Tag Archives: promos

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.

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
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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.