Grab’s popular Power Up challenge is taking a turn this month, and instead of the usual 30,000 points for $1,500 it has been for the past couple of months, there have been a few changes that are mostly negative.
- Top up $2,100
- Make 20 transactions with GrabPay Wallet
- Spend $2,000 with GrabPay Wallet
Top up requirement
It’s an easy requirement to fulfil since you would need to top up to spend, but I imagine there are people with significant existing balances in their GrabPay Wallet who might find this annoying. Not too much of an issue though, since they spend their balance, top up via PayNow or a debit card to fulfil the challenge, then transfer the money out.
Down from 30,000 points, the reward is now 20,000 points, which can be redeemed on various items in GrabRewards’ catalogue at a valuation of $40 (0.2 cents per point).
Number of transactions
You have to make 20 transactions (where there was no such requirement previously). Given the variety of things you can use GrabPay at, it’s an annoying but not overly difficult requirement.
On top of less points, the spend amount has also gone up to $2,000. This makes the bonus points represent about 2% of rebate, which is half of the previous promo.
This is by far the worst of changes, as the number of things excluded has now ballooned from merely three to this lengthy list:
- MCC 6540 – POI Funding Transactions
- MCC 7299 – Miscellaneous personal services
- MCC 6012 – Financial Services
- MCC 7399 – Business services not elsewhere classified
- MCC 6536 – Money Send
- MCC 6537 – Money Send intercountry
- MCC 6011 – Financial Institutions Manual Cash Disbursements
- MCC 6300 – Insurance Sales, Underwriting and Premiums
- MCC 5960 – Direct Marketing Insurance Services
- MCC 8398 – Charities
- MCC 8220 – Colleges, Junior Colleges, Universities, and Professional Schools
- MCC 8299 – Schools and Educational Services ( Not Elsewhere Classified)
- MCC 8661 – Religious Organizations
- MCC 8211 – Elementary and Secondary Schools
- MCC 8244 – Business and Secretarial Schools
- MCC 8249 – Vocational Schools and Trade Schools
- MCC 8241 – Correspondence Schools
- MCC 8062 – Hospitals
It might also explain why fewer people are finishing this challenge. 1,000 spots used to go in a day or so, but it’s been more than 24 hours and only 135 people have completed this so far.
Instead of 1,000 spots, 3,000 people would get to enjoy the 20,000 points, and the speed of the spots being taken up has also greatly reduced because of the abovementioned exclusions. Pretty great for people who need more time to arrange their spending, I guess.
Also, one of the most significant improvements to this is that the spend no longer needs to be online. Even spending from paying at hawker stores go towards the number of transactions required and spending amount, although I imagine my plates of chicken rice aren’t contributing much to the $2,000 goal.
The icing on cake would be the recent boost to the points earned from GrabPay spending – we now get 6 instead of 4 points!
Optimising this promo for 4.7% rebate
|Topping up $2,000* with Amex True Cashback||$30||1.5% (3% for new cardholders) cashback|
|Spending $2,000 with 6X points||12,000 points ($24 worth)||1.2% worth of points|
|Completing challenge||20,000 points ($40 worth)||2% worth of points|
($40 on $2,000 spend)
|Total||$94 worth||4.7% of rebate (6.2% for new cardholders)|
Given the many MCCs excluded, previous tricks like using ipaymy or Big Pay to clock the spending no longer work.
The best use case of this promo would be to spend at places that accept GrabPay but not credit cards. Smaller businesses like massage parlours, tuition centres, hair salons etc. come to mind, and they often sell packages that might help you hit your $2,000 spending. You can’t earn other card rewards at such places anyway, and Grab is often your best option.
Even if the merchant accepts cards, 4.7% rebate is pretty hard to beat. FRANK and LiveFresh may give you 6% or 5% cashback on Paywave transactions, but they max out at about $400 of spend each. 4.7% in rebate on $2,000 spend is really good if you have large expenses coming up.
Do note that there are also bonus 4 points per dollar (extra 0.8%) for transacting at selected merchants, although there doesn’t seem to be a full list aside from the image Grab provides:
Update: thanks to Jason for the list
Redeem points more wisely for 6.07% rebate
Once you get the points, you can further boost the value of your Grab points by redeeming them for STAR$, and then converting them using SP GreenUP. Doing this boosts the value of each Grab point to 0.286 cents instead of 0.2 cents. The 32,000 Grab points you’ve earned would be worth $91.42 in eCapitaVoucher instead of the usual $64. This boosts your rebate yield to a princely 6.07% (or 7.57% as a new Amex cardholder), and you can spend your eCapitaVouchers at many malls throughout Singapore.
Otherwise, using your Grab points for discounted items also makes sense. Qoo10 vouchers have been recently discounted too on a limited basis, and they seem to be on par in value with GreenUP eCapitaVouchers.
Get more rewards from Grab spending
Given the relatively slow pace of the 3,000 spots being taken up, you have more than enough time to apply for an Amex True Cashback card to top up your GrabPay Wallet. Even if not for this month’s challenge, it should come in handy as long as you use GrabPay in any form at all.
You should also take your time to complete SP GreenUP, which would surely come in handy for your other Grab points as well as upcoming Power Up challenges.
New to Amex
3% cashback on first $5,000 of spend (Grab top ups get 1.5% instead)
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