How Credit Card Rewards Can Power Up Your Vacation
Frequent flyer programmes are a must-have for those of us who travel often – be it for a business trip or a quick holiday getaway. Paired with the right travel credit card and a bit of planning, you can rack up benefits to power up your travels and save a ton of money.
Here are a few ways a travel credit card can help you:
1. Collect air miles to redeem or upgrade flights
The most popular perk of a travel credit card is the air miles you can earn from your spending, which can then be redeemed for flights or upgrades.
You don’t have to hit an astronomically high number to start redeeming flights – for example, you’ll just need 25,000 KrisFlyer points for an economy, one-way flight from Singapore to Japan. This may seem like a lot of points, but you can quickly rack them up using these tricks:
- Use the right credit card. You’ll want to use a credit card that can help you maximise your air miles. For example, travellers with the HSBC Visa Infinite Card will be able to get 2.25 air miles for every S$1 spent overseas and 1.25 air miles for every S$1 spent locally. Imagine using this card while on an overseas holiday – you’d be putting in miles for your next vacation at no extra cost.
- Use your credit card to pay for everything. If you have enough cash to pay off the debt later, using a credit card to pay for expenses like groceries or petrol can accelerate the rate in which you earn air miles. Big expenses like a new laptop, taxes or even wedding-related expenses can greatly boost your air miles. However, do ensure that you have the ability to pay off your credit card debts, because incurring interest would spike the cost of your air miles significantly.
- Get a credit card with air miles signup bonus. Some credit cards reward you just for signing up. For example, new signups for the HSBC Visa Infinite Card will receive a welcome gift of 40,000 air miles preloaded directly into their accounts. Alternatively, the Citi PremierMiles Visa Card and the American Express® Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer Credit Card offers up to 42,000 Citi Miles and 15,250 KrisFlyer miles respectively.
Receive 2.25 air miles for every S$1 spent overseas.Sign up and get a 40,000 air miles welcome gift.
2. Get access to VIP lounges
VIP airport lounges can mitigate some of the worst things about airline travel – long airport queues and wait times. Some lounges even offer amenities like spa treatments and complimentary food and alcohol, making airport wait times something to look forward to (or at least, a lot more bearable). If you need a place to recuperate during your layover, or if you need a quiet space to get some work done before jetting off, a luxury lounge is the perfect place to do so.
However, paying to access an airport lounge can be expensive. For instance, you’d have to fork out S$82.39 or S$94.16 to access The Haven by Jetquay in Changi Airport for three hours, depending on the time of day you’re checking in.
But why pay for access when you can get in for free? If you travel frequently, it’s good to have a credit card that gives you free access to the premium lounge of the airports that you frequent often.
With the HSBC Visa Infinite Card, for instance, you can access over 700 VIP airport lounges across the globe. This card also provides expedited immigration clearance, minimising your airport wait times.
3. Get discounts and cash back on dining
Singaporeans are one of the world’s top overseas spenders, and if you’re travelling overseas, it’s likely that a huge chunk of your expenses will be allocated for dining. Some credit cards can help you save significantly on dining.
You can use a cash back credit card like the Citi Cash Back Card to get 8% cash back wherever you dine around the world. Paying with this card also gets you 15% off your dining bill at selected European restaurants and bars such as Dolce Vita, Il Cielo, Forlino, Basilico and Garibaldi. However, you’ll have to spend a minimum of S$888 per month to be eligible for cash back, and there is a monthly cash back cap of S$25 for each spending category (dining, groceries, petrol and grab rides).
Another card to consider is the UOB YOLO Card. While this card doesn’t offer redeemable air miles, you can use it to save on dining – as much as a 16% rebate on weekend dining locally and overseas. The total rebate you can get from this card is S$60 a month, provided you hit the minimum monthly spending of S$600.
4. Get discounts and cash back on entertainment and shopping
If you are an avid online shopper, the Citi Cash Back Card can help you get 5% cash back on online shopping via the Globeshopper programme. Under this programme, card members are given exclusive online savings on shipping rates via preferred shipping partners offering warehousing, delivery, repacking and concierge services. The Globeshopper programme also allows cardholders to shop online whenever they are overseas with the option of paying with their Citibank credit card and having their parcel delivered to an international address of their choice.
If golfing is your thing, utilise the HSBC Visa Infinite Card to enjoy complimentary green fees at the Sentosa Golf Club. In addition, you’ll get global golfer’s insurance that includes coverage of up to S$500,000. This card can also be used to get up to 30% discount on green fees at 30 participating golf clubs across Southeast Asia, ensuring greater savings every time you hit the green.
Get 8% cash back whenever and wherever you dine around the world.Includes 5% cash back on online shopping.
5. Save on transportation
Most credit cards offer petrol savings. If you’re renting a vehicle, make sure to pay for petrol with your credit card for cash back promotions or to rack up air miles.
If ridesharing is more your style, check if your credit card offers cash back or discounts on ridesharing services. For instance, the Citi Cash Back Card offers 8% cash back on Grab rides and the Standard Chartered Spree Credit Card offers 20% cash back on Uber rides.
6. Other savings
Travel credit cards generally have other perks like free travel insurance or medical assistance when overseas. While these benefits aren’t as exciting as VIP lounge access or discounted dining, these savings can add up if you’re a frequent traveller.
As with all decisions, some amount of due diligence and financial planning is required when determining which credit card will give you the best benefits, rewards and hacks when you travel. Through strategic use of credit card benefits and features, you should be on your way to earning the air miles needed for that next big holiday.