending cards (e.g. UOB Preferred Platinum Visa) earn 4 mpd on particular categories, and 0.4 mpd on everything else. 

Since specialised spending cards can cover such a wide range of transactions, however, it seems almost sinful to settle for the lower earn rates of a general spending card. Put it another way: someone who regularly utilises 4 mpd cards will earn a free flight much faster than someone who puts everything on a 1.2 mpd card.

Therefore, your goal should be to:

Use specialised spending cards as much as possible

It doesn’t mean that general spending cards are useless. As I’ve explained in the post below, they have a role to play in a well-balanced miles strategy. But they certainly shouldn’t be your first port of call!

Should you bother to get a general spending card?

👍 Extra 2 mpd with UOB Lady’s Cards
Whenever you see the UOB Lady’s Card in the sections below, remember you can earn an extra 2 mpd by opening a UOB Lady’s Savings Account and depositing S$10,000. For most people, the extra miles earned should more than offset the foregone interest.

Contactless Payments: UOB Preferred Platinum Visa, UOB Visa Signature

Card Earn Rate Remarks
UOB Pref. Plat. Visa
Apply
4 mpd Max S$1.1K per c. month, must use mobile payments
Review
UOB Visa Signature 
Apply
4 mpd Min S$1K, max S$2K per s. month on contactless & petrol
Review

Contactless payments aren’t a category of spending as such, more like a method. But that works to your advantage. Since contactless terminals are so ubiquitous these days, earning 4 mpd on the vast majority of your spending should be straightforward. 

The UOB Preferred Platinum Visa (PPV) continues to be the go-to option, earning 4 mpd on all mobile contactless transactions. Simply add this card to your Apple, Fitbit, Google or Samsung Pay account and tap your phone or watch in-store to pay. 

Those who regularly spend beyond the UOB PPV’s monthly S$1,000 bonus cap can consider the UOB Visa Signature, which has a higher monthly bonus cap of S$2,000. Cardholders will earn 4 mpd on contactless transactions, with a minimum spend of S$1,000 per statement month.

Do note the difference in how each card defines contactless spending. You will not earn any bonuses if you tap the physical UOB PPV card!

 
  UOB PPV UOB VS
Excludes MST
Tapping physical card
In-app payments are not eligible to earn contactless bonuses (though they may earn bonuses on the UOB PPV if the MCC matches the online bonus whitelist)
⚠️ Statement Month vs Calendar Month

Your card’s bonus cap may follow the calendar month or statement month.

  • Calendar month is straightforward (i.e. 1-31 January).
  • Statement month can be found on your e-statement. In the example below, the statement month runs from the 12th to the 11th of the following month.

The UOB Visa Signature’s 4 mpd cap resets on the statement date. This adds an additional level of complexity, but you can always call up customer service and ask them to change your statement cycle to follow the calendar month instead.

For both cards, take care when dealing with UOB$ merchants such as Bread Talk, Cold Storage, Giant, Guardian and Starbucks. At UOB$ merchants:

  • you’ll earn 3.6 mpd with the UOB Visa Signature
  • you’ll earn no miles with the UOB PPV

For why this is the case, refer to this post. There are some workarounds, but it might be better to avoid the issue altogether by using other cards here.

Also, I shouldn’t have to say this (though based on some angry emails I receive, perhaps I do), but UOB’s standard exclusion list still applies. You won’t earn 4 mpd if you use contactless payments at an educational institution or government office, for instance.

Online Transactions: Citi Rewards, DBS Woman’s World Card

Card Earn Rate Remarks
Citi Rewards
Apply
4 mpd Max S$1K per s. month, excludes travel
Review
DBS Woman’s World Card
Apply
4 mpd Max S$1.5K per c. month
Review

Like contactless payments, online transactions are another big catch-all category.

Both the Citi Rewards and DBS Woman’s World Card (WWMC) will earn 4 mpd, so long as it doesn’t fall into:

This is capped at S$1,000 for the Citi Rewards, and a now-reduced S$1,500 for the DBS WWMC.

Blacklist vs Whitelist

You could certainly use the HSBC Revolution or UOB Preferred Platinum Visa for some online transactions, but you’ll need to exercise more caution because these cards follow a “whitelist” approach: a given online transaction doesn’t earn 4 mpd unless its MCC falls within the inclusion list. 

Contrast this with the Citi Rewards and DBS WWMC, which follow a “blacklist” approach :a given online transaction will earn 4 mpd unless its MCC falls within the exclusion list.

