During my latest trip to Melbourne, Australia, I have gotten not one, not two but THREE speeding tickets from the State Government of Victoria. Unlike most traffic fines in Singapore, getting out of a ticket in Victoria (or Australia in general) is not that easy and even more importantly, the fines are not at all cheap so think twice before speeding! If you have provided your residential address correctly while you were renting a vehicle, the speeding tickets should get to you in Singapore in about 4-6 weeks.
How Much are Speeding Fines in Victoria?
It is extremely costly to get caught for speeding in the state of Victoria and the fine ranges from AU$194 to AU$777 per ticket. If you have successfully managed to chalk up three speeding fines in one trip like me, the total speeding fine will amount to somewhere between AU$582 and AU$2,331!
When Can I Seek an Internal Review for a Waiver?
I always believe in being responsible for your actions - if you have sped during your trip, you should be willing to pay for your fines without complaining. Victoria Police has the right to withdraw a fine and issue an official warning in its place - each one of these applications are judged on a case-by-case basis. While there is no concrete official guidelines to applying for a waiver, you may apply for an Internal Review if you satisfy the following conditions:
- Exceeded Speed Limit by less than 10km/hr
- Previous Good Driving Record - no infringements in the last two years
If you have an infringement notice that recorded your travelling speed to be at 10km/hr (or more) above the stipulated speed limit, an official warning will not be issued in place of your infringement notice - in other words, don't bother trying.
How do I apply for an Internal Review?
According to the Victoria Police, Applications for internal review must:
- be in writing
- state the grounds for review
- provide current address and licence details
- contain letter of consent, or other evidence of consent, if submitted on behalf of a third party.
Even though I have lost my Hilton Honors Diamond status this year, I noticed that my upcoming stays in two Hilton properties - the Hilton Singapore and the Hilton Auckland - have both been pre-upgraded. Even though I was a Diamond member for the past two years, I have never been proactively-upgraded in the system prior to arrival (perhaps I have just been really unlucky?) so it is comforting to see that properties are now starting to do it. I am not sure whether this is a global initiative but having to ask for an upgrade as an elite member annoys me (especially as a Platinum Elite in the Marriott Rewards program).
I have compared the differences between the UOB One Account (which current advertises up to 3.33% p.a. interest rates) and the OCBC 360 Account a couple of years ago. Even with the changes that the OCBC 360 has introduced over the years, it is still one of my preferred savings account in Singapore since I can achieve up to 1.85% p.a. of interest (you can earn up to 3.05% p.a. interest if you insure or invest with OCBC), up to S$70,000 fairly easily. The UOB One Account will be introducing some changes from 01 August 2018 and they are quite lucrative (especially if you already use a UOB One credit card which gives you cash rebates) but it may not necessarily be convincing enough for me to make the switch.
It goes without saying that the OCBC Titanium Rewards Card is one of my favourite credit cards in Singapore and it has earned its rightful place in my (digital) wallet since last year. While the card is supposed to offer 10X OCBC$ (which translates into 4 miles per dollar) on all mobile payments (e.g. Apple Pay) until the end of the year, I noticed yesterday that the benefit has been amended to end on 04 August 2018 instead.
I have recently signed-up for the Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG) Platinum Elite Status Challenge which requires me to do 18 eligible nights over a span of 90 days. With the upcoming loyalty program merger which is supposed to happen in August 2018, I wanted to obtain Platinum Elite status since hitting 50 nights might be a little bit of a challenge for me (since I barely travel for work). If you have not done it and would like to qualify on stays instead, Marriott Rewards is offering the opportunity to do 9 stays in 90 days and this will port over to Platinum Premier Elite (instead of a lower-tier Platinum Elite with SPG) in August if your challenge is completed successfully.
I have been on a mission to obtain Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG) Platinum Status ahead of the upcoming program merger in August 2018. Since I have not really stayed over at the JW Marriott Singapore South Beach before, I decided to book myself into a weekend stay - I have booked a Deluxe Room since SPG Platinum Status would give me guaranteed lounge access (which also includes breakfast) for the stay. Last evening, I received an email from the reservations team upselling me breakfast and club lounge access for this stay - this is not the first time that I have actually received this, so I wanted to share a couple of thoughts regarding such upsells.
Asia Miles will be introducing some new changes to the way miles are being earned and redeemed on 22 June 2018 - everything stays the same until then. If you are unfamiliar with the differences between Asia Miles and The Marco Polo Club, feel free to check out my primer on this subject. Asia Miles is a particularly important subject for Singaporean consumers since most credit card points convert either into KrisFlyer or Asia Miles - this article aims to list the top few changes that would probably affect you the most.
KrisFlyer vRooms now allows KrisFlyer members to use their valuable miles on hotel stays and car rentals but the bottom line is this - save your miles for those Business Class and First Class flights instead. Now I have no expertise in car rentals but I dare say that I have had my fair share of hotel stays over the years.
Japan is very much a cash-based society and it drives me crazy for a number of reason. Firstly, I personally do not like carrying coins since getting rid of them is always a bit of a pain. Secondly, every time I transact using cash is a missed opportunity at earning miles - the Standard Chartered Visa Infinite Credit Card gives me 3 miles per SGD on foreign currency transactions with a S$2,000 minimum spend requirement in each statement period. With all that being said, a lot of the shops here in Tokyo at least accept the use of Pasmo and Suica cards. I have been using a Pasmo card for the last couple of years but I found out quite recently that it is possible to add a Suica card into your iPhone (or Apple Watch) so you can use it very conveniently with your preferred Apple device but more importantly, it creates a proxy to use your credit card(s) via the Suica card (which means you can potentially earn 8 miles per dollar on your next bowl of ramen!).
One of the most common mistakes that people who are new to flying make is crediting their flights into the wrong Frequent Flyer Program (FFP). As many of you would already know, crediting your flights into the right FFP can make a huge difference and I just wanted to highlight this point on a number of flights that I have taken recently. If you have been following me on Instagram, you would have noticed that I travelled to the USA recently on Emirates Business Class - this is a return Business Saver ticket from Singapore (SIN) to New York (JFK) via Dubai (DXB).
With the upcoming Grab-Uber merger on the horizon, there is no better time than now to revisit the best credit cards and platforms to use for Grab rides (especially with the recent introduction of new membership programs). This article aims to highlight a combination of promotions and offers that you can use to get most value out of your Grab rides in Singapore (even though some of them apply to rides taken overseas as well) and while it may not be exhaustive, it will definitely help you save more money on your Grab rides on the whole.