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!
I have been to Hong Kong on multiple occasions and one of the things that I struggle with most (apart from the language) is where to go for food and coffee. I am generally unfamiliar with where everything is in Hong Kong and therefore I have really been to popular restaurants that are always recommended and visited by Singaporeans. During my latest trip to Hong Kong where I stayed at the Kerry Hotel, Hong Kong, I checked out a number of restaurants and cafes (some of them are especially memorable) along the way so hopefully this quick guide would help anyone seeking for recommendations.
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.