Happy Anniversary!

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This site was started 1 year ago to share about what I know and love.

How to use credit cards to earn your next trip?
How to travel in style with the least money?
Where are the good deals?
What gear am I using?
What membership cards are useful?
What mobile applications are making my life easier?

Here’s a video to wish this site Happy Anniversary with many more years to come.

[Credit Cards] Concierge

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For upcoming trip to Hong Kong, I thought I will want to watch a concert at the classic Hong Kong Coliseum AKA 红磡 and what can be more classic than a concert by god of songs 歌神 Jacky Cheung 张学友.

Jacky Cheung A Classic Tour

Jacky Cheung A Classic Tour

For this kind of concert, there is no doubt that tickets are sold out pretty quickly. So this calls for some special arrangement. You may know each credit card has a phone number behind that you can call your bank for issues with your credit cards. Some banks may even have their own concierge service but services offered may be quite basic or with limited global coverage unless you are holding a top tier credit card. (Like American Express Centurion.) So to get things done globally for average joe like me, who can help? Visa Signature Concierge.

How to reach them?

  • Phone: 800 448 1450
  • Online (Alternative contact numbers listed online for language and region.)

Services:

  • Flight reservations
  • Hotel reservations
  • Restaurant reservations
  • Car rental reservations
  • Event ticket purchases
  • Trip planning
  • Emergency services
    • Reporting lost or stolen cards
    • Emergency card replacement
    • Emergency cash disbursement
  • Other general requests

So how did it went? From enquiry to receive tickets via FedEx, the whole process took 2 weeks. Not too bad. Though I have to pay a premium for the ticket, (A little more than double the cost. What to do? Sold out!) I feel is worth it and I need not worry about the ticket’s authenticity. The seat looks good based on seating plan. So looking forward to an enjoyable concert on boxing day in Hong Kong!

Jacky Cheung Ticket

Jacky Cheung Ticket

Disclaimer: Use credit card responsibly.

[Travel] The Haven by JetQuay

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On my recent trip to San Francisco, I took the chance to try out another lounge in Changi Airport Terminal 3 before departure and that is The Haven by JetQuay.


A quick tour around lounge.

So here are some unique points about The Haven by Jetquay:

  • The only landside lounge in Changi Airport. (Air travel 101 time: Landside vs Airside. Landside means before immigration/public/unsecured area while Airside means after immigration/restricted/secured area.)
  • Most lounges will have shower, business Centre, meeting rooms, TVs and F&B. This goes 1-up: Nap rooms. An alternative to airport hotel.

Here are some photos on my Facebook page.

For the lounge portion, I thought this is like a smaller version of JetQuay. Small, cosy and provides the necessities. Food is made to order for breakfast and they have some bread, cereals, snacks, instant noodles and drinks available. For the nap rooms, I did not sleep there but I took a peek. Not very big rooms. But looks comfy for a short nap.

So which card will get you in?

Priority Pass

Priority Pass

The Priority Pass card will get you into the lounge with food for 3 hours per visit. (Excluding Nap room and conference facilities.) The following credit cards will give you complimentary Priority Pass membership with 2 free visits per year.

PremierMiles

Citibank PremierMiles Visa Signature Credit Card

Altitude Visa

DBS Altitude Visa Signature Credit Card

[Credit Card] ANZ Switch MasterCard Platinum

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ANZ Switch

ANZ Switch MasterCard Platinum Credit Card

Some folks have asked me about Credit Card annual fees like which card should I pay annual fee for and the million dollar question: Which card has annual fee waiver for life?

So recently, I have started 2 credit cards with ANZ. They are ANZ Travel Card Visa Signature Credit Card and ANZ Switch MasterCard Platinum Credit Card. ANZ Switch MasterCard Platinum Card has annual fee waiver for life. So you will never have to worry about annual fee on this card.

Disclaimer: Use credit card responsibly.

[Credit Card] Points Credit and Miles Transfer

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You may have paid your credit card annual fees based on advice for Citibank PremierMiles Visa Signature Credit Card, DBS Altitude Visa Signature Credit Card and DBS Altitude American Express Credit Card. You may have also used them enough to earn enough points for transfer to your favorite frequent flyer program to redeem your next flight ticket. So how long will transfer take?

