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It’s about time to give an update to one of Atas Accountant’s most read articles, and for good reason too! After all, credit cards form the bulk of the balance of miles & points, and for every miles chaser, being on top of the game with opening bonuses and accelerated opportunities are how you begin towards your million mile journey. As usual, the credit card market is flooded with more than 25 cards that allows you to earn miles, but which actually should you consider? Check out what our founder, Dickson and the team currently/continues to use!

For General Spending: OCBC Premier Voyage

The OCBC Premier Voyage continues to be Dickson’s handy card for his day-to-day spending. While there are some changes (spend minimum $5 to get miles and increase in spending to get free limousine rides), it still retains the crown for offering 1.6mpd for local spend (highest in Singapore for local spend) and 2.3 mpd on foreign spend, with no cap. As a recap, OCBC Voyage cards employs an unconventional miles rewards system, whereby it gives VOYAGE miles which never expires. VOYAGE miles are special in the sense that it can be used for, as OCBC claims, to book any flight, on any airline with no blackout dates, with no need to start the flight from Singapore.

To the uninformed, this means that you have the flexibility to try out any cabin you wish, without actually accruing the airline’s mileage currency. If not, VOYAGE miles can also be converted to Krisflyer miles at a 1:1 conversion rate, with ZERO processing fees, unlike most banks which charge a one-time fee of $25 each time. Dickson utilised this greatly during the 15% bonus Krisflyer had back in January 2021.

Before COVID happened, Dickson also uses his OCBC Premier Voyage Card for lounge access too. OCBC Voyage partners with Plaza Premium lounges over the world, and provides BOTH primary and supplementary cardholders unlimited lounge access. Up till April 2021, there are only about 80+ Plaza Premium lounges (primarily in Asia) around the world, a stark comparison to the 1,200 lounges offered by Priority Pass, which most banks in Singapore have an agreement with. However, it seems that with the recent break-up between Plaza Premium and Priority Pass, Plaza Premium has launched a collaboration with DragonPass which will allow Plaza Premium lounge holders to access more than 1,000 lounges around the world, something Dickson can’t wait to enjoy as he heads to the skies again!

Verdict: The OCBC Premier Voyage Card still retains a place in Dickson’s wallet due to its strongest mile-earning general, local spend ability, and unlimited lounge access. It admittedly does require a significant card fee ($488 annual fee but waived recently), so for graduates starting out in the workforce, I would recommend entry-level cards such as the DBS Altitude, the Citi Premiermiles, or even the next card Dickson advocates that has featured heavily in his wallet the past 6 months. Stay tuned!

For Contactless Transactions: UOB Preferred Platinum Visa/ HSBC Revolution

Ever since entering Dickson’s wallet in 2019, the UOB PPV (now virtual) has been a mainstay. It’s simple; you get 4mpd on largely all contactless payments, capped at $1,110 each calendar month, and 0.4mpd on everything else. The 4mpd comes in the form of UNI$ reward points, where 1 UNI$ = 2 miles. Contactless payments are generally recognised as Paywave, Apple Pay, Samsung Pay.. you get the idea.

With all this stated, it’s important to remember that UOB is a local bank, and since all local banks now practice this policy of miles are being awarded in blocks of $5 spent, REMEMBER, you get ZERO miles for spending $4.99 or lesser. Thus, ensure that you spend at least $5, and that will give you 10 UNI$, and therefore 20 miles! After accumulating your UNI$, you may then change it to Krisflyer/Asia Miles in blocks of 5,000 UNI$ = 10,000 miles.

Additionally, UOB has a list of SMART merchants. You will not get 4mpd on contactless payments if you pay at these SMART merchants. That’s because UOB has a special arrangement with these merchants, where they give rebates instead. We certainly value 4mpd over these rebates, so we use another card while paying at these SMART merchants, which brings us to…

THE HSBC REVOLUTION CARD! The HSBC Revolution Card has simply been a game changer, and even if you are a veteran or newbie in the miles game, it’s a card to have. Ever since August 2020, opportunities to earn 4mpd are introduced, capped at $1,000 a month. The 4mpd will be awarded in the form of 10X HSBC points, split into: 1X base points for every $1 of eligible transaction 9X bonus points for every $1 of eligible transaction Bonus points will only be credited by the end of the following calendar month from the date of transaction. For example, spending in August will see your bonus points only credited in September. We frequently compare the UOB PPV and the HSBC Revolution, so here’s a summary. Firstly, HSBC awards points for every $1, whereas UOB only awards points in blocks of $5. This makes the HSBC much more versatile for small transactions. Secondly, HSBC Revolution is able to earn points at SMART$ merchants, unlike UOB cards. However, the cons of using the HSBC Revolution would mean that you will be at risk of orphan points, since HSBC does not pool points and UOB has many miles-earning cards which pools points as well. In addition, UOB allows a near blanket-list of contactless transactions to earn 4mpd, while HSBC only allows certain contactless transactions to earn 4mpd as directed by the MCC code. Verdict: The miles game is not a choice of either or, but both and. Simply put, you should absolutely get BOTH cards if you haven’t. It’s seamless and there’s a ton of opportunities to pay via contactless payments and earn 4mpd. Just take note of the various scenarios and you will be maximising the 4mpd opportunities in next to no time! For Online Spend: DBS Womans World Mastercard/ Citi Rewards Card

The DBS WWMC still retains the crown for all online spend, since it awards 4mpd* for all online spend, capped at $2,000 per statement month, and 0.4mpd on everything else. The DBS WWMC is primarily used by Dickson for his air tickets and hotel stays. It’s noteworthy that for hotel stays, you would have to pay the full amount online, and not over the counter after your stay, since that will only give you a measly 0.4mpd.

