uberPOOL was just launched last week in Singapore and unlike GrabHitch, the new carpooling service by Uber allows you to elect the option to carpool when using the uberX service. I decided to put it to the test the last weekend and perhaps it could be that the system is relatively new but it was an absolute disaster - my ride took way longer than it should even though Uber claims that it doesn't matter whether 'you’re first or second into the car, Uber ensures that you’re never taken more than a few minutes out of your way'.
As I was heading down to One Fullerton on the weekend, I decided to open up my Uber app and select the uberX option. Upon entering my destination, I was given the option to choose between uberPOOL or uberX at S$11.50 or S$15.28 (and up) respectively. Since I thought I was slightly early and I really wanted to try out the new feature, I decided to go for the former option which saves me at least S$3.78 (almost 25% off!).
Once I have been assigned a car, the app says that I would be carpooling with Gerry and I was actually able to see that the vehicle was actually picking her up (do note that the screen grab says S$12 instead of the previous S$11.50 - similar to uberX prices, uberPOOL prices are also subjected to price surges). Upon entering the vehicle, I met Gerry (who turned out to be a really friendly lady) and my uberPOOL driver who was brilliant as well. However, it was then that I realised that Gerry was not actually headed towards the same direction as me.
A ride that would generally take me 20 minutes to get to now showed me 42 minutes - this is more than DOUBLE of what it should generally take. The red spot that you see on the map is where Gerry was actually headed - it was then that all three of us realised how poor the planning actually is. Instead of going straight to One Fullerton, the poor uberPOOL driver has to make a detour to Serangoon before taking a traffic-heavy route to my destination.
In fact, once Gerry got off the vehicle, Uber actively searches for another rider along the way (or so they claim) to share the ride (as shown in the screen grab above). In my case, I was lucky enough to not have encountered another uberPOOL rider but if for example, someone else have requested for a ride from Serangoon to One Fullerton (or nearby), the uberPOOL driver would have had to make yet another detour to pick the second passenger up.
uberPOOL is a great idea but the implementation is definitely far from perfect. I understand that I am indeed getting a discount (almost 25% as mentioned earlier) with the service but the ride durations fall way off Uber's estimates of '[not] more than a few minutes'. Will I pay S$3.78 to save at least 22 minutes of my journey time? Absolutely yes.
Everyone knows that the DBS Woman's World MasterCard is a credit card to get in Singapore and it does not matter whether you are male or female. While reconciling my DBS Points from last statement's spending on the DBS Woman's World MasterCard, I noticed that I did not get 10X points on some of my transactions - you can request for a breakdown of DBS Points from DBS by sending a message via the secured mailbox.
The OCBC Titanium Rewards Card is one of the best credit cards in Singapore for earning miles and if you wish to understand the dynamics of this credit card, make sure you check out my previous article on everything you need to know about the OCBC Titanium Rewards Card. It appears that OCBC has introduced the opportunity to earn up to 6 miles and 2 miles per dollar on all eligible transactions made on Electronics and Gadgets as well as Dining respectively for selected cardholders. At the moment of writing, only targeted cardholders who have received either an electronic direct mail (EDM) or SMS from OCBC Bank will be able to take advantage of this promotion.
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.
There is a top spot within the OCBC Premier Banking space and that's the Premier Private Client (PPC) - one can 'easily' join this elite group by depositing or investing S$1 million (in fresh funds) and qualifying as an Accredited Investor. What caught my eyes last evening however was the introduction of a dedicated OCBC VOYAGE Card (which I have covered previously) for the PPCs and one of the additional benefits include unlimited airport limousine transfers.
Citibank discontinued the 20X Rewards promotion with Amazon (which equates to 8 miles per S$1) last month and have just introduced Zalora as the newest partner for the 20X Rewards promotion - this will run until 31 October 2017. While this is definitely great for people who shop on Zalora (though I am not sure who in this day and age), it is certainly not as impressive as the Amazon promotion that was running prior to this.
While most banks in Singapore allow you to convert your points (or equivalent currency) earned from credit card spend into Airline or Hotel points, Citibank has one of the most comprehensive list of points transfer partners - I have previously counted the total number of partners to be at 12 but they have apparently removed Delta Skymiles from the list. There are currently 11 airline points transfer partners for Citibank if you hold an eligible credit card in Singapore.
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!