[Travel] On rails

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One mode of transport I like other than plane is rail. So far I have been on KLIA Ekspres in Malaysia, Airport Express/MTR in Hong Kong, Intercity train from Hong Kong to Guang Zhou, Metro in Guang Zhou, HSR/Metro in Taiwan, NEX/Subway in Tokyo, Heathrow Express/Tube in London, Virgin Trains from London to Manchester and Milan Metro. So far more of modern rails or high speed rail and enjoyed them.

So on this recent trip to Hong Kong, I decided to venture into China for 1st time. 2 cities were considered: Shen Zhen and Guang Zhou which are both accessible by train.

Shen Zhen

  • Accessible by MTR.
  • Electronics paradise.

Guang Zhou

  • Accessible by Intercity train. (2 hours approximately.)
  • Bigger city than Shen Zhen.
  • Ex colleagues are there.

So eventually decided on Guang Zhou. Here are some pictures and description on my rail journeys in Hong Kong and Guang Zhou.

Airport Express Ticket

Airport Express ticket. Return journey and 3 days of unlimited travel on MTR at HK$300. (HK$250 after HK$50 refund by returning ticket. HK$350 now for ticket after price adjustment. See this for more information.)

Platform

Airport Express platform directly accessible from Hong Kong International Airport concourse.

Luggage area

Airport Express luggage area.

Station Information

Airport Express station Information.

Power

Airport Express power socket. Good to see USB ports there.

Intercity Through Train

Intercity Through Train to Guang Zhou at Hung Hom station. (Where stadium is.)

First Class Ticket

Intercity Through Train First Class tickets. Well, there is only First Class on this ride. HK$219 each way inclusive of booking fee. See this for more information.

Gate

Intercity Through Train Departure Hall Entrance.

Duty Free

Intercity Through Train Duty Free.

Intercity Through Train

Intercity Through Train. Nice touch to have board to bridge gap between train and platform.

Intercity Through Train Cabin

Intercity Through Train Cabin.

Intercity Through Train footrest

Intercity Through Train footrest and tray table.

Intercity Through Train

Intercity Through Train magazines and tray table.

Intercity Through Train Tray Table

Intercity Through Train tray table set.

Intercity Through Train Power Socket

Intercity Through Train power socket.

Intercity Through Train Menu

Intercity Through Train Menu. Payment can be made by HK$ or RMB. Slightly cheaper in RMB.

Intercity Through Train Fried Ham Sandwich

Intercity Through Train Fried Ham Sandwich with Coffee.

Intercity Through Train Fried Ham Sandwich

Intercity Through Train Fried Ham Sandwich. Egg just the way I like.

Shen Zhen

Shen Zhen

On Intercity Through Train

On Intercity Through Train.

Guang Zhou East Station

Guang Zhou East Station. Interchange for different type of trains including Guang Zhou Metro.

Guang Zhou East Station Concourse

Guang Zhou East Station Concourse.

Guang Zhou Metro Ticketing Machine

Guang Zhou Metro Ticketing Machine.

Guang Zhou Metro Single Trip IC Chip

Guang Zhou Metro Single Trip IC Chip.

Guang Zhou Metro Signs

Guang Zhou Metro Signs.

Mongkok MTR

Mong Kok MTR.

Hong Kong MTR

Hong Kong MTR.

[Gear] Handphone

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Is Mobile World Congress (MWC) week in Barcelona. LG and Samsung have made their announcement. HP also announced Elite x3 which is interesting.

HP Elite X3

HP Elite X3 phone (Qualcomm SnapDragon 820 64-bit quad-core 2.15GHz, 4GB LPDDR4 RAM, 64GB Storage, MicroSD Expansion up to 2TB, CAT 6 LTE, 2×2 802.11AC WIFI, 6″ 2560×1440 AMOLED screen, 2 front facing B&O tunes speakers, Dual SIM, USB-C, 16MP/8MP cameras, Iris Scanner, Fingerprint reader and 4150mAh battery with Qi charging.) powered by Windows Phone. Why? It got a desk dock (3rd row 2nd and 3rd column. Gigabit Ethernet, DisplayPort, 2 USB 3.0 and 1 USB-C.) and Mobile Extender (4th row. 12.5″ 1080p screen, full size keyboard and 48wH battery. Pair it with phone and you can work.)

