Wyndham Rewards

Wyndham Rewards is a loyalty program offered by Wyndham hotels. In addition to its namesake properties, Wyndham boasts affordable Days Inns and Hawthorn Suites, as well as Ramada and Wyndham Grand.


The Wyndham Rewards program offers members access to exclusive rates and points that can be used toward free stays, upgrades, and amenities. Its points collection program is called Go Get ‘Em, while its redemption programs are called Go Free and Go Fast.

In comparison with other hotel loyalty programs, this reward program is one of the simplest. Earning points is simple, and redeeming points for a free night is limited to just three levels. Even casual travelers will appreciate this site’s simplicity and lack of complicated award charts. The Wyndham Rewards program is worth studying for its simplicity and the sheer number of lodgings (9,000 across 80 countries). If you are not yet a member, you may want to sign up: After spending just $750 in hotel spending or staying eight nights, you get a free night.

If you’re not yet a member of Wyndham Rewards, you can join the program right now and earn exciting rewards and offers. Throughout this article, we have discussed numerous aspects of this program in depth.

What Are The Registration Guidelines?

It is free to join Wyndham Rewards, and the registration process is straightforward. You can register yourself on the portal by following these steps:

  • Visit the Wyndham Rewards registration page at www.wyndhamrewards.com.
  • You can then proceed to the registration process by clicking on Join Now.
  • Creating an account also requires you to provide your contact information, including your first and last name, email address, country, and postal code.
  • Once you’ve done that, you can save a credit card to your profile so that you can book faster next time.

Then you’re done. Upon enrollment, you will receive an email confirmation with your member number. Upon earning points at Wyndham Rewards hotels, you’ll be able to enjoy free and discounted nights. After registering, you need to generate a username and password for your account and set up your profile.

You can create your account by visiting the official website and inputting your member number, phone number, zip code, etc. You can now set your username and password for future log-ins, once you have successfully completed this process.

Login Steps You Can Follow To Access Your Account

It takes only a moment to log in and access your account, just as it is with registration. You can log into your account by following these steps:


  • By visiting www.wyndhamrewards.com, you can access the official login page.
  • To sign in, click on the Sign In button on the top-right corner of the page after the page opens.
  • You will now need to enter the user name and password you generated at the time of account creation.
  • The last step is to log in.

The account is now available for you to access. This portal allows you to check your points balance, book the member rate, and expedite the booking process. Redeeming your rewards is easy as well. Whenever you sign in to your account, the information on your account can be updated. By clicking my profile, you can update information such as your contact information and earning and communication preferences.

Brand Under The Wyndham Umbrella

Beyond the namesake Wyndham hotels, Wyndham Rewards encompasses a wide range of reward programs. Wyndham has hotels of all service levels and price points under its 19 different brands.

  • Distinctive Brands: Wyndham Grand
  • Upscale: Dolce Hotels and Resorts, Wyndham Hotels
  • Lifestyle: Dazzler, Esplendor, Trademark Collection by Wyndham, Tryp
  • Midscale: AmericInn, Baymont, LaQuinta, Ramada, Wingate by Wyndham, Wyndham Garden
  • Value: Howard Johnson, Super 8, Travelodge, Days Inn, Microtel by Wyndham
  • Extended Stay: Hawthorn Suites by Wyndham

The most important thing you need to know about Wyndham’s portfolio is that it has a heavy emphasis on budget and midscale hotels. Wyndham is probably not for you if your idea of roughing it is self-parking.

WyndhamRewards Elite Status Information

By way of its loyalty program, Wyndham Rewards rewards elite members with bonus points and other benefits. There are four different Wyndham membership levels, each with its own set of benefits.

Wyndham Blue

The blue level is automatically enrolled for all members. A blue member is eligible for earning and redeeming points. You will only be able to use free WiFi on-site during your stay.

Wyndham Gold

To qualify for Wyndham Gold status, you need to stay three nights per year. Although the benefits of the Gold status may seem great, they are largely intangible. The hotel offers members late check-outs and preference of room types when they are available. Wyndham Gold members receive a 10% bonus on points earned from qualifying stays.


Wyndham Platinum

Platinum status is achieved after nine nights. Advantages include early check-in when available, upgrades on Avis and Budget car rentals, and status matching with Caesars’ Rewards. In addition, Platinum members receive a 15% bonus on hotel stays in order to build their points balance faster.

