Business

Grab making it harder for users to earn, use reward points: Report

The move, effective March 2, is seen as cost-cutting measure

Technology company Grab is making it harder for its users to earn and use rewards points, in what is seen as a cost-cutting move.

Grab is set to reduce the number of points users can earn on a transaction while raising the number of points they need to redeem certain rewards from March 2, according to its website yesterday.

With the change, the firm's most frequent, or platinum, users will earn four points for every $1 spent across all products, down from 10 points for every $1 when they use GrabPay in stores, and six points for every $1 spent on ride-hailing and food delivery services.

Its less frequent users will earn two points per $1 spent, down from five points per $1 for in-store GrabPay transactions and three points per $1 for GrabFood and ride hailing.

Grab will also increase the number of points needed to redeem certain rewards.

A $5 voucher for a Grab ride will require 2,500 points across all user tiers. Users can now redeem it for between 1,900 and 2,200 points, depending on their tier.

A Grab spokesman said: "While the points earned on each dollar spent will be fewer, our customers will have more places to earn and spend their rewards points."

The spokesman was referring to how users can accrue more points with the launch last month of its GrabPay Card initiative.

The GrabPay Card can be used wherever merchants accept Mastercard, while also giving users GrabRewards points.

"Customers can also look forward to more ways of earning points and rewards," the spokesman added, listing examples such as games, flash sales and campaigns.

The change in rewards comes as media reports noted last month that Grab was still finding its way to profitability.

The Information, a digital information company, noted in a report that Grab had, at the end of 2018, been internally projecting a 2019 annual net loss of about US$1.5 billion (S$2 billion).

RATIONALISE COSTS

Associate Professor Lawrence Loh of the National University of Singapore Business School said big start-ups like Grab are realising that "they cannot burn cash indefinitely".

"Given Grab's challenging profitability situation, it has to progressively rationalise its costs, particularly those of a more discretionary nature like consumer rewards," added Prof Loh, who is the director of the Centre of Governance, Institutions and Organisations.

BUSINESS & FINANCE