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CIMB Visa Infinite replaces Priority Pass with DragonPass

You’ll remember I wrote about the CIMB Visa Infinite, the no-fee Visa Infinite card you can get so long as you earn $120,000 or more in a year. The card per se doesn’t have great perks, but hey, it’s a free Visa Infinite. And it comes with a Priority Pass that has 3 free lounge visits a year.

Image result for cimb visa infinite singapore

I received an SMS today informing me that this is set to change from 1 October 2017. More information can be found here.

If you currently have a Priority Pass issued by CIMB Visa Infinite, you’ll still be able to use your visits until 30 Sept. From 1 October onwards, your lounge visits made on your Priority Pass will be chargeable.

What is DragonPass?

Image result for dragonpass lounge

DragonPass is a competing lounge network to Priority Pass. It claims to have 900+ lounges

As you might have guessed from the name, the company is based in China and has some exclusive privileges there, such as access to lounges at high-speed train stations. You can also use your DragonPass to get dining discounts at selected dining locations of up to 50%.

As per CIMB’s FAQ, you’ll have 3 complimentary visits via DragonPass, the same you’d have with Priority Pass (so I guess this doesn’t really count as a devaluation), and subsequent visits will cost US$25 each. The FAQ also states that free visits cannot be shared with your guest, and you’ll need to buy a separate US$25 pass for them too.

It’s worth noting the T&C state that lounge access is limited to 2 hours unless otherwise stated, whereas lounge access with Priority Pass was 3 hours if I’m not mistaken. I can imagine there’ll be some really nit picky lounges that will enforce this, but I can’t see this being a big problem most of the time.

To give you a taste of DragonPass, here’s what they offer in Singapore

That’s a pretty decent selection, more or less the same as what Priority Pass has. However, what it does offer beyond Priority Pass is discounts at airport restaurants. At Changi you get the following discounts

  • Kaveri Indian Vegitarian (10%)
  • Chutney Mary (10%)
  • Crystal Jade (10%)
  • The Green Market (10%)

The app will also pop up with random deals and promotions from time to time.

For me, I’m indifferent to the change as I already have a lot of Priority Passes from my other credit cards. In fact, it might even be useful having a DragonPass, just for purposes of diversification.

If you’re got a CIMB Visa Infinite issued Priority Pass, you might want to quickly burn through your remaining free visits in the next couple of months.

Which credit card has the best airport limo option?

Banks know that holders of miles earning or other premium credit cards value the option of complimentary airport transfers.

The majority of these cards will offer you airport dropoff, not pickup I wondered for the longest time why they didn’t let you choose between one or the other before realising that pickup involves a lot more “dead” time for the driver (in needing to wait at the arrivals area with uncertainties about flight delays or how long it will take the passenger to clear immigration and pick up his or her luggage). Dropoff, on the other hand, is simple. The driver waits for you for a maximum of 15 minutes at your pickup spot. Any later and he’s gone.

Although this service is free, this isn’t free free, of course. As with all things, there are strings attached requiring particular minimum spends and capping the number of times you can use the benefit.

Here’s a summary of how the different cards stack up. Disclaimer: Your limo will look nothing like in the cover photo. It’s more like a car service outsourced to a third party, most likely an MPV or a Mercedes E Class type vehicle.

Min Spend Requirement Maximum Uses Airport drop/pickup
UOB PRVI Miles S$1,000 overseas spend in a quarter (excluding online/phone transactions) 2 per quarter, 8 per year Airport drop only
Citi Prestige S$1,500 overseas spend in a quarter 4 per quarter, 8 per year Airport drop or pickup
HSBC Visa Infinite S$2,000 spend in a month 24 times a year Airport drop only
OCBC Voyage S$3,000 in a month 1 per $3,000 spend, 2 per month, limo awards valid for 3 months Airport drop or pickup
Maybank Visa Infinite S$3,000 in a month 2 per S$3,000 spend, limo awards valid in the next month. Maximum 6 per year Airport drop and pickup

Observations

  • CIMB seems to have the lowest spending requirement needed- a mere S$500 spend within 3 months of travel. However, you can only utilize that once a quarter and a maximum of twice a year
  • Citi Prestige and OCBC Voyage offer both airport dropoff and pickups
  • PRVI Miles has a different mechanism from the other cards- you are billed S$45 first for the limo, then rebated at the end of the quarter if you hit the S$1,000 overseas spend mark. Some might argue this is better if you haven’t hit the overseas spending target but intend to do so anyway. EDIT: kt85 pointed out that the limo benefit is only for the AMEX version. I had no idea the Visa and MC cards were excluded.
  • OCBC Voyage (sigh) seems to have the most onerous of all the cards for limo transfers

One other thing that struck me while researching this was just how few cards had the benefit. I don’t know why but when I started researching I was under the impression this benefit would be much more widespread. I believe quite a few cards used to offer the benefit so long as you charged your air tickets to that card, but that benefit has been slowly enhanced away.

