Category Archives: Travel Hack

NiYO Global: Best forex card currently in India

Staying with my recent Singapore visit, another way I saved money was on my forex card. While searching for forex cards I came across this unique offering from NiYO Global.

NiYO promises forex conversion at Visa rates without any mark-up, currency conversion charges or taxes etc. I used NiYO Global card extensively in Singapore and being a Visa card it was accept everywhere without any issues.

NiYO Global Card

Does NiYO Global really charges Visa rates?

Incoming international SMS are free on Indian SIM

Well, this might common knowledge for many out there, but I was pleasantly surprised to know that incoming international SMS are free while traveling abroad from India. Whether on a Postpaid or a Prepaid connection, one just needs to activate international roaming on the phone.

When planning my vacation to Singapore, I was worried about keeping my primary number switched off for a week. Because in the past, I have been a victim of unauthorized transactions on my credit card. In fact it was only the SMS alerts from my bank that saved the day for me. Another option was to buy an international roaming pack, but being a Marwadi, I didn’t want to spend money on roaming pack.

In the hindsight, this turned out to be blessing in disguise as I was using a Niyo Global Card (Will review it soon) and was able to receive OTPs on my registered mobile for online transactions I did in Singapore.
So all the travelers, traveling abroad from India, ensure that you keep your primary mobile number active, the one that is registered with your bank and credit card, to receive SMS alerts while you travel international.

Singapore for 2 @ 94k, courtesy Citi and Yes credit card

While we were planning a week long trip to Singapore this June, we got quotes from websites, vacation planners, tour operators etc. All of them were broadly in the range of 60-70k/person (i.e. 120-140k for a couple) and despite that they neither cover all the places we wanted to visit nor the entire cost. What it meant was our end-to-end trip would easily cost us ~150-170k.

It was then I decided to explore the power of credit card points and voila! Our Singapore trip in the end cost us just 94k i.e 47k/ person all inclusive, including visa and insurance charges.

Here the major items where I saved lots of money:

Flight Tickets: Redeemed my Citibank Premiermiles points on MMT for flight tickets. End result – Return ticket for 2 which would have cost 46k on Singapore Airlines, we ended up paying just 4Rs. (It’s not a typo, just Rs. 4). So straight saving of 46000.

Hotels: We decided to stay in 2 hotels during our stay (Hotel Nostalgia and Yotel Singapore). Here too, I used my Yes Bank credit card points to book Hotel Nostalgia for 2 nights. Typical room cost is ~7400/night, but I paid just 119 for 2 nights (Again its not a typo, 119 for 2 nights for a boutique hotel in Singapore). Savings of ~14500.
For remaining days, I used MMT clubbed with Citibank offer where I saved ~8000 on the other 4 nights.

Thus in all, using my credit card points and offers I straightaway saved ~70000 on flights and hotel bookings.

How do have so much points on cards? Simple! Put all expenses on credit card, be it utility bills, insurance premiums (life + medical), groceries, house rent, payment to dhoodhwala etc, just about everything on credit card.

Again, it’s not that I earned all these points in one year, these points have been accumulated over the last 2-3 years.

Will write more about the credit cards (Citibank Premiermiles and Yes Bank credit card) I use, plus other savings that I did on Singapore vacation in upcoming posts.