Epic Mileslife 4X dining promotion- up to 12 mpd until 9 July

Mileslife launched in Singapore a few weeks ago, giving you the opportunity to earn bonus miles on dining and other lifestyle spending.

They launched with a series of promotions, including 100 miles for linking an FFP to your Mileslife account, 1,500 miles for signing up through this link and spending S$39 within 30 days, and a 3X bonus on dining for miles, meaning that if a restaurant was ordinarily offering 3 mpd, you’d earn 9 mpd until 20 June.

Well, 20 June has come and gone, but here are two new offers:

(1) From 21 June to 7 July, you can enjoy 4X the miles when you dine at Mileslife merchants and pay using the Mileslife app. So if the regular miles earning rate is 3 mpd, you’ll get 12 mpd. 

(2) There’s a new promo code that applies to both existing and new users. Anyone who enters ML621 on the Mileslife app will get 500 bonus miles with their next purchase. This code is valid till 9 July, and you must spend within one month of entering the code.

You might like to know that Mileslife is launching travel package bookings on its app with 4X miles till 9 July. I’ve not looked at any of the deals in great detail, but it’s worth checking out if you’ve decided to use an OTA for your stay. As always, you should compare prices with other OTAs and ensure that you’re paying about the same price, and if not, that the bonus miles are worth the additional money.

Final point: Mileslife is a new platform and there will be teething problems. You’re going to meet staff who haven’t heard of the app, and there may or may not be wonky transactions that don’t post properly.  If that happens, I’d encourage you to reach out to the Mileslife team at [email protected] as they’ve been quite good at resolving problems and getting miles retrocredited.

Also, remember that Mileslife currently codes as a professional services purchase, so it will not earn 10X points with the DBS Woman’s World card. They’re working on getting a new MCC that will let you maximize your 10X online spending bonus, and I’ll update you when that happens.

You can use this link to download Mileslife, if you haven’t already done so.

The Milelion’s Credit Card Guide

Apart from speedo photos of The Milelion, an updated version of The Milelion’s credit card guide is one of the most requested features that readers have.

I’ve always been hesitant to do this for three reasons

  1. The miles game is dynamic, and the “best” solution can change frequently as banks launch new promotions, update T&Cs etc. Publishing a static, hardcoded guide is a surefire way to get people confused
  2. The “best” solution might not always be the optimal solution. Someone who only dines out occasionally might want to forgo getting a dedicated dining card and focus on using their general spending card for dining (even though that’s not the “right” card to use) so as to avoid orphan points
  3. I have absolutely no design skillz, and was hoping some bank/comparison site/sugar mummy would come along and offer to handle the design side of things, while paying me a buttload of money for branding rights.

Since (3) hasn’t happened, I’m going to bite the bullet and just create a simple page that tracks which cards have bonus miles earning in which categories.

What card do I use for…

This doesn’t amount to a guide as such, as you may want to pick a best-of-breed strategy or go with cards from one bank only, depending on how much you spend per month. But hopefully it’ll be a good place to start.

Bookmark this page on your phone for a quick reference guide!

What is your best option for data roaming? (updated)

I’ve previously written about how you can get SIM cards for the USA, the UK and France delivered to you in Singapore so you can have them activated and ready to go by the time your plane touches down at your destination.

But it’s also helpful to be aware of the data roaming offers from our various local telcos so we can see how we can get the best deal. I’ve taken the liberty of looking at Starhub, M1 and Singtel’s offers and here are some of my findings.

Starhub (Prepaid)

Happy Roam

Starhub has what I think is the best data-only solution for anyone who just needs data with their Happy Roam prepaid roaming offer. You don’t need to be an existing Starhub customer to take advantage of this, you just need to buy a prepaid Happy Roam SIM.

This offer is valid in the following countries

Destination Preferred Partners’ Network
Australia Telstra | Vodafone
China China Mobile
Hong Kong Three (3)
Indonesia XL Axiata | Three (3) | Indosat
Japan NTT DoCoMo | KDDI
Malaysia All operators
New Zealand 2Degrees | TNZ
Philippines Smart
South Korea SK Telecom | Olleh KT
Taiwan Far EasTone (FET) | Chunghwa Telecom
Thailand TrueMove | DTAC
United Kingdom Three (3)
United States of America T-Mobile

There are different pricing configurations on offer

Validity Data Cost
3 Days 1GB $5
7 Days 1GB $7
30 Days 1.2GB $10
30 Days 2.4GB $15
30 Days 3.6GB $20

You can buy a $15 or $50 Happy prepaid SIM in Singapore, download the Starhub Happy prepaid app and activate it just before you leave. Note that while you will be able to make calls using this prepaid SIM, they will be at the usual outrageous roaming rates. Therefore if you buy a $50 Happy prepaid sim and activate a 30 Day 3.6GB $20 plan, you’ll have $30 left on your phone for calling. Don’t be surprised if that lasts you all of 5 minutes.

If you just need data, I think this is an amazing deal. It’s difficult to beat S$20 for 3.6GB of data.

Happy Roaming SIMs can be purchased at any Starhub shop, 7-Eleven/Cheers store and at Changi Airport (Travellers’ Counter and UOB Currency Exchange Counters). I’ve been using one on my current RTW trip and don’t have any complaints so far.

Starhub (Postpaid)

DataTravel

If you’re a postpaid customer on Starhub, you can pick from a 2GB or 3GB DataTravel pack that costs $15 and $20 respectively.