Wyndham Diamond

To achieve top-tier status with Wyndham, you need 24 nights per year. Upon arrival at the hotel, all suites are upgraded to a basic suite, assuming one is available. Wyndham doesn’t just offer standard rooms when they’re sold out. In addition, Diamond members receive a free snack or beverage at check-in and a 20% points bonus on all paid stays. Members may choose to gift their Gold status once a year to another member.

Points Expiration Details

It’s easy to earn Wyndham points (and you’ll find redemptions are just as straightforward, as we’ll soon learn). That’s why it’s unusual they tangle two separate policies with their expiration policy:

  • During the period of 18 months after a member’s last activity, points are forfeited. Earnings and redemptions will reset the clock.
  • Hotel points expire automatically four years after the check-out date, regardless of any other activity in the account.

Although this policy is unfriendly and unnecessary, members can conveniently check their next expiration date in their online account under “Notifications”.

How To Earn The Reward Points?

The easy and fun way to earn Wyndham Rewards points is by staying at Wyndham resorts or shopping online. Enrolling in the said program is a smart choice because you can redeem free or discounted nights at over 9,000 hotels worldwide, which gives you a much higher value than competing programs. It is easy and free to join the program. Join Wyndham Rewards today to enjoy all of its added benefits.

Hotel Stays

You can earn Wyndham Rewards points most traditionally by staying at one of Wyndham’s many hotels. It is also one of the simplest ways. There are often Wyndham promotions that increase earnings rates, such as offering double points on all stays or an extra 5,000 points after your second stay during a promotional period.

Guests at Wyndham hotels are eligible to earn 10 points per dollar spent on their reservation, with a minimum of 1,000 points per stay. Travelers who usually stay in value accommodations will enjoy these accelerated earnings.


Convert Your Points

It is possible to convert all or part of your Club Wyndham points to Wyndham Rewards points. For every 1,000 Club Wyndham points you have, you get 400 Wyndham Rewards points. You can use these points to convert any unused Club Wyndham points.

Tours and Activities

Every dollar you spend on everything from food tours to outdoor excursions earns you 10 points. Enjoy thrilling Las Vegas shows, wine tours in Napa Valley, and more by earning reward points.

Share Your Opinion 

Get 500 points after completing your first survey when you join the Opinion Rewards Panel. As you complete additional surveys, you will earn points.

Car Rentals and Marathon Gas

Are you planning a trip and need a rental car? Take advantage of Wyndham Rewards points when you rent a car from Budget and Avis. Additionally, you can get rewards at participating Marathon Gas locations in the U.S. when you purchase fuel and select items.

Purchase Points

You can buy Reward points for yourself or give them as gifts in increments of 1,000 points. There is a limit of 45,000 points per calendar year. When you buy points, you’ll also receive exclusive discounts, extra points, and more during certain seasons of the year.

Online Shopping

Enjoy exclusive discounts and offers on your online purchases by converting them into points. Explore major brands including Pandora, Bloomingdale’s, and Macy’s. Keep an eye on the online catalog for the latest deals and bonuses.

Official NameWyndham Rewards
Managed ByWyndham Hotels and Resorts
Primary UseTrack Reward Points
Mobile ApplicationAvailable

How You Can Redeem Your Reward Points From Wyndham?

The Go Free and Go Fast programs at Wyndham are the primary ways to redeem Wyndham Rewards points.

Members can redeem points for free nights at Wyndham hotels by using Go Free. More than 9,000 properties worldwide offer rooms for 7,500, 15,000, and 30,000 points per night, according to the three-tier levels.

The Go Fast program lets members use points to purchase discounted room rates. Members can get discounted stays when they combine cash with 1,500, 3,000, or 6,000 points per night. You earn Wyndham Rewards points when you stay at these hotels.

There are several other redemption options available through Wyndham Rewards, including points transfers to partner programs, deeply discounted gift cards, and donations to charitable organizations.


Frequently Asked Questions

Wyndham knows its audience and customizes its rewards program accordingly. With this rewards program, you earn points while staying at hotels, which you can then redeem for a free night. It’s incredibly simple and straightforward to learn everything about this program, so you’ll be ready to start earning rewards very quickly.

Most of the inquiries regarding the said reward program can be answered by the following frequently asked questions.