I’ve explained the difference between whitelist and blacklist cards in this post.

In other words, both the Citi Rewards and DBS WWMC would be well-suited to cover everyday transactions like:

  • Deliveroo, GrabFood or Foodpanda
  • Grab or gojek rides
  • Google Play or Apple App Store purchases
  • Netflix, Spotify and other streaming subscriptions
  • E-commerce sites like Amazon, Lazada,Qoo10, Shopee etc.
  • (WWMC only) Buying airline tickets, cruises, prepaid hotels or activities & attraction bookings with Klook or Pelago

Dining: HSBC Revolution, UOB Lady’s Cards and KrisFlyer UOB

Card Earn Rate Remarks
UOB Lady’s Card
Apply
4 mpd Max S$1K per c. month. Must choose Dining as bonus category
Review
UOB Lady’s Solitaire
Apply
4 mpd Max S$2K per c. month. Must choose Dining as bonus category
Review
HSBC Revolution
Apply
4 mpd Max S$1K per c. month. Must be online or contactless
Review
KrisFlyer UOB Credit Card
Apply
3 mpd No cap. Min. S$800 on SIA Group transactions in a m. year
Review

Dining is no doubt a major expense category for many people, and there’s several cards you can use here.

It’s a choice between the UOB Lady’s Cards (where Dining must be selected as one of your bonus categories) or the HSBC Revolution for a capped 4 mpd, or the KrisFlyer UOB Credit Card for an uncapped 3 mpd, provided you spend at least S$800 on SIA Group transactions (Singapore Airlines, Scoot, KrisShop) in a membership year.

But there’s another factor to consider: MCC coverage. As it turns out, all these cards define dining differently.

🍽️ Dining Card MCC Coverage
 
  HSBC Revo
UOB Lady’s
KF UOB
5811
Caterers
 
5812
Restaurants
5813
Bars & Nightclubs
 
5814
Fast Food
 
5441
Candy Stores
   
5462
Bakeries
   
5499
Misc. Food
   
Earn Rate 4 mpd 4 mpd 3 mpd
Monthly Cap S$1K S$1K/2K No cap

Each of these involve trade-offs:

  • HSBC Revolution offers the widest dining MCC coverage (though crucially, it’s missing fast food after its 1 May nerf), but has a monthly 4 mpd cap of S$1,000
  • UOB Lady’s Cards have a slightly more restrictive dining MCC coverage, but have monthly 4 mpd caps of up to S$2,000, and you can add an extra 2 mpd by depositing S$10,000 into a UOB Lady’s Savings Account
  • KrisFlyer UOB Credit Card has the narrowest dining MCC coverage, but offers 3 mpd with no cap, provided you meet the min. S$800 spend on the SIA Group per membership year- which shouldn’t be that hard to do

Groceries: DBS yuu and UOB Lady’s Cards

Card Earn Rate Remarks
DBS yuu AMEX
Apply
18% rebate Min. spend & cap of S$600 per c. month

DBS yuu Visa
Apply
UOB Lady’s Card
Apply
4 mpd Max S$1K per c. month. Must choose Family as bonus category
Review
UOB Lady’s Solitaire
Apply
4 mpd Max S$2K per c. month. Must choose Family as bonus category
Review

Groceries is the only category where I’d seriously consider a non-miles card.

That’s because the DBS yuu Card offers 26 yuu Points per S$1 (the equivalent of an 18% cash rebate) at Cold Storage and Giant (plus other yuu merchants). You’d have to value a mile at more than 4.5 cents each to prefer 4 mpd over that. This upsized earn rate was originally supposed to lapse on 29 February 2024, but is now evergreen. I know where I’m buying my diapers and milk powder from!

But if you’re shopping at Sheng Siong, NTUC, or other supermarket chains, you can consider the UOB Lady’s Cards (with Family selected as the bonus category) for 4 mpd.

Sadly, the HSBC Revolution is no longer an option for supermarkets, following its 1 May nerf.

Foreign Currency (FCY): Amaze, UOB Visa Signature or Maybank Horizon

Card Earn Rate Remarks
Amaze + Citi Rewards
Apply
4 mpd Max $1K per s. month
Review
UOB Visa Signature
Apply
4 mpd S$1-2K per s. month on FCY spending
Review
Maybank Horizon Visa Signature
Apply
3.2 mpd^ Min. S$800 per c. month, no cap
Review
^Limited-time upsize for May and June 2024; after which 2.8 mpd

Amaze rates may be creeping upwards, but at the end of the day it’s still a superior option to using bank credit cards and their 3.25% FCY fees (don’t forget that Amaze offers a cash rebate of up to 0.5% through InstaPoints as well).

