As mentioned in my article titled My Bragging Rights for 2019, my eldest son is now a doctor in Australia and he asked me what credit card to get! You guys know lah, GenX GenY GenZ dotcom is the No.1 Undisputed No Budget Personal Finance Website in Malaysia plus maybe Singapore too. And since my son has asked for my assistance, it is only natural that I pass to him some of my knowledge on credit cards and air miles by simply spoon feeding him the necessary information. Since I am going to spoon feed him invaluable information with detailed analysis, I might as well share it with the world, and in particular those who reside in Australia.
WHAT CREDIT CARD TO GET?
If you are a follower of mine, you will know that there is no such thing as the best credit card but we need to own the right credit cards based on our spending pattern.
And over the years I have shown over and over again it is damn stupid to use our credit cards’ reward points to redeem for stuff where we will get less than 1% return. The best way to utilize our credit cards’ reward points is to redeem for Air Miles and fly Business Class or First Class.
With the above in mind, I shall now show you a comparison between Qantas and Singapore Airlines Business Class:
Singapore Airlines One Way Saver Award for Business Class:
Brisbane or Melbourne or Sydney to Singapore or Kuala Lumpur on Business Class with Singapore Airlines will require 58K KrisFlyer Miles one way.
Brisbane or Melbourne or Sydney to 10 Cities in Europe on Business Class with Singapore Airlines will require 105K KrisFlyer Miles one way.
Qantas Points One Way On Business Class:
Brisbane or Melbourne or Sydney to Singapore or Kuala Lumpur on Business Class with Qantas will require 60K Qantas Points one way.
Brisbane or Melbourne or Sydney to 10 Cities in Europe on Business Class with Qantas will require 128K Qantas Points one way.
In a nutshell – Qantas versus Singapore Airlines Miles Required for Business Class One Way:
|Brisbane to Singapore/KL||Singapore to London||Brisbane to London|
|Qantas Classic Rewards||60K||84K||128K|
|Singapore Airlines Savers||58K||85K||105K|
I have flown with Singapore Airlines Business Class and Suite Class from Melbourne to Singapore and with Qantas Singapore to Melbourne on Business Class. I have no complains but am actually pretty happy with both airlines except for the damn stupid Singapore Airlines Business Class seats where I had to sleep diagonally!!!
Personally, I would recommend that my son opt for Singapore Airlines instead of Qantas. Reason being when we redeem for air tickets with KrisFlyer Miles, basically there are no other fees/surcharges involved except for some minor taxes (about AUD100).
And Singapore Airlines New Suite on the Airbus A380 is one experience not to be missed.
And I tell you, the SilverKris Lounge Business Class service is unbelievably good when I flew Business Class out of Melbourne.
With respect to the above, I shall now present to you credit cards which are the best for accumulating KrisFlyer Miles (and also Asia Miles if you are interested, but in Asia Miles Business Class case you will need to pay lots more in surcharges/taxes compared to KrisFlyer).
Please note that I will not refer to any Interest Rates imposed on Outstanding Balance because my principal is to pay in full prior to the Due Date and not be charged a cent in interest. Credit cards’ interest rates are damn freaking high and it is the quickest way to being poor! If you have no discipline in controlling your spending, DO NOT GET A CREDIT CARD!
In Malaysia, the best credit card for accumulating air miles is none other than the AMEX Reserve. And guess what? The best credit cards to accumulate air miles in Australia are also American Express cards!
As usual, many ignorant people without any justification will say that AMEX is not widely accepted and thus foolishly avoid AMEX cards and earn less in return. I tell you, AMEX is damn good in Australia! Places that accept AMEX in Australia are:
From the above, you will note that AMEX can be used for essential expenses such as:
Petrol – 7 Eleven, BP and Coles Express
Groceries – Coles and Woolworths
Electronic and Gadget – Apple, Microsoft, Dell, Kogan, Harvey Norman, Good Guys, Officeworks, etc.
Hotel – all major hotel chains, Agoda, Booking, Expedia, etc.
Transport – UBER!
Airlines – almost all airlines accept AMEX nowadays.
Insurance – AIA, NIB, Allianz, HCF, etc.
Council – You be surprised that many councils throughout Australia accept AMEX.
Food – McD!!!
Home Improvement – Bunnings
Shopping – David Jones, Myer, Target, Kmart, H&M, etc
Liquor – Dan Murphy’s, BWS, Liquorland, etc
And with PayPal, you can basically pay for anything!!!
So, if you reside in Australia and you are into Air Miles, YOU MUST OWN AN AMEX credit card so that you can optimize earning air miles and guess what, the first AMEX card I am going to introduce to you is FREE FOR LIFE!
American Express Essential Review – FREE FOR LIFE without any condition.
Effective 15 April, the AMEX Essential Reward and Redemption Program will be revised as shown above.
Therefore, Effective 15 April 2019, the AMEX Essential card holder will earn 1 KrisFlyer Mile for every $2 and $1.60 for Government and Other Spending, respectively.
So in order to redeem a one way Business Class ticket with Singapore Airlines Brisbane/Melbourne to Singapore, one needs to spend minimum AUD92,800 with the AMEX Essential Credit Card!!! Wow, that’s a lot compared to our Malaysia AMEX version.
