Best Air Miles Credit Cards 2017

When choosing a credit card, you must consider how you spend your money. Everyone’s spending habits and needs are different, and there’s a card to match your exact needs and wants. With this principle in mind, our team reviewed 100+ options to come up with the best travel rewards credit cards – based on the value of rewards and bonuses they provide. A true comparison is best made between cards that fit into their individual categories. As a result, the list below is organized into groups that provide the highest value to people with different needs.

Table of Contents

Our Picks For the Best Airline Miles Credit Cards in 2017

The following credit cards are, in our view, the best airline miles credit cards in Singapore. Read on to see which of these is best suited to take you where you want to go.

Best Air Miles Rewards Credit Card: Citi PremierMiles Visa Card

Citi PremierMiles Visa Card is one of our favorite travel cards for average consumers. It offers a simple to understand 1.2 miles for S$1 spent locally (2 miles per S$1 spent overseas), so that you can earn miles on every expenditure you make. Not only that, you could earn up to 40,000 in bonus miles in 2 years with this card, which can be worth at least S$400 (and more if you redeem for business class tickets). Citi Miles can be redeemed at over 60 airlines and 8,000 hotel properties, so you can use the miles for almost any trip.

Pros of Citi Premier Miles

  • 1.2 miles for S$1 spent locally, 2 miles for S$1 spent overseas, 10x miles for online travel bookings
  • 14% off petrol spend at Shell & Esso
  • Flexible convertibility to over 60 airlines & 8,000 hotel properties, including Star Alliance, Skyteam, IHG rewards and Hilton HHonors points
  • Complimentary travel insurance
  • Promotion: Up to 30,000 bonus miles (15,000 when you apply and spend within first 3 months + 15,000 miles when you spend a total of S$10,000 within first 3 months)
  • Bonus: 10,000 miles when you pay the annual fee and renew

Cons of Citi Premier Miles

  • S$192.6 of annual fee, no waiver

Best No Annual Fee Miles Credit Cards

The three below miles credit cards are probably the best options for people who are looking for ways to earn miles without paying an annual fee. They all come with annual fee waivers that are relatively easy to get. However, their rewards systems are distinct enough that they will be useful for different people.

DBS Altitude Visa Card

DBS Altitude Card is an amazing no-fee miles card that's suitable for people with a budget that's spread out across multiple spending areas. With it, you can earn 1.2 miles for every S$1 of local expenditure and 2 miles for every S$1 of overseas expense, quite similar to Citi PremierMile Card. Where they differ, however, is that DBS Altitude waives its annual fee of S$192.6 for those who spend more than S$2,000 a month (or S$25,000 per year). Also, DBS provides 3 miles for S$1 spent on online travel bookings, a feature Citi Premier Miles does not have. Hence, if you value annual fee waivers over bonus mile awards, DBS Altitude maybe the right card for you.

Pros of DBS Altitude

  • Annual fee of S$192.6 is waived when you spend at least S$25,000 a year
  • 1.2 miles for S$1 of local spend and 2 miles for overseas spend
  • 3 miles for S$1 spent on online travel bookings
  • Promotion: Chance to win a free holiday for two in NYC

Cons of DBS Altitude

  • Lags peers in bonus awards, especially if you spend less than S$25,000 per year

HSBC Revolution Card

HSBC Revolution Card is the best no-annual fee air miles credit card in Singapore, in our view. First, its rewards program focuses on major spending areas for an average consumer: dining, entertainment and online shopping. For each of these categories, HSBC Revolution earns 2 miles per S$1. Not only that, HSBC Revolution provides the same 16% off on petrol and 10% off on travel bookings so you can save even more money. Though it does charge an annual fee of S$160.5, you can get this waived quite easily, as the first 2 years are waived and subsequent years are waived for those who maintain an annual expenditure of S$12,500 on the card. Since the average monthly spend in Singapore is S$2,000, spending S$1,000 per month to get this fee waived should be reasonably easy for most people.

