The Loyalist vs The Deals Chaser—Is Disloyalty the Key to Maximising Loyalty Programmes?

The Loyalist vs The Deals Chaser—Is Disloyalty the Key to Maximising Loyalty Programmes?

I’m always secretly thrilled if I get some reward when I shop. Sure I’m still spending money but at least I am buying something I need or like, AND getting rewarded for it. 

There are so many rewards programmes out there that every time we buy something, we’re probably feeding into one or two of them. 

If you’re pro-rewards and are constantly wondering “How can I maximise my rewards”, then you’re probably already using more than a few rewards programmes. But if you don’t really care, then you probably haven’t found a convincing enough argument to get on rewards programmes.

As someone who likes the cheap thrill of getting something back, I’m always looking for a way to get something back when I shop. I can’t deny the cheap thrill when I had to order coffee for office events and was able to rack up enough points on my Starbucks card that I could redeem a free drink and get a discount off another drink. 

And I’ll also try to make payments with the right credit card that gives me greater cash back or miles depending on what I’m buying. 

With so many rewards programmes from brands and credit card promotions, it no longer makes sense to stay loyal to one reward programme. NerdWallet actually calls it being loyal to yourself when you mix and match rewards and credit cards to get the best deals for yourself.

But there are only so many rewards programmes that one can reasonably keep track of, especially since some of them can be quite complex. 

Is sticking to one rewards programme and racking up points more worth it than being disloyal, by stacking and choosing various rewards programmes? We take a closer look. 


Case study #1: Booking a holiday to Seoul 

Going to Seoul usually means a lot of eating and shopping, and you’ll want to be centrally located for it. Let’s compare two types of people: Person A—the loyal KrisFlyer member vs Person B—the deals chaser who uses different rewards programmes. 

Loyalist  Deals Chaser
Flight tickets KrisFlyer miles KrisFlyer miles

Membership is free 

Airport lounge access KrisFlyer perk Priority Pass

Gets access through Citi PremierMiles Card

Hotel (5 days)  KrisFlyer perk Marriott Bonvoy
Activities  Pelago  Klook credits
Travel insurance N/A Discounts when purchased through MoneySmart 
Airport railroad KrisFlyer perk Buy through Klook
Spending money  KrisFlyer perk HSBC TravelOne credit card


Person A: The Loyalist

Activity Cost (S$) Promo mechanics Reward gained
Flight tickets 600 Redeem KrisFlyer miles Free (saved $600)
Airport lounge access N/A Is a KrisFlyer Elite Gold member Free 
Hotel (5 days)

@Courtyard by Marriott Seoul Namdaemun 

1,300 10% Off Room Rate for Courtyard by Marriott Seoul Namdaemun when booked via Kris+  saved $130 
Activities  200 Earn 3 KrisFlyer miles per SGD 1 spent on Pelago bookings 600 miles
Travel insurance 50 Various discounts if you buy through MoneySmart  Discounted insurance
Airport railroad to city (one way) ~10

(9,500 KRW)

1,500 KRW off tickets on Kris+ ~ 8.50
Spending money paid for by credit card (Amex Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer Credit Card) 1,000 Earn 2 KrisFlyer miles for every S$1 equivalent in foreign currency 2,000 miles 

*Note: this table is a basic comparison of some standard activities a person may most likely do. It assumes that there are no other promotions.


Person B: The Deals Chaser

Activity Cost (S$) Promo mechanics Reward gained
Flight tickets 600 Redeemed KrisFlyer miles Free (saved $600)
Airport lounge access N/A Has Priority Pass Free 
Hotel (5 days) 

@Courtyard by Marriott Seoul Namdaemun

1,300 Exclusive discounted rates for Marriott Bonvoy members up to 10% saved $130
Activities  200 Earn 10 Klook credits for every 1 Hong Kong Dollar spent Offsets your next purchase on Klook
Travel insurance 50 Various discounts if you buy through MoneySmart  Discounted insurance
Airport railroad to city (one way) ~10

(9,500 KRW)

Buys ticket through Klook at a discounted rate 7.60
Spending money paid for by credit card (HSBC TravelOne Card) 1,000 Earn 2.4 miles for every $1 on foreign currency spend  2,400 miles 

*Note: this table is a basic comparison for some standard activities a person may most likely do. It assumes that there are no other promotions.


