What are the best miles cards to use on CardUp?

Best air miles card to use on CardUp

Singapore has one of the highest concentration of credit cards in the world, with 8 million credit cards for 1.6 million cardholders – an average of 5 cards for every cardholder! If you’re savvy with your cards, you’re most of the time either on team cashback or team air miles – and oftentimes on the lookout for the best cards in the market.

For mile chasers, the rewards you get with every dollar spent might not be as immediately visible as cashback, but the value of your miles can be worth up to thousands of dollars each year if you use your cards wisely. You can also easily rack up miles on your everyday spend – dining, transportation, groceries – by comparing between the best cards in these categories.

For expenses that are not payable by card such as tax, rent, education fees and more, CardUp allows you to do so, earning you precious miles that would otherwise be missed out on. Spend on CardUp typically falls under the general spend category, earning the base rate on all miles cards.

Fly business class for less than half the price! Learn how.

“But which miles card should I be using to maximise my rewards on my CardUp spend?”

This is a question we get a lot, and while earn rate is typically the metric most of us look at to maximise our miles, there are also a number of different factors that should be considered – such as:

  • Expiry period – most miles cards earn points (e.g. UNI$, Citi Miles), which have varying expiry periods to be converted into miles, which then has varying validity periods to be redeemed
  • Card bonuses – some banks run promotions that give you welcome miles, sign up bonuses, or bonus miles when you spend a certain amount within a period
  • Transferability of miles – different banks partner with different frequent flyer programmes for the redemption of miles
  • Additional travel benefits – lounge access, hotel stays, travel insurance

In no specific order, here are some of the most popular cards our users use when they make their payments on our platform, be they rent, insurance, education fees and more.

  1. BOC Elite Miles World Mastercard
  2. UOB PRVI Miles credit cards
  3. Citi Premiermiles Visa Signature Card
  4. DBS Altitude Visa Signature Card
  5. American Express Krisflyer Card
  6. Summary and calculation tables

 

1. BOC Elite Miles World Mastercard

Bank of China Elite Miles World Mastercard for CardUp

When the Bank of China launched the Elite Miles World Mastercard mid of 2018, it certainly got many mile-chasers’ attention. At the current earn rate of 1.5 miles per dollar spend, it has one of the highest mile earn rates in the market (the highest, if you exclude the prestigious by-invite-only cards such as the American Express Centurion Card and Citibank Ultima Card). As such, it’s no wonder this card is one of the most popular cards amongst miles chasers. At 1.5 miles per dollar on local spend (CardUp included) and 3 miles per dollar for overseas spending, it is hard to beat. With our ongoing partnership with Bank of China, cardholders can also enjoy up to $40 off the CardUp fee on their first payment!

> Exclusive for BOC Cardholders: Get $40 off your first payment! Learn more here.

One thing to note is the points expiry period – the points are accumulated on a per-year basis (July to June each year), and expires on 30 June every year. This means your points are valid for a minimum of 12 months and up to a maximum of 24 months. However, this will not be an issue if you have consistent expenses within the year, and redeem your miles frequently!

Good for:

  • Cardholders with large, consistent expenses every month (e.g. rent, car loans, education fees, etc through CardUp) or an upcoming large, one-time payment (e.g. income tax through CardUp, wedding banquet, etc)

 

2. UOB PRVI Miles Credit Cards

UOB PRVI Miles Cards for CardUp

At 1.4 miles per dollar on local spending (CardUp included) and 2.4 miles per dollar on overseas spend, the UOB PRVI Miles Credit Card is one of the more generous cards in the market, and has long been a favourite amongst many miles chasers here. The entry-level income requirement of $30,000 also makes it an attractive card for many young professionals who wish to embark on their mile-chasing journey.

While the UOB UNI$ earned expire within 2 years, there are also many opportunities for cardholders to earn bonus miles, with bonus earn rates of 10 miles per dollar spent on popular travel sites such as Expedia, Agoda and UOB Travel!

The card comes in the Visa, Mastercard and American Express versions, and the American Express version stands out with 20,000 loyalty miles each year with a minimum spend of $50,000 in a year – easily attainable when you shift your large, recurring payments to your card via CardUp!

Good for:

  • Business travellers who fly and spend frequently on travel-related expenses and large, recurring expenses (e.g. insurance and rent payments through CardUp)

Another UOB alternative would also be the newly-launched Krisflyer UOB Card – which gives you 3 miles per dollar spent on “everyday spend”, including dining, transportation, travel and more. CardUp spend earns the base earn rate of 1.2 miles per dollar spent – directly credited to your Krisflyer account!

3. Citi Premiermiles Visa Signature Card

Citi Premiermiles Cards for CardUp

While the Citi Premiermiles Visa Card has a lower earn rate at just 1.2 miles per dollar (CardUp included), compared to some of the other cards, it still remains a card that many swear by. The strength of this card lies in its miles earned – they never expire, and can be flexibly redeemed at 12 different miles transfer partners, the most of any bank in Singapore.

