True that it is impossible for an average Joe to achieve the magical 1-million miles in the span of one year, but what I did managed to achieve was a fraction of that – a mere 10% of it at 100,000 miles.
Starting with my original goal, the lowest hanging fruit is a pair of one-way Suites Class tickets to Beijing for my Great Wall of China bucket list item.
There was a minor hiccup when Singapore Airlines made adjustments to its KrisFlyer program effective 23 March 2017. The last adjustment i.e. devaluation was made in 2012. The 15% discount for online redemption is discontinued. Fuel and insurance surcharges for redemption award tickets will be removed.
This caused my original goal of 85,000 miles to be increased to 100,000 miles. Nevertheless, I managed to hit my goal of 100,000 miles in June 2017. Next, I re-adjusted my goals to Sydney/Melbourne at 160,000 miles in case of changes in travel plans. Miles are going to keep accumulating anyway.
Apart from the big ticket items, it seems like my monthly miles tally is usually in the range of 2,000 to 6,000 which is about $500 to $1500 in expenditure at 4 miles per dollar. Also worthy to note is that for the first 7-8 months, I had the FEVO hack which allowed easy access to miles.
|Oct-16||11,285||11,285||Starting Balance / Sign-up Bonus|
|Nov-16||33,225||21,940||Maldives 50% Payment|
|Dec-16||51,468||18,243||Maldives 50% Payment|
|Jun-17||100,373||12,703||Annual Fee (CITI) For 10K Miles|
|Oct-17||131,308||13,372||Annual Fee (CITI) For 10K Miles|
Here is the final miles tally after a full year of meticulously collecting miles and optimizing my expenditure.
Miles Available (KrisFlyer) : 13,666
Miles Available (Citi) : 30,194 (30,194 Citi Miles)
Miles Available (DBS) : 70,522 (35,261 DBS Points)
Miles Available (UOB) : 16,926 (8,463 UNI$)
Total Miles Available : 131,308 (131%)
CITI Premier Miles VISA Annual Fee (For 10,000 Miles) : $192.60
DBS Altitude VISA Annual Fee (For 10,000 Miles) : $192.60
FEVO Pre-Paid Mastercard : $54.50
Points To Miles Conversion Admin Fees : $25.00 x 3 = $75.00
Cash Rebate (Opportunity Cost) = 100,000 / 4 miles per dollar * 1.5% = $375.00
Total Cost Incurred, By Choice, For 120,023 Miles : $889.70
Total Cost Incurred For 100,023 Miles : $504.50
You can think of S$504.50 (plus $68 in taxes) as the actual price that I’m paying for a pair of one-way Suites Class tickets that would have cost me S$8,160.00 at rack rate. Not forgetting the countless number of hours spent on research etc, which isn’t so bad if you’re into such things heh.
After omitting the starting balance of 11,285 CITI miles, I have earned a total of 120,023 miles across the duration of 12 months since starting my SQ Suites project. This includes the voluntary payment of two sets of annual fees for CITI Premier Miles and DBS Altitude credit cards in exchange for 20,000 miles @ 1.926 cents per mile.
Excluding the annual fees which I didn’t have to pay, I would have earned 100,023 miles by ‘paying’ $504.50 in total – enough for redemption of a pair of one-way SIN-PEK Singapore Airlines Suites class tickets.
You would have noticed that I’ve been careful with my words. I neither say nor imply that my Suites class tickets are free. They aren’t. There are opportunity costs involved, always. Unless you are able to clock work or business related expenses on your personal card. This is the holy grail and there’s no two ways about it.
For an average Joe like me? Patience. This is the same way that I look at investing – I don’t think of myself as a passive investor. An index investor is a more accurate description.
To my fellow and would-be air miles chasers, it has been a fun one-year journey. Because the opportunities in Singapore are far more limited than say, the US or the UK, a little bit of patience is a necessary ingredient here in Singapore. If you’re just starting out, MileLion is your best friend for everything air miles related.