I have recently applied and gotten a new credit card. I am unsure if the approval is legit cos I am currently unemployed and should not be eligible? But still I was glad to get the card and the accompanying benefits (4 free rides to the airport, hurray!).
I guess the credit card market must be really competitive. The Filipino sounding lady on the phone asked if I had any existing card with the bank. I replied in the positive and my application was approved. I didn’t have to show any income documents or prove anything. Gosh, I didn’t even meet anyone face to face and I got myself a new credit card.
But this card shares the credit limit with my current card, so in a way, the bank didn’t really grant me any extra credit. I don’t really use the original credit card anyway as it is not my “main”card, but it has been in my wallet for quite a while. The bank didn’t bother me about annual fees and I basically just let it be.
So why did I get myself a new card when I don’t even use the old card? Yea, you guess it right. It was for the sign up promo for the air miles.
How did it all started?
I have been holding a credit card since ages ago, and I had never bothered about air miles accumulation. In my old jobs, I don’t fly for work. The miles I get from flying Star Alliance flights will stay in my Krisflyer account, expire and I will not even notice. I could never do much about these expired miles cos they were too few to be of any use.
So I basically spend on my credit cards to earn reward points, change them into dining or shopping vouchers and that’s it. I could only envy friends who fly frequently for work exchanging their miles for free air tics for personal trips. It was not possible for me so I didn’t bother. In my later days, my main credit card was a Standchart card whose reward points did not expires. So I just use this card, keep the points and dream about the day when I will redeem humongous amount of these points in later years.
But I am not a good spender. Last year, I only spend about 10k on my Standchart card. It was enough to get my annual fee waived but not to earn loads of rewards to change for anything cool. And most of my expenses were because of my overseas trips after I retired from work.
In my USA trip last Sept, when I bought a heavily discounted direct full service flight to San Francisco for <s$900 (wow!), I was really surprised when this super good deal actually gave me air miles for my trip. I mean, the air tic is already so cheap and they give me full air miles for it? I was thrilled with the 16000 miles credited to my Krisflyer account.
So the value investor in me starts to think of how I can utilise these miles. The miles were the largest ever so far in my account but they expire after 3 years. 16k “free”miles is cool but I can’t really go anywhere with it. And this is how my air miles accumulation project started: with my retirement trip to San Francisco.
10k miles from Amex Krisflyer Credit card
Sometime last year, I saw that this card was offering an online sign up promo for air miles. Basically I have to sign up online for this card, spend $700 within the first 6 months and I will get about 10k miles for my trouble. Promptly, I applied for the card, spend the amount for my hotel bookings for my Korea trip in November and got my next 10k Krisflyer air miles.
It was not as hassle free though, cos I had to call the Amex hotline to ask why my miles were not credited after a while. But Amex really have one of the best call center (think sweet friendly voices, fast service and reaching a real human after only pressing a few phone buttons), and the issue was resolved. This Amex card is now not even in my wallet anymore as I don’t spend on it. It’s back to my main Standchart card for my usual spending.
So now, I have about 26k miles in my Krisflyer account, which will start mass expiring around Sept 2019.
That Straits Times Article
Yea, I am talking about the article when the family of 4 (2 adults, 2 kids) went for a round the world trip on business class flights changed with air miles. Sounds cool right? Imagine flying business class around the world for free….wow. If you really bite hook and sinker on this (really believing the tics are free), then I am guessing that you also believe that the STI will hit 4000 points this year. Good to be optimistic but better to read mainstream news with a healthy pinch of salt. Another blogger (Turtle Investor) wrote a post analyzing this feat. Good article. Makes you realize that you can’t believe everything you read.
But the ST news sure makes for good imagination. I sure can do with sweet daydreams since I didn’t even win nuts in the 12 mil toto recently. The article caught my attention and I started wondering how I can use my air miles to go somewhere cool in class. I started reading more articles about air miles accumulation. There is a good post written by Cheerfulegg on the best air miles credit cards.
My new travel credit card
For my new credit card, I am going to do something I had never done before in all the years I had cards. I am going to pay the annual fee.
Hmmm. The world didn’t tremble, everything is still moving along fine, so I guess I am still sane.
This new credit card gives me 35000 miles if I pay the annual fee of $488. That means that I am buying 1 air mile for 1.4 cents. I am thinking that adding up, I will have 61000 miles in my Krisflyer account. The total cost is approximately $488+$40 (miles conversion fees)+about $400 (taxes and surcharges for the air tic). That comes up to about $1k of “deliberate” spending cash when I use my 60k miles to exchange for a return air tic to somewhere. Worth?Credit: Singaporeair.com
The Krisflyer Air Miles Chart
A business class Saver return tic to Japan costs 80k miles (taxes and fees cost us$160). The flight timing is 6 hours 30 mins, which is long enough to enjoy the business class luxury. The Saver tic needs 80k miles while the Standard tic needs 140k miles for return flights. There is a difference between the 2 schemes. I am going for the Saver tic as it offers more value.
I have only 60k miles after paying for the annual fee. Not enough yet. But the ball game becomes playable if I can redeem the air miles during the Krisflyer air miles promotion that happens in November. The promo allows a 30% discount off air miles when booking online. So I will only need 56k miles to get a return air tic, business class style, to Japan. Suddenly, this air miles game becomes a lot more interesting.
I have never redeemed miles for tickets before and I have not yet checked with friends who had, so I might be missing some details. But so far, the deal looks good. I pay about $1k in fees, redeem the tics in November for a trip in 2018 and take my first return business class flight in my life.
There are details to attend to. I must ensure my Krisflyer account has sufficient miles by November. I must choose several dates for travel in 2018 in case certain flights are not available. I must convince my partner to do the same. After all, a joy shared is joy doubled.…The suites look so cool…
So this is my newest air miles project. There will be a few firsts: paying annual fee for a credit card, travelling on business class on SQ. I did actually consider trying for Suites tics but with my miles, I can only redeem a short one way flight. It will be better for me to do business class return flights. The enjoyable duration will be longer and for me who has traveled budget and economy my whole life, the upgrade to business class should be enough. Besides, I am unwilling to spend a lot more to accumulate miles to hit the Suite target.
I will return to this blog post when I have manage to successfully conclude this. Wish me fun 🙂