Hello and hope you are having a great 2019. We are at the halfway mark in this year and I felt I should update the readers about my credit card strategy among other things. This post is in continuation to How Did I Save $4,000 (AED 15,000) in 2018?
To summarize, I saved / earned $2,200 (AED 8,000) in the first half of 2019. I used several offers and deals which I had posted about.
Credit Card Offers
I signed up for Citi Prestige Credit Card this year and discontinued American Express Platinum Credit Card. Other than this, I currently hold Standard Chartered Titanium Credit Card and ADCB Travelers Credit Card in UAE. I also own a couple of foreign credit cards which I use for specific cases.
I received 30,000 Thank You points and AED 1,250 ($340) statement credit upon meeting minimum spending with Citi Prestige. This was fairly easy to achieve as Citi Prestige has been my default card for transport, electricity, telecom, insurance payments and most other transactions. The reason is simple – no other card in my portfolio gives better earnings on such spends.
The statement credit was offset with the annual fee of Citi Prestige. I had converted the Thank You points to Etihad Guest miles. So far, I have used the miles for two bookings
- The first one was an economy round-trip ticket from Dubai to Muscat for 6,000 miles (retail price: $250)
- The second one was a one-way business ticket on Jet Airways from Mumbai to Dubai for 21,000 miles (retail price: $550)
If you want to apply for Citi Prestige, you could use this link.
Net benefit: $800
Standard Chartered Titanium Credit Card
This is the oldest card in my portfolio. It is primarily a cash back credit card but I find the spending thresholds difficult to achieve. I have retained this only because I am not charged an annual fee due to my banking relationship with Standard Chartered.
In January 2019, Standard Chartered had a great promotion. You were guaranteed an iPhone XR upon achieving a threshold spend with its credit cards. I believe the offer was not targeted but the threshold varied from person to person.
I managed to cover a substantial portion of this threshold through school fee payment for my child. Typically, the school takes quarterly fee payment. In order to not mess up my financial planning, I converted the credit card spend to an equal monthly installment (EMI) for 12 months. The bank charged my 3% processing fee and zero interest. But the school offered by 5% discount for upfront payment so I ended up making 2% and received an iPhone XR for free :).
Net benefit: $980 (price of iPhone XR on Amazon and savings on school fee)
In March, Cleartrip.ae was offering 50% discount on many activities in UAE. I had booked 4 tickets to Green Planet for AED 95 each. Therefore, my total savings were AED 190 ($50)
Net benefit: $50
Warner Bros World
We had planned to visit the newly opened Warner Bros World in Abu Dhabi during spring break. I had expected it to be crowded and I was right. Instead of using the Cleartrip deal mentioned above, I used my ADCB Travelers Credit Card for the booking.
I received a discount of 15% and also received free upgrade to ‘Flash Pass’. This pass lets you skip queues for all rides and makes the experience a lot smoother. The cost of upgrade is AED 150 per person.
Net benefit: $210 ($160 for Flash Pass and $50 for discount)
If you transfer money from UAE to other countries, you are likely to have come across UAE Exchange. It offers great exchange rates for a lot of countries and complements it by several offers during the year. In April, I had written about a cashback offer from UAE Exchange.
The sweet spot for the offer was remitting AED 10,000. I received YouGotAGift vouchers worth AED 600 ($160). These vouchers can be redeemed across a variety of places (online and offline) and have long validity. Therefore, for me they are as good as cash. These are some of the places you can use these vouchers – Noon, Vox Cinemas, Lulu, SharafDG, Mall of the Emirates, Cleartrip, Babyshop etc.
Net benefit: $160
As mentioned before, the total benefits add up to $2,200. If this amount looks high to you, let me assure that it is not rocket science. I just had to direct my spends carefully and be on the lookout for offers. All these rewards and benefits were easy to attain and were in public domain.
By the way, this blog is a great way to find some of those , so keep visiting!
What was your miles and points strategy in the first half of 2019? Please let me know in comments below.