September 29, 2017
An air miles credit card gives you air mile points for every RM you spend locally and even overseas. You don’t have to spend on travel-related items or air tickets to earn miles; spending at restaurants, retail, or online shopping counts as long as you charge it to your air miles card. These air miles can then be utilised to redeem airline tickets or seat upgrades to business class for free. This credit card type is most popular with frequent travellers as they can enjoy additional perks like access to airport lounges, free travel insurance, and discounts on hotels and overseas dining. Because you earn more miles on overseas spend than on local spend.
It is important to note that 1 RM does not equal to 1 air mile and each bank offers different conversion rates for local spending and overseas spending. The range for local spending starts from as low as RM0.95 with the Maybank 2 Card Premier to as high as RM12.50 with BSN credit cards. The range for overseas spending starts from as low as RM0.30 per 1 air mile with the HSBC Visa Signature credit card, to as high as RM11.00 per 1 air mile with the RHB Signature credit card.
Each bank has their own redemption rate for air miles credit cards so be sure to find the one that you will receive the most value from.
Here’s a simplified example of how an air miles credit card works:
Air mile redemption rate: RM 2 = 4 AirAsia BIG points OR RM6 = 1 Enrich Mile
July 2017 Spend: RM100
Air miles collected: 200 AirAsia BIG points OR 17 Enrich Miles
However, this example does not take into account the fine print you need to review when identifying the right air miles credit card for you, including knowing the airlines you can redeem your air miles with, knowing the redemption rate, identifying the expiry date of these air miles, and more.
This guide will go into that much deeper.
It’s a well-known fact that Malaysians love to travel and despite ending 2016 with a lower consumer confidence, holidays and vacations continue to be an area that we are willing to spend in. Although the appeal to travel overseas isn’t as alluring due to our weakening Ringgit and the higher costs associated with it.
But if you’re a frequent flyer and you are thinking about applying for an air miles credit card or already own one, you can save money by redeeming your air miles.
There are many benefits to be gained from using an air miles credit card. Aside from helping you save money, you can upgrade your seat, redeem free flights, gain access to premium travel lounges and more.
You may be in the market for a new credit card but you’re not entirely sure if an air miles or cashback or rewards credit card is the best one for you. What’s the difference?
An air miles credit card rewards you with air miles for every ringgit you spend. The amount of air miles you receive depends on the conversion rate of the bank. You can utilise your air miles to redeem free flights, free seat upgrades, access to travel lounges and more.
A cashback credit card gives you a percentage of your money back, it is credited back into your credit card account at the end of your statement cycle. The amount of cashback you receive depends on the cashback rate of the bank. Essentially, you save money with a cashback card.
Read also: Cashback Credit Card Guide
A rewards credit card allows you to earn reward points for every ringgit you spend. The amount of rewards you earn depends on the bank’s loyalty program. You can then utilise these reward points to redeem a gift from the bank’s rewards catalogue.
Read also: Complete Guide To Rewards Credit Card
Applying for an air miles credit card
There are so many factors to consider when applying for an air miles credit card and this information overload can get overwhelming. Suddenly, it doesn’t seem as crystal clear and you’re not sure which air miles credit card would be the best one for you.
This guide is here to help.
Yes, it’s true that an air miles credit card, when used properly, can help you save money by redeeming your air miles. To help you find the best one for you, here are 5 factors you need to consider when choosing your air miles credit card.
First, ask yourself if you are a loyal traveller or not. If you are a loyal traveller with one specific airline, you would best benefit from an air miles credit card that is co-branded with that particular airline. For example, Citibank offers credit cards that are tied to AirAsia BIG points including the AirAsia-Citi Gold Visa credit card and the AirAsia-Citi Platinum Visa.
However, before you commit to a card that earns you air miles for a specific airline, make sure you research the destinations they fly to and be sure that you are comfortable with the airline and its quality of service
Read more: The Best Credit Cards for AirAsia BIG points
If you rather have an air miles credit card that allows you to redeem from more than one airline, don’t worry. Most air miles credit cards allow you to earn a multitude of air miles for various airline operators either via World Miles, KrisFlyer Miles, Asia Miles, or Enrich Miles to name a few. Just be sure you know which airlines your credit card allows you to redeem miles for, which leads us to the next point.
