Collecting miles in the form of credit card points is an obsession - you've seen the articles I have written and if you know me personally, I barely use cash at all (unless the merchant doesn't accept credit cards - in which case I will probably walk away). Despite all the ridiculously bad service that I have gotten from UOB recently, I still use their cards religiously because it allows me to earn up to 10UNI$ per S$5 - this is equivalent to 20 miles per S$5.
Redeeming your UOB UNI$ for KrisFlyer (or Asia) Miles is pretty fuss-free so long you have pre-completed the enrolment form (you only need to do this once). Do note that there is a S$25 surcharge each time you convert your UOB UNI$ to one of these mile options - you can only convert in blocks of UNI$5,000 (equivalent to 10,000 miles). If you are lucky (read: wealthy) enough to be a Privilege Banking or Reserve account member, this S$25 charge will be waived. What's interesting with the redemptions however are the options above the miles and before I go any further here's a quick summary of it: don't even bother.
If I had to pick the worst redemption in the table above, it would undoubtedly have to be the 'Jetstar S$50 eVoucher' for UNI$4,000. Firstly, redeeming an eVoucher on Jetstar means you have to make the complete the rest of the purchase (assuming there is a balance) online - this implies that you will have to pay the ridiculous administrative charges for opting for a credit card payment. More importantly, UNI$4,000 is equivalent to 8,000 miles. For the sake of an example, compare the following two situations where you redeem for either:
- S$250 Jetstar eVoucher for UNI$20,000
- 40,000 KrisFlyer Miles for UNI$20,000 + S$25 Administrative Fee
The first option seems to be pretty lucrative but did you know that you can easily offset any purchase on Singapore Air with KrisFlyer Miles at a rate of 1,000 Miles = S$10? 40,000 KrisFlyer Miles would therefore be worth S$400 on purchases made on Singapore Air - you will continue to earn elite qualifying miles on these flights. More importantly, 40,000 KrisFlyer miles is more than sufficient for a one-way flight from Singapore to Tokyo on Business Class. Assuming you do the redemption online, you will only require 34,000 KrisFlyer Miles and S$34 (at the time of writing) - this flight would have costed you S$3,364 otherwise.
Would you rather spend 20,000 UNI$ on S$250 eVoucher on Jetstar or would you rather pay S$59 (S$34+S$25) to get a complimentary business class flight from Singapore to Tokyo with 6,000 KrisFlyer miles to spare?
I chanced upon the Singapore Airlines HighFlyer programme today which is basically a frequent flyer program for small to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) for up to 30 traveling employees. The HighFlyer programme does not replace the KrisFlyer Program (find out more about KrisFlyer and PPS HERE!) and it is simply a free program that translates business travel expenses into cost savings.
When I visited Bali a couple of months back, I checked out the regional business class product on Singapore Airlines from Singapore to Denpasar and I stayed at the Anantara Seminyak Bali Resort. Since it was my first visit to Seminyak in Bali (I have always stayed within the confines of Nusa Dua only), I made it a point to check out some pretty famous restaurants and cafes in the area to find out for myself what the fuss was all about - here are my top five places to check out if you are Seminyak (most of them can be accessed by foot if you stay at the Anantara Seminyak Bali Resort).
If you have been following the website long enough, you would notice that I stay in hotels quite a bit - I see it as a platform to earn more miles (since most of the payments happen online) and more importantly, it is a way to retain my loyalty status(es) each year. What a lot of people do not realise however is that most credit cards (with the exception of Citibank) in Singapore allow you to convert your points into Asia Miles (read about the program HERE!) and KrisFlyer Miles only. I have recently fallen in love with the Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan account - you can fly on Japan Airlines' Business Class from Singapore to Tokyo, have a complimentary stopover, and then continue to somewhere else in Asia (e.g. Bangkok or Jakarta).
Most credit card miles and points in Singapore can convert into either the ever-popular KrisFlyer Miles or the lesser-known Asia Miles (Citibank is the only bank in Singapore to offer miles and points conversion to 12 airline partners). Most of us have taken the stand and preference to accrue on Singapore Airlines' KrisFlyer programme but with the recent devaluation, many of us have started to look beyond the usual redemption on SQ/MI and Star Alliance metal. The next immediate frequent flyer loyalty programme of interest is Asia Miles (since all banks in Singapore allow conversion into it) but what exactly is the difference between The Marco Polo Club and Asia Miles?
I have been a strong advocate for OCBC Bank's 360 Account for the longest time and even with the recent changes that went into effect on 01 April 2017, it is still a great account to have - you now receive bonus interest on up to S$70,000 in the account. Almost every other major bank in Singapore has a competing product and I have previously concluded that the UOB One Account is not optimal since you only earn an effective rate of 2.43% instead of the 3.33% that they advertise. Standard Chartered Bank has a Bonus$aver (yes, it is unfortunately spelled that way) that apparently offers up to 3.88% p.a. of interest which sounds significantly more than what OCBC Bank advertises with the 360 Account. Find out which is better in this article!
In order to help everyone keep track of the discontinuation and extension of credit card promotions in Singapore, I will be posting a series of summaries every couple of months. These summaries will basically tell you which mile-related promotions have been extended and which credit cards to ditch - no I will not be tracking dining or shopping promotions.
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!
My last visit to Tokyo Disneyland was in 2000 when I was still a kid and so during my latest visit to Tokyo last year, I've decided to take the opportunity to once again visit the happiest place on earth (well in Tokyo, since there are multiple Disneyland theme parks around the world). Getting from the Hilton Tokyo (where I have spent five nights in) to the Tokyo Disneyland was not exceedingly complicated but it did take a while but the purpose of this article is really to talk about the tips and tricks that I wish I knew (and you will probably wish you knew) before I visited Tokyo Disneyland.