Other than LG, Samsung and HP, another company that I am watching in MWC is Mi. They will be launching Mi5 in China and MWC. This marks Mi’s debut in MWC and potentially a declaration of their intent to break into international market big time. Mi5 is also confirmed to be running on Qualcomm SnapDragon 820 with various configurations available. Let’s wait and see.

In the meantime, let’s talk about my daily driver: Mi Note. I have been using this for close to 6 months and it has been serving me well on trips. Here’s the specification of Mi Note.

Processor: Qualcomm SnapDragon 801 64-bit quad-core 2.5GHz
RAM: 3GB LPDDR3
Storage: 64GB
Connectivity: LTE, Dual SIM, 802.11AC WIFI
Screen: 5.7″ 1080p LCD
Camera: 13MP/4MP cameras
Battery: 3000mAh
OS: MIUI China Development ROM with Android Marshmallow

Most photos on this site are taken using this phone and it runs all applications featured on this site to keep me productive. Dual SIM is a must for me so that I can use local prepaid SIM card with my Singapore SIM card while overseas to maintain connectivity. Screen is of good quality and size.

It currently retails for SG$569 on http://www.mi.com/sg/minote/ or SG$28 with Singtel Combo 2 signup with 24 months contract on https://www.singtelshop.com/shop/phones/xiaomi-mi-note.

[Travel] Hotel: Dorsett Mongkok

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In Hong Kong, I have stayed in a few hotels and some of them are in top 10 ranking on TripAdvisor. (Hotel Icon for example.) In terms of pricing, I will usually go for less than SG$200 per night unless I want to pamper myself a little and room is really very good. (Club room etc.)

However, I have found a good hotel that will be my base whenever I am in Hong Kong: Dorsett Mongkok. To find out why, check this post.

Dorsett Mongkok is now ranked 69 on TripAdvisor and I feel that it is the most value for money accommodation in Hong Kong.

TripAdvisor Dorsett Mongkok

TripAdvisor Dorsett Mongkok.

I had a chat with an university junior who is based in Hong Kong before I went on my trip. He suggested to help me to book hotel using his corporate rate. But once I tell him about Dorsett Mongkok, he stunned. This deal is too good.

So here are some photos to show you around Dorsett Mongkok.

Dorsett Mongkok Shuttle Bus

Dorsett Mongkok Shuttle Bus. You can get to Dorsett Mongkok by this or Airport Express Shuttle Bus.

Dorsett Mongkok Shuttle Bus TimeTable

Dorsett Mongkok Shuttle Bus TimeTable.

Dorsett Mongkok Entrance

Entrance

Chandelier

Chandelier

Lobby

Lobby

Room 2002

Room 2002. (Level 20.)

Minibar

Minibar (Anything in fridge and chips chargeable, anything out of fridge free.)

Sink

Sink

Shower

Shower

WC

WC

Towards room

Towards room. Enough space to walk.

Bed

Bed in mirror reflection.

Simmons Bed

Simmons Bed.

Mirror around

Mirror around to make it feel spacious.

Safe and drawer

Safe and drawer.

Open wardrobe

Open wardrobe.

Handy and alarm clock

Handy and alarm clock.

Hairdryer and LAN Cable

Hairdryer, LAN Cable and plug adapter.

Information

Information

Table and Chair

Table and Chair

View

View

View

View

[Mobile Application] WorldMate Gold

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How many of you used a Palm OS device before? I have been through Palm OS, Pocket PC, then smartphones like iPhone and Android. One mobile application that has been with me through this entire journey is WorldMate.

Worldmate Logo

WorldMate Logo

WorldMate is a travel management application. It helps you generate and monitor itinerary for your trips. Just forward your itinerary (Sent via email from carrier.) via email to WorldMate’s mailbox and you will see information appearing nicely in WorldMate application with little modification required.

