Getting ready to travel the world? Don’t book your air tickets or make hotel reservations before getting an air miles credit card.
These air miles are different from reward points and can be used to exchange for a free flight, seat upgrade, or to offset part of a flight’s price.
It is a great option for frequent flyers as credit card holders can earn air miles faster with everyday and oversea spending to save on their next trip.
Certain air miles cards also give you travel perks like complimentary travel insurance coverage, airport lounge access, or limousine service to and from the airport.
But not every single air miles credit card offers these great benefits, and there are different cards for different travel experiences and budgets.
P/S: Btw, Maybank is giving a away RM100 cashback and more abundant rewards if you apply for any Maybank or Maybank Islamic credit cards online (Via Maybank2u). Campaign Period: 1 January 2023 – 31 March 2023
What is the best air miles credit card? (Malaysia)
When picking the best air miles credit cards, be sure to look at these four criteria:
1. Annual fee
The annual fee is the finance charges you must pay for your card services. Usually, the cost of the annual fee increases with more perks offered. However, many cards come with an annual fee waiver that can void the fee if you meet the minimum annual conditions..
2. Reward points and redemption
Each card offers its own reward program. Sometimes, there may be a maximum number of air miles users can earn in a calendar month, or your points may be tied to specific categorical expenses. Understanding how each ringgit you spend will contribute to point collection and redemption is important before you commit to a card.
3. Travel perks
Some of the best cards offer travel perks that can directly improve your travelling experience, like complimentary access to Plaza Premium Lounge, discounts for overseas spend, infinite manchester privileges, and more.
4. Intro offer
Many banks offer welcome bonuses for new sign-ups. So, watch out for timely new credit card bonus offers as they are a quick way to earn tons of air miles, rewards, or hundreds of ringgit’s worth of cashback.
Of course, some cards are better than others. So, here are the top 6 best air miles credit cards in Malaysia and a breakdown of each benefit and minimum requirements.
6 Best travel credit cards in Malaysia for air miles
1. Maybank 2 Cards Premier Reserve American Express
Minimum annual income: RM100,000
Annual fees: RM800 for principal card* | Free for supplementary card
Reward point: Up to 5x TreatsPoints for every RM1 spent
Airmiles conversion rate: 7,000 TreatsPoints = 1,000 Enrich/KrisFlyer/Asia Miles
Intro offer: 10,000TreatsPoints upon first spend (applicable only for new applicants)
The Maybank 2 Cards Premier Reserve American Express scores high in the air miles credit card category with its 5x Treatpoints for every ringgit spent on local and overseas purchases.
You can also earn 1x TreatsPoints on all transactions for utilities, education payments, EzyPay and insurance transactions. Though there are certain limitations.
For example, the 5x TreatsPoints for petrol transactions is capped at RM500 and transactions above RM500 will be reverted to 1x TreatPoint for every RM1 spent.
However, you can still maximise your air miles with smart decisions and especially since this Maybank card has one of the best redemption programs.
You can redeem 1,000 Air miles from your preferred airline with just 7,000 TreatPoints. Put simply, that’s only RM1,400 expenditure on the card.
Using the Maybank 2 Cards Premier, you can also enjoy some amazing travel perks, including:
- Dining privileges of up to 50% savings on participating restaurants, including F&B at Shangri-La Hotel, Shang Palace, Zipangu, Arthur’s Bar & Grill, and more.
- Travel insurance coverage of up to RM1 million for accidental death and disablement, as well as travel inconvenience coverage for luggage delay or missed connections.
- Golf privileges including complimentary green fees at world-class golf courses around Malaysia and other countries.
Though the annual fee can be quite expensive at RM800, it is zero for the first year.
For subsequent years, you can also get your annual fee waiver when you spend a minimum of RM80,000 per annum with your Maybank 2 Cards Premier Reserve American Express.
Do note that your TreatsPoints are not evergreen and are only valid for 3 years.
2. Citibank PremierMiles Visa Signature
Minimum annual income: RM100,000
Annual fee: RM600 for principal card* | Free for supplementary card
Rewards points: Up to 2x PremierMiles for every RM3 equivalent spent in foreign currency
Airmiles conversion rate: 1,500 PremierMiles = 1,000 Air Miles with over 90 airlines
Intro offer: RM500 Cashback + 3-year annual fee waiver
The Citibank PremierMiles Visa Signature is another great travel credit card made for frequent travellers. It offers many travel perks, on top of making it easy to earn air miles.
