Tag Archives: promos

Citi Prestige 29,000 miles sign up bonus now available

I recently did a review of the so-called “$120K credit cards” in Singapore, which are targeted at the entry level prestige segment of the market. The conclusion I reached was that if I had to pick one, I’d probably go with the Citi Prestige, due to its unlimited lounge access, generous limo policy and fourth night free benefit.

The $120K credit card showdown

If you’ve been thinking about getting a Prestige card but haven’t pulled the trigger yet, you might be interested to know that from now till 30 November 2017, Citibank is offering a sign up bonus on its Prestige card which allows you to earn the equivalent of 80,000 miles when you spend $20,000 in the first 3 months and pay the $535 annual fee.

I find it interesting that Citibank’s SG site still refers to “Citi Dollars” when these have been phased out and replaced with Thank You points already

The breakdown of the 80,000 miles (creditied in the form of 200,000 Citi dollars…if only this TK deal were still around) is

  • 25,000 miles welcome gift (with the $535 annual fee)
  • 26,000 base miles ($20K spending @ 1.3 mpd for local*)
  • 29,000 miles bonus for hitting $20K threshold

*Note that the workings in Citibank’s example assume that your $20,000 is spent locally. On the other extreme if you spent all of that overseas, you’d end up with 94,000 miles instead of 80,000 miles. In reality, you can expect to hit something in between those two figures.

$20,000 in 3 months is certainly a lot of money, and unless you’ve got a big ticket life event coming up it’s certainly going to be very hard to hit that sum. The good news is that it’s confirmed that spending with Cardup will count towards the minimum spend, so if you have big rental bills or tax payments then this could potentially help you hit the threshold.

I tried going through the HWZ thread to see if I could find any past sign up offers to see how this one compares, but couldn’t find anything of note in the past 12 months. Still, if you’re thinking about getting the card, you should have a read of that thread because people post about some of the unpublished benefits that Citibank sends out from time to time (eg special dinner packages, priority access to shows etc) to Prestige cardholders.

The T&C can be found here. I didn’t find anything to be worried about, but note that you can’t take part in this promotion if you cancelled your Citi Prestige card within the last 6 months and reapply.

Sign up for the 29,000 mile Citi Prestige bonus offer here (I earn a referral bonus)

One last point about Citibank cards. Remember that Thank You points do not pool across cards. That is, you will not be able to combine the points you earn from your Citibank Rewards card with your Prestige card, nor your Premiermiles card with your Prestige card. This means paying multiple conversion fees when you want to cash out. Needless to say I find this extremely infuriating and customer unfriendly, but those are the rules. Citibank somewhat makes up for it by having a much wider range of transfer partners than other banks, but still…

AMEX-Shopback $50 sign up promo is back

Back in December last year, AMEX and Shopback held a joint promotion that offered a $50 cashback and a $50 welcome voucher with Fairprice/Tangs/Starbucks/Tung Lok when you signed up for selected AMEX cards via Shopback’s website. If you’re new to Shopback, signing up via this link gives you a bonus $5 credit in your account (I earn a referral bonus too)

Well, if you missed out on that one there’s another promotion ongoing from now till 31 May that gives you a $50 cashback plus a chance to win a pair of business class tickets to somewhere or other.

This time round there are only two cards eligible for the promotion versus four the last time round.

Regular readers will know that I’m no big fan of either one, but it says in the T&C that a ShopBack Member can apply for multiple cards and $50 Cashback will be given for each successful card application so why not. Both cards have the first year annual fee waived.

If you have not already signed up for the Krisflyer AMEX in the past, you’re welcome to do so, spend $1 and get the 5,000 first spend activation miles and subsequently chuck it. I know there’s this ongoing promotion where you get 5,000 bonus miles when you spend $2.5K in the first 3 months upon approval, but there are much better sign up bonuses out there to put that spending on.

When you’re done applying, you need to send in your application reference number to Shopback, so don’t forget that step.

Your $50 cashback should be redeemable within 60 days.

