Breaking down the Grab Rewards program

Variable rebates depending on your payment method.

I’ve always considered myself to be more of an Uber man just out of habit, but because of the recent devaluation of their partnership with SPG (1 point per US$2 when not staying in a Starwood hotel, vs US$1 previously, 2 points per US$1 when staying in a Starwood hotel, vs 2/3/4 per US$1 depending on elite status), I feel less obliged to put all my transport spending with them.

In any case, when I’m paying with my own money I’ll always do a quick comparison between Grab and Uber to see who’s cheaper (my biggest annoyance with the Grab app is it forces you to turn on location services, whereas Uber does not).

One big advantage that Grab has over Uber in Singapore is the presence of a rewards program, which I’m going to attempt to explain here.

How Grab Rewards works

For every $1 you spend with Grab, you get 1 point.

However, there are ways of accelerating your earnings. There’s currently a promotion with GrabCar/GrabTaxi where you earn

  • 8X points when you pay with cash (seriously, does anyone who uses this app pay with cash?)
  • 16X points when you pay with your credit card via GrabPay.

For GrabShare/JustGrab, you earn

  • 15X points when you pay with cash
  • 30X points when you pay with Grabpay

Effective rebates

What does that work out to in terms of rebates?

As per the Grab rewards catalogue you need

  • 2,200 points for a $5 Grab voucher
  • 4,200 points for a $10 Grab voucher
  • 6,000 points for a $15 Grab voucher
  • 7,400 points for a $20 Grab voucher
  • 9,000 points for a $25 Grab voucher

(The amount of points needed decreases as your status with Grab increases (see next section). Amounts shown here are for a base-level member)

Assuming the $1= 1 point base rate, the effective rebate is ~0.2-0.3%. But of course the base rate is not meant to be the “regular” rate. I suspect that Grab will have a series of ongoing points promotions, tweaking the bonus points to drive (see what I did there) users to pick one option over another. For example, it’s trying to encourage riders to pick its new JustGrab option, which is why it’s offering higher points earning. As Grab diversifies into new offerings, I wouldn’t be surprised to see the incentive structure shift accordingly.

click to enlarge

Where GrabCar/GrabTaxi is concerned, you earn a rebate of 3.6-4.4% assuming you pay via credit card. For JustGrab/GrabShare, your rebate is 6.8-8.3%. if you pay via credit card.

Based on my inexpert opinion, any rebate >5% is not financially sustainable in the long term. My guess is that Grab is taking a hit on this program to drive adoption and loyalty, and further down the road we’ll see earnings closer to the 3-5% rebate mark. So take advantage while it lasts!

Grab Status

As you take more and more rides with Grab, your status in the Grab Rewards program will increase.

  • At the 3,000 point mark, you hit Silver
  • At the 9,000 point mark, you hit Gold
  • At the 19,000 point mark, you hit Platinum

I believe that both base and bonus points count towards status earning. To me, the main advantage that elite status has is the ability to redeem cash vouchers for fewer points.

If you were a Platinum member, you could redeem a $5 voucher for 1,900 points and $10 for 3,600. This implies a higher rebate.

Points Expiry

Grab splits the year into 2 periods for the purposes of points expiry. The first rewards period runs from 1 Jan to 30 June, and the second from 1 July to 31 Dec.

Any points earned in one rewards period expire at the end of the 2nd. So the 100 points I earn on 1 Jan 2017 and 30 June 2017 will expire on 31 Dec 2017.

I’m guessing this won’t be that big a deal for someone who is using Grab regularly, as I imagine the rewards program is meant to encourage.

Overall thoughts

There really isn’t anything to compare to here, because Uber has no loyalty program (no, I don’t consider Uber VIP to be a loyalty program). Assuming Grab and Uber come out to be about the same price, I’d probably switch over to Grab just to get the points.

EDIT: Actually, come to think of it, there is something to compare this to- CabRewards, the program run by Comfort. You earn 1 Cabpoint for every $1 of spend (5X points during your birthday month), and 1000 cab points get you a $5 voucher. That’s a 0.5% rebate. And you need to wait 14 working days for your voucher to be mailed to you. And they wonder why taxis are dying…

My friend raised a good point in that if your job allows you to expense taxis, you’re better off taking Grab and accumulating the points for your personal use.

