A Real Example - Earning Miles for your Honeymoon - You Need LOTS of time..
[Anecdote] Trying to Earn Miles for Your Honeymoon? You Need Time - And Lots of It..
.. or just be a big spender
.. or use the right cards at the right places
.. or only eat at Mileslife restaurants, make sure you check-in and clock in your steps everyday
.. or be a Credit Card slut, like I am, to take advantage of those first-time miles bonuses.
.. or convert your Grab Rewards points to KrisFlyer miles
.. or get supplementary cards for all your friends and family
I'm here to share a story.
Around September 2017, I was still living in Sydney, Australia. A friend, based in Singapore, was visiting and asked for some advice on how to earn miles for her honeymoon. "Great!", I said. "This is exactly the type of conversation I was made for," I thought to myself. I knew the Australian Credit Card/Miles-earning game very well, and knew only a bit about the Singapore version.
She was intending to get married in September 2019.
So that's about a 2-year headstart, which sounds decent, and even to me at the time, sounded decent.
Fast forward to today, and to put it bluntly, the goal has not been realised and is very unlikely to be realised. She has only earned ~40,000 miles. Enough for 1 person, one-way from Singapore to "North China" (Beijing/Shanghai) or "South Asia" (India, Sri Lanka, Maldives & Bangaldesh) in Business Class, not including taxes, with 5,000 miles to spare. She could turn that into one return flight for one person in economy class. Don't think she's keen on honeymooning by herself, though...
Of course you can poke holes at my example. Maybe I'm a terrible teacher. Maybe my Australia-centric advice was not applicable to Singapore. Maybe she didn't listen. Maybe she's not a big spender. All valid arguments. I'm not providing this as a foolproof example, but consider that in one year, to earn 40,000 miles "normally", you'd have to typically spend SGD$33,333. This is based on a typical earn rate of 1.2 miles/$ (DBS Altitude/Citibank Premiermiles).
Needless to say, she hasn't achieved her goal. I put it down to a few factors:
- My Australia-centric advice was probably not sufficient to be fully adapted to Singapore. For example, I was not aware of the vast differences between sign-up bonuses in Singapore and Australia. However, the basic principle of "put all your expenditure on your Credit card" still applies - regardless of where you live, in fact.
- If she was in Australia, 4 Credit Card applications (which is very achievable in a year) with big bonus points would probably have been sufficient to get enough miles for a decent honeymoon.
- She is not a big spender - the more you spend, the more miles you earn
- I'm not encouraging big spending - just saying that if you happen to be a big spender anyway, then the benefit of miles-earning cards are even greater
- This is despite her having plenty of wedding expenses to make
- She did not "work hard" to earn the miles
- This is absolutely not a criticism of her. The point here is that she could have worked harder and found more ways to earn miles, but this most likely would require a change in habits. Some examples are using MilesLife, GrabPay, KrisFlyer Spree, or constantly signing up for Credit Cards with sign-up bonus miles, which in Singapore tend to be typically no more than ~10,000 miles per card. For many people, this is an additional level of effort that pushes the whole miles-earning game to "too tedious".
- This could also constitute having different cards for different types of expenditure. Category-based bonuses mean you can typically earn up to 4miles/$ on certain categories.
- She didn't quite give herself enough time. 2 years is ok, but consider that it's best you book your flights with points about a year in advance (to get dates that suit you) - so she really only gave herself about a year. If you spend ~$33k/yr, that's ~40k miles you're earning. Not enough for most people's honeymoon.
It's obviously not an ideal situation, and I would argue that in her situation, it may actually have been better just earning cashback.
Is it the end? Of course not! The miles can always be used in the future for other redemptions, but I just wanted to use this brief example to highlight how much planning and effort earning miles can be.
However, it is for this reason that you should start now. The earlier you start, the better; even if you have nothing in mind. At the very least, pick a Credit Card that gives you something back for your expenditure.
That is the laziest and easiest way to get something back for your expenditure. I still recommend you do a little bit of due diligence, just to make sure you're getting yourself a decent card. You're going to put in the effort of applying - might as well spend a bit of time in making sure it's better than your alternative options, right?
What are your thoughts? Comment below!