The CompareHero.my comparison table makes this easy for you as we spell out how much you need to spend locally and overseas to earn 1 Mile. It’s important to note that an air mile point is not worth the same value across different airline operators. Each loyalty programme has their own redemption rate, for instance, every RM2 spent would maybe equal to 4 AirAsia points which are equal to 1 AirAsia BIG point. Or for every RM6 spent, that might only equal to 1 Malaysia Airlines Enrich Mile.
It’s worth researching how many air miles you would need to fly to your preferred destinations across your preferred airline operators and then looking for the card that gives you the best rewards. When you use our free comparison tool, we tell you how much RM you need to spend overseas and locally to earn a mile for every credit card.
Be sure to read the fine print to see what other features are included such as travel insurance or access to premium lounges in airports.
This is often overlooked and many credit card users falsely believe their air miles collected never expire. As much as it pays off to save your air miles, don’t wait too long. Keep an eye on the expiry dates and don’t let your miles go to waste. Air miles usually expire 36 months from the time the miles have been credited to your account, that’s about 3 years.
By knowing the conversion rate and also reviewing the airline’s website, you can easily estimate the quantity of air miles you need to redeem a free flight, and budget your spending accordingly. Used wisely, an air mile credit card can help you save money on your travels, allowing you to fly further! Perhaps you earn at such a low rate that you will not be able to save enough miles for your trip before the expiration, in which case an air miles card makes little sense.
Think about the type of traveller you are and where you most frequently spend your money. Do you cross the seas or do you travel domestically? Credit cards reward you differently for overseas spend and for local spend. You need to check the conversion rate for RM/mile for both situations. The most value often comes from overseas spend because banks earn more from foreign transaction fees and exchange rates.
However, overseas spend may not amount to much of our regular spend on our air miles credit card. If that’s the case, a card that offers higher conversion of RM/mile for local spend might make more sense for you. And always check whether it makes sense to pay overseas with your credit card or whether withdrawing money out of a local ATM is cheaper.
Another matter to review carefully in the fine print is air miles tiers. Some credit cards offer you the opportunity earn more miles when you spend more RM per month. Be careful to read the fine print and understand if the card you own or are applying for is one of them. These cards typically require larger spending amounts.
For example, one international bank in Malaysia gives one AirAsia BIG point for the first RM500 spent, 2X AirAsia BIG points for spend between RM500 – RM6,000, and 3X AirAsia BIG points for spend above RM6,000. But think about that, you will need to spend more than RM6,000 on your card per month, which for some, may be unattainable.
When applying for an air miles credit card, ensure that you meet the minimum requirements which are listed in the CompareHero.my comparison table. The results displayed will be based on the information you provide.
In general, look out for:
Apply online or at a bank branch: Once you’ve found the right credit card for you, you can proceed to apply online via our website and be sure to submit all the required documents. Or if we currently don’t have a deal with the bank of your choice, you can proceed to the bank’s website. Online applications usually take up less time but if you prefer to speak to a customer service representative, you can walk into a bank branch and apply with them face-to-face. Just be sure to have all the required documents handy.
If you’re applying for a credit card online, the actual process doesn’t take much of your time, perhaps 10 – 15 minutes max. If you’re walking into a bank branch, this would depend on the speed of the service provided.
If you apply through CompareHero.my, one of our Customer Heroes will be in touch with you within 1-2 days to verify your details and application. Upon verification, the application will be sent to the bank, and you can expect to hear from the bank once your application is approved within 1-2 weeks. Plus, you get promotions!
Air Miles Earned
Maybank 2 Cards Premier
RM0.96 / 1 Mile
RM0.96 / 1 Mile
1 Malaysia Airlines Enrich Mile
1 Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer Mile
Citi Premier Miles Credit Card
RM4.50 /1 Mile
RM2.25 / 1 Mile
1 Asia Miles
Looking at the figures, you can see the ringgit to point conversion ratio for the Maybank 2 Cards Premier is better than the Citi PremierMiles Visa Card. For every RM0.96 you spend, you would be able to redeem 1 air miles point with the Maybank 2 Cards Premier. With the Citi PremierMiles Visa Card, you would be spending RM4.50 locally and RM2.25 overseas. A lower amount is actually a good thing in this case!
