We don’t really know how it came to be but “giving away free money” seems to be a viable business strategy these days. In our digital world, this presents itself in the form of cashback apps that let you “earn money” even as you shop and spend.
Of course, discounts, gifts and promos have always been tried and tested tools employed by marketers, but never before has the average consumer had such chance to reap savings to such degrees. We investigated and rounded up 14 cashback and rewards apps — both established classics and up-and-coming new favourites — you should download to save money on everything, from online shopping to dining, travel and fitness:
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Earn some points while you buy your toiletries! We go through hand soaps, tissue, hand sanitisers and wet wipes pretty fast, especially with the Covid-19 situation now, so it’s very likely that you would be shopping from Watsons, right?
Every 20 points (a $5 nett spend gets you 1 point) gets you a $1 Rebate (a $100 nett spend) you can use to offset your purchases. It calculates to a 1% rebate which is not that wonderful but it is not too bad if you shop at Watsons for your toiletries often. For added convenience, link up your membership on the Watsons app and access your membership to get rewarded wherever you go, even at overseas Watsons stores. You also get to enjoy 2x bonus points on Watsons brand products and 5x points on your birthday month.
If you accumulated a minimum S$1,200 nett spending (excluding purchasing of Watsons Card, gift cards and vouchers) between 1 Jan 2020 to 31 Dec 2020, you will be entitled to their Elite membership on the first day of the following month till 31 Dec 2021. That makes up to $100 spend per month, which isn’t too difficult, to be honest here. If you have a family of four, each person can easily chalk up $25 in toiletries and household items a month.
You can also redeem vouchers such as a $3 Gong Cha voucher (40 points), a slice of Pezzo pizza (80 points) or a slice of cake (100 points). Let’s hope they can get more participating merchants on board the programme.
Bonus: Members automatically enjoy free delivery with min. $40 nett spend (which you can easier reach). Non-members need to spend min. $80 nett to enjoy free delivery. Otherwise, you have to pay a delivery fee of $8.
Download the Watsons app.
Good for fitness and health aficionados, you are able to access AIA Vitality when you have purchased eligible health and life insurance policies through AIA.
How to participate: First, complete your AIA Vitality Health Review which will help you discover the state of your health. AIA Vitality members can earn AIA Vitality Points for completing this. Once you’ve completed your AIA Vitality Health Review, they will suggest personal health goals based on your health status. You can then select which of the recommended goals you would like to set.
AIA Vitality Active Benefits is about encouraging regular physical activity as we all need a little extra motivation sometimes to get up and active. AIA Vitality will set a weekly, personalised Active Benefits target, based on your current activity levels.
You’ll earn a $5 voucher (Grab, GrabFood, SingTel ReadyRoam, Cold Storage or Starbucks) each week when you achieve your target AIA Vitality points for engaging in physical activity.
As an AIA Vitality member, you enjoy up to 50 per cent off the cost of a monthly gym membership. Each time you work out at a gym partner, you will earn 100 AIA Vitality Points! You can also buy Fitbit and Garmin devices at a discounted rate through AIA Vitality and earn up to 100 AIA Vitality Points when you upload your workout data from your fitness device.
Download the AIA Vitality app.
You need a minimum spend of $10 nett in a single receipt to earn Changi Rewards points. The Changi Rewards points you earn will be based on your tier:
- Member tier Cardholders will earn 10 points for every block of $10 nett spend in a single receipt;
- Gold tier Cardholders will earn 20 points for every block of $10 nett spend in a single receipt; and
- Platinum tier Cardholders will earn 60 points for every block of $10 net spend in a single receipt.
You can choose to use your points in the following ways:
- Redeem for Changi Rewards e-Voucher (get a $5 voucher for every 1,000 points, which is equivalent to a $100 spend for the lowest tier membership). That is not too bad.
- Redeem for items on the Changi Rewards Redemption Catalogue (we like the 3-in-1 Travel Organiser Set for 2,300 points or Changi Rewards ENTERTAINER App with 10,000 points to enjoy 1-for-1 dining deals)
- Convert to Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer miles (a minimum of 1,440 Changi Rewards Points to 200 KrisFlyer miles)
- Offset purchases on iShopChangi.com (redemptions are available in denominations of 200 points, with a minimum of 1,000 points and Changi Rewards members are required to link their Changi Rewards card to their iShopChangi account in order to be eligible)
If you are a member of Changi Rewards or CapitaStar programme (eligible for any participating CapitaLand Mall), you can earn Changi Rewards points or STAR$ respectively when you shop and dine at the participating outlets in Jewel. If you are a member of both programmes, you can earn double rewards (i.e. both Changi Rewards points and STAR$) in a single transaction. This is a first for any property in Singapore.
