Many people say this to me very often “You must be so rich to be able to travel on First Class” or “You got a lot of spare cash to travel so many times a year”. The answer to these statements is a big NO. Like many average Singaporeans, I earn a very basic income and is not even in the higher tier of the salary range and I stay in a government flat just like many of us. So how do I do it? The answer is very simple; frequent flyer miles! My job requires me to fly on a quarterly basis but the majority of my miles did not come from taking flights. Instead, I get them from using the correct credit cards. I like to call this hobby of mine “Miles Farming”
Do note that my recommended cards are based on my usage patterns and if you are similar to the way I spend, you are welcome to farm miles like me. My calculations are based on Krisflyer miles only.
I have done a comparison across banks and this is the only card that gives you the best miles without any conditions. Some of the banks offer a good conversion but with conditions like minimum spent per month, maximum miles capped per month. The UOB Prvimiles card comes in American Express, Visa or Mastercard versions so you can choose the card you prefer. The miles calculations are as follows:
- 1.4 miles for every $1 spent locally
- 2.4 miles for every $1 spent overseas
- 6 miles for every $1 spent on Agoda, Expedia or UOB Travel flight or hotel bookings.
- 10,000 miles as welcome gift for new applicants ( you need to spent $6,000 within first 3 months)
- 20,000 miles for $50,000 spent on the card in a year
I usually use this card for all my overseas usage when I travel. This is very handy for my hotel and restaurant payments if there is no contactless payment available. For those with contactless payment, you can see the next card.
Example: A normal business hotel per night will cost at $300 average. So you will receive 720 miles per night stay. So a normal 3D2N business trip will earn you 1,440 miles.
Contactless Payment and Online Shopping
The UOB Preferred Platinum Visa card is great for contactless payment (Pay Wave, Apple pay, Android pay, UOB Mighty, Google Pay) as well as online shopping. You will be awarded 10 X UNI$ when you use this card for the above payments. The only downside is that the amount of accelerated UNI$ is capped at UNI$2,000 monthly where thereafter it will revert to normal rates. Once that happens, I will switch back to my Prvimiles card or my Citi Rewards card. The normal rate for UOB cards is at $5 to UNI$1
- Shopping at Guardian $50
- Dinner at Jpot $150
- Movie tickets $20
Total Spent = $220 / $5 = UNI$ 44
The accelerated rate will get you UNI$ 44 X 10 = UNI$440
The conversion for UNI$ to miles is at UNI$ 1 to 2 miles so that will bring you to 880 miles for 1 weekend out.
The Citibank rewards card works the same way as the UOB Preferred Platinum card but rewards you with 10 X rewards only for shopping. I will only use this card when I know that I have reached the limit of the accelerated rate for the UOB Preferred Platinum Visa card which is approximately $1,000. Once I know I have used the card for $1,000 I will switch to the Citi Rewards card for any shopping spent. Shopping here refers to any merchant registered as a clothing, bag, shoes shop or a departmental store both locally and online. The card offers 10 points for $1 spent and this rate is capped at 10,000 points per month which also equates to $1,000 spent per month.
- Shopping at H&M $200
- Shopping at Zara $300
Total Spent $500 X 10 = 5,000 points
The conversion rate is at 1 point to 0.4 miles = 2000 miles for one shopping trip.
The last card that I use is the UOB Preferred Platinum card Amex which gives 10 X UNI$ for dining. The cap for the accelerated rate is at UNI$ 12,000 per year which works out to be $6,000 spent per year.
- Dining at Jpot $200
Total spent is $200 / 5 = UNI$40
10 X rate = UNI$ 400
Conversion to miles = UNI$ 400 X 2 = 800 miles
Unfortunately, UOB has stopped issuing the Preferred Platinum Amex so the next best card to use is the contactless payment.
All the above methods are how I farm my miles, it may seem very small in terms of quantity in my examples but if you use your cards regularly weekly or monthly, the miles will start to add up. The farming effect will even be higher for those who need to travel for work and pay for company expenses first as this is will help towards your miles farming without spending your own money.