Best Credit Cards for Travel to Singapore
The world used to be filled with city-states such as Venice, Florence, and Athens. But today, there are just a few left like Monaco and Dubai. And in Southeast Asia, you’ll find Singapore to be one of the most successful city-states in the world. What began as a trading post nearly 200 years ago has grown into a commercial, financial, and transportation powerhouse. It’s also a great place to visit, as it enjoys warm weather all year long, and boasts an amazing array of cultures including Chinese, Malaysian, Indian, and others.
But when it comes time to plan a trip to Singapore, you’ll realize that it’s just about as far from the United States as you can get. And with that distance comes the high price of airfare. Fortunately, Singapore has its own major international airport (that’s so impressive that it’s actually considered a destination in itself). And since most major international carriers fly to Singapore, there are many ways to get there using the frequent flyer miles you can earn from your credit card.
Here are three of the best credit cards that you can use to book an award trip to Singapore:
Chase Sapphire Preferred®
The Chase Sapphire Preferred® is another good option to earn miles for a trip to Singapore. Known for large sign-up bonuses to new customers, you'll get free travel in no time. You also earn 2x on travel and dining charges, and one point per dollar spent elsewhere. Points are earned in the Chase Ultimate Rewards® program, which allows you to transfer points to miles with seven different airline partners, and points with four different hotel programs.
Transfer miles to United, Singapore Airlines, Flying Blue
You can transfer your points to United, which offers round-trip awards to Singapore for 80,000 miles in economy and 140,000 miles in first class. It flies non-stop to Singapore from its hub San Francisco, which is one of the longest flights in the world. United is also part of the Star Alliance, which includes Singapore Airlines as well as Asiana, ANA, and Thai.
Another option is to transfer your points to the Flying Blue program of Air France and KLM. Flying Blue is part of the SkyTeam alliance, which includes Delta, Korean, and several Chinese carriers that serve Singapore. You can redeem 80,000 Flying Blue miles for a flight to Singapore in economy class.
And of course, you can always transfer your Ultimate Rewards points to Singapore Airlines itself, which flies to Singapore via Los Angeles, San Francisco, Houston, and New York (Although only one of its flights from San Francisco is non-stop). Round-trip flights from New York or Houston are 80,000 miles in economy, and 184,000 in business. Round-trip flights from Los Angeles and San Francisco are 76,000 miles in economy, and 136,000 in business.
Good for hotels too
The Ultimate Rewards points that you earn from your Chase Sapphire Preferred® card are also useful for hotel stays in Singapore. You can transfer those points to Hyatt and use 20,000 Hyatt points for an award night at the Grand Hyatt Singapore.
Finally, you can redeem your Ultimate Rewards points directly for airfare, hotel, car rentals or activities. Just use the Ultimate Rewards travel center and your points are worth 1.25 cents each toward travel reservations. This card has a $95 annual fee that’s waived the first year and no foreign transaction fees.
Starwood Preferred Guest card from American Express
This card currently offers a great introductory bonus. And this program offers a 5,000 bonus when you transfer 20,000 points to miles that can also be transferred to several different airlines that serve Singapore.
Partnered airlines include Flying Blue, ANA, American, Singapore Airlines
One option is to transfer your points to the Flying Blue program of Air France and KLM. As part of the SkyTeam alliance, you can redeem those miles for flights on Delta, Korean, and several Chinese carriers that serve Singapore. It costs 80,000 Flying Blue miles for a flight to Singapore in economy class.
Another option is ANA Airlines of Japan. ANA offers round-trip award flights from North America to Singapore for 80,000 miles round-trip in economy class and 136,000 in business class. ANA is a member of the Star Alliance which is partnered with United, Singapore, Asiana, and Air Canada.
You should also consider transferring your points to miles with American, which offers awards to Singapore in economy class starting at 75,000 miles round-trip, and in Business class start at 140,000 miles. American is part of the OneWorld Alliance which allows you to use your miles to book award flights to Singapore on partners such as JAL, Cathay Pacific, and Malaysia Airlines.
Singapore is also a transfer partner of the Starwood Preferred Guest rewards program. Round-trip awards through Singapore Airlines, originating from New York or Houston, are 80,000 miles in economy, and 184,000 in business. Round-trip flights from Los Angeles and San Francisco are 76,000 miles in economy, and 136,000 in business.
Starwood points can also be useful for award nights in hotels. It offers numerous properties in Singapore where you can use your points for award nights And since Marriott acquired the Starwood brand in 2016, you can now transfer each Starwood point to three Marriott points, and stay in even more hotels throughout Europe.
And when you redeem your points for free night awards, either through Starwood or Marriott, you receive your fifth consecutive night for free. There’s a $95 annual fee for this card that’s waived the first year and no foreign transaction fees.
Amex Everyday Preferred
This card offers rewards in the American Express Membership Rewards® program, which can be transferred to miles with 17 different airlines.
It features 3x points at US supermarkets (on up to $6,000 spent each calendar year), 2x points at US gas stations, and 1x elsewhere. In addition, you also get a 50% points bonus each billing period that you make 30 or more transactions, which allows you earn 4.5x, 3x and 1.5x respectively. This is an excellent rate of return for such flexible points.
One option for point transfers is ANA Airlines of Japan. ANA offers round-trip award flights from North America to Singapore for 80,000 miles round-trip in economy class and 136,000 in business class. ANA is a member of the Star Alliance which is partnered with United, Singapore, Asiana, and Air Canada.
Another option is the Flying Blue program of Air France and KLM. As part of the SkyTeam alliance, you can redeem those miles to book award flights on Delta, Korean, and several Chinese carriers that serve Singapore. It costs 80,000 Flying Blue miles for a flight to Singapore in economy class.
Singapore is also a transfer partner of the Membership Rewards program. Round-trip awards on Singapore from New York or Houston are 80,000 miles in economy, and 184,000 in business. Round-trip flights from Los Angeles and San Francisco are 76,000 miles in economy, and 136,000 in business. There’s a $95 annual fee for this card, but it does have a 2.7% foreign transaction fees.
Using the Right Credit Card in Singapore
Once you reach Singapore, you will still want to have the right credit card for your purchases. Nearly all merchants there that accept credit cards accept Visa and MasterCard, and most accept American Express. Discover cards are accepted by some places, but not as much as the others.
Like any trip outside of the United States, you’ll want to use a credit card that has no foreign transaction fees. None of the cards mentioned here has foreign transaction fees except the Amex EveryDay Preferred, which has a 2.7% fee. Most other cards impose a 3% fee on all charges processed outside of the United States.
Tip: Also check out the MyBankTracker's list of best credit cards for foreign travel.Credit cards are widely accepted in Singapore, but you should never use them to access cash. When you use your credit card in an ATM, it will likely be subject to large cash advance fees, and a very high cash advance interest rate. In addition, interest will alway be incurred on cash advances. Unlike new purchases, there is no grace period for these transactions.
You should take always have an ATM card with you to access cash. An ATM card that works in the United States will work with nearly any ATM machine in Singapore. You can also bring U.S. Dollars with you for exchange, but you are unlikely to receive as good of an exchange rate as you would with your debit card or credit card.
Singapore is an exciting and exotic place to visit, but it’s hardly next door. By choosing the right credit card, and redeeming your miles carefully, you can visit this far-flung city state even sooner than you thought.