If you have not heard about the IHG Friends and Family Rate, you should definitely check it out (especially if you are not big on points and statuses). It basically gives you a (sometimes) hefty discount on IHG properties worldwide so long you know someone from the inside - the only proof you need is a voucher that you can download HERE and the employee's name. To get an example of how the rates will look like, check out Paul Gibbs's link HERE!
Honestly, I have forgotten all about this until this morning when I chanced upon the article on LoyaltyLobby who reveals that the advertised 15% discount may differ from property to property - this is sometimes what happens when you are too busy chasing points. Since IHG Points are worth relatively lesser in Singapore, this has got me wondering whether or not it is worthwhile to use the Friends and Family Rate for stays here instead.
For the purpose of this example, I have deliberately picked a random (non Public Holiday) weekend in July to include the newer IHG Properties that are opening. Here's a quick comparison of the Best Available Rate online versus the IHG Friends and Family Rate:
|IHG Property||Best Available Rate||Friends and Family Rate||Discount|
|Holiday Inn Express: Singapore Katong||S$128.00++||S$108.80++||15%|
|Holiday Inn Express: Singapore Clarke Quay||S$180.00++||S$153.00++||15%|
|Holiday Inn Express: Singapore Orchard Road||S$207.00++||S$175.95++||15%|
|Hotel Indigo: Singapore Katong||S$180.00++||S$153.00++||15%|
|Holiday Inn: Singapore Atrium||S$167.00++||S$141.95++||15%|
|Holiday Inn: Singapore Orchard City Centre||S$207.00++||S$175.95++||15%|
|Crowne Plaza: Changi Airport||S$261.00++||S$221.85++||15%|
Unfortunately for us folks in Singapore, the 15% off Advance Purchase and BAR does seem to hold true. While 15% is not a lot when you have a status to begin with, it will most definitely provide significant savings for the infrequent traveller who do not care for statuses and points. Remember the IHG Friends and Family Rate is not elite qualifying - you will not earn points from these!
Asia Miles will be introducing some new changes to the way miles are being earned and redeemed on 22 June 2018 - everything stays the same until then. If you are unfamiliar with the differences between Asia Miles and The Marco Polo Club, feel free to check out my primer on this subject. Asia Miles is a particularly important subject for Singaporean consumers since most credit card points convert either into KrisFlyer or Asia Miles - this article aims to list the top few changes that would probably affect you the most.
Japan is very much a cash-based society and it drives me crazy for a number of reason. Firstly, I personally do not like carrying coins since getting rid of them is always a bit of a pain. Secondly, every time I transact using cash is a missed opportunity at earning miles - the Standard Chartered Visa Infinite Credit Card gives me 3 miles per SGD on foreign currency transactions with a S$2,000 minimum spend requirement in each statement period. With all that being said, a lot of the shops here in Tokyo at least accept the use of Pasmo and Suica cards. I have been using a Pasmo card for the last couple of years but I found out quite recently that it is possible to add a Suica card into your iPhone (or Apple Watch) so you can use it very conveniently with your preferred Apple device but more importantly, it creates a proxy to use your credit card(s) via the Suica card (which means you can potentially earn 8 miles per dollar on your next bowl of ramen!).
One of the most common mistakes that people who are new to flying make is crediting their flights into the wrong Frequent Flyer Program (FFP). As many of you would already know, crediting your flights into the right FFP can make a huge difference and I just wanted to highlight this point on a number of flights that I have taken recently. If you have been following me on Instagram, you would have noticed that I travelled to the USA recently on Emirates Business Class - this is a return Business Saver ticket from Singapore (SIN) to New York (JFK) via Dubai (DXB).
With the upcoming Grab-Uber merger on the horizon, there is no better time than now to revisit the best credit cards and platforms to use for Grab rides (especially with the recent introduction of new membership programs). This article aims to highlight a combination of promotions and offers that you can use to get most value out of your Grab rides in Singapore (even though some of them apply to rides taken overseas as well) and while it may not be exhaustive, it will definitely help you save more money on your Grab rides on the whole.
Everyone knows about the acquisition of SPG by Marriott International and as most of us would have expected, all three loyalty programs which are operating independently today (even though they are linked and points can be transferred freely between them), will come together to form one powerful program. Marriott Rewards, The Ritz-Carlton Rewards as well as the Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG) programme will be unified in August 2018 to offer loyalty benefits across all 29 brands that are under the Marriott International portfolio - a brand new loyalty program name will only be unveiled in 2019.
Many of you have already heard about the Changi Rewards program which to put it simply, gives you Changi Rewards (CR) points for every S$10 that you spend at participating merchants. These CR points can then be used to offset your next eligible purchase (1,000 CR points = S$5 rebate). Alternatively, you may choose to convert your CR points into valuable KrisFlyer miles (which you can then use on things like free First Class flights) or things like vouchers amongst other things. There are also a number of benefits that you get with the Changi Rewards program but the point of this article is to introduce the different membership tiers as well as qualification requirement.
The OCBC 360 Account is one of my preferred saving accounts of choice since it gives up to 3.05% p.a. in bonus interest on up to S$70,000 of your account balance. It also gives an additional 1% p.a. on the first S$70,000 if your account balance is S$200,000 and above (but this is something you should ignore since there are better ways to invest your money). There is currently a promotion (which reminds me a little bit of the previous promotional mechanics) which offers an extra 1% p.a. interest on incremental balance based on the month on month average.
Stacking the Uber benefits from the LiveUp membership as well as Standard Chartered's 20% cashback promotion has been the way to go for us Singaporeans but with the Grab-Uber merger (even though it might not go through that quickly since it has apparently infringed on the Competition Act) on the horizon, we may need to reevaluate our strategies. SCORE is a new subscription-based membership which offers members exclusive privileges (read: discounts) on Grab as well as FairPrice. While I am personally not particularly interested in the LinkPoints or FairPrice benefits that come with this membership, I am curious about the ones that you can use on Grab.
As some of you may know, the UOB PVRI Miles Visa Card is a Visa Infinite credit card even though it is not marketed as one - the card face simply shows Visa (without Platinum, Signature or Visa Infinite branding under it). It seems that from 01 April 2018 however, UOB will be making it a Visa Signature card officially. There will be no changes to the earn rates and you will continue to earn miles (in the form of UNI$s) on local and overseas spend at 1.4 and 2.4 miles per dollar respectively.
UOB used to be one of the banks to go to for credit cards (especially for us mile-chasers) and at one point in my life, I have held over five credit cards from this bank alone. I loved that the fact that the UNI$s (the name for UOB's point currency) accrued from all cards were pooled into a singular account (which means you only paid the FFP transfer fee once) and how they seem to have a card for every significant purpose. However, in my opinion, the bank has gone downhill from where it was, at least where credit cards are concerned.