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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.

The advantage here is still the following:

  1. 3 points per dollar spent at supermarkets
  2. 2 points per dollar spent at Petrol stations
  3. 1 point per dollar for all the majority of all other transactions
  4. 0.5 points per dollar for Government payments

Note the points spend above is for an Ascent Membership Reward account. This is equivalent to a 1:1 transfer ratio with the 9 different frequent flyer programs such as Singapore Airlines, Virgin Australia and Cathay Pacific

The annual fee is $195 a year. From time to time though they will have a promotion where the first year annual fee is free. When this occurs you also grab 5000 Amex points when you spend $750 in the first 3 months.

As of writing this (23rd March 2017) – if you sign up via my referral link you will get 15,000 Amex points instead of the normal 5000 points. This offer ends on the 27th March, 2017.

Below is a referral link:

http://amex.com.au/refer/lindatG5Dq

At the end of the day – the travel credit of $200 offsets the $195 annual fee – plus when you sign up when there is a promotion – you are getting $200 and 15,000 Amex points for free. I value each point as 5c when redeeming with International Business Class flights.

 

2. American Express Explorer Credit Card

This recently introduced – American Express Explorer Credit Card is a good addition to your points earning strategy.

This card will earn you 2 Gateway Membership Rewards points per dollar you spend. Note that this is equivalent to 1.5 Ascent/Ascent Premium Membership reward points. But there is a “trick” to be able to merge this account with either an existing Platinum Edge (Ascent account) or a Platinum Charge (Ascent Premium) account so you are actually earning 2 Ascent points per dollar rather than the 2 Gateway membership reward points (which again is only worth 1.5 Ascent points).

This card I will also consider as a “lazy person’s credit card” – as essentially if you just had this card – you would be earning 2 Gateway points for every dollar you spend without worrying about which other card you would spend on to gain the maximum number of points.

There is a $395 annual fee but is offset by a $400 Travel credit that you can use through Amex Travel.

Currently there is also a signup bonus of 50,000 Gateway points.

If you sign up through my referral link – you will receive 80,000 Gateway points:

http://amex.com.au/refer/yiuhoh5XLM

At the moment – this is one of my most used cards as I am earning 2 Ascent points as it is merged with my Ascent Premium account from my American Express Platinum Charge Card.

 

3. American Express Platinum Charge Card

This card is definitely not for the faint hearted as it is the most expensive Personal Credit/Charge card on the market with $1200 per year.

But if you understand the value of points and benefits – then what you get out of it far outweighs the annual fee.

The points earning structure is essentially the following:

  1. 3 points per dollar spent at Restaurants/Cafes
  2. 2 points per dollar spent with travel services and overseas transactions
  3. 1 point per dollar for all the majority of all other transactions
  4. 0.5 points per dollar for Government payments

The difference between a Charge card and Credit card is that there is no pre-defined credit limit.

Below are just some of the benefits of this card:

  1. $300 Amex Travel Credit per year
  2. Hilton Honors Gold Status
  3. Access to Fine Hotels and Resorts to receive complimentary upgrades, breakfast, hotel credit etc.
  4. SPG Gold Status
  5. Shangri La Jade Status
  6. Priority Lounge Access
  7. Virgin Australia Lounge access
  8. Complimentary American Express Reserve Credit Card (includes $400 Amex Travel Credit)

These are just some of the benefits associated with this card.

The best thing about this card is the huge sign-up bonus. Usually it is about 80,000 Ascent Premium points when you sign up.

If you sign up via my referral link below – you would get a whopping 110,000 Membership points instead!

http://amex.com.au/refer/yiuhohNR9k

This card has provided so much benefit to my family. Previously it also included the Accor Plus Platinum membership which gave you a complimentary nights stay plus up to 50% off meals across all Accor hotels in the world.

 

4. American Express Reserve Credit Card

This card is complimentary with the American Express Platinum Charge card so it not publically advertised anymore. But you can still apply for this if you get the Platinum Charge card.

This card provides the same points earning structure as the Platinum Charge card but also gives you $400 worth of Travel Credit.

So why wouldn’t you sign up for this card as well just to get the $400!

 

5. Macquarie Platinum Visa Card

I use this credit card for places that don’t accept Amex Cards (though these days I use a leveraging technique where I am actually earning Amex points when using Visa credit cards).

You get 1 Qantas Frequent Flyer point per dollar you spend – up to $2,500 per month. After this amount you will earn 0.5 Qantas Frequent Flyer points you spend.

If you apply for this card you can get 40,000 Qantas points when spending $2,000 within 60 days:

http://www.macquarie.com/au/personal/credit-cards/platinum-qantas/

The annual fee is $99 for the first year then $249 every year after that.

 

6. ANZ Qantas Frequent Flyer Black Visa Card

I was lucky enough to apply for this card before they scrapped the Amex Companion card from the offerings. Which means I can still use the Amex card until the 5th August, 2017 this year if needed.

I primarily got this card because of the 75,000 Qantas Points when spending $2,500 in the first 3 months and also the annual fee being free for the first year ($425 evert year after that)

If you were to sign up for this card now – you will get 1 Qantas points per dollar spend on your Visa Card – up to $7,500 per month. After that amount you will earn 0.5 Qantas points per dollar.

Below is a link for this card:

https://www.anz.com.au/personal/credit-cards/frequent-flyer/black/

 

Conclusion

As you can see above – I have 6 different accounts with an addition of 2 supplementary card holders for all my American Express accounts.

American Express have regular offers where for example you would spend a certain amount at a specific store – and you would receive a credit back on your statement. At the end of the year in 2016 – Amex had an offer where if you spend $300 at a Hilton hotel – you get $150 back on your credit card statement. So practically 50% off! By keeping aware of these offers – you are able to take advantage of items/services you need to buy.

The amount of money we have save over the last year just from Amex Offers alone would run to more than $10,000. I would make sure all our American Express Cards (14 of them) are signed up to all these deals so we can fully take advantage of when there are Amex Specials such as this and the popular “Shop Small” promotion that occurs in the month of November.

With Visa cards – I used to have the Citibank Signature card – but I have found their devaluing of their points leaving a bad taste in my mouth . The Macquarie and ANZ Visa cards I currently have work okay for me – though I try with every ounce of me to think of a strategy to earn at least 3 points per dollar via Amex.

The ultimate goal of all this Credit Card Earning is so I can take my family on an International Business Class Trip at least once a year and also a domestic flight as well. This means I am not using my own cash which I can use for investments etc instead.

Of course once you earn these posts – you need to understand what the points are worth.

So essentially I like to give a rule of thumb for myself where 80,000 Amex Points = 1 Business Class Flight return on Cathay Pacific from Sydney to Hong Kong

A Business Class flight during peak periods can cost around $5000. So by using this calculation – each point is worth 5c to me.

I hope that provides you into an insight of how I earn my points at an accelerated rate. It all starts with having the right credit cards.

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