How to Grab for half the price

Rides above $10

Generally in any kind of TravelHacking you are looking for arbitrage opportunities and cross combining multiple promotions. You become a pentester of terms and conditions and currency mechanics.

For example you may cross a discounted business class flight (India-America at $1333) (taking a flight with miles or cash to start in India) that racks up the usual cross continental miles which you can push into a miles redemption promo e.g. UOB 20% extra Asia Miles award, which you then use to redeem another set of flights which alone might not award miles but can set up a similar arbitrage. And then you throw away the India-Singapore leg plane ticket. With that said, you actually do need to fly (your business, work or leisure) for the miles game to be of any use to you, and actually find premium of some value to you to activate it (e.g. if your favorite destination is Kuala Lumpur  or Thailand, a business or first upgrade may not be particular different from a budget seat)

Keeping Grab costs under control requires the combination of several techniques, smoothening them into an arbitrage.

The first is to grab the program by NTUC, Grab-Score

Used to be $18 which was a no brainer but is $30 now. Price will increase supposedly as they add more partners, but you can always cancel if it isn’t delivered next year. There’s 1000 linkpoints and a free PLUS! membership for the NTUC (along with some weak bonuses, unless you do heavy groceries) The strength is in the Grab 30×20% up to $4 vouchers after the first 4 trips in a month and the 50%x6 on the 3rd monday up to $6 after 12pm.

Naturally for the 4 trips you will be using coupons and points to clear into the 20%. Liveup also works to give you one $10 per 10 rides (replacing Uber) if you are on the Liveup scheme.

Generally this works out to be 20% and $1 for your general Grab spend. Keep in mind too that since a lot of people will stop grabbing due to zero base promotions, this will sharply reduce Surge pricing except for the weekday evening peak period which can still fluctuate. You can work around this by switching to comfort flat fare booking system once grab surges beyond the high 20s.

This is then combined with the Standard Chartered cards.

You can do this with either the Singpost or the Unlimited Cashback card. Singpost is mostly for online spend cashback (though there are better alternatives) but if you use vpost/Taobao you may already have this. I went with the Unlimited Cashback for flexibility and the World Mastercard option.

It’s 2% v 1.5% which in any case isn’t the main weight.

You’re going for the $30 for $150 of spending, which works if you spend roughly that amount a month. This assumes that you have some other useful spending for the remainder. Possibly you might not.

In that case, you would hit the signup bonuses heavily for the base $100, mobile usage $20, additional card $20 as well as the free blender/bluetooth speaker. You can then hit the $900 the first calendar month and the $900 the next calendar month taking into account such promotions. That gives you $1800 of grab at $236 of cashback +/- a bit and peripherals.

You then combine this with the spin to win

This gives you a lucky draw per $150 (which should be your grab top up amount). This ends in Jul 15.

Prize Description Total Quantities
a.       $2 cashback  40,000
b.     $3 cashback  70,650
c.     $5 cashback  20,000
d.     $10 cashback  7,000
e.     $20 cashback  2,000
f.      $30 cashback  200
g.     $50 cashback  100
h.     $100 cashback  50
Total 140,000 Prizes

A ballpark is perhaps 5-10% depending on how the statistics flow.

You will also get $5 cashback if you spend on coffee overseas (well any overseas F&B transaction) even if it’s $1 (*hint Johor)

Topping this, you get Grab reward points on your rides, 16 for normal rides and 5 for grabpay purchases at normal shops/food places that don’t normally accept credit card or NETS.

This comes to about 4.67% to 8.64% depending on what you redeem it for. If you can get a good promo redemption that could go further, otherwise if you only use it for Grab you can get a baseline of about 4-4.67% return. For example, the $5 Prata Wala only takes 950 points, while a baked averaged cost of grab is 1700-1800 points per dollar.

(Remember every transaction made without a nearest competing alternative basically eats away at the minimum spend requirement)

So summing it up:

20% Score, then you have to eat at the 80% remainder of which:
Stanchart knocks off 10-20%, Spin to win brings it up to 15-30% and Grab rewards to 20-39%

You get roughly an efficiency of only needing to pay 64 cents on the dollar to 48 cents on the dollar. (Or if you can use Stanchart discounts efficiently like frequenting their 1 for 1 eateries or hotel promotions you can max it to an even lower figure)

Standard Chartered Fast Track Grab Platinum

An interesting homage to the usual Hotels and Car Rental fast track plans, much like the Hilton Honors 2 stays/4nights plan and match, here you take 4 rides into a fasttracked Grab Premium, allowing you to get the redemption perks.

