We first looked at GrabRewards back in October last year when they announced that their points could be converted to KrisFlyer miles. A promotional offer at the time was quite a good deal but unfortunately once that was over the conversion rate to miles became (and remains) very poor relative to other redemption options.
Uber left the ride-hailing scene in Singapore two weeks ago following a protracted exit brought about by conditions required by the Competition and Consumer Commission of Singapore (CCCS) “to allow a smoother transition time for riders and drivers”.
Since that has made Grab the primary operator of ride-hailing services in Singapore we decided to take another look at GrabRewards, their loyalty scheme, to see if anything much has changed since we first analysed it last year.
The GrabRewards Scheme
GrabRewards works on a fairly simple basis – for every S$1 spent using Grab services you’ll earn a given number of points (generally speaking between 5 and 16 points per S$1 depending on the transaction). These can be redeemed to offset the cost of future Grab rides, for several shopping or dining vouchers, or converted into KrisFlyer miles.
The scheme is split into four membership levels; Member, Silver, Gold and Platinum. Here’s how you rise through the ranks.
You’ll need to earn these points within one of the 6-month reward periods to upgrade to that level, which you then maintain for the subsequent 6 month reward period even if no Grab transactions are made.
To maintain the status level after the end of the second 6 month period (‘Reward Period 2’ as shown in the diagram above) you’ll need to have earned it for a second time. For example if you earn enough points to achieve Platinum tier in Reward Period 1 (1st Jan – 30th Jun), you will continue to maintain Platinum status until the end of Reward Period 2 (31st Dec).
If you continue to earn enough points for Platinum in Reward Period 2 (1st Jul – 31st Dec), you will maintain your tier in the subsequent period starting 1st Jan. If you do not earn enough points for Platinum in Reward Period 2 (1st Jul – 31st Dec), your tier will be downgraded to match your points earning in Reward Period 2 (if that’s zero for example, you’ll drop down to ‘Member’ status level).
To reach the top awards level of Platinum you’ll need to be spending around S$1,200 on Grab in a 6-month period, quite feasible if you commute to work this way.
You can see in the app what your current membership level is:
Plus how many points you need to progress to the next tier:
Earning GrabRewards Points
GrabRewards allows you to earn rewards points primarily through taking Grab rides but they also have a few more earning options since we last looked at the scheme.
Grab Rides are self-explanatory, though note you won’t earn any reward points for two of the categories – GrabHitch and GrabShuttle. You should always have your payment details saved in GrabPay rather than paying cash for your Grab Rides as this doubles the rewards points bonus from 8x to 16x.
GrabPay in-store is available at a wide range of merchants, using your stored credit card payment details by paying with the app. Some of these outlets don’t normally accept credit card so here you can earn points both in the form of GrabRewards and from your card issuer.
GrabFood is the replacement for Uber Eats and seems to be progressively rolling out area-by-area rather than instantly taking over the previous agreements.
Finally GrabCycle is their latest project – a bike-sharing marketplace app.
A few months ago we became excited when Grab announced that their reward points could now be transferred into KrisFlyer miles. Excited that is until we worked out that once the launch promo had finished, the conversion rate was rubbish.
During the launch promotion this is how the points converted:
- Platinum Members: 11,000 GrabRewards Points > 2,000 KrisFlyer Miles
- Other Members: 12,000 GrabRewards Points > 2,000 KrisFlyer Miles
That wasn’t bad at all. Assuming a valuation of 2 cents per KrisFlyer mile it valued each GrabRewards point at 0.364 cents for Platinum members and 0.333 cents for non-Platinum. At the time the best cash alternative (money off Grab rides) was worth about 0.270 cents per point.
After the launch promotion though the KrisFlyer transfer rate halved for both groups:
- Platinum Members: 11,000 GrabRewards Points > 1,000 KrisFlyer Miles
- Other Members: 12,000 GrabRewards Points > 1,000 KrisFlyer Miles
This immediately switched them from being the best value redemption in our view to the worst value. Even if the only other thing you did with the points was to buy a Grab voucher for money off a future ride, you’d have to have been assuming the value of a KrisFlyer mile was over 3.2 cents per mile before that made it an ‘equal’ redemption.
GrabRewards has since enhanced the conversion rate however, as shown below.
We still value KrisFlyer miles at about 2 cents each, so 1,000 miles is worth about S$20. That makes each GrabReward point worth 0.200 cents each for Member, Silver and Gold status holders, and about 0.222 cents each for those with the Platinum rank.
The question is does that now make conversion to KrisFlyer a good GrabRewards redemption option or not?
Is it a Good Deal?
Without question this makes it a better deal, which is great to see. However to determine whether on paper it’s the best use of your GrabRewards points we again have to update the analysis on the value of the other redemption options.
Apart from KrisFlyer miles and money off future Grab rides there are an impressive 44 redemption options in the GrabRewards program. When we looked at the scheme last year we calculated that exchanging your points for Deliveroo vouchers was one of the best value ways to use them, however Deliveroo is no longer a GrabRewards redemption partner.
There are still some very good value options like:
- S$5 off at A-One Claypot Hours for 800 points (0.625 ¢/pt)
- Straits Times 1 month digital access (normally S$34.90) for 7,350 points (0.475 ¢/pt value)
These sorts of redemptions though are only good value if you would actually use them. It’s hard to argue though that a regular Grab user would not make use of their vouchers for money off future Grab rides, which come out as follows:
- S$5 off for 2,200 points (0.227 ¢/pt)
- S$10 off for 4,200 points (0.238 ¢/pt)
- S$15 off for 6,000 points (0.250 ¢/pt)
- S$20 off for 7,400 points (0.270 ¢/pt)
- S$25 off for 9,000 points (0.278 ¢/pt)
Platinum members get an even better deal as shown below:
- S$5 off for 1,900 points (0.263 ¢/pt)
- S$10 off for 3,600 points (0.278 ¢/pt)
- S$15 off for 5,400 points (0.278 ¢/pt)
- S$20 off for 7,100 points (0.282 ¢/pt)
- S$25 off for 8,800 points (0.284 ¢/pt)
While the new GrabRewards to KrisFlyer valuations come out better than before at 0.200 and 0.222 cents per point they still involve ‘buying’ miles at greater than 2 cents each which is our normal upper limit to buy.
A welcome improvement in the conversion rate between GrabRewards points and KrisFlyer miles, though we noticed improvement in several other redemption categories too. There are certainly still better ways to redeem these points (some excellent ones in fact, though the specific vouchers would have to be useful to you).
You may personally know that you can achieve a higher than 2-cent value from each KrisFlyer mile, or you may currently fall just short of the miles needed for a particular redemption you have in mind. In these cases the Grab points conversion to KrisFlyer may still make sense for you. After all, KrisFlyer miles aren’t always easy to come by and this is a really low-effort way of topping up your points.
Personally we will continue to exchange for Grab vouchers even after this conversion improvement.