Best Reward Points Credit Cards for Earning Air Miles in Malaysia

Convert your credit card reward points to air miles and Save Money on your flights and other services!

There are plenty of credit cards available in today’s market. Each bank can offer you an array of cards, from cashback credit cards where you get to swipe and spend and be awarded with cold, hard cash to endless rewards credit cards where each swipe will garner you points for redemption of goodies including air miles for free flight ticket redemptions!

Curious about the best cashback credit card? Just read our Best Cashback Credit Cards in Malaysia Article!

To know more about rewards credit card (and which card is the best), read our Best Rewards Points Credit Cards in Malaysia Article!

Are Reward Points Credit Cards right for you?


Whether its getting your cash back (ka-ching!) or redeeming goodies including air miles, these credit cards are only good for you if you can pay off your balance in full every month. The interest accumulated by not paying your credit card bills in full on time will result to an interest burden rather than advantage, and all your cashback and rewards will unfortunately be insignificant compared to the amount of interest you will start owing the bank.With this in mind, if you are not sure if rewards points credit cards (with the intention of converting those points to miles) are right for you, read our Which Credit Card is right for you article to find out!

Converting Points to Air Miles for ‘Free’ Flight Redemptions

Travelling via airplane is rarely considered cheap. However, there are some ways to cut some of the cost and using your Air Miles to get free tickets, an upgrade, or other services is a great way to Save Money on your travels!

Earning Air Miles was previously limited to frequent travellers earning frequent flyer miles while travelling, hoping to redeem free flights with enough paid tickets within a specified time frame. These days, even swiping your credit card at the local cinema, petrol station, or at your favourite grocery stores can get you closer to your summer vacation!

How?

By using credit cards with rewards points given for spending! Rewards credit cards give their users ‘points’ for each purchases made. These points can then be converted into Air Miles and help you Save plenty of Money on your travels! There are quite a few cards out there that offer this privilege, and the conversion points vary among cards and airlines. So which is the most Save Money way to get Air Miles for Enrich and KrisFlyer Miles?

What to look out for when choosing a card

If you are already an Enrich or a KrisFlyer member and are scouting around for a credit card to further add to your air miles, don’t focus all your attention on cards with specific airline partnerships only (for example, CIMB Enrich Platinum MasterCard), because there are other cards that could actually give better air miles with their reward points conversion alone! Some of the things to consider before choosing a credit card for collecting miles:

Consider Cashback first

While earning air miles certainly feels good, nothing pays for an airfare better than cold hard cash. If you are considering between two cards with similar payouts, but one offers rewards points and the other cashback, we say always stump for the cash! The trickier part is determining what the payout is in terms of miles, which brings us to…

RM Spent Per Reward Points

The number of reward points you get for every RM1 spent. The minimum would be RM 1 = 1 reward point. However, you do get some credit card issuers offering sweeteners like 2x, 5x or even 10x more reward points. That’s RM1 spent = 2, 5 or 10 points.

Reward Points to Air Miles conversion rate

Its all well and good to get the 2x’es and 5x’es, but how many reward points do you need to acquire in order to convert to air miles? For example:

Card A: 10 points per RM spent, and a conversion rate of 15,000 reward points = 1,000 air miles

Card B: 5 points per RM spent, and a conversion rate of 7,000 reward points = 1,000 air miles

While using Card A to get 10x points certainly sounds enticing, once you look at the air miles conversion rate, you get to see that things may be less rosy, and Card B will actually give you more bang for your buck. But how do we do the calculation exactly? For that we calculate…

How many Air Miles do I get by spending RM1,000?

The final calculation here is to connect spending and Air Miles. Getting more Air Miles for a certain level of spending is the name of the game here.

So in our earlier example:

Card A: RM1,000 spending at 10x points will get you 10,000 points which you can convert to 666 Air Miles (ie. that’s RM1,500 to get 1,000 miles)

Card B: RM1,000 spending at 5x points will get you 5,000 points which you can convert to 714 Air Miles, making it RM1,400 per 1,000 miles, which is better than Card A as you get more miles for the same spending.

Redemption Tips

How much are these miles ‘worth’ (ie. how can I compare miles to cashback rates)?

Finding out the redemption value for flights can be a tricky business, almost an art form, as air miles are worth more when ticket prices are expensive (for the same destination, that is) and less when ticket prices are on offer. Making things even trickier is when there are miles offers where you can redeem the same flight for less miles during offer periods.