GrabRewards Platinum Tier Status Promotion

Simply complete 4 GrabCar and/or GrabCar (Premium) rides from now till 31 July 2018 to enjoy GrabRewards Platinum Tier Status till 31 December 2018. Only applicable for Standard Chartered Visa Infinite Credit Card, Visa Signature Credit Card and Mastercard® World Credit Card.The Eligible Cardholder will be upgraded to Platinum Tier Status by Grab automatically within 30 days upon the completion of 4 GrabCar and/or GrabCar (Premium) rides transactions.Terms and conditions apply3

Rides below $10

You would have get a bit creative here, generally the strategy changes as the 20% becomes less efficient, however, this means you wouldn’t need the heavy lifting of the grab credits. What you want here is to somewhat resurrect the promo codes of old like -$5 and -$10. Keep in mind the leftovers will go towards the heavylifting strats laid out above, maintaining your discount ratios.

How would you go about doing that? Well, there are wholesale retailers/resellers of grab coupons.

One way could be using a Citi Rewards 4mpd into a Mileslife $10off promo x 10 offer. You can use this with say a Signup promotion that unlocks those miles such that you wouldn’t have to spend it in the store. This allows you to burn the minimum spend into something useful (5mpd) similar to the strategy above.

There are also the intermediaries

You will see Fuzee and Shopee promotions here and there. Generally it could be a free $5 voucher for signup or promo reward, alternatively it could be a credit card promotion. You would then purchase it into your credit card which gives miles.

Bringing us to:


This workaround uses the DASH singtel shop in which you can bill vouchers to your monthly Singtel post payment. Generally DASH gives 5%, but the trick here is applepay which throws in another 8mpd if you’re using Citirewards. This comes out to only 21%, but matches the general discount you can use to push the rides further. (This works if you’ve unloaded $2000 for Citirewards and have already used it to dump into a heavy phone line for a new phone)

Shopping Malls with unbound Grab vouchers

Say a shopping mall gives $10 grab without restrictions on location on say F&B Spend of $50, you can apple pay 8mpd (16%) with Entertainer/Burpple/1for1 offers to cheese the vouchers out. Alternatively sometimes this can work for NTUC, then you may want to load up on vouchers for personal use or trade.

Capitaland Grab vouchers in the past are also one alternative if your points include a Capitaland mall.

Note that promo code components do not get Grab Reward points.

Card Sensei

Having your bank pay for your lifestyle~ (Quick Card Compendium)
Covering DBS Platinum Visa Debit, BoC Family, ManuSpen Coinbase etc…

The Cards:

General Spend Cashback

Best General Spend Credit Card: Not a Credit Card-DBS Debit (any really) (yes really) (I know it says credit card earlier)

Seriously, why? The Cha-Ching promotion (extended from june to september) gives you 10% cashback up to $50 with minimum spend of $400. Stacks with Paylah (Taxi $2-$3, recurring hawker centre promotions). Limitations are 0 cash withdrawals from your POSB/DBS and contactless payment requirement (paywave, not useable for online purchases but applepay should count)

Just open a savings account with a rival bank to withdraw cash (or use the socash $10).

If you frequent 7-11/Cold Storage/Giant i.e. near your house, you can stack an additional 2.4 miles per dollar for Dairy Farm Group spend. (i.e. buy DFG vouchers to hit your $500 cap)

Reading Materials:

Best General Spend Credit Card 2: Bank of China Family Card (ok a real credit card this time round)

The under the radar BoC line is actually very strong, preserving much of the old OCBC 3.6% interest rate program.

For the main credit card, it’s 10% on food up to $300 (chip friendly, covers general), and 5% for your ez-link with an Auto Top Up link (ATU) til $200. There are no other comparable cards for ez-link (1.2miles citibank premier miles and maybank 8% requires $1000 min spend) You can use ez-link to cheese out some 5% at vendors that accepts netsflashpay but not credit cards (that’s also Koi and GongCha). Some hospitals will also get 5% (for those that lack applepay/paywave)

Online gets 5% up to $600, great for Coinbase (but an advanced strategy). If you restock amazon vouchers that works. Citi also has Mobile Tuesdays, a first come first serve voucher fiesta.

