The Miles Game is often regarded as “too complicated” but it really is not. Don’t get me wrong, there is a steep learning curve initially, but once you understand the basics, you will find that the rewards can be huge!
In a nutshell, the Miles Game is a term used to describe the earning and redeeming of miles to travel a lot cheaper (in Economy Class) or in better seats (in Business or First Class).
In general, “players” of the Miles Game aim to earn miles organically through normal day-to-day spending like groceries, dining and shopping (i.e. without spending more than they usually would).
Once enough miles have been earned, they can be redeemed for (almost) free airline tickets!
Meal onboard Singapore Airlines Suites Class (Photo: Suitesmile)
It is important to understand your spending patterns, so that you can earn as many miles as possible by using the right card for each spending category.
For example, the KrisFlyer UOB Credit Card offers uncapped earn rates, along with great travel benefits including:
1. Earn 3 miles per dollar* on everyday spending categories like Dining, Transport, Food Delivery, Online Shopping and Online Travel transactions
2. Earn 3 miles per dollar on Singapore Airlines, Scoot, KrisShop and Kris+ purchases
3. Earn 1.2 miles per dollar on all other spend
4. All KrisFlyer miles earned are directly credited to your KrisFlyer Account with no conversion fee
5. Exclusive travel benefits from Scoot (via www.flyscoot.com/KrisFlyerUOB) including priority check-in and boarding, additional baggage allowance, complimentary standard seat selection and booking flexibility waiver.
6. Enjoy other exclusive privileges from KrisShop, Grab, ChangiWiFi and more!
*To earn the accelerated rate of 3 miles per dollar, spend at least S$800 in a Card Membership Year on Singapore Airlines, Scoot and KrisShop.
Pro tip: Payment of SIA/Scoot tickets for your friends/family counts too!
Annual fee: The KrisFlyer UOB Credit Card’s annual fee of S$194.40 is automatically waived for the first year.
Depending on what you are spending on, some cards offer better earn rates than others.
This general-spending card also serves as a good beginner’s card as it awards 1.4 miles per dollar on local (SGD) spending and 2.4 miles per dollar on foreign currency spending (including online purchases in foreign currency!). These are the highest, limitless earn rate among Singapore credit cards for both local and foreign currency spending!
Furthermore, in contrast to other credit cards, the aforementioned earn rates on the UOB PRVI Miles Card do not require any minimum monthly spending and the miles that can be earned are uncapped, making it a more fuss-free card for beginners.
Another great benefit of using the UOB PRVI Miles Card for travel bookings is that it entitles you to a complimentary travel insurance! Remember to activate it at least 5 working days before your trip.
Annual fee: Get 20,000 miles with first year annual fee payment.
Conversion ratio: “Miles” earned on the UOB PRVI Miles Card are awarded in the form of UNI$. Each UNI$ can be converted to 2 miles (1:2 ratio).
Miles expiry: UNI$ earned from the UOB PRVI Miles Card expires 24 calendar months after they are earned. The miles expiry term can be extended a further 36 months upon converting to Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer! This gives cardholders up to 5 years to accumulate enough miles for a flight redemption. Cardholders may also choose to convert their UNI$ to Cathay Pacific Asia Miles, which do not expire, as long as there is account activity at least once every 18 months!
Timing your credit card sign-ups right can reap great benefits too!
Better sign-up bonuses usually come with a minimum spending requirement within the first couple of months. If you have a big ticket purchase coming up, it would be a great idea to apply for a card with good sign up bonuses about 1 to 2 weeks prior to the purchase!
New-to-UOB Credit Cardmembers who successfully apply for a KrisFlyer UOB Credit Card by 31 July 2023 can earn up to 31,000 miles, with the first year annual fee waived.
Plus, there is no cap to the number of eligible applicants that can receive the gift; this does not happen often!
Here’s a breakdown of the amount of miles that you can earn as a new cardholder:
|Gift for New-to-UOB Credit Card applicants who apply for KrisFlyer UOB Credit Card||
|Welcome Miles for first-time applicants||
|Miles earned with min S$2,000 spend in the first 60 days||
**(Using 3 miles per S$1 spend on Singapore Airlines Group related card transactions and Kris+ card transactions as example)
From now till 31 May 2023, new-to-UOB credit card customers can earn up to 50,000 miles when they pay their annual fee and meet the spending requirements, with no cap on number of eligible applicants!