You can earn double the PremierMiles for every RM3 equivalent when you spend overseas using foreign currencies, as well as when you pay for selected travel merchants:
- Airline tickets: AirAsia, Cathay Pacific, Malaysia Airlines, and Singapore Air
- Hotels: Agoda, Airbnb, Expedia, and Traveloka
Meanwhile, you get 1 point for every RM3 spent on all local transactions. However, the main highlight of this Citibank card is that these collected PremierMiles are timeless bonus points and will never expire.
You can use them whenever you want and exchange them for Air Miles with over 90 airlines through their Frequent Flyer Miles program, including Singapore Airlines, Emirates, Thai Airways, and more.
Every time you fly, you fly with ease as you can rest assured that there is travel insurance coverage up to RM300,000 for personal accidents and travel inconveniences.
As a Citibank card holder, you can also enjoy many travel perks, including a complimentary limo ride from KLIA when certain requirements are met and 8x complimentary access to the Plaza Premium Lounges across 19 airports in 9 countries.
With Citi World Privileges, you can also discover great dining, lifestyle, and online shopping deals! But the best part of all is – you can get 10,000 bonus points every year on your card anniversary.
3. Hong Leong AirAsia Platinum Visa
Minimum annual income: RM60,000
Annual fee: RM350 for primary card* | RM150 for supplementary card
Rewards points: Up to 7x Airasia points with every ringgit spent at Airasia
Intro offer: Up to 25,000 welcome and quarterly Airasia points
Everyone can fly, and if you love flying with AirAsia, this Hong Leong AirAsia Platinum card is the right card for you.
For starters, get up to 5,000 welcome AirAsia BIG points when you spend a minimum of RM2,500 in the first 60 days after the approval of the Platinum card.
You can also get more AirAsia BIG points boost for every ringgit you spend on flight tickets and daily spending.
Earn up to 7x AirAsia points when you get the Premium Flex/ Flat Bed, while low-fare tickets can also get up to 5.5x AirAsia points.
Earn AirAsia points on your daily spending with this travel credit card and enjoy the card’s 0% Flexi Payment Plan feature when you convert your minimum credit card spend of RM500 into 12-month instalment payments.
There is also a quarterly reward of 5,000 additional AirAsia BIG points if you make a minimum spend of RM5,000 per quarter, which will let you grab a total of 20,000 points a year.
Exclusive for Hong Leong Airasia Platinum card owners, you will get an instant upgrade to Platinum Freedom Flyer status, where you can enjoy priority check-in, boarding and Xpress baggage collection.
Plus, this Hong Leong card has a low entry and only requires a minimum annual income of RM60,000, or you can get it when you put in a minimum fixed deposit of RM12,000.
When it comes to the annual fee, it is zero for your first year. But you can easily waive the annum annual fee for subsequent when you spend a minimum of RM20,000.
4. Standard Chartered WorldMiles World Mastercard
Image Source: Standard Chartered
Minimum annual income: RM90.000
Annual fee: RM600 for primary card* | Free for supplementary card
Reward point: Up to 4.5x WorldMiles points on every RM3 spent overseas
Airmiles conversion rate: 2,000 WorldMiles = 1,000 Enrich/ BIG/ Asia/ Krisflyer Miles
Intro offer: Up to RM1,500 TnG Reload
If you are looking for a card by Standard Chartered, the Worldmiles World Mastercard is one of the best credit cards option for frequent travellers that go abroad.
You can get 4.5x WorldMiles for every RM3 you spend overseas, and 1x WorldMiles for every RM3 retail transaction spent locally, all without a cap.
You earn faster overseas and can redeem more rewards with WorldMiles. No matter the airline, you can use 2 WorldMiles Points to redeem 1 air mile.
That is 2,000 WorldMiles for 1,000 air miles from major airlines, including AirAsia BIG Points, Malaysia Airlines Enrich Miles, Singapore Airlines Krisflyer, and Cathay Pacific Asia Miles.
However, note that these WorldMiles points are only valid for 36 months since they are credited into your account.
When paying for your flight tickets using the card, you will also receive up to US$1000,000 in travel and medical coverage.
As the principal World MasterCard credit card holder, you can also get exclusive privileges, including RM80 cashback on airport transfers and unlimited complimentary access to Plaza Premium Lounge in KLIA and KLIA 2.