I took part in this promotion the last time round and signed up for an AMEX Platinum card, which still sits in my drawer unactivated. The $50 cashback came through just fine, however.

Thanks to NBsjcs for the heads up on the comments.

What is ABT and who’s giving away what?

ABT stands for Account-Based Ticketing. It’s a new initiative that allows you to use your contactless enabled Mastercard to pay for your bus/MRT rides. Simply put, your fares are billed to your credit card every time you ride, and there’s no need to top up and carry around a separate EZ-link card. There are no additional charges involved.

You can read more details about the scheme here, suffice to say that the pilot has launched today. Some of you may have received an SMS from your bank inviting you to participate, but if not you can try to manually register here, subject to availability. If your card has this symbol, you’re potentially eligible

There is a general promotion being run by Mastercard that applies to all users of ABT.

The 200 Mastercard holders with the highest number of ABT transactions during each qualifying period (see below) will get a rebate of S$80. There are a total of 1,200 travel rebates of S$80 to give away from now till 19 Sept 2017.

Full T&C can be found here.

Apart from that, the banks have launched various promotions to encourage people to sign up. Here’s the rundown

UOB

UOB has said that ABT transactions will not earn rewards or rebates. However, they are running 2 launch promotions as shown below.

You’re probably not going to win the S$1,000 of free rides (11 winners), but you might fare (HAHAHAHAHAHA) a bit better with the S$15 rebate. The first 20,000 cardmembers who use ABT for at least one transaction per month will get a $5 rebate for each of the 3 months (March, April, May) promotional period. Full T&C can be found here.

DBS/POSB

DBS/POSB’s offer is a 100% cashback on the first 3 rides between 20 March and 20 April. Full T&C can be found here. This offer isn’t capped, but it’s fairly weak compared to what other banks have.

OCBC

OCBC is offering up to S$15 cashback for cardholders using ABT. This promotion runs from 20th March to 19th June 2017, and a maximum of S$5 can be earned each month. This is open to the first 3,000 cardmembers per month. Full T&C can be found here.

CIMB

CIMB is offering a 10% cash credit (up to S$8 per month) when you use CIMB Mastercard with your ABT from now till 19 Sept 2017. Full T&C can be found here.

EDIT: An earlier version of the article said that there was a minimum spend per month of S$80 required. This was based on this line in the webpage

However, the T&C do not specify any minimum spend of S$80 required. 

My reading of this is that if you want to get S$8 per month you need to spend a min of S$80 (@ 10% rebate). But any spending <S$80 should still net you the 10% rebate.

Maybank

(Thanks to Kindsoul) Maybank’s version of this promo is similar to CIMB- 8% cash rebate with the Family and Friends card. You can read the T&C here.

Standard Chartered

(Thanks Yiwei) Standard Chartered is offering S$10 cashback each month with a minimum spend of S$10 on ABT. This promotion is capped to S$30 per cardholder during the period of 20 March to 19 Sept 2017. The full T&C can be found here

Summary

If UOB is any example to go by, it appears that banks will not give miles on ABT transactions. Therefore, unless you’re gunning for some (limited) free money, you might be better off topping up your Ez-link card with the HSBC Visa Advance (until the end of this month at least) to earn 10X points on $200 each month.

DBS Altitude Visa double miles promotion

From 1 March to 31 July 2017, DBS Altitude is running a promotion on their Visa Signature card for members who register via this link. Cardmembers can earn up to 6 mpd, depending on the category they spend in.

Here’s how it works- recall that the base earning rates for the DBS Altitude Visa are 1.2/2/3 mpd for local/overseas/online hotel and flight bookings respectively.

If you spend a minimum of S$2,500 per calendar month, you’ll enjoy 2.4/4/6 mpd on the $2,501-$5,000th dollar of spend. Any spend fro mthe $5,001th dollar on earns the regular 1.2/2/3 mpd.

In reality your actual mpd will be something less than the 2.4/4/6 promised because your $1-$2,500 will be earning the regular 1.2/2/3 mpd rates.