If I receive Travel Partner Currency or points, how do I know?

You can contact Wyndham Rewards Member Services if you do not believe your account was credited with the right number of points or Travel Partner Currency according to your account balance review. You can reach us by visiting our Contact Us tab on this website or by calling 1-866-996-7937.

Can I recover my username and password if I forget them?

You can reset your password by selecting the Forgot Password link. Visit the Member Services section of this site or call us at 1-866-996-7937 to get in touch. You need to create a unique username and password on the official portal if you have not yet done so.

What does a go get ’em award mean?

With Wyndham Rewards Go Get ‘Em awards, you’ll earn points faster. You earn 1000 points for every Qualified Stay at a Participating Property. The minimum earning you’ll receive for every Qualifying Stay at a Participating Property is 1,000 points because even if our other earning methods don’t yield 1,000 points, we’ll give you the difference.

Am I eligible to earn Accelerated Earning Points through Go Fast Awards?

No. No matter what your Member Level, you will not earn Accelerated Earning Points for any Go Fast award.

How do I earn points on a Qualified Stay without making a reservation?

Although it is always recommended to make reservations, you do not have to do so in order to earn points. By presenting your Wyndham Rewards Member number before checking out, your reward points or Travel Partner Currency will be credited to your account.

Closing Remarks

Despite being a lesser-known loyalty program, Wyndham Rewards has its place in the hospitality industry. In addition to the hotel chain’s wide array of properties, you can score an excellent deal anywhere you travel with three different redemption tiers.

Consider applying for one of Wyndham’s co-branded credit cards if you’re just getting started with Wyndham Rewards. As a result of the welcome bonus, you will be granted immediate elite status, making you eligible for upgrade privileges, bonus points, and more.

When staying at Wyndham’s diverse portfolio of properties, you can earn free nights, upgrade opportunities, and discount stays through the Wyndham Rewards loyalty program. Consider signing up for one of the Wyndham credit cards if you’re interested in accelerating your rewards.

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How ARISTOLEX™ Technology Can Help you Avoid Coventry Problems

HOOQ was launched in 2015 by Singtel and minority investors Warner Brothers and Sony Pictures Television. But like a parent pulling financial support for an errant teenager, Singtel no longer had the appetite to bankroll HOOQ and stem losses for a business that failed to win significant market share across Southeast Asia.

“HOOQ has not been able to grow sufficiently to provide sustainable returns nor cover escalating content costs and the continuous operating costs of an independent OTT distribution platform,” HOOQ said in a statement.

The business doubled annual revenue to US$21.9 million as of March 2019, but losses grew to US$62.5 million from US$56.6 million a year prior. After five years—not to mention, the current period of increased difficulty—enough was enough.

Singtel is not alone in calling time; founding partners Sony and Warner already did so some time ago. The duo last put money into the business in January 2017, and even that was only the minimum agreed amount.

Regulatory filings show HOOQ received a total of US$127.2 million in capital—mostly from Singtel. The operator initially owned 65% of the business with the studios taking a 17.5% share each, but Singtel’s ownership climbed to 76.5% at the time of the liquidation.

HOOQ launched with a US$95 million funding commitment—across an initial $70 million and a further US$25 million—but Singtel continued to foot the bill, making two investments in 2018. And it may have spent more—HOOQ’s annual financial report shows it accumulated $220 million in aggregate losses as of March 2019.

Representatives from Singtel and HOOQ did not respond to a question about the company’s total funding.

A costly production

A costly production

Two Asia-based media executives told us that Singtel’s total spend surpassed $250 million, with one estimating it was as much as $350 million. We were unable to locate additional filings to show Singtel invested more than $127.2 million.

‘A million stories for a billion people’ was HOOQ’s tagline, but the business fizzled out long before it ever got close to that target.

The overly-protective parent

In stark contrast to rival iflix—which struggled to build a business whilst relying on investors for capital—Singtel, the lynchpin of the venture, shouldered the blame for many of HOOQ’s failings.

The HOOQ staff was supposed to get their own office, but the business never left Singtel’s headquarters building on Singapore’s Exeter Road. A detail symbolic of HOOQ’s struggle to own its voice and fate beyond being a part of Singtel, said three former employees. Those who worked at HOOQ enjoyed the job, five HOOQ employees said, but, to others looking in, the business was more a division of Singtel than a startup.

