I first discovered this hack in 2016. It has since enabled me to redeem RM30,000-RM50,000 worth of free flights every year. Here's how i do it.
Credit card points >> Air miles >> Free flights
The enabler of this hack is the Maybank 2 Cards Premier. When you apply for it, you will get an American Express Reserve card and a Visa Infinite card. Every RM1 that you spend on the AMEX Reserve will get you 5x Treatpoints (TP). For the Visa Infinite, it’s 1x TP for local spendings & 5x TP for overseas spendings. The key is to accumulate points fast with the 5x rate.
RM1 spend = 5x TP
Treatpoints can then be converted to airmiles (Krisflyer/Enrich/Asia) at a conversion rate of 5,000 TP to 1,000 miles. To get 5,000 TP, you will need to spend RM1,000. In other words,
RM1 spend = 1 mile
The air miles can be used to redeem free air tickets. I’ll use a Singapore Airlines/Krisflyer miles example.
1. SG-TPE Business Class Return: 61,000 Krisflyer miles + S$71.70 (taxes & fees) to redeem. Costs RM12,911 if you book retail. You will need to spend RM61,000 to get the miles required. Thus your “return on spending” is 12,911/61,000 x 100% = 21.17%
2. SG-TPE Economy Class Return: 30,000 Krisflyer miles + S$71.70 (taxes & fees) to redeem. Costs RM1,843.80 if you book retail. You will need to spend RM30,000 to get the miles required. Your “return on spending” is 1,843.80/30,000 x 100% = 6.15%
Return on Spending for Business Class = 20-23%
Return on Spending for Economy Class = 6-8%
The “return on spending” is higher when you redeem for business class flights. The average is around 20% for business class & 6% for economy class. In other words, it’s like getting “flight credit” every time you swipe your card. Quite awesome. Redeem business class if you like comfort and want to maximise the “return on spending”. Take economy if you are pragmatic and want to max out the number of free flights you can take each year.
My Free Flights in 2018
In 2018, I redeemed a total of 4 return business class flights worth around RM40,000:
- Singapore-Taipei = 61,000 = RM12,911
- Singapore-Shanghai = 58,000 = RM12,203.27
- Singapore-Chengdu x 2 = 122,000 = RM7,456.40 x 2 = RM14,912.80
- Total Krisflyer miles = 241,000
- Total cash value = RM40,027.07
Spend More, Get More Free Flights
Spend more to achieve 2 things: 1) get more free tickets, 2) get free annual fee waiver. Maybank 2 Cards Premier has lots of benefits besides fast air miles conversion (will go through them in a separate post). However, it's considered a "high-entry" card, as it requires a minimum annual income of RM120,000 and an annual fee of RM800 (waived if you spend more than RM80,000 in a year). Below are some of the common expenses I charge to the card to ensure that i hit the minimum to get fee waiver and as much free flights as possible:
- Monthly Recurring Expenses: i've optimised my life in such a way that I can charge "rental" and "car payments" to the AMEX
- Everyday Spendings: food, groceries, petrol, movies, massages etc
- Big ticket items: house appliances, furniture, even Rolex watches & car downpayments!
If you can't qualify for the Maybank premier card yet, their Gold & Platinum AMEX cards has a conversion rate of RM2 spending to 1 mile. Slower but still not too bad.
Note: I have a pro tip for business owners to accumulate points extremely fast. Do not wish to disclose publicly. Subscribe to my newsletter, shoot me an email, and i might share it with you.
The Easy One
This is easily one of my favourite life hacks and I've shared it to many of my close friends. One of them has recently redeemed close to RM80,000 worth of free flights at one go. If you're already spending a high amount each year, it's as simple as applying for the card i mentioned above and diverting your spendings to it. Have fun hacking!
I’ll be releasing the following articles in the next few weeks. Subscribe below to be the first to get notified.
- The ultimate credit cards combo in Malaysia
- Why I sold my Mercs & Rolex to live out of a suitcase in 2019
- Most useful purchases in the first half of 2019
- How I work from Grade A office buildings around the world for less than USD50/month
- The cheapest ways to buy Macbook Pros in Malaysia