Monday, 24 April 2017

Better Alternatives to get Miles (vs the KrisFlyer UOB Account)

In my last post, I wrote about how I was misled by the influencers who worked on the #KrisFlyerUOB campaign to believe it was a good account, when it really wasn't. 

Now that we've seen how lifestyle influencers are capable of royally screwing up reviews related to financial products, how about brands start giving the sponsored posts to the financial bloggers instead?

A few folks have asked for my opinion of the KrisFlyer UOB account, so here it is : No, I will not be signing up for the KrisFlyer UOB account, simply because the maximum miles per dollar (mpd) I can realistically earn is only 1.4. There are so much more better alternatives, which I'll show you in a bit.

What you need to know about the KrisFlyer UOB account

Firstly, you should know that the KrisFlyer UOB account does not pay you any interest on your deposits. None of the 4 influencers told you that, but I will.

Secondly, their debit card doesn't have the cashback / other rewards of a credit card. This is worse than my UOB One which at least gives me cc perks AND helps me get a higher interest rate on my saving deposits.


Let's illustrate using a return trip to Tokyo (like what LadyIronChef did).

#KrisFlyerUOB : Spend $36,000 in a year i.e. $3,000 a month.

UOB One: For the same spend, this will give me $1,800 in cold, hard cash back. How many Japan trips can you buy with that?



 $3,000 a month is too unrealistic? Okay, let's try to go to Bangkok like Bellywellyjelly did instead. If I swipe this on my UOB One card, that'll give me $594 in rebates.

The last I checked, it'll only cost me $171 for a Bangkok trip in December. I can use the rest of the money to shop, whereas the KrisFlyer UOB will only get me the return flight.


Come on, given these, how is the KrisFlyer UOB a good tip? What on earth were these influencers thinking?

Don't like UOB after this whole saga? Hey, some of their other products are actually pretty good. But no worries because Budget Babe has "got you covered" (like bellywellyjelly)!


Here are some better ways you can get your FREE flights 

Instead of putting your savings into an account that doesn't even pay you any interest, how about investing your deposit instead? 

I can actually earn enough interest to afford my Bangkok return flight in just 7 months if I park my $30,000 in the Singapore Saving Bonds (SSBs), which doesn't require me to spend a single cent extra either.



Or, if I leave the money aside for much longer (come on, I can afford to go to Bangkok using my next month's paycheck), I'll could even get up to $8000+. Pretty sure this will get me more than just that ONE return Sydney trip Mel said she unlocked with the KrisFlyer UOB.


Assumptions:
*Based on a trailing dividend yield of 8.63%
1st year dividends: $2,589
2nd year dividends: $2,812
3rd year dividends : $3,055
Excluding possible capital gains, which are impossible to foresee accurately. 
Given that the company recently said they’re positive of their long-term outlook, I’m assuming dividends do not get cut.

If you prefer to play the miles game instead of using cold hard cash to pay for your flights, there are better ways too. I'm not as good at miles hacking so I'm not going to pretend and give you guys any advice here (unlike *cough* some influencers *cough*), so blogger Aaron Wong has kindly agreed to pitch in (of the MileLion, you guys should check him out).


Here are FIVE (better) alternatives to play the miles game

The below section is contributed courtesy of www.milelion.com and written exclusively for you Budget Babe readers. I take no credit for this piece of genius; I merely rewrote it.

Assuming $30,000 sits in your account + you spend $1,000 on your credit cards each month, you'll earn just 16,800 miles from your KrisFlyer UOB account after one year.

First, put that $30k in a high-yield savings account like the UOB One, OCBC 360 or CIMB StarSaver. (CIMB gives you 0.8% p.a. interest credit - or $240 - without you having to do anything.)

Miles Hack 1: Sign up for the CitiBank PremierMiles card


If you're a new Citibank credit card holder
If you're an existing Citibank credit card holder
Total miles from sign up bonus + base
42,000 miles
15,000 miles
First 3 month spending requirements
S$10K + payment of annual fee (S$192.60)
S$10K + payment of annual fee (S$192.60)

Miles Hack 2: Split your $12,000 annual spending into 30% dining, 30% online and 40% on everything else and use these 3 cards to pay for it
  • HSBC Advance / UOB Pref Platinum AMEX (UOB only applicable for existing cardholders) = 4 miles per dollar (mpd) for dining
  • DBS Woman's World Card / Citibank Rewards / HSBC Advance = 4 mpd for online
  • UOB PRVI Miles AMEX = 1.4 mpd on general
Since the weighted average MPD = 2.96, to get your 16,800 miles, you'll only need to spend $5,676 instead of the $12,000 required on the KrisFlyer UOB account. Save the $6,324 guys!