WorldMate Gold

WorldMate Gold (Paid tier with premium services like flight alerts/status, calendar synchronization etc. US$9.99 per year. Book hotel or car with WorldMate to get 3 months free WorldMate Gold.)

WorldMate Home

WorldMate Home. (Upcoming trip showup here.)

WorldMate My Trips

WorldMate My Trips

WorldMate Trip

WorldMate Trip Information

WorldMate Flight

WorldMate Flight Information

WorldMate Hotel

WorldMate Hotel Information

WorldMate Booking

WorldMate Booking

WorldMate Tools

WorldMate Tools

This application is available for FREE without ADs on Android Google Play and iOS App Store.

Google Play APP Store

[Credit Card] Annual Fee: To pay or not to pay?

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Just got off a happy call with American Express staffs (Best customer service in my opinion across all banks.) over my American Express Platinum Credit Card annual fee and decided to close it as annual fee benefit is not fantastic. (25,000 points which converts to 13,500 miles for SG$321. Earn rate? 42.056 miles per SG$1.) By closing this credit card, I can consolidate my split credit limit to my American Express Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer Gold Credit Card (When you have 2 credit cards with American Express, they split up your total credit limit among 2 credit cards and is not shared like other banks.) and this credit card has also helped me waived off annual fee for my American Express Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer Gold Credit Card. Besides that, I can always wait 6 months to get this credit card again for free.

Amex Platinum

Bye Ameican Express Platinum Credit Card! See you again in 6 months time!

So you may ask this golden question on which credit card should you be paying annual fee for? In my current credit card arsenal, there are 3 credit cards that I will pay annual fee for:

PremierMiles

Citibank PremierMiles Visa Signature Credit Card

Altitude Visa

DBS Altitude Visa Signature Credit Card

Altitude Amex

DBS Altitude American Express Credit Card

These 3 credit cards charge an annual fee of SG$192.60 and give you 10,000 miles each. (Earn rate of 51.92 miles per SG$1. Versus SG$321 for 13,500 miles for American Express Platinum Credit Card. Why should I pay SG$128.40 more for 3,500 miles? That is too little.) By combining these 3 credit cards together, you earn 30,000 miles which is sufficient for return economy saver redemption on Singapore Airlines for Taipei.

Below is a table to summarize how easy or difficult it is to get your credit card annual fee waived based on my understanding and experience.

Bank Note
UOB
  • Easiest to get credit card annual fee waiver.
  • Punch in credit card number over voice system to get instant decision. (Update 5 March 2016: No longer an instant decision over system. Need to talk to staff over phone.)
  • Low or no usage requirement for credit card annual fee waiver.
Citibank
  • Easy to get credit card annual fee waiver.
  • Speak to staff over phone for instant decision.
  • Low or no usage requirement for credit card annual fee waiver.
DBS
  • Easy to get credit card annual fee waiver.
  • Speak to staff over phone for instant decision.
  • Low or no usage requirement for credit card annual fee waiver.
Standard Chartered
  • Easy to get credit card annual fee waiver.
  • Speak to staff over phone for instant decision.
  • Low or no usage requirement for credit card annual fee waiver.
American Express
  • Not so easy to get credit card annual fee waiver.
  • Speak to staff over phone for instant decision and options.
  • Usage requirement for credit card annual fee waiver.
OCBC
  • Damn difficult to get credit card annual fee waiver.
  • Take damn long to be able to reach a staff over phone for discussion.
  • SG$5,000 annual usage requirement for credit card annual fee waiver.
  • Inconsistency: Heard some of my friends getting credit card annual fee waived by OCBC even though they never use their OCBC credit card at all.

Disclaimer: Use credit card responsibly.

[Travel] Singapore Airlines A380 Suites to Hong Kong

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Hope you have enjoyed my recent review of Singapore Airline SilverKris Lounge The Private Room at Singapore Changi Airport Terminal 3. I always believe that travel experience and service from an airline starts from ground and ends with ground. From check-in to lounge to boarding to in flight and eventually disembark. Airlines will need to deliver a good experience to delight passengers. Singapore Airlines remains on top of my list when it comes to this. Whenever I fly with them, I enjoyed their service. It is still a great way to fly.