For example (lets use Card B, which is in fact the Maybankard 2):

An economy return flight on Malaysia Airlines (MAS) to London costs between RM1,810 (offer) to RM4,565 (peak), with Tax and Surcharges at RM1,854. To redeem the flight ticket price (redemptions don’t include Tax and Surcharges, you have to pay for that regardless), MAS are quoting 51,000 Enrich miles.

Say you were to redeem a ‘free’ (why the apostrophe? Because you have to pay for the Tax and Surcharges regardless) flight costing RM1,810, you would have to earn 51,000 Enrich miles first. In the Maybankard example below, we calculated it to be RM1,400 spending per 1,000 Enrich miles, which means that you have to spend RM71,400 to get 51,000 Enrich miles.

So you are spending RM71,400 and getting a flight worth RM1,810 for free, equating to about 2.5% ‘cashback’ in the form of air miles.

If we were to take the peak ticket price (ie. RM4,565) the rate would be much higher, in this case it would be 6.4%!

Since the value of miles are dependent on ticket prices to various destinations and redemption rates determined by the airline, we will not comment further, but merely state that you can get better ‘cashback’ rates if you redeem flights when ticket prices are high (in general for longer haul flights you can expect rates to be between 2% – 6.5%).

 


Best Reward Points Credit Card for Enrich Miles (Malaysia Airlines)

Using a credit card for your everyday spending can help you get Enrich Miles! But these cards vary in their points per miles conversion. Using the simple rules explained above, our team of experts have gathered all cards that offer reward points to Enrich Miles conversion, and here are the top cards!

Maybankard 2 Platinum & Gold Card American Express – Get More Enrich Miles with 5x TreatPoints + additional 5% weekend cashback!
Drawback: Maybankard 2 Platinum and Gold Card MasterCard is only entitled for 1x TreatPoint, 5% weekend cashback is capped at RM50 per month

Rewards: Get 5x points and 5% weekend cashback
Points Per Miles :
7,000 TreatsPoints = 1,000 Enrich Miles
Points Per RM :
RM1 = 5 Points (AMEX only)
RM1,000 spending gets you : 714 Enrich Miles

Minimum Income :
Maybankard 2 Platinum Amex – RM60,000 p.a.
Maybankard 2 Gold Amex – RM30,000 p.a.
Card Issuer : American Express and Visa
Annual Fee : Waived
Service Tax: RM50, can use TreatsPoints to offset the service tax
Go To Maybank
If you want to accumulate Enrich Miles faster, the Maybankard 2 Platinum and Gold American Express are definitely the top cards on the list! With 5 TreatsPoints for every RM1 you spent (using AMEX only, the MasterCard will only get you 1 point per RM1 so keep it locked up in your drawer), you only have to spend RM1,400 to garner enough TreatsPoints to get 1,000 Enrich Miles (RM1,400 = 7,000 points = 1,000 Enrich Miles).
There are actually quite a few cards that can give you 1,000 Enrich Miles with every RM1,400 spending, but most of them only apply to spending at certain merchants. Cards like Citibank Platinum gives you 5 reward points per RM1 at major departments and supermarkets and the rewards points to Enrich Miles conversion is similar to this Maybankard (7000 reward points = 1,000 Enrich Miles).
Maybankard has an added benefit for its users: a market leading 5% cashback on weekends making it a card with both cashback and rewards combined! See the cashback review in our Cashback Credit Cards article.

But here’s the drawback, as American Express charges retailers more when you pay by credit card – so they can afford to give you more cashback – it’s accepted less than MasterCard, especially among smaller businesses. Here’s another one, the 5% cashback weekend is capped at RM50 per month.

 

Maybank American Express Platinum – Get 5x more reward points on your petrol and cinema visits and 10x more reward points at Platinum Partners!
Drawbacks : American Express cards might not be accepted as largely as Visa and MasterCard

