Grab's new subscription plans have been making headlines everywhere, and at first glance they seem to be all quite valuable. Costing anywhere from S$7.99 to S$109 per month, they are also advertised with "instant" savings of S$21 to S$91. However, the conditions of these savings actually make some of them way more attractive than others for vast majority of Grab customers in Singapore. Below, we analyse the dynamics and decision points around Grab subscription plans to help you find the most financially effective option.
Brief Summary of Grab Subscriptions
Before we go delve into which plans are the most effective, it's worth briefly summarising each of Grab's subscriptions. On Grab's website, it lists 7 subscription plans, largely divided into Commute Plans, All Access Plans and Food Plans. For a fixed monthly fee, Commute Plans provides ride vouchers of S$4 to S$10 for a fixed number of times every month. On the other hand, the Food Plan provide delivery fee waivers (worth S$3) 30 times per month. All Access Plans blend the two, though its ride discounts range from 10-15% (upto S$3 or S$4) instead of a fixed dollar amount.
Outside of Central, Most Rides in Singapore Will Cost More Than S$10
To be fair, almost all of these Grab subscriptions are worth getting: almost anyone can "profit" from getting these subscriptions if they ride Grab at least 6 times a month, a very low bar for most existing Grab users.
However, when evaluating these plans, there's one most important fact to consider: based on Grab's pricing (S$2.5 base fair + S$0.5 per km + S$0.16/min), most Grab rides in Singapore will cost S$10 unless you are travelling within Central. As far as transportation cost is concerned, this means that it's actually much better value to get Grab's most expensive plan, Commute Extra, because of its very high fixed discount of S$10 per ride x 20 times per month. In contrast, Commute Basic and All Access Plans cap the savings at S$3-4 per ride at 10x per month, meaning subscribers can only save a small portion of their ride costs. Ultimately, frequent Grab riders can easily offset the higher cost with much higher savings, unless you live and work in Central already.
All Access Plans: How Often Will You Use GrabShare or Food Delivery?
In contrast to Commute Plans, All Access Plans provide much bigger savings, as long as you frequently use GrabShare and GrabFood. Because All Access Plans provide a percentage discount on rides, they are actually less lucrative just for getting discounts on Grab rides: since most rides cost under S$15-20, it's difficult to actually save S$3-4 on rides via All Access Plans. However, All Access Plans can still net you more savings than Commute Lite Plan, which is the most comparable in terms of monthly subscription cost, even if you were to use Share and Food Service at least 3-4 times a month, respectively. At 15-18 times per month for each service, All Access Plans can be more lucrative than Commute Extra Plan as well.
Ultimately More of a Weekend Trip Saver vs Daily Commuting Option
When considering these subscriptions, consumers must remember one thing: these plans are ultimately designed to help frequent Grab users save money (and not ride on competing platforms like Go-Jek), not to encourage non-users to start commuting via Grab. First, even with the S$10 discount per ride, each Grab ride still costs significantly more than a subway ride, which ranges from S$0.77 to S$2.02 per trip. Not only that, the number of discounts on these subscriptions is limited to 10-30 times per month, hardly enough to cover a full month's commute (roughly 40 trips per month). With average cost of S$15 per trip and S$10 off on 20 trips with the Commute Extra subscription, you will still be spending roughly S$509 every month if you were to commute on Grab.
Consider Adult Monthly Travel Card? Other Ways to Save on Commute
While this is still a big source of savings for those who are already commuting on Grab everyday, spending S$120 per month on an Adult Monthly Travel Card for unlimited bus and train rides is a much more economical commuting method. Therefore, for those who ride Grab frequently but not necessarily for commuting, it's wise to use these subscriptions as a way to save on their non-commute trips on weekends, night outs and food deliveries instead of an incentive to start commuting in a private/shared car.
Still, there are more ways to reduce your commuting cost, whether you use SMRT or Grab, especially through rewards credit cards that provide discounts on Grab rides or rebates on EZ-Link Auto Top-Ups. For example, Citi Cashback Card provides 8% cashback on Grab rides, while Citi SMRT Card provides 2% rebate on Auto Top-Ups. Standard Chartered is also providing up to 15% rebate on Grab rides around the region through its credit cards.