The plain, humble and boring EZ-Link card. Who would have thought one could make a truckload of savings when using it on public transport? Or to make a purchase?
Don’t believe me? Read on.
#1 Travel Smart Rewards
This is not the first time I’ve written on Travel Smart Rewards – see here. Travel (grab a seat and sleep) during off-peak hours (I exit Dhoby Gaut station before 7:45am everyday) for free, earn points, earn platinum status and win cash rewards! Let’s check out my $124 cash rewards earned in 2015 – I’m not kidding, it’s real!
Jan – $8
Feb – $12
Mar – $15
Apr – $12
May – $6
Jun – $7
Jul – $18
Aug – $30
Sep – $5
Oct – $11
Assuming an average of 20 off-peak morning trips ($1.83 each) per month, over the course of 10 months from January to October, that’s $366 worth of free trips for me.
Adding up the two is a grand total of $490 during the first ten months of the year. Projecting to a full year would likely save me approximately $588! How awesome is that – all thanks to the Travel Smart Rewards scheme – sign up now! (disclosure : referral link)
Updated 31st October 2015 :
A fairly important question raised on the validity period of the Travel Smart Rewards scheme, which was last extended to 30th June 2016. According to official LTA news release, “since the introduction of Free Pre-Peak Travel in June 2013, there has been a sustained reduction of 7 to 8% in the number of commuters during the morning peak period.” This is a huge number, and seeing how packed and crowded the trains still are, coupled with the persistent stoppage of train services due to a variety of reasons, let me first ask a simple question. Is anyone going to suggest stopping the scheme, and risk increasing the passengers load by a couple % during morning peak period onto the train system that is barely coping at this point in time? I don’t know for sure, but I feel that in the short term of perhaps 1 to 2 years, the scheme is here to stay.
#2 Perx Rewards
Of course we’re not done yet – to sweeten the deal, there is an existing EZ-Link Rewards with Perx programme that rewards commuters as we travel with your ez-link cards on public transport.
Each trip earns 25 points – I went with a normal EZ-Link card as I didn’t want dependencies on co-brand cards. The rules can change anytime! With the points, basically I can redeem discounts with retailers like Guardian Pharmacy, Wing Stop, Pezzo and The Rotisserie etc.
Once again, getting something for nothing. Suits me just fine.
#3 EZ-Reload (Auto Top-Up)
EZ-Reload is a service by EZ-Link that automatically tops up your card when it has insufficient value for payment. So, what’s the catch for such a great service?
There is a $0.25 convenience fee for each and every auto top-up. No way! I’ll just go to the top-up machine and save the $0.25 cents. Or, should you?
Don’t be too quick to dismiss a service just because you have to pay for it. As a door closes, another opens up. Well, you can actually activate EZ-Reload to perform $20, $30, $40 or $50 per top-up. Thus, for $20, you’re effectively paying a fee of 1.25%. For $50, the fee is 0.50%.
The fundamental difference is that one can choose to perform the auto top-up via a credit card.
*rub hands in glee*
Oh wow. All I have to do is to link my EZ-Reload service to my “no criteria” credit card which gives a 1.2% rebate on all expenses. Turns out I’m making a nett 0.7% rebate per auto top-up. How lovely. What this also means is that for retailers that don’t accept credit cards but do accept payment by EZ-Link, I’m getting an effective 0.7% rebate.
Adding up the three EZ-Link “hacks” above would, in all likelihood, save/earn me a total of $600 bucks this year. Have you started making good use of your EZ-Link card yet?