The question then becomes which credit card you pair it with, and my default option is the Citi Rewards Card for 4 mpd. There’s other cards you can consider too, depending on MCC. 

If you don’t want to use Amaze, consider the UOB Visa Signature. This earns 4 mpd on overseas spending, subject to a minimum FCY spend of S$1,000 per statement month, and capped at S$2,000 FCY spend per statement month. Do note that this cap is shared with the 4 mpd cap for contactless payments/petrol. For a more detailed explanation of how the caps work, refer to this article.

But what if you’re spending big and need something without a cap? The Maybank Horizon Visa Signature is your best bet in that case. Provided you spend at least S$800 per calendar month (in either local or FCY transactions), you’ll earn an uncapped 3.2 mpd on FCY spending. 

Even better, this bonus also applies to commonly-excluded categories like donations, education, hospitals and utilities- so long as they’re in foreign currency.

Shopping: Citi Rewards, HSBC Revolution, Amaze + KrisFlyer UOB

Card Earn Rate Remarks
Citi Rewards
Apply
4 mpd Max S$1K per s. month
Review
HSBC Revolution
Apply
4 mpd Max S$1K per c. month. Must be contactless
Review
Amaze + KF UOB Credit Card
Apply
3 mpd Min. S$800 on SIA Group transactions in a m. year
Review

For online or offline shopping at department stores, or fashion, jewelry and clothes outlets, you can choose from the Citi Rewards (4 mpd), HSBC Revolution (4 mpd) or Amaze + KrisFlyer UOB Credit Card (3 mpd).

Earn rates aside, the main difference here is caps. Both the Citi Rewards and HSBC Revolution are capped at S$1,000 per month, while the Amaze + KrisFlyer UOB combination is uncapped, provided you spend at least S$800 on SIA Group transactions in a membership year.

Why do you need to add the Amaze? Because the KrisFlyer UOB Credit Card’s 3 mpd rate is only for online shopping, and Amaze turns offline transactions into online ones.

⚠️ Important Note

If you plan to shop in SGD, take note that Amaze charges a 1% fee for SGD transactions in excess of S$1,000 per month. If you plan to buy a big ticket item like a designer handbag or watch, this could become relevant.

That said, if your choice is between Amaze x KrisFlyer UOB or a naked KrisFlyer UOB for SGD spending, then you’re paying an extra 1% to earn an extra 1.8 mpd, which works out to 0.55 cents per mile. I don’t think that’s a bad price to pay.

Do note that each bank has a different definition of shopping. We don’t have the space here to list what each MCC refers to, but this guide will come in handy.

Card Shopping MCCs
Citi Rewards
5311, 5611, 5621, 5631, 5641, 5651, 5655, 5661, 5691, 5699, 5948
HSBC Revolution
4816, 5045, 5262, 5309, 5310, 5311, 5331, 5399, 5611, 5621, 5631, 5641, 5651, 5655, 5661, 5691, 5699, 5732 to 5735, 5912, 5942, 5944 to 5949, 5964 to 5970, 5992, 5999
KrisFlyer UOB Credit Card
4816, 5262, 5306, 5309, 5310, 5311, 5331, 5399, 5611, 5621, 5631, 5641, 5651, 5661, 5691, 5699, 5732, 5733, 5735, 5912, 5942, 5944-5949, 5999, 7278 (only for Shopee, Lazada and Qoo10)

Petrol: UOB Lady’s Cards, UOB Visa Signature

Card Earn Rate Remarks
UOB Lady’s Card
Apply
4 mpd* Max S$1K per c. month. Must choose Transport as bonus category
Review
UOB Lady’s Solitaire
Apply
4 mpd* Max S$2K per c. month. Must choose Transport as bonus category
Review
UOB Visa Signature
Apply
4 mpd* S$1K-2K on petrol + contactless per s. month
Review
*Excludes SPC transactions

Although I feel the best card for petrol is the one that gives the biggest discount, if you’re just looking at miles then it’s a toss up among the UOB Lady’s Cards or UOB Visa Signature. 

UOB Lady’s Cardholders will earn 4 mpd on petrol, provided they select Transport as their quarterly bonus category.