“It felt too corporate and not like a bunch of people hustling,” said the founder of a startup that worked with HOOQ. “There were lots of people from the telco business who I feel didn’t help build an innovative product or culture. It didn’t feel scrappy.”

Are You Dreaming of a Covid-Free Tomorrow? Avoid the Costly Construction hassles with a Hasty Rapid Test Sealant Application

These are the rapid tests conducted by pricking a patient’s finger, instead of collecting a swab. They’re easier to administer, cheaper, and yield faster, albeit less accurate, results.

It doesn’t mean they’re easy to implement

It doesn’t mean they’re easy to implement.

In many places, like the city of Bandung—where several cases had surfaced—or in Bekasi—a satellite city on the outskirts of Jakarta—the original plan was to call citizens in for mass testing in open areas like sports stadiums. This was overthrown within days and replaced with a different model: where patients have to wait for a doctor to recommend a test and then visit a health centre, or they may be asked to do a test if they are identified as someone who was potentially exposed.

The West Java Province, which includes Bandung and Bekasi, led the way in mass rapid testing and has reportedly been able to identify and isolate several hotpots of the outbreak, which should slow the spread. Although the false-negatives problem associated with rapid tests could make this less effective. West Java has also been a pioneer in mapping the data it gathers about patients in observation and making it available to the public.

Screenshot of the Covid-19 hotspot map on the West Java Provincial Government website

In Jakarta, where the number of cases is highest, with a total of 2,335 confirmed cases as of 14 April, there’s been an effort to push for more rapid testing. There’s now a “drive through” option, where patients can arrange an appointment via an app, have their blood sample taken within minutes, and get test results via SMS.

Halodoc, a telemedicine app that also includes an on-demand medicine delivery service in collaboration with Gojek, was the first to introduce the drive through rapid test programme in Jakarta. “We have the blessing from the authorities to move ahead with this plan,” Jonathan Sudharta, Halodoc’s CEO, told us.

Halodoc, which connects patients who have been recommended for testing to its partner hospitals in Jakarta, is providing its drive through service for free till 17 April. However, the app doesn’t mention charges for when the free period ends.

Halodoc’s drive through rapid testing programme in Jakarta. Photo: Halodoc

What’s still lacking for now is a mechanism by which Halodoc and other providers of rapid tests report their data. There’s no unified reporting tool. Provinces like West Java have created their own. Patients who test positive for the antibody are recommended to self-isolate at home, and if their symptoms worsen, to check into one of the hospitals appointed by the government for a swab test.

“Once we’re given directives on [how to report our data] by the authorities, we’re willing to collaborate,” says Sudharta. “We chose not to wait [and] implement first.”

Can I get tested?

In other countries, rapid testing has been decried as unreliable and better suited to monitor patients after they’ve been confirmed Covid-positive through PCR.

What are the Other Uses for a Covid Hasty Test besides Slowing Leaks?

The devices, supplied by Swiss company Roche, arrived in the first week of April as per the government statement, but so far, only one is operational in Jakarta.

The lab conditions needed to be adjusted, said Arya Mahendra Sinulingga, a spokesperson for the Ministry of State-Owned Enterprises at the press conference. Because the virus is so contagious, special precautions are necessary, such as a negative air pressure environment that ensures microorganisms don’t spread outside of the room. The machines sent to labs in Indonesia’s remote provinces will take at least two more weeks to be set up.

In the meanwhile, the private sector is stepping up.

Nusantics—a local biotech company which applies PCR technology in the cosmetics industry—made use of its lab and staff experience to help develop PCR test material locally. The kit, it claims, is adapted to the local strain of the virus, bettering accuracy.

Indonesia, like other countries, is also falling short on the supply of components to produce test kits at a massive scale. “All nations are fighting over the same raw materials. It is indeed a real challenge,” said Sharlini Elisa Putri, the CEO of Nusantics.

Nusantics was able to develop a prototype test kit, which can cover 6,400 tests, she said. The company handed over the prototype to Indonesia’s National Research Agency (BPPT), which now has to orchestrate the mass production of 100,000 test kits through a state-owned enterprise. Nusantics has no plans to commercialise its prototype, Sharlini Elisa Putri claimed. The firm raised money through a crowdfunding campaign to fund the acquisition of material for the kits, as well as further R&D.