6 mpd sounds like a a fantastic earning rate for online hotel and flight spending- it’s above the HSBC 4 mpd rate (which may very well disappear come 31 March). But when you do the math, you come out only marginally higher. Suppose you were buying a $5K flight ticket- your effective rate is 4.5mpd because of the first $2.5K of spend earning 3 mpd. If you don’t have a HSBC Advance card then of course it’s a fantastic deal though. Full T&C here.

A reminder that if you do not yet own a DBS Altitude Visa card you can get a 10,000 mile sign up bonus (or 15,000 miles if you’re new to DBS credit cards altogether) when you charge a minimum of $1,000 a month for the first 2 months after getting your card. This is valid for sign ups till 31 March.

SQ’s Santa’s Gift Grab Game has interesting (albiet limited) economy deals

Singapore Airlines has launched the Singapore Air Games site where you play a series of poorly coded HTML5 games (I’m guessing it’s HTML5, but the tech savvy among us can humiliate me in the comments if you want) that make you jump through hoops for some semblance of a reward.

The idea behind Singapore Air Games is that various games will be available all the way through April 2017, and that there’s an ongoing leaderboard that rewards those who persistently play. The top 3 scorers when the games period ends on 15 April 2017 will get Krisflyer miles equivalent to their game points scored. Now before you get all excited, note that the fine print reads

*Free trip is based on round-trip Economy Class Saver award ticket on Singapore Airlines and SilkAir flights only. Taxes, surcharges and fees are applicable in addition to the required redemption mileage and must be separately paid by the passenger. The KrisFlyer miles will only be valid for 1 year from the date on which it is credited into the KrisFlyer member account of the winner of the KrisFlyer miles, and no extensions will be permitted. The KrisFlyer miles are not negotiable nor transferable, either in part or in full. The KrisFlyer miles must be used in accordance with the terms and conditions of the KrisFlyer programme.

So yeah. Don’t knock yourself out.

Anyhoo, the latest iteration of Singapore Air games is the enigmatically named Santa’s Gift Grab. I played the game so you don’t have to. I’d like to consider myself an active gamer (and am currently working my way through Far Cry 4) but this was probably not one of the better titles I played this year.

Here’s what I got (and the code you need to enter on the booking page to get this special deal)

  • Paris- $808 (XMAS2016P1)
  • Manchester- $808 (XMAS2016M2)
  • Hong Kong- $228 (XMAS2016H1)
  • Bali- $228 (XMAS2016D1)
  • Bangkok- $188 (XMAS2016B1)
  • HCMC- $188 (XMAS2016S1)
  • Beijing- $388 (XMAS2016B2)
  • Colombo- $388 (XMAS2016C1)
  • Melbourne- $588 (XMAS2016M1)

 

Click the box labelled “apply promo code” to enter the codes listed above

As per the T&C, there are a total of 9 destinations on offer (so I’ve covered all the possibilities on top) and only 1,000 bookings for each destination. All fares need to be bought by 6 Jan 2017 for travel between 1 Feb- 31 March 2017. That’s a really narrow travel window.

How do these fares compare to regular SQ prices? Not too bad, really (which is probably why only 1,000 bookings are allowed per destination- Merry Christmas!). I’ve not seen BKK tickets dip under $200 in a long while, and Paris/Manchester for less than $1,000 is almost unheard of on SQ. Beijing for $388 round trip is a fantastic deal too, if you don’t mind freezing your butt off in winter.

If you’ve already got travel plans and can work around the date restrictions, feel free to take advantage of the codes I listed above. But until such time as SQ releases a full featured airline simulator (oh, how I miss Airline Tycoon) that allows you to design your won loyalty program, I think I’m going to give SQ games a pass.

Thanks Keith for the tip.

Starwood announces Q1 2017 promotion, hopes you have long stays planned

Starwood has announced its Q1 promotion for 2017 and I have mixed feelings about it. Registration is required and can be done here. Here’s the details-

  • Earn double Starpoints® on your first three stays between January 16 and April 15, 2017.
  • Plus, we’re giving you an extra Double Take bonus to earn even more Starpoints.
  • Offer valid at all hotels and resorts in the SPG program — no exceptions.