UOB Visa Signature Cardholders will earn 4 mpd, provided they spend at least S$1,000 on local contactless payments and/or petrol in a given statement month.

Public Transport: UOB Lady’s Cards, KrisFlyer UOB Card

Card Earn Rate Remarks
UOB Lady’s Card
Apply
4 mpd Max S$1K per c. month. Must choose Transport as bonus category
Review
UOB Lady’s Solitaire
Apply
4 mpd Max S$2K per c. month. Must choose Transport as bonus category
Review
KrisFlyer UOB Credit Card
Apply
3 mpd Min. S$800 on SIA Group transactions in a m. year

Public transport won’t be a huge component of your monthly expenditure, but it’s still a category worth optimising.

The UOB Lady’s Card and UOB Lady’s Solitaire Card will earn 4 mpd, provided Transport is chosen as the quarterly bonus category. Alternatively, use the KrisFlyer UOB Credit Card for 3 mpd, subject to a minimum S$800 spend on SIA Group transactions in a membership year.

General Spending: Amaze + Citi Rewards, AMEX HighFlyer Card, UOB PRVI Miles Card

Card Earn Rate Remarks
Amaze + Citi Rewards
Apply
4 mpd Max $1K per s. month
Review

AMEX HighFlyer Card
Apply

1.8 mpd Only available to SME owners 
Review

UOB PRVI Miles Card
Apply

1.4 mpd (local)
2.4 mpd (overseas)
S$5 blocks may reduce effective mpd on smaller trxns
Review

If you haven’t yet exhausted the 4 mpd cap on the Citi Rewards, then it can be a useful general spending card when paired with Amaze. Remember, Amaze converts all offline transactions into online ones, so you can spend in-store and still earn 4 mpd.

Otherwise, the AMEX HighFlyer Card (only available to SME owners) is the highest-earning general spending card with 1.8 mpd on all local and overseas spend. 

The main drawback is that it limits you to converting a maximum of 150,000 KrisFlyer miles per calendar year (30,000 miles to five accounts), but you probably won’t be putting that much on a general spending card in the first place. 

For everyone else, there’s the UOB PRVI Miles Card which earns 1.4 mpd on local spend and 2.4 mpd overseas. There’s no real harm in using the DBS Altitude/ Citi PremierMiles/ OCBC 90°N Card either, even though they earn slightly less. Ideally, you’d be putting as little spending as possible on your general spending card anyway, so the difference shouldn’t be too material.

Of course, if you earn enough to qualify for one of the 1.6 mpd general spending cards such as the Citi ULTIMA, UOB Reserve, DBS Insignia or the OCBC VOYAGE (Premier/PPC/BOS), by all means go ahead and use it.

As I said at the start, you should be using your general spending card as sparingly as possible. This should be reserved for situations where you’ve exhausted your bonus caps on specialised spending cards, or when the category is not “bonus-able” (which is exceedingly rare these days).

⚠️ Effects of Rounding

A card with a lower earn rate could still end up earning more miles than a card with a higher earn rate if its rounding policy is more favourable. For example, the UOB PRVI Miles Card rounds all transactions down to the nearest S$5 before awarding points, while the Citi PremierMiles Card rounds transactions down to the nearest S$1.

To learn more about rounding policies for each card, refer to this post.

Don’t forget Kris+

Whenever you’re at a restaurant, store, spa or hotel, always be sure to check whether they’re a Kris+ merchant, because that’s an easy opportunity to stack a further 1-9 mpd on top of your credit card miles. 

S$5 for new Kris+ Users
Get S$5 (in the form of 750 KrisPay miles) when you sign-up with code W644363 and make your first transaction

I’ve written a separate guide on the best cards to use with Kris+, which can be found below.

What’s the best card to use for Kris+?

Some ongoing Kris+ deals you should know about include (all the figures below are before adding miles from credit cards):

Bill Payments

The trouble with bill payments such as insurance premiums, rent, tuition fees, taxes and utilities is that credit cards either aren’t accepted, or if they are, usually won’t earn rewards. 

But these aren’t lost causes. If you’re willing to pay a small admin fee, then platforms like CardUp and Citi PayAll let you earn miles.