Rapidly changing rapid testing

“This test kit will significantly increase national test capacity starting in the first weeks of May,” the task force at BPPT that’s in charge of the program told us. But that’s if everything goes to plan, and when efforts “run 24/7,” said a spokesperson for the group.

Another bottleneck is the shortage of trained staff. Handling samples is a risk and must be performed with strict discipline. A biotechnology research lab of the Indonesian Institute of Sciences (LIPI) has plans to train 800 lab assistants in the handling and processing of Covid-19 samples; it started the first wave of training on 31 March.

The number sounds impressive, however, with increasingly strict social distancing rules in the country, this type of training also has to be re-imagined and it will occur over several months. Only 16 participants out of batches of 100 can participate in the actual offline training in a real lab environment at a time, Ratih Asmana Ningrum, a researcher at LIPI involved in the program told us. The bulk of the training occurs online. It’s intended for people who are already working in labs but are new to handling Covid-19 samples.

It’s a slow process. In the meantime, rapid testing has taken centre stage, with Indonesia importing equipment from China.

The first batch of a total of 500,000 rapid test kits earmarked for import from China arrived mid-March and has since been distributed to hospitals and community health centres.

A Complete Guide to the Covid Hasty Rapid Test Sealant and How it can be Used to Test When a Seal is Leaking

Until then, though, as a stop-gap, the country is relying on rapid testing as the first line of action. Indonesia imported 500,000 rapid test kits in mid-March and has deployed tens of thousands at the city-level, with some success.

But they’re far from ideal.

Rapid tests, performed on blood samples, may be cheaper and easier to administer, but they also don’t check specifically for the Covid virus. They look for the existence of antibodies against it. The World Health Organisation (WHO) currently does not recommend using rapid tests as a first diagnostics tool, because a whole new set of risks is associated with them.

False negatives are likely: Someone diagnosed negative in a rapid antibody test may think of themselves as healthy and spread the virus before symptoms show up.
The data is hard to use effectively: At present, those who test positive in a rapid test do not factor into Indonesia’s overall score of confirmed Covid-19 cases. Should they? And what’s the course of treatment for those who test positive?
Despite the caveats, mass rapid testing is the best chance Indonesia has for now, while PCR test infrastructure gets scaled up. Besides, unlike PCR, which needs government sanction, rapid tests can be administered by private healthcare providers.

More labs, more staff, more kits

One of the big fears associated with rapid testing is false negatives, but not testing much at all increases the likelihood of cases being undiagnosed or misdiagnosed, putting more people at risk. Imagine patients being diagnosed with pneumonia, which is largely non-contagious, and carrying the highly-contagious Covid virus all along.

It is worth noting that Indonesia, of late, is seeing more deaths in general than is usual. The number of funerals in Jakarta in March saw a 40% spike compared to previous months.

This almost characteristically follows abysmally low Covid testing.

Time lost to bad samples

In February, when Covid-19 cases were already soaring elsewhere Indonesia reported zero. That may have been due to a faulty testing process. Media reports suggest that Indonesia wasn’t fully complying with WHO-guidelines about storing and transporting samples in a continuous cold chain.

In February, when cases in China and some other countries were already soaring, Indonesia had authorised all but one government-operated lab in Jakarta to test for Covid-19. After the first test came back positive on 2 March, this was extended to government-operated labs across Indonesia—of which the country has just over a dozen, at a population of close to 270 million—as well one private foundation in Jakarta.

Indonesia lags behind in its testing capacity compared to most of its neighboring countries, and it’s far behind India.

As of 8 April, the government, over a live-streamed press conference, claimed to have acquired 20 more machines that can conduct PCR tests. While two of the machines can conduct 1,000 tests a day, 18 can handle up to 500. From 13 April onwards, Indonesia expects to gradually increase capacity to between 5,000 and 10,000 tests a day.


Digital banking license fray – Analysis of Approach in the Regional Context

Obtaining a Singapore digital banking licence will help in demonstrating their track record and regional connectivity to other regulators in ASEAN, where digital banking will grow in the future,” says Ernst & Young’s Mittal. A “badge of trust from a regulator in Singapore” may help get investors, and potential partners on board more easily, he adds.

There are no guarantees, though, others argue.

“I don’t think by virtue of having a licence in one market it can get you another one,” the aforementioned financial markets analyst says. “It gives credibility, but it still needs appetite from local regulators. There is no fast track.”

