You may not have heard of I Prefer before, but it’s the loyalty programme of a loosely-affiliated group of upscale and luxury boutique hotels. With 650 properties across 80 countries, their footprint is about 70% as large as Hyatt’s.
Participating hotels in Singapore include The Fullerton and Fullerton Bay Hotel, One Farrer, and Royal Plaza on Scotts. Other well-known properties include The Siam in Bangkok, The Sanchaya in Bintan, and Royal Lancaster in London.
Mastercard is now offering instant I Prefer elite status, with World Elite cardholders getting fast tracked all the way to Authority, the invite-only tier of the scheme. This includes perks like free breakfast and lounge access, as well as space-available upgrades.
|I Prefer Offer|
Get instant I Prefer status with Mastercard
From now till 31 January 2023, Mastercard holders in Asia Pacific can enjoy instant I Prefer status as follows:
- World Elite Mastercard: I Prefer Authority status
- World Mastercard: I Prefer Elite status
- Platinum & Titanium Mastercard: I Prefer Explorer status
- Gold, Classic & Standard Mastercard: I Prefer Insider status & 2,500 bonus points
Obviously the offer for World Elite Mastercard is the best, but there’s only three such cards in Singapore that I’m aware of:
- Citi Prestige
- OCBC Premier World Elite Debit Card
- UOB Lady’s Solitaire Metal Card
I wasn’t even aware that I Prefer Authority status exists (the name just conjures Eric Cartman in my mind); apparently it’s a new invite-only tier introduced in July 2021. The perks of each tier can be found below:
Once status is upgraded, it will be valid for one year. Subsequent requalification follows I Prefer’s regular requirements:
- Explorer: Spend at least US$2,500 in a year
- Elite: Spend at least US$5,000 in a year
There’s no indication of how you requalify for Authority.
If you don’t have an I Prefer account
If you don’t already have an I Prefer account, you can sign up via the links below:
I’m assuming that everyone should have at least a World Mastercard, and curiously enough there doesn’t seem to be any sort of verification anyway.
Under the referral code field, you can copy and paste my referral code to enjoy 1,000 bonus points on sign up (worth US$2, don’t get too excited).
The account will be created immediately, with the 1,000 points credited.
If you already have an I Prefer account
If you already have an I Prefer account, follow these steps to get upgraded:
- Email [email protected] the following
- Subject Title – “Mastercard Offer – Status Match”
- Full Name per I Prefer’s membership registration
- Email used to register for I Prefer membership
- I Prefer Membership Number (Existing members who enrolled previously might have a 5-digit or 10-digit alphanumeric number)
- Type of Mastercard – World Elite, World, Platinum, Titanium, Gold, Classic or Standard
- You will receive an email reply from I Prefer within 7 business days upon successful upgrade.
I’ve sent in an email already, and was upgraded within 24 hours. Surprisingly, they didn’t even ask for verification…
How useful is I Prefer status?
I’ll level with you: my experiences thus far as an I Prefer Elite member (obtained courtesy of a status match) have been nothing short of meh.
At the Fullerton Hotel Sydney, Hotel Munchen Palace and Hotel Maximilian, I got nothing more than a drinks voucher (after making noise)- no upgrades, no late check-out, no welcome amenity. The staff seemed altogether unfamiliar with the programme.
However, there may be some value in I Prefer Authority, since it offers actual, concrete benefits like breakfast and lounge access. That could save you a chunk of money, and give you some nice evening cocktails to look forward to every day.
According to the I Prefer terms and conditions, you’ll need to book through the following channels to enjoy points and benefits:
- IPrefer.com, PreferredHotels.com, PreferredGolf.com, StayBeyondGreen.com
- Preferred Hotel Group call centers
- Travel agent bookings (other than online travel agents including, but not limited to Travelocity, Orbitz, Expedia, and Hotels.com)
- Hotel website
- Hotel direct bookings, e.g. phone bookings
Here’s the thing though: I’ve previously made bookings via the hotel’s official website and been told at the front desk that I had to book through I Prefer to receive benefits.
That could just be an unfamiliar front desk associate making up rules, although if you want to spare yourself the argument and if the rate is the same, then bookings via I Prefer might be the better option.
Mastercard is offering complimentary I Prefer status, with World Elite Mastercard cardholders enjoying the invitation-only Authority tier. This gives you free breakfast and lounge access, and while elite recognition may be patchy across the programme, costs you nothing to obtain.
This offer is available till 31 January 2023, and status earned is valid for one year- so there’s no rush to apply, unless you believe it might get yanked ahead of time (which given the lax verification requirements, is quite possible).