Shopping Mall Rewards Showdown: CapitaStar, Frasers Experience, Lendlease Plus, ShopFarEast

Here's which mall loyalty and rewards program gives the best return on your spending. Does all that receipt scanning pay off in the end?

If you’re not part of a mall rewards program, you’re leaving money on the table every time you shop. 

Yes, I get that it’s a pain to remember to scan receipts, and yes, I know the rebates aren’t phenomenal (0.5-1% in most cases). But ultimately, it doesn’t cost you anything extra, and over time, the savings add up. 

The question then is: does any particular reward program hold the upper hand over all the rest?

Which malls have rewards programs?

There are four major mall rewards programs in Singapore: CapitaStar, Frasers Experience (FRx), ShopFarEast (SFE) and Lendlease Plus. Collectively, they cover more than 50 malls and smaller shopping concepts across the island. 

🛍️ Participating Malls
  • Alexandra Technopark
  • Bedok Point
  • Causeway Point
  • Century Square
  • Changi City Point
  • Cross Street Exchange
  • Eastpoint Mall
  • Frasers Tower
  • Hougang Mall
  • Northpoint City
  • Robertson Walk
  • Tampines 1
  • The Centrepoint
  • Tiong Bahru Plaza
  • Valley Point
  • Waterway Point
  • White Sands
  • Aperia
  • Bedok Mall
  • Bugis Junction
  • Bugis+
  • Bukit Panjang Plaza
  • Clarke Quay
  • Funan
  • IMM
  • JCube
  • Jewel Changi Airport
  • Junction 8
  • Lot One
  • Plaza Singapura
  • Raffles City
  • SingPost Centre
  • Tampines Mall
  • Westgate
  • Bijou
  • Clarke Quay Central
  • Far East Square
  • Greenwich V
  • HillV2
  • Hougang 1
  • Icon Village
  • Junction 10
  • Katong V
  • Orchard Central
  • Pacific Plaza
  • Riverside Point
  • Square 2
  • West Coast Plaza
  • Mess Hall at Sentosa
  • Woods Square

All four programs are free-to-join. Here’s a summary of how they measure up in key areas:

 
Earn Rate per S$1* 5 STAR$ 1 SFE$ 1 FRx pt 10 Plus$
Min. Spend S$20
(S$10 @ Jewel)
S$10 S$10 S$10
Max. Earn Per Day 5,000 STAR$ 1,000 SFE$ 500 FRx pts 10,000 Plus$
Spend Req. For S$5 Voucher S$1K S$500 S$1K S$1K
Points Expiry 12-15 mo. 6-18 mo. 3-15 mo. 6-18 mo.
Free Parking Spend S$1.2K on Capita Card 350 SFE$= 2 hours 10 pts= S$0.05 credit Use Plus$ to pay
Third Party Tie-Ups AMEX
Grab
SIA
ASR
N/A STACK N/A
*For supermarkets (per S$1): 1 STAR$, 1/3 SFE$, 0.2 FRx points, 2 Plus$ 

Earn Rate

 
Earn Rate per S$1* 5 STAR$ 1 SFE$ 1 FRx pts 10 Plus$
*For supermarkets (per S$1): 1 STAR$, 1/3 SFE$, 0.2 FRx points, 2 Plus$ 

This is pretty much self-explanatory, although a couple of caveats need to be highlighted.

Mall rewards programs offer fewer points for spending at supermarkets compared to other tenants. It’s probably because supermarkets enjoy concessionary rental rates since they’re valuable anchor tenants that draw customers. 

The typical haircut for earning at supermarkets is 80%, e.g. instead of 5 STAR$ per S$1, supermarket transactions earn 1 STAR$ per S$1 with CapitaStars. However, SFE offers a slightly more generous haircut of 67%, with a supermarket earn rate of S$3= 1 SFE instead of the usual S$1= 1 SFE. 

All four programs also offer a birthday month incentive, where you can earn 2X the usual points.

  • FRx and Lendlease: 2X points on all transactions during birthday month
  • CapitaStar and SFE: 2X points on the first receipt you upload during your birthday month

Min. Spend

 
Min. Spend S$20
(S$10 @ Jewel)
S$10 S$10 S$10

You can’t just buy a bottle of water and chalk up points; all four programs require members to meet a certain minimum spend. This is set at S$10 across all programs except CapitaStar, which requires a minimum of S$20. 

