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There are two ways to get KrisFlyer miles fast. The first is to buy them through KrisFlyer at a rate of USD 40 for 1,000 KrisFlyer miles (but only if you have 50% of the miles required to redeem your ticket). This comes down to a cost of about S$0.054 per mile.

Then there are credit cards, which are handy tools for earning KrisFlyer miles passively. Every dollar you spend in Singapore or overseas earns you about one mile when you use your card. You earn even more when you make online bookings with the card’s travel partners. But which credit card lets you earn the most KrisFlyer miles? Because each card comes with their own terms, conditions, and offers, it’s hard to tell looking at the base miles alone.

Which Credit Card Earns the Most KrisFlyer Miles?

To find out, let’s compare credit cards based on some assumptions. Let’s say you spent around S$18,000 a year in Singapore (~S$1,500 a month). During this year, you also went on two trips abroad, where you paid S$3,000 on travel bookings ($900 on flights and S$2,100 on hotels) using the card’s airline and hotel partners. You also spent S$5,000 overseas on both trips.

If you had used one credit card for all these purchases, which card would have given you the most KrisFlyer miles at the lowest cost? Here what we found:

The Winner: Citi PremierMiles Visa Card

A generous welcome offer of 15,000 Citi Miles, combined with bonus miles from online travel bookings, makes the Citi PremierMiles Visa Card a powerful, cost-effective tool for earning KrisFlyer Miles.

The catch is that you need to pay the S$192.60 annual fee to claim the 15,000 welcome miles. But at a cost-per-mile of $0.012, and no minimum spending required, it’s still a much sweeter deal than what the DBS Altitude Visa Signature Card or the American Express KrisFlyer Card are currently offering. Note that you have to pay a S$25 redemption fee every time you convert Citi Miles to KrisFlyer miles. Fortunately, Citi Miles don’t expire, which means you can take your sweet time earning them.

Other perks of the Citi PremierMiles Visa Card include complimentary access to Priority Pass airport lounges twice a year, travel insurance, plus access to Citibank buffet deals and the rest of their dining programme. It’s a solid travel and lifestyle card all in all, and anyone who wants to do some serious globetrotting should consider keeping one in their wallet.

There’s More to an Air Miles Card Than Just the Miles

It’s a good first step to check how efficient a card is at earning miles, but it’s also worth seeing what other benefits they have. A card with lower base miles may have more to offer in terms of service and local discounts.

For instance, American Express has a reputation for having impeccable customer service. While they may not offer the most miles per dollar, being an American Express Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer cardmember gives you access to their 24/7 hotline, which you can reachduring a travel emergency. This becomes very useful in case you lose your card or – God forbid – your passport.

Make Sure You Aren’t Overpaying in Fees and Sign-Up Bonuses

Because everyone has different spending needs, you need to comb through the fine print to see if the fees and conditions for welcome offers are right for you. Otherwise, you could be spending beyond your budget.

A good example is the UOB PRVI Miles Card’s 10,000-mile signup bonus. It’s a generous offer – but only if you are a top spender who charges at least  S$1,800 on the card within your first month. 

Also, note that to you are charged a foreign transaction fee of around 2.5% every time you use your card abroad. It might not seem like much, but it adds up to a lot. In our hypothetical example above, you would have paid around S$125 in foreign transaction fees for spending S$5,000 overseas. Perhaps this is why card issuers offer more miles on foreign spending.

Always Pay Your Bill in Full and On Time

It goes without saying that you should only use your card as a mode of payment (i.e. as a way to earn miles). Tempting as it might be, you must never use your card as a way to travel when you can’t afford it.

When you charge more than you can pay for, you lose out on interest rates, which can be as high as 25% p.a. And if you think you can just earn those miles without paying your dues, think again. Card issuers don’t give out air miles or rewards on accounts with an outstanding balance.

So if you have the discipline to pay your bill in full and control your spending, an air miles credit card can be your two-way ticket to seeing the world for less.

Want more? Discover how many credit cards you should own in Singapore, as well as the best cards to own for online shopping perks.

This article was originally published on SingSaver.com.sg, the fastest growing personal finance comparison site in Singapore. Click here for the original article or visit the comparison site for more.