Travel has become a lifestyle. While some revel in the experience, others lament it. Whether you love it or hate it, there is one thing we can all agree on which makes flying better and that is, getting a great deal on your airfare. Now nothing beats a great deal than when you get it for free. And we’re not just talking about economy seats either.
Let’s face it, once you’ve flown for free in business class and have been able to recline your seat all the way back to a flat position, you really wouldn’t enjoy travelling in economy again, let alone pay for it.
Now flying in business class has its own perks. But these don’t come cheap and not all of us have thousands of dollars lying around every time we decide to fly. But there is an easier option and that is leveraging credit card sign-up bonuses or what is otherwise known as travel hacking.
Travel hacking can be a rewarding experience provided you’ve done your research and are smart with your payments. If you’re the type to spend impulsively on a credit card and slack off on payments, trust me, you’d rather pay for the ticket itself than spend years trying to clear your debt.
Research and diligence is key
Here’s where your research comes into play. Don’t go out there and lap up all air miles cards and start swiping them in a hurry to accrue those points. First, you need to realize how many miles it takes to redeem a business class ticket and we can begin our calculations from there. A one-way ticket to Hong Kong on Singapore Airlines starts from S$1,954 which would take at least 50,000 miles to redeem if we’re taking online redemption discounts into account.
Check this out: [Infographic] Where Can You Go With Your KrisFlyer Miles?
Once we’ve established a ballpark figure on how many miles are required to redeem a business class ticket, we can begin the application process for our credit cards. Firstly, we need to open a KrisFlyer account which is the frequent flyer programme of Singapore Airlines. This account will serve as a repository for our miles earned.
Plan your spending wisely to take full advantage of sign-up bonuses
Next, we apply for the credit cards that not only earn miles on every dollar charged to the card but also offer great sign-up bonuses. Here’s where responsible spending plays such an important role in the viability of this method. Most of the sign-up bonuses involve meeting a minimum spend criteria. This criterion varies from card to card.
For some cards, it might be as simple as paying the annual fee whereas other cards require you to charge a certain amount, say S$1,500 in the first three months of owning the card. The Citi PremierMiles Visa Card, for instance, earns you to 1.2 miles on all retail transactions charged to the card and have on occasion offered us a chance to earn 42,000 miles if we spend S$10,000 within 3 months of signing up. Read our review here.
Another credit card worth mentioning is the American Express Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer credit card which gives you a bonus of 5,000 miles on the very first charge onto the credit card. Read our review here.
Understand that travel hacking is a long-term game
As such, different cards have different criteria and while some can be met within a few months, it may take up to a year on other cards. The trick is to play your cards right (pun intended) and above all, be diligent with your payments.