The Loyalist vs The Deals Chaser

Initial thoughts

As you can see from the above comparison, by sticking to just KrisFlyer perks, Person A can get discounts and perks on most of his activities. Most of the rewards earned are tied to KrisFlyer so anytime he spends, he accumulates more miles, which is great if he’s a frequent flyer. However, Person A needs to fly SQ regularly and make use of miles credit cards to consistently rack up miles and upgrade his KrisFlyer status so he can comfortably stick to SQ and KrisFlyer for all his travel needs. 

For, Person B, who is a member of a variety of rewards programmes, he has the freedom to get perks from different programmes. On top of that, his willingness to explore other rewards programmes means he can get on to the latest deals and enjoy sign-up promos whenever there are any. 

But upon a closer look…

Person B can sign up with a bunch of hotel rewards programmes but in order to reap more rewards from the programmes, he needs to choose one programme to stick with. 

For instance, the lowest tier Marriott Bonvoy must stay 10 nights per year to qualify for the Silver Lite tier, where you’ll earn 10 Mariott Bonvoy points for every S$1.34 (US$1) spent at most of the qualifying hotels, hotel dining and beverages, and golf rounds and spa services.

To get to the next tier, Silver Lite, members have to stay 10 nights per year.

Similarly, if you’re on Hilton Honors, you have to stay 10 nights to qualify as a member, and more than 10 nights to get to the next Silver tier. 

The more points you accumulate, the more they can be used to exchange for other perks offered by each hotel programme. So it may be more worth it to stick to one that suits your travel needs best. Read our hotel rewards programmes article to find out more.

When it comes to activities, it’s a whole new world.

For Person A, if he wants to accumulate KrisFlyer points, he can buy tickets for activities on Pelago, Singapore Airlines’ travel experiences platform. There’s a wide range of activities in Seoul, Busan and Jeju, including tickets to attractions, day trips and walking tours. 

Person B who’s a non-loyalist can also choose to buy on Pelago—which offers 10% off for the first booking—or Klook, which offers credits to offset your next purchase. 

It ultimately depends on which platform offers the activities that you want to do and how much you want to save. 

For instance, an admission ticket to N Seoul Tower costs $12.89 on Pelago vs. $12.99 on Klook. In this case, it may be more worth it to book via Pelago instead to accumulate KrisFlyer points. 


Case study #2: Decorating your new BTO living room 

For homeowners, decorating their flats involves a lot of time, effort and money to choose the right products of good quality. We all know that renovation can take out a huge chunk of your money, so if there are ways to save with these big ticket item purchases, why not right? 

Let’s compare some rewards programmes from popular furniture retailers: 

IKEA  Gain City Courts 
Reward programme IKEA Family Family Card Courts HomeClub
How to join Sign up for an account for free. Sign up for an account for free. Sign up for an account for free.
Points accumulation Earn $1 IKEA Family Point for every $1 spent at IKEA.  Every $1 spent earns you 1 point Earn points on each purchase
Points redemption $1 off for every 100 points accumulated  $1 off for every 100 points accumulated  $1 off for every 100 points accumulated 
Other perks
  • Monthly discounts for Family members
  • 3X points for your first purchase during birthday month
  • Free coffee or tea at the Swedish Restaurant
  • Member prices for meals at Swedish Restaurants, Bistros or Food Markets
  • Extra benefits from partner merchants
  • Access to workshops and events
  • Renew home contents insurance and receive 1,000 Family points (worth $10)
  • Enjoy discounts with partner merchants
  • Access to members-only events like private sales, store openings
  • Discount vouchers upon sign up
  • $10 voucher on birthday month
  • Exclusive member specials
  • Earn points and enjoy additional offers from partner merchants
  • Quarterly events


When it comes to furniture retailers, the points accumulation mechanics are more or less the same. It’s the benefits that set them apart. So whether you’re buying a fridge, TV, bed or dining table, it’s best to look out for sale periods such as the Great Singapore Sale or 11.11, or festive periods such as New Year or Christmas, and tap on to the perks that each merchant offers. 