Rewards: Get 10x points for spendings at Platinum Partners, 5x points for groceries, petrol, cinemas (GSC, TGV, Cathay), bookstores (Borders, MPH, Kinokuniya, Times) and telecommunication charges
Points Per Miles :
5,600 Reward Points = 1,000 Enrich Miles
Points Per RM :
RM1 = 10 Points (Platinum Partners), RM1 = 5 Points ( for items above), and RM1 = 1 Point on others
RM1,000 spending gets you:
at Platinum Partners = 1,785 Enrich Miles
at Selected Merchants = 893 Enrich Miles
All other spending = 178 Enrich Miles
Minimum Income : RM60,000 p.a.
Card Issuer : American Express
Annual Fee : Free for 1st year and RM800 for subsequent years
Go To Maybank
This Maybank American Express (AMEX) Platinum is as good as its fellow Maybankard above, but without the 5% weekend cashback. However, you can get 10 reward points per RM1 if you shop at any of the Platinum Partners. So if your go-to-shops is a platinum partner, you only need to spend RM560 at any of the Platinum Partners to instantly increase your Enrich Miles (RM560 = 5,600 reward points = 1,000 Enrich Miles).
Another advantage of this card is that movie lovers can get 5 points per RM1 for any spending made at GSC, TGV, and Cathay Cineplexes (if RM10 per movie ticket = 50 reward points). Similarly, you can get reward points on your Petrol as well! For every RM1,120 you spend on items that gives you 5 points per RM1, you get enough reward points to convert to 1,000 Enrich Miles.
But here’s the drawback, as AMEX tends to charge retailers more when you pay, it’s accepted less than VISA and MasterCard, especially among smaller businesses. The Annual Fee after the first year waiver might also be cause for consideration, but depending on your spending that could be waived in subsequent years.

 

HSBC Visa Signature & HSBC Premier World MasterCard – 5x Reward Points on Local Shopping and 10x reward points on overseas spending
Drawbacks : 5x points only available at selected merchants, 5x points only awarded upon a maximum spend of RM1,500 per month, 10x points only awarded upon a maximum overseas spend of RM2,000 per month

Reward: Get 5x extra points when shopping at selected merchants and 10x more on overseas hotel and dining spend
Points Per Mile : 3,000 Reward Points = 1,000 air miles
Points Per RM : RM1 = 5 Points (at selected merchants)
RM1,000 spending will get you:
at Participating Merchants = 1,667 KrisFlyer Miles
on overseas hotel and dining = 3,333 KrisFlyer Miles
Minimum Income :
Visa Signature – RM100,000 p.a.
Premier World MasterCard – Exclusively for HSBC Premier account holder with minimum RM 200,000 in total relationship balance with HSBC.
Card Issuer : MasterCard
Annual Fee : Waived
Additional Benefits : Golf Benefits
Participating Merchants :
Midvalley Megamall, The Gardens Mall, Gurney Plaza, KSL City Mall, Parkson, Isetan, Tangs, Cold Storage, Village Grocer, Mercato, and all dining and accommodation abroad
Go To HSBC
These two HSBC cards of HSBC Visa Signature and World Mastercard gives you 5 reward points per RM1. But this only applies at selected malls, departmental stores and groceries, and up to RM1,500 spending month, following which your reward rate will be 1 point per RM spent.
If you do use these cards at the selected merchants, every RM600 spent will garner enough reward points to convert to 1,000 KrisFlyer Miles (RM600 = 3,000 reward points = 1,000 airmiles). Aside from these places, the reward point will be the average 1 point per RM1 (unless you travel overseas!).
If you love travelling overseas, this card will definitely help you get a buckload of airmiles to redeem because for every RM1 spent on overseas dining and accommodation, a whopping 10 point will be given by HSBC. However, as with the local spend, you only get 10x on the first RM2,000 spend of the month.

CIMB Enrich Gold and Platinum MasterCard – RM4 per Enrich Mile, but 1 Enrich Mile for every RM1 spent on online MAS booking
Drawbacks : Enrich earning rate not among the top in market; No Enrich miles given for petrol transactions; High minimum income requirement.

