Everyone knows that it’s ridiculously expensive to own a car in Singapore. You spend thousands on COE, car insurance and road tax. And each month, we spend hundreds of dollars on keeping the vehicle going, even with the best petrol credit cards in Singapore. Don’t get me started on parking. Parking charges in Singapore are insane, but not surprising, especially since land is such a premium in our country.
When it was announced that even our public carpark rates were going to be increased by the end of this month, you could literally hear the outcry of Singaporeans who were appalled that they would soon have to pay 10 to 20 cents more an hour.
So for many of us drivers, this is where season parking helps. By paying a flat fee each month for a carpark next to our workplaces, we avoid the ridiculous parking fees we would normally have been charged. But not everyone can benefit from season parking. Some jobs in Singapore, especially those in sales, require you to meet clients all over the island, and for these workers, carpark charges quickly add up.
Surely it can’t be that bad… Just how much can parking really cost?
Say you are a salesperson and have to meet your clients at three places across the island on a weekday – Tampines, Jurong East and Raffles City. Let’s assume you have to spend at least 2 hours with them. Here’s how much you might end up paying:
If you’re meeting in Tampines, then consider parking at Tampines Mall or Century Square. Before 6pm, both of them charge $1.07 for the first hour, and then $0.32 for every subsequent 15 minutes. Parking there for two hours would therefore cost you $2.35.
If you’re meeting in Jurong East, consider parking at JCube, JEM or Westgate, all of which charge $1.30 for the first hour and then $0.50 for every subsequent 15 minutes. Parking at any of these adjacent malls for two hours would cost you $3.30.
(The smart but slightly inconvenient choice, of course would be to park at IMM, where the first two hours of parking are free.)
If you’re meeting at Raffles City, then of course it would be ideal to park there. Before 6pm, you’ll be charged $2.20 for the first hour and $0.55 for every subsequent 15 minutes. Parking there for two hours would therefore cost you $4.40.
(Of course, if you don’t mind walking a bit, parking at the new Capitol Piazza would only cost you $3.60 for the same period, while parking at the much further Marina Square is only $2.20 for the first two hours.)
So in just one day, you could spend up to $10.05 for just six hours of parking! In a month, that could set you back by at least $250. The only thing scarier than that is probably your petrol bill from all your cross-island commuting.
Now, imagine if there’s one credit card that could save you that amount each month. Fortunately, there is!
The American Express CapitaCard gives you three hours of parking free at 15 CapitaMalls across the island
Imagine getting three hours of free parking per mall, per day! With the American Express CapitaCard, that’s going to be a reality. All you need to do is charge $1,200 a month to the credit card, and you will get a month of free parking in the second calendar month following. That means if you spend $1,200 in the month of October, you’ll enjoy free parking in December, just in time for your Christmas shopping.
But the CapitaCard doesn’t just benefit shoppers. Imagine the earlier scenario which had you, as a salesperson, had to drive to Tampines, Jurong East and Raffles City to meet clients. In that scenario, we found that it would cost you about $250 in parking charges.
With the CapitaCard, you would get free parking at CapitaMalls like Tampines Mall, JCube, Westgate and Raffles City.
That’s $250 in savings for a $1,200 minimum monthly spend, or almost 21% in rebates. Even the best cashback credit card doesn’t give you that much in return.
Wait, all this free parking sounds familiar…
The CapitaCard itself, along with the promise of three hours of free parking, is not a new credit card per se. It used to be among DBS’s suite of credit cards, where it was arguably one of their most popular. But what was troublesome was that you had to spend the minimum amount in consecutive months before you could qualify for the free parking.
With the American Express CapitaCard, it’s significantly more convenient. Once you hit the monthly minimum spending of $1,200, you can be assured of a month of free parking.
But $1,200 is a really large amount to spend in a month! Plus, American Express may not be accepted everywhere in Singapore
It’s actually a fallacy to think that American Express credit cards aren’t widely accepted in Singapore. Most large supermarket chains, for example, will accept American Express cards. And when you think about it, you could easily spend $1,200 a month if you include your grocery spending as well. It may be a little hit and miss when it comes to dining, but most restaurants should accept American Express as well.
With most of the 15 CapitalMalls having at least one supermarket present and multiple dining options, you could literally do your grocery shopping and dining anywhere in Singapore, and charge it to the CapitaCard to hit the monthly minimum requirement.
With a potential $250 in savings you get from free parking, you probably could get rid of your grocery credit card and your dining credit card without a second thought.
But of course, not everyone’s going to benefit from the free parking
As with all credit cards, we advise that you only get it if you find that it suits your lifestyle. If you work in the Jurong East area, for example, you could actually save more with a CapitaCard than with actual season parking!
This is because Westgate, JCube and IMM are all eligible CapitaMalls, so that’s a total 9 hours of free parking a day, and all you have to do is just move your car every three hours.