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If you haven’t already heard, Grab is nerfing their GrabRewards system yet again.
Given that Grab has found its way into many of our daily lives, there’s a good chance that this nerf affects you to some extent.
Let’s take a closer look at what exactly is being changed, what this means for consumers like you and me, and what’s the best way to maximize rewards with Grab moving forward.
Card Payments No Longer Earn GrabRewards Points
With effect from 1 Aug 2022, credit and debit card payments made on the
Grab app will not earn GrabRewards points anymore, regardless of which membership tier you belong to.
This is a nerf because card payments currently earn GrabRewards points, albeit at a lower rate than payments made via the GrabPay wallet.
For reference, this is what the change looks like for earning GrabRewards points.
|20 SGD Voucher||Points
|Dairy Farm Group||7,000||$700||2.8%|
|Sephora / ZALORA||7,500||$750||2.6%|
|Amazon SG / Qoo10||8,000||$800||2.5%|
Note that this change only affects the earning of GrabRewards points – there is no change to how card rewards are earned for making payments via the Grab app.
In other words, while you will no longer earn GrabRewards points for card payments made in Grab, you will still continue to earn your card rewards for these payments, as long as they are eligible transactions.
What Does This Mean For Us?
With this move, the only way to earn GrabRewards points is to make payments via the GrabPay wallet – whether it’s via GrabPay directly or via the GrabPay card.
Grab is clearly trying to force its users to pick one or the other between card rewards and GrabRewards points when using their ecosystem.
The hope for Grab is probably that more users will start using their GrabPay wallet as the main mode of payment on their platform in order to accrue GrabRewards points.
However, this would only make sense for customers if the rewards earned by using GrabPay are more valuable than the rewards earned from card payments.
So what does this comparison look like?
I previously wrote a post about how to maximise rewards when using Grab and I’ve updated it to reflect this latest nerf.
In the post, I analyse and compare in detail the expected monetary value of rewards for each payment type – GrabPay and card payments – to determine which is the better strategy for earning rewards.
I also broke it down according to different customer profiles like students, working adults who prefer miles, and working adults who prefer cashback.
So if you’re interested in the details, you can check out the post.
Otherwise, I’ve summarised the verdict below, along with some assumptions.
- 1 GrabRewards point = $0.002
- GrabPay wallet top-ups are made with cards that earn rewards:
- UOB Absolute Credit Card (1.7% cashback)
- AMEX True Cashback Credit Card (1.5% cashback)
- Standard Chartered Cashback Debit Card (1% cashback)
- Platinum GrabRewards members earn up to 2.9% cashback with GrabPay
- 1 Mile = $0.017
- You fall under 1 of these 4 profiles:
- Student (debit cards only)
- Adult (travel miles)
- Adult (cashback, monthly spending >$600)
- Adult (cashback, monthly spending <$600)
For students, the payment method that yields the most rewards is GrabPay.
By topping up the GrabPay wallet with the Standard Chartered Cashback debit card, students can earn 1% cashback.
Paying with GrabPay then earns a further up to 1.2% cashback in GrabRewards points for a total of up to 2.2% cashback.
Adults (travel miles)
For those looking to earn miles, using a specialised miles card that earns 4 miles per dollar (mpd) is the preferred payment method.
Examples include HSBC Revolution and Citi Rewards.
Assuming that 1 mile = $0.017, a card that earns 4 mpd effectively earns $0.068/$1 spent, or 6.8% cashback.
Adults (cashback, monthly spending >$600)
When it comes to earning cashback, one’s monthly spending determines the preferred strategy for earning rewards.
If you spend >$600, you will be able to take advantage of high cashback credit cards that earn 5% cashback or more such as DBS Live Fresh and UOB EVOL.
These are better options than using GrabPay.
Adults (cashback, monthly spending <$600)
But if you spend <$600, you won’t be able to make use of these high cashback cards.
In this case, using GrabPay is your best option.
By topping up your GrabPay wallet with either the AMEX True Cashback or UOB Absolute cards, you will first earn 1.5% or 1.7% cashback.
Paying with GrabPay then earns an extra up to 1.2% cashback in GrabRewards points for a total of up to 2.9% cashback.
Grab is nerfing their rewards system by not awarding GrabRewards points for card payments.
This is probably Grab’s effort in trying to get more users to use GrabPay.
But the puzzling thing is that they’ve done nothing to make GrabRewards points more valuable.
Personally, I’ve stopped using GrabPay ever since I got my first credit card, and this change isn’t enough to push me to start using GrabPay again.
The value I stand to gain by earning miles with my credit cards far outweighs what I stand to gain from GrabRewards points.
For people who have high monthly expenses and/or prefer to earn miles, spending with an appropriate credit card on Grab presents more value than earning GrabRewards points with GrabPay.
Nonetheless, GrabPay is still the best option available for students and adults with low monthly expenses.
Will this change affect the way you use Grab? Let me know in the comments below!