So I flew with Singapore Airlines A380 Suites to Hong Kong in end January 2016. It was my second time travelling on Suites on this route. So I am familiar with this product and what it offers. It is the shortest route (4 Hours at max.) on Singapore Airlines that offers Suites product and they are the first airline to fly Airbus A380 with Suites offering before their middle east competitors.

Boarding

Boarding at Singapore Changi Airport is a smooth and efficient affair. After security screening at gate, I comfortably waited for boarding announcement for Suites, First Class, Business Class and PPS members. PPS stands for Priority Passenger Service which is the elite frequent flyer program offered by Singapore Airlines. Need to spend SG$25,000 with them on premium cabins within 1 year to qualify. (Ouch. Personally thought that unless travel super frequently for business. Otherwise forget about qualifying for this. Even KrisFlyer Elite Silver status is also a bit far fetch for me.)

After boarding announcement was made and ground agent scanned my boarding pass, I am on my way to plane on aerobridge. So far I never had to take a bus to board or disembark a plane in Singapore Changi Airport and I have to thank (But no thanks!) Doha Airport for giving me a chance to do that when I boarded a plane which has Doha as a home hub. (Quite easy to know which 1.) For that experience and many other unpleasant things that add up, that airline went into my condemn list. (That experience is enough for me to write a horror story. Will write about it when I feel like.)

At end of aerobridge, lovely cabin crew were there anticipating arrival and gave a warm welcome.

Gate Display

Gate Display

Priority Lane

Priority Lane

Gate

Gate

Airbus A380

Airbus A380

In cabin

As soon as I set foot on plane, cabin crew escorted me to my Suites: 3D. As I am travelling solo, ground agent did ask me if I like to have a window Suites instead. In any other class, I will have asked for that. For Suites, no way! Unless Suites 3C or 2C is taken. Why? When Suites 3C or 2C is not taken when you are on either Suites 3D or 2D, you can enjoy an expanded feel of roominess. On long haul flights or when travelling with a companion, you can even request for 2 Suites to be combined into 1 with full flat bed deployed for 2. (Not converted from seat.) If not all 12 Suites are occupied, you can even have luxury of requesting for 1 Suites to be used for living/dining room and another 1 for sleep on long haul flight. (First come first serve!)

Suites Plan

Suites Plan. Lower deck front of plane.

Suites 3D

Suites 3D. Small closet for jacket which cabin crew will gladly help you stow your jacket into. Blinds can be pulled down for Privacy.

Empty Suites 3C

Empty Suites 3C. Divider can be pulled up for privacy.

Around Suites

Bose QuietComfort 15 Acoustic Noise Cancellation Headphone

Bose QuietComfort 15 acoustic noise cancelling headphone in compartment, ports and power socket.

Seat Control

Controls

Seat Control

Seat Controls on armrest.

Leg rest or Stool for guest

Leg rest or Stool for guest. Pillow etc by Givenchy. Hand carry luggage stows below here as there is no overhead bins. Magazines and safety information on side.

Full stretch

Full stretch

Door

Door

Food and Beverages

Welcome Drink: Krug Grade Cuvee

Welcome Drink: Krug Grade Cuvée

Dom Pérignon Vintage 2006

Dom Pérignon Vintage 2006

Table set

Table set

Fruit Platter

Fruit Platter: Pomelo, Raspberry and Blueberry

Special K and Pastries

Special K cereal in skim milk and Pastries

Book-The-Cook: Nasi Lemak

Book The Cook: Nasi Lemak. Recommended by my friends who are in service and ex Singapore Girl. Good recommendation. Had this as I have tried Boston Lobster Thermidor in my first Suites flight.

Dessert: Warm Banana Crumble with Chocolate Ice Cream, Canilla Sauce, Fresh Fruit Salad and Blue Mountain Coffee

Dessert: Warm Banana Crumble with Chocolate Ice Cream, Vanilla Sauce, Fresh Fruit Salad and Blue Mountain Coffee

In Flight Entertainment System (KrisWorld)

Personally find in flight entertainment system to be lacking in content and sound quality. Especially if it is middle east airlines. Censored movies…Thanks! I prefer to bring my own Asus Transformer Book T100 Chi with movies loaded and use Sennheiser PXC310 Noise Cancelling Headphone nowadays. However, Singapore Airlines KrisWorld is one of the better In flight entertainment system around.

