My Miles Strategy for 2024, as a Singapore-based Traveller

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During the pandemic years, I made a major shift in my miles-accumulation strategy.

Instead of focusing mainly on credit card earn rates (miles-per-dollar value), I started putting more weight on miles/points flexibility. And, this has paid off handsomely, as I never had trouble finding award availability since then, even for last-minute trips!

Imagine that! Imagine not having to worry about award availability, and the option to redeem miles at (nearly) any time, to anywhere. Imagine not needing to make an award redemption one year in advance.

And, I never had issues with expiring miles/points in the past 3 years!

What’s my Travel Pattern?

Obviously, your best Miles strategy depends on your travel patterns (i.e. Where, when and with how many people you usually travel with).

I fully understand what type of traveller I am:

  • Travel mainly as a couple
  • Prefer redeeming miles for Business/First Class, on flights over 4 hours
  • Enjoy trying out Business/First Class products from different airlines
  • Perfectly fine travelling with low-cost carriers on flights under 4 hours
  • Okay with travelling on non-direct flights (max. 1 layover, up to 5 hours)
  • Okay with repositioning to a neighbouring city, where there is award availability
  • Okay with paying for fuel surcharges, if the amount of miles saved is justified

Related: What Type of Traveller are you? Is your Travel Pattern a Good Fit for the Miles Game?

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Why did I change my Miles strategy?

Prior to the year 2020, the “standard” Miles strategy was pretty straightforward. First, you’d pick the credit cards offering the highest earn rates for each spending category. Then, you’d transfer them to Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer, before redeeming them for a Singapore Airlines Business/First Class flight to a preferred destination.

So, why did I move away from the cookie-cutter Miles Strategy? The reason is actually really simple. Business/First Class seats were never meant for mainstream travel.

Over the past 3 to 4 years, we saw a huge increase in interest on award travel, and travel-hacking in general. As such, there are many more people fighting for the same number of Business/First Class seats.

Qatar Airways First Class (read my review)

It is simply unfair to expect airlines to accommodate to the increase in demand for premium award seats. These are for-profit businesses after all!

Furthermore, unlike larger countries like the US, the UK and Australia, there is only one major commercial airport in Singapore, where all Singapore-based mile-chasers fly from.

It is impossible for everyone in Singapore to “win” the Miles Game. A lot of us will end up making poor-value redemptions, and with expired miles that go to waste.

Related: Beginnerโ€™s Guide to the Miles Game and How to Get Started

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My credit card strategy

My workaround? Start accumulating miles/points that improve my flexibility when trying to make an award redemption.

Instead of earning as many miles as possible for every single transaction, and face the following problems:

  • Expiring credit card miles, forcing me to transfer to a frequent flyer program (FFP) speculatively
  • Expiring FFP miles, forcing me to redeem for a trip that I do not want to go
  • Trouble finding award availability on my preferred dates/destinations

…I prefer to earn fewer miles, and gain the following advantages:

  • On cards where miles do not expire, I can hold them in my card for as long as I want, and only transfer them to an FFP when I’m ready to make an award booking (and when there is award availability)
  • Have the freedom to search multiple FFPs for award availability (MUCH higher chance of finding one)
  • Redeem fewer miles for the same routes, on certain FFPs/airlines

Related: Best Miles/Cashback Credit Cards in Singapore

Singapore cards offering the Best Miles Flexibility

As covered in the dedicated page of Singapore’s bank transfer partners, here are the Singapore cards that offer the best miles/points flexibility:

CardEarn
Rate
(mpd)
Transfer
Partners
(with good
transfer ratio)
Miles
Expiry
Citi
Rewards
4 mpd
(Online,
max.
$1k/mth)
10Every
5 years
from card
opening
date
Citi
Prestige
1.3 mpd
(SGD)
2 mpd
(FCY)
10Never
expire
Citi
PremierMiles
1.2 mpd
(SGD)
2 mpd
(FCY)
10Never
expire
Standard
Chartered
Journey
3 mpd
(Dining,
max.
$1k/mth)
4Never
expire
HSBC
TravelOne
1.2 mpd
(SGD)
2.4 mpd
(FCY)
93 years

๐Ÿ’กClick on the + Card Summary buttons below to instantly view the key details of each card!

