I’ve been obsessed about collecting points and miles ever since I was living in the US. Living there full time, I had the advantage to reap the benefit out of credit card sign-up bonuses, credit card points multiplier as simple as dining out, getting movie tickets online or even filling up my gas tank and of course by maximizing on the never-ending promotions from a variety of loyalty programs (airlines, hotels, retail and online stores).
I was able to accrue between 250,000 – 300,000 miles annually, combined with my husband’s, we could easily collect well over 600,000 points and miles every year.
Bear in mind that most of my points earning are not from flying, but from credit card purchases and promotions while my husband’s has earned his from his frequent work travel.
Being based in Indonesia, I may not have the same advantage with the big credit card sign-up bonuses, but I could still use the same old tricks by using the right credit cards and knowing when to use and redeem my points.
First of all what is in my wallet?
1. Citi Premier Miles
I have known about this credit card for a while and was recommending this card to people even before I had one of my own.
Why did I choose this card?
- Earn 1 mile for every IDR 8,750 (domestic) and 1 mile for IDR 5,000 (international transactions)
- Citi Miles do not expire
- Welcome bonus of 35,000 miles after IDR 50 million transaction in 3 months
- Transfer Ratio: 1 Citi Mile = 1 Airline Mile
- 60 Airline Transfer partners including Singapore Airlines Krisflyer, Garuda Miles, Asia Miles, Etihad Guest, Qatar Airways Privilege Club, Thai Airways Royal Orchid Plus, Qantas Frequent Flyer
- Complimentary Priority Pass that gives you access to over 800 airport lounges worldwide
Redeem SQ Business Class transferred from Citi Premier Miles
Need I say more?
More info on this card can be found here
2. American Express Marriott Bonvoy
Unfortunately, this card is only available for US Residents or those who have a US Social Security Number.
However, I’d like to point out the Marriott Bonvoy Rewards Benefits for travelers and doesn’t matter where you live, even in Indonesia, you can be a part of this program too.
I’m quite loyal to Marriott hotel brands, especially now that they have acquired SPG (Starwood Preferred Guest) and merged with Ritz Carlton Rewards, their hotel property networks has expanded immensely, with brands such as St Regis, The Westin, the W Hotel, The Luxury Collection Hotel, The Autograph Collection Hotel and my new favorite is the Edition Hotels.
So the main reason for me to use this card is to accrue as much Marriott points as I can (including staying at Marriott properties as often as I can) so that I can use my points for hotel stays or to transfer my Marriott points to their existing 30+ airline partners so that I can book my next business class seat redemption.
I have redeemed my Marriott points for free hotel stays in London, Boston, New York and more cities where hotel rates are very high, which is the best time to use your hotel points.
The Liberty Hotel Boston (A Luxury Collection Hotels) redeemable using Marriott Points
I’ve also transferred my Marriott points to redeem business class tickets on Singapore Airlines, Air Canada, American Airlines and Japan Airlines.
Redeem JAL Sky Suite Business Class transferred from Marriott Points
Redeem Air Canada Business Class transferred from Marriott Points
So this program is definitely worth to be loyal for.
I have several too many US Credit Cards in my wallet however it would be pointless to share for those who are based in Indonesia.
My final tip is that you do not need a bunch of cards to accrue miles and points, you just need to choose the right card that has the option to transfer your points / miles to the right airline or hotel partners. And avoid paying cash if you don’t have to. Try to earn points for every transaction you make from groceries, gas, dining out, travel and business expenses.
For other information related to loyalty programs, read other articles at Loyal Hackers!