What’s interesting to note is that these plans cover 12 different countries, but they’re not the same as the ones covered under HappyRoam. For example, you can get Macau on DataTravel, but not the UK or the US. If you want the UK/US, you’d have to use HappyRoam, or…

DataTravel Unlimited

This is Starhub’s version of Singtel’s unlimited data roaming packages. You pay one flat fee, depending on country, and get unlimited data for a day.

However, Starhub’s plans range from $19-50 per day, versus Singtel with $19-29. To be fair though, there’s only one country at the $50 price point (Vietnam- which Singtel DataRoam Unlimited doesn’t support. Presumably the carrier in Vietnam asks for a very high reimbursement rate)

RoamEasy

If the 12 countries covered under Starhub’s DataTravel don’t match where you’re headed, Starhub has a slightly more expensive option in the form of its RoamEasy packages. These cover 80+ countries, but you’re looking at paying $40/$100 for 400MB/1GB, versus $15/$20 for 2GB/3GB with DataTravel.

M1 (Prepaid)

MCard

Where prepaid is concerned, M1 has recently relaunched its MCard offering with a $15 and $28 option. You get 2GB and 10 minutes of calls that are valid for 10 days, which can be used across either 12 or 17 destinations depending which plan you spring for.

M1 (Postpaid)

DataPassport

M1 has a nifty program for its postpaid customers called DataPassport, which lets you pay a fee to use your local data allowance overseas for a given month. $10 to let me use my monthly local data in the USA? Sounds pretty sweet.

These DataPassports come in a few flavors- if you’re going to a single destination, you can pay $10 or $25 depending where you’re headed

And if you’re headed to multiple destinations you have regional DataPassports too

Daily Unlimited Data Roaming

Alternatively, you can pay $15 for unlimited data roaming per day in Bangladesh, Cambodia, China, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Macau, Malaysia, Philippines, Saudi, South Korea, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, Thailand and the USA , or $25 for Japan and the UAE.  These rates are significantly cheaper than Singtel’s (see next section)

Singtel (Postpaid)

DataRoam Saver and DataRoam Unlimited

Ah Singtel. The ones who invented this whole campaign around the “Romaphobe”, poking fun at those who go to ridiculous lengths to avoid using data overseas, while forgetting that the reason they do so is because telcos like them charge obscene amounts for data roaming (and it’s OT but let’s remember that Singtel is the upstanding telco that tried to pull a fast one on all its customers back in 2008 by signing them up for their stupid Color Me Tones and saying you need to opt out or you’ll be charged. They got off with a slap on the wrist).

Seriously, just watching the video again makes my blood boil. It’s like the classroom bully making fun of those who detour down the corridor to avoid them.

Anyway.

Singtel’s postpaid customers can take advantage of DataRoam Saver and DataRoam Daily plans. In my opinion these are the worst value of all the telcos.  All the plans are for 1 day and expire at midnight local time. Meaning that if your flight lands close to midnight, say, 1150pm, and you turn on your data roaming you’re going to feel very stupid…

Destination DataRoam Saver (Unlimited) DataRoam Daily (100MB)
USA $29 $10
UK $29 $10
Australia $19 $10
Taiwan $19 $10
Malaysia $19 $10
Japan $25 $10
S Korea $19 $10
Hong Kong $19 $10
Indonesia $19 $10
Thailand $19 $10

Do note that if you’re travelling to China, Indonesia, South Korea, Taiwan and Thailand, you can pay $20 to enjoy 1GB data for 30 days. (promotion valid till 31 Dec 16)

If you’re heading to Australia, you can pay $10 to get 1GB of data that lasts you for one month.

And if you’re heading to Malaysia, you can pay $10 for 1GB of data (one month) or $5 for 200MB (one month).

ReadyRoam

Singtel has also recently launched another offering called ReadyRoam. When you sign up for one of these plans, you get 1GB of data to use across 30 days, with 9, 16 or 31 destinations depending on which plan you spring for. This is very useful when you’re travelling to multiple geographies and may even be better than purchasing a local sim card in some cases.

If you finish using your 1GB your plan will automatically renew at the same price as your pre-selected plan, i.e $12/GB for 9 destinations, $20/GB for 16 destinations and $35/GB for 31 destinations respectively.

Local prepaid SIM

The big advantage of getting a local prepaid SIM is that it gives you both data and voice calling. Why do you need voice calling in an age of Skype/Whatsapp? Well, if you’re on a road trip you might end up in a place with only 2G speeds or no data coverage at all. If you’re trying to book a table at a restaurant they may request for a local number. If you’re trying to register with some of the local apps (eg taxi booking) they might request a local number to send a OTP registration code to. If you’re trying to register with a wireless public hotspot some of them only send activation codes to local numbers. As far as Skype/Whatsapp have come, voice calls over the voice network are still much more reliable and better quality.

EDIT: Another important need for a local number- when you need to call your Uber/Grab driver to tell them where to find you

Other Options

People on the comments have highlighted providers like Interfone where you put a sticker on your sim card that allows for cheaper roaming. I’ve not tested any of these, but feel free to provide more ideas in the comments as well.

The EU recently eliminated data roaming charges across Europe, meaning that if you buy a prepaid sim card in France you should be able to use that data all across Europe. I’m hopeful that closer economic integration among ASEAN and other regional blocs will see similar legislation passed soon, so people can post important cat videos wherever they are.

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