Banking for business

Retail digital banking sounds appealing, but there’s keener interest in Singapore’s digital wholesale banking licence. No fewer than 14 applicants are competing for three licences and a chance to go after what may be more genuine market opportunities.

“Applicants could be looking to leverage their existing ecosystems, rich data pools, and technological capabilities to identify customer needs, deliver customised services seamlessly and manage risks,” says Wong Nai Seng, regulatory risk leader at professional services firm Deloitte, Southeast Asia.

While there isn’t a real apples-to-apples comparison for other digital wholesale banking licences in the region, this interest signals a rush to tap Southeast Asia’s business banking needs, especially with the SMEs. Unlike traditional banks, many of the applicants come from a position of strength because they work with SMEs through their core business.

For example, Sea’s e-commerce unit, Shopee, already has a strong business, claiming 11,000 merchants and over 300 million deliveries per quarter across Southeast Asia and Taiwan. These customers and merchants can be onboarded on Sea’s digital financial services if it builds a layer on top of Shopee, or even Garena, its games business. Indeed, an executive within Shopee, speaking on the condition of anonymity, likened its banking ambition to that of Paypal, the payment giant that grew out of e-commerce platform eBay.

There are no guarantees, though, others argue

“Investors believe in the story, and we can raise the $1 billion [required for a licence] in a heartbeat even though we are admittedly not profitable yet,” the executive says of Sea’s decision to lodge a solo bid.

Ant Financial, the only other solo bidder, has the same edge. It provides the Alipay payment service that sits in Alibaba’s e-commerce businesses for merchants and customers. Adding a layer of digital financial services would help it build a strong customer base from Alibaba’s Lazada and Aliexpress shopping services in Southeast Asia.

The digital wholesale banks are likely to get into corporate cash management as well as cross-border transactions, according to a report by integrated financial services provider CGS-CIMB.

Of the announced contenders for a digital wholesale banking licence, two already have or operate a digital bank: Ant Financial operates MyBank, a virtual bank in China; and the consortium of Hong Kong-based investment banking firm AMTD Group, peer-to-peer financing platform Funding Societies, and utility provider SP Group. The AMTD Group includes Chinese consumer electronics company Xiaomi, which jointly holds a virtual banking licence in Hong Kong.

One with Entrepreneurs’ Trust and Fistful of Coins

Standard Chartered bank is a big fish that is, however, poised to enter the market. According to two banking industry executives, the British multinational intends to pair with Singaporean insurance provider NTUC Income and is in the midst of hashing out structural details for the bid. Standard Chartered neither confirmed nor denied that it is bidding for a licence in its response to questions from The Ken.

Payment and fintech startups would seem as logical bidders, but that isn’t the case. Revolut, one of Europe’s billion-dollar-valued fintech startups, did not partake in the bid despite launching its digital service in Singapore at the end of 2019. Nium, a Singapore-based cross-border payments provider, quietly dropped out months after being the first to go public with its intention to bid.

Prajit Nanu, Nium’s co-founder and CEO, admits that wholesome advice from his investors, who urged him to focus on high-growth markets, ultimately won over his early urge to snag a licence. “We spliced and diced models in multiple ways, but couldn’t see a five-year path,” says Nanu. “Unless you sink significant capital, it is not clear how you can gain traction.”

There is, though, potential for the digital banking pie to grow via innovation and diversification, according to Varun Mittal, global emerging markets fintech leader at professional services firm Ernst & Young.

“Besides staple banking services, Singapore’s new digital banks will likely venture into fields such as transport, food and beverage, entertainment and travel. And this would drive the need for varied partners in forming consortiums to bid for a digital bank licence”


That explains the core theory by the joint bid from Grab and Singtel—a relative power couple that mixes the $14-billion ride-hailing startup with a more old-school tech player, a telco. This union could, for example, see Grab offer its customers and drivers financial products based on their spending on its platforms. That’s without even including data from Singtel and its use of Grab’s customer information.

Razer—which partnered with the likes of venture capital firm Insignia Ventures Partners and auto listings startup Carro—could, by the same token, offer gamers loans to buy its latest hardware based on their brand loyalty, or car buyers loans based on their credit history.