American Express Platinum Edge Review – AMA Version
The AMEX Platinum Edge Credit Card has an annual fee, however if you do travel overseas this card is really good as it comes with insurance that covers you for Medical Emergencies and Flight Delays, too. The AMA version has a reduced annual fee of $149.
Effective 15 April, the AMEX Platinum Edge Reward and Redemption Program will be revised as shown above. Well, this card is pretty good for Supermarkets and Petrol as it earns you 3 Membership Reward Points.
Therefore, Effective 15 April 2019, the AMEX Essential card holder will earn 1 KrisFlyer Mile for every $0.67, $1 and $2 for Groceries & Petrol, Overseas, and Other Spending respectively.
1 KrisFlyer Mile for every $0.67 spent for Groceries and Petrol is damn good. However, the joke is for other spending categories, the FREE FOR LIFE AMEX Essential is better where you earn 1 KrisFlyer mile for every $1.60 domestic spent versus AMEX Platinum Edge $2 domestic spent!
So in order to redeem a one way Business Class ticket with Singapore Airlines Brisbane/Melbourne to Singapore, one needs to spend minimum AUD38,860 under the 3X MR Categories (i,e, Supermarket and Petrol) with the AMEX Platinum Edge.
American Express Explorer Credit Card Review
In terms of benefits, this card is loaded were it comes with protection against fraud, lost, stolen, etc. And it can also be used with Apple Pay, Samsung Pay and Google Pay which means you can use it at places where you otherwise may not.
As you can observe from the above, this card is pretty good for “Shit Happens” situations and that is why the annual fee is higher at AUD395. Let’s see the redemption rate for 1 KrisFlyer Mile.
Therefore, Effective 15 April 2019, the AMEX Explorer will earn 1 KrisFlyer Mile for every $2 and $1 for Government and Other Spending respectively.
So in order to redeem a one way Business Class ticket with Singapore Airlines Brisbane/Melbourne to Singapore, one needs to spend minimum AUD58,000 with the AMEX Explorer Credit Card!!!
The Best AMEX Card for Accumulating Air Miles
The best AMEX credit card for air miles is………. NONE! Like I said from the very start, which card you own depends on your spending pattern. Based on the above, it is best to have both the AMEX Platinum Edge just for Supermarket and Petrol and the AMEX Explorer for everything else.
Credit Card To Compliment Your AMEX
Earlier I showed you that many places accept AMEX but then again more places do not accept AMEX or impose a higher surcharge!!! So we need a Visa or MasterCard to compliment our AMEX card in accumulating Air Miles.
Westpac Altitude Platinum Bundle Review
Based on the above, the Westpac Altitude Platinum Visa earns you 1 Altitude Point for every $1 spent. Therefore, in order to earn 1 KrisFlyer mile, we need to spend $3 with the WestPac Altitude Platinum.
As for the Westpac Altitude AMEX, one earns 2 Altitude Points for every $1 spent locally. Therefore, one earns 1 KrisFlyer Mile with every $1.50 spent which is not as good as the AMEX Explorer but is better than the AMEX Platinum Edge outside the Supermarket and Petrol categories.
Now, please note that no Altitude Points will be rewarded for transactions related to Government and BPAY.
The reason why the Westpac Altitude Platinum Bundle is worth considering is because you can earn 135,000 Altitude Points for FREE plus the first year annual fee for the Visa is waived whereas the annual fee for the AMEX is low at $49 per year.
135,000 Altitude Points can be converted to 45,000 KrisFlyer Miles which is close to 58K KrisFlyer miles required to fly Business Class from Melbourne/Brisbane to Singapore/KL.
St. George (or Bank of Melbourne) Amplify Visa Signature Review
The St. George Visa Signature earns the cardholder 1.5 Amplify Points for every $1 spent. And based on the conversion rate of 3000 Amplify to 1500 KrisFlyer, this works out to 1 KrisFlyer for every $1.33 spent which is way better than the Westpac Altitude Platinum Visa of 1 KrisFlyer Mile for every $3 spent domestically.
However, the annual fee is kind of high at $279 after the first year, but then again you get Priority Pass Membership Lounge Access and 10% Bonus Amplify Points.
And the Bonus 100K Amplify Points can be converted to 50K KrisFlyer Miles which is pretty good and even better than the Westpac Bundle of 135K Altitude Points which can only be converted to 45K KrisFlyer Miles.
Now, please note that no Amplify Points will be rewarded for transactions related to Government and BPAY.
The only set back of the St George Amplify cards are that they do not allow the card holders to convert their Amplify Points to Asia Miles.
St. George Amplify Visa Platinum Review
The St George Amplify Platinum benefits are not as good as the Visa Signature but the annual fee is definitely way lower.
The St. George Visa Signature earns the cardholder 1 Amplify Points for every $1 spent. And based on the conversion rate of 3000 Amplify to 1500 KrisFlyer, this works out to 1 KrisFlyer for every $2 spent which is nothing great but still better than Westpac Platinum.
Once again, please note that no Amplify Points will be rewarded for transactions related to Government and BPAY.
Based on the above review and analysis, I will determine the best credit card combination for earning KrisFlyer Miles assuming that one spends AUD50K to AUD60K per year in Part II.