Let’s start with the good. The best part about this promotion is that 100% of SPG properties worldwide are participating. No exclusions. It just strikes me as petty and small minded whenever properties opt out taking part in these bonuses, and I’ve found that elite member treatment is invariably worse at such places (given that their participation in the program is only half-hearted. Sheraton Singapore, I’m looking at you)

Unlike past promotions, they only reward your first 3 stays with double Starpoints. Subsequently, however, what’s called the Double Take bonus kicks in.

So far there have been two reported variants of the doubl eTake bonus you can get

Variant 1 (I got this one)

  • Starting on your fourth stay, you can earn up to 15,000 bonus Starpoints®:
  • Achieve 20 nights and you’ll earn 10,000 Starpoints.
  • After 20 nights earn 500 Starpoints for each additional night, up to 5,000 Starpoints

Variant 2

  • Starting on your fourth stay, you can earn up to 10,000 bonus Starpoints®:
  • Achieve 10 nights and you’ll earn 5,000 Starpoints.
  • After 10 nights earn 500 Starpoints for each additional night, up to 5,000 Starpoints.

The problem with the Double Take bonus is how restrictive it is, because they only start counting the 20 nights from when you complete your third stay (confirmed by the SPG representative on Flyertalk)

So imagine a scenario like this

Stay 1: 6 nights
Stay 2: 11 nights
Stay 3: 5 nights

I’ve already exceeded 20 nights here, but for me to get my 10,000 bonus Starpoints I need to stay a further 20 nights from the end of my third stay. Therefore, another way of reading this promotion is

  • 2X Starpoints on first 3 stays
  • 500 bonus starpoints per night from fourth stay for 20 nights (but only if I hit 20 additional nights, otherwise 0)
  • 500 bonus starpoints per night from the 21st night after the fourth stay for a maximum of 10 nights

Wow, they really want you to rack up the stays. For you to maximise the 15,000 point kicker, you need to stay 30 nights after your first 3 stays.

I need to do the math on this, but it appears that for some people, it may make more sense to do 3 short stays upfront so you can trigger the count for the 30 nights. It all depends- I think in general 500 bonus points a night is better than 2X Starpoints for your entire stay, but you’ll have to work the math for yourself and see what happens.

 

I’m going to be in Sao Paulo in January for the first two to three weeks and my old friend the Sheraton Sao Paulo beckons.

publicity photo
IRL
IMG_20160313_220939
IRL part two

Although the promotion starts on 16 Jan, as per the T&C all I need to do is get one night of my stay within the promotion period in order to have the whole stay qualifying. So if, for example, I stay 2 Jan- 17 Jan, the entire stay qualifies for double starpoints.

I was really hoping to reach Platinum 100 this year but because of a last minute change in travel plans that will not be possible. I do retain high hopes for 2017 though, with about 49 Starwood nights already locked in. Also, 2017 will be the last year of the SPG program in its current form as we know it. After 2017 it is likely that Marriott will either do away with it completely or merge the Marriott Rewards program (boo) with the SPG one.

Therefore my immediate goal is to lock in Lifetime Gold and pray that Marriott doesn’t terminate the Lifetime program (Lifetime, in the realm of loyalty programs, refers to the lifetime of the program, not your lifetime sadly). I’ve already got 275 nights so all I need to do for Lifetime Gold is requalify for elite status for 1 more year.

For those of you who earn points with Marriott (why?) you might be interested to note that Marriott Rewards and SPG seem to be aligning their promotions. Marriott’s Q1 promotion sounds, on the surface, to be similar to SPG’s but I haven’t gone to read the details.

What do I think of the promotion overall? It’s definitely weaker than past ones, but since hotels are enjoying good occupancy rates now there’s really no need to incentivize people to stay. I’m hopelessly loyal to SPG so they’ll still be my choice of hotel provider for 2017, but depending on what Marriott does 2018 may be a different stoy for me…

Oh who am I kidding.