Updated June 2018
If you love to travel, a good Standard Chartered air miles credit card is a must-have. Compare and apply to earn credit card miles to redeem discounts, upgrades or even your entire airfare!
Miles credit cards, sometimes known as air miles credit cards or frequent flyer credit cards, allow you to accumulate frequent flyer miles with purchases made on your cards. You can then put these towards your next holiday’s airfare.
It’s no surprise that miles credit cards are one of the most popular types of cards. Who wouldn’t want to earn flights to Hokkaido while buying rice and diapers at NTUC? Of course, air miles do take significant spending to accumulate, so don’t expect to get round-the-world tickets with a few miserly transactions.
Competition is stiff in the area of miles credit cards, and it can be mind-boggling to sift through them all. Since miles credit cards don’t always offer waivers off their annual fees, it is worth knowing what you’re signing up for.
Firstly, check that you are getting a good dollar-to-mile conversion rate on your miles credit card. Usually, banks offer a lower rate on local spending and a higher one for overseas or foreign currency spending, so bear that in mind. Some cards offer attractive bonus rates with partner merchants so you can rack up miles more quickly.
While some airline-specific cards will credit your earned miles directly into an established frequent flyer programme, certain miles credit cards award points in other types of “currency” such as DBS points or Citi Miles. Converting these points into an actual air ticket will take a longer time and may cost more.
Always, always check the T&Cs of any frequent flyer programme for any unsavoury details the credit card issuer would rather you not know. These include when your miles will expire and whether there is a cap on the miles you can earn.
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You should definitely get one if you travel a lot, whether for business or pleasure, as such credit cards are typically set up to reward frequent flyers, making it easy to rack up miles or points with overseas spending and (in some cases) spending with travel-related merchants and on airlines. However, note that air miles credit cards usually have higher income requirements, so it might not be a suitable entry-level card.
Base earn rates are typically rather low, so it does take a while to earn sufficient miles for a trip if you use it for small transactions like grocery shopping. For local spending, a large purchase would get you a lot closer to your next getaway. You can also rack up the miles a lot more quickly if you use your credit card while travelling, since many cards offer better earn rates for overseas transactions. Also, make full use of the bonus miles offered in tandem with partner merchants.
The confusing thing about miles credit cards is that they use different programmes to let you accumulate points. There is no one universal air miles account, so banks often use their own proprietary point systems (like Citi Miles), which you will need to familiarize yourself with. Certain cards credit miles directly into an established frequent flyer programme like Singapore Airlines’ KrisFlyer, which eliminates the hassle of conversion.