A minimum spend of $700. Basically you want flexible minimum spend categories or some kind of internet cashback/miles for easy padding so you don’t spend the whole day at NTUC buying vouchers. It’s edge over other cards is the high food and easy categories to pad (though it has changed multiple times with tweaks)

Discarded: Citibank Cashback Card -> high minimum spend, category splitting blocks padding, block increment difficult to work around
(Note: personally do not tap on petrol)

General Spend Miles

The nice thing about miles card is that there’s usually no minimum spend requirement.

King of the Hill: Citibank Rewards Applepay 8 miles per dollar

8mpd is insane, it speaks for itself. You just need an iphone, and this justifies it. And while it ends in July, it has theoretically no cap from forum reports. People are chocking up shopping mall vouchers and grocery vouchers and telco bills, racking up the miles printer. Plus, Citi has the best miles. 1 Citi mile is better than a local bank 1 mile. If you value a mile at 2 cents, applepay Citi rewards works out to be 16% discount for you.

Remember that Applepay works for the App in Apple too. Use this for your SQ Krisflyer flights and Cathay Pacific (when there are no other 6/8/9/10/12 mpd flight promos) or Klook. Deliveroo and Foodpanda are on it too.

(Lazada gets 8mpd for now too)

Enough said, just whack.

Base rate is 4mpd anyway.

(Realized there’s referrals, if you know me personally you can drop me a note to ask for a link~)

Backup Miles Card

DBS Woman’s World Mastercard

The renown DBS WWMC, the merlion version of JPM Sapphire Reserve (I kid) (no hard pull strats in this island)

Don’t fret over the $80,000 annual income requirement. If you’ve been using DBS/POSB since you were young you’ll likely get it. A very flexible generic online 4mpd card.

Used to work for Coinbase, now it MCCs as Quasi Cash just as the Fevo extinguished itself in a distinguished way.

Runner Up

Maybank Horizon Visa Signature

A decent 3.2mpd for dining and hotels (covers the pesky MCC of Hotel restaurants) and Grab.

Time Bomb

OCBC Titanium Rewards

Actually a good card on miles alone, 4mpd for applepay (for after citibank promotion ceases). However OCBC’s new revenue strategy is to nickle-dime on late fees. They never ever waive anything ever. If you GIRO you can consider, if you get caught up in work or travel and tend to miss bills avoid any OCBC cards or account like the plague. The only safe account is a savings account and make sure you hit the minimum balance.

Specialized Cards

Some strategies if you have particular spending patterns

Personal Favorite: Starbucks

Citibank Rewards Applepay + Starbucks Rewards Card, Fallback SMRT Citi

Citibank is immensely powerful for Starbucks. The potent combination can bring it even below your friendly neighborhood kopitiam. I end up drinking Starbucks not because it’s Atas but because it is cheaper than the water hike kopi siew dai. Citibank gets 10% citi rebate + prevailing card promo (8mpd for CitiR applepay and 5% for SMRT) and Starbucks Rewards Card works out to be about 15% or 10% depending on how you value $9 coffee and $8 food items. So at the peak valuation, it’s 41% off at 2c per mile. Now Starbucks runs pretty frequent promotions, so if you stack it with the very common 1 for 1, your coffee will cost you not 59 cents on the dollar but 29.5 cents on the dollar. That’s $1.12 for a 1 for 1 Tall Brew if you’re sharing with a friend. Going for the $9 frapp shakes in a 1 for 1? That will set you back a grand total of $2.65, cheaper than that avocado milkshake but a lot less healthier. Some shopping malls have easy Starbucks promos to combo with e.g. buy/top up $30 and get a latte on the house/$5 mini card. Starbucks also sells tumblrs (Swells), tea jugs, cups and has clearance sales that you can use to quickly cycle into gold status. (Tumblrs also generally have one free drink) Yea, I end up in Starbucks because I’m broke and on a shoestring. (especially in high priced areas of MBS, MBFC, Sentosa) Beggars can’t be choosers.

(As for the citi rebates? redeem them at Shengshiong or the Airport)

Wang (No, not that)

Citibank Rewards Applepay + Wang Loyalty Card at Airport, Fallback BoC Family

Same concept, 8mpd on Airport terminal + $20 bonus per $100 topup + Wang Toast set with NTUC card. Presto, again about 41 cents off the dollar (actually less when you take out the excel sheet). Great way to stock up/MF if you do Wang often.

