I have been using credit card with cash back. But it seems many of my friends are “happily” using credit card with airmiles. Which one is more worth it? - Seedly

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Asked by Anonymous

Asked on 21 Jun 2019

I have been using credit card with cash back. But it seems many of my friends are “happily” using credit card with airmiles. Which one is more worth it?

There are those who advocate cashback while there are also those who advocate miles. Is there a "better" one? Could someone educate me on how y'all decide which is more worth it?

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Glenn Toh
Glenn Toh, Founder at Whatcard.sg
Level 4. Prodigy
Updated 3w ago

Which is more suitable or worth for you really depends on 1) what kind of rewards you prefer as well as 2) your valuation of an airline mile.

  1. What rewards you prefer is very much a matter of personal preference. Many people I know prefer cashback cards because it is more straightforward to deal with - you spend your money as per normal and you simply get a small cashback every month. But myself personally (as well as many others) prefer airline miles cards because it allows you to redeem travel experiences you wouldnt normally pay for (e.g. claiming a first/business class flight).
  2. In Singapore, an airline mile is typically valued at ~1.5-2 cents per mile, and varies based on the specific flight and cabin class that you redeem the miles for. In general, the valuation of miles vs cashback really only makes sense if you use it to redeem premium category seats (rather than economy) because the cost of these are so high if you had to pay for it with cash. If you only redeem economy flights you may be better off using cashback cards instead.

Another reason I prefer miles cards is that they typically do not have minimum spending requirements (unlike many of the better cashback cards), which for me is a great benefit because I sometimes struggled to hit the minimum monthly spending when I used cashback cards in the past.

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Gerard Ong
Gerard Ong

3w ago

It depends on whether u are planning to fly economy, business or first class. For business class tickets, the value of a mile can be worth up to 3-4 cents
Glenn Toh
Glenn Toh

3w ago

Hey sorry for not responding earlier. Maxwell - if you count it this way the math works out well for miles cards since the award rate for miles varies anywhere from 1.2 (typical baseline rate) to 4+ (bonus category rate) miles PER dollar spent. If you use the correct miles cards you can easily get high than the 1.2 mile per dollar baseline
Junus Eu
Junus Eu
Top Contributor

Top Contributor (Jun)

Level 8. Wizard
Updated on 24 Jun 2019

It depends on what your goals are. I do see friends 'happily' bragging about the airmiles they are accumulating, but ultimately it boils down to what you want. Are you interested in getting the chance to travel business/first class? For example, some of my friends who are getting married are planning for their honeymoon, and spending to rack up points for that business class flight is a goal. For myself, I have flown business class before, and am not insanely coveting a first class experience (at least not enough for me to go crazy on accumulating points).

Additionally, if you are looking to save money, it does make sense to not get sucked into the whole game of hitting minimum spending to accumulate points. At the end of the day, only buy what you need. Of course, the other hack of sorts is to consolidate family purchases, if you really want to hit any kind of minimum spending on the card!

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Takingstock @
Takingstock @

24 Jun 2019

I agree, don't spend for the sake of cashback or miles. There are times I looked at how a blogger mention how he/she accumulated the miles for the honeymoon. I tried a reverse calculation, and wow I was shocked by the amt spent. To be honest, I have difficulty getting past that spending to get free trips. Doesnt feel that free.
Junus Eu
Junus Eu

24 Jun 2019

I feel the same - definitely the credit card companies know this, and play it up when it comes to their ads and outreach.
Wilfred HO
Wilfred HO
Level 1. Freshie
Answered 3w ago

There no which is good or better argument. Different people have different priorities. I personally want cold hard cash. So I go for a cashback card. Going for a miles card helps you get into a business or first class seat for less. I guess that why many go for miles card. They want to travel in style. I on the other hand don't care. Because when I travel, the destination is what I'm aiming for. The bus journey is just that.

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If you're someone like me who seldom travel overseas, then cashback credit cards would be more suitable for you as compared with airmiles ones.

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I used to do my main expenditures on 1 card for reward points, to exchange for vouchers for electronics etc when needed. And also out of conveniences and laziness to track multiple cards.

nowadays, switching to cash back cards as every cashback goes back to you in terms of direct savings. But you have to remember the limits of each card eg some have a max cap of spending to receive cash backs on. In general to spread your spending on multiple cash back cards for maximal benefits. The card spending helps also to meet certain spending criteria for enhanced interest rates or to move up a tier eg in dsb multiplier account.

miles card.. popular for millennials as most banks offer seemingly better value on the miles given for your expenditure .. if you use it for biz class or first class redemption.. then the value per mile earned becomes lesser (if u compare with economy class, same end point, the difference is the extra comfort and experience for a higher class flight). Banks gave better ‘value” for their miles card because they know you will continue to spend on the next trip, or use the card during your travels. in most cases you will spend more than the mileage earned ... but one cannot put a value to personal happiness or experiences nonetheless..

cutting down on unnecessary spending is my ultimate aim I Guess, as you get older, you find that you don’t really need to spend big to get happiness.

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Do you like to travel, and travel in style?

If you fly more than 4 times a year, then an air miles card is worth it. Otherwise, cashback card is more practical:)

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As Df
As Df
Level 3. Wonderkid
Answered 3w ago

Are you the "omg I got a first class seat for only $3k" sort or the "wah I could just fly economy and spend an extra 2k on shopping at the destination" sort?

It depends really on what you value more.

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I believe it boils down to preference. I do not use cashback card because there are many criterias that I do not want to memorize and I find that the savings is not significant and most will be small savings. Accumulating miles is like a big win for me because I know that the miles I have accumulated can in the end be exchange for an air ticket for travel to broaden my horizon.

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BL
Brian Lee
Level 3. Wonderkid
Answered on 23 Jun 2019

Agreed with Glenn. All about your preference and also the "rate" you are getting your cashback vs airmiles. If you cash back is 10% then you ate definitely better off.. however if your cash back is the default 0.3% or 1%, then you might want to check out the "airmiles" card. Do note that most airmiles (or points to be co verted) have expiry within the card (with exception few). Thereafter omce transferred to airlies, e.g. krisflyer, you have additional 3 years expiry. So when you use airmiles card, make sure by all the expiry dates, you have sufficient miles. Else it will be useless. By then even a 0.3% rebate card, you are much better off.

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