I vaguely recall that three years ago, CapitaLand launched something called StarPay, which was supposed to allow for automatic earning of STAR$ with a minimum spend of just S$1. This was first implemented at Raffles City, but the entire scheme seems to have vanished off the face of the earth. 

Max. Earn Per Day

 
Max. Earn Per Day 5,000 STAR$ 1,000 SFE$ 500 FRx pts 10,000 Plus$

Nothing’s ever easy, is it? You’d think that the mall would want to reward its biggest spenders, but no, they cap the maximum points you can earn in a day. 

The cap is set at S$1,000 of daily spend across CapitaStar, SFE and Lendlease Plus. For FRx, the cap is S$500 of daily spend. You’ll definitely want to take note of this if you’re buying some big ticket item. 

Spend Required for S$5 voucher

 
Spend Req. For S$5 Voucher S$1,000 S$500 S$1,000 S$1,000

Since we’re dealing with different rewards currencies, the easiest way of comparing them is to break it down to a common denominator: how much spending is required to earn a S$5 mall voucher?

CapitaStar, FRx and Lendlease all require a minimum spend of S$1,000 for a S$5 voucher, which yields a rebate of 0.5%. SFE is slightly more generous, requiring just S$500 (1% rebate). These figures aren’t life-changing, but you (1) don’t pay anything extra to earn it and (2) earn it on top of your credit card rewards.

Do note that if you happen to be a PAssion Card member, you can redeem up to 2x S$5 eCapitaVouchers at a discounted rate of 4,500 STAR$ per month. This is capped at the first 10,000 redemptions per month, and you’ll need to enter your CAN number in the profile section of the CapitaStar app. This increases the effective rebate slightly to 0.56%. 

Points Expiry

 
Points Expiry 12-15 mo. 6-18 mo. 3-15 mo. 6-18 mo.

You’ll notice that points expiry is expressed as a range for each of the four programs. That’s because expiry depends on when the points were earned. 

  • CapitaStar: STAR$ points expire at the end of the calendar quarter one year after they were earned. For example, points earned from 1 Jan to 31 Mar 2021 will expire on 31 Mar 2022, i.e the validity ranges from 12 to 15 months
  • SFE: SFE$ expire on 30 June of the following year. For example, points earned from 1 Jan to 31 Dec 2021 will expire on 30 Jun 2022, i.e the validity ranges from 6 to 18 months
  • FRx: FRx points issued from 1 October of the current year to 30 September of the following year must be redeemed by 31 December of the following year, i.e the validity ranges from 3 to 15 months
  • Lendlease Plus: Plus$ points will expire on 30 June of the following year. For example, points earned from 1 Jan to 31 Dec 2021 will expire on 30 Jun 2022, i.e the validity ranges from 6 to 18 months

Free Parking

 
Free Parking Spend S$1.2K for 3 hours per day 350 SFE$ = 2 hours 10 pts = S$0.05 credit Use Plus$ to pay

CapitaStar has the most generous free parking policy across the four programs, although you will need to be an AMEX CapitaCard member to enjoy it. Cardmembers who spend at least S$1,200 in a calendar month will enjoy three hours of free parking per day throughout the following month at all CapitaLand malls (except Aperia and Jewel). 

Those who spend S$1,800 in a calendar month will enjoy “privileged parking”, specially-reserved carpark lots that are nearer the escalators and lifts. 

The other three programs require you to redeem your rewards points for parking credit. 

Third Party Tie-Ups

 
Third Party Xfer AMEX
Grab
SIA
ASR
N/A STACK  N/A

CapitaStar is the most connected of the four programs, with its ties to American Express, GrabRewards, Singapore Airlines and Ascott Star Rewards (ASR). 

The AMEX CapitaCard will be getting an upgrade from 1 July 2021, with cardmembers earning up to 80 STAR$1 per S$1 spent at selected Xtra partners, and 20-30 STAR$ per S$1 at CapitaLand Malls in general. While I still find the card underpowered compared to 4 mpd options, it’ll always have its advocates. 

GrabRewards points can be converted into STAR$ at a regular rate of 2,500 points= 5,000 STAR$, but we periodically see sales that enhance the value. Just recently, there was a 35% pointsback offer, which reduced the effective cost to just 1,625 points. 

It’s doubtful you’d want to convert either KrisFlyer miles or ASR points to CapitaStar, as you’ll lose a lot of value in the process. 

FRx is part of the STACK rewards platform, which means you can convert FRx points into and out of OCBC credit card points, My Millennium, UPGREAT and Harry’s rewards programs. Sadly, the conversion rates are poor, which makes this a theoretical option at best. 

