Heartland Boy has predominantly favoured credit cards that provide cashback over air miles. There were 2 reasons for this.
1) His expatriate package in Jakarta granted him an annual number of flights on premium carriers.
2) The ANZ Optimum Credit Card rewarded his 5% cashback whenever he had to book his Jakarta-Singapore tickers on budget carriers.
However, things have changed lately. Firstly, ANZ’s retail banking division has been purchased by DBS and as a result, the ANZ Optimum Credit Card is no longer valid. Secondly, Heartland Boy has been posted back to Singapore for good! That also meant that he has lost his annual flights entitlement. This has forced him to reconsider air miles credit cards in order to offset the cost of his wife’s next holiday fantasy. Heartland Boy confesses that he is not an expert when it comes to winning the game of air miles, because he is still a “cashback credit card” boy at heart. Still, this has not stopped him from curating the best air miles credit card in Singapore on SingSaver.
What Are Air Miles Credit Cards
Air Miles Credit Cards are credit cards that reward either airline miles or bank loyalty points (can be redeemed under the frequent flyer programmes of the partnership airlines) when a spending is made. The air miles earned is typically dependent on the amount that you spend on the credit card. This is commonly measured by the metric known as miles per dollar (‘MPD’). The nature of the credit card spending also need not be restricted to air travel. The miles accumulated can be used to offset the cost of your next air ticket with the participating airline. This is in essence how an air miles credit card works.
It is also common for air miles credit cards to offer a suite of complementary services that a frequent flyer would commonly use. Examples would be airport lounge access, airport transfers etc. There are plenty of air miles credit cards in the market today, and Heartland Boy shall curate those available on credit card comparison website, SingSaver.
Air Miles Credit Cards On SingSaver
In order to make a fair comparison of the air miles credit cards on SingSaver, Heartland Boy has segmented them into either: (i) Basic or (ii) Mid-tier. The parameter used to make this differentiation is simply salary requirement.
Basic Air Miles Credit Cards
With an annual income of S$50,000, a credit card applicant can choose between the Citi PremierMiles Visa Card or the American Express (‘Amex’) Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer Ascend Credit Card.
|Income Requirement (S$)||50,000||50,000|
|Miles Per Dollar (Local)||1.2||1.2|
|Miles Per Dollar (Overseas)||2||2 (during June and Dec only)|
|Annual Fee (S$)||192.6||337.05|
|Miles With Renewal||10,000||N.A.|
|Travel Perks||2 complimentary Priority Pass Lounge access|
Comparing the Citi PremierMiles Card against the Amex KrisFlyer Ascend card, it is clear that the Citi PremierMiles Card comes up top in this category. While the MPD for local spend is the same across both cards, miles accrual for overseas spend is only valid in the months of June and December for the Amex KrisFlyer Ascend. The welcome miles for Citi PremierMiles Card are also way more generous, thereby granting its credit card holders a fast start on their miles accumulation projects. It has a cheaper annual fee and also grants 10,000 miles if the annual fee is paid. The AMEX KrisFlyer Ascend Card probably offers stronger perks such as access to its AMEX Global Dining Program. Honestly, since Heartland Boy is curating for an air miles credit card, what really matters here is the air miles. Based on this alone, Citi PremierMiles Card triumphs for its miles per dollar for overseas expenditure, as well as its welcome and renewal miles. Of course, let’s not forget that the flight miles for AMEX is restricted to Singapore Airlines.
Mid-Tier Air Miles Credit Cards
With an annual income of S$150,000, a credit card applicant can choose between the Citi Prestige Card or the Standard Chartered (‘SC’) Visa Infinite Credit Card.
|Income Requirement (S$)||120,000||150,000|
|Miles Per Dollar (Local)||1.3||1.4 (with min. monthly spend of ($2,000)|
|Miles Per Dollar (Overseas)||2||3 (with min. monthly spend of ($2,000)|
|Welcome Miles||35,000 upon payment of annual fee|
|Annual Fee (S$)||535||588.5|
|Miles With Renewal||25,000||N.A.|
On first glance, it seems like SC Visa Infinite Credit Card has a superior miles per dollar earn rate for both local and overseas spend compared to the Citi Prestige Card. However, a minimum spend of S$2,000 (can be aggregated between the principal and supplementary cards) on eligible spend must be made per month for the higher mpd to apply. If not, the miles per dollar drop to 1 mile per dollar for both local and overseas spend. Meanwhile, the miles accumulation rate for Citi Prestige Card can be accelerated depending on the length of your existing relationship with Citibank.
In addition, SC Visa Infinite Credit Card does not grant miles upon payment of annual fees. On the other hand, Citi Prestige Card offers 25,000 miles when the annual fee is paid. It offers another opportunity for card holders to purchase miles on the cheap. However, SC Visa Infinite Credit Card has a better welcome gift though. Therefore, it may not be a bad idea to switch out of SC Visa Infinite after the first year since there is no “renewal gift”.
With regards to the perks, gaining unlimited access to Priority Pass Lounges for the card holder means that Citi Prestige Card is the clear winner here. Note that an unlimited Priority Pass would cost US $399 on its own. For the frequent traveller, this is a very compelling welcome gift as being able to relax or work in a comfortable environment is much appreciated. On the other hand, the SC Visa Infinite Card restricts access to Priority Pass Lounges to 6 times per year.
After taking in all these, the Citi Prestige Card slightly edges out on top as the best credit card for air miles in this category. Heartland Boy likes that there is no minimum spend required on its published miles per dollar rate. The clarity is even more apparent if you have difficulty accruing a monthly expenditure of $2,000 on your credit card. When viewed together, its welcome and renewal gift are also superior to SC Visa Infinite Credit Card too.
P.S. Do note that Heartland Boy earns a small referral fee for the affiliate links.
Hi Heartland Boy, I am a SC Visa Infinite card holder. This card is issued to clients with priority relationship with the bank. Actually, once you are a priority client, you can use Priority Lounge unlimited (not 6 times per year as indicated in your article). I have been using it in my travel and it is really useful.
Glad that you are now back in Singapore. I read from your blog that you are a SMU graduate, just wondering whether you are contributing back to your univ with your good knowledge of investment?
I didnt know Priority relationship customers get the Visa Infinite card too. Thanks for clarifying. I agree with you that the unlimited visits to Priority Lounge is really nice.
Yes, I am posted back to Singapore after 21 months in Jakarta. Time really pass too quickly.
Unfortunately, I wasn’t part of any investment clubs during my time in SMU.
For SC PRB VI card, it has changed to 4x a year
TnC here https://av.sc.com/sg/content/docs/sg-pbvi-tnc-full.pdf
thanks for the update!