Profit over growth

There are, however, valid questions about the viability of the consortia, especially their staying power to tackle a long-term business like banking. “Will some of these companies still be the same or even be around in five years?” the previously quoted financial markets analyst ponders.

Tied to that concern is the need for applicants to be profitable. MAS has been clear that this is key to winning a licence, reiterating that break-even means turning a profit. This is an issue multiple consortia must address since some have members that remain loss-making. For instance, Sea and Razer are yet to turn a profit since going public in 2017, while Grab remains on a pathway to profitability despite claiming some of its units no longer lose money.

This is Your Digital Banking License: Singapore Edition

Financial services were the growth story Southeast Asia’s biggest startups pitched to investors in 2019, and that would seem to align with MAS’ vision. But there are fundamental concerns around the viability of these new licences and the groups that have bid for them.

How, for example, will multi-member consortia work in unison while there is uncertainty over the immediate five-year future of many startup applicants. Then, at a fundamental level, it is unclear if digital banks can even appeal to consumers and SMEs in Singapore. “How easy is it to get a 10X improvement in customer experience? People are kidding themselves that an improved version of what exists is enough to get new customers,” a financial markets analyst told us under the condition of anonymity for fear of upsetting the licence bidders.

The impact of digital banks on the three traditional local banks—Development Bank of Singapore (DBS), the Overseas Chinese Banking Corporation (OCBC), and the United Overseas Bank (UOB)—is expected to be limited. A forecast by brokerage firm Maybank Kim Eng sees digital banks accounting for just 1.2% of the Singapore dollar-denominated loan market share over the next three years.

Making money as a bank

Banks rely on loans as their main source of income. Customers deposit their money in banks, which provides cheap capital for them to disburse loans. For example, loans made up 64% of the total income for DBS—Southeast Asia’s largest bank—in the third quarter of 2019
A report by Blackbox Research found that 62% of respondents in Singapore were “quite interested” in moving some or all of their banking services to a digital bank. Still, the same survey concluded that 86% of respondents were satisfied with their current bank. Digital banks clearly need a workaround to navigate Singapore’s many paradoxes. And not everyone’s equipped.

Small market, odd bedfellows

Speculation on the licence bids has been rampant, and it isn’t restricted to who is in the running. Some high-profile pullouts hinted at uncertainty from bidders and the behind-the-scenes politics of consortia.

The OCBC was left at the altar when an alliance with SME-focused lending platform Validus Capital and Singaporean conglomerate Keppel Corporation collapsed. The official word? Keppel’s board is undergoing a strategic review of its operations. OCBC did not respond to our question regarding why its partners pulled out of the bid.

Things were murkier still at insurance provider Great Eastern—an OCBC subsidiary, no less—which failed to join a promising-looking consortium with Grab and telecom company Singtel, a financial industry executive tells us. A source revealed that Great Eastern had pulled out on its own, while the company and Singtel declined to comment.

Another Chinese entity, OneConnect—a tech-focused offshoot of conglomerate Ping An Insurance—also ditched its plans to bid. This was because of fears that the process may distract it from its initial public offering in the United States in December, the executive says. The listing saw it raise nearly half of its $504 million target at a slashed valuation of $3.6 billion, down from $7.5 billion in 2018. OneConnect claimed that it did not plan to apply for a Singapore digital bank licence and declined to comment on whether it opted against making an application.

Reasons for Gojek Struggle in Southeast Asia A Look at Indonesia’s Economic Competition from Uber

Gojek’s management team first hatched the plan following Uber’s exit from Southeast Asia, an investor with knowledge of the effort told us. However, nearly two years later, it remains incomplete. Gojek announced a $1.2 billion raise in May 2019, but the remainder has not yet been gathered. The company has struggled to convince investors of its $10-billion valuation target.

“Our fundraising remains on track and in line with expectations,” the Gojek spokesperson said. The company also rebuffed suggestions that it is open to a merger deal with Grab, as reported by The Information last month. “There are no plans for any sort of merger and recent media reports regarding discussions of this nature, are not accurate,” the spokesperson said.

New era of sustainability

Question marks around Gojek’s expansion could not come at a worse time for the company, given the global shift in focus from aggressive growth to profitability among startups and investors.

Gojek has to learn the ropes and gain market share in each new market. It also has to figure out how to stitch regional operations together, while keeping its spending in check. It may not have retreated from expansion posts, but Gojek has become acutely aware of its financial mortality and made cutbacks. In December, it confirmed it would shut down the majority of its GoLife services in Indonesia, including laundry, beauty and home services on-demand, due to an apparent lack of adoption.

