Best frequent flyer plans to upgrade your travels in 2022

Best frequent flyer plans to upgrade your travels in 2022
Want to level up on your traveling this year? Read on to find out about the best frequent flyer programs offered by airlines worldwide and the best ways to earn miles.
PHOTO: Unsplash

Being a part of a good frequent flyer programme is the key to travelling in comfort. Earning miles and climbing tiers, can allow you to enjoy lounge visits and business class seats without spending a single extra cent.

Now that travel is opening up again, it is even more important to choose the best programme out there. This is especially the case if you plan on making up for lost time after these past two years.

Currently, fully vaccinated Singaporeans can travel to countries like Australia, Belgium, Fiji, Greece, Maldives, the UK and many more, quarantine and test-free.

But what is the best programme out there? Which airline is going to give you the best deal with the most perks from tier to tier?

Best airline rewards plans available

Krisflyer – best for the global Singaporean

If you have flown Singapore Airlines before, you are probably no stranger to the Krisflyer Rewards Program.

Upon sign up, you immediately receive access to members-only promotions deals and offers, as well as become an instant member of Star Alliance.

This allows you to fly with other Star Alliance partners and earn Krisflyer miles. Some airlines in Star Alliance include ANA, Air India, Asiana Airlines, Thai Airways, and United Airlines.

Singapore Airlines also partners with Scoot, which is a great option for short-haul budget flights if you are feeling a bit thrifty.

Singapore Airlines also has one of the farthest reaches in the world, and it can very well become your one-stop-shop for all your travel needs.

If you include SQ's Star Alliance partners, this rewards programme allows you to fly to over 1,000 destinations in 192 countries.

Furthermore, upon becoming a Krisflyer member, you can earn miles through shopping with over 3,300 of their non-airline partners so that your every whim and need can be translated to more miles even when you're not flying.

Membership tier Requirement Benefits Star Alliance status
KrisFlyer None
  • Accumulate Elite miles to redeem KrisFlyer Milestone Rewards
  • Members-only promotional deals
  • Mix miles and cash to purchase flights, baggage and select seats
  • Personalised in-flight entertainment
  • Discount on flight add-ons
  • 30MB two-hour free Wi-Fi
KrisFlyer Elite Silver 25,000 miles
  • 25 per cent tier bonus on actual miles flown on Singapore Airlines and SilkAir
  • Complimentary Standard Seat selection in Economy Class
  • BoardMeFirst and an additional 5kg with every baggage allowance purchase when travelling with Scoot
Star Alliance Silver
KrisFlyer Elite Gold 50,000 miles
  • Worldwide lounge access, including Star Alliance lounges (for Singapore Airlines, Virgin Atlantic and Virgin Australia)
  • Priority check-in, boarding and baggage handling
  • Complimentary Forward Zone and Standard Seat selection in Economy Class
  • 15 per cent off Extra Legroom seats
Star Alliance Gold
Star Alliance Status Benefits
Star Alliance Silver
  • Priority reservations waitlist
  • Priority airport standby
Star Alliance Gold
  • Priority airport check-in & boarding
  • Priority baggage handling
  • Extra baggage allowance
  • Airport lounge access (1000 worldwide)
  • Gold track airport security

SkyTeam – best for affordability and quality

SkyTeam is another massive airline alliance featuring some big names like KLM, Delta Airlines, and Korean Air among others.

When it comes to alliances, they are one of the newer kids on the block, but with 19 partner airlines that cover 1,150 destinations and 175 countries, they sure do pack a punch.

Earning miles on SkyTeam is akin to any other major alliance. Join one of the partner airlines' frequent flyer programs to earn or spend miles on any flight via a SkyTeam alliance partner.

SkyTeam Alliance status Benefits
SkyTeam Elite
  • Extra baggage allowance
  • Priority check-in
  • Priority baggage drop-off
  • Priority seating
  • Priority boarding
  • Priority airport standby
SkyTeam Elite Plus
  • Lounge access
  • Guaranteed reservations on sold-out flights
  • SkyPriority recognition
  • Priority at transfer lanes
  • Priority at immigration and security lanes
  • Priority baggage handling

Qatar Airways Privilege Club – best for business class travelling and luxury hotel stays

Most of you are no stranger to Qatar Airways. The airline recently just won Skytrax’s World’s Best Airlines award for the sixth consecutive year, a feat other airlines have yet to meet.

If you want the one of the best experiences the aviation industry has to offer, consider putting this rewards program at the top of your list.

Their frequent flyer program – Privilege Club – allows you to earn miles, or Avios, as they call it, which can be spent on flight upgrades, hotels and duty free shopping.

Like most airlines, Qatar Airways is also part of an airline alliance called Oneworld.

Boasting membership from renowned airlines like British Airways, Cathay Pacific, and Qantas, the Oneworld alliance connects customers to 900 destinations in over 170 countries and territories.

The Oneworld alliance also can let you unlock over 1,000 lounges and priority lanes, making your entire travel experience all the more comfortable.

