Contrary to popular belief, there isn’t a top credit card to get. There is no “1-size-fits-all” card that everyone should get. In fact, the type of purchases you are spending on and the type of rewards you aim to get influences your choice of cards. In this article, I am going to compile 6 credit cards you should consider to earn free flights.
If you haven’t noticed, the E-commerce industry is set to be one of the booming industry in years to come and Southeast Asia was bet to be the new frontier for E-commerce. I admit that I shop/purchase stuff on online platforms such as Lazada, TaoBao and recently Ezbuy frequently as compared to brick and motar stores . I believe many of you do that too! The best way to leverage on these purchases is to use a credit card that earns you air miles in the fastest way possible.
Introducing the Woman World MasterCard and the OCBC titanium. Both cards earn you 4 miles per dollar spent! (4miles/$1).
The card is amazing in the points accumulation for all online retail purchase. Yes, ALL online purchases regardless of the type of purchase. Unlike other banks’ cards which restricts the bonus miles to certain categories such as shoes, clothes and bags, the World MasterCard gives the bonus miles as long the transaction is done over an online payment system. Think Scoot, AirBNB and your daily Uber/Grab transaction.
Pros: Bonus miles for all online purchases. DBS issues air miles through their own point system (1 DBS point = 2 miles). Even if you are not collecting air miles, the DBS points can be used to redeem anything else in their catalog. Otherwise, convert the DBS points into miles.
Cons: The bonus miles applies only to the first SGD$2000 spent online per month and the DBS points expire within a year of issue.
Tips to use this card: Plan your purchases before hand. For example, if you know you are buying multiple items that are worth more than $2000, perform the first check-out at the end of month (Example : 31st Jan) and 2nd check-out on the start of the following month (example: 1st Feb). This way, you will enjoy the full bonus miles on all your purchases. The DBS points limit goes by the transaction date in that particular month.
OCBC Titanium card has recently been upgraded with new OCBC$ accumulation from Dec 2016. This brings in a new level of competition for credit cards that offer 4 miles per $1. Unlike the DBS World MasterCard, the Titanium Card restricts the bonus miles only to certain categories (i.e Department Stores, Electronic Gadget, clothes, baby stuff and cosmetics). Refer to the official website for the updated categories. However, it allows you to make purchases via Apple/Samsung Pay and the bonus miles applies.
Pros: 1 advantage this card has over the DBS Woman’s World card is that the OCBC Titanium card allows the accumulation via offline means (i. e. going to brick and motar shops to purchase stuff) which means it is a good shopping card to be used.
Cons: Categories are restricted for the bonus miles. While the categories mentioned above should cover 80% of your expenditure, purchases on travel websites or booking of land tours are not considered for bonus miles. Capped at $12,000 SGD per year.
Use both cards if you can, to cover all bases! Otherwise, look at your average spending per month and determine the type of expenditure you have. If it’s mainly all online purchases, then I would recommend the DBS Women’s World MasterCard. It doesn’t matter if you are a guy, you can still apply for it. 🙂
If you are mainly buying clothes, or shopping in a department store, the OCBC Titanium Card is a good choice.
Honorable mention: Citibank Rewards card is similar to the Titanium card but more restrictive in its merchant categories but if you are a frequent Amazon shopper, there’s a perk for you. 8 miles per $1 SGD!
Paying for big purchases. (e.g. Wedding banquet)
If you are planning for a single big purchase such as your wedding banquet, I would recommend you the Citi Premier Miles Visa Card. It allows you to earn up to 42,000 miles! That’s a very big boost in your miles collection!
Pros: A better option would be to have your significant other apply for the same card and split the banquet bill into 2. Potentially earning up to 84,000 miles!
Cons: The only downside is that the bonus miles requires the payment of $192 SGD (annual fee). While this can be daunting or a turn off for people. Let us work out the sums to reassure you that this is a right move.
Let’s compare it with the highest rebate credit card without much limits – the UOB One card at 5% rebate (This is assuming you make the payment to the restaurant diligently for each month leading to your banquet and you made at least 5 transactions each month).
Assuming the banquet cost is $20,000 , with 5% rebate, you will get approximately $1000 in cash.
Business Class flight to Narita-Japan and back for 1 person would cost you $3807.50 SGD.
Total cost : $20,000 – $1000 + $3807.50 = $22,807.50 SGD
Again, assuming the banquet cost is $20,000, and the full amount is paid by a single card. Total Miles collected would be: 42,000 miles for the 1st $10,000 charged + 12,000 miles for the remaining $10,000.
Business Class flight to Narita-Japan and back for 1 would cost you 68,000 miles and $157.50 SGD (Airport Taxes + Fuel Charge). Assuming you do not have the miles for the difference (i.e. 68,000 – 54,000), Singapore Airlines charges $40USD per 1000 miles. This equates to an additional $560USD (Approx. $800 SGD) you need to fork out.
Total cost: $20,000 + $192 + $800 = $20,992 SGD ($1900 less than the rebate calculation)
From the sums above, paying your banquet with a credit card that accumulates miles is definitely the way to go! Which means, you are actually paying $1900 lesser for the same business class experience as compared to the rebates method.
In fact, the amount of savings significantly increases if you choose to accumulate for higher tier tickets.
Overseas travel card
Both cards gives 2 miles per $1 SGD spent overseas and the points do not expire. So if you sign up for the Citi Premier Miles card for your banquet, you can just continue to use the card for your trip overseas or for honeymoon.
Otherwise, if you happen to have the DBS Women’s World MasterCard , getting the DBS Altitude card would better as the DBS points accumulated can be pooled together . DBS charges a 1 time payment of $40 SGD for the unlimited transfer of miles.
I would use either card for overseas expenses like dining/entertainment and pair it with the OCBC Titanium card as the bonus miles includes overseas shopping!
Local Dining and Entertainment
The HSBC Revolution Credit Card gives 2 miles per $1 SGD for all local dining including pubs and bars. This is 40% higher as compared to the DBS Altitude or Citi Premier Miles (1.2 miles per $1SGD). Use this card if there isn’t any discounts offered by the restaurants or other credit card companies.
Honorable mention: AMEX Platinum Credit Card. This card is absolutely awesome for its dining programme. “Love Dining” is a programme by Amex which includes The Far Card, Palate dining and restaurants in posh hotels (Raffles Hotel, Swissotel Stamford, Fairmount Singapore). It gives a 50% discount when you dine for 2! Now you can bring your significant other for some “atas” dining and not burn a hole in your wallet. On top of the promotion, you can still earn miles!
Collecting air miles is a journey and it requires due diligence in your spending. Recognise that every small purchase/amount matters. Marilynn and I have been collecting miles with some of the cards listed ever since we got married. And the results of being diligent: Free Premium Economy Seats to Amsterdam and Business Class tickets back to Singapore! I knew some friends who managed to redeem the exclusive first class suite just using air miles!
Bonus: If you manage to read until this point, let me share a bonus tip! If you noticed, I did not tear the activation sticker on the credit cards when it first arrived. This is to deter unscrupulous merchant from swapping my card when I am overseas. They would not have fake cards with the sticker, their fake cards are meant to look exactly like a normal card without the sticker! So by keeping the sticker on, you would be to recognize your card right away. Like and share this post if you decide to keep the sticker on the next credit card sign up!
Please take note that I do not consider credit cards that requires a monthly expenditure limit to collect miles.
All information published are the opinions of the writer. Details provided are accurate as of 1st Feb 2017.
Readers are to refer to the individual credit card’s official website for any new new updates.