 
  CardUp Citi PayAll
Admin Fee 1.5-2.6% 2.6%
Cost Per Mile From 0.92 cents* From 1.3 cents^
Supported Payments
Insurance
MCST Fees
Mortgage Loans  
Renovation
Helper Salary
Season Parking
Rent
Education
Car Loans  
Taxes
Electricity
Donations  
Travel Expenses  
Wedding Expenses  
Child Care Services  
Medical Services  
Storage  
*Depends on type of payment and payment method
^Limited time promotion till 31 July 2024
❓ New to CardUp?
First-time CardUp users save S$30 off their first payment with the promo code MILELION. No minimum payment required; for Visa and Mastercard only.

Should you pay the admin fee? It all boils down to how much you value a mile. I personally would consider options that let me buy miles at less than 1.5 cents apiece, but your situation may differ.

As an aside, if you’re looking to earn miles while paying 2024’s income taxes, do refer to the detailed guide below for all the options. 

2024 Edition: Earning credit card miles on IRAS income tax

Is it possible to over-optimise?

As much as we want to maximise 4 mpd everywhere, is it possible to overdo it?

Definitely. The way I see it, there are two additional considerations:

(1) Conversion Fees

By spreading your cards across multiple banks, you’re collecting different points currencies and will have to pay multiple conversion fees.

However, I’m not too worried about this. Conversion fees are annoying and we try to minimise them where we can, but paying them isn’t the end of the world. In the grand scheme of things, an extra S$25 here and there isn’t going to destroy the overall value proposition of the miles game.

Issuer Per Conversion Annual Option
S$201 N/A
S$30 N/A
S$27.252 N/A
S$27.25 S$43.603
N/A S$43.604
S$27.255 N/A
S$25 N/A
S$27.25 N/A
S$256 S$507
1. Waived for all AMEX Platinum and AMEX Centurion cardholders
2. Waived for Citi ULTIMA cardholders
3. Automatic conversions in blocks of 500 DBS points (1,000 miles) each quarter. Additional ad-hoc redemptions can be done for free
4. Covers all HSBC cards you may have, even though HSBC points don’t pool. HSBC will eliminate this option from 28 May 2024 and waive all conversion fees till 31 January 2025
5. Waived for Maybank Visa Infinite and Maybank World Mastercard cardholders
6. Waived for UOB Reserve, UOB Visa Infinite Metal, UOB Visa Infinite and UOB Privilege Banking cardholders
7.
Automatic conversions in blocks of UNI$2,500 (5,000 miles) each month for balances above UNI$15,000. Additional ad-hoc redemptions cost S$25

Moreover, it doesn’t necessarily mean more cards = more fees. If you own multiple cards from the same bank, you may still pay only a single conversion fee, provided the points are pooled.

For example, a UOB customer could hold a UOB PRVI Miles, UOB PPV, UOB Visa Signature and UOB Lady’s Card, all while paying only a single conversion fee. 

(2) Orphan Points

Orphan points are a bigger concern than conversion fees. If you spread yourself too thin, you may end up in a situation where you’re optimising on individual transactions, but not in an overall sense. 

What are orphan miles, and how do you avoid them?

To illustrate, suppose I drive infrequently but get a Maybank World Mastercard just so I can earn 4 mpd on petrol. I may be optimising on that particular transaction, but it counts for very little if I end up with a small chunk of TREATS points that I can’t cash out. 

All things equal, the larger a card’s minimum conversion block, the more likely you are to end up with orphan miles. 

✈️ Min. Conversion Blocks
(for KrisFlyer Miles)
Currency Bank Points KF Miles
AMEX Membership Rewards
(Plat. Charge, Centurion)
400 250
AMEX Membership Rewards
(All others)
450 250
BOC Points 45K 10K
Citi Miles 10K 10K
Citi ThankYou Points 25K 10K
DBS Points 5K 10K
HSBC Points 25K 10K
Maybank TREATS 25K 10K
OCBC$ 25K 10K
OCBC Travel$ 1K 1K
OCBC VOYAGE Miles 1 1
SC Rewards Points
(Visa Infinite)
25K 10K
SC Rewards Points
(Non-Visa Infinite)
34.5K 10K
UOB UNI$ 5K 10K

tl;dr: Optimisation is good, but you need to look at both the micro and macro picture. If you don’t spend a significant amount on a particular category, then consider using your general spending card instead.

