Monetize your overseas trips with Airfrov

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I realise this sounds like a sponsored post, but believe me, I wish I had the capability to do those. I’d love nothing more for people to throw money at me in exchange for writing nice fluff pieces about their goods and services. Then I’d quit my job and make a living from praising not-at-all-fraudulent products like Korean alkaline water, Worldventures and homeopathy.

But anyway, I stumbled upon Airfrov while browsing HWZ and it sounds like a very interesting proposition, considering how much I fly.

The business model is simple. Suppose you want something from the USA but don’t want to get gouged on shipping. You submit your request online with details and the price you’re willing to pay (the cost price of the item + a little something extra for the mule who brings it back).

Suppose I’m going to the USA. I can check the listings on Airfrov before I fly and if the offer sounds good to me, buy that item, bring it home and deposit it at Airfrov’s centralised warehouse (in Purvis St). The buyer collects it, payment is settled, everyone wins. Here’s the TL:DR version.

There’s more nuance to this, of course, but it’s a great chance for you to rack up some lucrative overseas card spend.

Let’s look at an example

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This guy wants something that I swear you can buy in Singapore, but hey, free market! This item, according to Walmart, is US$4.68, or $6.64 at today’s exchange rates. 2 boxes would be $13.28.

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This guy is willing to pay $25! TWENTY FIVE FREAKING BUCKS! I really wish I had found this site before I did all my US trips. Even if you paid with a credit card and incurred some forex fee, you’d get miles and some margin for yourself.

Oh yeah, in theory since you’re importing stuff not for personal use but for resale, you need to declare it at the red channel and pay GST. Airfrov makes this point very clear on their site, as I’m sure the law obliges them to do. I’d be very interested to know how many people actually do this.

So I am definitely going to look at doing this on my next trip. And to those of you trying to leverage the generous overseas spending bonuses on the DBS Altitude AMEX (3 miles per $1 for the first 6 months), or the UOB Visa Signature (4 miles per $1 for the first $2,000), now’s your chance.

Note: Airfrov did not pay me anything to write this post. But if they want to, I will gladly take it. 

Note 2: Apparently paying via the app does not count as an online transaction, so if you’re trying to use the DBS woman’s card you might want to stick to online

13 thoughts on “Monetize your overseas trips with Airfrov”

  1. Hi Aaron – I agree with you – this is one way of “manufactured spending” in Singapore. However, for the trouble, I would only give it a shot for big ticket items. I was in Sydney last week and offered to buy items worth >AUD$200. The more expensive the item is, the less expedient the customer is wiling to put down his/her deposit (though I am not sure if it was just my own personal experience then).

    1. interesting point! For me, I’m flying to Dubai for work and I noticed that there were some big ticket requests for alcohol (~$400 value if i’m not wrong). I’d have liked to buy those but someone else was doing it already. I suppose if you were going to a location where there are a lot of requests (Japan, USA, to a lesser extent Australia) you could, in theory, set aside half your day running all these errands if you were able to consolidate, make a good plan and earn enough margin to compensate you for your time. Full disclosure: I’ve not actually tried this yet, but when i next go to the USA i’ll definitely give it a shot

      1. Haha yes – stuff like alcohol will be much easier to find. Anyway, good effort on consolidating the use of credit cards in SG, hopefully our landscape will grow to have more attractive sign up bonuses. I started the miles game a year ago and managed to redeem a one way Suites SYD – SIN ticket last week. Wonderful experience!

        1. Thanks man! I am hopeful but not optimistic. the US has so many attractive sign up bonuses because they have so much competition. Here, we have very little. Hence, no need to be so nice to the consumer. The DBS altitude visa spend $800 get 12k miles is already one of the most generous bonuses I can remember in recent history. But we can hope! Everyone said the telcos would never be competitive but myrepublic is looking to shake things up with its generous data cap…

    1. I can’t see any reason why it would be offline- if they’re taking payments online then they should have some payment gateway that processes it and for DBS Woman’s card it should count as online spending. It’s quite rare that payment online give you an offline transaction (Although it does happen, eg ICA where apparently the card details are taken online but the actual processing is done manually on the back end so it doesn’t get the bonus)

      1. The concern is – the transaction is done via app. We know many transactions via app is actually not classified as online per se. Hence the question 🙂

        1. Ah yes, yes, see what you mean. Like for example apparently if you buy SQ tickets using their mobile app and use the DBS woman’s world card you dont get 10X. that’s a good point, will clarify.

  2. I don’t think so. I just saw my statement. It’s clearly treated as offline transaction. Having said that, I made my purchase request via the app. Maybe using desktop browser will make a difference like SQ. Disapponted but oh well, at least I tested it out.

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