[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…

[Travel] Bangkok Bookings

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For those who have been following this site on Facebook, (If you have not, please follow it with a like. I promise to do more Facebook Live as it now support Android on unverified pages too!) you should have seen that I have booked a trip to Bangkok as usual on Singapore Airlines using miles.

SQBKBusMiles

17,000 KrisFlyer Miles + SG$102.80 for flight out on Business Class.

SQBKBusCost

Normal cost? SG$1,050.80! Save SG$948! (90% Savings.)

SQBKEcoMiles

10,625 KrisFlyer Miles + THB2,722 (SG$108.97) for return flight on Economy Class. Paid THB707 (US$20 or SG$28.30) more for Exit row seat.

SQBKEcoCost

Normal cost? THB6,797! (Inclusive of Exit row premium.) Save THB4,075. (SG$163.13. 60% Savings.)

So this leads to a total savings of SG$1,111.13 (84% Savings!) with 27,625 KrisFlyer Miles. Comparing it to savings on my previous trip to Hong Kong on Singapore Airlines Suites/Economy Class with KrisFlyer Miles, this is not as worth it. However, I got some special plans.

SQSecretMenu

Notice something special? I have Booked The Cook as usual but this time it will be Namyu Cabbage Roll and Jinlen Eggplant and Beancurd with Brown Lamien Noodle and Wood Ear Mushroom on their Deliciously Wholesome Menu. You can also see a special meal requested: Birthday Cake! You can call in to KrisFlyer Membership Hotline to request if you are flying close to your birthday or significant anniversary dates.

Hotel wise, TripAdvisor and Agoda called upon again to help me with decision making/booking, This time round, I book using Agoda’s UOB portal and that got me 7% off my stay at U-Tiny Boutique Home Suvarnabhumi Bangkok which is currently ranked 7 on TripAdvisor. Review looks good and I will be contributing my review as well.

Agoda UTiny

Booked on 1 of their 3 Executive Garden Access Rooms. Shall see how good is this.

Upon arrival in Suvarnabhumi Airport, I will be able to go on Immigration Fast Track as I am travelling on Business Class. Airport Transfer will also be provided by U-Tiny. Upon arrival back home, JetQuay will be waiting for me.

Look forward to reviews here and have a good week ahead!

[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.

[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.

[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.

[Mobile Application] Singapore Airlines

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On my recent trip to Hong Kong with Singapore Airlines, I used Singapore Airlines mobile application to test its function. Singapore Airlines mobile application has been improving over time and it is very polished and functional.

Singapore Airlines Mobile Application

Singapore Airlines Mobile Application

Once application is executed, you will see this. You will be able to see your KrisFlyer status and miles.

Landing Screen Without Trip

Landing Screen Without Trip

Landing Screen With Trip

Landing Screen With Trip

When you scroll down on landing screen with trip information, you will see this. From this screen you can manage Check-in.

Trip Details

Trip Summary

On left hand corner, you can select menu for more functions.

Menu

Menu

My Trips

My Trips

Trip Details

Trip Details

SQ Boarding Pass

Boarding Pass

This application is a good complement to their website and it is powered by Amadeus which is a widely used system in airlines for ticketing.

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

Google Play APP Store

[Membership Card] Changi Rewards Gold

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When travelling, some membership cards are worth bringing. Even if I have them virtually on my Perkd application, I will bring physical cards along just in case technology fails or a staff rejects my virtual cards.

Other than my Priority Pass membership card that I must bring along as they only accept physical card, I do bring along some other membership cards as well. Here is 1 of them that I will bring along.

ChangiRewardsGold

Changi Rewards Gold

  • Qualified by spending SG$4,000 at Changi Airport. (Spending requirement waived off courtesy of American Express KrisFlyer Gold Credit Card. Promotion no longer available.)
  • 2 Points for every SG$1. (Normal tier 1 point for every SG$1.)
  • 500 Points = SG$5 rebate.
  • 7% GST savings at participating outlets in Changi Airport public area.
  • 5 Lucky Draw chances per SG$30 spend. (Normal tier 1 Lucky Draw chance.)
  • Points convertible to KrisFlyer miles. (3,000 Points to 1,000 Miles.)
  • 2 Points for every SG$1 at Agoda.

[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.

[Deal] Booking hotel through Agoda

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I have been on trips to Hong Kong, Taipei, Tokyo and London previously for leisure. Planning trip is always something that I enjoy. Especially looking for deals for air tickets, attractions, hotels, food, shopping and transports.

In this post, let’s look at hotel booking. 1 of my frequent website for hotel booking is Agoda. They have pretty low rate for hotels and good loyalty reward program which gives you points that can offset your next booking with them. However, most people may not know that they have tie up with several banks and membership programs to offer discounts for credit cards or perks for members. You got to book via special portals on Agoda website and make payment by using specific bank’s credit card to get discounts or specify membership number to get perks.

Agoda

Credit Cards/Membership Cards Portal  Discount
Citibank http://www.agoda.com/citibanksg
  •  8% Discount for:
    • China
    • Taiwan
  • 7% Discount for others.
DBS http://www.agoda.com/dbssg
  •  8% Discount for:
    • Japan
    • Korea
  • 7% Discount for others.
OCBC http://www.agoda.com/ocbc
  •  8% Discount for:
    • Hong Kong
    • Macau
    • Singapore
  • 7% Discount for others.
UOB http://www.agoda.com/uob
  •  8% Discount for:
    • Thailand
    • Malaysia
  • 7% Discount for others.
BOC http://www.agoda.com/boc
  • 5% Discount.
Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer http://www.agoda.com/singaporeair
  •  2 KrisFlyer miles/US$1.
Changi Rewards http://www.agoda.com/changirewards
  • 1 point/SG$1 for Member.
  • 2 points/SG$1 for Gold Member.
  • 3 points/SG$1 for Platinum Member.

Hope this helps you in planning your next trip or staycation.