Pros of HSBC Revolution Card

  • Annual fee of S$160.5 is waived for 2 years, and then waived in subsequent years for those who spend S$12,500 per year (S$1,042 per month)
  • 2 miles on online spend (shopping and travel bookings), dining, and entertainment
  • 16% off on petrol at Caltex & Shell
  • Up to 10% off on travel bookings online
  • Promotion: Up to S$160 of cash back welcome bonus or American Tourister Caravan 70cm TSA luggage + up to S$40 of cash rebate for new customers (up to S$90 for existing customers)

Cons of HSBC Revolution Card

  • Very low flat award rate of 0.4 miles per S$1 spend on everything outside of online, dining and entertainment
  • Not many other perks to speak of (i.e. lounge access, airport limousine service, etc.)

Maybank Horizon Visa Signature Card

Maybank Horizon Visa Signature Card is an awesome miles credit card for people who want to avoid high annual fees. This card is particularly useful for people who drive and dine out a lot, as it awards 3.2 air miles for every S$1 you spend on dining or on petrol, which is practically one of the best deals we've seen for these two categories. You can also earn 2 to 3.2 miles per dollar on your travel bookings and on foreign currency transactions. Last but not least, its annual fee of S$180 can be easily waived if you spend just S$1,500 on the card every month (S$18,000 per year). By providing great mile award rates for your travel expense as well as your daily needs, Maybank Horizon Visa Signature Card helps you build up miles while saving up on the annual fee you would otherwise have to spend with other cards.

Pros of Maybank Horizon Visa Signature Card

  • Low annual fee of S$180, which is waived with S$18,000 of annual spend
  • 2 miles for S$1 spent on air tickets, travel packages and foreign currency transactions
  • 3.2 miles for every S$1 spent on petrol, dining, taxi fares and hotel bookings via agoda.com/horizon
  • Complimentary access to selected VIP airport lounges
  • Complimentary travel insurance when you charge your travel fares in full to the Card.
  • Bonus: Apply for 2 new Maybank Credit Cards and CreditAble, and charge to your Credit Card and/or withdraw from your CreditAble Account a minimum of S$300 within the first month of approval to receive 1 pair of tickets to Universal Studios Singapore® and 2 pairs of tickets to Adventure Cove Waterpark™ worth S$304.

Cons of Maybank Horizon Visa Signature Card

  • Only 0.4 miles for S$1 spent on everything else outside of travel, dining and petrol

Best Air Miles Card for Overseas Spending & Business Travelers: Standard Chartered Visa Infinite Card

Standard Chartered Visa Infinite Card is the last of high end travel cards we have handpicked for this list. We think the card's features are quite suitable for frequent business travelers who spend a lot of time overseas. While 1.4 miles awarded for S$1 spent locally is already great, where SC Visa Infinite card shines is its 3 miles reward for S$1 spent overseas.

SC Visa Infinte Card also comes with luxurious perks like Hilton HHonor Gold Status, discounts on Uber discounts globally and discounts on golf clubs and private jets. For busy business travelers who have the money to spend but not much time for leisure, Standard Chartered Visa Infinite Card could help to squeeze every ounce of happiness and joy out of your time in style.

Pros of Standard Chartered Visa Infinite Card

  • Some of the highest mile award rates of 1.4 miles and 3 miles for every S$1 spent locally and overseas, respectively.
  • Luxurious perks like Hilton HHonor Gold status, discounts on Uber rides globally, complimentary VIP lounge access, and Gold Class Infinite Experience Package (i.e. discounts for golf clubs, yachts and private jets)
  • Complimentary travel insurance
  • Promotion: Welcome bonus of 35,000 miles (or 15,000 miles and a Samsonite 28" luggage)
  • Bonus: 20% discount on Uber fares globally (max S$50 per month, 10% if spending under S$600 per month)

Cons of Standard Chartered Visa Infinite Card

  • Expensive annual fee of S$588.6 and no waiver

Best Miles Card for Shopping: Citi Rewards Visa Card

There are two miles credit cards in Singapore that are the best in terms of shopping rewards. First, we have Citi Rewards Visa Card. While most shopping cards limit their rewards to predesignated stores or online retailers, Citi Rewards card provides 4 miles for every dollar you spend online, offline and even in foreign countries. Besides shopping, it also helps you save money on groceries (2% cashback) and petrol at Esso and Shell (up to 14%), though we do admit 0.4 miles on other purchases is pretty dismal. For this reason, we highly recommend Citi Rewards Visa Card only to active shoppers who can earn enough miles to offset the high S$192.6 of annual that is not waived.

