Best Credit Cards with Air Miles for Paying Your Annual Fee (2023)

Paying the annual fee on your credit card to get bonus miles seems like an easy way to chalk up your KrisFlyer miles quickly. But is it worth it? Take a look at how much you are actually paying per mile.

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5 Best Credit Cards with Air Miles for Paying Your Annual Fee

These miles cards offer bonus air miles when you pay the annual fee. Is it ever worth it?

Standard Chartered X Card

Frequent Travellers
Frequent Travellers

Standard Chartered X Card

on Local Spend
S$1 = 1.2 Miles
on Overseas Spend
S$1 = 2 Miles
when you activate your X card within 30 days from approval date
30,000 Air Miles
The newly-launched Standard Chartered X Card is a metal credit card for higher earners, with a minimum income requirement of S$80,000 annually. It also comes with a hefty annual fee of S$695.50, which is unfortunately non-waivable.

On the other hand, you get 60,000 miles for paying the annual fee, provided you meet the minimum spending requirements within the first few months. This works out to a reasonable 1.2 cents per mile.

AMEX KrisFlyer Ascend Card

MoneySmart Exclusive
Convenience & Perks for Frequent Flyers
MoneySmart Exclusive
Convenience & Perks for Frequent Flyers

American Express Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer Ascend Credit Card

Local Spend
S$1 = 1.2 Miles
Overseas Spend
S$1 = 2 Miles
on Eligible Grab transaction, capped at $200 per month
S$1 = 3.2 Miles
Get up to 21,500 worth of KrisFlyer Miles (worth a return trip to Bali or 1-way trip to Perth/Darwin via Singapore Airlines) from Amex when you apply. Min. spends of S$1,000 within first month of card approval and payable annual fee required. T&Cs Apply.
Valid until 28 Feb 2023
The Amex KrisFlyer Ascend credit card is also for higher earners, with a minimum income requirement of S$50,000 per annum.

And like the Standard Chartered X Card, it has a non-waivable annual fee that kicks in from the first year. However, if you pay the $337.05 annual fee and meet the minimum spending requirements, you can net 20,000 miles. That works out to 1.7 cents per mile.

Note that American Express also has an entry-level version of this card, the Amex KrisFlyer Card, which has an annual fee waiver for the first year. This credit card also offers welcome miles for hitting a minimum spend, but without the need to pay the annual fee.

DBS Altitude Card

Online Promo
Earn Miles That Never Expire
Online Promo
Earn Miles That Never Expire

DBS Altitude Visa Signature Card

Local Spend
S$1 = 1.2 Miles
Overseas Spend
S$1 = 2 Miles
Staycation bookings
S$1 = 10 Miles
Online Promo:
Welcome Gift: Get S$150 Cashback when you apply with promo code 150CASH and make the min. spend of S$800 within 60 days of card approval. T&Cs apply.
Valid until 30 Jun 2023
A perennial favourite among beginner miles chasers, the DBS Altitude miles card has a low income requirement of S$30,000, and its miles do not expire.

It has a first-year annual fee waiver, but if you choose to pay the annual fee of S$192.60 from the second year, you can get 10,000 miles in return. That works out to 1.9 cents per mile.

You can also opt to get a second year fee waiver if you are eligible, but you will naturally miss out on the 10,000 bonus miles.

Should you pay the credit card annual fee for miles?

If you are frustrated with how long it takes to accrue enough miles to redeem a free flight, it may be tempting to just pay your credit card’s annual fee to get hold of your bonus miles. Before you do so, it is worthwhile to compare the options. Since there is intense competition among miles cards in Singapore, do check out what other banks have to offer. Credit card issuers typically offer better sign-up promotions and bonus miles “packages” for newcomers or those who have not owned a credit card for at least a year. If, after considering the options, you are still keen to pay the annual fee, do some simple maths to find the cost per mile and decide if it is worth it. This is of course a subjective decision, but many air miles bloggers deem that each mile should cost well under 2 cents. Any more than that, and you might as well pay for the flights with cash.

Frequently Asked Questions

Which air miles programme is best?

For most Singaporeans, air miles are synonymous with KrisFlyer miles. But, while Singapore Airlines' KrisFlyer frequent flyer programme is definitely the most popular here, Cathay Pacific's Asia Miles programme may also be worth considering. Of course, Singapore Airlines has the most destinations, but if you like to visit East Asia, Cathay Pacific operates a good number of direct flights as well.

How much are miles worth?

The value of a mile is a subjective matter, and you will find entire blogs dedicated to arguing about it. Generally, most miles chasers are not willing to pay more than S$0.01 per mile when paying the annual fee. After that point, you may find yourself paying enough to afford the air fare in cash.

How many air miles do I need to fly for free?

Miles award charts vary from frequent flyer programme to frequent flyer programme. For KrisFlyer miles, you should aim for at least 50,000 miles in order to redeem a free Economy flight to anywhere a good distance away. For example, it takes 50,000 miles to fly to Japan and 56,000 to fly to Sydney. If you want to fly Business class, expect about double the number of miles.