It may pay off to be disloyal and to sign up with different rewards programmes from different retailers instead to leverage sign-up bonuses and promotions when you need to buy many things at a go. 

Another thing to leverage is credit cards, either cash back or miles cards, for such big ticket items, to help you gain other perks as you furnish your home. 


Tips to save more on rewards programmes 

So what’s more rewarding than rewards programmes? Being able to save more on top of what you’re already getting a deal on of course! 

Here are a few tips to further maximise your savings:

Take advantage of sign-up bonuses and promotions

Many rewards programmes offer sign-up bonuses or promotions that can give you a significant amount of points or miles for free. Be sure to read the terms and conditions carefully to make sure you take the right actions to qualify for the bonus. For instance, when applying for a new credit card, you need to spend a minimum amount within a month before you can qualify for the miles. 

Participate in partner programs

Many rewards programmes have partner programs that allow you to earn points or miles for purchases made with other companies. For example, KrisFlyer partners with a number of airlines and hotels, so you can earn KrisFlyer miles for flights and stays with those partners.

Use cashback and reward credit cards

Cashback and reward credit cards can be a great way to earn points or miles for everyday purchases. Be sure to choose a card that offers rewards that you’ll actually use. T&Cs also change so don’t forget to check. Check out the latest credit card promotions on MoneySmart

Choose the right rewards programme for your needs

There are many different rewards programmes available, so it’s important to choose one that fits your lifestyle and spending habits.

Use apps to track rewards

Tracking rewards can be a hassle and for those who are not Excel-savvy, there are apps that do the work for you. Here are some: 

  • AwardWallet: track loyalty points such as frequent flier miles, hotel or credit card points. it supports over 655 rewards programmes including Marriott Bonvoy, Hilton, IHG Hotels & Resorts, Hyatt, Amex, British Airways, Air France, Lufthansa, Emirates, KLM, Qantas, Airbnb, Starbucks, Sephora, etc. What’s more, it’s free to use! The only downside is that it may be a little bit overwhelming and is mainly US-centric.
  • Perkd: Store your loyalty cards, staff card, library card, travel pass, gym membership, etc. The Singapore-based company lets you add membership, loyalty and reward cards from over 6,000 retailers, airlines, hotels, clubs, alumni and non-profit organisations. App store reviews show that there may be some problems adding certain cards but they seem to have excellent responsive customer service.
  • CardsPal: add your credit cards to the app and it helps you track which card gives you the best cashback and what deals are available. Also a Singapore-based company, it shows you deals from a variety of over 1,700 merchants and has card partners such as Mastercard, AMEX, Wise, and Youtrip, so that you can see which merchants have deals and which credit card you can use for them. It even shows you events and entertainment listings and you can buy tickets directly through the app.
  • GreenTill: store loyalty cards and receipts so you can keep track of them. The goal behind this is to help consumers keep track of their receipts and simplify the process for things like returns, exchanges or warranty claims. Don’t you hate it when you need to check if your product is still under warranty but you’ve lost the receipt? Of course, it also helps businesses and consumers be more environmentally friendly without the need to print receipts.

Set realistic goals – Don’t expect to be able to redeem your points or miles for a holiday overnight. It takes time and effort to earn enough points or miles for a significant redemption.

While some amount of planning is needed, it will pay off if you really want to save on certain big-ticket items.


Are you a loyalist or a deals chaser? Share this article with someone like you!