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.
The city of Yangon in Myanmar offers one of the most authentic and raw travel experiences that I have had in recent years. During my weekend travel to Yangon, I stayed in one of the Horizon Club Rooms at the Sule Shangri-La, Yangon. One of the things that I had difficult with most (since I am a fairly unadventurous traveller) during my stay was where to find food - so I have gone ahead to put together five of my favourite restaurants that I have checked out in Yangon.
Back in September 2016, a partnership between Shangri-La Hotels and Resorts and Singapore Airlines was announced. Members are now able to enjoy reciprocal benefits, fast-track to elite status and convert points freely (albeit at a terrible rate) with the Infinite Journeys arrangement. Today, Warmer Welcomes invites both Golden Circle (from Shangri-La Hotels and Resorts) and Taj InnerCircle (from Taj Hotels Resorts and Palaces) to enjoy reciprocal benefits between the two loyalty programs.
Getting from Tokyo to Hakone is incredibly easy but if you do decide to travel on the Romancecars, make sure you plan early to get one of the highly sought-after seats (which are priced the same). Hakone is beautiful and it is usually recommended for you to stay at least one night to fully experience the beauty of this place. With that being said, it is also highly possible for you to complete most of the major sights in a day and this guide will show you exactly how!
The Le Club AccorHotels loyalty program went through some changes earlier this year and like I have mentioned multiple times before, the points that you accrue on this program will essentially offset your future stays - there is no fixed rate of redemption for rooms but the points have a fixed value that is tied to the Euro currency (2,000 Le Club AccorHotels Points = €40).
The ANZ Travel Visa Signature Credit Card was one of my favourite credit cards in Singapore when I first starting working - it once offered complimentary and unlimited lounge access, limousine transfer after spending a reasonable amount and paying the annual fees (S$200) for 10,000 miles seem to be pretty reasonable. Starting from 01 April 2017 however, the ANZ Travel Visa Signature Credit Card will no longer offer lounge access (yes not even the horrible DragonPass Airport lounge access) and there will no longer be anymore renewal miles when you pay the annual fee - how is this even a travel card anymore?!
When I wrote about the OCBC VOYAGE Card last month, I mentioned that cardholders will have access to a dedicated concierge that can assist you in making restaurant reservations, travel itinerary planning and also provide to you a range of other services (so long it is legal!) that cardholders like myself can enjoy. One of the feedback that I have gotten from that article was that the Visa Infinite brand itself has a concierge that cardholders can benefit from - as such, I felt the desperate need to basically compare both the Visa Infinite Concierge and the VOYAGE Exchange (private concierge service for OCBC VOYAGE Card) to find out whether or not the higher annual fee (after factoring in the value of renewal miles) is justified.
Receive up to 40% bonus Mileage Plan miles when you purchase at least 30,000 miles before 06 April 2017. There are some sweet spots on using Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan miles and if you live in Asia and wish to check out the business cabin on Japan Airlines, you can do so for just US$670 (approx S$945). Read on to find out how you can get up to 17 hours worth of flight time by redeeming the Mileage Plan miles on Japan Airlines.
KrisFlyer has just announced some important changes that will be happening on redemption and redemption upgrade bookings that are ticketed from 23 March 2017 onwards. While the changes seem to be a devaluation of KrisFlyer miles, travellers may be able to gain some out of these changes on short-haul flights and those with high YQ surcharges. Read on to find out what are the upcoming changes and how will they affect you as a whole.
The OCBC 360 Account is a dream account that every young adult should have. When it was first launched in Singapore back in 2014, it offered the best interest rate on any savings plan that was available at that time. Ever since then, the OCBC 360 Account has been given a refresh and other banks have started launching competing products (e.g. UOB One Account) which in my opinion, are inferior of OCBC's longstanding savings account. There are a number of changes to the OCBC 360 Account that will be effective from 01 April 2017 so make sure you read though them thoroughly before deciding whether the product is still a good fit for your spending habits and banking goals.
I have written a number of articles on which credit card to get in Singapore in order to maximise miles accrual and I have always deliberately excluded the HSBC Advance Visa Platinum Credit Card because of the conditions required to get this card (it is not just about the annual income requirement). More importantly, the 10X HSBC Rewards Points promotion was supposed to end last year but it has been extended until 31 March 2017.