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Don’t leave money on the table when you shop at the mall. We compare Singapore’s top mall loyalty programmes to help you save more.
If your SOP at the mall is to swipe your card, grab your purchases and leave, you may well be leaving money on the table. That’s because many malls operate loyalty programmes, schemes that allow shoppers to earn bonus rebates on their purchases, on top of credit card rewards.
But how do these work, and what’s the effort-reward ratio like? We’ll explore these in this post.
Which malls offer loyalty programmes?
There are currently four major mall rewards programmes in Singapore, run by CapitaLand, Far East, Frasers and Lendlease. Collectively, they cover more than 50 malls across Singapore, meaning you’re almost certain to visit one of them regularly.
|Loyalty Programme||Number of Participating Malls||Malls|
|17||Alexandra TechnoparkBedok PointCauseway PointCentury SquareChangi City PointCross Street ExchangeEastpoint MallFrasers TowerHougang MallNorthpoint CityRobertson WalkTampines 1The CentrepointTiong Bahru PlazaValley PointWaterway PointWhite Sands|
|CapitaStar||17||AperiaBedok MallBugis JunctionBugis+ Bukit Panjang PlazaClarke QuayFunanIMMJCubeJewel Changi AirportJunction 8Lot OnePlaza SingapuraRaffles CitySingPost CentreTampines MallWestgate|
|16||BijouClarke Quay CentralFar East SquareGreenwich VHillV2Hougang 1Icon VillageJunction 10Katong VOrchard CentralPacific PlazaRiverside PointsSquare 2West Coast PlazaMess Hall at SentosaWoods Square|
|Lendlease Plus||4||313@SommersetJEMParkway ParadePaya Lebar Quarter|
Below are the summarised key aspects of each rewards program.
|CapitaStar||ShopFarEast (SFE)||Frasers Experience (FRx)||Lendlease Plus|
|Earn Rate*||S$1 = 5 STAR$||S$1 = 1 SFE point||S$1 = 1 FRx point||S$1 = 10 Plus$|
|Min. Spend to Earn Points||S$20(S$10 at Jewel)||S$10||S$10||S$10|
|Max. Earn Per Day||5,000 STAR$||1,000 SFE points||500 FRx points||10,000 Plus$|
|Spend required for $5 voucher||S$1,000||S$500||S$1,000|
(S$500 if FRx elite)
(S$500 if Premium)
|Points Expiry||12 – 15 months||6 – 18 months||3 – 15 months||6 – 18 months|
|Free Parking||Spend S$1,200 in a month for 3 hours free parking per day in the following month||350 points = 2 hours parking||10 points = S$0.05 carpark credit||Plus$ can be used to redeem parking|
|Third Party Partnerships||– AMEX CapitaCard|
– Singapore Airlines
|N/A||– STACK Rewards||N/A|
*Lower accrual rates may apply at supermarkets
Let’s go through each of those terms to understand their implications.
This is pretty much self explanatory: the earn rate is the number of points you earn for every S$1 spent at the mall.
The main thing to take note of here is that malls offer fewer points for spending at supermarkets as they do for other tenants. With CapitaStar, for instance, you earn 1 STAR$ per S$1 spent at supermarkets, instead of 5 STAR$ elsewhere. The simple reason is that supermarkets are valuable anchor tenants that draw customers to a mall. Mall operators therefore give them concessionary rental rates, which also reduces the scope to offer rewards on purchases.
Min. spend to earn points
All four programmes require members to meet a certain minimum spend in order to accumulate points. This is set at S$10 per receipt across all programmes except CapitaStar, which requires a minimum of S$20.
Max. earn per day
All four programmes cap the maximum number of points you can earn in a day. I don’t understand why, as it penalises those purchasing big-ticket items, behaviour which you’d think the malls would want to reward.
The cap is set at S$1,000 of daily spend across all programmes except FRx, where the cap is S$500.
Your hard-earned points won’t last forever, and the expiry timelines can be quite confusing. You’ll notice I’ve indicated a range for each of the programmes above. That’s because expiry depends on when your points were accrued.
To put it in greater detail:
- CapitaStar: STAR$ points expire at the end of the calendar quarter one year after they were earned. For example, points earned from 1 Jan to 31 Mar 2021 will expire on 31 Mar 2022, i.e the validity ranges from 12 to 15 months.
- SFE: SFE points expire on 30 June of the following year. For example, points earned from 1 Jan to 31 Dec 2021 will expire on 30 Jun 2022, i.e the validity ranges from six to 18 months.
- FRx: FRx points issued from 1 October of the current year to 30 September of the following year must be redeemed by 31 December of the following year, i.e the validity ranges from three to 15 months.
- Lendlease Plus: Plus$ points will expire on 30 June of the following year. For example, points earned from 1 Jan to 31 Dec 2021 will expire on 30 Jun 2022, i.e the validity ranges from six to 18 months.
This category is also self-explanatory. Rewards points can be used to redeem complimentary parking at participating shopping malls.
Certain loyalty programmes have tied up with third parties to allow for accrual of points even when you’re not at the mall.
For example, AMEX CapitaCard members will earn 5 STAR$ per S$1 spent outside of CapitaLand Malls, and GrabRewards & KrisFlyer members can also convert their points and miles into STAR$. Likewise, FRx is part of the STACK Rewards platform, where users can convert points from OCBC credit cards, Great Eastern UPGREAT and Millennium Hotels & Resorts.
Spend required for S$5 voucher
Since we’re dealing with different rewards currencies here, the best way to compare 1 STAR$ to 1 SFE point to 1 FRx point to 1 Plus$ is to use a common denominator: how much do you need to spend to earn a S$5 shopping mall voucher?
SFE is the most generous here, requiring S$500 of spending to earn a S$5 voucher. This works out to be an effective rebate of 1%, double of what you get with the three other programmes. 1% isn’t life-changing by any means, but it’s important to remember that you earn this on top of your credit card rewards, and it costs you nothing extra to earn those points.
Which one is the best?
It’s hard to pinpoint an objective best programme, but I will make the following observations:
- CapitaStar has the most developed ecosystem by far. In addition to being the only programme here with its own cobrand card, members can convert Grab or KrisFlyer rewards points into STAR$. It’s just a shame it has the highest minimum spend required to earn points.
- SFE has the lowest spending threshold out of all four programmes in order to earn a S$5 shopping voucher. Its main handicap is that its malls are mostly located outside the central core region. One unique feature of this programme is that members can use their points to redeem staycations at participating Far East properties like The Clan Hotel and The Barracks Hotel.
- FRx points have potentially the shortest validity, with some expiring a mere three months after being earned. While being on the STACK Rewards platform is an advantage, I’d advise against converting OCBC credit card points to FRx – you’d do much better by using them for miles instead
- With just four malls in total, Lendlease Plus has the smallest footprint out of all the four programmes. Their rewards catalogue is also very limited, making it a marginal player at best.
For those looking for an immediate payoff, I would recommend making big-ticket purchases at Far East malls, since they have the highest rebate at 1%. Just be careful of any purchases over S$1,000, which will trigger the daily points cap.
Mall rewards programmes are a useful way to pick up additional rebates, on top of whatever you earn with your credit card. They can be a hassle sometimes, what with all the tracking and receipt scanning, but if you’re disciplined enough you’ll be able to squirrel away a good chunk of points over time.
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By Aaron Wong
Aaron founded The Milelion to teach people how to travel better for less, with credit cards, airline and hotel loyalty programmes. With 500,000 miles flown and counting, he’s keen to debunk the myth that you can’t travel in style without breaking the bank.