Unfortunately, there is no annual fee waiver for the World MasterCard, and you will have to pay RM600 every year though it is free for new customers in the first year.
5. Alliance bank credit card
Minimum annual income:
- Alliance Bank Visa Platinum: RM24,000
- Alliance Bank Visa Signature: RM48,000
- Alliance Bank Visa Infinite: RM60,000
- Alliance Bank Visa Platinum: RM68 for principal card* | RM20 for supplementary card
- Alliance Bank Visa Signature: RM120 for principal card* | Free for supplementary card
- Alliance Bank Visa Infinite: RM438 for principal card* | Free for supplementary card
Reward points: Up to 8x points with no cap or expiry
Airmiles conversion rate:
- 3,000 TBP = 1,000 AirAsia BIG Points
- 10,000 TBP = 1,000 Enrich Points
Intro offer: Up to RM600 cashback
With its “Travel Like Crazy” promotion, the Alliance bank credit card trio makes it one of the best credit cards to earn rewards when you travel in 2022.
These Alliance travel cards include Alliance Visa Platinum, Visa Signature, and Visa Infinite, allowing individuals from various income levels to enjoy travel benefits.
These Visa Platinum offers the lowest annual fee and minimum annual income among the credit cards listed, making them the best suited for the young and adventurous.
It also has a great sign-up offer, and you can receive a total cashback of up to RM600 when you meet the spending requirements. All transactions are eligible, including online shopping, groceries, dining, utilities, and petrol.
When you purchase your Alliance Bank Visa Classic, you will also earn rewards like discounts on flight tickets, local accommodation, and timeless bonus points that will never expire.
You earn 1x point for every ringgit you spend on retail transactions, whether it is local or overseas. With Visa Platinum and Infinite, you can enjoy 8x timeless bonus points on all online shopping transactions and e-wallet top-ups.
For the Visa Infinite, though it comes with a hefty annual fee of RM438, it also comes with a lifetime annual fee waiver that is effective when you spend RM12,000 within 12 months, that’s only RM1,000 A month.
6. HSBC Visa Signature Credit Card
Minimum annual income: RM72,000
Annual fees: RM600 for principal card* | RM300 for each supplementary card
Reward point: Up to 8x reward points on online* and overseas spend
Airmiles conversion rate:
- 12,000 points = 1,000 AirAsia BIG Points
- 21,000 points = 1,000 Enrich Points
- 25,000 points = 1,000 Asia Miles
- 25,000 points = 1,000 Krisflyer Miles
Intro offer: RM500 eVouocher of your choice and RM500 Cashback
Swipe your way to tons of air miles and rewards when you use the HSBC Visa Signature credit card on your local and overseas spending.
It is easy to rack up points when you spend using this HSBC card. Get 1x reward points and 7x additional rewards on all overseas spending and online purchases in foreign currency.
For expenditures on online retail spending in Ringgit Malaysia and participating local malls, you will also get 1x reward points and an additional 4x reward points.
But do note that points are awarded based on categorical spending, and there is a maximum cap for additional points, such as a maximum of 15,000 for online transactions per month.
Still, this card offers many privileges, which make it a great card for big spenders. Enjoy huge discounts and enjoy special VIP treatment at more than 6,500 shopping outlets nationwide.
For travel perks, you will get complimentary 6x lounge access to the Plaza Premium Lounge and exciting offers in the Home & Away Privilege Program, which has exclusive deals for shopping, dining, and entertainment at 19,000 outlets in more than 160 countries.
Plus, the card is basically free. Your annual fee will automatically waive when you swipe your card 12 times, with no minimum expenditure required each year.
Moreover, know that when you use the card for donation, HSBC will also contribute an additional 1% to your cause.
Choosing the best air miles credit card
The best air miles credit card is the card that is most rewarding for you. Choosing the best air miles credit card depends on your income level and lifestyle needs.
- What is your minimum spend?
- Do you have more local spending or international spending?
- Are you looking for flexible redemption or just want Airasia Big or Enrich miles?
Get one that accommodates your spending and budget, where you don’t need to go out of the way to use the card.
Go for the Hong Leong AirAsia Platinum Visa if you often fly with AirAsia or the CitiBank PremierMiles if you use Singapore Airlines one day and Malindo the next.
Most importantly, understand the terms for earning and redeeming air miles, as well as payment terms, before you sign up for a card.