Saturday, 8 December 2018

My Miles Hacking Strategy + Miles Credit Cards

Wanna know how to get FREE flights?

You heard me right.

No, this isn't a gimmick, and it is no scam. The method is simple: redeem free flights using the right miles credit cards for expenses you're already paying for.

Now, it is no secret that I prefer cashback over miles when it comes to my credit cards, but I did mention before that you probably want to have both because there may be some cases where it actually pays to have a miles card (especially in cases where it doesn't fit into your qualifying cashback card categories). 

I own both types. When it comes to big bills, I usually pay using my miles cards since many cashback cards come with a maximum cap (the ones that don't, give lower cashback rates as well, obviously).

Some of the best cards for miles hacking which I've shared previously includes :
(in order of attractiveness right now)

  • Citi PremierMiles Visa : 1.2 miles per dollar (mpd) + 30,000 welcome miles 
  • Maybank Horizon Visa Signature : 3.2 mpd for dining, petrol and taxi fares
  • UOB PRVI MILES Visa : 1.4 mpd for general spend

As you can see, the miles per dollar reward ratio for general spending tends to be quite low across most cards though (since you aren't limited to any expense category), but there's a trick to overcome this:

Stack your miles credit card + Mileslife to get even more miles!

I've also featured Mileslife as an essential companion tool that you MUST make full use of in my previous post to getting the most cashback from your spending, but it works the same way whether you pair it with a miles or cashback card.

Link your preferred miles card(s) so you can get free miles from Mileslife on top of the miles you're already getting from your credit card.

For instance, if you link your Maybank Horizon Visa Signature card and spend $50 at one of their many merchants offering 2mpd, you'll get a total of 260 (instead of your regular 160 miles). The breakdown is as such:
  • $50 x 3.2 mpd = 160 miles (credit card)
  • $50 x 2 miles = 100 miles (Mileslife)
If you're applying for any new credit card, remember that my hack is to always go through SingSaver instead of through the bank / roadshow / card website online, as the SingSaver route allows me to get cash vouchers on top of any existing gifts. The latter methods, on the other hand, don't share any of their commission with YOU from signing you up!

In collaboration with Mileslife, SingSaver is now running a promo where three winners stand a chance to win additional 30,000 miles (on top of the 30k welcome miles by Citi, so that's 60k miles in total) as well!

1. Simply apply for any miles credit card here. (You can pick from any, although I really only like the 3 cards I've mentioned best)
2. Complete the rewards redemption form on the page.
3. Answer the question on what is your secret method to accumulate miles faster.
4. Download the Mileslife app and start hacking the miles game!

P.S. After you've signed up, don't forget to fill up SingSaver's gift redemption form here! Otherwise they won't know where to send your vouchers / gift to you, lol.

Disclaimer: This post is written in collaboration with SingSaver. Affiliate links have been included. All opinions in this post are of my own, and consists of credit card recommendations that I've talked about since the start. I've been using Mileslife since their launch to stack miles, and apply for new credit cards only via SingSaver since I get additional gifts (usually cash or vouchers) instead of having the roadshow salesperson earn the commission and not share any with me. 

Thursday, 6 December 2018

Actual Hospital Bill for Pregnancy Delivery in Singapore

As a follow-up to my previous post where I estimated the bill sizes for delivery in various hospitals in Singapore, before deciding to go with Thomson Medical Centre given their affordability and other reasons detailed here.

I managed to gather the actual hospital bills for a few hospitals from my fellow mamas who had delivered close to my dates (2 - 3 weeks before / after), and here's how they compare:

Actual Hospital Bills (October - November 2018)

Mummy's Bill:

Gynae and anaesthetist fees have been excluded from the comparison as these service fees vary according to the professionals who are charging them. Between the few of us, our gynae fees ranged from $2000 - $3500, whereas the anaesthetist fees were from $700 - $775.

Do note that your choice of gynae and anaesthetist will also determine whether your final bill paid to the hospital is on the higher or lower end, as the hospital collects the fees on the doctors' behalf.

Baby's bill:

 Similarly, I've excluded paediatrician fees as the charges varied from $300 - $900+ for the bills I studied. Note that PD fees will depend on the PD you choose, and expect to pay more for the more popular ones.

In my previous post using estimates, I actually predicted that the order from most affordable to most expensive would be Parkway East --> KKH --> TMC -- MAH, but as it turned out, the results were surprising.

