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Conrad Maldives Restaurant

Overwater Restaurant on our trip to Conrad Maldives in January 2016

There is no Reason to use Cash when you can use Credit Cards!

Below is my opinion of how I think you should be paying for your goods and services. Note that I am not a financial advisor of any kind – but this is my experience with how I deal with my own (and my family’s) finances

The question I pose to most people paying for anything is why are you using cold hard cash which provides you with absolutely no return – when you could be using a (correct) credit card to earn you between 15%-60% back on your dollar in terms of business/first class redemption value pretty much every time?

Why would you use Cash when you could use Points and Improve your Financial Position at the same time?…

Singapore Business Class Seat 1

The last 12 months have had many changes in the Banking industry in regards to Credit Cards. Thus with any Points Enthusiast you will need to pivot from your current credit cards to new cards to take advantage of earning points.

Most credit cards unfortunately will devalue - only a select few will have benefits enhanced. So by being aware of what the market has to offer - you will be able to determine the best course of action for yourself.

So below is a Points Strategy I utilise in terms of Credit Cards to gain maximum required points as of today.

 

1. American Express Platinum Edge Credit Card

This is still hands-down the compulsory card for any person wanting to get started in the points/game. I have had this card close to 10 years and the number of Business Class flights that we have enjoyed over the years is all attributed to this one card.

The change for this now though is that they have replaced the free domestic Virgin Australian Flight with a $200 travel credit. This in my opinion is a devaluing of the benefit as the flight can cost around $400-$500 in peak season. By for others who are not interested in using this flight and would rather use the credit for hotels etc – then this is perfect.…

One of the cards gaining a bit of momentum so far is the Westpac Altitude Black Credit Card. In general it has the best American Express earn rate on the market at 1.5 Airline points per dollar spent. This is possibly the best card out there for a business if the suppliers and services mostly takes American Express as there is no points cap – unlike the American Express Platinum Business Card which is capped at a certain point.

See link below:

Westpac Altitude Black Credit Card

This credit card has 2 accounts – an Amex and a Mastercard. The Mastercard only earns 0.625 Airline points per dollar so definitely not the best one out there. You could sign up for the Citibank Signature Visa Card to get 1 point per dollar for all your purchases and as they have regular promotions where the annual fee is free for life – then will beat the Altitude Mastercard hands down.…

I’ve had the Hilton HHonors Gold Membership for a number of years now and the benefits I’ve received possibly runs into the thousands of dollars. I am lucky enough to stay enough that I am able to maintain the Gold membership for the last few years.

Below is the link for the Hilton HHonors Macquarie Platinum Card:

Hilton Macquarie Credit Card

To recap – below are the benefits of Gold Membership

  1. Extra 25% of base points earned
  2. Free Breakfast for 2 people
  3. Upgraded room where available
  4. Executive Lounge Access
  5. Late Check-out when available

I’ve written earlier last year in 2013 about the credit card strategy I use mainly to accumulate points. This was using the American Express Platinum Edge and the Citibank Visa Signature card. By knowing which shops to go to – you would decide if it’s better to use an Amex or Visa. Certain factors are applied here which include the number of points you receive and the surcharge if any.

A review of the Amex Platinum Edge is the following:

1. Earn 3 points per dollar you spend at supermarkets

2. Earn 2 points per dollar you spend at petrol stations

3. Earn 1 point per dollar for everything else

Note: Utilities, Bills and Insurance only gives you 0.5 points per dollar

A review of the Citibank Visa Credit card is the following

1. Earn 1 Krisflyer point per dollar you spend domestically

2. Earn 2.67 Krisflyer points per dollar you spend internationally. Note: Citibank has its’ own points system called Citibank Rewards. Essentially you earn 1.5 Citibank Reward points per dollar domestically and 4 Citibank Reward points per dollar internationally. Converting to Krisflyer (which is by far the best option for this card) follows the above 2 points.…

How much is a Point worth you may ask?

The answer is – it depends.

Let’s look at 2 extremes

One of the ways say if you had 10,000 credit card points. Let’s say it was American Express Membership Rewards points. With 10,000 points – most people would redeem it for a $50 shopping voucher at Big W or Target for example. Also to gain 10,000 credit card points you would most likely need to spend $10,000 if for every dollar you spent – you earned one dollar.

Therefore the value of 1 point is 0.5cents. The majority of people would go ahead and do this. And why not? It’s practically free as you are using your credit card for everyday expenses and after spending.…