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.
In case you are not aware, Grab has quite recently launched two new subscription passes on top of the GrabClub passes. Targeted at regular Grab users, the brand new Flat-fare Ride Pass and Short Commute Pass offers potential discounts to users who understand their own traveling habits. There are two versions in each one of these plans and the only differentiating factor is the number of ride vouchers - light and heavy gives you 10 and 20 ride vouches respectively (and you have 30 days from the date of purchase to use them).
Traveling better in 2019 should be everyone's new year resolution and there is no greater time to get into the 'Miles Game' than right now. If you have not been motivated enough to apply for new credit cards, these new sign-up bonuses should give you that extra push! From 7-31 January 2019, apply for the following credit cards (which will help you accrue plenty of miles throughout the year) and get up to S$200 worth of rewards for each successful application! As part of the a competition between Team Miles vs. Team Cashback - each successful application will contribute 1 point to the team and all applications in the winning team will receive an additional bonus ang pow (red packet) at the end of the promotional period!
The American Express Platinum Card is probably my personal favourite card that I have applied for in 2018 - the S$1,712 annual fee may put most people off but the perks are great and you can truly get your money's worth if you use the benefits that come with the card. One of the most interesting benefits that comes with the American Express Platinum Card is access to PLATINUM VIBES which is a members-only space that is created for Centurion and Platinum Members.
The start of a new year always brings about new surprises and benefits (at least in the world of credit cards). From now until 30 September 2019, American Express Platinum Members (both Basic and Supplementary Platinum Members) with The Platinum Card (not to be confused with the credit card versions) will be able to enjoy complimentary access to events, talks and seminars (excluding workshops) held by the American Chamber of Commerce in Singapore (AmCham).
2018 has been a fairly unexciting year where new hotels and credit cards are concerned (perhaps with the exception of the American Express Platinum Card) and even though the global market is in bear market territory right now, it is important to be forward-looking in the year ahead. For all of us mile-chasers, these are the credit cards that you should be holding for 2019. There are of course some crazy credit cards out there in Singapore (that require an extremely high annual income or AUM) but for the sake of sanity and relevance, I am just limiting this article to credit cards that require up to S$200,000 annual income - all credit cards with a comparatively higher annual income requirement are placed in a separate section.
Getting cashback for online purchases is not rocket science and ShopBack has truly made it extremely easy for users to get a proportion of their money back - I have been using this platform conscientiously over the years and have gotten cashback over S$3,000 (most of which are from travel bookings). ShopBack now allows you to earn cashback on physical (offline) transactions made at restaurants - this cashback (current sits at 5% for most stores) will then sit in your ShopBack account and you can then transfer it out to a bank account with no administrative charges once a minimum balance of S$10 is attained.
Hyatt has been making a number of loyalty program enhancements ever since the official relaunch (as World of Hyatt) in early 2017. Members are now able to use their points for free nights in premium suites and there is no longer a minimum length of stay for free nights in suites. With that being said, Points + Cash rates have also been devalued since members are now required to pay 50% of the BAR (instead of a fixed rate). In a bid to improve the loyalty program, World of Hyatt will be introducing Milestone Rewards to all members from 01 March 2019 - members will soon be able to unlock more perks and benefits with every 10 nights that they stay with the brand (up to 100 nights per year).
It is no secret that I love my American Express Platinum Card- the S$1,712 annual fee may put most people off but the perks are amazing and if you do enjoy traveling in style, these benefits will essentially offset the annual fee very easily (especially in the first year). One thing that American Express does very well is the American Express Offers that cardholders can sign-up for - this morning, I noticed that American Express Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer Credit Card members can now earn 4 bonus KrisFlyer Miles for every S$1 spent on RedMart (registration is necessary) - the bonus miles are capped at 1,600 KrisFlyer miles per Card and the offer is limited to the first 15,000 eligible Cards which are successfully registered for the offer.
I have heard through the grapevine this morning that InterContinental Ambassadors (as well as Royal Ambassadors) will be getting some enhanced benefits in the year ahead. Unfortunately for RA members, they will be seeing some significant changes to minibar inclusions - RA members used to be able to enjoy everything in the minibar for free. If you are a regular InterContinental Ambassador member like me, you should relatively happy with all the upcoming changes. Remember, you can pay to become an InterContinental Ambassador for just USD 200 or 40,000 IHG Rewards Club Points - the membership will last for 12 months.
With only less than three weeks left in 2018, it is important to look ahead to the new year and start planning for all those new hotel openings in Singapore. While 2017 was a great year for travellers since there were a number of iconic hotel openings that year, 2018 was a fairly unexciting one. There will be an increase in supply of hotel rooms in the Luxury and Mid-tier segments in 2019 and there will also be a couple of new brand introductions into the Singapore market.