Here’s the breakdown:
Get 45,200 miles by spending a minimum S$1,000 per month for 2 consecutive months and make the first-year annual fee payment. SMS registration is required.
The further 4,800 miles comes with overseas spending S$1,000 per month for 2 consecutive months.
If you’re like me and find it hard to remember stuff like the statement date, due date, miles/points expiry and credit limit of each card, I have prepared a free Google Sheet template to help you keep track of these important details.
Reminder: Do not store sensitive details like credit card numbers and card expiry dates in insecure documents.
Flights that are paid in cash (or card) can be credited to frequent flyer programs in the form of miles.
The amount of miles than you will earn depends on the fare class that you are booked into and the total distance travelled (in miles).
For example, paid roundtrip Premium Economy flights on Singapore Airlines from Singapore to Los Angeles will most likely be booked into fare class ‘R’, giving you 100% accrual on the total distance flown, for a total yield of about 17,000 KrisFlyer miles!
Singapore Airlines’ Kris+ app allows members to earn bonus miles when spending at partner merchants.
With Kris+, you can earn up to 9 miles per dollar, on top of whatever that you can earn with your credit card. That’s up to 12 miles per dollar with the KrisFlyer UOB Credit Card!
This is especially great for big ticket purchases, when dining in large groups or when you need to purchase furnitures and electrical appliances for a new home.
As if that is not enough, there are also exclusive privileges where you can get discounts and complimentary items at selected merchants.
Singapore Airlines publishes an award chart that shows the amount of miles required for miles redemptions to/from each region.
Because of a number of factors like cabin class, flight duration and cash fares available for each route, each redemption may be valued differently for different members.
For example, redeeming 56,500 KrisFlyer miles for a one-way 11.5-hour Business Class flight to Istanbul gives you far greater value than redeeming 103,500 miles for a 13-hour flight to Rome!
Here are the sweet spots to redeem your KrisFlyer miles (at Saver rate):
(one-way, to/from Singapore)
|Economy Class||Premium Economy||Business Class||First Class|
Istanbul, Dubai, Johannesburg, Cape Town
Auckland, Christchurch, Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide
India, Maldives, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Bangladesh
Singapore Airlines Business Class seat in bed mode (Photo: Suitesmile)
Key points to note about KrisFlyer miles:
Around the middle of every month, Singapore Airlines shares a list of last-minute destinations for you to redeem KrisFlyer miles at a discount.
With these monthly deals, members can usually redeem 30% less miles for Economy, Premium Economy or Business Class flights to/from selected cities.
This deal is only for travel on the following calendar month.
Miles earned from certain cards like UOB PRVI Miles can be converted to Cathay Pacific Asia Miles too.
Here are the sweet spots to redeem your Asia Miles:
Meal onboard Finnair Business Class (Photo: Suitesmile)
Key points to note about Asia Miles:
In my opinion, it is perfectly fine to redeem your miles for high-value Economy Class flights, especially if you are the sole
breadmiles-winner of the family.
But before you do so, work out the value that you can get out of those miles by looking at the cash fare that the airline is charging.
If you ask me, the best part about the Miles Game is travelling in expensive Business or First Class for a small amount of money (taxes/fees), especially when the miles are redeemed for high-value “sweet spot” routes mentioned above!
Here are some great Business and First Class seats that you can fly in, with miles earned from UOB cards:
Singapore Airlines Business Class (Photo: Suitesmile)
Singapore Airlines Suites in bed mode (Photo: Suitesmile)
Unfortunately, the Miles Game is not all sunshine and rainbows and it does come with some challenges.
Booking an award flight may not be as simple as heading over to the airline’s website and redeeming your miles as award availability is not guaranteed.
Advanced planning is recommended, especially if you plan to travel during peak periods like school or public holidays.
As shared above, miles/points of certain credit cards and frequent flyer programs have an expiry term.
It is important to keep track of them so that your hard-earned miles do not go to waste! Use the free Google Sheet template if you do not already have your own.
The Miles Game requires a little bit of effort, but with proper knowledge and strategy, it can significantly enhance your travel experiences. I hope that this article has instilled in you the confidence to embark on your Miles journey!
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About the Author: Fai is the Founder of Suitesmile, a Singapore-based travel hacking blog where travellers can learn tips and tricks to travel smarter, as well as the best ways to earn and redeem credit card miles and points.