Best Credit Card for Miles / Points: How to easily earn a return trip to Japan EVERY YEAR for FREE

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Cards cards everywhere but which to use. This article is about how to clock the maximum number of points from your expenditure to get miles / points (Note: only looking at points cards, no comparison to rebates)

Summary

Summary is that, regardless of how points are calculated by banks or financial institutions, there is a clear benefit to segregate your expenses according to the specific themes of the credit cards in order to attain multiplier effects of up to 10x for expenditure on certain cards.

Ideally, all your expenditure (less those used on rebates cards) should be targeting a 10x multiplier (ie the Best Multiplier case). Note, to understand more about “currency of points”, please see article here for more details.

Themed Expenditure

The following are the 10x multiplier credit cards that I would recommend as follows,

Note: Only expenditure on these specific themes will give you the 10x multiplier benefit subject to terms and conditions. 

 

All Other Expenditure 

To clock maximum points, I would recommend the following,

 

Analysis

Best Credit Card for Miles / Points: 3 Scenerios are analyzed
Base Case Easy Multiplier Case Best Multiplier Case
This scenario is when you use the most basic of the credit cards for expenditure.
  • By using these credit cards selected, you can spend on any kind of expenditure to earn the maximum number of points.
  • Earn rate is up to 1.4 miles per dollar spent (representing up to a 3.5x multiplier)
  • As earn rate is lower on these cards, spend using these cards only if you are not able to achieve a 10x multiplier.
  • By using these credit cards selected, you need to spend on specific themes of expenditure to earn the maximum number of points. Note expenditure outside these themes give you minimal points
  • Earn rate is up to 4 miles per dollar spent (representing up to a 10x multiplier)
  • Ideally, all expenditure should be only targeting this category

With the intention to understand this multiplier effect in the Credit Card market in Singapore, I have compared the all the available credit cards in the market with specific emphasis on the bigger financial institutions in this space and summary below,

Best Credit Card for Miles / Points (Highlighted in red)

Best Credit Card for Miles / Points

Note: In alphabetical order and only on local expenditure. Also $10 voucher above represents either a Capitaland voucher or departmental stores voucher. 

Note 2: ANZ Travel Signature is as good as the UOB Privi Miles cards offering the same 1.4 miles for every $1 spent

 

Best Credit Card for Miles / Points: Key Takeaways

Base Case: DOESN’T MATTER

  • We don’t need to compare at this stage because most cards have certain multipliers and we should take advantage of that. Ideally, we should always target themed expenditure to get the 10x multiplier or otherwise, you should use the “catch all” cards (see below under Easy Multiplier Case) to rack up points

 

Easy Multiplier Case: “CATCH ALL” CARDS

 Note: To be clear, the Easy Multiplier Case depicts general expenditure that just needs to be just local expenditure (not foreign currency) and applies to all expenses that can be charged to credit cards

 

Best Multiplier Case – TO ALWAYS AIM FOR THIS

  • Earn more than 30,000 miles annually by using specific cards for certain themed expenditure. This is usually the best case multiplier scenario and usually requires specific expenditure on a certain “theme” of expenses (eg. online transactions, dining transactions, retail transactions etc) or even more strictly sometimes only on selected “partner” merchants. Potentially you can earn 40,000 miles more annually – a return ticket to Japan (just based on $1k a month spent) just by choosing the right credit card to use.
  • Cards for “themed” expenses are pretty easy to use, hence these are a must have in my order of preference,
    1. Dining: UOB Preferred Platinum American Express (only) Card – We all eat at restaurants at least once in a while and most restaurants now do accept Amex already. Note to sign up only for the Amex card as only that gives you a 10x multiplier.
    2. Online Expenditure: DBS Woman’s World MasterCard® Card – Men can apply too – What many people don’t know is that men can also enjoy the benefit of this card. Best points earning card for online purchases limited to a cap of $2,000 monthly.
    3. Paywave: UOB Preferred Platinum Visa Card – If you do grocery shopping, make sure you always use this card to clock expenditure using paywave. Note, each paywave has to be less than $100 per transaction to enjoy the 10x multiplier (ie split up your purchases if necessary).
    4. Retail Expenditure (Bags, Shoes, Clothes only): Citibank Rewards Card – The importance of this card depends on how much you do retail shopping. Note this is specific to only expenditure on clothes, shoes and bags only.
    5. Drinks, dining and movies: DBS Black Card (Promotion seems to have ended Jun-2015) – This is a useful card but unfortunately we don’t know whether the promotion will continue.
    6. Others:
      • There are other 10x multiplier cards such as the HSBC Advance Visa Platinum that may be good for you too, unfortunately, I prefer to centralize my points accumulation with a couple of main banks.
      • Selected “partner” merchant cards can be more restrictive (though may suit your expenditure),  such as Maybank World MasterCard (10x multipler) or The American Express Platinum Card (12.5x multipler charge card) require expenditure only at selected merchants to earn the rewards. It may be useful to look at these cards particularly if you shop frequently at those merchants.
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