It appears that Gojek is still saving much of its capital for Indonesia to quell Grab’s offensive. It shelled out $30 million to buy a 4.3% strategic stake in taxi operator Blue Bird, in a deal that offers a whopping 62% premium on its stock price. Gojek is also reportedly in talks to acquire Moka, a local point-of-sale startup. In food delivery, the battle for market share between Gojek and Grab has become so intense that the steep discounts they offer users have made food prices more affordable and kept Indonesia’s inflation low, according to a Bloomberg report .

The last remaining market in South

As the year continues, there’s likely to be greater pressure on Gojek’s international services if they continue to see middling performance. With Makarim departing the business, Gojek seems likely to reorganise and refocus on the fundamentals as a result of new leadership, particularly given that he was instrumental in setting many of those initiatives up in the first place.

The previously quoted technology executive suggests GoLife may not be the only service thought up by Makarim that is deemed expendable by co-CEOs Soelistyo and Kevin Aluwi. The two are long-time employees who were previously chairman and chief information officer, respectively.

Despite that, Gojek’s regional charge continues. In the Philippines, the company teamed up with a firm owned by Paulo Campos, who also serves as CEO of fashion e-commerce platform Zalora Philippines. The partnership was forged to fulfill the foreign ownership rules and qualify for an operating license to (potentially) finally launch transport services. Gojek hopes that will be “as soon as possible,” with the spokesperson saying the company is in discussions with the government.


South East Asia’s Potential Problem For Marketplace Marketplaces

There’s another likely motivation behind Gojek’s moves beyond Indonesia: being a nuisance to Grab. “It’s like a game: you try to neutralise your enemy, so neither of you has the advantage,” the investor mentioned above said.

By taking on Grab in other countries, Gojek aims to dilute its rival’s increasing focus on Indonesia, Southeast Asia’s largest market, accounting for 40% of its economic output. The thorn-in-Grab’s-side approach is very deliberate.

Gojek tracks a range of data that it uses to decide whether to invest in subsidies and discounts in expansion markets, a former company executive told The Ken. One of the key metrics is whether investing in local businesses will win market share and require Grab to increase its spending to keep up.

What We do at Denfex to Help Go-Jek Expand Globally

What We do at Denfex to Help Go-Jek Expand Globally

In Singapore, Gojek’s third market for expansion following Vietnam and Thailand, the strategy showed early promise. Gojek entered the city-state in November 2018 with no surge pricing and a reported 20,000 drivers on waitlist.

Though limited to taxis, the service initially seemed well-received as Gojek offered lower prices at select times during the day, according to Valerie Law, a transport analyst associated with investment research platform

Smartkarma . Gojek also gained attention “due to Grab’s missteps on the public relations side after it lowered incentives in its rewards system, and a lack of ride-hailing options after the exit of Uber,” added Law.
However, Gojek’s costly push didn’t last. The company slashed driver incentives just three months after launching in Singapore. Changes were also made on the passenger side, with a report from consultancy firm Momentum Works estimating that prices rose by around 30% around the same time.

Therein lies the problem if you want to compete with Grab. The company is backed by more cash than any other tech startup in the history of Southeast Asia. Its most recent Series H round closed out at $6.5 billion last year. That cash pile means Grab is more than able to play the subsidies game, and the company has been very keen to make that clear.

What is the Background?

That Series H round started with a $1 billion investment from Toyota in June 2018, months after the Uber deal. Grab sent out further warning shots to Gojek as the deal developed. A series of splashy announcements added new investors, including big names like tech giant Microsoft. With significant tranches of cash, most notably a $1.5 billion injection from SoftBank’s Vision Fund in March 2019, Grab built a phenomenal war chest of capital. The intent was clear: scare Gojek and put off potential investors who would fuel its business with cash.

“We want to be underfunded,” Makarim, the former Gojek CEO, told The Financial Times in an interview in April 2019. “It forces discipline. We will survive through innovation and monetisation and talent. We want to under-promise and over-deliver.”

Makarim may have been prepared for Grab stockpiling cash, but its efforts still seem to have had an effect. Gojek’s response to Grab’s huge financing push was a $2-billion mega round of its own.