Pros of Citi Rewards Card

  • 4 miles (10 reward points) for every S$1 spent on shopping (including online), 8 miles (20 reward points) at select shops like Topman
  • Up to 14% off on petrol at Esso and Shell
  • Promotion: Promotion: 4 miles per S$1 spent on Lazada and Amazon until 30 June 2017, 15% off at Lazada until 26 June 2017
  • Bonus: S$200 Lazada Voucher welcome gift

Cons of Citi Rewards Card

  • High annual fee of S$192.6, not waived
  • 0.4 miles (1 reward points) on other expenses

Best Air Miles Rewards for Affluent Spenders: UOB PRVI Miles American Express Card

UOB PRVI Miles American Express Credit Card provides an excellent opportunity to earn luxury mile awards without the luxury fee. It matches the highest flat-rate mile awards in the country at 1.4 miles for S$1 for local spend. Its overseas spend mile award of 2.4 miles per dollar is also on the high-end of the market. For all these benefits, UOB PRVI Miles card only charges S$256.8 of annual fee that is waived for the first year. This is roughly half of fees charged by other high-end cards like OCBC Voyage or SC Infinite Visa cards.

Given the low fee, however, UOB PRVI Miles card does come with less perks compared to the more expensive cards. We think this card works quite nicely for people who want to earn high miles, and prefer low annual fee over perks like free lounge access or hotel rewards. This is especially true for affluent spenders who can spend S$50,000 on the card every year, which UOB rewards with 20,000 loyalty miles per year (exclusive to American Express version).

Pros of UOB PRVI Miles Card

  • One of the highest awards rates, 1.4 miles for S$1 spent locally, 2.4 miles for S$1 spent overseas, 6 miles on S$1 spent on travel
  • Low annual fee compared to other high mile cards (S$256.8, waived 1st year)
  • Promotion: 12,000 welcome miles for new customers who spend S$4,000 within first 60 days (5,000 miles for existing customers)
  • Bonus: 20,000 loyalty miles every year with at least S$50,000 of spend on the card (exclusive to American Express version)

Cons of UOB PRVI Miles Card

  • Points expire in 2 years
  • No complimentary lounge access (you do get 30% discount on lounge fees)
  • Limited perks like complimentary nights at a limited hotel chains

Best Air Miles Card for Golfers: Maybank World Mastercard

Maybank World Mastercard is easily the best credit card in Singapore for golfers. That's because it provides its cardholders complimentary green fees all year around at 79 world-class fairways in 15 different countries, by far the best deal available for golfers in the country. Not only that, it comes with mile and cash back rewards to cover a golfer's every major expenditure area: dining, petrol and travel expenses. Though this card comes with a relatively high annual fee of S$240, it's much cheaper to use than other luxury cards that come with worse golf privileges. Furthermore, Maybank World Mastercard's benefits are more than valuable enough to offset the annual fee for people who golf at least once or twice a month.

Pros of Maybank World Mastercard

  • 2 complimentary green fees per month at 79 world-class fairways in 15 countries
  • 10X TREATS points (or 4 miles) per S$1 spent at select retail and dining establishments and all petrol stations in Singapore
  • 19.1% savings on petrol with Corporate Fuel Program (including the 4 miles per S$1 spent on petrol)
  • Up to 20% savings at select SPG Hotel and Resorts reataurants
  • Complimentary VIP Access to JetQuay at Changi Airport
  • Bonus: Complimentary Delsey Belfort 76cm 4-Wheel Trolley Case upon charging S$400 to your new card within the first month approval

Cons of Maybank World Mastercard

  • S$240 of annual fee, 1 year waiver
  • 0.4 miles (or 1 point) per S$1 spent on everything else
  • Requires S$1,000 of spend in the previous calendar month to qualify for complimentary golf green fees

Best for Miles Card Beginners: American Express Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer Card

American Express Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer Card is a great card for miles card beginners. It combines convenience, rewards and perks into one card. Amex Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer card provides the easiest way of redeeming miles that doesn’t require additional fees or long processing time. If you are unfamiliar with how this works or don't want the trouble of navigating the redemption system, Amex KrisFlyer card is an excellent way of getting your feet wet.

