I’m currently living out of a suitcase, moving to a new city every 2-3 weeks (10 cities so far in 2019). After a few months abroad, I stayed in Kuala Lumpur for the month of May. Putting my hacking skills to good use, I managed to optimise my expenses with an unlimited 22.9% “cashback” on my everyday spendings while living there. Here’s how I did it:

Update: This hack no longer works as well as of 1st October 2019. Grab Malaysia has updated their rewards system drastically. From a 16.9% "cashback", it has been adjusted down to 7.5% for 1 Oct-31 Dec 2019. And then it will be further reduced to 2.5% from 1 Jan 2020 onwards.

The Combo

Grabpay + AMEX combo = top up Grabpay credit with Maybank AMEX Reserve. Pay your everyday expenses with Grabpay as much as possible

The Simple Calculations

Grabpay: every RM1 spent = 20 reward points (platinum level). Say you grabpay RM100 at a participating restaurant, that’s 2,000 points, which can be used to redeem RM16.90 in grab rides. Effectively a 16.9% cashback.

Maybank AMEX Reserve: 1 Krisflyer/Enrich Mile for every RM1 spent. Example, RM5,000 spent = 5,000 miles. Market rate is S$20 for 1,000 Krisflyer miles. 5,000 miles = S$100 = RM300, which is a 6% cash back with no cap. I usually use the miles to redeem free business class flights or “offload” it by booking flights on behalf of friends and family.This is my favorite credit card in Malaysia. Will write more about it in a future article.

Total = 16.9% + 6% = 22.9%
(from 8 July 2019 onwards, it will only be 16.9% as Maybank will no longer award treatpoints for e-wallet topup)

Note: It’s not the conventional cashback where you actually get cash back. As I’m using the Grab Points & Krisflyer Miles to offset my ride sharing & flight expenses, it’s savings for my direct expenses.

Spend as much as you can with Grabpay

The key to getting a high amount of cashback with this method is to divert most of your everyday spendings to Grabpay. Besides the generic chains like Tealive, Coffee Bean etc, Grabpay has quite a number of interesting merchants. Below are my top recommendations for Kuala Lumpur:

Food: Lucky Bo @ Bangsar (great steaks), Thai Hou Sek @ Pavilion (cheap Thai food in upscale mall), Salad Atelier (quick healthy eating), Pulp @ APW (great coffee), The Alley (nice bubble tea) & many more.
Experiences: haircut @ A-Saloon, massage @ Healthland, movies @ TGV
Stuffs: stationery @ Cziplee (they also stock brands like Bellroy), gadgets @ All IT Hypermart (Apple, Microsoft, Razer products & more).

I bought the latest Apple Airpods from All IT @ RM699. With the Grabpay + AMEX combo, it’s just RM539 (RM160 saved!) after factoring in the cashback. It’s awesome. Yes, you can use it to pay for everything at All IT Hypermart- MacBooks, iPads, Microsoft Surface and more. There’s a Grabpay credits balance limit of RM1,500, but there are creative ways around it. 😉

Protip: get your iPhones & Macbook Pros from All IT Hypermart to get massive cashback.

A Month in KL with Grabpay

I diverted some of my spendings and spent around RM3,000 via Grabpay in May 2019 (food, drinks, haircut, massage, movies, gadgets & more; not inclusive of Grabfood & Grab Rides). It’s money I will be spending anyway. By using Grabpay, I managed to achieve a “cash back” of RM687. As I’m using Grab rides as my main mode of transport in KL, it directly reduces my monthly expenses. Win.


Due to the new clause (h/t Daniel!) for Maybank credit cards, this Grabpay + AMEX Reserve combo hack will only be usable till 7 July 2019. Without the AMEX component, there's still an unlimited 16.9% cash back. Top up and spend as much as you can before that. Especially useful for those big ticket items! 🙌🏼

Stay Tuned

I’ll be releasing the following articles in the next few weeks. Subscribe below to be the first to get notified.

  • How I get RM30,000 worth of free flights every year
  • The ultimate credit cards combo in Malaysia
  • Why I sold my Mercs & Rolex to live out of a suitcase in 2019
  • Most useful purchases in the first half of 2019
  • How I work from Grade A office buildings around the world for less than USD50/month