Top 10 Travel Credit Cards to Apply for Malaysians in 2018

There are plenty credit cards in Malaysia however only few can be considered as the travel credit card. The rests are merely marketing gimmicks, in our opinion meant to trick consumers thinking they are good but they sucks.

Most of us own a credit card but does not know how to maximize the cards’ benefits. We usually get Free Business Class Flights (pay tax & fuel surcharge only), Free Airport Lounge Access, Free Hotel Room Upgrade and even Free Airport Taxi back home.

For those earning RM5,000 & below, here are the Top 5 Travel Credit Cards for Malaysians earning RM5,000 and below to earn airline miles.

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1. Maybank 2 Cards AMEX Reserve

Retaining the top spot for 3 years, Maybank AMEX Reserve is Malaysia’s best travel credit card for airline miles redemption. Holder earns 1 mile per RM0.95 for both local & overseas transactions.

This is the card you should swipe on all expenses especially on domestic transactions.

Maybank will also give you Visa Infinite which entitled you 5 times entry to Plaza Premium Lounge worldwide.

Best for : Earning Airline Miles

Redemption Rate :

  • Local & Overseas – RM0.95 for 1 Asia, Enrich & KrisFlyer Miles.

Eligibility : RM120,000 p.a

Annual Fees : RM800. FREE for the first year. Subsequent years FREE if spend a min of RM80,000 per annum

Advantage :

  • Highest airline miles redemption rate on domestic spending.
  • 50% Savings on F&B at Shangri-La Kuala Lumpur.
  • 50% Dining privileges at all Starwood Hotels in Malaysia.
  • Free Green fees access to over 79 Golf Clubs in 15 countries (17 clubs in Malaysia & 62 international club)

Disadvantage :

  • High income eligibility required to apply for this card
  • American Express is not widely acceptable compared with Visa & Mastercard

More info : Maybank 2 Cards AMEX Reserve

2. Maybank 2 AMEX Gold Card

The Maybank 2 Gold Card AMEX is the best card for most people who yet to qualify for the premium cards which generally need RM100,000 annual income. With only RM30,000 min income required, anyone with RM2,500 monthly salary should apply this card to rake in airline miles.

Best of all, this card has no annual fees, there is no worry on achieving the minimum spending.

Best for : Earning Airline Miles

Redemption Rate :

  • Local & Overseas – RM1.48 for 1 Asia Mile / RM1.69 for 1 Krisflyer

Eligibility : RM30,000 p.a

Annual Fees : Free for Life

Advantage :

  • Very low eligibility to apply
  • No annual fees
  • High airline mile earning even for domestic transactions

Disadvantage :

  • American Express is not widely acceptable compared with Visa & Mastercard
  • Basic card without any extra benefits

More info : Maybank 2 AMEX Gold Card

3. Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer AMEX

The Singapore Airline KrisFlyer AMEX Gold card is a medium entry card with a RM4,000 monthly salary to qualify.

This card allows holders to earn up to RM1 per 1 KrisFlyer mile making it one of the highest miles redemption card in the market. You will need to spend above RM60,000 in a year to achieve RM1 per 1 KrisFlyer

The downside, this card is limited to earn Singapore Airline KrisFlyer miles only and the miles are automatically transferred to your KrisFlyer account hence reducing your miles lifespan from 6 years to 3 years only. (Usual credit cards points are valid for 3 years and airline points valid another 3 years which makes it 6 years). So make sure you can earn enough points to redeem a worthy air ticket within 3 years when using this card.

Best for : Earning Singapore Airlines Krisflyer

Redemption Rate :

  • Local & Overseas – RM2 for 1 Krisflyer Mile

*Double up your miles (RM1 for 1 Krisflyer) with minimum spend of RM60,000 within twelve (12) months Card anniversary year

Eligibility : RM48,000 p.a

Annual Fees : RM250 per year

Advantage :

  • One of the highest earning credit card for Krisflyer even for domestic transactions
  • 5X Free Plaza Premium Lounge Access in Malaysia per year
  • Up to 50% off dining at Starwood Hotels in Malaysia

Disadvantage :

  • Miles earning limited only to SIA Krisflyer
  • Reduce validity of miles as it is automatically transferred
  • AMEX is less accepted compare to Visa & Mastercard

More info : Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer AMEX

4. Maybank World MasterCard

Maybank World MasterCard although not the best card yet it is still one of the highest Enrich mile earning card. Yes it is much higher than CIMB Enrich cards and widely accepted compare with AMEX.

Best for : Earning Enrich Miles

Redemption Rate :

  • Local – RM2.54 for 1 Enrich Mile
  • Overseas – RM1.27 for 1 Enrich Mile

Eligibility : RM120,000 p.a

Annual Fees : RM1,000 – Free if spend RM120,000 per year

Advantage :

  • 5X Free Plaza Premium Lounge Access in Malaysia & around the world per year
  • 50% off dining at Starwood Hotels & Resorts in Malaysia

Disadvantage :

  • Miles earning limited only to Enrich Miles
  • High eligibility and annual spending

More info : Maybank World Mastercard

5. Alliance Bank Visa Infinite

The Alliance Bank Visa Infinite card comes with unlimited access to Plaza Premium Lounge in KLIA and 6X to unlimited access to worldwide lounge with Priority Pass. To achieve unlimited access you will need to spend RM300,000 in the current year.

Since it is a Visa Infinite card, holders can take advantage on Free Hilton HHonors Gold status with 2 stays or 4 nights stay. Hilton HHonors Gold status are eligible for Free Room Upgrades, Executive Lounge Access and even 4pm Late Checkout which is very worth it. This status usually need 20 stays to attain.