KrisWorld Controls

KrisWorld Controls

Screen and leg rest

23″ Screen and leg rest

Flight Map

Flight Map with Dom Pérignon Vintage 2006

Screen

23″ Screen

Benefit of empty Suites next door

Benefit of empty Suites next door: 2 screens!

Conclusion

Singapore Airlines A380 Suites may have been caught up by middle east competitors in terms of hardware like newer Airbus A380, more lavish Suites, in flight shower, bar etc. However, 1 thing remains in Singapore Airlines favor: Service. Service in Singapore Airlines A380 Suites is very personalize and attentive. Team of Stewards and Stewardesses make sure you are well taken care of. They check in from time to time to see how they can help you and make your journey a comfortable 1. I also enjoyed my conversation with them about the flight, experience, Hong Kong and even food/drinks options. They make good recommendations. Some of them are even certified Sommeliers.

This flight is also a test to crews’ capability. As it is only a 4 hours flight, crew delivered nothing short of the impeccable service offered on A380 Suites on a long haul flight.

Suites

Suites

Stairs to upper deck

Stairs to upper deck

Disclaimer: Drink Responsibly.

[Credit Card] Miles

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Many people asked me about travel oriented credit cards. So which 1 to get? There is never a 1 card to own them all kind of credit card. So I recommend a combo to maximize your mileage accrual and travel benefits.

Here are 56 travel oriented credit cards that occupy a place n my wallet and how to use them.

PremierMiles

Citibank PremierMiles Visa Signature Credit Card

PrviMiles

UOB PrviMiles World MasterCard Credit Card

Altitude Amex

DBS Altitude American Express Credit Card

Altitude Visa

DBS Altitude Visa Signature Credit Card

[NEW!] American Express Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer Credit Card

American Express Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer Credit Card

ANZ Travel Card

ANZ Travel Card Visa Signature Credit Card (Soon to be gone…)

Travel Credit Card Comparison

Travel Credit Card Comparison

From above table, you will be able to see cells highlighted in green or red. Green means best in category while red means poor. As a starter, will recommend the following cards:

American Express Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer Credit Card.

The good:

  • Annual Income requirement: SG$30,000. (SG$60,000 for foreigners.)
  • 5,000 miles on 1st transaction which will effectively give you an earn rate of 5,000 miles per SG$1 if you charge just SG$1 on your 1st transaction. (No other credit card can beat this kind of earn rate.)
The bad:
  • Earn rate of miles is still quite lousy even after improvement. (Other than welcome bonus.)
  • Miles will be subjected to a 3 year expiry as they are directly transferred to your Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer account immediately.
  • No airport lounge benefit.
  • Travel insurance coverage is quite minimal. (Need to charge full airfare to credit card to enjoy benefit.)
The ugly:
  • No annual fee renewal bonus. So never ever pay for annual fee for this credit card. If you have an American Express Platinum Credit Card, it will be waived. If not, kill this credit card when they charge annual fee. You can reapply 6 months later with annual fee waived for 1 year.

Bottom line:

  • Use this as your Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer membership card after 1st transaction.

DBS Altitude Visa Signature Credit Card

The good:

  • Annual income requirement: SG$30,000.
  • Decent earn rate. (1.2 miles per SG$1 locally, 2 miles per SG$1 after FX conversion for transactions performed using FX and 3 miles per SG$1 on Singapore Airlines.)
  • 10,000 miles renewal bonus by paying annual fee of SG$192.60. (Earn rate of 51.92 miles per SG$1.)
  • No expiry for miles till transfer to programs.
  • Priority Pass.
  • Travel insurance coverage of up to SG$1,000,000. (Need to charge full airfare to credit card to enjoy benefit.)