Download the Changi Rewards app.
You can get the ball rolling by simply making a dining reservation via the Chope website or the Chope app, and receive at least 100 Chope-Dollars for every completed booking. Before you go to a restaurant, try to find it on Chope and make a reservation so that you can accumulate Chope-Dollars to save more on your meals.
After you have arrived at the place, let the staff know that you have made the booking via Chope and Chope-Dollars will be credited to your account within 72 hours.
Subsequently, you can redeem your Chope-Dollars for $10 (400 Chope-Dollars), $20 (700 Chope-Dollars) and $30 (1,000 Chope-Dollars) discount codes at ChopeDeals. There are five tiers in total and keep making reservations to climb the tiers. The higher your tier, the greater your multiplier effect, and the more Chope-Dollars you’ll earn.
Download the Chope app.
KrisFlyer members can redeem their miles in numerous ways, from getting flight tickets and upgrades on Singapore Airlines, SilkAir, Scoot and other partner airlines, to using miles to pay for flights, hotel stays, car rentals, purchases on KrisShop.com and more.
For example, a return flight from Singapore to New York (John F. Kennedy) will earn you 19,066 miles. If you purchased an Economy Lite (V, K, N, Q) ticket, you will earn 9,534 KrisFlyer miles. The KrisFlyer miles earned will differ based on the cabin class. You can find out how many KrisFlyer miles you are eligible with the Miles calculator.
To redeem your KrisFlyer miles on air tickets, a return Economy Saver Award Ticket from Singapore to New York (John F. Kennedy) requires 80,000 miles and an Economy Advantage Award Ticket requires 150,000 miles. If you are someone who flies often, it is easy for you to accumulate and redeem.
The difference between a Saver award ticket and an Advantage award ticket is that the former requires fewer KrisFlyer miles. However, it’s very popular and availability may be limited, so you may have to plan extra early or be flexible with your travel dates and times. Advantage requires more miles, but it offers a choice of more seats on all flights and two complimentary stopovers per round-trip ticket.
You can also earn KrisFlyer miles for your KrisShop purchases at 1.5 KrisFlyer miles for every S$1 spent on all KrisShop purchases made inflight on Singapore Airlines and SilkAir and on KrisShop.com.
To redeem KrisFlyer miles on KrisShop.com, redemption of KrisFlyer miles is available for purchases on KrisShop.com only. Choose to mix miles and cash or redeem your purchases in full with your KrisFlyer miles. The redemption rate on KrisShop.com is 125 KrisFlyer miles for approximately S$1 spend, subject to a minimum usage of 1,000 KrisFlyer miles per transaction. If you choose to mix miles and cash to pay for your purchases on KrisShop.com, you will also earn 1.5 KrisFlyer miles for every S$1 paid with your credit or debit card.
Download the KrisFlyer app.
More than just ride sharing now, Grab has expanded to include dining and shopping.
If you do not have a car, you may use Grab a lot for your rides and accumulate points. Even if you do have a car, you can still use GrabPay (which is in the Grab app) to pay for food and shopping at partnering merchants. For every $1 you spend using your GrabPay wallet, you’ll earn GrabRewards points. You can link a debit or credit card or top up your wallet with credit. With the GrabRewards points, you can use them in the GrabRewards catalogue to redeem a wide range of vouchers and get discounts on everyday things.
You can also pay for offline transactions and earn points on them. The amount of points you accumulate determines your tier level, and how many points you’ll earn for every $1 spent.
The best part? Your points won’t expire. As long as you perform one cashless Grab transaction a month, the validity of all your points extends by six months.
Download the Grab app.
Step towards a healthier lifestyle while saving some extra cash with the Healthy 365 app. You can earn Healthpoints by participating in Health Promotion Board-driven activities such as the Eat, Drink, Shop Healthy Challenge (2 Dec 2019 to 31 Jul 2020) on the Healthy 365 app.
How to participate in the National Steps Challenge: Sync compatible fitness trackers or fitness apps such as Apple HealthKit or Samsung Health with the app to track your fitness level and earn rewards.
How to participate in the Eat, Drink, Shop Healthy Challenge: Scan the QR code on Receipts or on QR Tickets after purchasing Qualifying Dishes, Drinks, and/or Grocery Products at participating outlets / stalls to earn digital stamps on the EDSH Challenge Digital Passport and Healthpoints.
You may choose from a variety of vouchers for use at lifestyle retailers, F&B outlets and supermarkets such as FairPrice, Cold Storage, Koi, Klook and so on.
Download the Healthy 365 app.
