The OCBC 360 Account was a game changer in Singapore - for most of us average Singaporeans, the account brought the pathetic 0.05% interest rates offered by most banks to something that was decent enough to make us switchover (even from Standard Chartered Bonus$aver). Once this has taken off, UOB quickly followed with the One Account (click HERE to find out whether the OCBC 360 or UOB One is better!) to steal some of the market share. A couple of days ago, Standard Chartered unveiled the brand new Bonus$aver (Bonus Saver) Deposit Account that gives up to 3.88% interest p.a. on your first S$100,000 deposit balance (OCBC and UOB applies the bonus interest on the first S$60,000 and S$50,000 respectively only).
In order for you to earn the maximum interest rate (3.88%) the first S$100,000 of your deposit balance, you will have to complete four different tasks (each with a different bonus interest rate tied to it).
+1.00% from Salary Credit
In order for you to earn an additional percent of bonus interest, you will have to credit your monthly salary (at least S$3,000 nett) into the Standard Chartered Bonus$aver account by way of a GIRO application. Since the required amount is calculated post-CPF deductions, you should be making at least S$3,750 per month in order for this bonus interest to trigger.
+1.88% from Spending
If you wish to trigger this bonus, you will have to spend at least S$2,000 (or equivalent in foreign currency) per calendar month based on the posting date of transactions. Spending anywhere between S$500 and S$1,999.99 will only give you 0.88% (instead of 1.88%)!
+0.75% from Investing with Standard Chartered
If you invest on your own, good for you but in order for the 0.75% bonus interest to trigger, you will have to either purchase an eligible insurance policy (at least S$12,000 annual premium) or have a minimum subscription sum of S$30,000 in an eligible unit trust. Your investments with other brokers don't count towards this obviously.
+0.25% from Bill Payments
The last one is pretty simple - all you have to do is to make at least 3 bill payments (through GIRO or internet banking) of at least S$50 each to qualify for the bonus interest.
You should definitely check out the nifty little calculator that Standard Chartered has on the website to see whether is it worth switching over. If you have at least S$100,000 in your account, it's not a bad idea to put your money here as the threshold for bonus interest is comparatively higher to both OCBC and UOB.
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.
The Le Club AccorHotels loyalty program went through some changes earlier this year and like I have mentioned multiple times before, the points that you accrue on this program will essentially offset your future stays - there is no fixed rate of redemption for rooms but the points have a fixed value that is tied to the Euro currency (2,000 Le Club AccorHotels Points = €40).
The ANZ Travel Visa Signature Credit Card was one of my favourite credit cards in Singapore when I first starting working - it once offered complimentary and unlimited lounge access, limousine transfer after spending a reasonable amount and paying the annual fees (S$200) for 10,000 miles seem to be pretty reasonable. Starting from 01 April 2017 however, the ANZ Travel Visa Signature Credit Card will no longer offer lounge access (yes not even the horrible DragonPass Airport lounge access) and there will no longer be anymore renewal miles when you pay the annual fee - how is this even a travel card anymore?!
If you are not too concerned with hotel loyalty programs and you simply want to earn the most miles on hotel stays, Kaligo is truly the way to go (so long the price difference between Kaligo and a bigger OTA is not too drastic) to chalk up those valuable miles. If you are based in Singapore and have been put off by the upcoming KrisFlyer Miles devaluation, Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan miles are something worth looking into.
When I wrote about the OCBC VOYAGE Card last month, I mentioned that cardholders will have access to a dedicated concierge that can assist you in making restaurant reservations, travel itinerary planning and also provide to you a range of other services (so long it is legal!) that cardholders like myself can enjoy. One of the feedback that I have gotten from that article was that the Visa Infinite brand itself has a concierge that cardholders can benefit from - as such, I felt the desperate need to basically compare both the Visa Infinite Concierge and the VOYAGE Exchange (private concierge service for OCBC VOYAGE Card) to find out whether or not the higher annual fee (after factoring in the value of renewal miles) is justified.
I have only recently lost my Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG) Gold status that I have gotten with just one qualifying stay when I paid for it using a World MasterCard. One of the things that I truly appreciated with SPG Gold was the 4PM guaranteed late checkout benefits at most properties. Last evening, I received my new Marriott Rewards Silver card in the mail and got the offer to buy back my Gold Elite status for 25,000 Marriott Rewards Points. Now that Marriott Rewards and SPG have integrated, buying back Gold Elite would also mean another year of SPG Status which I wouldn't mind at all. Also, as you may already know, there is currently a sale of up to 30% off on Starpoints purchases which you can in turn convert into Marriott Rewards Points in blocks of 1,000 at a conversion rate of 3:1.
I have previously written about the opportunity to earn points for simply visiting participating Plaza Premium Lounges around the world through a membership called Arrture. At that point of writing, the only redemption option was a lounge-access voucher for 2,000 Arrture Points. This has changed recently however as you are now able to redeem your Arrture Points for a range of vouchers and products (with the latter being a work-in-progress still) online.