Singapore, with its ideal geographical location in the heart of Southeast Asia makes it an ideal hub for locals and tourists to tour the region. With the increasing popularity of budget airline travel, one will find advertisements in the newpapers every other day promoting budget travel. So how does one try to save money on a budget travel?
1. Payment mode
Credit card is the default choice when it comes to making transactions online. Only POSB Everyday Mastercard and Standard Chartered Platinum cards have tie-ups with Airasia and Tigerair respective, but are these the best credit cards to use? Definitely not. The best ones in my opinion would probably be the ones that will give you bonus for online shopping and payment (full review here). My top 2 choices will be OCBC Frank Card and Bank of China Shop Card which will give up to 6% rebate.
However, if you look at the table below, there is an additional fee between $8-10 per person per way, so one return ticket will incur another $16-20 to the price, which can be quite substantial as the price of the ticket to a nearby location like Jakarta or Penang may be less than $100, and the 6% rebate will not be able to cover this cost.
One way is to forgo using credit card payment online and opt for the other payment methods e.g enets, SAM or Singpost. At Singpost, one can also use credit cards for payment without incurring any additional charges. Depending whether you want a one way limousine to the airport or just chalk up your miles or credit card points, you can use your favourite cards for payment. Based on my previous review on cards for overseas travel, I would suggest UOB PRVI for a free limousine ride if you are charging $500 or more to a single transaction. Otherwise, just use your favourite credit card.
2. Checked baggage
Most of the budget airlines fly to nearby destinations but includes places like Hong Kong, Taipei or even Tokyo which are shopping havens. Budget airlines tend to be very strict on the weight especially for hand-carry, so do take note that the hand carry cabin luggage is only entitled to 7kg and/or one laptop bag or handbag. If there is a chance that you might exceed the weight limit, just purchase additional luggage space online prior to the flight. Airasia and scoot have a simpler way of calculating the prepaid luggage allowance whereas Tigerair and Jetstar is not so clear cut and you need to check out each flight sector individually. Even after the initial booking, one can still make amendments and get more luggage space before going to the airport where the charges would definitely be much heftier. If a couple is flying together, then I would suggest a 20kg or 25kg allowance on the return leg at minimum.
3. Take note of sales
The facebook pages of the budget airlines are frequently updated with their latest promotions. Also sign up to be part of the mailing list so that you can get hold of the sale dates and check out the fares early. Tiger Stripes members get early access to promotional fares, so if you fly Tigerair often, then the $29.95 initial membership fee may help to make up for it. In addition, the sales or cheaper fares tend to be mid-week so if one is planning a trip, avoiding the weekends will result in a lower fare as well.
4. Check out various websites, mix-and-match
Budget airlines are different from normal airlines in the sense that the difference in price between 2 one-way tickets and a full return ticket is very minimal. As such, one does not have to be tied down with a particular airline for both the outbound and return trip especially if the timings are not favourable or the cost is too high. There are various websites or apps that compare airfares across different airlines. 2 excellent websites that I always turn to would be Cheaptickets and MISA Travel. One excellent iphone app would be Skyscanner. Sometimes you will discover combinations that you have not imagined before!
Ready for your next trip? Start searching for the best fares and pay wisely!