Your next out-at-sea holiday doesn’t have to have you paying full price. Here are five ways you can secure discounts and rebates.
If you fancy getting out of Singapore right now, the indefinite moratorium on leisure air travel means a cruise is your most realistic option.
Back in October 2020, the STB gave Royal Caribbean and Dream Cruises the green light to offer cruises to nowhere, operated under strict safe distancing measures and COVID-19 testing regimes. The good news is that apart from an infamous false alarm in December, sailings have been unmemorable thus far.
Before you rush out and make a booking, however, it’s a good idea to do some research on ways to avoid paying full price. Here are five ways you can secure a discount or rebate on your cruise to nowhere.
#1 HSBC: 5% off Royal Caribbean cruises
HSBC is offering a year-round benefit throughout 2021 on Royal Caribbean cruises, where cardholders can enjoy 5% off the fare for a Balcony or Deluxe stateroom booking.
This offer must be booked directly with Royal Caribbean via the following channels:
- Walk-in to their office at 3 Anson Road, #13-02 Springleaf Tower
- Calling +65 63050033
- Emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
Do note that it will not be possible to book this offer via Royal Caribbean’s website. Should you wish to book a specific stateroom, you can make a dummy booking on the website to browse the selection, then specify which stateroom you want when emailing Royal Caribbean.
Pro tip: The HSBC Revolution will earn the equivalent of 4 miles per dollar on cruise bookings, so it’d be my card of choice for this offer.
HSBC Credit Card Welcome Gift: Receive a Samsonite Prestige 69cm Spinner Exp with built-in scale (worth S$670) or S$150 cashback when you make a min. spend of S$1,000 within the qualifying spend period and provide marketing consent during application. Valid till 31 August 2023. T&Cs apply.
Alternatively, receive 20,000 miles when you make a min. spend of S$800 within the first month of card approval and annual fee payment with the HSBC TravelOne Card. Valid till 31 August 2023. T&Cs apply.
#2 AIA Vitality: Up to 50% off Royal Caribbean cruises
No, it’s not a typo. AIA Vitality members can enjoy up to 50% off Royal Caribbean cruise fares, although they’ll have to work really hard for the maximum discount.
As many of you may know, AIA has a program called Vitality, which rewards members for meeting certain health and fitness goals. Members can move up tiers by doing health screenings, exercising, and buying healthy food.
One membership benefit is an annual cruise discount, which ranges from 10 to 50% depending on your Vitality tier.
Even if you don’t see yourself hitting Platinum (50% off), the entry-level Bronze tier still gives you 10% off the fare, which more than pays for its S$8 per month membership fee. Vitality membership can be terminated any time without penalty, so you could even subscribe for a month, enjoy the discount, then discontinue your membership the following month.
To enjoy the AIA Vitality discount, bookings must be made through the Royal Caribbean sales office (email@example.com). A copy of your eCard must be provided, and a minimum of two travellers must be booked.
#3 Purchase via Klook and use promo codes
Klook is currently selling both Dream Cruise and Royal Caribbean packages. These are generally priced the same as those purchased via the official website, but Klook has one important advantage: promo codes and Klook credits.
Promo codes can be used to shave a few dollars off the official pricing. For example, in the screenshot below I’m booking a Royal Caribbean sailing that normally costs S$1,524. However, I can use a S$35 off Klook promo code for DBS customers (DBSLF35 or KLOOKTHTALTITUDE, valid for DBS LiveFresh and DBS Altitude cardmembers respectively) to bring the price down to S$1,489.
It’s not a phenomenal discount, but hey, every penny saved...
Klook promo codes are dynamic and will change for month to month. For the latest list of codes, refer to Klook’s blog.
Since purchases are made on the Klook platform, you will also be able to use any Klook credits you may have accumulated from past purchases. As a reminder, Klook users receive 1 to 5% of the activity price in Klook credits, which can be redeemed at a rate of 10 credits (equivalent to S$0.17 – the weird exchange rate is because Klook is based in Hong Kong, and is based on 1 Hong Kong dollar).
#4 Redeem a cruise with your KrisFlyer miles
This currently isn’t an option, but back in January, Singapore Airlines was offering 3-night ‘seacations’ on Dream Cruises for just 6,000 KrisFlyer miles. This included a Balcony stateroom which could accommodate two passengers (a further cash payment of S$123 for port charges and gratuities was required per passenger).
For context, it requires 7,500 KrisFlyer miles to fly one-way from Singapore to Bali in Economy Class, so 6,000 miles for a 3-night cruise where all your meals and entertainment are already covered is a fantastic offer. So fantastic, the packages sold out within hours of launch.
It remains to be seen if Singapore Airlines adds new sailing dates, but given the tremendous response the first time round, I wouldn’t be surprised if they did.
#5 Make a booking at a physical travel agent
In a world where travel bookings are made almost entirely online, why on earth would you want to visit a brick and mortar travel agent? It’s quite simple, actually: mall rewards points.
By shopping at travel agents located inside CapitaLand Malls, Far East Malls or Fraser Malls, you’ll be able to accumulate rewards points that can then be redeemed for shopping vouchers. For example, the CapitaStar rewards program gives 5 STAR$ per S$1 spent, and every 5,000 STAR$ gives you a S$5 voucher. It’s the equivalent of a 0.5% rebate; truth be told, it isn’t life changing, but it can really add up on a big ticket expense like a cruise.
Here’s the effective rebate offered by the different programs:
- ShopFarEast: 1%
- FrasersExperience: 0.5%
Royal Caribbean and Dream Cruises have recently extended their sailing schedules till the end of June 2021, which means options for a getaway during the June school holidays, if nothing else.
While I’m hoping that leisure travel options will open up for Singaporeans in the second half of 2021 (especially with the vaccine rollout), a cruise to nowhere can help satiate some of those wanderlust cravings in the interim.
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