Credit cards have some weird terms and conditions and the DBS WWMC isn’t an exception. Besides awarding miles in blocks of $5 like the UOB PPV, DBS only gives its bonus miles after aggregating your total spend. Take a look at this.

To break it down, the 4mpd, in the form of DBS points, where 1 DBS point = 2 miles, is credited to your account on 2 different dates:

1X DBS Point for every $5 spent on next working day of transaction date 9X DBS Points for every $5 spent on a specific date of the next statement

To provide a simple example, what I spend on the 1st-31st June, I will only get 1 DBS point for every $5 spent. The additional 9X DBS Points will then come in one lump sum on the next statement month, which falls on the 16th July for myself. This may vary for each card member, but the principle remains the same.

In addition, DBS points accumulated on the WWMC expire one year at the end of the quarterly period they were accumulated.

Now, let’s talk about the Citi Rewards card.

The Citi Rewards card is largely under appreciated, but we definitely fancy it here at Atas Accountant due to one main reason. Citibank’s sheer variety of airline partners seals a spot in the Atas Accountant’s credit card lineup. 10 airline partners to be exact! This is a huge difference compared to the traditional players like Krisflyer and Asia Miles. For example, we can diversify our miles portfolio with British Airways Avios and Turkish Miles & Smiles, something we advocate here at Atas Accountant. For example, we helped a few of our clients at Atas Accountant snag some sweet one-for-one British Airways first/business class seats during their promotion last year (who say miles are worthless during a pandemic!) Dickson also accumulated enough Avios to redeem 2 first class tickets to London for the price of one. Here’s hoping that he will be able to fly it at the end of the year! For every $1 spent, you will get 1 base ThankYou point. 1 ThankYou point is worth 0.4 airline miles, so that’s an equivalent earn rate of 0.4 mpd for both local and FCY spending. To hit the 4mpd, you want to ensure that you spend it on the appropriate categories, which will give you an additional 9 ThankYou points per $1 spent online, or certain offline transactions, such as department stores or general shops selling bags, shoes and clothes. 2 things to note though! Unlike the DBS WWMC, bonus points are only capped at $1,000, unlike the DBS WWMC which is capped at $2,000. Also, bonus points are given immediately after the transactions is posted. Thus, not much reconciliation of points are required! Verdict: Both cards are essential, but leave this cards largely at home since they are better off for online transactions! A tip will be to keep spending on the WWMC to big ticket-items, so that less time is spent reconciling bonus points. It might seem a lot of trouble to accumulate points on the WWMC, but its earning capability of 4mpd on online spend is rather unmatched. For smaller ticket items, like food delivery or Grab rides, we keep it to our Citi Rewards card! Alternative Cards The cards listed above are our absolute must-haves, but the team largely possesses other cards in our arsenal which we use on a case-by-case basis. If you have attended our courses, you would know that besides accelerated miles opportunities, welcome bonuses are equally as important. Thus, if you are new to the Amex family, we would recommend jumping on one of their entry-level cards, especially since you get 5,000 miles on just your first spend, which can even be a dollar! The Standard Chartered Visa Infinite X card was definitely a flash in a pan when it launched in 2019 with 100k miles, and while it has tailed off, we hope banks will start to be more aggressive in launching promotions for miles cards as travel becomes more realistic; we’ll have that all for you here at Atas Accountant, that’s for sure! We’ve mentioned about the prowess of Citibank cards given its sheer variety of airline transfer partners, which can offer serious value when redeeming miles, showing that there is indeed life beyond Krisflyer. I’ll give a shoutout too to the UOB Krisflyer Credit Card (avoid Debit card please) and the UOB’s Lady Card; both can be valuable assets if utilised properly. Finally, as our travel expenditure picks up overseas (hopefully), the UOB Visa Signature (VS) card will come back into play. Granted, it hasn’t featured much, but it works similar to the UOB PPV, giving 4mpd per blocks of $5. However, you MUST spend between $1,000 to $2,000 within a statement month, where anything below $1,000 and above $2,000 will see you earning 0.4mpd. UOB allows points pooling too, so I can combine my UNI$ from the PPV and VS and convert to miles with one fee. One card that we absolutely adore here at Atas Accountant is the AMEX Platinum Charge Card. It commands a $1,712 annual fee, but the perks it gives offer so much more value. Dickson hasn’t cashed in yet due to the pandemic, but it’s definitely on the radar. We’ll come up with a post detailing its benefits soon!

Conclusion

That’s it then! We maintain this message: Credit cards can be a double-edged sword; While we absolutely advocate the usage of cards for daily expenses to rack up miles, but you must also be diligent in paying your bills (to avoid paying extra interest) and to not spend above your means. For all in the miles journey, we hope this article has been useful to you. Feel free to comment below which cards you will be using for stacking your miles, or if you have a better lineup of cards! Happy miles chasing!

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