Grab to slash user rewards, tighten rewards redemption from March

The move to slash rebates comes amid reports of bottom line pressure for Grab. PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE (THE BUSINESS TIMES) - In an apparent cost-cutting move, Grab is set to reduce the number of points users can earn on a transaction, in some cases by up to 60 per cent, while raising the number of points needed to redeem certain rewards from March 2.

The revamp of the GrabRewards programme comes after the super-app player unveiled its GrabPay Card in December, which can be used with all merchants which accept Mastercard, while also giving users GrabRewards points.

At present, Grab users earn points according to various tiers, differentiated by product. For instance, a user in the platinum tier, the highest level, can earn 10 points for every $1 when using GrabPay in stores, and six points for every $1 spent on ride hailing and food delivery. But from March 2, platinum users will earn only four points for every $1 spent across all products.

Similarly, users on the lowest "member" tier will earn only two points per $1 spent, down from being able to earn five points per $1 for in-store GrabPay transactions and three points per $1 for GrabFood and ride hailing.

Concurrently, Grab will raise the number of points needed to redeem certain rewards. For instance, a $5 voucher for a Grab ride will require 2,500 points across all user tiers. At present, users can redeem it for between 1,900 and 2,200 points, depending on their tier.

In the Singapore market, Grab's rewards system is a key differentiator for the super-app player from rival Gojek, which does not have a similar reward point system for its ride-hailing service here.

The move to slash rebates comes amid reports of bottom line pressure for Grab. According to a December report by The Information, at end-2018, Grab had been internally projecting a 2019 annual net loss of about US$1.5 billion (S$2 billion).

Accumulated losses from the entity GrabTaxi, which likely does not fully reflect the business, stood at $228.9 million in 2018, according to regulatory filings, Bloomberg reported in December.

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