But bear in mind that there are still other factors like minimum income requirements, annual fees and travel perks which you need to look out for before making your decision.
There are two ways to earn air miles, generally speaking. The first is via frequent flyer programs which we will cover in this section. Secondly, you can sign up directly with frequent flyer programs to earn air miles whenever you purchase flight tickets and travel with the airline.
There are 4 big players in the market now, Enrich Miles, AirAsia BIG, Kris Flyer and Asia Miles.
Enrich Miles is a loyalty program introduced by Malaysia Airlines to reward its customers. Once you have earned a point (Mile) from your purchases at Malaysia Airlines or selected merchants, you have many redemption options available to you. Redemption options include flights on Malaysia Airlines, Oneworld member airline operators such as Emirates Airlines and Enrich partner airlines. You can even redeem Enrich vouchers for excess baggage payment or enjoy a thrilling flight simulation as experienced by Malaysia Airlines pilots in training.
AirAsia BIG is the loyalty program for frequent flyers of AirAsia flights. While AirAsia BIG Points does not allow you to upgrade your seats to a premium flatbed seat from existing flight (bought via cash), you can still use your existing AirAsia BIG Points to redeem free flights on premium flex or premium flatbed seats. Your BIG Points are valid for 36 months from the date when the points are being credited to your account.
KrisFlyer miles are tied to Singapore Airlines, Silk Air and other airline partners. Like all loyalty programs, the more you fly with them, the more miles you earn. Take a look at this chart to see how many KrisFlyer miles you’ll earn flying with us, SilkAir and our partner airlines. In addition to redemption of flight tickets, you will also earn KrisFlyer miles through the 200 non-airline partner merchants, whether you stay at a hotel, rent a car, or shop with your credit card.
Another loyalty program that rewards you every time you spend. However, this particular program is not tied to a specific airline like Enrich Miles or AirAsia BIG is. Partnering airlines include American Airlines, British Airways, Cathay Pacific, and also include Malaysia Airlines. With Asia Miles, you can redeem your miles for flights but you can also use it for other partner categories which includes, hotels, car and transport, retail, dining, finance and insurance and professional services.
When you’ve accumulated enough air miles or rewards points on your credit card, you can redeem them for airline privileges such as VIP lounge access, flight ticket upgrades, ticket and hotel discounts, and other special offers.
Remember: The number of miles you accumulated on your card isn’t the same number of actual miles you get. It more or less covers a percentage of the actual price of the ticket, depending on your destination, the provider, the airline, and the number of air miles you’ve accrued.
With the Enrich Miles program, there are four tiers in the Enrich Miles membership program: Platinum, Gold, Silver, and Blue. Here’s a closer look at the tiers.
100,000 Elite Miles or 130 Elite Sectors (in one calendar year)
50,000 Elite Miles or 50 Elite Sectors (in one calendar year)
25,000 Elite Miles or 30 Elite Sectors (in one calendar year)
How do you earn Enrich Miles?
1. CIMB Enrich Platinum: Earn Bonus Miles with this credit card and redeem one Enrich Mile with every Bonus Mile you have. If you buy your flight tickets with this card, you will get FREE travel insurance coverage up to RM1 million. This zero-annual fee card also offers you 2 times access to Malaysia Airlines Golden Lounges.
2. Citi Clear Card: This Citibank credit card is lovely for those who crave shopping and dining because you can redeem Enrich Miles with the Rewards Points you earn using the card. Most importantly, the Rewards Points you collect do not expire. In addition, you can get exclusive deals and promotions at Citibank’s partnering merchants too.
3. Maybank credit cards: Most of Maybank’s credit cards users are automatically enrolled in its loyalty program called Treat Points and it offers a wide range of gifts and privileges for redemptions including Enrich Miles. If you would like to enjoy the flexibility and earn Enrich Miles faster through your shopping and bills payment, check out the best Maybank Credit Card that suits your need here.