Best for : Lounge Access & Overseas spending

Redemption Rate :

  • Local – RM3.00 for 1 Enrich Mile
  • Overseas – RM1.20 for 1 Enrich Mile

Eligibility : RM150,000 p.a

Annual Fees : Free For Life

Advantage :

  • No annual fees
  • Free 6 visits to any priority pass lounge worldwide
  • Free unlimited access to KLIA Plaza Premium Lounge
  • Free Hilton HHonors Gold Status with 2 stays or 4 nights

Disadvantage :

  • High eligibility to apply
  • Miles earning limited only to Enrich Miles
  • Benefits requires high spending amount per year

More info : Alliance Bank Visa Infinite

6. CIMB Enrich World Mastercard

Redemption Rate :

  • Local – RM3.00 for 1 Enrich Mile
  • Overseas – RM1.50 for 1 Enrich Mile

Eligibility : RM100,000 p.a

Annual Fees : RM588 per year

Advantage :

  • 8X MAS Golden Lounge Access when flying with Malaysia Airlines

Disadvantage :

  • Airport lounge only limited to the few Malaysia Airlines Golden Lounge plus you need MAS air ticket to enter
  • High eligibility to apply
  • Miles earning limited only to Enrich Miles

More info : CIMB Enrich World Mastercard

7. Hong Leong Visa Infinite

Redemption Rate :

  • Local – RM2.80 for 1 Enrich
  • Overseas – RM1.80 for 1 Enrich

Eligibility : RM150,000 p.a

Annual Fees : Free for Life

Advantage :

  • No Annual Fee
  • Free 4 visits to Plaza Premium Lounge in Malaysia & Singapore
  • Free Hilton HHonors Gold Status with 2 stays or 4 nights

Disadvantage :

  • Miles earning limited only to Enrich Miles

More info : Hong Leong Visa Infinite

8. HSBC Premier Travel

Redemption Rate :

  • Local – RM4.00 for 1 Asia, Enrich or Krisflyer mile
  • Overseas – RM0.90 for 1 Asia, Enrich or Krisflyer mile

Eligibility : HSBC Premier account holder with minimum RM200,000 in total relationship balance with HSBC. Minimum income requirement of RM36,000 per annum.

Annual Fees : RM636 per year

Advantage :

  • One of the highest mile earning for overseas transaction
  • Free 12 visits to any Lounge key airport lounges worldwide

Disadvantage :

  • Low airline mile earning for local transaction
  • Require to own HSBC premier account to quality to apply for this card

More info : HSBC Travel Premier Card

9. AmBank Visa Infinite Signature Priority Banking

The Ambank Visa Infinite Signature Priority Banking offers Unlimited Plaza Premium Lounge access in Malaysia, Taiwan, UK, UAE, Maldives, Singapore, Oman, India, Cambodia, Canada, Australia, Brazil & China making it one of the most generous card especially it is Free For Life.

The card also offers complimentary Hilton Premium Club Membership that offers up to 50% discount on dining and special promotion rate in Hilton hotels in Malaysia.

Since it is a Visa Infinite card, holders can take advantage on Free Hilton HHonors Gold status with 2 stays or 4 nights stay. Hilton HHonors Gold status are eligible for Free Room Upgrades, Executive Lounge Access and even 4pm Late Checkout which is very worth it. This status usually need 20 stays to attain.

Best for : Airport Lounge Access & Overseas spending mile earning

Redemption Rate :

  • Local – RM5.00 for 1 Asia, Enrich, KrisFlyer mile
  • Overseas – RM1.00 for 1 Asia, Enrich, KrisFlyer mile

Eligibility : By invitation only

Annual Fees : Free for Life

Advantage :

  • Free unlimited access to Plaza Premium Lounge worldwide
  • Free Hilton Hhonors Gold status with 2 stays or 4 nights stay
  • Free Hilton Premium Club Membership

Disadvantage :

  • Hard to apply as it is invitation only

More info : Ambank Visa Infinite Signature Priority Banking

Downgraded!

Due to HSBC Bank sudden increased in the redemption required, the HSBC Visa Signature is no longer a good travel card to own nor should be included in the Top 10 list.

To HSBC, for customers who trusted your card and brand due to superior initial offering yet you betrayed them without much notice. Shame on you!

HSBC Visa Signature

Previous Redemption Rate :

  • Local – RM7.00 for 1 Asia Mile
  • Online Transaction & Dining – RM1.40 for 1 Asia Mile
  • Overseas – RM0.90 for 1 Asia Mile / RM1.10 for 1 SIA Krisflyer / RM1.30 for Enrich

Current Downgraded Redemption Rate :

  • Local – RM10.50 for 1 Enrich Mile / RM15.00 for 1 Asia or Krisflyer Mile
  • Online Transaction (Local Currency) – RM2.10 for 1 Enrich / RM3.00 for 1 Asia or Krisflyer Mile
  • Overseas & Online Transaction (Foreign Currency) – RM1.30 for 1 Enrich / RM1.88 for 1 SIA Krisflyer & Asia Mile

Conclusion

Yes, none of the Citibank cards made it into the best travel credit card again this year.

We rank the credit cards mainly by conversion of point to mile, privileges available, annual income required and lastly the annual fees. We do not receive any commission nor benefits from any banks. This article is purely for our readers benefits.

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About Tommy Ooi 363 Articles
Luxury Hotel Reviewer & Destination Blogger. Passionate for travel, exploring new culture & indulging divine food, Tommy has traveled to 42 countries & 140+ destinations.

3 Comments

  1. Ambank visa infinite has revised their oversea conversion rate to 7000 points to 1000 enrich miles. So it’s not as good anymore.

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