Everyone has moments in their life which they remember forever. Their first crush, first kiss, first kid, first grandkid. For me, it was getting my first miles-earning credit card.
Prior to this, every single dollar I spent in my 25 years of existence had been wasted. Wasted in the sense that once that dollar was spent, it ceased to do any work for me, fickly transferring its purchasing power to the transaction’s counterparty. But as I cradled that card in my hands I knew that from here on out, my spending had purpose. Now, the dollars I spent would continue to create value for me in the form of the points and miles their spending generated.
This is the story of miles and points, and how they can make your life better
Many people enter an aircraft and shuffle silently past the first and business class sections, silently cursing their inhabitants or wondering what they did in life to enjoy that sort of privilege. They land at their destination and see others driving off in rented luxury cars while they stand in line for hours to get a beaten up Toyota. They arrive at their hotel and see a luxury resort in the distance with fenced-off pristine sand, taunting them in being so close yet so far.
Uninformed journalists and tabloid rags try to stir class warfare with lazily-researched soft news headlines like “HERE ARE THE TOP FIRST CLASS CABINS WHICH YOU WILL NEVER SIT IN” or “SEE HOW THE RICH VACATION IN STYLE”. These “articles” are nothing more than anti-1% propaganda masquerading as journalism. They imply that the wealthy in society enjoy certain things that the unwashed masses will never be able to experience.
Of course the everyman won’t be able to enjoy such things with the frequency that a wealthy person can. But to say that such things are entirely out of the reach of common folk is just wrong.
Miles and points have enabled me to experience some of the finest travel experiences for a minimal financial outlay- enjoyed through generous credit card sign up bonuses and little known loopholes. Over the past 2 years, figuring out the miles and points game has allowed me to experience the First and Business Class products on Singapore Airlines, ANA, EVA, Thai and Lufthansa, enjoy free upgrades to luxurious hotel rooms (including a massive private-pool villa in Bali), test the limits on a factory-fresh BMW rental car in Frankfurt and much more. The bottom line is- you don’t need to be rich to enjoy such things. You just need to take some time to learn the game.
Miles and points is a game that anyone who qualifies for a credit card can play. Like every game, it has rules. Like every rule, there are loopholes. The miles and points game is about getting maximum bang for your buck- spending the absolute minimum and getting the grandest travel experience you can.
This is the story of miles and points, and how you can play the game.
This blog will be an ongoing account of the strategies I am following to build my miles and points balance. The optimal strategy for each person will be different, depending on his or her income (which limits the type of credit cards available), spending patterns (which determines what sort of card one should be using), objectives (ditto previous) and circumstances. The colloquial term for this is YMMV (your mileage may vary).
This blog will be useful to you if you
- Qualify for a credit card (ie earn a minimum of S$30,000 per year)
- Are able to control your spending in a disciplined manner (ie pay off all credit card bills in full, on time and don’t spend more than you earn)
- Prefer earning miles and points over cashback (explained in more detail in a subsequent post)
This is the story of miles and points. Let’s get started!