Citi Rewards

Earn 4 mpd on online spending, except travel-related

๐ŸŽ Sign-up bonus

+ Card Summary

Citi Prestige

Unlimited free airport lounge visits for two, 4th night free on hotel bookings

๐ŸŽ Sign-up bonus

+ Card Summary

Citi PremierMiles

Earn 1.2 mpd on local spend, 2 mpd on foreign currency

๐ŸŽ Sign-up bonus

+ Card Summary

Standard Chartered Journey

Earn 3 mpd on dining, groceries and ride-hailing

๐ŸŽ Sign-up bonus

+ Card Summary

HSBC TravelOne

Earn 1.2 mpd on local spend, 2.4 mpd on foreign currency

๐ŸŽ Sign-up bonus

+ Card Summary

โŒ Singapore credit cards that I AVOID

The “problem” with the above list is – aside from the Citi Rewards card, most of the others are just General Spending cards with uncapped, but much lower earn rates than the “4 miles per dollar” target that most Singapore-based mile-chasers aim towards.

Singapore Airlines Airbus A380 Business Class (read my review)

However, understanding the above list makes it easy to eliminate the usage of other general-spending cards that offer similar earn rates, but come with poorer flexibility.

CardEarn
Rate
Transfer
Partners
(with good
transfer ratio)
Miles
Expiry
UOB
PRVI Miles
1.4 mpd
(SGD)
2.4 mpd
(FCY)
22 years
DBS
Altitude
1.3 mpd
(SGD)
2 mpd
(FCY)
3Never
expire
DBS
Vantage
1.5 mpd
(SGD)
2.2 mpd
(FCY)
33 years

Another popular high-earning card that I would never use because of very poor flexibility, is the KrisFlyer UOB card.

However, I can imagine it being useful to someone who spends over $5,000 a month on dining or Singapore Airlines flights. If you don’t, there are plenty of better cards out there.

Related: Best Dining Miles/Cashback Credit Cards in Singapore

๐Ÿ’กClick on the + More info buttons below to instantly view the key details of the card!

KrisFlyer UOB

Earn 3 mpd on dining, online shopping and selected travel spending

๐ŸŽ Sign-up bonus

+ Card Summary
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Inflexible Singapore cards that I still use

I still use 2 cards with great earn rates but poor miles/points flexibility; but only for specific use cases.

1) UOB Lady’s

Earn rate: 6 mpd (up to $1,000/month) on selected category (till 29 Feb 2024)
Transfer partners: 2
Points expiry: 2 years
Use case: Travel transactions only (flights, hotels, klook etc.). Pair with Amaze to save ~1.5% on foreign currency fees.

2) HSBC Revolution

Earn rate: 4 mpd (up to $1,000/month) on online and contactless spending
Transfer partners: 2
Points expiry: 3 years
Use case: Online and contactless spending in SGD only, if I have maxed out the limit on Citi Rewards.

As a credit card that does not come with any annual fee, the HSBC Revolution is a low-maintenance card that only requires me to keep track of the 3-year points expiry term.

Turkish Airlines Boeing 787 Business Class (read my review)

Wait, what about the DBS Woman’s World card?!

Earn rate: 4 mpd (up to $2,000/month) on online spending
Transfer partners: 3
Points expiry: 1 year

This card served me well in the past. But with only 3 transfer partners and an expiry term of just 1 year, it is no longer useful to me.

For online transactions in SGD, I use the Citi Rewards and HSBC Revolution cards.

For online transactions in foreign currency, I use the Amaze card, paired to the Citi Rewards, UOB Lady’s or Citi Prestige cards.

It would be useful to me, if I have online spending in SGD above $2,000 per month. But I usually don’t.

Related: Best Online Shopping Miles/Cashback Credit Cards in Singapore

No UOB Preferred Platinum card?

Earn rate: 4 mpd (up to $1,000/month) on mobile contactless spending
Transfer partners: 2
Points expiry: 2 years

I simply do not have enough contactless spending in SGD for this card to be useful to me. The same great cards mentioned above do the same job!