Air Miles Reward:
MAS online booking – 1 Enrich Mile per RM1
Local spending – 1.5 Enrich Miles per RM6 (RM1 = 0.25 miles)
Overseas spending – 2 Enrich Miles per RM4 (RM1 = 0.5 miles)
RM1,000 spending gets you :
on MAS online booking = 1,000 Enrich Miles
on Local spending = 250 Enrich Miles
on Overseas spending = 500 Enrich Miles
Other Rewards / Advantages : Extra Enrich Miles when spending at Enrich partner merchants (Platinum card only), 10% discount on MAS in-flight shopping
Minimum Income :
Gold – RM50,000 p.a
Platinum – RM100,000 p.a.
Card Issuer : MasterCard
Annual Fee :
Gold – Waived for 1st year, RM168 for subsequent years (100% waived for RM50,000 spending p.a. and 50% waived for RM25,000 – RM50,000 spending p.a.)
Platinum – Waived for 1st year, RM388 for subsequent years (100% waived for RM100,000 spending p.a. and 50% waived for RM50,000 – RM100,000)
Go To CIMB
Frequent MAS flyers get 1 Enrich mile per RM1 with the CIMB Enrich Gold and Platinum credit cards when they book MAS tickets online! So if a ticket is worth RM2,000, the same amount of Enrich Miles will be credited into your Enrich account. So if you love travelling and do it on a regular basis, then this card will easily give you instant miles! However, this is only valid for online bookings only. Other perks include 10% discount on MAS in-flight shopping, and Platinum cardmembers can get Enrich miles when shopping at Enrich partner merchants.
Although these two cards give pretty sweet benefits to frequent flyers, they have a few downsides as well. If you rarely travel but would love to collect Enrich miles (and redeem free flights) while you’re grocery shopping or filling up your petrol, then this card is may not be suitable for you.
So if you don’t travel much, the only source to up your Enrich miles would be your other spendings. But the miles given per RM1 is not as much as other cards : Spending on these two cards will give you 1.5 miles only for every RM6 spent locally (that’s RM1 = 0.25 miles) and 2 miles per RM4 spent overseas (that’s RM1 = 0.5 miles).

Best Reward Points Credit Card for KrisFlyer Miles (Singapore Airlines)

Just like Enrich Miles is for Malaysian Airlines, KrisFlyer is a frequent flyer programme for Singapore Airlines. And similar to Enrich Miles, you can convert your reward points from credit card purchases into KrisFlyer Miles! So which card is the best when it comes to KrisFlyer Miles?

Citibank Platinum Credit Card – Get 5x Reward Points at Selected Merchants
Drawback: 5x points only available at selected merchants, for other merchants the reward is still RM1 = 1 point

Reward: Get 5x extra points when shopping at selected merchants
Points Per Mile : 6,400 Reward Points = 1,000 KrisFlyer
Points Per RM : RM1 = 5 Points (at selected merchants)
RM1,000 spending gets you:
Participating Merchants: 1,666 KrisFlyer Miles
Other Spending: 156 KrisFlyer Miles
Minimum Income : RM60,000 p.a.
Card Issuer : Visa
Annual Fee : RM600
Additional Benefits : Dining benefits, Complimentary tickets for Dewan Philharmonic Orchestra’s Citibank Gendang Suite and up to 15% discount on all tickets
Participating Merchants : Tangs, Metrojaya, Isetan, Parkson, Jusco, Robinsons, Marks & Spencer, Cold Storage, Tesco, Giant, Carrefour, Servay, Everise
Go To Citibank
If Maybank’s AMEX cards can get you the most Enrich Miles for your spending, then the Citibank Platinum card is the best for KrisFlyer Miles! Here’s why : They give 5 points for each RM1 spent! So in theory, you only need RM1,280 to garner enough points to convert into 1,000 KrisFlyer Miles (RM1,280 = 6,400 reward points = 1,000 KrisFlyer Miles). But the downside is that 5 points per RM1 is only valid at the above participating merchants only. For non-participating merchants, the reward given is a measly 1 point per RM1.
Another catch is that this card has an annual fee charge of RM600. It can be waived though (but for the 1st year only) by swiping the card three times within 60 days after getting the card.

 

HSBC Visa Signature & HSBC Premier World MasterCard – 5x Reward Points on Local Shopping and 10x reward points on overseas spending
Drawbacks : 5x points only available at selected merchants, 5x points only awarded upon a maximum spend of RM1,500 per month, 10x points only awarded upon a maximum overseas spend of RM2,000 per month