The bad:

  • No welcome bonus.
The ugly:
  • Block redemption requirement. (10,000 miles per 5,000 points.)

Bottom line:

DBS Altitude American Express Credit Card

The good:

  • Annual income requirement: SG$30,000.
  • Decent earn rate. (1.2 miles per SG$1 locally, 2 miles per SG$1 after FX conversion for transactions performed using FX and 3 miles per SG$1 on Singapore Airlines.)
  • 10,000 miles renewal bonus by paying annual fee of SG$192.60. (Earn rate of 51.92 miles per SG$1.)
  • No expiry for miles till transfer to programs.
  • Travel insurance coverage of up to SG$1,000,000. (Need to charge full airfare to credit card to enjoy benefit.)

The bad:

  • No welcome bonus.
  • No airport lounge benefit.
The ugly:
  • Block redemption requirement. (10,000 miles per 5,000 points.)

Bottom line:

  • Pay annual fee for renewal bonus.

ANZ Travel Card Visa Signature Credit Card

The good:

  • Annual income requirement: SG$30,000. (Advertised to be SG$60,000. 50% discount! Woo!)
  • Decent earn rate. (1.4 miles per SG$1. Good for local not good for overseas as it will stay at 1.4 miles per SG$1.)
  • No expiry for miles till transfer to programs.

The bad:

  • No annual fee renewal bonus. So never ever pay annual fee for this credit card.
  • No airport lounge benefit.
  • No travel insurance benefit.
The ugly:
  • Block redemption requirement. (5,000 miles per 5,000 points.)

Bottom line:

  • Use this card only if you travel to Australia and New Zealand regularly.

Once your income increase to SG$50,000 per annum, that is when a new world opens up for you. 3 more credit cards can come into play.

American Express Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer Ascend Credit Card.

(Note: You can only hold 1 American Express Singapore Airlines branded credit card and no more than 2 American Express issued credit card at any time. Credit limit will also be split among 2 credit cards evenly.)

Ascend

American Express Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer Ascend Credit Card

The good:

  • Annual Income requirement: SG$50,000. (SG$60,000 for foreigners.)
  • 5,000 miles on 1st transaction which will effectively give you an earn rate of 5,000 miles per SG$1 if you charge just SG$1 on your 1st transaction. (No other credit card can beat this kind of earn rate.)
  • SATS Premier Lounge and Plaza Premium Lounge benefit.
  • Travel insurance coverage of up to SG$1,000,000. (Need to charge full airfare to credit card to enjoy benefit.)
The bad:
  • Earn rate of miles is quite lousy even after improvement. (Other than welcome bonus.)
  • Miles will be subjected to a 3 year expiry as they are directly transferred to your Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer account immediately.
The ugly:
  • No annual fee renewal bonus. So never ever pay for annual fee for this credit card. Kill this credit card when they charge annual fee. You can reapply 6 months later with annual fee waived for 1st year.

Bottom line:

  • Use this as your Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer membership card after 1st transaction.

Citibank PremierMiles Visa Signature Credit Card

The good:

  • Annual income requirement: SG$50,000.
  • Decent earn rate. (1.2 miles per SG$1 locally and 2 miles per SG$1 after FX conversion for transactions performed using FX.)
  • 10,000 miles renewal bonus by paying annual fee of SG$192.60. (Earn rate of 51.92 miles per SG$1.)
  • No expiry for miles till transfer to programs.
  • No block redemption requirement.
  • Priority Pass.
  • Travel insurance coverage of up to SG$1,000,000. (Need to charge full airfare to credit card to enjoy benefit.)

The bad:

  • No welcome bonus.

The ugly

  • Block redemption requirement (10,000 miles per 10,000 points with effect from 30 March 2017.)

Bottom line:

  • Use this card on day to day basis especially overseas or online. Always specify to pay in local currency when given a choice for maximum earn rate.
  • Priority Pass.
  • Pay annual fee for renewal bonus.

