Last month we reported that two major banks in Singapore had removed their miles-earning credit cards from the previously ongoing promotion to receive 10 miles per dollar when arranging accommodation through hotel booking site Kaligo.
With three banks originally enrolled in the offer, Citi and UOB had pulled out of the deal (UOB in April 2019 and Citi in December 2019), leaving only DBS Altitude cardholders still able to take advantage.
Citi credit cards are back
While UOB PRVI Miles cards have not participated again, Citi has restored the offer for its PremierMiles Visa, Prestige Mastercard and ULTIMA cards as of 10th February 2020.
The offer is valid for bookings made until 31st December 2020, though it has typically been renewed in the past, apart from this year when there was a strange 6-week hiatus.
Our original analysis of the Kaligo miles earning option is admittedly a bit dated now, but the fundamentals are the same and it’s worth mentioning that you’ll almost always get a better deal crediting to Citi at 10mpd than directly to your loyalty scheme of choice.
Provided your preferred loyalty programme is already a Citi transfer partner (many of them are), you’ll therefore usually be better off using this 10mpd method.
|Citi Miles / ThankYou Points credit to the following programmes:|
How it works
You’ll earn Citi Miles or Citi ThankYou points as follows for Kaligo transactions between now and 31st December 2020:
25 Points at Kaligo (with Citi Prestige), made up of:
- The regular 3.25 Points for every S$1 spend locally on qualifying charges made with the Citi Prestige Card and additional 21.75 Points for every S$1 spend locally on qualifying charges made with the Citi Prestige Card; or
- The regular 5 Points for every S$1 of qualifying charges made in a foreign currency with the Citi Prestige Card and additional 20 Points for every S$1 of qualifying charges made in a foreign currency with the Citi Prestige Card.
25 Points at Kaligo (with Citi ULTIMA), made up of:
- The regular 4 Points for every S$1 spend locally on qualifying charges made with the Citi ULTIMA Card and additional 21 Points for every S$1 spend locally on qualifying charges made with the Citi ULTIMA Card; or
- The regular 5 Points for every S$1 of qualifying charges made in a foreign currency with the Citi ULTIMA Card and additional 20 Points for every S$1 of qualifying charges made in a foreign currency with the Citi ULTIMA Card.
10 Citi Miles at Kaligo (with Citi PremierMiles), made up of:
- The regular 1.2 Citi Miles for every S$1 spend locally on qualifying charges made with the Citi PremierMiles Card and additional 8.8 Citi Miles for every S$1 spend locally on qualifying charges made with the Citi PremierMiles Card; or
- The regular 2 Citi Miles for every S$1 of qualifying charges made in a foreign currency with the Citi PremierMiles Card and additional 8 Citi Miles for every S$1 of qualifying charges made in a foreign currency with the Citi PremierMiles Card.
In essence you’ll receive 10 miles (or 25 ThankYou Points, which is the same thing) for every S$1 spent at Kaligo, whether you pay in local currency or foreign currency.
Citi is better than DBS Altitude
Aside from the fact that you can only transfer DBS Points into three useful frequent flyer programmes – KrisFlyer, Qantas and Asia Miles – there are another couple of drawbacks when using this card for Kaligo bookings compared to the Citi cards.
Firstly the offer is capped at S$5,000 spend per calendar month, so if you’re taking a long stay at an expensive property, or making several bookings in a single month, your miles earning will be capped at 50,000. There is no upper cap under the Citi offer.
Secondly, unlike Citi, the total number of miles you’ll receive for a Kaligo booking are not awarded instantly with DBS. Initially you will earn at the card’s 3 miles per dollar rate, with the bonus 7 miles per dollar only coming in around 2 months after the end of the quarter you made the transaction in.
For example if you booked a $1,000 stay on 1st April 2020, you’ll initially be awarded 3,000 miles (1,500 DBS Points), with the remaining 7,000 miles (3,500 DBS Points) only being added to your account by late August 2020 (i.e. within 60 days of the end of Q1 – 30th June 2020).
With Citi, miles or points are credited into your rewards account instantly for Kaligo transactions, as soon as you book, and of course you then have a much wider range of frequent flyer programmes to transfer into including British Airways Avios and Turkish Miles&Smiles.
Pro Tip: Citi Miles or ThankYou Points transfer into your frequent flyer account quickly, usually within 24 hours in our experience, so a Kaligo booking is actually also a good way to achieve a relatively quick miles top-up (2-3 days) if you need one.
The full terms and conditions of the DBS Altitude Kaligo 10mpd offer are available here.
Kaligo isn’t always a good deal
Kaligo works by sharing some of the commission it receives for each hotel booking with you in the form of miles. Since a ‘middle man’ is involved, it often means paying more than the best available rate for the stay.
We’ve probably done enough worked examples over the years for Kaligo bookings to show you that you can be getting anything from a terrible deal (buying miles well in excess of 2 cents each), a good deal (buying miles at closer to 1 cent each), or an excellent deal (when Kaligo matches the best available rate, but still awards miles).
Remember Kaligo is not always much more expensive though, we have found hotels through the site that are actually the same rate and sometimes even cheaper than booking direct.
Our Kaligo booking at the (beautiful) Majeka House in Stellenbosch, South Africa, a couple of years ago exactly matched the hotel’s own rate on the same cancellation terms, and even with an Agoda coupon (resulting in the best rate we could find anywhere) we couldn’t say no to over 11,000 miles for just S$32 (0.3 cents per mile).
The important thing to do is shop around first, then consider whether Kaligo is giving you a good rate for the hotel of your choice versus the miles and points on offer. Do remember to check the room type and cancellation policy carefully across the various platforms, so that you’re comparing ‘apples with apples’, before making a cost per mile calculation.
Status at chain hotels
One important aspect to remember if you’re booking a chain hotel through Kaligo is that you won’t get any points or status credits in the hotel loyalty scheme for your stay. In effect, you are sacrificing those for the frequent flyer miles (or other loyalty points) instead.
For us, it makes Kaligo more useful if we’re staying at an independent property, or at a chain we don’t bother collecting points or status with.
However some hotels will still recognise and award your status benefits during your stay, even if you book via an online travel agent like Kaligo. In our experience Marriott and Ritz-Carlton hotels will usually honour your status perks in these examples, some Hyatts do and some don’t, ex-SPG properties and Hiltons usually won’t.
Arguably if you have already secured the status level you desire with a particular hotel chain, Kaligo may make more sense for your booking if the miles deal works out much better than the hotel points, provided the hotel will still honour your status perks during your stay, or if you’re booking a club room or suite anyway, in which case you’ll get most of the benefits regardless.
Having personally earned over 300,000 miles over the last five years using my Citi PremierMiles Visa card for Kaligo bookings, ‘buying’ all of them at less than 2 cents each (in fact usually less than 1 cent each), it was certainly disappointing to see the offer withdrawn last month.
Now it’s back for the rest of 2020 at least, so this useful opportunity to earn additional miles especially at independent hotels or chains you don’t hold or collect status with is once again open to many of our readers who use these credit cards.
As always with Kaligo, do the maths and make sure the price is right before being too distracted by the generous miles total. We recommend ‘buying’ miles at less than 1.9 cents each, unless you are topping up a small amount to unlock a specific redemption.
(Cover Photo: Elizeu Dias)