Complimentary airport transfers used to be a common perk of most travel/rewards cards. However, as time went by these perks were enhanced away, and today there’s only a limited selection of cards offering this benefit.
|Card (Income Req)||Min Spend Requirement||Max Uses||Airport Drop/Pickup|
|UOB PRVI Miles AMEX ($30K)||S$1K FCY spend per quarter unlocks 2 rides (excludes online transactions)||2 per quarter, 8 per year||Drop only|
|Citi Prestige ($120K)||S$20K spend per quarter unlocks 2 rides||2 per quarter, 8 per year||Drop or pickup|
|HSBC Visa Infinite ($120K)||S$2K spend per month unlocks 1 ride (first two/year are free, four/year free for HSBC Premier customers)||24 per year (includes the free trips)||Drop only|
|Maybank Visa Infinite ($120K)||S$3K spend per month unlocks 2 rides (no min spend if >$60K spending in prev. year)||8 per year||Drop or pickup|
|OCBC VOYAGE ($120K)||S$3K spend or S$1.5K FCY spend per month unlocks 1 ride||2 per month||Drop or pickup|
Here’s a few things to consider when choosing a credit card for airport limo benefits.
How much and what type of spending is needed to unlock the benefit?
With the exception of the HSBC Visa Infinite, which offers the first two limo rides each year for free, every bank requires you to spend a certain amount before unlocking a complimentary transfer.
It’s not just the quantum of spending you need to be aware of- it’s the type too. Some cards require the qualifying spending to be entirely in foreign currency, others allow for either foreign or local spending.
Where FCY spending is concerned, do note that the UOB PRVI Miles AMEX card does not count FCY denominated card-not-present transactions such as buying attraction tickets and transportation online. The Citi Prestige, on the other hand, does.
Finally, take note of the cadence of spending. Some banks count the qualifying spend by month, others by quarter.
Does the benefit cover both airport pickups and dropoffs?
Generally speaking, dropoffs are less costly to provide because they entail less “dead” time- the driver waits 10-15 minutes and if you’re a no-show, that’s it. Airport pickups, on the other hand, need a bigger time buffer to account for delays, immigration and baggage collection.
Put it another way: if your inbound flight is delayed by 2 hours, you can be sure that your driver will still be waiting at arrival for you. But if you’re late for your ride to the airport by 2 hours, your driver will most likely be gone.
How many times can I use the benefit per year?
All banks cap the number of complimentary transfers you can enjoy in a year. Some cards cap your allowance by calendar year, others by quarter, still others by month.
These limo services are outsourced to third party providers, and you should be aware of other T&Cs like midnight surcharges, charges for additional waiting time and cancellation deadlines.
In addition to the cards mentioned above, certain private banking relationships like Citigold Private Client, SCB Priority Private or DBS Treasures Private Client provide complimentary airport transfers. That’s beyond the scope of this article, but you typically need upwards of $1.5M AUM to qualify.
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