Free Sands Rewards Lifestyle Elite status with ICBC cards- great for staycations at MBS (and more)

Get top-tier status in the Sands Rewards Lifestyle program, which gives free attraction tickets, free parking, and additional benefits during staycations.

If you’re planning a staycation at Marina Bay Sands soon (or even if you aren’t), here’s an offer to take note of. 

From now till 31 December 2021, ICBC cardholders can receive a free upgrade to the Prestige or Elite tier of the Sands Rewards Lifestyle (not to be confused with Sands Rewards Club, which is the casino’s Players Club), valid for 3 months.

This means free attraction tickets, free parking at MBS, extra benefits during staycations and more. Even if you have no interest in the bright lights of MBS, getting free parking in the CBD still has to be a fantastic deal, right? 

ICBC’s instant Sands Rewards Lifestyle Prestige/Elite offer

ICBC cardholders will receive instant Prestige or Elite status, depending on what card they hold:

  ICBC Classic ICBC Gold or higher
Sands Rewards Lifestyle Tier Prestige Elite
Valid For 3 months 3 months
Spend Required for 9 Months Extension S$500 S$15K

Status is valid for 3 months, but it’s possible to extend this by a further 9 months upon meeting a certain spending threshold with MBS merchants, as shown above. 

Now, you should have no trouble at all getting an ICBC Gold or higher card- if you need suggestions, get the ICBC Global Travel Mastercard. This ICBC Platinum Card gives you six free lounge visits per calendar year through DragonPass, with no annual fee for 3 years. What’s there not to like? 

💳 Similar offer for UnionPay [Expires 30 Jun 2022]
If you don’t fancy getting an ICBC card, it’s also possible to enjoy the same privilege with a UnionPay Platinum or Diamond card. This is available through Bank of China, DBS, and UOB

Claiming your free Sands Rewards Lifestyle Elite membership requires you to make a trip down to Marina Bay Sands, but it takes all of five minutes once you’re there. Look for any of the Sands Rewards Lifestyle counters:

  • Lobby, Hotel Tower 1
    Daily: 10am – 11pm

  • B1, Galleria Level, The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands
    (above Sampan Rides)

    Sun – Thu: 10am – 11pm
    Fri, Sat & Eve of PH: 10am – 11.30pm

  • B2, Canal Level, The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands
    (near Digital Light Canvas)
    Sun – Thu: 10am – 11pm
    Fri, Sat & Eve of PH: 10am – 11.30pm

What benefits do Sands Rewards Lifestyle members get?

Sands Rewards Lifestyle Elite
Playuh

Sands Rewards Lifestyle members enjoy some standard privileges across tiers, like earning up to 20% rebates (in the form of Reward Dollars, MBS’s loyalty currency) on spend at participating MBS outlets

Category Rebate*
Restaurants 10-20%
Hotel stays and MBS gift shops 6%
Other retail 3%
*Reward Dollars expire 12 months after the date of accrual.

However, the higher tiers enjoy additional benefits across MBS’s hotel, attraction, dining and entertainment offerings. I’ve highlighted the ones I think are interesting below:

  LifeStyle Prestige Elite
Qualifying Spend
(12 month period)
S$0 S$2K S$50K
Admin Fee for Redemption 20% 10% 0%
Invite-Only Celebrity Events    
Other Retail/ Dining/ Entertainment Events  
Personal shopping session   1-for-1 Free
Room upgrades, early check-in, late check-out    
(subject to
availability)
Discount on Flexible Rate   10% 15%
72-hour room availability    
Sands Lounge Check-in    
Banyan Tree Spa Discount 10% 15% 20%
Free 15-min Massage    
Free tickets to Digital Light Canvas, SkyPark, Sampan Rides (per month) 30% off 2 free 6 free
ArtScience Tickets 30% off 1-for-1 2 free
Sands Theater Discount  15% 15% 20%
Parking Discount 4 Reward Dollars for 24h pass
4 Reward Dollars for 24h pass Free
(Max 10/month)

Some of the perks require purchases, e.g the free 15-minute head & shoulder massage for Elite members is only valid when you buy a massage, but others (e.g free attraction tickets) are pure gravy. Heck, three months of free parking at MBS is also incredible, even more so if you’re working in the CBD. 

What’s that admin fee about?

There’s probably only one term in the table that needs some explanation: admin fee for redemption.

