Grab offering bonus GrabRewards points for top-ups via PayNow

Earn up to 1,000 bonus GrabRewards points for topping up your GrabPay balance with PayNow...but give up credit card rewards.

From 9 March to 8 April 2020, selected Grab users can earn up to 1,000 bonus GrabRewards points for topping up their GrabPay account via PayNow.

If you’re eligible for this promotion, you should have received a push notification in your Grab app.

The number of GrabRewards points received depends on how much you top-up, but you’re only entitled to one set of bonus points regardless of the number of top-ups made.

Given that 1 GrabRewards point is worth 0.2 cents, this promotion represents a rebate of no more than 0.8%.

Top-up ValueBonus GrabRewards pointsValueRebate*
S$300 and above1,000S$2.000.67%
*Rebate based on minimum top-up amount to trigger the bonus

That’s a very poor return, considering what you’re giving up by not using your credit card. Assuming your card still earns rewards for top-ups (and general spending Visa cards mostly do), you could get a ~2% rebate with a 1.2 mpd card.

Top-up ValueMiles @ 1.2 mpdValue*Rebate
S$300 360S$6.482.2%
*Value based on 1.8 cents per mile

Alternatively, you could use the Citi Rewards Visa and earn 4 mpd, which would represent a rebate of ~7%. Even if you prefer cashback, you could get a 1.5% rebate with the AMEX True Cashback card.

This promotion therefore is really for those who don’t own a credit card, or whose credit card already excludes rewards for GrabPay top-ups.

Will we see other promotions for top-ups?

Although this promotion is unspectacular in and of itself, it’s interesting to the extent it suggests that Grab realises the need to incentivize top-ups.

Historically, Grab’s taken advantage of the fact that banks offer rewards points on top-ups via credit card, which most people do in order to double dip on bank and GrabRewards points. Grab has to pay the banks a fee, sure, but banks are effectively co-subsidizing the rewards. 

However, as double dipping gradually gets killed off, Grab will need to chip in from their end to encourage people to keep putting money into the GrabPay ecosystem. There are two potential ways it can do this:

  1. Offering bonus GrabPay credits with top-ups
  2. Offering bonus GrabRewards points with top-ups

(1) will almost certainly be more expensive than (2), so it’s no surprise that Grab’s trying the latter with the current promotion. It’s much cheaper for Grab to process PayNow transactions, and GrabRewards points are a captive currency. As the recent devaluation has shown, Grab can freely adjust the points valuation to a figure they’re comfortable with.


The current top-up promotion shouldn’t make you switch away from using a credit card, but assuming you don’t have one, it’s better than nothing.

I suspect we may see more top-up promotions offered by Grab, given the certainty of credit card nerfs in the future. Stay tuned.

Aaron Wong
Aaron Wong
Aaron founded The Milelion to help people travel better for less and impress chiobu. He was 50% successful.

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milelion are you considering become a grab driver while the corona virus is around?



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