Ask mostly anyone in Hong Kong what some of their passions are and you will definitely hear the word “Travelling” mentioned in their answers. We all enjoy a good holiday and what better a way to enjoy it than when you don’t have to pay for a plane ticket. Flight costs make up a good chunk of travel expenditure and using the right credit card that gives you Asia Miles when you spend, can help get you on a free flight sooner than you think.
Asia Miles is the most common air miles rewards programme in Hong Kong with 29 airline partners, gives you the ability to turn your credit card spending into miles that you can then redeem for free flights or big discounts off your tickets.
These miles can either be earned directly through spending on your credit card, or by converting your credit card reward points into Asia Miles. So picking a credit card that suits your lifestyle spending habits and maximises your Asia Miles earning is key.
Some quick tips on choosing a good credit card that lets you earn Asia Miles:
Local Spend accrual rate
Look out for how much HK$1 earns you whenever you spend locally within Hong Kong. Obviously the more Asia Miles you get for every HK$1 you spend, the better!
Overseas Spend accrual rate
Check out how much a credit card gives you in Asia Miles when you spend overseas. Different card providers will have differing rates, and it is also dependent on what you spend on.
Rewards Points versus Direct Asia Miles
Sometimes, depending on what you spend on most frequently and in what amounts, a credit card that gives you direct H $ to Asia Miles is not always going to be the best credit card for you. Pay attention to the fact that a good Rewards points credit card, that rewards you with good bonuses when you spend on certain things (Dining, Entertainment, Online Shopping etc), may be a better choice for you. Just bear in mind that for some cards, converting your points to miles will incur a fee.
Unless you are dropping tons of cash on spending every month, the fastest way you’re going to be able to earn a bulk of Asia Miles is usually through Sign-Up Bonuses. These are bonuses you get just for applying and getting approved for the credit card. Some cards also reward you with more miles as a welcome offer for spending within the first few months of getting your card approved.
Now that you understand the basics, here is MoneySmart’s 2017 list of the most recommended credit cards in Hong Kong for Asia Miles accruals:
|BEA Flyer World||Citi PremierMiles|
|Miles conversion fee||N/A|
|Overseas spending (Foreign currency charge)||$4=1 Mile (1.95%)||$5=1 Mile (1.95%)||$4=1 Mile (1.95%)|
|Local retail||$6=1 Mile||$5=1 Mile||$8=1 Mile|
|Local dining||$4=1 Mile||$5=1 Mile||$8=1 Mile|
|Online shopping||$4=1 Mile||$5=1 Mile||$4=1 Mile|
|Octopus auto top-up||$6=1 Mile||$5=1 Mile||$8=1 Mile|
||$6=1 MileN/A||$5=1 Mile$8=1 Mile||$8=1 MileN/A|
1. Standard Chartered Asia Miles Card
This card is the runaway leader when it comes to Asia Miles cards in the market now. With an accrual rate of HK$4 = 1 Asia Mile for dining, online and overseas spend, and HK$6 = 1 Asia Mile for all other local spend, this card sets the benchmark for miles accrual. On top of that, the miles accrued go straight into your Asia Miles membership accounts with no mileage conversion fee, yet only 3 years of expiry period for the miles. Here are some key card features:
- HK$4 = 1 Asia Mile for eligible spending on dining, online and overseas category
- HK$ 6 = 1 Asia Mile for eligible spending on other categories and octoplus automatic top-up
- HK$2 = 1 Asia Mile at over 400 designated dining partners of Asia Miles
- 10% redemption discount for hotel, car rental, travel experience and dining awards
On top of this, they are running a welcome offer now that allows you to earn up to 100,000 Asia Miles. Here’s a breakdown of how:
|Eligible Transactions||Miles Conversion||Maximum Miles Earned|
|First HK$7,500||HK$0.5 = 1 Asia Mile||15,000 Asia Miles|
|Subsequent HK$170,000||HK$2 = 1 Asia Mile||85,000 Asia Miles|
|Total: HK$177,500||100,000 Asia Miles|
Eligible transactions are retail purchases (including both local and overseas transactions), online purchase or posted amount of instalment purchase made within the first 2 months from the date of issuance of the newly approved Standard Chartered Asia Miles Mastercard.
2. BEA Flyer World MasterCard
The BEA Flyer World MasterCard is a great card to complement the Standard Chartered Asia Miles Card with its better local spend and autopay bills accrual rate of HK$5 = 1 Asia Mile. Using this for expenditure apart from dining and online spend, such as bill payments and other local spend can help you to speed up your miles accrual. Here are some key card features:
- HK$5 = 1 Asia Mile for eligible spending on local retail, dining
- No minimum spending requirements
- No handling fee for the conversion into miles
There is also a welcome offer currently running where you can earn 6,000 miles if you spend HK$9,000 or more within 2 months of the card issuance date. Be reminded that the expiry period of Miles is 5 years.
3. Citi PremierMiles Card
In the suite of Citibank cards, the Citi PremierMiles Card is probably the best in-between when it comes to air miles. Not only does it offer the flexibility of redeeming miles across 12 different frequent flyer programs covering over 100 airlines without any handling charges, but it also doesn’t have the extremely high minimum income requirement that cards like the Citi Prestige Card does.
Some key card features are:
- HK$8 = 1 Asia Mile for local spending
- Enjoy HK$3=1 Mile for overseas spending and online shopping when you have HK$20,000 in total of eligible transactions in a month.
- 12 times complimentary access to 60 designated Plaza Premium Lounges worldwide, including Hong Kong, Taiwan, Singapore and London for every calendar year.
- 12 Frequent Flyer Programs to redeem mileage of over 100 airlines
- Free travel insurance when you pay in full or redeem for flight tickets/ accommodation/ travel tours with your Citi PremierMiles Card
- First year annual fee waiver
If you don’t think you can spend enough to hit the bonus miles welcome offer for the Standard Chartered Asia Miles card, the Citi PremierMiles Card offers a more accessible 15,000 miles for HK$15,000 spent within the first 2 months of card issuance.
What are some of your favourite Asia Miles cards? Share your thoughts with us here!