Related: Best Contactless Spending Miles/Cashback Credit Cards in Singapore

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Summary: 2024 Miles Strategy

Here’s a quick summary of the cards that I use for each spending category. As you can see, the same 4 cards cover most of my needs, and 2 of them do not even have an annual fee!

โœ๏ธ Visit this page to view the best Miles/Cashback cards for each spending category, and the pros and cons of each card.

Cards are listed in order of preference, until the monthly limit to receive bonus miles/points is reached.

Online Shopping (SGD): Citi Rewards, HSBC Revolution
Online Shopping (FCY): Amaze + Citi Rewards, Amaze + Citi Prestige

Dining (SGD): Amaze + Citi Rewards, HSBC Revolution, SC Journey
Dining (FCY): Amaze + Citi Rewards, Amaze + Citi Prestige

Flights (SGD): UOB Lady’s, HSBC Revolution, Citi Prestige
Flights (FCY): Amaze + UOB Lady’s, Amaze + Citi Prestige

Hotels (FCY): Amaze + UOB Lady’s, Amaze + Citi Prestige

Foreign Currency (Shopping): Amaze + Citi Rewards, Amaze + Citi Prestige

Telco Bills (Online): Citi Rewards

I use cashback cards for the following spending categories:

Groceries: DBS yuu, Amaze + Citi Rewards

Utilities: UOB One, UOB Absolute Cashback

Petrol: AMEX True Cashback, POSB Everyday

๐Ÿ’กClick on the + Card Summary buttons below to instantly view the key details of each card!

Amaze

Turn offline transactions online and minimize foreign transaction fees

๐ŸŽ Sign-up bonus

+ Card Summary

Citi Rewards

Earn 4 mpd on online spending, except travel-related

๐ŸŽ Sign-up bonus

+ Card Summary

UOB Lady’s

Earn 4 mpd on chosen bonus category

๐ŸŽ Sign-up bonus

+ Card Summary

HSBC Revolution

Earn 4 mpd or 2.5% cashback on selected online/contactless spending

๐ŸŽ Sign-up bonus

+ Card Summary

Where do I credit paid flights?

Because I have enough miles and did not have difficulty finding award availability in recent years, I’ve only paid for two types of flights:

  1. Error fares (some shared only on Telegram)
  2. Short haul on budget airlines (under 2 hours)
SWISS Boeing 777 Business Class (read my review)

Of course, miles can only be accrued on paid flights on full-service airlines. I credit them to FFPs that fit my award redemption goals, at that time.

Related: Award Redemption Goals: Which Frequent Flyer Program should you transfer your credit card Miles/Points to?

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“Buy” Miles through Citi PayAll

Because of its flexibility, I value Citi miles/points more than those from other banks.

For payments that can’t get me decent miles or cashback (e.g. taxes, bills, insurance), I use the Citi PayAll payment facility.

Citi PayAll allows me to pay a small fee for my expenses, and receive miles in return; allowing me to “buy” miles for cheap when there is a promotion.

Bottom line

Business and First Class travel was never meant for the masses. As the Miles Game gains popularity, it’s probably time to rethink your Miles strategy, to stay on the winning side.

Have a look at Suitesmile’s sweet spot articles to compare the award rates across multiple FFPs, to each destination.

5 thoughts on “My Miles Strategy for 2024, as a Singapore-based Traveller”

  1. This is a very comprehensive and concise guide.

    Would you kindly share your citi pay all guide? do you usually hit the 8k min spend?

    Reply
  2. This is one of my favourite articles I have read in awhile. Clear, concise yet comprehensive. Thank you for this ๐Ÿ™‚

    Reply
  3. however, 4mpd for 1K card only get 4k points/mth. multiple by 12, u barely can convert to a businessclass one way to europe. Add to the family members…how do u get to redeem so many tickets?

    Reply
    • Along with the miles earned on other cards + sign-up bonuses, I am accumulating enough miles to meet my award redemption goals as a couple. Your mileage may vary.

      Reply

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