The card also comes with bonus spending with partners such as Agoda and Expedia from time to time, as well as a free Priority Pass membership that grants you 2 airport lounge visits per year.

Another card worth checking out from Citibank is its Citi Prestige Card, which earns you 1.3 miles per dollar spent – if you’re able to hit the minimum $120,000 income required.

Good for:

  • Young professionals with relatively lower monthly expenses (e.g. car loans or insurance through CardUp, dining or groceries), since miles earned have no expiry date and have great flexibility

 

4. DBS Altitude Card Visa Signature Card

DBS Altitude Cards for CardUp

The DBS Altitude Card also has an earn rate of 1.2 miles per dollar spent locally (CardUp included), and 2 miles earned per overseas dollar spent. In addition, cardholders get to enjoy 3 miles per dollar spent on online travel, with promotional rates up to 10 miles per dollar with partners like Expedia and Kaligo from time to time.

The card’s attractiveness lies in the annual fee waiver year after year – so long as you have charged a minimum of $25,000 each year. This amount is reasonable and realistically achievable, especially if you can now shift payments such as insurance, income tax, car loans and more onto your card via CardUp.

Good for:

  • Cardholders with fixed, consistent spending who prefer not to pay an annual fee each year

 

5. American Express KrisFlyer Card

AMEX Krisflyer Cards for CardUp

Last but definitely not the least, we have the American Express KrisFlyer Card. Similarly, this card may not be as popular because of its earn rate of 1.1 miles per dollar spent locally (CardUp included), but has its reputation as a hassle-free, easy-to-use miles card. Krisflyer miles are earned directly on this card, without any transfer fees or lengthy processing times.

This card also has some of the best miles promotions on the markets frequently including exclusive offers from Singapore Airlines, and as such, is a great introduction to the world of miles cards for beginners. If you are one who has a very loyal preference for Singapore Airlines, the card will also be perfect for your lifestyle.

There is also  the American Express Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer Ascend Credit Card that’s worth checking out. If you’re a Singapore Airlines PPS Club member or Solitaire PPS member, there’s the American Express Singapore Airlines PPS Club Credit Card and the American Express Singapore Airlines Solitaire PPS Credit Card which you’re eligible for.

Good for:

  • Singapore Airlines loyalists or young professionals starting out on their miles journeys

 

Summary

At the end of the day, you will be wondering how much your miles earned are worth – is it going to be worthwhile paying the CardUp fee to earn this amount of miles? Truth is, there are many factors that determine how much a mile is worth, based on your preferences.

A general rule of thumb has the miles valued as such:

Economy classBusiness classFirst class
1 air mile = ~$0.020 to $0.0281 air mile = ~$0.025 to $0.0401 air mile = ~$0.050 to $0.060

With an annual spend of $68,000 on CardUp, you will incur a $1,768 CardUp fee. This total spend will earn you 104,650 miles on a 1.5mpd card. Taking the average worth of an air mile redeemed for Business Class tickets, these miles earned are worth approximately 3.25c each, or $3,400 in total, and 5.5c each for first class, or $5,750 in total!

In actual fact, they could also be worth much more, with the amount of miles earned enough to redeem you a business class flight to Tokyo, Japan (worth up to $4,180) or a first class flight to Perth, Australia (worth up to $6,280)! 

Not too bad for just $1,768 in CardUp fees for payments you’re already making anyway! Here are some more in-depth calculations for each of the cards featured on this list:

CardExample annual spend on CardUpCardUp feeTotal miles earned (Approx.)Worth if you fly:
BOC Elite Miles World Mastercard (1.5mpd)Insurance:
$10,000

Income Tax:
$10,000

Education:
$12,000

Rent:
$36,000

Total: $68,000
2.6% of total spend:
$1,768
104,650 milesBusiness Class: ~$3,400

First Class: ~$5,750
UOB PRVI Card (1.4mpd)97,670 milesBusiness Class: ~$3,170

First Class: ~$5,370
Citi Premiermiles Visa (1.2mpd)83,720 milesBusiness Class: ~$2,720

First Class: ~$4,600
DBS Altitude (1.2mpd)83,720 milesBusiness Class: ~$2,720

First Class: ~$4,600
Amex Krisflyer (1.1mpd)76,740 milesBusiness Class: ~$2,490

First Class: ~$4,220

Is your favourite card not mentioned in this article? Check out our interactive calculator here to see how much you can earn with your spend on CardUp!

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2 Comments

    1. Hi Randy, we’ve been partnering closely with Bank of China since 2017, and CardUp spend definitely is eligible to earn miles. Anytime you have any issues, please feel free to reach out to us at hello@cardup.co, and we’ll be glad to read out to BOC to contact you directly to clarify as part of our partnership with them. Thanks! – The CardUp Team

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