UOB PrviMiles World MasterCard Credit Card

The good:

  • Annual income requirement: SG$50,000. (Advertised to be SG$80,000. SG$80,000 required for foreigners.)
  • Best earn rate. (1.4 miles per SG$1 locally, 2.4 miles per SG$1 after FX conversion for transactions performed using FX and 3 miles per SG$1 on Singapore Airlines.)
  • Travel insurance coverage of up to SG$1,000,000. (Need to charge full airfare to credit card to enjoy benefit.)
  • JetQuay.

The bad:

  • No welcome bonus. (I got this card when there was a welcome bonus promotion. 15,000 miles by paying annual fee of SG$256.80. 58.41 miles per SG$1. Decent earn rate.)
The ugly:
  • Block redemption requirement. (10,000 miles per 5,000 points.)
  • 2 years point expiry. (Combine with block redemption requirement = FUGLY.)
  • No annual fee renewal bonus. So never ever pay annual fee for this credit card.

Bottom line:

  • Get this just for JetQuay.

Disclaimer: Use credit card responsibly.

[Gear] Sennheiser Noise Cancelling Headphone

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Update (22 February 2016): The Bluetooth version of this (PXC310BT) will be available at SG$299 (Usual price SG$549) during upcoming IT Show from 10-13 March 2016. 60 pieces only. Book at: http://presales.itshow.com.sg/product/pxc-310-bluetooth/.

One type of headphone that many travelers may encounter is noise cancelling headphone. When you sit near to an engine or have babies around in flight, this can be a lifesaver. In premium cabins, airlines are also offering premium noise cancelling headphone for passengers’ use. An example is Singapore Airlines that offer Bose QuietComfort 15 acoustic noise cancelling headphone for Suites passengers to use.

Bose on Singapore Airlines Suites

Bose QuietComfort 15 acoustic noise cancelling headphone on Singapore Airlines Suites

I have tried Bose QuietComfort 15 acoustic noise cancelling headphone on Singapore Airlines Suites and find it to work well. However, few concerns here:

  • Size: Too huge for travel. If I buy 1 for myself, this headphone in carrying pouch will occupy quite a lot of real estate in my backpack. Not travel friendly.
  • Battery: Dead battery = no music.
  • Noise cancelling that worked too well: Wait…Isn’t that supposed to be good? In my opinion, not exactly. You may still want to be able to hear some ambient sound for safety reason like announcements from cabin crew or even in Singapore Airlines case, hissing sound from door which lead to their A380’s emergency cabin decompression lading in Azerbaijan in January 2014.

So how does noise cancelling headphone work? Sennheiser has a good video to explain.

Sennheiser Noisegard Headphone Transducer

Sennheiser Noisegard Headphone Transducer

Speaking about Sennheiser, I have been using their PXC310 noise cancelling headphone for a while and it does address concerns raised above.

  • Size: Half of Bose QuietComfort 15 acoustic noise cancelling headphone when folded and stored in casing.
Sennheiser PXC310 noise cancellation headphone folded

Sennheiser PXC310 noise cancelling headphone folded

  • Battery: Dead battery = music plays on. Just less noise cancelling.
  • Noise cancelling: On ear for Sennheiser vs Over ear for Bose. Over ear will provide better noise cancelling. However, too much of noise cancelling is not good as mentioned. Sennheiser also has a killer feature: Talkthrough. Push 1 button, music mutes and external mic will be switched on to allow you to converse normally with cabin crew or hear announcements without having to remove your headphone.

Sennheiser PXC310 is an old model. However, you can still find them for sale online. Do note that there is also a Bluetooth version available as well. Bluetooth version has wired connectivity too. So hope it helps.

[Mobile Application] Agoda

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On my recent trip to Hong Kong, I also made use of Agoda mobile application to manage my hotel booking.

Agoda Mobile Application

Agoda Mobile Application

Once launched, you will see this landing page where you can search for hotels and make booking. (Book from website to get discount and additional points.)

Agoda Landing Page

Agoda Landing Page

By selecting menu on top left hand corner, you can access other functions.

Agoda Menu

Agoda Menu

My Bookings

My Bookings

Booking Details

Booking Details

Booking Details 2

Booking Details (More)

This application is available for FREE without ADs on Android Google Play and iOS App Store.

Google Play APP Store