If you see me at the airconditioned Wang instead of the hawker center, it’s because Wang is cheaper. Beggars can’t be choosers.

For the Car averse: Grab
Chaining a signup bonus into Stanchart cards (any) or Citi Cashback; fallback into CitiRewards or DBS WWMC

Generally Stanchart and Citi Cashback offers 20-25% Grab Cashback up to $25-$30 with a steep minimum spend $888-$900. Usually you can lean in by opening with a signup promotion, and going all-in into Grab credits, thus dodging the high min spends on a sustained basis. Then ration out the credits slowly over the year. You can also persuade friends and relatives and family to Grab it up and transfer it to you.

(And then there’s always Shopee and Fuzee)

Groceries (Non MF): Generally the usual cobrands like Shensiong, UOB, and Maybank allow you to get a range of 7-9.3% base. If you’re not getting vouchers, you should stack your groceries into the Shopping Mall promotion. E.g. Mall A gives $10 voucher for $120 grocery spend. You can also save MF vouchers to blow it into a Mall Cycle.

Priority Pass Cycling:

Is your Official Fiat Salary over $120,000 a year? If so –> Get a Visa Infinte/World Mastercard Elite for unlimited Priority Passes (generally)

For the rest of us, you can cycle the flyer cards: Citi Premier Miles, DBS Altitude, UOB Privi for about 2 PP per year (from date of issuance). Remember that it’s a separate card pass and you need to send in the form. If you have all 3 you have 6 uses before you need to start paying.

(Hidden Bonus, if you have a UOB JCB, it has 2 passes per calendar year for quite a few Asia lounges)


Looking for an edge


Visa Mastercard cycles


e.g. Deliveroo

Thesis, Strat and Principle:


Burst Burns:

Amex KF miles


Core Plays:

Sweet Spots:

Hidden Gems/Peculiarities:

Weird Gem: CIMB Signature for a Singaporean living overseas extended/period

Exotics: JCB

Infinite/WMC Elite

HHs Gold/ Htz/ Visa Lux Suites


Useful Assists:

Entertainer – HSBC



Rationales and Philosophies/Miles Maximalist

Citi Honestbee October

Citi has had a pretty sweet long running october campaign with honestbee

you basically get $18 off $50 on your groceries on a first come first served basis, and if you know someone with the rare code you can get up to $120 off $150 which makes it effectively almost free.

This is easily the best deal of the month, paralleling the redmart $100 off campaign. But this is on a longer scale.

Liho $2 Milk Tea with pearls

Matching Koi, Liho has an extended $2 bubble tea promo

Thank you thank you for the overwhelming response on our $2 Milk Tea with Pearls! To express our gratitude towards…

Posted by LiHO Singapore on Monday, October 30, 2017

Starbucks $1 off food $2 Drinks

The good thing is you can use these with your starbucks cards

'Tis the season, for daily treats. 🎁Give the snow globe a shake, to reveal a merry surprise. Shake now:

Posted by Starbucks Singapore on Sunday, October 29, 2017

Starbucks 1 for 1 again end Oct-Nov start

Another round to open the end of the year!

Tick-tock, merry o'clock is here. From 30 Oct – 3 Nov, 3-7pm, treat yourself to any Christmas drink and enjoy another on us. T&Cs apply.

Posted by Starbucks Singapore on Sunday, October 29, 2017

OCBC facebook mentions bitcoin, cryptocurrencies

Before you jump on the bitcoin trend, weigh out if your crypto-currency purchase is worth the hype with this checklist by The Straits Times.

Posted by OCBC Bank on Friday, October 27, 2017

Costa Coffee 1 for 1 Passionfruit Muddy Espresso

It’s a non stop week of drink promotions and costa coffee has joined the fray

What happens when you combine mango, passionfruit and Belgian chocolate with a beautifully handcrafted shot of espresso?…

Posted by Costa Coffee Singapore on Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Koi $2 Ice Cream Milk Tea

Koi Bubble Tea cafe has a birthday promo at $2

(they do however require the Koi card)

Celebrating KOI 11th Birthday!!From 23rd Oct to 12th Nov 2017Enjoy $2 Ice Cream Milk Tea (M size) when you make…

Posted by KOI Thé Singapore on Thursday, October 19, 2017