Taxis in Japan are notoriously expensive and most travellers try to avoid them at all cost. There is usually no issue since the buses and trains are amazing but on a few recent trips, I have found myself taking a taxi because I was either rushing for time, or the buses just did not operate at a time that was suitable to my schedule. JapanTaxi is a tourist-friendly app that allows you to estimate your taxi fare in Japan, make a reservation or call a taxi immediately - payment can also be done online with your credit card (including Apple Pay) so you do not have to sweat the small things. If you have not utilised this app before, using my referral code will save you ¥1,000 (approximately SGD 12) on your first ride!
Use '7E033E' to take 1,000 Yen off your first ride on JapanTaxi!
There are currently more than 60,000 taxis that cover all 47 prefectures of Japan and when I utilised it last year, I have had no problems at all - you can set both your pick-up point and destination on the app easily in English but more importantly, the condition of the taxis were impeccable! There is no real need to converse with your driver (in case the language barrier is there) since the driver already have your destination so you can simply get on and get off effortlessly. While the rates are not exactly cheap, they are nowhere near as scary as what everyone claims it to be - most of my short rides average around ¥1,000 - ¥2,000 (SGD 12 to SGD 24) and honestly, my most expensive ride was under ¥4,000. There are plenty of places to go to in Japan and I am not saying that riding on a taxi should be your preferred mode of transport in Japan, but if you are having trouble navigating the place or you are simply rushing for time, hopping on a taxi in Japan should not be such an intimidating experience.
The American Express Chillax Program needs no introduction - Platinum (including credit card) members get to enjoy 1-for-1 drinks at some of the best bars and restaurants in Singapore. Just to be clear, this benefit is extended to holders of The Centurion Card, The Platinum Card, The American Express Platinum Reserve Credit Card and The American Express Platinum Credit Card issued in Singapore. Today, Amrith by The Song of India has joined the ranks of the other merchants to offer a similar benefit.
Gone are the days in Singapore where your savings accounts only attract a 0.05% p.a. interest rate. While I have always advocated the use of OCBC 360 for a young working adult, the newly-enhanced DBS Multiplier Account looks comparatively attractive now that I have greater expenses and commitments. The bonus interests applicable to the DBS Multiplier Account is capped at S$100,000 (S$30,000 more than the OCBC 360) but more importantly, it rewards you based on the total value of eligible transactions each month.
OCBC has just unveiled a brand new payment facility for OCBC VOYAGE Card Members - you will now be able to apply for the facility (which allows you to pay for anything that requires a bank account deposit instead of credit card payment) and earn 1 VOYAGE Miles per S$1. Now the only catch is this - you will have to pay a 1.90% or 1.95% admin fee depending on whether your transaction amount is S$150,100 and above or between S$10,000 - S$150,000.
Let's face it - Starbucks serves terrible coffee (especially when you are a black coffee drinker) but it does offer convenience and occasionally a nice environment to sit in (sans students studying and taking up the entire real estate). You should already know that the Citi Rebate benefit has been discontinued yesterday (25 April 2019) and you have only until 03 May 2019 to utilise any outstanding balance.
Singapore Airlines and Qatar Airways are now participating airlines in the American Express International Airline Programme and when I compared the IAP to public rates a couple of days ago, Business Class tickets on Singapore Airlines were 28% cheaper (but on average they are approximately 10-15% lower which is still an amazing deal!).
The Platinum Card from American Express offers plenty of benefits and with the recent inclusion of Singapore Airlines in the International Airline Programme (IAP), this card has gotten a lot more useful for me since I can now book Business Class flights at a significant discount (and still earn miles/PPS Value from them)! If you have been on the fence about this charge card, check out my previous article on how I actually rationalised paying for the S$1,712 annual fee.
The new KrisFlyer UOB Credit Card looks great but the only caveat is this - all the 'Accelerated Miles' will only post AFTER your card's membership year. This means to say that you will only expect to see your bonus miles next year!
When I wrote about the changes to the International Airline Programme for American Express Platinum Members earlier today, I did not expect the savings to be drastic. If you have not seen that article, Singapore Airlines and Qatar Airways have essentially joined the IAP and American Express Centurion as well as Platinum Members now have access to discounted Business Class and First Class fares (that is not publicly available).
One of the perks of the American Express Platinum Card that do not get talked about very often is the International Airline Program (IAP). When I rationalised paying the S$1,712 annual fee for The Platinum Card late last year, I noticed that the Business Flex rate for an Emirates flight costed approximately 11.5% lower than the publicly available rate. Today, a number of changes to the IAP have been implemented for The Platinum Card by American Express.
American Express Platinum Members in Singapore can now book Fine Hotels & Resorts rates online - get instant confirmation on luxury properties!