Understanding Credit Card Points

Unless you hold a cobrand card like the AMEX KrisFlyer Ascend or KrisFlyer Blue, you’re not actually earning miles when you spend- you’re earning bank points. Bank points can then be transferred to frequent flyer programs such as KrisFlyer or Asia Miles.

That means there’s an additional layer to understand here in the form of the various bank currencies. So I’ve put together the following table with the 8 banks in Singapore whose currencies can be converted to airline miles.

Click to enlarge

A few points to note about the table above:

  • The table reflects base earn rates for all cards. The OCBC VOYAGE and Citi PremierMiles earn 2.3 and 2.0 mpd respectively on FCY spend which is not reflected above
  • The earn rate for AMEX Cards varies depending which one you have. The Rewards card earns 1MR per $1, the AMEX Platinum cards earn 2 MR points per $1.60
  • Citibank can’t decide what to call its points- it in theory has converted all its Citi Dollars and Ultima Dollars to ThankYou points, but you’ll still find references to the old nomenclatures in a lot of its materials
  • DBS offers customer two options for conversion. Cardholders either pay $26.75 per conversion, or $42.80 for their points to be automatically converted once the minimum threshold is reached
  • Citibank points expire 5 years (+3 months) after the card on which they were earned was opened. That’s to say, if your card was opened in May 2018, all your points earned on that card will expire Aug 2023. Confused? Read this.

You can also see from the table how we get the concept of 10X points, or 4 mpd (please don’t use 4X to refer to 4 mpd, it just confuses everyone):

  • With DBS, $5 earns you 1 DBS Point which is worth 2 miles, therefore earning 10X points means $5 earns 10 DBS Points or 20 miles, hence 4 mpd
  • With OCBC, $1 earns you 1 OCBC$ which is worth 0.4 miles, therefore earning 10X points means $1 earns you 10 OCBC$ or 4 miles, hence 4 mpd
  • There are two exceptions in the form of SCB, which confusingly follows the same 5,000 points= 2,000 miles ratio for its Visa Infinite card but 7,000 points = 2,030 miles for its Rewards+ card (not that the card is particularly worth getting anyway…) and AMEX which has a 450 points= 250 miles ratio