4. Alliance Bank credit cards: Similar to Maybank, Alliance Bank’s reward program, Timeless Bonus Points allows its customers to earn points from their bill payments, shopping, local and overseas expenses. With a wide range of redemption choices, you can choose to redeem Enrich Miles with the Timeless Bonus Points accumulated over time.
Enrich Miles Earnings
|Earn up to 10,000 Enrich Miles with every PointsMAX booking with Agoda.com. For hotel bookings, please visit www.agoda.com/malaysiaairlines
*Only booking made via dedicated landing page are eligible for Enrich Miles
The Datai Langkawi
|600 Enrich Miles for every booking made at Best Available Rate at the Datai Langkawi based on number of rooms purchased and not on number of days stay|
|600 Enrich Miles every time you stay at G Tower Hotel|
Hard Rock Hotel Bali
|600 Enrich Miles for minimum stay of 2 consecutive nights
Managed by HLP Hotels & Resorts. For more information, please visit www.hplhotels.com
|600 Enrich Miles every time you stay at any participating Hilton Hotels|
Holiday Villa Hotels & Resorts
|600 Enrich Miles every time you stay at any participating Holiday Villa Hotels and Resorts|
InterContinental Hotels & Resorts
|600 Enrich Miles every time you stay at any participating InterContinental Hotels & Resorts|
Pangkor Laut Resort
|600 Enrich Miles every time you stay at the Pangkor Laut Resort|
|1000 to 5000 Enrich Miles per night at hotels around the world.
Click here for more info.
*Only booking made via dedicated landing page are eligible for Enrich Miles
Stanmford Hotels and Resorts
600 Enrich Miles every time you stay at any participating Stamford Hotels and Resorts
Through petrol spend at Petron stations: If you haven’t refilled petrol at Petron before, you might want to start doing it now because you can redeem 100 Enrich Miles with every 400 Petron Miles Points you earn with the Petron member card. Most importantly, applying for a Petron membership is free!
Read also: The best ways to redeem your Enrich Miles
Redeeming a free flight can be a little tricky if you plan to optimise your Enrich Miles as it is hard to predict the Enrich Miles requirements for certain flights due to the ever-changing flight ticket prices.
Step 1: Log in to your Enrich Miles account to check the number of Enrich Miles you have accumulated either through the frequent flyer program, or your air miles credit card spend.
Step 2: Choose the award you wish to redeem, then make your redemption.
For Malaysia Airlines tickets, you can choose to redeem all your miles or part miles and part cash. If you have a child, you can enjoy lower miles redemption rates as it will be based on the fee of a child’s ticket. You can redeem it online at enrich.malaysiaairlines.com, via their Call Centres, and Ticket Offices.
For oneworld and Partner Airlines, there is a different redemption rate and you will need to access the link here for an in-depth look at how to redeem oneworld flights.
For non-flight redemption, you can enjoy your Enrich Miles for Enrich vouchers, in-flight shopping, excess baggage payment, and access to the Malaysia Airlines Golden Lounge. Click here for more information.
AirAsia BIG points can be used to redeem free AirAsia flights. One of the best ways to earn AirAsia BIG points is via a co-branded credit card. By collecting AirAsia BIG points you can get discounts on future flights, priority on AirAsia sales and exclusive access to BIG point deals. Co-branded credit cards allow you to collect points quicker, and most often at a higher rate than credit cards that are not co-branded. It’s important to note however, that a co-branded credit card rewards you with AirAsia Points for every Ringgit you spend. You need to convert these AirAsia Points into AirAsia BIG points, before you can redeem flights via AirAsia BIG. By collecting AirAsia BIG points you can get discounts on future flights, priority on AirAsia sales and exclusive access to BIG point deals.
To help you get those cheap flights, we have listed the best credit cards for collecting AirAsia BIG points.
1. AirAsia-Citi Gold Visa credit card: This card was created as a result of a partnership with Citibank and AirAsia and is meant for people who wants to combine their credit-card spending with flight discounts. Based on your monthly spending, you can earn up to 2x AirAsia Points. You also enjoy several perks provided by Citibank and AirAsia alike including complimentary inflight meals, priority booking and Citi World Privileges.
