I have written about the DISCOVERY Loyalty Program by the Global Hotel Alliance (GHA) on multiple occasions. Personally, I have completed at least 30 stays at the Pan Pacific Singapore and the Pan Pacific Orchard in the last two years. Within Singapore, the DISCOVERY program is one of my personal favourites as it offers everything important for a perfect staycation - especially when you reach top-tier with the program after 30 eligible nights!
Locally, there are two DISCOVERY brands (which amount to five distinct properties) in Singapore:
- Pan Pacific Singapore
- Pan Pacific Orchard
- PARKROYAL on Beach Road
- PARKROYAL on Pickering
- PARKROYAL on Kitchener Road
1. Enjoy Longer Staycations - Check-in at 9AM, Check-out at 6PM
It is worth noting that as a Black member in the DISCOVERY program, you will get early check-in and late check-out privileges at 9AM and 6PM respectively (where available). Since most staycations happen on a Saturday, this means that you can check-in at 9AM on Saturday morning and check-out at 6PM on the following day (Sunday). Since most properties allow you to check-in only at 2PM and require you to check-out at 12PM the following day, having the Black member status with DISCOVERY would extend your weekend staycation from 22 hours to 33 hours (50% more time!).
2. Double Room Upgrades
While I do not think it is official, I have always been given club or lounge access whenever I get upgraded into a club room. As part of my DISCOVERY benefits as a Black member, I am given a two-category upgrade where available - if that room is available to purchase during check-in, it should be given to you. For example, when I booked the regular Pacific Room at the Pan Pacific Singapore for Christmas Eve, I was upgraded into the massive Pacific Harbour Studio (with a tub to fit four adults!) since it was available when I was checking-in. I have never had to ask for an upgrade even once during all my stays at GHA properties.
3. Unique (and Valuable) Local Experiences
One of the best things to redeem for in Singapore (if you ever lay your hands on a Black Local Experience) is the 3 Day Club Access at the Pan Pacific Singapore - this Local Experience probably gives you the most value in Singapore too - since I estimate this to be worth approximately S$600. The Pacific Club at the Pan Pacific Singapore is one of the best club lounges in Singapore and it serves complimentary Champagne breakfast, afternoon tea and evening cocktails that change your mind about hotels (in a great way). Other notable experiences include a helicopter ride in Hong Kong and if you are a foodie, a weekend brunch experience Keyaki for two.
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).
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.
A couple of months ago, I introduced Mileslife which is an app to help you earn more miles (on top of the regular miles and points you earn with your credit cards) on everyday lifestyle spending like dining, hotels and spa packages (just to name a few). If you have been accruing miles in Singapore via credit card spend, you should definitely consider using Mileslife for dining since you will earn at least 1 mile per dollar extra on top of your credit card points at participating merchants. In fact, some merchants offer up to 3 miles per dollar and if you were to combine it with the triple miles promotion that is running until 20 June 2017, you can easily be earning up to 9 miles extra per dollar (on top of your credit card) on your dining spends. Sign-up for Mileslife now and use my referral code 'SHUTTERWHALE' to get 1,500 bonus miles (with any participating Frequent Flyer Program of your choice) after spending S$39. Link your FPP to your Mileslife account before 30 June 2017 to get an additional 100 bonus miles.
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.