If you have not heard about the IHG Friends and Family Rate, you should definitely check it out (especially if you are not big on points and statuses). It basically gives you a (sometimes) hefty discount on IHG properties worldwide so long you know someone from the inside - the only proof you need is a voucher that you can download HERE and the employee's name. To get an example of how the rates will look like, check out Paul Gibbs's link HERE!
Honestly, I have forgotten all about this until this morning when I chanced upon the article on LoyaltyLobby who reveals that the advertised 15% discount may differ from property to property - this is sometimes what happens when you are too busy chasing points. Since IHG Points are worth relatively lesser in Singapore, this has got me wondering whether or not it is worthwhile to use the Friends and Family Rate for stays here instead.
For the purpose of this example, I have deliberately picked a random (non Public Holiday) weekend in July to include the newer IHG Properties that are opening. Here's a quick comparison of the Best Available Rate online versus the IHG Friends and Family Rate:
|IHG Property||Best Available Rate||Friends and Family Rate||Discount|
|Holiday Inn Express: Singapore Katong||S$128.00++||S$108.80++||15%|
|Holiday Inn Express: Singapore Clarke Quay||S$180.00++||S$153.00++||15%|
|Holiday Inn Express: Singapore Orchard Road||S$207.00++||S$175.95++||15%|
|Hotel Indigo: Singapore Katong||S$180.00++||S$153.00++||15%|
|Holiday Inn: Singapore Atrium||S$167.00++||S$141.95++||15%|
|Holiday Inn: Singapore Orchard City Centre||S$207.00++||S$175.95++||15%|
|Crowne Plaza: Changi Airport||S$261.00++||S$221.85++||15%|
Unfortunately for us folks in Singapore, the 15% off Advance Purchase and BAR does seem to hold true. While 15% is not a lot when you have a status to begin with, it will most definitely provide significant savings for the infrequent traveller who do not care for statuses and points. Remember the IHG Friends and Family Rate is not elite qualifying - you will not earn points from these!
After a series of Business Class flights on Emirates, I have finally achieved MVP Gold status on the Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan program. I have previously written about how crediting flights to the right program makes a world of difference - on my Business Class flights from Singapore to New York, I would have gotten only a one-way Economy Class flight from Singapore to Perth if I had credited it to Emirates Skywards. However, since I chose to credit it to my the Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan account, I had almost enough miles for a return-flight (somewhat even though a short detour is required) to Tokyo in Business Class.
The Citi Rewards Card is one of my recommended credit cards to hold in Singapore - up until last month, this credit card was offering a massive 8 miles per dollar on all Apple Pay transactions! Now that the promotion has ended, cardholders are still able to earn up to 10X Rewards (4 miles per dollar) when shopping for clothes, bags or shoes or at department stores or online shopping websites at eligible merchants. As you already know, the 10X Rewards is capped at maximum of 120,000 Rewards points per card anniversary year - this is about to change on 04 October 2018.
Anyone who has read The Straits Times today must have seen Bank of China's full-page ad for the brand new BOC Elite Miles World Mastercard that offers up to 5 miles and 2 miles per dollar for foreign and local currency transactions respectively. Now before you get exceedingly excited, do note that these earn rates are promotional and they will only last until 31 December 2018 (your card must also be approved by 15 December 2018). Following the promotional period, the regular earn rates for this card revert to 3 miles and 1.5 miles per dollar for eligible foreign and local currency transactions respectively.
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.
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.
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.
Everyone knows about the acquisition of SPG by Marriott International and as most of us would have expected, all three loyalty programs which are operating independently today (even though they are linked and points can be transferred freely between them), will come together to form one powerful program. Marriott Rewards, The Ritz-Carlton Rewards as well as the Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG) programme will be unified in August 2018 to offer loyalty benefits across all 29 brands that are under the Marriott International portfolio - a brand new loyalty program name will only be unveiled in 2019.