Conclusion

If you told me I could have five cards and no more, my top picks would be:

  1. UOB Preferred Platinum Visa (for all mobile payments in-store)
  2. Citi Rewards (for all online transactions, as well as in-store transaction paired with Amaze)
  3. DBS Woman’s World Card (for all online transactions)
  4. UOB Lady’s Solitaire (with Travel and Dining as my two bonus categories)
  5. KrisFlyer UOB Credit Card (to mop up anything beyond my 4 mpd caps)

And of course there’s Amaze too, the glue which holds much of this together. Keep in mind, that’s the combination that best suits my spending patterns. You may land somewhere else, so it’s important to take stock of your spending, break it down into categories, and pick the cards that match it the best.

Once again, I want to emphasise that this article is not meant to be an exhaustive list of cards you can use for each category. There are other cards not mentioned which could justifiably fit into a sound miles strategy, depending on which bank you’re already earning points with, and your overall spending patterns. 

Any other cards that are featuring in your 2024 game plan?

Aaron Wong
Aaron Wong
Aaron founded The Milelion to help people travel better for less and impress chiobu. He was 50% successful.

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D K

Hi Aaron, for those with big regular insurance bills – use of SCB prudential card might be a better option compared to paying fees to cardup. My insurance bills racks up to more than $40k per annum.

Jay Wow

Earns for all insurers, but the earn rate is very low for a no-fee option. Used to be using it until we couldn’t pool the SC Rewards points together.

Jonathan Chan

Hi Aaron,

Would you use Amaze paired with UOB Lady Solitaire for dining, or just the card directly?

Kel

Should HSBC Revolution still figure prominently as a travel card after their recent nerfs?

Pchoz

After Feb will there be categories for the uob ladies card? Or default everything 4mpd like the ppv?

J C

Thanks @Aaron as always for sharing this very comprehensive article. For myself I opted for a simple “brain dead” strategy because I dont want to be one of those people that are constantly stressing about which card to use for which transaction, not to mention orphan points and worrying about expiry currently adopting a 2 card strategy: 1. Main: Citi rewards + AMAZE This is used for all day-day transaction e.g dining, shopping , petrol. usually about ~$1000 which is the cap for rewards (although some months may exceed the cap slightly) 2. Sub: Citi PM. for sub mainly used… Read more »

Tom

I do a similar strategy, HSBC Revo instead of the above just to get 1k @ 4mpd then OCBC Premier Voyage for 1.6 elsewhere. Sure I leave some miles on the table but I avoid a lot of headaches.

SNG

I would replace HSBC revo with UOB VS in the top 5 list as it is more encompassing.

Dennis C

But Aaron, it actually doesn’t make sense to not have UOB VS in the Top 4, and you can debate depending on your personal context whether HSBC Revo, Citi Rewards or UOB Krisflyer should be #5. If you have problems hitting the 1k min spend each month, then you will need to worry about orphan miles and cannot spread your miles over too many banks. UOB VS is a no brainer here because UOB VS pools with Lady and PPF, and it’s fine if you do not use it some months because of the minimum. The Top 5 here is… Read more »

Convenience

Hi, just thinking that maybe there’s a 3rd reason for not over-optimising. The time and preference factor. Essentially if using 4mpd cards affects: 1. Choice of shop/dining/website to patronize 2. Having to monitor various cards for : (a) spending min/max limits (b) annual fee waivers (esp UOB /OCBC) (c) points expiry (d) transaction vs posting date or statement month cycles I think this applies especially if I sign on to more cards then I can usually use for my monthly/annual spending habits. For a busy person, maybe the time saved and the lack of soft constraints on spending could be… Read more »

Jax

Agree. Plus it’s also how much does 1 spend per month. For me, I only use HSBC Revolution for all things offline. And DBS Women’s for all things online. These two cards are enuf for my expedition monthly, which is usually below $2k. Should I travel, I use SC Journey or HSBC Travel One. Sometimes with Amaze but also without at times. If it’s travelling for work, I don’t care about fcy since it’s gonna reimbursed, so it’s all about earning miles. If travelling for leisure, I might even use Revolut/Youtrip cause it’s more of saving money than earning miles.… Read more »

milechaser

@Aaron, can you clarify why you put UOB PPV  over HSBC Revolution as your #1 choice?
I would have thought revo would be much better as a overall balanced card with lack of restriction(see: min spend) as well as no annual fee

Dennis C

UOB PPV pooling with UOB Lady (and UOB VS) would be an easy reason.