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26 Comments on "Breaking down the Grab Rewards program"

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Your analysis is spot on as usual. Like to add that Grab has been running some great promos (discount codes). Stack that with the loyal program, I have not taken an uber ride especially after the SPG partnership revision.

I’m sharing my experience with Grab and Uber on the iOS platform:

For Grab you can set location to be on when using the app, but for Uber you have to set location always on else you can’t even access their menu.

Obviously, I prefer Grab over Uber.

I have a Stan Chart card, get my spend over the $600 min for 20% cashback on Ubers and use that. I like miles but I don’t mind putting some of my rent on StanChart to get 7% cashback to hit the $600 spend.
Straight 20% cashback is a lot better than fiddling with silly points unless theres a business class airfare at the end of the points rainbow.

guys remember if your trips are short or you apply loads of discount codes and the ride is below $5, its likely you’re not going to get any miles for the transaction.

therefore, i feel cashback is superior to miles in this scenario.

download an app called cheaprides if you like to compare your fares.

For Grab I topup Grabpay credits to post a lump sum amount to cc, then use the credits for rides. Promo codes with Grabpay payment condition includes Grabpay credits as well.

Good things must share so: 1. Grab for Work gives you extra promo codes with S$100 of spend – doesn’t even have to be company authorized, anyone in the company can go ahead and sign up. If I’m not wrong. Don’t have to use a corporate card, just use the profile with no card attached. Works too! 2. Lazada recently released a subscription called LiveUp that gives S$10 off your 10th Uber ride – only detail I remember cos I don’t use the rest of the perks – as well as some benefit with UberEats, Redmart, Netflix.. and it’s free… Read more »

Also, with an additional click, you can get $0.20 cashback via the shopback app. Applies to both uber and grab

Yeah, but you have to grant Shopback access to your entire Uber travel history. I’m not sure I’m comfortable with that for 20c.

Hi Aaron, Have been following your blogs for awhile now. Would like to seek your advice on something relating to Uber. Recently I noticed my DBS Women World card doesn’t not earn 9x bonus on Uber. Upon checking with CSO, was informed that when the merchant (Uber) transfer the billing to DBS, they will need to indicate what type of transaction, i.e. 1. electronic transaction, 2. recurring, 3. mail to phone. The bonus point will only be awarded if the merchant indicate electronic transaction and not the others. In my case, CSO feedback that Uber has selected the option recurring,… Read more »
The short and sad answer is that the statement is true. When a card transaction goes through, the merchant (Uber) or their bank (“acquirer”) will send the transaction details via the card network (Mastercard) to the card issuer (DBS). Among which, one of the details is what you have mentioned above. As the originating source of the transaction message, only the merchant/acquirer would be able to tell what type of txn it is, whether its eComm, recurring or mail to phone or in-person. Your card issuer would not know this and is only receiving the information and deciding if they… Read more »
[SG] Uber/Grab/Taxi ?: ✳️ GRAB: GET 20% MORE GRABPAY CREDITS (12 May 2017) (11am – 11pm) ✳️ Here’s an example of how the 20% extra credits works: 1⃣ You top-up $100 in your GrabPay Credits account. 2️⃣ Grab rewards you with 20% more credits. 3️⃣ 20% of $100 = $20. 4️⃣ You now have $120 in your GrabPay Credits account. ☑️ Each redemption is entitled to 20% more GrabPay credit top-up (max $50) if they top-up a minimum of $100 only. ☑️ 20% extra credits will only be up to $50 max per user. If your top-up is worth anything more than $250,… Read more »

[Update 11:30AM 12 May – This campaign has been fully redeemed! Stay tuned for more exciting updates.]

Missed boat

Does anyone know if the Grab voucher expires after a single usage (whether you use the full amount or not) or the unused amount goes into credit to be used for another ride?

It is a one-time reward on the next ride.

Don’t forget you can link your Uber account with SPG, and earn SPG points. Small but better than nothing.