There is no admin fee for redeeming Reward Dollars at Marina Bay Sands Outlets, i.e 1 Reward Dollar= S$1. However, if you redeem your Reward Dollars at Partner Outlets, you’ll pay an admin fee that varies depending on your tier:

  Marina Bay Sands Outlet Partner Outlet
LifeStyle 1 Reward Dollar= S$1 1.2 Reward Dollar= S$1
(i.e 20% admin fee)
Prestige 1 Reward Dollar= S$1 1.1 Reward Dollar= S$1
(i.e 10% admin fee)
Elite 1 Reward Dollar= S$1 1 Reward Dollar= S$1
(no admin fee)

What’s a Marina Bay Sands Outlet and what’s a Partner Outlet? It doesn’t say online, but I managed to get this brochure from the concierge. 

Click to enlarge

Marina Bay Sands Outlets Partner Outlets
  • Hotel stays
  • Banyan Tree Spa
  • Attractions (ArtScience Museum, Digital Light Canvas, Sands Theatre, Sampan Rides, SkyPark Observation Deck)
  • Retail (ArtScience Museum Retial Shop, Hotel Gift Shop, Infinity Swim Shop, SkyPark Shop)
  • Restaurants (all restaurants)
  • All other retail shops

The presence of the admin fee is supposed to encourage you to spend your rebates with MBS-operated merchants, creating a sort of “double captive” system. But remember, your trusty ICBC credit card should land you in the Elite tier, so you don’t need to worry about this concept (for three months at least).

Marina Bay Sands Staycation Package

Marina Bay Sands Premier Room
Marina Bay Sands Premier Room

MBS is currently offering the following “Sands Staycation” package from S$339++ per night, which includes:

  • One night in Premier Room (automatic upgrade from Deluxe)
  • $50 Reward Dollars
  • Free parking
  • 12 p.m check-in (subject to availability) 
  • Free entry to Sands SkyPark Observation Deck & Infinity Pool
  • 15% off ArtScience Museum tickets
  • 10% off single treatments and 15% off couple treatments at Banyan Tree Spa

This is valid for bookings made up till 29 September 2020, with stays up till 23 December 2020. Reservations are fully refundable up to 48 hours before arrival. 

All Sands Rewards Lifestyle members will receive a 6% Reward Dollars rebate on the staycation, which work out to S$20.34 (based on a S$339 rate). However, an Elite tier member in the Sands Rewards Lifestyle program would enjoy these additional benefits on a staycation:

  • No admin fee when redeeming the $50 Reward Dollars at any participating tenant across MBS
  • Free tickets to Digital Light Canvas, SkyPark Observation Deck, Sampan Rides, ArtScience Museum
  • An additional discount on Banyan Tree Spa treatments (20%, instead of the standard 10%)
  • Sands Lounge check-in (this is not the same as Club 55)
  • Potential room upgrades, early check-in and late check-out
  • Additional free parking, should you overstay a 24-hour period

Conclusion

It’s simple enough to get an ICBC credit card, and with the annual fee waivers, this really is a freebie. If you’re doing a staycation at MBS, it’s a potential way to snag a further room upgrade (if anyone has data points about how generous they are with upgrades for Lifestyle members, please sound out), and even if you aren’t, it’s a way to get more out of your shopping & dining at MBS. 

The offer runs till the end of 2021 so there’s no rush to take advantage of it now, but do note that like all offers it can be pulled without notice. 

Aaron Wong
Aaron founded The Milelion with the intention of helping people travel better for less and impressing chiobu. He was 50% successful.

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Bent

So just go to any Sands Rewards Lifestyle counters with my ICBC card to ‘register’ for this promotion?

Adam

ICBC’s card registration system may make you want to pull your hair out, but the six lounge visits is sick, especially for an entry level credit card. This just sweetens the deal.

Bent

Too bad we can’t utilize the lounges this year. Don’t think they will extend the validity.

Klep

Oh my i just went for a staycay at mbs and missed this.. thanks Aaron

Nick

So the Global Travel card is not a gold card right?

Mark Lim

For what it’s worth, I think the ICBC Horoscope card has a really pretty design. The gold is so shiny. You also get the dragon pass access. The drawback is it’s a unionpay card, not MC.

Mark Lim

I did use it for the Huawei Pay cashback promo – $20 for 20 transactions, no minimum amount. NTUC salt costs 15 cents, just saying. 😆

Tony Shen

Also, there is an ongoing 1 for 1 movie ticket promotion for unionpay at Shaw. Be careful of the ceiling Air Con before your enjoying your movies. 😉

Kevin

Interesting lead, Aaron. Would any of these cards also be useful for loading WechatPay for use in China (almost impossible to do things in China without WeChat)…eg the UnionPay cards? Some UnionPay cards also result in discounts elsewhere? Thanks!

Tony Shen

Tested adding ICBC unionpay card to WeChat and failed. Even Visa/master is ok to add, but not foreign issued unionpay cards. It goes directly to ICBC china and cannot find this card in that system.

Johnny

Hmm.. What’s Icbc classic and icbc gold?

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