  Parkway East TMC MAH KKH
Quoted Estimate (Mother's bill) $3,734 $4,272.51 $3,581.29 -
Actual Mother's bill $3,905.28 $4,495.32 $4,765.90 -
Discrepancy with actual Mother's Bill $171 $222.81 $1,184.61 -
TOTAL HOSPITAL + BABY BILL $4,598.29 $5,738.71 $5,820.67 $6,040.65
*as of bills collected and studied in Oct - Nov 2018 from my friends
**only normal delivery is considered. I do not have the figures for caesarean procedures as I did not experience it personally
*** TMC has $100 less from the total combined bill due to their FBI discount, which was not included in my first table (due to them being the only hospital transparently showing that line item). My friend's MAH bill already included the $100 discount off charges after her Ladies Card discount, so I was not able to see what was the original before when comparing.

The key observation I realised was that while MAH may seem to have a cheaper quote for their single room package, the actual bill differed by a large margin. I'm not too sure why, but based on the two MAH bills I've studied, it seems like their consumables are charged at a much higher rate? At the end of the day, do also note that the amount and type of consumables you utilise during your hospital stay may differ as every patient is different.

Anyway, if you were wondering whether going with KKH as a private patient will definitely be cheaper, I hope this article dispels that notion that it isn't necessarily so. Much of it also depends on your gynae / anaesthetist / PD fees and how smoothly / complicated your delivery ends up being.

My friends who have delivered at KKH recently had their total bills range from $10k to $12k for a normal delivery. In fact, one of my friends who had previously delivered at KKH slightly over a year ago, has now decided to go with TMC for the delivery of their second kid, given that the prices don't really differ by much!

I've also included my actual bill with TMC here for reference, lest any of you are keen on potentially delivering there as well and want to know how much mine cost:

There's also a second part to the bill, which is your baby's bill. Here's mine from TMC:

Our out-of-pocket cash expenses ended up being about $6000, which was much lesser than I had budgeted for initially (we had saved for the worst-case scenario: an emergency C-section, and I highly encourage that everyone do so because you really cannot predict what will happen during delivery). On this aspect, we got lucky as I had a really smooth and short labour (9 hours in total).

I also received TMC's Breastfeeding Essentials discharge bag (which I raved about in my previous article), and it is a gorgeous sleek diaper bag that I can foresee myself using for sure!

TMC's Breastfeeding Essentials discharge bag

For those who are interested to see MAH's discharge bag, here's photos from my friend who delivered at Mount Alvernia a few days before me :


Call me superficial, but I'm mighty pleased with my TMC discharge bag by far. Not only are the items super useful (I mean, a branded Hegen breastfeeding pump?! And calcium supplements? And breast pads? And milk boosting tea? And a nursing cover? I could go on and on, you get my gist), I'm a suckler for the gorgeous black design of TMC's diaper bag as well.

But the one I received has since been discontinued (Nov 2018 was its last month), and for mothers who are delivering in TMC from December 2018 onwards, TMC has just revealed this on their page as the revamped discharge bag:


This goodie bag makes me somewhat wish my baby was born in December or 2019 instead, LOL! TMC has truly outdone themselves this time. I mean, a nursing bra?! And milk-boosting cookies by Singapore Lactation Bakes, which I'm also currently taking to boost my breastmilk supply?! And chicken essence!? And diapers?! And mittens?! And a baby bib?!

I'm betting this new bag of goodies cost at least $300+.What a steal!

When it is time for my second kid, I'll most probably go back to TMC again for my delivery. They've given me nothing but a great experience for my firstborn.

P.S. Carpark issues? We visited TMC on various days and at various timings (1pm, 4pm, 10am and 12 midnight) and had no problems on all our visits, so there weren't any concerns for us at all.

Disclaimer: During my stay, I was upgraded from a single room to a Premier Single by Thomson Medical Centre for my delivery due to availability.

Bill sizes frequently differ due to mostly gynae operation fees. Hospital packages form about half of the equation (sometimes lesser, depending on your gynae fees). The bill comparison between the four hospitals here are based on the bills I received from my friends who delivered during a similar period as me but may not be indicative of all bills, so I highly recommend that you book a hospital tour and get a bill estimate directly if you're unsure. You can view my TMC hospital tour here.

A huge thank you to Allison aka Heartland Boy, Elaine, Estee and Karen for sharing your actual bills and parenthood journey with me as we all become first-time parents!

With love,
Budget Babe