It also provides a great reward of 1.1 mile per S$1 spent locally, 2 miles per S$1 spent overseas or on singaporeair.com and silkair.com for your travel bookings. Since Singapore Airlines and its subsidiary Silk Air have more than 40% market share of flights in Singapore, we don't think being limited to these two airlines will present material problems for most people. Annual fee is S$176.6 and is waived for the first year.

Pros of Amex KrisFlyer Card

  • Most convenient mile redemption program with no additional fee
  • Annual fee: S$176.55, first year fee waived
  • Decent awards of 1.1 miles per S$1 of local spend
  • 2 miles per S$1 spent on singaporeair.com, silkair.com, KrisShop and SilkAir SkyShop
  • 2 miles per S$1 spent overseas in June and December
  • Access to American Express Selects
  • Promotion 1: 5,000 KrisFlyer Miles upon first spend on card + 7,500 KrisFlyer miles when you spend S$2,500 in the first 3 months upon card approval
  • Promotion 2: S$150 Cashback for use with Singapore Airlines when you spend S$12,000 from 1 July 2017 till 30 June 2018
  • Bonus 1: Receive 1,500 KrisFlyer Miles each for the first two approved supplementary cards
  • Bonus 2: Get 1 chance for every S$50 spend on your card in each monthly draw to win 2 business class tickets to 12 destinations in the world (varies by month)

Cons of Amex KrisFlyer Card

  • High travel reward only from Singapore Airlines & Silk Air
  • Miles redemption limited to Singapore Airlines, Silk Air and Star Alliance partners
  • Lower award rates than other comparable cards

Best Air Miles Card for Shopping Without Annual Fee: OCBC Titanium MasterCard Credit Card

In our opinion, OCBC Titanium MasterCard Credit Card is another one of the best miles credit cards for frequent shoppers. After its major rebranding in 2016, it is providing equivalent mile awards as Citi Rewards credit card: both cards now provide 4 miles for every S$1 spent on shopping, and 0.4 miles for S$1 spent on all other things.

Not only that, it's actually cheaper than Citi Rewards Credit Card because its annual fee of S$192.6 is waived for 2 years (Citi Rewards waives it for 1 year only). To top if off, this annual fee can be waived as long as you spend at least S$10,000 on the card annually. Although it doesn't have the 2% cashback on groceries like Citi Rewards card, OCBC Titanium is still a great miles card for active shoppers, especially if you want to avoid paying the high annual fees.

Pros of OCBC Titanium MasterCard Credit Card

  • 2-year annual fee waiver, with subsequent years waived with annual spend of S$10,000
  • 4 mile for every S$1 on shopping (offline, online and overseas).

Cons of OCBC Titanium MasterCard Credit Card

  • 0.4 miles for every S$1 spent on everything besides shopping

Best Air Miles Card for Luxury Travel Perks: Citi Prestige MasterCard Credit Card

Just as the name suggests, Citi Prestige MasterCard Card is the best luxury miles credit card with prestigious benefits. One must admit, however, that luxury and prestige don't come for free. If you can stomach the S$535 of annual fee, there are plenty of reasons why you should consider getting Citi Prestige card. We recommend Citi Prestige card especially for long-time banking customers of Citibank who have earned their Citigold status. Its 1.3 miles for S$1 spent locally and 2 miles for S$1 spent overseas gets a boost of up to 30% if you are a loyal Citigold member. Other special benefits include SPG Gold Status, complimentary nights at hotels, and special deals and discounts at golf courses and resorts.

