Grab News

Grab devalues rewards programme from March 2020

You'll earn less - rewards will cost more. It must be another GrabRewards devaluation.

Grab Phone Coffee (Jirapong Manustrong SS)

Mainly Miles readers will no doubt remember the big GrabRewards devaluation of July 2018, when the ride-hailing service unceremoniously slashed earning rates for everyone – with no notice to anyone. At the time it hiked the spend needed on GrabCar rides for basic members to earn 1,000 KrisFlyer miles from S$625 to S$3,333, more than a fivefold increase.

Another devaluation?

In an update posted today, Grab says that its shift from ride-hailing service to ‘lifestyle app’ necessitates a change in its rewards programme. This change will kick in from 2nd March 2020, six weeks from now.

“As our offerings grow and your needs change, so must the way we reward you. On 2 March 2020, we’ll be making some updates to the programme that will change how and where you get rewarded.” Grab

We’ll have to accept of course that it’s our needs that have changed too, so we now all have equal blame in this devaluation.

What’s changing this time?

In a shift from the last devaluation to the GrabRewards programme, this time the company is being more upfront about the changes.

“There’ll be a reduction in how many points you earn per transaction, and an increase in the number of places you can earn points at, from 2 March 2020.” Grab

On the earning side, Grab has revealed the revised rates effective from 2nd March 2020.

Mar20 New Rates

These rates will apply for all Grab transactions, whereas currently there are different rates for Grab rides using GrabPay, Grab rides using cash, in-store / online payments at selected merchants, GrabFood and GrabExpress transactions.

Aside from knowing that the GrabRewards redemption options “will undergo a revamp that revises points needed for redemption” (a nice way of saying “they will cost more”), Grab has at least revealed the redemption rates for money off future Grab rides:

Mar20 Rides

In summary, the changes from 2nd March 2020 are are as follows:

  • A lower points earning rate will apply for all Grab transactions.
  • There will be no differentiation for points awarded based on payment category.
  • Paying for Grab rides with cash will no longer earn any points.
  • A Platinum member will have to spend S$1,250 on Grab transactions to earn $10 off a future ride (currently S$600 spend is needed).
  • A basic member will have to spend S$2,500 on Grab transactions to earn $10 off a future ride (currently S$1,400 spend is needed).
  • We still don’t know how much redemption rates will be ‘revised’ (i.e. increased in cost) from 2nd March 2020, including for transfer to KrisFlyer miles.

How the earn rates change

Here’s how many GrabRewards points will be awarded per S$1 spent from 2nd March 2020, compared with the rates that currently apply.

Grab rides / GrabFood

Using GrabPay
Status Level Points Earned per S$1 Change
Old Rates New Rates
Member 3 2 – 33%
Silver 3 2 – 33%
Gold 4.5 3 – 33%
Platinum 6 4 – 33%

It’s a one-third slash across the board for using GrabPay (including with your registered credit card) or for Grab rides and GrabFood transactions from 2nd March 2020.

For in-store purchases with specific merchants, including specific online transactions, it’s a 60% hit regardless of your your status level.

Grab in-store / online

Using GrabPay
Status Level Points Earned per S$1 Change
Old Rates New Rates
Member 5 2 – 60%
Silver 5 2 – 60%
Gold 7.5 3 – 60%
Platinum 10 4 – 60%

How much poorer off are you?

Without knowing the revised points redemption rates for GrabRewards points, it’s impossible to know at this stage to what extent this will affect you in value terms.

That’s particularly the case if you usually transfer GrabRewards points into KrisFlyer miles.

GrabRewards

Our recommendation in that case is to transfer your points before 2nd March 2020, as the rate is likely to devalue – at best stay the same.

A devaluation in the KrisFlyer transfer rate, coupled with this slash in earning rates, is another potential ‘double whammy’ for those using their GrabRewards points this way.

What we do know is that if you keep your points within the scheme to redeem future Grab rides – you’ll be worse off.

Earn S$10 off on GrabCar rides

Using GrabPay
Status Level Spend to earn S$10 off Change
Current Rates New Rates*
Member S$1,400 S$2,500 + 79%
Silver S$1,333 S$2,500 + 88%
Gold S$844 S$1,667 + 98%
Platinum S$600 S$1,250 + 108%

* From 2nd March 2020

In the example of Grab Platinum members taking rides, the spend to earn a S$10 off voucher will more than double from S$600 currently to S$1,250 under the new system.

That’s from 1 in 60 rides free (already terrible) to 1 in 125 rides free (not even worth being loyal).

Flash sale

Grab has launched a sale from now until 3rd February 2020 with discounts when using points to redeem with eight of its rewards merchants, though none are necessarily particularly of interest to our readers since they don’t involve miles.

Jan 2020 Sale Rates

It’s more of a cashback proposition, but there may be some good value for your points in this selection, especially considering the upcoming devaluation. Cashing out now is not a bad idea after all!

Summary

The most loyal members lose out again, with Gold and Platinum GrabRewards status holders soon having to spend twice as much to get a fixed discount voucher against future rides.

Grab has at least learned one thing. After the serious egg on its face in mid-2018, when it had to promise to “make things right” after we all pointed out how disrespectful their devaluation was to loyal customers, the company has now accepted that changes to its rewards programme are at least made with some advance notice.

In this case we have six weeks to digest the changes, however the redemption rate details from that date forwards for many awards, including transfers to KrisFlyer miles, are still missing.

We’ll find out about that, presumably, on 2nd March 2020 itself.

In the meantime, cash out between now and 2nd March 2020 is our advice. This is one loyalty programme no longer bothering with.

(Cover Photo: Jirapong Manustrong / Shutterstock)

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