Recently, when I wrote about how I earned a boatload of miles while travelling on business last month, people asked me to elaborate on the credit cards I used to earn the points and how I optimize credit cards on travels. Like this comment,
Ma’am, it would have been helpful if you mentioned which credit card was used for which nature of the expense. Also, if all these earnings were JP miles or some other nature, for e.g. on the Citi Prestige card or Premier Miles.
Hope you can expand on the same.
I realise that while the spend to miles earning ratio comes naturally to me, without listing the card and the reason behind my choice of card it perhaps is a bit tedious to understand. So, in this post, I’m penning down my rationale behind the credit cards I use when I travel, to maximise my miles and points collection. I’m also hoping to learn from all of you if there is an opportunity to improvise my credit card usage and maximise mileage earning further. For the sake of simplicity, I have combined all the miles and points I earned in June and July.
Jet Privilege HDFC Bank Diners Club Card (Earned 26,100 JPMiles with this)
Out of the many cards I stock in my wallet, I use two cards, a lot when I am on the road. When flying Jet Airways, I book all the tickets with my Jet Privilege HDFC Bank Diners Club card. Like I’ve mentioned before, this is a great card for earning JPMiles. The card earns me 24 JPMiles for every INR 150 I spend on booking JetAirways tickets.
We also have the HDFC Diners Club Black card in the family and Ajay is a big fan. While booking tickets via a partner OTA will get me 10x reward points; i.e. I can earn 50 JPMiles for every 150 rupees spent, I prefer direct booking with the airlines because my travel plans are kind of last minute and having flexible cancellation and amendment is important to me, without paying hefty money for these. As Jet Airways Platinum tier, I am eligible for change and cancellations on most fares when booked directly with the airline. That is the tradeoff, hence, we accept for booking work trips.
Booking the two round trips to Hong Kong last month earned me 15,600 JPMiles and the round trip ticket to London in June got me another 10,500 JPMiles. Therefore apart from the 40,800 JPMiles I got boarding the aeroplanes, I also earned myself an additional 26,100 JPMiles from booking those plane tickets for myself.
Citi Prestige Credit Card earned me 2,936 Prestige Points = 19,000 Miles
In order to keep things simple, I usually earmark one credit card for all my travel spends. This includes hotels, eating out, taxis, trains and even shopping. Now Citi Prestige has been my choice of card for these spends for two reasons. First that it earns me 2x points on International spends which means that instead of earning the regular 1 Prestige point, I get an opportunity to earn 2 Prestige points overseas. If I convert that into miles, then each Citi Prestige point equals 4 miles that I can choose to transfer across 14 airlines.
|Spend Type||Citi Prestige Points||Airmiles|
|London Airbnb (INR spend)||844||3376|
|Commute in London||180||1440|
|Eating out in London||94||752|
|Shopping in London||55||440|
|UK Visa (INR Spend)||275||1100|
|Hong Kong Hotel||762||6096|
|Commute in Hong Kong||63||504|
|Eating out in Hong Kong||438||3504|
|Shopping in Hong Kong||225||1800|
The other reason I like to accumulate points on this card is the versatility of points transfer across multiple airlines.
Plus in the past, they’ve run pretty lucrative conversion bonus offers such as 50% bonus on converting Citi points to BA Avios, I did manage to make good of this promotion and transferred all my Prestige points to BA Avios. The versatility of Prestige points, the acceptability of the VISA network and the fact that Prestige points don’t expire make it a great choice for a travel and lifestyle credit card.
I earned more than 90,000 miles and points over the last two months. Of these, I earned more miles, 45,100 miles on the ground from spending on my credit cards than from flying up in the air which earned me 40,800 JPMiles.
Additionally, on one of my trips to Hong Kong, I stayed at Ovolo, a hotel brand that participates in the Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG) program. Not only did I earn miles by paying for the stay on my Citi Prestige card but also earned over 5,000 Starpoints by combining Starwood promotions. 2,000 points just came to me because I was staying at an eligible hotel which had participated in the SPG More Nights, More Starpoints promotion.
While I’m happy about it, I’m also re-evaluating my credit card strategy. I want to keep it simple yet maximize the mileage earning opportunity. This is unlike Ajay, who literally has 20 cards in his wallet and pulls them out trying to think which one to pay on for which expense.
I’m wondering if there is another credit card I should add to my wallet? What do you think…