Pros of Citi Prestige MasterCard Credit Card

  • High mile award of 1.3 miles and 2 miles for every S$1 spent locally and overseas, respectively, with the ability to boost your reward miles by up to 30% with a banking account with Citi
  • Various travel perks like SPG Gold Status, special benefits at Four Seasons and Ritz Carlton around the world, unlimited complimentary 4th night at any hotel
  • Unlimited Airport Lounge VIP Access
  • Complimentary travel insurance
  • Promotion: Annual bonus of up to 25,000 miles when you pay the annual fee to renew

Cons of Citi Prestige MasterCard Credit Card

  • High annual fee of S$535 & annual income requirement of S$120,000
  • Not as good as other luxury cards unless you are a Citigold customer

Miles Credit Card with Flexible Miles Redemption: OCBC Voyage

Perhaps the most distinguishing characterstic of OCBC Voyage card is its flexible mile redemption prgoram. It is the only card we have seen that allows you to redeem miles for any flight at any time, without a long process time or blacked out dates. This feature is ideal for busy professionals who may not have much visibility into their schedule weeks in advance. Because OCBC Voyage will allow you to book your free flight last minute (as long as there is avaialbility on the flight), OCBC Voyage helps you use the miles to go on the vacation you've been craving at moment's notice.

OCBC Voyage card also comes with great mile benefits like 2.3 miles for S$1 spent on dining or overseas (everything else receives 1 mile). Its slick design feature special alloy material sets it apart from other "luxury" travel cards in the market. Although it has a rather high annual fee of S$488, OCBC Voyage helps offset the cost with 15,000 welcome bonus miles and an opportunity to buy 150,000 miles for S$3,210 (S$0.02 per mile), which is a great deal if you can redeem it for business class flights or better.

Pros of OCBC Voyage

  • High miles award especially for dining, at 2.3 miles for S$1 spent overseas or on local dining, All other spend receives 1 mile per S$1 spent
  • Flexible miles redemption program that allows you to book any flight you want at anytime
  • Travel perks like unlimited VIP lounge access and free airport limo service
  • Slick metal design
  • Complimentary travel insurance
  • Promotion: Welcome bonus of 15,000 miles and ability to buy 150,000 KrisFlyer Miles for S$3,210 (S$0.02 per mile)

Cons of OCBC Voyage

  • High annual fee of S$488, no waiver
  • Not as much luxury perks as other luxury cards like Citi Prestige MasterCard Credit Card or Standard Chartered Visa Infinite Card

Summary of Best Air Miles Rewards Credit Cards 2017

In case you want a quick look at our picks, here are ValuePenguin's best miles credit cards for 2017.

Travel CardsMile RewardAnnual Fee
Citibank PremierMiles Visa Card1.2 miles per S$1 spent, 2 miles per S$1 overseasS$192.6
HSBC Revolution Card2 miles per S$1 spent on dining, entertainment and onlineS$160.5
DBS Altitude Card1.2 miles per S$1 spent, 2 miles per S$1 overseasS$192.6
Standard Chartered Visa Infinite Card1.4 miles per S$1 spent, 3 miles per S$1 overseasS$588.5
UOB PRVI Miles American Express Card1.4 miles per S$1spent, 2.4 miles per S$1 overseasS$256.8
Citi Rewards Visa Card4 miles per S$1 spent on shoppingS$192.6
OCBC Titanium Card4 miles per S$1 spent on shopping and overseasS$192.6
Citibank Prestige Card Mastercard1.3 miles per S$1 spent, 2 miles per S$1 overseasS$535.0

Best Air Miles Rewards Credit Cards by Dollar Value

Below is a visual representation of the approximate savings one can earn by using the best air miles credit cards in Singapore. Each card's dollar value, however, can vary depending on its user's spending habits. This amount can vary depending on what your spending habit looks like and how you redeem your miles. For frequent travelers who like to redeem their miles for long-haul business class seats, the value of these airline miles can be significantly higher than our estimates. There are also other "intangible" benefits like complimentary travel insurance and free access to airport lounges whose values are difficult to quantify but nevertheless incredibly valuable to some consumers.

For more information on how we determined the winners for each of the above categories, take a look at our methodology section. You can read more about how to choose the best travel credit card in our guide below.

A graph displaying how best travel credit cards and air miles credit cards compare to one another in terms of their rewards
Best Travel Credit Cards in Singapore by Estimated 2-Year Dollar Value

How to Choose the Best Miles Credit Card

No doubt you have seen an uncountable number of promotional phrases like "5% cash back," "3 miles on all dining and restaurant bills," and so on. Miles, cash back, and points are omnipresent when it comes to credit card offers. It may be difficult sifting through hundreds of offers without a deep understanding of what these things do and what they are ultimately worth. Here in this guide, we help you get a firm grasp of these concepts and effectively compare them to decide which type of card is best for you.

