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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
Have shared about Stocard previously here and mentioned that I will cover another application Perkd. So what is different about Perkd?
Basic function remains. Both allow you to digitalize your membership cards. However, there are some additional functions in Perkd. It has a better experience in creating custom membership cards not available on their database compared to Stocard. You can capture image of membership card for custom membership cards in Perkd for easy identification.
Other than custom membership cards, Perkd also have merchants tie-up which is lacking in Stocard in Singapore. Perkd is official membership card platform for Timberland and The Body Shop. They will send out offers and track rewards using Perkd application. So if you frequent these shops, Perkd will be good for you.
Perkd Timberland Card
Perked Timberland Offer
Perkd also has a good collection of membership cards on their database. So you need not put in too much effort to do custom cards.
So how do I use Perkd and Stocard? I use Stocard just for Starbucks payment with my Sony SmartWatch 3 as it has wearable support and Starbucks Card barcode support which are not present on Perkd. (Update 27 March 2016: Developer of Perkd has reached out to update that Perkd now supports Starbucks card barcode and many others. Tested and works. But I still like to use SmartWatch to pay at Starbucks!) I use Perkd for almost all of my other membership cards.
This application is available for FREE without ADs on Android Google Play and iOS App Store.
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.
You are now studying in Polytechnic/University or just started your first job and want to get your first credit card but do not earn more than SG$30,000 per annum? You can and there are options available: Credit cards with SG$500 credit limit.
Well, SG$500 credit limit may not seems much. But these cards served me well when I started on credit cards. They helped me in building up a good credit discipline and increase my spending power when combined.
So here are 2 credit cards that I started on with SG$500 credit limit each long time ago.
Age requirement: 18 years old minimum at time of application. (21 years old for other credit cards usually.)
Nationality: Singaporean or Singapore Permanent Resident. (Foreigners on employment pass allowed with higher annual income required usually for other credit cards.)
Parent/Guardian consent required for applicant age below 21 at time of registration.
Must not be a principal credit card/credit line holder.
Non student: Minimum SG$18,000 income per annum. (Standard Chartered Manhattan Platinum MasterCard. Usually SG$30,000 minimum for other credit cards.)
What is required when applying for credit cards:
Photocopy of NRIC/Passport.
Computerized payslip (Latest minimum. Recommend to submit 3 months.), Income tax Notice of Assessment or 12 months CPF contribution statement. (Self employed individuals will need to submit more.)
Completed application form.
What to watch out when applying for credit cards:
Annual fee: About SG$30 for these cards. (Usually 1st year waived. Subsequent waiver at bank’s discretion.)
Credit limit: SG$500. (Usually 2-4x of your monthly income at bank’s discretion for other credit cards.)
Interest rate: About 24% per annum or a minimum amount as stipulated by bank. (Interest can be scary and you will be playing with your credit score if you default. You have been warned.)
Statement date: Please call bank after you received your credit card to know your statement generation/cut off date. (This will help you in planning your purchases.)
Payment grace period: About 20 days. Pay fully within grace period and there will not be any interest charge.
Cash advancement fee: About 6% of amount advanced or a minimum amount as stipulated by bank.
Other fees like late fee or over limit fee which you should never ever need to pay if your credit discipline is good.
How to decide which card to get:
Your spending habit/pattern:
If you are a party guy/gal that frequent Zouk, get Citibank Clear Visa as that credit card offer free entry and 1-for-1 drinks at Zouk.
If you are after cashback, get Standard Chartered Manhattan Platinum MasterCard as that credit card offers 0.25% cashback in this case.
For other credit cards, you will want to look at rewards on offer and flexibility in redeeming rewards.
Bank: If you have any bad blood with any bank or if bank does not has a good reputation, you will not likely want to get a credit card with them. Unless benefit is unrivalled.
Internet banking (Must have!)
SAM (Cut off time 5pm.)
AXS. (Cut off time 8pm.)
Payment network: Usually I recommend 1 Visa, 1 MasterCard and 1 American Express credit card per bank (At least 2 banks. Just in case 1 bank’s cards just all decide to die on you. It can happen!) for maximum acceptance across the globe. (JCB is an exotic 1 for Japan. Only offered by UOB in Singapore.)