Playing The Miles Game Inevitably Results In Lifestyle Inflation

For a start, please note that not everyone who play the miles game will inflate their lifestyle.  This is just a personal sharing on how I feel my lifestyle has changed when I started the miles journey.

All along, I never cared much about miles or cashback earn rates from the various credit cards.  I just applied for credit cards that I think I have use for, of which mostly are cashback cards, for my necessary spending.  I did not pay attention to how much cashback I can earn, or what rewards am I eligible for.  They are mainly just used for paying for my expenses, and ensuring that I pay in full when its due (so there are many missed opportunities all these years).  However, in September 2022, things took a turn.  I applied for the HSBC Revolution credit card for the sign up bonus, which is a SGD 250 cash rebate, and most importantly it has no annual fees, so I do not have to worry about calling in for waivers annually.  After getting the card, and reading blogs by other fin-fluencers like MileLion and Sethisfy, I started getting interested in the earning of miles from monthly expenses, as the thought of free airfares (excluding taxes) definitely sounds enticing.  

As such, I started the miles game and I aim to accumulate miles slowly.  HSBC Revolution's points only expire after 37 months, and after transferring the points as miles to Krisflyer account, the miles have a validity period of another 3 years.  Therefore I have approximately 5.5 years for me to accumulate the miles, and use the miles to bring my mum to a "once-in-a-lifetime" Business Class flight or even First Class flight, if possible.  With this plan in mind, I began exploring the miles game further, and found that I will miss a lot of sign up bonus as I had own credit cards from Citibank, Standard Chartered, DBS and Maybank.  Therefore, I started to re-organise my cards and cancelled those I have minimal use for.  I signed up for DBS Altitude card for my transportation (Simplygo), mainly because it is relatively easy to waive the annual fees, and more importantly, the points that the card earns have no expiry, thus I can slowly accumulate the points without worrying about having to meet the expiry dates, which is great.  Undeniably, the road to chasing miles had led me to choose the kind of food to eat, the place and means to buy certain stuff, the timeline to buy certain stuff, all so I can earn slightly more miles than otherwise, and these, have slowly but surely, caused an inflated lifestyle and spending to happen.

Fast-forward to the start of 2024, I have only managed to accumulate slightly below 50K miles.  In my personal opinion, I would like to redeem the miles to bring my mum onboard SIA Business Class to either Hong Kong or Guangzhou minimally, as flights to ASEAN countries are too short in duration and it doesn't seem to be value-for-miles.  The time on flight to Hong Kong or Guangzhou is rather decent for a value-for-miles experience.  A quick search on SIA website shows that for a return flight from Singapore to Hong Kong/ Guangzhou and back, a Business Saver Award Ticket is 68K miles (but may have to be included in waitlist), a Business Advantage Award Ticket is 100K miles, while spontaneous escapes may just require 47.6K miles.  One need not be a math genius to know that the miles I have accumulated was very far away from the redemptions requirement.  As such, when opportunity arises, I decided to take the plunge to speed up my miles redemption process by applying for credit cards to earn their sign up bonus.

In March, I signed up for Krisflyer Amex Blue card to benefit from its sign up bonus.  If successful, I will be eligible to earn up to 29,450 bonus miles if I spend a minimum of SGD 500 on the card during the qualifying period.  Thankfully, I have a necessary expenditure during this period so I am more than happy with this offer to earn the bonus miles.  

In late April, I decided to get another sign up bonus to earn another 20K bonus miles by signing up for the HSBC Travel1 card.  However, this was not an easy decision, and I took about 1 week to come to this decision, because to earn this bonus miles, besides the need to spend a minimum of SGD 500 on the card during the qualifying period, I will also need to pay the annual fees of SGD 196.20.  This means that I am trying to buy the miles instead of just being rewarded with miles when I spend on necessities.  Thinking about it, this has indeed resulted in lifestyle inflation for myself.  So if this conflicts with my lifestyle, why did I still go ahead with getting this card?

This has to do with what I shared in this previous post.  I want my mum to be able to experience things that she has never experienced before, and to travel to places she has not been to before, especially now when she is still very much mobile.  As such, I think I need to expedite the process of miles accumulation to let her experience a SIA Business Class/ First Class travel, to nearby Hong Kong/ Guangzhou (because that's probably the furthest my miles can bring us to) while she is still very much mobile and able to (I suppose she kind of enjoyed her Japan trip with me, I guess, and I hope).  All these while, our travels have always been on budget airlines like Jetstar, AirAsia and Scoot (even for the 6+ hour long flight to Japan).  So this may probably the first time, and maybe the last for the SIA Business Class/ First Class travel experience if I want to control and suppress any lifestyle inflation in future.  I believe if I want to experience another 'high-end' travel experience, inevitably that will continue to inflate my lifestyle, and my plans for my Barista FIRE journey may be negatively impacted.  

So what is my lifestyle choice moving forward?  I would like to think that I can control my lifestyle inflation after the 'once-in-a-lifetime' experience (and not be addicted to it), and continue to remain committed to my Barista FIRE plans moving forward, eliminating all unnecessary spending just to chase miles.  How true that will be, and how well can I execute it?  It all remains to be seen.  For now, Barista FIRE, here I come...!


  1. Thanks for the writeup on your Japan trip, I found it useful as I haven't been to Kyoto yet. wake up 3.45am for Arashimaya is a pretty good tip!

    like you have pointed out, when you are older, like your Mum, business class travel is important to ensuring that you reach your destination in a good enough condition to enjoy the holiday. when you are still young and/or haven't reach FI yet, biz class travel is pretty pointless. Good that you treated your parents to nice travel

    By the way, don't bother with First (except Suites) - the 'bed' in regular First like SQ is not as soft as the bed in SQ business the first class seat has a hard back which becomes the bottom of your 'mattress' so its harder than the biz class 'bed' due to the biz class more flexible seat. Of course, sometimes biz you can have the 'problem' of noisy children as young children in biz class is very normal nowadays.

    1. Hi Hello World
      Thanks for reading my Japan trip post! I will think that flying via budget airlines is good enough, but of course, would like to try out that Business Class experience. Hopefully the Business Class experience with my mum will materialize soon! Now, probably still on budget airlines, lol.


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