Here’s some food for thought.
I take roughly 1-2 Grab rides per day, and order GrabFood 3-4 times per week. Over the past six months, I’ve spent more than S$3,000 on the platform. I’d say that makes me a reasonably active user.
And yet my GrabRewards status is sinking like a stone. I recently dropped from Platinum to Gold, and it’s only a matter of time before I plumb the depths of Silver and, eventually, Member.
This isn’t because GrabRewards has changed the qualification criteria for elite status- that’s remained untouched since July 2018. Rather, it’s because Grab has nuked its system for points accrual, so much so you could use Grab on a daily basis and still be nowhere closer to elite status.
GrabRewards elite structure
As a quick refresher, GrabRewards has a four-tier elite system, starting at Member and maxing out at Platinum. Tier qualification is based on the number of points earned within a calendar half:
- 1 January to 30 June
- 1 July to 31 December
|🚕GrabRewards Elite Qualification|
|Tier||Points Req.||Spend Req.*|
Qualify | Requalify
|Silver||300||S$100 | S$100|
|Gold||1,200||S$400 | S$267|
|Platinum||4,500||S$1,133 | S$750|
|*Spending required for qualification and requalification is different because earn rates are different between tiers. For example, a Silver member (3 pts/S$1) would need to spend S$400 to earn Gold (4.5 pts/S$1), but only S$267 to maintain it.|
Status earned is valid for the rest of the calendar half, plus the following calendar half.
For example, if I accrued 1,200 points on 3 March 2022, I’ll enjoy Gold status till 31 December 2022. To requalify for Gold, I’ll need to earn a further 1,200 points between 1 July to 31 December 2022.
The key thing to note is that GrabRewards elite qualification is based on points, not number of transactions. In other words, it’s all about the Benjamins (or Ishaks, I suppose, in the Singapore context) spent within the Grab ecosystem.
The problem is, the two have lost all semblance of a relationship in recent times…
GrabRewards earn structure
When doing the background research for this post, what was striking was the rate at which GrabRewards went south ever since the pandemic began:
- In March 2020, GrabRewards cut earn rates by up to 60%, and increased award prices by almost 40%
- In March 2021, Grab cut the points earned by credit/debit card users by 50%, while increasing points for Grab Wallet users by 50%
- In August 2022, Grab removed all GrabRewards points for credit/debit card payments
- In October 2022, Grab removed all GrabRewards points for GrabPay Card transactions (except F&B), and introduced a gacha mechanic for in-store GrabWallet payments
In the space of just two and a half years, GrabRewards went from somewhat decent to dumpster fire (and that’s not even taking into account the non-GrabRewards nerfs, such as removing support for Revolut and other e-wallet top-ups, or nerfing AXS payments).
For those who even care, here’s the current earn structure.
|🤣 GrabRewards Earning Structure|
|Tier||GrabPay Card||GrabPay Wallet|
|GrabPay Wallet (Online)* & PayLater|
0 (all other trxns.)
|*Includes rides & deliveries|
Transactions made with the GrabPay Card no longer earn any GrabRewards points at all, except F&B transactions which earn a miserly 1 point per S$1 (0.2% rebate).
|❓ F&B Definition|
|Grab defines F&B as a transaction with any of the following MCCs:|
In-store transactions made with the GrabPay Wallet get a mystery box that contains a random number of points, ranging anywhere from 0 to 25,000. I wish I were kidding. On the rare occasions I’ve used GrabPay Wallet, I’ve got zero every time.
The only other transactions which still earn points are:
- Online GrabPay Wallet transactions
- PayLater transactions
- Grab rides & deliveries paid with GrabPay Wallet
I use a lot of Grab services, but never in the “right” way. My Grab rides and GrabFood are all paid using credit card, which earns no GrabRewards points. My GrabPay top-ups are invariably used for AXS (RIP) or GrabPay transactions (insurance, utilities etc.), neither of which earns GrabRewards points either.
Therefore, even though I’ve spent ~S$3,000 on Grab in the past six months, four times the S$750 theoretically required to requalify for Platinum, I’ve been downgraded to Gold. And frankly speaking, I’m probably going to get downgraded to Silver come 1 July 2023, since I’m not going to spend S$267 on Grab the way it wants me to.
By 1 January 2024, I’ll be Silver, and assuming the GrabRewards programme is still around on 1 July 2024, I’ll have finally achieved the lofty status of Member.
Am I missing out on much?
Is losing GrabRewards Platinum that big a deal? Probably not.
|🚕GrabRewards Elite Benefits|
|Points per S$1||3 pts||4.5 pts||6 pts|
Platinum members do earn 33% more points than Gold, but given the highly restricted scope of earning (and low value of GrabRewards points), this can’t be said to be much of a perk.
Then there’s the vaguely-defined “priority ride allocation and customer support”. I can’t say I’ve had any more difficulty getting a Grab ride as a Gold member compared to my Platinum days, but with the ranks getting culled due to diminished opportunities for earning points, maybe the few remaining Platinums will have it better.
Heck, Grab’s even removed the airport benefits, not that they were great to begin with. Platinum and Gold members used to get “preferential rates” for lounge access, advertised as 55% and 40% off list prices if I remember correctly. But who needs this, when you can enjoy free lounge access via so many credit cards out there?
Therefore, unlike losing my Marriott Platinum status, I’m not shedding too many tears about this. The GrabRewards programme is simply not compelling enough to make me change my behaviour, and at that point you really need to ask yourself: why even bother running it?
My GrabRewards Platinum status evaporated on 1 January 2023, and I’m guessing I’m not the only one. It’s not that the qualification requirements have changed, but rather that Grab’s earn rates and channels have been nerfed into oblivion.
Still, this is probably the status I feel the most indifferent about losing. Grab Platinum has virtually nothing in the way of perks, and even if it means waiting a minute or two longer for a ride, it’s not worth jumping through the hoops Grab wants you to.