Additionally, if you love traveling in style and do not mind spending some extra money for a truly luxurious experience, Qatar Airways has partnered with hotel changes like the Hilton Hotels, Hyatt Hotels, and the ever-so-famous Waldorf Astoria Hotels where customers can earn and spend Avios.

Membership tier Requirement Benefits Oneworld status
Burgundy None
  • 100 per cent mileage per family member on all flights eligible for earning Avios
  • 100 per cent mileage per family member on non-air partner transactions
  • Priority stand-by
  • Flexi awards
  • Shop & pay with Avios at Qatar Duty Free and Oryx Gallery
Silver 150 Qpoints
  • 25 per cent tier bonus on eligible flights by Qatar Airways
  • Priority check-in
  • Priority boarding
  • Preferred seats
  • 15kg extra baggage allowance, or one piece (depending on your route)
  • Lounge access
Gold 300 Qpoints
  • 75 per cent tier bonus on eligible flights by Qatar Airways
  • 20kg extra baggage allowance, or one piece (depending on your route)
  • 40 Qcredits to redeem for upgrades, excess baggage and much more
  • Al Maha Services meet and assist gold service
  • Discount on online redemptions
Platinum 600 Qpoints
  • 100 per cent tier bonus on eligible flights by Qatar Airways
  • 25kg extra baggage allowance, or two pieces (depending on your route)
  • 60 Qcredits to redeem for upgrades, excess baggage and much more
  • No Avios expiry
Oneworld Membership status Benefits
  • Access to Business Class priority check-in
  • Access to preferred seating
  • Priority on waitlists and when on standby
  • Access to Business Class lounges
  • Priority boarding & baggage handling
  • Extra baggage allowance
  • Fast track lane access
  • Access to First Class priority check-in
  • Access to First Class lounges

Emirates Skywards – best for European escapades

Last but certainly not least in this list of best rewards programs comes Emirates with their Skywards Membership.

Emirates has been long hailed as the largest airlines in the world, if not one of the best. With over 3,600 flights per week travelling to 81 different countries across six continents around the world, there will be no limit to where you can fly with Emirates.

Their rewards program is also one of the best out there. For one, points gained is not per dollar spent, but by distance travelled.

So, if you plan early and book smart you can receive cost savings on your flight without compromising on the miles you’re going to earn.

One stark con to flying with the Emirates rewards plan as compared to the others mentioned before is that Emirates is currently not part of an alliance.

This means that their reach both in terms of flights, range of prices, and lounges does not extend very far.

Nevertheless, Emirates has stacked up their own set of strong business partnerships. For airlines they have partnered with Air Mauritius, Japan Airlines, Korean Air, Qantas, EasyJet and many more.

This gives Emirates a range of flights and prices similar to other airlines in alliances.

Moreover, their hotel partners are rather hard to beat. These span from affordable options like Holiday Inn and Crown Hotels to luxurious retreats offered by St Regis and JW Marriott.

They also share a relationship with Standard Chartered Singapore that allows customers to exchange 3.5 Card Rewards Points to one mile.

Membership tier Requirement Benefits
Blue None
  • Book Emirates rewards with Skywards miles online (including flights and upgrades)
  • Special member-only offers and travel packages by tier
  • Earn miles and book rewards with global partners
  • Waitlist priority
  • Buy instant upgrades with miles at check-in
  • Wi-Fi access
Silver 25,000 tier miles or 25 flights
  • Complimentary seat selection
  • 12kg excess baggage allowances
  • 25 per cent Bonus Skywards miles when flying Emirates
  • Priority check in and boarding
  • Complimentary lounge access
  • Check in at Business Class counters
Gold 50,000 tier miles or 50 Flights
  • Priority service through our Contact Centres
  • Guaranteed seats, even on fully-booked flights
  • 16kg Excess baggage allowances
  • 50 per cent Bonus Skywards miles when flying Emirates
  • Priority baggage delivery
Platinum 150,000 tier miles
  • Last seat Classic Flex Plus reward* tickets
  • Gold Partner nomination
  • No Expiry of Skywards miles
  • 20kg excess baggage allowances
  • 75 per cent Bonus Skywards miles when flying Emirates

Best credit cards for miles

One of the best ways to earn miles is through spending with a credit card. At first glance this may not seem very helpful but that is truly not the case. By spending on your daily expenses as you usually would, the miles slowly add up, giving you a free upgrade to business class before you know it.

KrisFlyer UOB Credit Card

Consider this if you almost always fly with SIA and tend to travel on a budget.

  • Pros
    • Three miles per $1 on SIA, SilkAir, Scoot & KrisShop
    • Up to three miles on dining, transport, online shopping & travel
    • Expedited KF Elite Silver status, Scoot privileges
    • 10,000 annual bonus renewal miles
  • Cons
    • Just 1.2 miles on non-category overseas spend
    • No lounge access perks
    • No spend-based fee-waiver

Citi PremierMiles Card

Consider this if you’re looking for a well-rounded, accessible travel credit card.

