A couple of months ago, InterContinental Hotels Groups announced the new top-tier status on their IHG Rewards Club loyalty program - the Spire Elite. This new elite status requires 75 eligible nights in a year (approximately one in five nights). Go one level down and you will find yourself at Platinum Elite which gives the following benefits:
What does Platinum Elite Status in IHG Rewards Club give Me?
Sure, a 50% bonus on top of base points and complimentary room upgrades sound amazing but since it requires 40 eligible nights (or 40,000 elite qualifying points), chances are most of us are never going to hit it (especially if you do not travel for work).
How do I purchase the Platinum Elite Status?
The question on everyone's head is obviously how on earth do you purchase this Platinum Elite status? The way you do this is a combination of two things: the InterContinental Ambassador Programme and the IHG® Dining Rewards. You HAVE TO purchase the InterContinental Ambassador Programme first then the IHG® Dining Rewards in order to get Platinum Elite - if you do it the other way around, you'll end up with just Gold Elite which is pretty ordinary.
How Much does it Cost?
The next crucial question - how much is it going to cost me? The short answer - US$464 (approx. S$660).
Members will receive the following benefits at InterContinental brand hotels:
- Guaranteed room upgrade: enjoy an immediate upgrade to a superior room* (one category higher than purchased) each time you stay.
- Fresh fruit on arrival and mineral water (water replenished daily)
- Complimentary weekend night certificate**: valid at the InterContinental Hotels & Resorts property of your choice
- 4pm late checkout
- One complimentary pay TV film per stay
- Complimentary daily newspaper
- In-room welcome gift
- Instant checkout
- A free night at any of IHG's 4,800+ hotels
- 25% off dining and beverages
- Status upgrade in IHG® Rewards Club**
- 25% off IHG's Best Flexible rate (single use)
- 10% off IHG's Best Flexible & Advance Purchase rates
- A generous dining e-Voucher, pre-loaded to your card*
- Premium local offers at individual participating hotels
Is it worth paying S$660 for a Year of Platinum Elite Status?
Possibly, but probably not. You used to be able to get a ton of hotel status matches with just the IHG Rewards Club Platinum Elite status but this has reduced dramatically over the years. If you do intend to stay a bit in InterContinental Hotels around the world (especially the more expensive ones), this may be money well spent but you definitely do have to weigh your options.
Everyone must have heard of the extensive internet regulation and censorship in China and first-time travellers to this country do not always know what to do in order to get around the notorious Great Firewall of China. As I will be traveling to Beijing pretty soon, I have put together a short guide on getting around this regulation and also a number of things to take note of when you travel to China. The first thing any tech-savvy traveller would ask is about the availability of 4G SIM Cards in China. While it is definitely possible to pick one up at the airport (information seems to be rather limited on the internet) or in the city, it may save you a little hassle by settling this in Singapore before you go. Here are three alternatives to buying a SIM Card in China!
Transferring money between friends and families (or even businesses) has just gotten easier with the introduction of a new PayNow service which is now live across all seven participating banks - Citibank, DBS Bank, HSBC, Maybank, OCBC Bank, Standard Chartered Bank and UOB Bank. All you need is the person's mobile number or NRIC number in order to make the transfer (limited to SGD transactions only).
I do not travel on SilkAir often as the product is in no way comparable to the Singapore Airlines product (especially on Business - even on regional routes!). There are however some routes that are operated by MI-metal only and therefore it is impossible to take an SQ-metal alternative (e.g. HKT, DAD and REP). As of 01 January 2017, SilkAir operates 31 aircraft: 17 Boeing B737-800, 11 Airbus A320-200 and 3 Airbus A319-100 aircraft.
The wait is finally over - Mileslife is now officially launched in Singapore to offer the opportunity to earn more miles on dining, lifestyle and travel spend. To celebrate this momentous occasion, it is offering 4X more miles (up to 20 miles per S$1) on all eligible transactions made on Mileslife. Remember these miles are accorded on top of whatever you earn from your credit cards so there is definitely a huge potential to rake up those miles for free flights on First Class and Business Class!
Uber has changed the way we get around on a day to day basis. While the train is the primary mode of transport for most Singaporeans, there are instances and occasions where a car ride makes a lot more sense because you are rushing for time or simply want a more comfortable journey. If you do use Uber on a very regular basis like me, there are a few things that you can do to save money on these rides - many of which do not require you to do much and simply take an additional second or two to save you money in the long run!
Using the right credit card that will earn you a lot of miles which you can then redeem for free flights is infinitely satisfying. While the HSBC Advance Platinum Visa Credit Card no longer offers 4 miles per dollar (it now offers up to 3.5% cashback) on local dining spend, there are various ways you can still earn a decent amount of miles when you use the right card and double-dip (or even triple-dip) with a number of other promotions! One easy way to do so in Singapore is to combine the use of Chope, Mileslife and the right credit card.
While we all know that the ANZ Travel Card has died a horrible death and that your accrued Travel$ will be converted into DBS Points, it has come to my attention recently that DBS has in fact provided a really good website detailing the upcoming changes and more importantly, what will happen to your existing points and credit card products.
As we mourned the death of various credit cards in the industry lately, I was surprised to find that the OCBC VOYAGE Card (which I covered in-depth HERE) has just been unveiled improved and enhanced travel and lifestyle benefits for cardholders. While I have previously mentioned that cardholders are already able to access a personal concierge service with the credit card, OCBC has just introduced a brand new medical triage service, enhanced travel perks, greater insurance coverage and new merchant partnerships that cardholders can take advantage of immediately.
As we bid farewell to Singapore's best credit card for miles earlier this month, the brand new HSBC Advance Credit Card while nowhere near as impressive as its predecessor, offers up to 3.5% cashback on all eligible purchases. With the proliferation of unlimited cashback cards in the market, this could be a strong contender in the cashback card market if you typically charge a fairly consistent range of expenses to your credit card each month.
Singapore Airlines has just announced the upcoming new benefits that the exclusive PPS Club members will enjoy starting from June 2017. Alongside improvements to mile accruals, redemption for Saver award tickets and fast track security clearance, PPS Club members will also be able to enjoy a brand new PPS Rewards scheme which is dependent on the levels of spend each year. The qualification of Solitaire PPS Club membership will also change from June 2018.