Weng You Sim

Hi, If given the option, I would rather avoid ALL UOB cards completely due to lack of proper customer support in case of any transactional issue and the call center giving misleading information. Just to share you my recent experiences: (1) My purchase at the Microsoft store last year was taken as a fraudulent transaction. As a result, my attempts to pay for my purchase has been rejected consecutively for 5 times. Then when I called the UOB call center for assistance, the customer service confirmed that my 6th attempt was successful but it only lasted 30 mins as it… Read more »

Convenience

Yes UOB. I’ve had lousy call experiences too.That’s why I hesitate to take up the Infinite Metal or the Lady’s Solitaire and prefer to stay with other banks. I dropped all my OCBC cards too.

Tom

In with you 100% on this. I effectively boycott UOB products (credit card or banking) – can’t be bothered jumping through hoops with their small print to get any bonuses and I’ve found their customer care to be borderline malicious it is so ineffective.

Dan

If not UOB, what other best options for miles accumulation cards?

Nick

Hi Aaron, I noticed you don’t seem to recommend the WMMC as a general spending card (for contactless payments) anymore. Has this benefit been nerfed or do we still get 4mpd for tapping it on a contactless terminal?

Nick

Argh you’re right. I don’t know why I got it mixed up. Anyway, it doesn’t matter. I’ve been using it mostly for grab and Shopee purchases anyway.

Wei Siang

Hi Aaron,

Currently I’m using amaze card link with citi rewards card. In the past I was using card-up through this citi rewards card for insurance payment to earn the citi points, I stop using card-up due to the admin fee.

I would like to check If I don’t use card-up for the insurance and just make payment through amaze card, can I still earn citi points for my citi rewards card?

Tony

I need a Spreadsheet to keep track of these terms and conditions that are regularly changed . Good to have Aaron giving us regular updates. Thanks Aaron.

J L

I would also suggest under the “Offline Shopping” category, to also include the UOB Lady’s Cards (Shopping category selected) and OCBC Titanium Rewards Blue/Pink (though yes it has been nerfed to SGD1K cap per month)

Last edited 5 months ago by J L
Moses

Hi Aaron
is Grab in the transport category for the UOB lady’s solitaire?

Chong

Hi Aaron, for cards like uob ppv & uob vs, is making payments using mobile contactless sufficient for us to earn the bonus miles? Or do we need to be mindful of the mccs as well?

Dirk

Was told at UOB today that the the PPV is discontinued. They aren’t accept any new applications. Some other cards got the axe as well. I took a photo of the current list. Happy to share.

Elle

Hi Aaron,

Thanks for the comprehensive write-up! For someone living overseas, and coming back once a year – are there any cards with no currency conversion fees so that I can spend overseas and earn miles at the same time?

Dennis C

This is something US credit cardholders, not Singapore credit cardholders, enjoy.

Phoebe

Hello Aaron, love your articles. If you could only pick one between Citi rewards and UOB PPV, which would be your pick?

Dennis C

The reason for this would be a monthly spend close to only $1k, then you’d have to pick one card that captures most of what you actually spend on. No fixed answer.

ralyn

could you do an updated strat post following all the nerfs

Jarnytha

My strategy for 2024, put everything on my Amex Plat Charge. If amex not accepted put it on the prestige.

Curious

Amex does have less acceptance than MC but wouldn’t doing it in the opposite order earn more miles except for maybe SQ and 10X merchants? Perhaps you’re trying to get an invite for the Centurion?

Chuan

Hi, personally think is worth mentioning all uob cards pool points together so wont have much orphan miles issue!

Kel

Many cafes / restaurants nowadays provide QR code for ordering and payment using their in-app ordering system. What is the MCC codes for these and whats the best card to use ? is this consider online spending seeing that it is paid in-app and is online ?

Curious

Excellent question. I want to know too. Currently I circumvent this by asking to pay on their terminal instead of putting my card details in the app. Can someone enlighten us?

Shaun

Hi Aaron, for transport, why wasn’t the SC smart credit card mentioned? Am i missing something haha

Dennis C

I also tried the SC Smart card as a MRT card but stopped using it after the first cashback. For the same reason Aaron wrote.

Dennis C

Aaron, would it be OK to update the article to disclose your estimated monthly spending range, and if you heavily use CardUp and Citi PayAll? This is crucial context to understand a strategy. Below a certain spend level, you have to worry about orphan miles a lot more and should not use more than 1-2 banks. Above a certain spend level, you are prone to maxing out many of the 4 mpd cards and need to pay more attention to UOB Krisflyer and other uncapped/general spend cards. Would also love to see which categories are most important for your family’s… Read more »

Pzhong

Just curious. Why not use both citi rewards visa and Mastercard for online purchases rather than dbs women’s card cos dbs points expire after one year and technically citi card can accumulate for a much longer period?

