If you’re a Citi PremierMiles Visa cardholder in Singapore, the bank has a new promotion for you running until the end of March 2020. With an eligible spend of S$14,000 between now and then, you’ll qualify for 53,200 bonus miles upon payment of a one-off S$515 programme fee.
That’s the equivalent of buying miles for a fantastic 0.97 cents each, transferable into 11 frequent flyer programmes.
If S$14k sounds a bit much to be spending in the next couple of months, there’s an alternative deal for 21,000 bonus miles if you manage to spend S$7,500 in the same period, for a reduced fee of S$215 – still a great deal buying miles at 1.02 cents each.
Citi ran similar offers for PremierMiles cardholders in July 2017, where you could buy miles for just 0.76 cents each (how we wish to see that again), and also around a year ago where the cost was slightly higher at 1.02 cents per mile.
The most recent similar deal from the bank was actually for Citi Prestige members running in late 2019, though interestingly that one came in with the highest cost per mile so far of 1.15 cents each.
Who is eligible?
You must have held your Citi PremierMiles Visa card as the main cardholder for at least six months prior to the commencement of the promotion period (i.e. since 20th July 2019 or before). New cardholders are not eligible for the offer.
You must also enrol for the promotion by sending an SMS to Citi as follows, and receiving the automated acknowledgement.
I enrolled for the offer last night and the acknowledgement was instant.
Note that you don’t need to enrol before making the eligible spend, simply within the promotion period itself, so don’t worry if you’ve already made some qualifying transactions but have yet to send the SMS. Just remember to do so by 31st March 2020.
If you successfully enrol and then spend S$14,000 between now and 31st March 2020 on your Citi PremierMiles card, you’ll be awarded a 53,200 Citi Miles bonus (equivalent to 53,200 miles in a range of frequent flyer programs), but you’ll also be charged a “programme fee” of S$515 for the privilege.
That’s equivalent to ‘buying’ miles at 0.97 cents each, certainly well below our upper limit to buy of 1.9 cents per mile.
You’ll continue to earn your regular 1.2 miles per dollar on local transactions and 2 miles per dollar on overseas spend, in addition to the bonus miles.
Citi is doing its usual trickery by advertising a 70,000 miles offer, lumping the two miles totals together to make the deal look even better. In fact you would earn 16,800 of those miles anyway for spending S$14,000 on the card without any such promotion running.
Here’s how Citi ‘sells’ it:
The true bonus, which is what you’re paying the fee for in this case, is therefore 53,200 miles.
If S$14,000 sounds a lot to spend in just over two months, which it might well do just after the holiday season, there is an offer for a reduced spend of S$7,500 over the same period. In this case you’ll earn a bonus of 21,000 miles bonus, for a “programme fee” of S$215.
The lower bonus looks like this:
Full terms and conditions for these offers are available at the Citi website here.
There’s no need to pick an offer
You can’t actually choose one of the two offers, provided you register successfully you’ll receive one of the following bonus levels based on your spend:
- Spend <S$7,500: no bonus miles, no fee charged
- Spend S$7,500 – S$13,999: 21,000 bonus miles, S$215 fee charged
- Spend S$14,000+: 53,200 bonus miles, S$515 fee charged
If you meet the spend threshold to receive the higher tier of 53,200 bonus Citi Miles, you cannot opt to pay the lower program fee of S$215 in exchange for 21,000 bonus Citi Miles instead.
What can you do with 53,200 miles?
If you transfer to KrisFlyer, and you don’t have to by any means, 53,200 miles is enough for:
- A saver award in the new 2017 Suites from Singapore to Shanghai or Mumbai (53,000 miles)
- A saver award in the 2013 Business Class seat from Singapore to Dubai, Istanbul, Johannesburg or Cape Town (49,000 miles)
- A saver award in a range of Business Class seat types from Singapore to Japan and South Korea (47,000 miles)
- Two saver awards in Premium Economy from Singapore to Hong Kong (49,000 miles)
- Seven saver awards in Economy Class from Singapore to Bali (52,500 miles)
Your S$14,000 (or S$7,500) spend includes eligible retail transactions charged in Singapore dollars, or its equivalent in foreign currency.
Exclusion categories are as follows:
- Equal Payment Plan (EPP) purchases
- Refunded / disputed / unauthorised or fraudulent retail purchases
- Quick Cash / Ready Credit PayLite and other instalment loans
- PayLite / FlexiBill / cash advance / quasi-cash transactions / balance transfers / annual card membership fees / interest / goods and services taxes
- Bill payments made using the Eligible Card as a source of funds
- Late payment fees
- Any other form of service / miscellaneous fees
Citi PayAll is included
, but not CardUp or ipaymy
We asked Citi whether transactions made using its PayAll service were included in the eligible spend for this offer, and they confirmed to us that PayAll does indeed count.
That means you can potentially channel a large amount of this spend requirement on rental payments, tax payments, education and other bills.