One of the pioneers in Singapore’s online rewards space, ShopBack gives you cashback on almost everything and anything you could buy online. And the best part is, this cashback is earned in addition to any in-store promotion or credit card rewards your transaction may qualify for. It has partnered with more than 1,300 brands from all over the world, including ASOS, Amazon, Alibaba, to name a few. The brands offer between 2 to 10 per cent cashback for goods and services including travel sites like Agoda, Booking.com and Expedia.
Featuring over a thousand of the most well-known brands that cover lifestyle, fashion, travel, groceries and dining (Deliveroo, Lazada, Sephora are just some examples), there are serious savings to be had at ShopBack. You literally will be passing up free money if you go shopping without it!
Our favourite part is how you can withdraw the cashback you earned into your banking account, making it a truly flexible rewards scheme.
Download the Shopback browser extension.
Offering a similar concept to Shopback, Rebatemango is a relatively newer player with a refreshing twist — why limit your cashback to just cash, when there are so many other rewards schemes you’re interested in?
With Rebatemango, you can exchange the cashback you earn into rewards points or air miles, which could be helpful if you’re trying to, say, rack up enough KrisFlyer miles to redeem tickets for your next family vacation.
Additionally, you can earn up to 10 per cent additional cashback if you collect “mangoes” beyond a certain threshold — which you do at a rate of five mangoes per $1 spent.
Download it here.
For everything from airport transfers to attractions tickets and day-tours, overseas WiFi and even last-minute pineapple tart pickups, Klook provides savings and convenience for your holidays and your weekend outings. The services booking platform prides itself on offering the best prices (or they’d refund the difference) and discounts up to 60 per cent off.
Simply browse your destination of choice on the website or app, and choose from an extensive list of activities, attractions and deals. Then simply make an online purchase on the item you want, and show up at the designated meeting point with your e-ticket when the time comes.
Although there’s sometimes no way to check if the price you’re offered really is the lowest you can find, the savings for items you can compare make for a pretty persuasive case. For example: Airzone Singapore ticket price is $16.50 on Klook, compared to $20 on the official site. Also, browsing what activities are on offer is a good way to approach a new destination, while the user reviews attached can help you avoid paying for a dud.
What’s more, Klook is a featured merchant on many rewards sites, including Mileslife and Shopback, which means more savings and bonus rewards for you!
Visit their website here.
Drinking in Singapore is expensive, not least because inebriation makes us feel more confident about our bank account than we have any right to.
Here to save us all from yet another expensive credit card bill is Chug, which offers one drink every day for a flat subscription of $19.90 per month. Or if you’re more of a weekend drinker, you can opt for five drinks at $9.90 a month.
Simply sign up for a subscription and head down to any of the partner bars and clubs to claim your free drink(s). And in case you’re worried about having to claim your drink at dodgy establishments, take heed that Chug only partners trendy, cool and chic venues.
Check out their website here.
Shop and dine from more than a thousand participating outlets and earn cashback. How about taking your ShopBack privileges and extending them offline, such that you can earn additional cashback while shopping in-store, or during your cafe-hopping Sundays?
ShopBack GO works by letting you select a shopping promotion of your choice, presented in the app. You’ll need to link your credit card on ShopBack Go first, then tap “activate” on one of the promos, visit the restaurant or store, and pay with the linked card to receive the cashback on your purchase. And yes, this is on top of your usual credit or debit card privileges.
Accessible via the ShopBack app, ShopBack GO credits the cashback you earn through your offline purchases to your main ShopBack account. This means that, yes, you can withdraw your cashback from ShopBack GO to your bank account if you wish.
Download the Shopback GO app.
Catered to the needs of fitness buffs, iHerb offers a convenient way to get the protein powders, multi-vitamins and health supplements you need, while helping you save in the process.
Doing away with the typical reward points system — which often give you the option of redeeming useless products like shaker bottles, towels and t-shirts with corny inspirational phrases — iHerb instead gives you credit equivalent to 10 per cent of your order, which is automatically applied to your next purchase. No more wasted points, or padding your order just to use up your privileges!
Pair that with bulk discounts that kick in for buying multiples (great for stocking up), free delivery for orders over $40, and all-round great pricing, and you’ll be hard-pressed to find a reason to buy from any other retailer. Psst, they stock beauty products as well as products for kids and pets too.
Visit the website here.
Treat this cashback app like your personal companion for thousands of good deals, promotions and discounts of up to 80 per cent across Singapore. Boasting over 5,000 partners ranging from hotels to spas to activities and F&B with new deals added daily, you’ll be spoilt for choice as you browse the various categories and curated Collections (which are based on themes and cuisines). Plus, you can even earn up to 50 per cent cashback at literally thousands of stores and restaurants.
Find out more here.
Text: Sheila Chiang/Cleo and Chip Chen
This post was updated on June 22, 2020.