[Membership Cards] 1+1>2: SPG+Uber

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Many people know me as a big Uber advocate. I have stopped taking cabs when possible unless there are absolutely no Uber around or surge pricing is ridiculously high.

I have stayed in W Hong Kong in December 2016 and that was the first time I stayed in a Starwood property even though I have my Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG) membership since 2011. So with this stay and a promotion with World MasterCard, I got upgraded to SPG Gold.

So now with SPG gold, I can earn SPG points faster. But how to make it work even harder? That’s when partner programs will help to maximize.

With a stay done in Starwood property, I can start earning SPG points on every Uber ride. Simply link my SPG and Uber accounts together.

SPG+Uber

SPG+Uber

At the moment, earn rate is as follow:

  • 1 SPG point per US$1 day to day.
  • 2 SPG points per US$1 during stays with Starwood property.

From February 2017 onwards, earn rate will revise to following:

  • 1 SPG point per US$2 day to day.
  • 2 SPG points per US$1 during stays with Starwood property.

From now on, I will write more about how partner programs can help you in maximizing your membership programs and I call this series of articles 1+1>2.

[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…

[Membership Cards] The Ritz-Carlton/Marriott Rewards and Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG)

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With merger of Marriott and Starwood Hotels done and dusted, we welcome a new era in their loyalty program. The Ritz-Carlton/Marriott Rewards and Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG) programs are now linked!

The Ritz-Carlton

The Ritz-Carlton

Marriott Rewards

Marriott Rewards

Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG)

Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG)

I have been a member with SPG since 2011 but I have never stayed in any Starwood property as I usually prefer local hotel chains over international hotel chains. Recently, I signed up for Marriott Rewards as Marriott offers employees of the company that I work for in my day job direct Elite Silver tier on Marriott Rewards. (Tip: If you are working in a large MNC, chances are your company may have some kind of benefits along this line. If in doubt, check with your HR!)

So with these 3 programs linked, they are offering direct status match and points transfer between these programs. (3 The Ritz-Carlton/Marriott Rewards points to 1 Starpoint.)

Next week, I will be travelling to San Francisco and staying in San Francisco Marriott Union Square. So these linked programs come in handy and timely. I can start to earn points on Marriott Rewards on an accelerated basis and have flexibility in transferring my points across these 3 programs.

On my trip to San Francisco, I will be writing reviews on Hotels and Airport Lounges that I will be visiting. So do keep a look out on them here.

 

[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.

[Travel] Changi Airport: Behind the scenes

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Woke up pretty early on 3rd March 2016 morning around 5:11am and saw a message from Wilson (Global Travelogy) that was sent at 3:31am. He was travelling in New Zealand and saw an email from Changi Rewards about an insider visit to Changi Airport. (That’s when time difference works in your favor.)

Changi Rewards Email

Changi Rewards Email.

Since I have more than 500 points in Changi Rewards account (DFS shopping, dining and gold tier status FTW!), I quickly lock in my redemption and proceed to Changi Airport to make payment for myself and an additional slot for Wilson on the same day. However, I was told that there was no more allowance available for additional slots when I wanted to make payment. Not good news for Wilson. But thank goodness, an additional slot was made available for us and I went down to make payment for Wilson a few days later. On actual day last Saturday (19 March 2016), we discovered that my redemption was 2nd on list. Guessed that helped Wilson in securing his spot. He is a happy man.

So on 19 March 2016, woke up early in morning and head down to Changi Airport on an UberX. Comfy ride as usual even though it is not a limo. This driver provides charger on board for mobile devices. Not bad. The best I have seen so far is charger + drinks + sweets. It is my preferred mode of transport for Airport other than MRT as it is competitively priced against taxis with no midnight surcharge, comfortable and no queue.

Uber

UberX

Upon arrival at Changi Airport, I jumped into action immediately. Started my first Facebook Live broadcast at entrance. After that, I took some photos and met up with Wilson at Terminal 2 Staff Canteen for breakfast. It is quite easy to find the place with prominent signs.

Changi Staff Canteen Breakfast

Changi Staff Canteen breakfast from pancake stall. Had peanut pancake as well. Not bad.

After breakfast, we head down to Changi Airport Group’s office to register and collect airport visitor pass. There are some interesting sights there too.

Changi Airport Group Logo

Changi Airport Group Logo.

Starwars

Star Wars!

Changi Airport Model

Changi Airport Model. I love taking Panorama shots like this using my Sony a5100. No tripod and minimal to no post editing required.

So here are some pictures of our day in Changi airport. Thanks to Changi Airport for hosting us!

Sunflower Garden

Sunflower Garden.

Enchanted Gardens

Plant in a ball.

Enchanted Gardens

Enchanted Gardens.

Koi

Koi

Orchid

Orchid

Swimming Pool

Swimming Pool.

The Social Tree

The Social Tree.

Butterfly

Butterfly

More Butterfly

More Butterfly.

Dom Perignon

Dom Pérignon at DFS Wines and Spirits Duplex.

Wine for sampling

Wine for sampling at DFS Wines and Spirits Duplex.

Bus

Bus for airside tour.

Firefighting Gear

Firefighting Gear.

Water blast

Water blast.

Redbird

Redbird

Changi

Good to see this whenever landing in Changi.

Disclaimer: Drink responsibly.

[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.

[Deal] Takashimaya 10% Rebate

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Last week, we mentioned about Tangs’ 12% rebate day on anyday of your choice here. That is still available. From today, another deal will start till this Sunday. Takashimaya 10% rebate. That is on top of existing rebate of up to 6% for Takashimaya card members.

TakashimayaRebate

Takashimaya 10% Rebate

There are a lot of products on sale and you can earn rebates at the same time. So good time to do your Chinese New Year purchase right? Definitely! Do go to both Tangs and Takashimaya to compare prices before purchase. See which side gives you better savings.

I have been shopping at Takashimaya mostly for Nespresso capsules (Unless I am in my Nespresso heaven in Europe.) or SodaStream syrups. (I am a drinks person at home.) So I do hold a Takashimaya Credit Card for that: DBS Takashimaya American Express Platinum Credit Card.

This card will earn you 6% rebate and additional 10% rebate on special days. Every SG$500 spent at Takashimaya will earn you 100 points which can convert to SG$30 Takashimaya voucher. You can also get SG$3 parking credits by spending SG$120 at Takashimaya. In Takashimaya Japan, you can also enjoy 5% discount. As a DBS card, it also entitles you to DBS points. Every SG$5 gives you 1 point so use that to redeem anything you want. DBS privilages islandwide is also applicable to this card. American Express SELECTS is also applicable to this card.

Takashimaya

DBS Takashimaya American Express Platinum Credit Card

[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.