The following miles cards do not offer an airport limo benefit

  • DBS Altitude (it used to offer in the past)
  • ANZ Travel Card (you can redeem your Travel$ for a limo pickup but it’s spending the equivalent of 3,400 miles on something other cards offer for free)
  • Citibank Premiermiles
  • Standard Chartered Visa Infinite (they offer 10% rebates on Uber rides capped at S$100 per quarter)

Surcharges- take note

Yes, it’s free, but the T&C of almost all the limo programs hits you with surcharges such as

  • A S$10 surcharge for pickups from Sentosa
  • A S$10 surcharge for pickup between 12am and 6am
  • A S$10 surcharge if the driver has to wait for you for more than 15 minutes
  • A S$10 surcharge if you want a 7 seater vehicle and a S$20 surcharge for a 9 seater vehicle

You will likely also face surcharges for late amendments/cancellations. The actual surcharges will differ depending on your card issuer. I’m quoting the above from the UOB T&C but this is a fairly common feature for all airport limo services.

Have I missed out any other cards with airport limo?

(If you liked this post you may want to check out this post on complimentary lounge access with credit cards)


T&Cs for your reference

Citibank Prestige:  https://www.citibank.com.sg/global_docs/pdf/Airport_terms_and_condition.pdf
HSBC Visa Infinite:  https://www.hsbc.com.sg/1/2/personal/cards/hsbc-visa-infinite-credit-card/hsbcvi/hsbc-vi-tncs
OCBC Voyage:
https://www.ocbc.com/assets/pdf/cards/voyage-card-privileges-terms.pdf
Maybank Visa Infinite:  http://info.maybank2u.com.sg/pdf/cards/maybank-visa-infinite-card-tnc.pdf
CIMB Platinum Mastercard:  https://www.cimbbank.com.sg/content/dam/cimbsingapore/personal/cards/terms-and-conditions/tnc-platinum-mastercard-20160218.pdf
UOB PRVI:
http://www.uob.com.sg/assets/pdfs/limousine_booking_tnc.pdf

No fee Visa Infinite- with a catch

visainfiniteIt’s not a miles earning card, but if you meet the $120,000 income requirement, you might want to take a look at a no-fee Visa Infinite card offered by CIMB.

Recall that Visa has several tiers-

  • Visa Classic
  • Visa Gold -very rarely seen
  • Visa Platinum -don’t take the “Platinum” term too seriously- your OCBC Debit card is tiered as a Visa Platinum)
  • Visa Signature -this is the “mass affluent” tier for Visa, but you can get a Visa Signature card with $30,000 income through Citibank Rewards. Comes with interesting hotel benefits
  • Visa Infinite – highest tier, but generally unavailable at any income point below $120,000 a year

Why do you want this card? Well, it’s free, first of all. A no-fee Visa Infinite is almost unheard of. And there are some interesting benefits

Benefits Offered by CIMB

  • 2% cash rebate on overseas spend and 1% cash rebate on local, no cap
  • 50% dining discount for 2 people (33% for 3, 25% for 4, 20% for 5 to 10) at Plate (Carlton City Hotel), Lawry’s (Mandarin Gallery), Xin Chinese Restaurant (Holiday Inn Atrium), La Nonna, District 10 Bar & Restaurant, Senso Ristorante, Spizza
  • Priority pass membership with 3 free lounge visits annually

Benefits Offered by Visa Infinite hiltoninfinite

  • Fast track to Hilton HHonors Gold with 2 stays

harrodsinfinite

  • Complimentary Harrods Rewards Black Tier with 100 GBP voucher (redeemable with min 500 GBP spend)

golfinfinite

  • Complimentary greens fees at Sentosa Golf Club

airtravelinfinite

  • “Up to 20%” off First/Business class airtickets booked through Visa Concierge (I’m sure they rip you off on the list price)
  • Access to the Visa Infinite Concierge
  • There are other offers but they didn’t jump out at me. You can see them here. I only selected those offers which are exclusive to the Visa Infinite tier- some of the offers featured on the site are open to anyone with a Visa card

Is it worth it?

Well, remember first and foremost that it’s free. So the question is more “is it worth my time applying”. Perhaps.

The Hilton HHonors Gold offer is good if you don’t already have elite status with any chain (but you could always get SPG Gold with 1 stay through your World Mastercard). Everything else is kind of meh. (my friend tried using the Concierge before to get reservations at a booked out restaurant but they weren’t able to, which kind of defeats the purpose of having them. I mean, in the time taken to call them, verify your identity and make the request, you could just have booked it yourself. Their value-adding area is in their ability to pull strings and make things happen. For example, I think the AMEX Black card concierge would probably have a better track record with requests like this)

The priority pass is good if you anticipate you’ll be flying without elite status in the near future. 3 visits per year isn’t particularly generous but hey, it’s free.

The catch is that you need to make at least $120,000 a year. They’re quite strict on this requirement. I know some guys who were in the low $100,000s and were rejected outright. But there’s an alternative option to put a $50,000 in a fixed deposit with CIMB. I don’t think the card is so good that it justified tying up $50,000 of your working capital in a low-interest investment, but if you’re already past the $120,000 threshold there’s no harm in getting one.

cover photo by bt