2. UOB PRVI Miles: This credit card is an excellent choice for the frequent traveler. With increased spending you can increase your reward point gain on this card to 5 times the standard rate. With every RM 5 you spend, you will receive 4 AirMiles which you can then convert into AirAsia BIG points. As a welcome gift, you automatically receive 2,000 AirAsia BIG points and additional 10% off AirAsiaGo hotel bookings.
3. Standard Chartered World Miles World Mastercard: This credit card is an excellent option if you are determined to rack up your BIG points. With every RM3 spend locally, you will receive 1 World mile. Every 2 World miles can then be exchanged for 1 Air Asia Big Point. Same goes for overseas spending, but instead of RM3, you only have to spend RM2.
If, however, you decide to apply for a rewards credit card, you can still opt to redeem AirAsia BIG points.
• CIMB – You can convert 4,000 CIMB bank or CIMB Islamic bank points into 1,000 AirAsia BIG Points. Check out all CIMB credit-cards.
• Maybank – You can convert 7,420 TreatsPoints or 5,936 Membership Rewards Points into 1,000 AirAsia BigPoints. Check out all Maybank credit-cards.
• Citibank – Citibank allows you to convert your Citi Rewards points at a different rate depending on the credit card:
Regular credit-cards : 3,000 for 500 AirAsia BIG points
Citi Prestige card : 2,500 for 500 AirAsia BIG points
Premier Miles Card : 750 for 500 AirAsia BIG points
AirAsia Cards : 2,000 for 500 AirAsia BIG points
Check out all Citibank credit-cards
• Alliance – Alliance Bank allows you convert 3,000 timeless Bonus Points into 1,000 AirAsia Big Point. Check out all Alliance credit-cards.
• Standard Chartered – Earn 1,000 AirAsia BIG Points when you convert 7,000 Standard Chartered 360 Rewards Points. Check out all Standard Chartered credit-cards
• UOB – Earn 1,000 AirAsia BIG Points when you convert 7,000 UNIRinggit Reward Points. Check out all UOB credit-cards.
• AmBank – Earn 1,000 AirAsia BIG Points when you convert minimum 5,000 AmBonus Points. Check out all AmBank credit-cards.
• RHB – Earn 1,000 AirAsia BIG Points when you convert 6,000 RHB Reward Points. Check out all RHB credit-cards.
• Public Bank – Earn 2,000 AirAsia Big Points when you convert 7,000 Air Miles / VIP Points. Check out all Public Bank credit-cards.
• HSBC – Earn 8X Rewards Points for Overseas & Online (Foreign Currency) spend ad 30% OFF redemption on Online Vouchers including AirAsia. Check out all HSBC credit cards.
Aside from earning AirAsia BIG points when you fly with AirAsia, you can also earn points when you spend at their partnering merchants. Aside from the co-branded credit cards, these partners include:
• Budget Car Rental
• Paradigm Mall
• Hilton Honors
• Sunway Hotels & Resorts
• Tune Hotels
• Tune Talk
• Libra Invest
• Premiere Hotel
• BIG Duty Free
• The Whisky Bar
• Dining in The Dark
• The Rum Bar
• RHB TradeSmart
• Quill City Mall
For the exact details on conversion rates, click here.
The added bonus of being a BIG member, is the exclusive Final Call Sale which allows you to enjoy up to 90% savings on flights. And if you’re short of BIG points, you can top up the rest of the amount with cash. But this is where your BIG points will help you fly the extra mile.