Reward: Get 5x extra points when shopping at selected merchants, 8x points at Mid Valley Megamall and The Gardens Mall, and 10x more on overseas hotel and dining spend
Points Per Mile : 3,000 Reward Points = 1,000 KrisFlyer Miles
Points Per RM : RM1 = 5 Points (at selected merchants)
RM1,000 spending will get you:
at Participating Merchants = 769 KrisFlyer Miles
on overseas hotel and dining = 3,333 KrisFlyer Miles
Minimum Income :
Visa Signature – RM100,000 p.a.
Premier World MasterCard – Exclusively for HSBC Premier account holder with minimum RM 200,000 in total relationship balance with HSBC.
Card Issuer : MasterCard
Annual Fee : Waived
Additional Benefits : Golf Benefits
Participating Merchants :
Midvalley Megamall, The Gardens Mall, Gurney Plaza, KSL City Mall, Parkson, Isetan, Tangs, Cold Storage, Village Grocer, Mercato, and all dining and accommodation abroad
Go To HSBC
In terms of the best way to Save Money on KrisFlyer Miles, HSBC Visa Signature and World Mastercard triumphs over the Citibank Platinum (Spend RM1,280 on Citibank Platinum = 6,400 reward points = 1,000 KrisFlyer). Similar to the Citibank Platinum, these two HSBC cards gives you 5 reward points per RM1. But this only applies at selected malls, departmental stores and groceries, and up to RM1,500 spending month, following which your reward rate will be 1 point per RM spent.
If you do use these cards at the selected merchants, every RM600 spent will garner enough reward points to convert to 1,000 KrisFlyer Miles (RM600 = 3,000 reward points = 1,000 KrisFlyer). Aside from these places, the reward point will be the average 1 point per RM1 (unless you travel overseas!).
If you love travelling overseas and is a KrisFlyer member, this card will definitely help you get a buckload of KrisFlyer points to redeem because for every RM1 spent on overseas dining and accommodation, a whopping 10 points will be given by HSBC. However, as with the local spend, you only get 10x on the first RM2,000 spend of the month.

Best Reward Points Credit Card for BIG Points (AirAsia)

Standard Chartered WorldMiles Card – FREE 25,000 AirAsia BIG Points (until 30th April 2014)
Drawbacks: Complicated to get 25,000 AirAsia BIG Points; WorldMiles points are given for retail purchases only.

Rewards:
1. Local Retail Purchase of RM3 = 1x WorldMiles Point (RM1 = 0.33 miles).
2. Overseas Retail Purchase of RM2 = 1x WorldMiles Point (RM1 = 0.5 miles).
Partner Airlines’ Miles Currency:
1x WorldMiles Points = 1x Malaysia Airlines Enrich Miles or Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer Miles or AirAsia BIG Points.
RM1,000 spending gets you:
on Local spending = 333 Miles.
on Overseas spending = 500 Miles.
Minimum Income: RM24,000 p.a.
Card Issuer: MasterCard
Annual Fee: RM180 (RM15 per month)
Additional Benefit: Dining and Travel Privileges.
Service Tax: RM50 (Sign-up cashback can be used to offset the service tax)
Highlighted WorldMiles Credit Card Acquisition Campaign Terms and Conditions:
1. Successful Eligible Customers who applied via the Bank’s branches / direct sales agencies / online will receive Sign-Up cash back in their credit card account.
2. Successful Eligible Customers who take up a WorldMiles Card as principal cardholder with the bank during the campaign period via the bank’s branches / direct sales agencies / online AND call the bank’s contact centre to activate their approved credit card (as described in the credit card Welcome Pack) within 30 days from the date of the Welcome Pack will be entitled to a Welcome Gift in the form of 40,000 AirAsia BIG Points.
For the full terms and conditions for the WorldMiles Credit Card Acquisition Campaign, click here.
For the full terms and conditions for applications of Standard Chartered WorldMiles Card, click here.
standard chartered logo
Go To Standard Chartered
Standard Chartered has launched their new credit card, the Standard Chartered WorldMiles MasterCard. The cardholder can get WorldMiles points with purchases in either local retail (RM3 = 1 WorldMiles Point) or overseas retail (RM2 = 1 WorldMiles Point). The WorldMiles can be used to redeem either Malaysia Airlines Enrich Miles, Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer Miles, or AirAsia BIG Points.
The redemption of WorldMiles Points from the airlines must be made in multiples of 1,000 units. So what can you redeem from the airlines with these points? You can click here to check with their mileage calculator.
What we don’t like about this credit card promotion is the complicated steps to get the 25,000 AirAsia BIG Points. First, you need to already have a BIG Shot ID, or register for a BIG Shot ID before you can get the 25,000 AirAsia BIG Points. For your information, the joining fee for a BIG Shot ID is RM10. Next, the approved cardholder needs to call the bank’s contact centre to activate their approved credit card within 30 days from the date of the Welcome Pack. Successful Eligible Customers will receive an SMS from the bank, and will need to reply this SMS within 2 weeks with the BIG Shot ID.
To know more about reward points credit card for earning air miles credit cards head on to our “Best Reward Points Credit Cards for Earning Air Miles in Malaysia” guide!

So there you go folks, we hope that this article can help you Save Money AND increase you air miles for future travel!

 

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