Dennis C

Citi Rewards Mastercard is more useful because it can be used overseas with Amaze, and Citi does not pool (even between the two cards). If you have another DBS card like DBS Vantage, Women’s is more useful.

Pzhong

But in his article it does not mention dbs vantage or altitude.

And citi visa cannot be used with amaze card.

Unless you mean because it has a higher cap by 500 per month. But I thought it might be negated by the longer expiry date Unless you consistently use more than 1000 per month.

Dennis C

Citi does not pool (even between the two cards). Check if you could consistently max out both cards.

CKC

I wouldn’t place UOB PPV above Citi Rewards + Amaze. Other than travel contactless payments (how often does that happen?), you could argue that CRMC + Amaze works on all contactless payments as well. Add on the fact that you can pair it with Kris+ on all merchants, use it overseas without FCY fees, no rounding down to $5 blocks of spend, and the ability to convert points to a wide variety of transfer partners, I would have to say CRMC + Amaze beats out UOB PPV by a sizeable margin. The only thing going for UOB PPV is saving… Read more »

Dennis C

Pooling

Teo

What best for Telco bill?

Shane

Curious if large FCY shopping expenses using Amaze + Krisflyer UOB will be better than Maybank Horizon? Will this still trigger the 1% fee on Amaze card even if transactions are in FCY?

Pzhong

Also what card app is good to use for hawkers now that xnap is not usable? Any alternatives?

MileTiger

AMEX Pay.

Not the best but at least you get some points

mark

Hi Aaron, thank you for the comprehensive guide. What card do you use for public transport or petrol? Seeing that you chose Dining and Travel for your UOB Solitaire. I do not have DBS WWMC for hotels. For UOB Solitaire, I selected Dining and Transport to hit the $500 monthly spend for my UOB One account to get the interest. If I switched one of the category to Travel, I would no longer be able to hit $500 every month. Just wondering if there are better alternatives than getting DBS WWMC just for hotel bookings. I currently have CRMC+Amaze and… Read more »

Dennis C

Isn’t your spend level too low for miles if you cannot hit $500/month on UOB Solitaire?

mark

Yea my monthly expenditure is not very high. But my monthly expenditure for public transport + fuel + dining can easily hit $500 each month.

For Travel category, I do not spend every month

Desmond

Hi Aaron, So i am curious on bluesg and getgo, what cards will be potentially useful for that? Also, for groceries are you using the KrisFlyer UOB Credit Card?

Sam

The low cap on specialized cards is too much of a risk for me. I would end up with fewer miles.

Richard Tham

Hi Aaron. From the 2024 Best Credit Cards for Petrol post: “SPC transactions are explicitly excluded from earning rewards with UOB cards, but like Shell, it’s different in practice. The latest data points I have suggest that the UOB Preferred Platinum Visa and UOB Visa Signature will not earn miles for SPC, but the UOB Lady’s Cards will.”

Is there a mistake on the asterisks for the Lady cards at the petrol section in this post?

Thanks!

Dennis C

Aaron, you say that the Yuu cashback is enough for you to just take the cash. But with this logic, should you not be using the UOB EVOL card for cashback? UOB EVOL gives maximum $40 cashback on $600 minimum spend (6.67% cashback), and the minimum spend requires online and contactless spend similar to UOB Preferred Platinum. $600 spend on a 4 mpd specialized card is 2,400 miles or $36 with a 1.5 cpm valuation. With this logic, isn’t UOB EVOL flexible enough and the cashback rate is high enough that it should replace the nerfed HSBC Revolution in your… Read more »

Difference

I’m not Aaron but for myself I’d say that the main difference is 18% vs 6.7% cashback ($108 vs $40). A few minor points: Firstly, the DBS offer adds unlimited 5% cashback beyond $600 spend for the selected merchants (mainly Cold Storage and Guardian for me) should I exceed my caps on miles cards. Secondly, 2400 miles in J or F is usually worth more than 1.5cpm. Thirdly, I prefer not to have UOB credit cards (I know what I’m supposedly missing but I’ve had not so great experiences with OCBC and UOB – my credit cards are for convenience… Read more »

Dan

Hi Aaron, thanks for putting all these information together. Overwhelming and need to read numerous times 😂. Quick question, what is best card for paying petrol using Shell Fleet Card? Thanks