If you have a credit card, chances are it has a customer loyalty programme. Charge the card regularly to earn rewards points, which you can then redeem for big-ticket or exclusive items, dining vouchers, airline miles, travel discounts and more.
Banks are always exploring new avenues to provide its customers with more rewards and privileges.
In the case of DBS, for example, “this includes collaborating with our extensive network of partners to offer more rewards; as well as curating deals and promotions that cater to different customer demographics, spending habits and preferences,” says Anthony Seow, Head of Payments and Platforms at DBS.
Being able to redeem gifts, holidays and other treats sounds appealing, but how can you maximise your credit cards to become points-rich without spending a lot of money or getting into debt? How do you keep track of your points so that they don’t expire before you can use them? And is it a good idea to upgrade to a more prestigious card – or sign up for multiple cards – in order to claim more exclusive benefits and rewards?
Read on for expert advice on getting the most out of your credit card and its loyalty programme, so that you can use your accumulated points and rewards for your family’s dining, entertainment, holiday and everyday expenses.
1. Choose the best rewards credit card for your family’s needs
Each card has a different proposition and rewards scheme, Anthony points out. Think: miles versus cashback cards; and cards that offer rewards on essential spending like groceries, transport and bill payments versus prestigious cards that are focused on exclusive privileges or VIP benefits.
There is no card that is universally more advantageous, rather, it’s important to find a credit card that’s aligned with your lifestyle and spending habits.
For instance, if your primary spending is on essential categories such groceries and dining, Anthony says that there are cards that offer rewards and rebates on daily essentials from dining and fuel to groceries and more. Some cards may also offer cash rebates when you spend on daily essentials. This route can help you become points-rich without having to go out of your way to spend more money or buy items you don’t need.
If you’re a frequent traveller, Anthony suggests opting for cards that offer more travel-related rewards – such as exclusive lounge access when travelling – or airline miles.
2. Take advantage of the welcome or sign-on bonus
Check out the various card offerings at different banks to compare their welcome bonuses. After you sign up for a new card, all you have to do is meet the minimum spend requirements in order to receive a large number of points as an incentive and get a head start in your points-earning journey.
“Try to time upcoming expenditures, such as buying a luxury item, renovating your house or booking a holiday, to the time that you apply for a new card,” Anthony offers.
“This makes it easier for you to hit the spending requirement without making unnecessary purchases and maximise the bonus.”
Here are more tips on how to save more when shopping.
3. Consider if you should stick to one card or use multiple cards
Anthony says that this decision will depend on your financial habits, goals and preferences.
“If you prefer simplicity, having just one card that aligns with your primary spending may be more ideal, On the other hand, you may enjoy the flexibility and variety of rewards that come with having multiple cards.
“Having just one card means you will only need to track one billing cycle or rewards programme. This can be useful if you prefer less hassle or spend predominantly in one or two categories.
“Having multiple cards works if you spend across different categories. You can conveniently rotate between your cards and use the one that provides the highest rewards for a particular type of spend category. You can also take advantage of the welcome bonuses of your various cards and enjoy a diverse range of perks, from lounge access to insurance coverage and cashback.”
No matter whether you use one or multiple credit cards, Anthony adds that it’s important to spend within your means and not be tempted to sign up for cards that you don’t need just for a welcome bonus or rewards. You should carefully evaluate your spending patterns and lifestyle to determine how many and which cards will best suit your needs.
Find out how to cultivate good money habits to keep your spending in check.
4. Look out for bonus points
Sometimes, banks may offer additional points per dollar spent. So, for instance, instead of earning one point per dollar, you could earn three, four, five, or even 10 points for every dollar you spend during a particular promotional period or with a specific merchant. The faster you can accumulate points, the sooner you can claim your rewards.
Make it a point to check your bank’s website regularly for these promotions, but take note that the bank may impose a cap on bonus points.
5. Remember to use your points before they expire
Most of us have more than one credit card, and perhaps even a few cards with multiple banks. As such, it’s important to keep track of the number of points you’ve accumulated for each card and to take note of when these points expire, so you don’t miss out.
Anthony recommends using your bank apps to help you with this. The DBS/POSB digibank and DBS PayLah! Apps, for instance, deliver personalised nudges, powered by artificial intelligence and machine learning, to customers, informing them of the latest promotions and curated recommendations based on their preferences.
Another way you can keep track of your points and rewards is by setting reminders.
“Add reminders for expiration of rewards or the start of limited time discounts on your phone calendar, to maximise the benefits offered,” Anthony adds.
6. Check out partner programmes
Anthony says that DBS works with an extensive suite of partners spanning travel, dining, groceries, shopping, and more, to provide DBS cardholders with more rewards and privileges.
Check your bank’s website to find out whether it has partnerships with your favourite retailers, airlines, restaurants and merchants. That way, you can continue to charge your card with those partners, knowing that you’re earning points as you spend.
Sign up for the DBS SAFRA Credit or Debit Card and enjoy benefits at over 1,800 outlets across SAFRA and DBS networks! Find out more at safra.sg/dbs
Save more with SAFRA! Enjoy special deals and discounts on dining, shopping, entertainment, travel, fitness and more from over 1,500 merchant outlets islandwide. Sign up or renew your SAFRA membership for three years at the price of 1 year ($43.20 inclusive of GST)! Plus, get your spouse and children on board to enjoy the same privileges too – 1st dependent pays $5.40/year, and it’s free for the 2nd dependent onwards. Visit safra.sg/savemore for more details.
Want more articles like this, and other lifestyle content right in your inbox? Download the new SAFRA mobile app and opt in for the eNSman Newsletter – you don’t need to be a SAFRA member to subscribe – and never miss another story!