Citibank/UOB/DBS transfers to Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer/Cathay Pacific Marco Polo Club-Asia Miles in 2 days. Some folks may say that American Express Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer Credit Card is the fastest as it is a direct conversion. But don’t forget that miles earned this way have an expiry period of 3 years. Having a miles expiry period of 3 years to deal with vs points that never expire and convert at will with a week wait at most, I take the later anytime for flexibility.

So where will these miles take me to next? Watch this space for update.

Disclaimer: Use credit card responsibly.

[Deal] Citibank Dining

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Seems like Citibank is now running dining privileges pegged at SG$100. They have been running $100GOURMET since April last year and soon it will be its first year anniversary. I almost attended 1 last year when Chef Alvin Leung (Demon Chef-3 Michelin Stars.) and Chef David Liew (TÓNG LÈ PRIVATE DINING) were supposed to collaborate. However, collaboration was cancelled as Chef Alvin could not make the trip due to unforeseen circumstances.

100Gourmet

$100GOURMET

Concept of $100GOURMET is simple. SG$100++ (Pay with Citibank Credit Card or else it will be SG$180++.) for lunch or dinner prepared by a partnership of local and guest chef from overseas. There have been some Michelin rated guest chefs who have partnered with local chefs throughout last year.

Recently, Citibank started another dining program and they generated a bit of hype on social media before launch. Introducing Citibank Wine & Dine.

CitiWineAndDine

Citibank Wine & Dine

Concept of Citibank Wine & Dine is simple as well. Spend SG$100 excluding taxes at participating restaurants and get a bottle of wine free to go along. Some participating restaurants that I have patronized before are Osteria Art and TungLok. Recently, I discovered a hidden gem that is participating in Citibank Wine & Dine program: The Pipe District.

The Pipe District

The Pipe District

They have quite a few signature dishes on menu. Charcoal series (Charcoal Fish & Chips and Charcoal Onion Rings.), Squid ink pasta which you can customize and many more. Under Citibank Wine & Dine program, they are offering Montes Alpha Chardonnay 2013 or Cabernet Sauvignon 2012 from Chile for free with SG$100 food purchase excluding taxes.

Check here for more information.

[Travel] JetQuay: Changi Airport CIP Terminal

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So Madonna Rebel Heart tour is over in Singapore. How did she arrive and leave Singapore?
Private Jet: Yes
Terminal 1/2/3: Neither. CIP Terminal

Wait a minute. VIP is familiar to most people but what is CIP? CIP stands for Commercially Important Person. Examples of CIPs include Madonna, Gordon Ramsay and Lady Gaga just to name a few. Whenever a private jet or CIP lands in Changi Airport, they will be received and handled by CIP Terminal: JetQuay.

JetQuay Logo

JetQuay Logo

As mentioned in my previous post, I have decided to try JetQuay for the first time when I touch down in Singapore from Hong Kong. So here was my experience as a CIP.

Buggy Ride

Buggy ride from gate to JetQuay. My check-In luggage was retrieved in parallel by their staff.

Arrival in style

Arrival in style.

Bar

Bar

Food

Food

Drinks

Drinks and light food.

Drinks

Drinks

Food

Food

Table and bench

Table and bench: Casual

Cosy

Cosy: Homely

Group

Can fit group comfortably.

Exotic

Exotic corner.

Relax

Relax

Family

Family friendly.

Corner

Corner

Chill while waiting for DFS purchase.

Chill while waiting for DFS purchase.

Business

Can do some business.

Computers

Computers

Spiral

In front of JetQuay’s signature spiral stairs.

So this place looks very exclusive right? It is actually more accessible than many people think. All you just need is Standard Chartered Manhattan World MasterCard Credit Card which only require annual income requirement of SG$30,000. Any freshman who start work can access this. You can just call JetQuay for booking. For details, check my previous post.

Manhattan

Standard Chartered Manhattan World MasterCard Credit Card

[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.