14 Travel Hacks that you MUST know before your next overseas trip


1) Skip the money changer

Going to the money changer and exchanging thousands of dollars worth of foreign currency before your trip, is a thing of the past, seriously.

It’s hard to believe that people are still going out of their way to travel to popular money changer places like Mustafa Center and People’s Park to “survey” 10 money changers for their rates, exchange a large amount, then bring that lump sum to a foreign country.

Why is it bad to get bulk cash from money changers?

  • It’s a hassle to look for money changers and compare rates.
  • When you exchange a large sum of money, you are committed to 1 exchange rate at that point in time.
  • It’s an unnecessary security concern/worry to carry large amounts of cash on your travels.
  • Bank notes are full of germs!

However, it is probably a good idea to have some foreign currency with you, just in case. For this, just head to the nearest money changer (even one at Changi Airport is fine) and exchange a small amount.

Better alternatives

Get YouTrip and Revolut cards.

These are free prepaid cards with e-wallets. Top up your e-wallets with the right method to receive up to 3% cashback. Then, withdraw the foreign currency from overseas ATMs for free on Revolut (up to S$350 per month) and S$5 fee per withdrawal on YouTrip.

You will get better exchange rates with YouTrip/Revolut vs money changers.

You can also use these cards to pay for cashless transactions overseas. Again, better than money changer rates!

Want to further up your game? Get the Amaze card for overseas cashless spending.

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2) Check shopping portals

Shopping portals offer additional cashback just by clicking through their links. They are great for hotel and flight bookings.

For example, you can currently earn 4% cashback on Qatar Airways flight bookings just by clicking through TopCashback.

Here are some shopping portals that you should sign up for. Use any of my referral links to receive a sign-up bonus:

Pro tip!

Find out which shopping portals are offering the best cashback at any time by searching for the merchant on Cashback Monitor.


3) Get FREE breakfast in all Hilton hotels for the next 2 years

Hilton Honors is running a fast track program to offer new members Gold status after just 4 nights in Hilton properties.

You can spend 4 nights in a Hilton property for less than S$40 a night in Kuala Lumpur. That’s a total of around S$150!

Complimentary breakfast at Hilton Malta (read my review)

4) Check credit card discounts

Banks run frequent deals/discounts on travel spending. However, a lot of them are simply not good enough to be called “deals”.

Subscribe to Suitesmile’s Telegram channel to get alerted on noteworthy deals, like the current one where DBS cardholders can receive a whopping 18% discount off hotels worldwide on Agoda.

5) Use the Priceline hack for fantastic hotel discounts

While the Priceline hack requires a little bit of work, it almost guarantees that you are paying the lowest rate for that property! This method is fantastic for travellers who do not hold any hotel status but wants to have some travel-hacking fun.

Hotel Indigo Bali Seminyak Beach can frequently be booked with the Priceline hack with over 20% discount!

6) Get 10 MPD on hotel bookings

Kaligo rewards members with miles for each hotel reservation made through them. You will get 10 miles per dollar for hotel bookings paid with some Citi PremierMiles card.

Before making a booking at Kaligo, check if other websites are offering a lower price for the same hotel.

Sign up with my referral link to receive 1,000 bonus miles after just 1 stay. As a Singapore-based traveller, Alaska and Qatar miles are the most valuable at the moment. We currently value 1,000 Alaska miles at S$22.

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7) Don’t book on Airbnb blindly

As I’ve recently shared on Suitesmile’s Instagram stories, a lot of Airbnb properties are also listed in other online travel agencies (OTAs) like booking.com and Agoda.

To look for them, simply do a Google search of the title of an Airbnb listing and you may be surprised by the lower price on offer.

Remember to use hack no. 2 and/or 4, as described above!

Booked a stay at The Tiing Tejakula Villas in Bali for about 20% cheaper on Agoda vs Airbnb

8) Get 6 MPD for flights on some airlines

DBS Altitude card offers 6 miles per dollar (MPD) for flight bookings on some airlines, made through their dedicated Expedia link.

Selected airlines include Finnair, Qatar Airways, Thai Airways and Turkish Airlines.


9) Best revenue flights to USA

Arguably, the best way to fly to the USA with a revenue ticket is in Singapore Airlines Premium Economy.

You can find round trip flights to Seattle and Los Angeles for just under S$1,500 all year round, even before the pandemic!

The best part about these flights is that you will receive over 17,500 miles by crediting your flight to Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan or Singapore Airlines Krisflyer. Of course, my preference is Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan (see the next point).

Singapore Airlines Premium Economy (read my review)

10) Credit your flights to the right Frequent Flyer Program

Not all miles are equal. Some are harder to earn, some are harder to redeem. And some are both!

Even though I have elite membership statuses with many hotel and airline loyalty programs, I am all about value and staying disloyal.

Taking the flight example from point no. 9…

  • Crediting the flight to Alaska instead of Krisflyer will give you S$385 worth of miles vs S$298.
  • You require less Alaska miles to redeem for long-haul Business and First Class flights vs Krisflyer miles.
  • Crediting this flight to Alaska’s Mileage Plan will bring you closer to a much more rewarding elite status. For example, being a Gold member with Alaska Airlines will give you 35,000 miles for the same flight above! (P.S. Elite members of Singapore Airlines earn exactly the same amount of miles on their paid flights as normal members)
Redeem 25,000 Alaska miles for Business Class flights on Japan Airlines (read my review)

11) Get FREE airport lounge passes

Some credit cards, like Citi Prestige, offer free unlimited airport lounge access for 2 guests.

Other cards, with annual fee waived for at least 1 year, offer free airport lounge passes that you can enjoy before your next flight. These cards are:


12) Discount on car rental

Get 10% discount on car rental with Visa cards issued in Singapore and some Asia Pacific countries.

13) Team up with your travel partner

Take advantage of the benefits of 2-Player Mode during your travels to receive some amazing benefits like free nights and daily hotel credits!

Get US$100 property credit at Alila Ubud (read my review)

14) Status match

Take advantage of status match opportunities for better benefits in more loyalty programs.

Click here to match other hotel loyalty programs to Hilton Honors.

Click here to match Marriott Bonvoy to SIXT car rental.

Click here to match Avis to Hertz.

If you have a World Elite Mastercard, like Citi Prestige, you will be able to get complimentary enrolment to Avis President’s Club.

Received a better car for SIXT Ride from Al Maha Desert Resort Dubai after my status match from Marriott Bonvoy Titanium

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