Miles Hack 3: If you earn >$50,000 a year and split your spending the same way (30-30-40) :
  • Maybank Horizon Visa Signature = 3.2 mpd on dining
  • Citibank rewards = 4 mpd on online 
  • DBS Altitude = 1.2 mpd on general
The weighted average MPD here = 2.64, so to get the 16,800 miles, you'll only need to spend $6,363 (we just helped you to save $5,637!)


Miles Hack 4: If you're a sucker for just ONE card, sign up for the DBS Altitude Visa Signature by 30 June 2017.
  • Get 10k miles when you spend at least $1k each for the first 2 months.
  • Get the remaining 6,800 miles by doing ANY of the following:

Miles Hack 5: Here's the BEST deal. Enjoy 46.7 MPD when you sign up for the Citibank Prestige card, pay the annual fee of $535 and get 25,000 miles! The only catch? You gotta be earning $120k per annum. (Edit: the 46.7 mpd didn't come from MileLion cos the term is technically used to refer to dollars spent on stuff other than the annual fee. But to Budget Babe, I count my miles per dollar spent to be inclusive of my annual fee lol!)

Now beat that, #KrisFlyerUOB!


Who gave the better tips?

With love,
Budget Babe

10 comments:

  1. Nice wripteup! By the way, which Standard Chartered fixed D gives a 3+% interest rate p.a.?

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    1. Thanks! Oh crap you're right - I must have forgotten to change SC number when I copied the two tables to edit. No way in hell SC gives a 3% for one year FD. The one I saw was about 1% ish! I'll make the change and link you to the SC fixed deposit I used for this post in a bit, thanks for spotting this Shan!

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    2. Hi Shan! Thanks for keeping me accountable :)

      Here's the name of the SC FD I used: Standard Chartered Singapore Dollar Time Deposits, which gives 1.15% and $316 total.

      But thanks to you, I went back to check and I just realised CIMB SGD Fixed Deposits Account gives a BETTER rate of 1.25% aka $375 in a year, so I'll use that in the table instead of merely correcting the SC number :)

      Thank you for helping me, and everyone else who reads this post!

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    3. darn, I thought there was such a great deal out there haha! But thanks for all your recommendations!

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  2. Hi BB,

    Why the CIMB StarSaver (0.8%) instead of the CIMB FastSaver(1.0%)?

    Anyway, regarding influencers peddling poop, I think it's a shared onus of the influencer to believe in that particular product/service, and for the readers to know that their favourite influencer may or may not be financially trained, lol.

    I prefer cashback too, but if I was playing the miles game, I definitely would be racking up miles with the UOB KF account.

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  3. For a moment, I was like HUH HAS GMGH LOST HIS MIND lol.

    Finance companies should just give the sponsored posts to you and me, G. Don't give finance products to lifestyle influencers who don't even know what they're talking about, or prepare for a majorrrrrr backfire like this campaign.

    CIMB FastSaver is definitely better, but I didn't put it here cos I didn't like how the 1% is only for the first 50k, whereas CIMB StarSaver gives 0.8% p.a. on the entire account balance. Actually I still prefer a combination of UOB One / OCBC 360 / BOC SmartSaver, but some people might not like to jump through so many hoops.

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    1. Ahahaha, yeah I panicked when I saw my typo too!

      Was it actually a major backfire though? I don't follow those people, so I'm not sure how their followers reacted to this endorsement.

      Financial products are very objective with dollar differences, unlike many other products which could be a subjective preference. It's hard to endorse something unless it really is good, comparatively.

      My Citibank MaxiSave just hit rates of 1.4x% (should be adding 0.1% each month for the next 4 month til it caps), so actually I'll be trimming down the balances in my CIMB accounts by transferring it over to Citi to makan the higher rates. My credit card spending is too low that I can only manage just one of those kind of accounts.

      CIMB Fast Saver gives 1% for the first 50k and then 0.6% for the balance above that, so the breakeven for the StarSaver is 100k. Ie. Below 100k, Fast Saver gives more interest. Above 100k, Star Saver gives more interest.

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    2. citibank maxigain*

      https://www.citibank.com.sg/gcb/deposits/mxgn-savacc.htm

      Delete
  4. Great article! Thanks for standing up against bullshit. Ps, I found a $120 deal to BKK. Including 20KG luggage check in, just went last month :D

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