[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] Cathay Pacific (CX) Premium Economy Class HKG-SIN: Booking Award Flight

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Another flight in 2 weeks time again to Hong Kong. As usual, flying out on Singapore Airlines Suites on boxing day morning using my miles. Will be in The Private Room on Christmas night to enjoy my Christmas dinner.

So what’s new on this trip? Let’s start off with the return flight. This time round, I will not be returning on a Star Alliance carrier. I will be returning to Singapore on Hong Kong’s flag carrier: Cathay Pacific. (CX)

So why CX?

  1. It’s Hong Kong’s flag carrier. I have been to Hong Kong quite a few times but have never tried it. Have friends who are fans of CX. All ask me to give them a try.
  2. CX took delivery of their Airbus A350-900XWB recently. So got to give this plane and CX’s new cabin product a try. I’m an Airbus guy.
  3. Got my Marco Polo Club Silver status for free. (Usually cost: USD100 and flights worth 300 club points.) Thanks to a corporate benefit from CX for the company I work for in my day job. Benefit: Business Class lounge access for any travel on CX’s flight. SCORE! Will be going to the Pier!

    Marco Polo Club

    Marco Polo Club Silver (OneWorld Ruby BTW!)

  4. Miles transfer. Most banks in Singapore only allow transfer of credit card points to 2 programs: Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer and CX Marco Polo Club/Asia Miles. (Citibank and American Express allows transfer to more programs while Standard Chartered allows transfer over to Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer only at a pretty lousy rate of transfer.)

So I transferred 10,000 miles from UOB using 5,000UNI$ (Due to block redemption requirement.) and 14,000 miles from Citibank to redeem a Premium Economy Class ticket on CX’s A350-900XWB from Hong Kong to Singapore one way for 260HKD. (SG$49.16.) That’s a total cost savings of 7200HKD. (SG$1,361.35. 97% savings!)

CX Redemption

CX Redemption

CX Cost

CX Cost

Let’s see if I can score an upgrade on this flight…

[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.

[Travel] Singapore Airlines (SQ) Suites/Economy Class SIN-HKG: Booking Award Flight

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Singapore Airlines (SQ): “A great way to fly”. Pride of Singapore and one airline that I feel lives up to its slogan. (Way better than an airline that used to brag that they are a World’s 5 stars airline. They have dropped that slogan BTW.)

Usually I try to fly via SQ if possible. However, I am also ok with their subsidiary Scoot (Not TigerAir though. I hope SQ kills it.), Jetstar, British Airways and United Airlines. So far I had good experiences with these airlines. But nothing beats complete package of SQ. As their recent campaign says: “No detail is too small”. Their cabin is quite well maintained even on older aircrafts like A330 and service from Singapore Girls and Gents are impeccable.

From 25th to 27 January 2016 (Next Monday to Wednesday), I will be making a trip from Singapore to Hong Kong with a visit to Guang Zhou in between using train from Hong Kong. So I started booking my air tickets with SQ using my KrisFlyer miles.

I have a total of 44,625 KrisFlyer miles in my account which is sufficient for Suites one way on A380 and return via Economy Class. So I booked my flight out on Suites so that I can enjoy The Private Room in SQ SilverKris Lounge at Changi Airport Terminal 3.

SQSuitesMiles

SQ Suites Miles (Save SG$2,760.)

SQSuitesCost

SQ Suites Cost

SQEconomyMiles

SQ Economy Miles (Save HK$3,830. SG$719.19.)

SQEconomyCost

SQ Economy Cost

From pictures above, you are able to see amount of KrisFlyer miles and surcharges required. SQ Suites cost me 31,875 KrisFlyer miles with surcharge of SG$38.50 while SQ Economy class cost me 12,750 KrisFlyer miles and HK$194. (SG$36.43.) Total saving amount to SG$3,479.19. However, I have selected a Preferred Seat (Exit Row.) on my Economy Class flight. That cost US$40 (HK$310 or SG$58.21.) and so total savings drop to SG$3,420.98.

You may be asking how come there are Saver, Standard, Full and how come miles required is stated to be more than what I have mentioned. Airlines usually set quota for amount of seats offered via award with Saver given least amount of seats as it has lowest miles requirement. As for miles required, even though box stated that miles required is 37,500 for Suites for example, it works out to 31,875 miles as a 15% discount is given for online redemption. Redemption offline via SQ Call Centre or Service Centre at Ion Orchard will be charged at full. Do that only if you are redeeming an award flight operated by another Star Alliance airline or trying to do up a super complex itinerary. (Looking at my friend at Global Travelogy. LOL!)

Next, you may ask what is waitlist. It simply means waiting list. That means quota is full for that level and you will be put on a waiting list if you choose that. Waitlist bookings may only receive confirmation as late as 24 hours before flight and miles will only be deducted when you decide to book when available. Alternatively, you can check for award availability on Star Alliance partner airlines (For same amount of miles without discount.) via SQ Call Centre/Service Centre or book an award of higher level.

Hope that gives you a good introduction to redeeming flights with miles. Will be sharing more about miles in future posts. Watch for them.