  • Pros
    • Frequent traveler perks
    • Low fees
    • Flexible miles redemption
  • Cons
    • Lacks luxury perks
    • Not suitable for occasional travel

DBS Altitude Visa Signature Card

Consider this if you’re looking for great perks with no annual fees.

  • Pros
    • Great for online travel bookings
  • Cons
    • Those willing to pay an annual fee for more bonus miles
    • Affluent travellers who are willing to pay a high fee for luxury travel perks

Best travel insurance

Even though the place you may be visiting does not require you to have travel insurance, it is still a great idea.

While Covid-19 may seem like a chapter for the history books already, the possibility of contracting the virus is still there and travel insurance protects you from incurring sky-high medical bills overseas, especially in countries where treatment can be quite expensive.

FWD travel insurance: Best promotion right now

Consider this if you are looking for a high value plan that can benefit you on any type of holiday.

  Premium plan Business plan First plan
One-week global trip premium $32.25 $43.50 $57.75
Annual Asean premium $143.20 $204.00 $224.80
Trip cancellation $7,500 $10,000 $15,000
Baggage loss/damage $3,000 $5,000 $7,500
Medical expenses $200,000 $500,000 $1,000,000

FWD's travel insurance is a good option whether you're travelling alone, as a group or with a family due to its robust benefits and attractive prices that will appeal to a wide consumer base.

FWD's 20-25 per cent off promotions come on top of already competitive prices, which makes any of its three travel insurance plans great value options.

Regardless of destination or trip duration, FWD's premiums end up 15-30 per cent below average, while still providing coverage that extends beyond basic medical and trip inconvenience.

For instance, it includes coverage for loss of passport and money theft, travel agency insolvency and payment of rental car excess, as well as up to $2,000 of coverage for your sports equipment that costs only an additional $8.

Additionally, if you want some perks besides just a discount, FWD sometimes has special promotions that include vouchers for things such as CapitaVouchers.

Etiqa Tiq travel insurance: Best for budget travellers

  Entry plan Savvy plan Luxury plan
One-week global trip premium $65 $56.55 $71.50
Annual Asean premium $206 $190.45 $209.95
Trip cancellation $5,000 $5,000 $10,000
Baggage loss/damage $2,000 $2,000 $3,000
Medical expenses $200,000 $500,000 $1,000,000

Etiqa's Tiq travel insurance plans are a great option for people on a tight budget who are willing to sacrifice some, but not all, benefits in exchange for affordability.

Before discounts, Etiqa's pricing is not necessarily competitive – in fact, its top tier Business Plan actually costs more than the industry average.

However, Etiqa's generous promotions 45 per cent off (with an additional 10 per cent off every Friday) and 35 per cent off for annual trip plans create plans that are some of the cheapest on the market (around 35 per cent below average).

In terms of coverage, you'll receive standard trip cancellation, delay, misconnection and curtailment coverage in addition to flight overbooking, personal belongings and bankruptcy of a travel agent.

Though trip inconvenience and personal accident coverage is below average until you get to its Business Plan option, Etiqa's above average medical, hospital allowance, hospital visitation and emergency evacuation coverage may appeal to consumers who are looking for a medically-inclined budget plan.

HL Assurance: Best global travel insurance

  Basic plan Enhanced plan Superior plan
One-week global trip premium $49.20 $43.60 $56.80
Annual Asia (inc. Asean) premium $178.00 $187.00 $223.50
Trip cancellation $5,000 $7,000 $12,000
Baggage loss/damage $3,000 $5,000 $7,000
Medical expenses $150,000 $250,000 $500,000

If you are looking to travel outside of the Asean region, HL Assurance's travel insurance plans are great for the budget global traveller.

The 60 per cent off single trip plan and 50 per cent off annual trip plan promotion makes the HLAS Enhanced Plan's premiums 42 per cent below average for global trips.

However, while coverage isn't the highest compared to its more expensive peers, it does provide robust trip inconvenience and medical coverage compared to plans in a similar price point.

For example, there is coverage for lost items, trip curtailment, postponement, cancellation and delays, as well as rental car excess (the excess you owe if you get into a car accident abroad), medical expenses and hospital cash benefit both abroad and back in Singapore.

Other promotional perks that certain consumers may find useful is its $50 hotel booking voucher for the single trip plan (for its first 2,000 customers) and 10 per cent off car rental for its annual plan.

You can redeem the the voucher through the Changi Recommends website and the car rental discount is redeemable through Hertz.


As you plan your next long-awaited vacation (or two, or three), consider signing up for an airline rewards program based on your long-term wants and needs.

Depending on where you’re based, where you like to travel to, and how often you plan on travelling, some plans might be more worth it than others.

And while you are pondering on your next holiday retreat, be sure to sign up for a miles credit card to maximise your rewards, as well as travel insurance to give you the peace of mind you need when being whisked away to a splendid vacation.

This article was first published in ValueChampion.

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