Most private landlords in Singapore will also accept rent payments in advance if you wish to overpay, for example you could arrange to pay two or three months’ rent upfront using PayAll if it helps you meet the spend threshold.
Do note that other credit card payment methods like CardUp and ipaymy are not eligible for the minimum spend under this offer. Citi regard these as third-party bill payment facilities (see exclusions above).
Edit 22nd January 2020 2.35pm: CardUp has confirmed with Citi that their transactions do indeed count as qualifying spend for this promotion, and we assume this applies to ipaymy too.
Depending which credit card you are currently using for general spend in Singapore, there may be an ‘opportunity cost’ associated with taking part in this promotion.
For example we both use the BOC Elite Miles card for general spend, earning 1.5 miles per dollar locally and 3 miles per dollar overseas. Assuming we had S$14,000 of local spend to make between now and the end of March 2020 we would be taking a hit of 0.3 miles per dollar by diverting this spend to the Citi PremierMiles Visa card (4,200 miles).
This reduces the true bonus for us from 53,200 miles to 49,000 miles. With a cost of S$515 still charged, that makes it $515/49,000 = 1.05 cents per mile in our case.
That becomes a bit worse if we suppose some of the transactions are made in foreign currency. Let’s say S$7,000 of our S$14,000 spend is in currencies other than SGD, earning 2 miles per dollar with Citi PremierMiles, with the remaining S$7,000 in SGD at 1.2 miles per dollar.
For the foreign currency transactions we’re losing out on 1 mile per dollar compared with using our BOC Elite Miles card (1 x 7,000 = 7,000 miles), plus still falling short of 0.3 miles per dollar on the local spend (0.3 x 7,000 = 2,100 miles).
That reduces our true effective bonus by 9,100 miles (from 53,200 miles to 44,100 miles). With a cost of S$515 still charged, we’re now looking at 1.17 cents per mile ($515/44,100), though this is still comfortably below our upper limit to buy miles.
Those are just a couple of examples, so do check your own personal cost per mile calculation, based on the rates you would be diverting your spend away from.
When will you receive the bonus miles?
The regular earn rate for your transactions will be awarded once they are posted, in the normal way. The programme fee of S$515 or S$215 will be charged within two months of the end of the promotion period provided you qualified (i.e. by the end of May 2020), at which time your bonus miles will also be credited.
Citi Miles are very flexible
Citi has one of the widest range of frequent flyer programmes for you to transfer your Citi Miles into, including British Airways, Etihad Guest, Turkish Airlines and Qantas, making these very flexible points to accrue.
Citi Miles earned on the Citi PremierMiles card also never expire while they remain in your Citi rewards account, so you can keep them there until you need them.
See our full review of the Citi PremierMiles Visa card for more details, including a full list of transfer partners.
|Citi PremierMiles Visa|
|Sign-up Bonus:||6,400 / 26,500 miles|
|Annual Fee:||Free / S$192.60|
|Cost per mile:||Zero / 0.73¢|
|Min Spend:||S$3,000 / S$9,000 in three months|
|Citi Miles credit to the following programmes:|
Citi Miles also transfer to your preferred frequent flyer programme quickly compared to some other cards. In our experience of transferring to KrisFlyer, Avios and Asia Miles they usually credit at the loyalty program side within 24 hours, with a maximum wait of 2 days.
That certainly can’t be said for the likes of Bank of China, where KrisFlyer transfers seem to take anywhere from 1 week to 1 month (our most recent transfer took 3 weeks, so things aren’t improving!).
These factors do give Citi Miles the edge over some other bank loyalty currencies.
This is definitely an offer worth signing up for if you’re an existing (> 6 months) Citi PremierMiles Visa cardholder. Just this month Citi pulled its longstanding relationship with Kaligo for 10 miles per dollar on hotel bookings with cards like this one, making us wonder whether it was worth holding on to.
It’s great to see this kind of offer repeated and I’ll personally be taking part – aiming for the higher 53,200 miles bonus.
0.97 cents is a fantastic rate to get your hands on KrisFlyer miles, which are worth close to double that even if you don’t redeem too wisely. Indeed we achieve approximately 2.4 cents per mile in value when we redeem, based on the last 1.7 million miles we redeemed in recent years assuming current award rates.
Bear in mind that if taking part in this promotion means diverting some of your general spend away from higher earning cards, the cost per mile does increase slightly, but even then the purchase rate should remain competitive.
The inclusion of transactions made through Citi’s PayAll facility adds a very useful method to meet the spend threshold between now and the end of March.
Edit: CardUp payments are also included.
Unfortunately this offer is for existing Citi PremierMiles Visa cardholders only, so signing up for the card now (there is still a sign-up bonus available until the end of January 2020) won’t allow you to take part.
Citi Miles also have the benefit of transferring into 11 different frequent flyer programmes, never expire while your card account remains in good standing, and tend to transfer quickly into your chosen FFP, so they can also be quite flexible.
(Cover Photo: mimisim / Shutterstock)