What about elite tiers?

  Elite Premium
Qualification Spend S$8,000 in 12 months Spend S$8,000 in 12 months
Earn Rate per S$1 Same as regular 20 Plus$
(4 Plus$ at supermarkets)
Max. Earn Per Day Same as regular 20,000 Plus$
Redemption Rate S$500 spend for S$5 voucher Same as regular

Both FRx and Lendlease Plus offer a “premium” tier, which requires clocking S$8,000 of spending in a 12 month period.

The net impact is that your effective rebate increases to 1% for both programs. The difference is that Lendlease doubles your earn rate (so only your future spending is impacted) while FRx doubles your redemption rate (so your previous spending becomes more valuable). 

Which program is the best?

313 @ Sommerset | Photo: Lendlease

“Best” is a loaded question, but I can make the following observations.

CapitaStar has the most developed rewards ecosystem by far. It has its own cobrand card, members can convert points from GrabRewards, KrisFlyer and ASR, and there’s a ton of ways you can spend STAR$, some of which start from just 100 STAR$. My main gripe is that you have to spend at least S$20 to accumulate any points, double the threshold of the other programs.

SFE offers the most generous rebates of all four programs, allowing you to redeem a S$5 voucher with just S$500 of spending. They lack any kind of transfer partnership, but you can redeem points for staycations at Far East Hospitality properties like The Clan and The Barracks- a very interesting option. 

FRX points have potentially the shortest validity, with some points expiring in just three months. While they’re on the STACK Rewards platform, I don’t see this as much of a plus, given the poor value conversions on offer. FRx also has the lowest daily cap of all four programs- don’t spend more than S$500 here!

Lendlease Plus has the smallest footprint of all, and their rewards catalogue is likewise limited. However, they’re making an aggressive push for customer acquisition, and you can get a free S$5 voucher by joining through their referral program (code: tocoMb)

All the rest

For the sake of completeness, I’ll do a quick rundown of a handful of smaller programs out there, which will likely have niche appeal. 

  Great Rewards M Privileges U-POPP
Earn Rate per S$1 1 pt.  5 pts. 1 pt.
Min. Spend S$20 S$20 S$20
Max. Earn Per Day 1,000 pts.  5,000 pts.  1,000 pts.
Spend Req. For S$5 Voucher S$1K S$1K  S$1K
Points Expiry 6-18 mo. 3-9 mo. 3-15 m.o
Locations -Great World
-Tanglin Mall
-AMK Hub
-Jurong Point
-Thomson Plaza
-KINEX
-United Square
-Velocity

They follow very much the same blueprint, with a minimum spend of S$20, and an effective rebate of 0.5%. 

Conclusion

Mall rewards programs allow you to earn additional rebates, on top of your credit card. They don’t make it the easiest to earn points (scanning physical receipts in 2021, really?), but that’s the price you’ll pay for an additional 0.5-1% rebate.

I personally have fingers in all four majors, and I can’t really say it really influences where I shop- it’s more of a way to pick up something extra on the odd occasion I do buy something offline. 

Any other mall loyalty programs you’re aware of (which have more than one mall participating)?

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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playereleven

Grab just ran another round of 35% pointsback promo with CapitaStar included. 1,625 Grabpoints = 5,000Star$ and 4,500Star$ = $5 Grabcar voucher. Not too bad a deal!

Supermarket Shopping

Probably the only things I wouldn’t buy online are fresh produce, meat and fish; all best seen in person (not to mention delivery mishaps). So for me, the best programs in Singapore would be Great Rewards which has the larger Meidi-Ya and one of the largest Cold Storage stores. The Isetan Platinum Card (instant additional 3% discount at supermarket checkout) and Club 21 Card for Culina Market (instant 5% off at checkout) are better if you choose to shop there (for the quality of the produce and meat; and the range of imported items). Interestingly Sheng Shiong has some excellent… Read more »

Supermarket Shopping

Despite the earn rate the savings are more than pocket change: I just cashed in 50K points for $250 from Great Rewards and 1K points for $400 from ION. The MBS savings are even better but mainly for dining (additional 10% discount vs 3% at boutiques). Agree the points are a hassle but the cashier can enter it for you – just show them the QR code on your mobile screen during payment. Actually makes me appreciate the Isetan and Culina instant discount approach more. Come to think of it there is an article in BT on 7th June showing… Read more »

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