Battle of the OTA promotions – which should you pick?

OTAs, or online travel agencies, are websites that allow you to book flight tickets, hotels and other travel services at your convenience. Some examples include Expedia, Agoda, and Kaligo. Credit card companies and banks often run promotions with OTAs that can earn you loads of miles. Here are two ongoing promotions that you should look out for.

Using Citi Premiermiles with Agoda

[Edit: This offer is now only valid for bookings and stays until 31 Dec 2018.]

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There was a previous promotion on Agoda allowing Citi Premiermiles cardholders to earn up to 7 mpd. For a brief period, the promotion got even better, and Citi Premiermiles cardholders could earn up to 9 mpd! Now here’s some good news: the promotion has been extended till 31 Dec 2018. This means that if you use your Citi Premiermiles to perform bookings on Agoda, you’ll earn up to 9 mpd.

This promotion applies to all bookings made at this dedicated link until 31 Dec 2018, for stays until 30 Jun 2019 31 Dec 2018, perfect if you’re planning your trips for the year ahead.

Bear in mind that the total miles you can earn comprises the base earn rate and the bonus 7 mpd. The base earn rate for purchases in SGD depends on the Citi Premiermiles card that you’re using, namely 1.2 mpd for the Visa card, and 1.3 mpd for the Amex version. For both cards, any booking made in foreign currency will earn you the base rate of 2 mpd. Taking the bonus 7 mpd into account, this gives you the maximum of 9 mpd.

Full terms and conditions can be found here.

Using Apple Pay (Citibank promotion) with Expedia

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Now this promotion is actually the Citibank Apple Pay promotion that is currently ongoing until 31 Jul 2018. You can earn 8 mpd using your Citi Prestige and Citi Rewards cards, and 4 mpd using your Citi Premiermiles card, on Apple Pay. This applies to both point-of-sale and online/in-app Apple Pay transactions.

Now the beauty of this promotion is that you can make bookings on the Expedia (US) website using Apple Pay, and earn 8 mpd. A word of caution here: based on the T&Cs, only the Citi Rewards card can earn you 8 mpd when the transaction is made in foreign currency. Since the Expedia (SG) website does not allow Apple Pay transactions in SGD, you’re pretty much left with the Citi Rewards card if you wish to make use of this Apple Pay promotion on Expedia.

More information on this promotion can be found here and here.

So which is the better promotion?

It really depends. Always cross check your search between the two platforms. Sometimes, you may be paying significantly more for the additional miles. For example, Kaligo has an ongoing 10 mpd promotion, but a simple comparison between websites will show you’ll be paying more for the additional miles.

Additionally, different OTAs show different search results. So, your preference for certain hotel chains or properties will influence your decision to pick one over the other.

In any case, once the Apple Pay promotion runs out, the only promotion that I can foresee rivalling Kaligo’s 10 mpd promotion (but you’ll be paying more for miles) is the Agoda and Citi Premiermiles 9 mpd one.