• Maybank 2 Cards Premier
• Maybank Manchester United Visa Infinite
• Maybank Visa Infinite
• Maybank World Mastercard®
• PETRONAS Maybank Visa
• PETRONAS Maybank Platinum Visa
• Maybank Visa Signature
• Alliance Bank Visa Infinite Card
• Alliance Bank Platinum Visa
• Alliance Bank Platinum Mastercard®
• Alliance Bank Gold Visa
• Alliance Bank Gold Mastercard®
• CIMB Enrich World Elite Mastercard®
• CIMB Enrich World Mastercard®
• CIMB Enrich Platinum
• CIMB Visa SIGNATURE
• CIMB WORLD Mastercard®
• CIMB Platinum Visa / Mastercard®
• UOB PRVI Miles
• UOB VISA Infinite Card
Hong Leong Bank
• Hong Leong Infinite Card
• Hong Leong Sutera Platinum Card
• Standard Chartered WorldMiles World Mastercard®
• AirAsia-Citi Platinum Visa
• AirAsia-Citi Gold Visa
• Citi PremierMiles Visa Card
• Citi Clear Card
• RHB Visa Infinite Card
• RHB Signature Credit Card
RHB Islamic Bank
• RHB Platinum Credit Card-i
• HSBC Visa Signature
• AmBank Visa Infinite
• AmBank World Mastercard®
• AmBank Visa Signature
• AmBank Platinum
• AmBank Gold
• AmBank Islamic Visa Infinite
• AmBank Islamic World Mastercard®
• AmBank Islamic Visa Signature
• AmBank Islamic Al-Taslif Platinum Card-i
•AmBank Islamic Al-Taslif Gold Visa Card-i
• Public Bank World Mastercard® Credit Card
• Public Bank Visa Signature Credit Card
• BSN 1 TeachersCard Mastercard®
• BSN 1 TeachersCard Mastercard® Credit Card-i
• BSN Classic Visa
• BSN Classic Credit Card-i Visa
• BSN Gold Visa
• BSN Gold Credit Card-i Visa
• BSN Mastercard® Platinum Credit Card-i
• BSN Platinum Visa Credit Card
• BSN Platinum Visa Credit Card-i
• BSN Platinum Mastercard®
• Maybank Islamic Ikhwan Visa Infinite Card-i
What we like
• 3 WorldMiles per RM2 spent overseas & 1 WorldMiles per RM3 spent locally
• 2 WorldMiles = 1 AirMile of Asia Miles, KrisFlyer, Enrich or AirAsia BIG
• Unlimited access to Plaza Premium Lounges in KLIA & KLIA2
• Up to RM80 Cashback on Airport Limousine or KLIA Ekspres ride home when you return from overseas travel, by performing 3X overseas transactions in the past 30 days
Apply with CompareHero.my and pick ONE of these 2 gift offers upon activation of your credit card:
• Complimentary Morphy Richards Accents 4 Slice Toaster worth RM369
• Complimentary 20″ + 24″ Condotti Trolley Bags worth RM999
Minimum income required: RM7,500
Annual fee: RM636 (inclusive of 6% GST)
What we like
• Redeem 1,000 Air Miles: Enrich Miles (MAS) / KrisFlyer Miles (Singapore Airlines) / Asia Miles with 4,770 TreatsPoints
• 5X access to Plaza Premium Lounges in Malaysia (for Principal Cardholder only)
• Up to RM2,000,000 travel insurance
• Complimentary Green Fees for 79 Golf Clubs in 15 countries
• Up to 50% savings at SPG Hotels & Resorts
Apply with CompareHero.my and enjoy a complimentary wireless JBL speaker upon approval and activation of your credit card. Documents must be submitted within 5 working days.
Minimum income required: RM10,000
Annual fee: RM848 (inclusive of 6% GST)
What we like
• 10X Rewards Points for Overseas Hotel & Dining spend
• 8X Rewards Points for Mid Valley Megamall, The Gardens Mall spend, 5X for Airline Ticket, Hotel, Malls spend & 1X for Other spend
• Air Miles conversion of 3,000 Rewards Points = 1,000 Air Miles
• 6X access to Plaza Premium Lounge, KLIA, Singapore Changi Airport & Hong Kong International Airport
Enjoy RM500 cashback on dining from HSBC.
Minimum income required: RM8,333
Annual fee: RM636 (inclusive of 6% GST)
Don’t waste every opportunity to earn air miles when you spend locally or overseas. If you don’t already own one and have now decided an air miles credit card is for you, you can use our free comparison tool to compare all Air Miles credit-cards throughout Malaysia.