Cashback, Points and Miles: What's the Difference?

Rewards credit cards provide either cashback, poitns or miles when you use the card to make a payment. The biggest difference among these benefits is the flexibility they provide to consumers.

Points can be redeemed for different prizes and services at designated locations, and exact worth of points depends on the card issuer. While points generally function similar to coupons and discounts (effectively similar to cashback), many award programs allow easy conversion of points into miles.

Miles can be redeemed for flight tickets at various airlines designated by the card issuer, and generally are worth somewhere between S$0.01 to S$0.08 depending on how you redeem them: the longer and more expensive the flight, the higher the value of mile. Most mile programs allow easy transfer to a number of airlines and hotel chains. Most people will likely redeem miles at conversion rate of around S$0.01 per mile.

Cash back rewards are the most flexible and straightforward to understand. These cards simply rebates a certain percentage of expenditures back to the consumer, often in form of statement credits.

Who Should Prefer Miles Over Cashback?

Whether your credit card collects you frequent flyer miles or cashback, you have to keep in mind that they are worth nothing unless you redeem them. While these cards accumulate awards automatically, they benefit you without your effort. This is especially important to remember in case they expire. Before you decide on a miles card, make sure you actually have occasions to use the miles (or points). In that regard, the first thing you should consider when deciding between Award Miles and Cashback much you value free air tickets. If you travel often, earning miles may have more positive impact on your finances than earning cashback.

Also, you should also bear in mind how the value of mile varies depending on price of the flight tickets: short-haul economy flights tend to be worth less than 1 cent per mile, medium-haul economy awards are worth around 1 cent per mile, and business class seats are worth more than 3 cents per mile. If you have have reasonable number of opportunities to redeem miles at or above 1 cent per mile, mile awards cards tend to be quite valuable.

How to Compare Rewards Rates of Mile Cards and Cashback Cards

In order to accurately compare different credit cards types, you must determine their rewards rates. This rate, often presented as a percentage, represents a card’s efficiency – how much value does it give you back given the amount of money you spend? For instance, if one card gives me 8% of my bill in rebate, while another gives me just 5%, I would always prefer the former. Cashback cards have clear and explicit rewards rate, but miles cards or point cards do not. We have to calculate the rewards rate in those cases.

The most important step in calculating a credit card’s rewards rate is figuring out the worth of its miles or points. First, you must figure out how many points (or points) are needed to redeem for a certain prize. Dividing the dollar value of that prize by the number of points needed yields the value of dollars per point (or mile). Multiplying this figure by the number of points (or miles) you get per S$100 spent results in the rewards rate. Miles are somewhat easier than points, because most mile programs are convertible to one another 1 mile for 1 mile. We have done our own analysis which indicates that most miles are valued around 1 cent or higher. On the otherhand, value of points will differ depending on the issuing bank's policies.

Lastly, each card will offer different rewards rate for different areas of expenditure. For example, some cards will reward 4 miles per S$1 on dining, but will only yield 1 mile on other expenses. Once you understand how your typical monthly expenses are distributed across different categories, you can apply the aforementioned principle to calculate how much award you can earn from any given card.

Doing this analysis for each card can help you effectively evaluate which card will result in the highest benefits for your budget.

Other Travel Perks

Besides earning airline miles, many credit cards can also provide great travel perks. Some of those include free access to airport lounges, complimentary travel insurance, and even free limousine transfers to the airport. Sadly, some people are not even aware of these perks and forget to utilise them fully. These travel perks are very valuable not only in terms of monetary value, but also in terms of the amount of physical and psychological comfort they can bring to your trips that can often be quite exhausting. You can read our analyses for the best air miles credit cards that provide free airport transfers, airport lounge priority pass lounge access and complimentary travel insurance.

Methodology

*ValuePenguin calculates the dollar value of rewards based on S$2,000 of monthly spending. We sum the value of points, miles and cashback in dollar terms and subtract the annual fee over a 24-month period. The estimates here are ValuePenguin's alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuer.

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