Last March, I received an email from BPI offering free “Staycation Thrills” vouchers if I signed up for ARC (Ayala Rewards Circle). The ARC is an appreciation program that gives you exclusive privileges and perks from the Ayala Group and partner companies. I ignored the email knowing I had no intention of booking a staycation, even if there was a discount. I also knew that I had to be a Preferred Banking client to apply, which I wasn’t.
During the month of May, I noticed 2 or 3 emails from BPI supposedly written by the VP of the Preferred Banking Segment. This was weird, and made me wonder if I actually was a Preferred Client. I was told years ago that in order to be qualified, one must avail of several BPI products and maintain a certain level of deposit savings. I never got a call or email telling me I was qualified, despite using more than 5 of their products (Savings Account, Credit Card, Investment Account, BPI Trade, and Auto Loan).
I always figured that BPI Preferred Banking was so exclusive that it wasn’t something to be applied for, but to be qualified for, and that they just inform you once you “pass”. So when the email said that I could apply for an ARC membership online, I decided to give it a try. After submitting an application online, the card was delivered after 15 days. It felt good, I won’t lie. (Although I still don’t know the actual qualifications for BPI Preferred.)
3 months later, I realize I haven’t been maximizing the card and its perks as much as I thought I would. Here are the 2 main reasons why:
- I haven’t used the Preferred Lane at BPI – All of my banking is done online or through the ATM, since my payroll account is BPI. I can’t remember the last time that I needed to do an over the counter transaction at the branch.
- 80-90% of the offers don’t interest me a.k.a. out of my budget – Discounts from Hotels, Gap Inc. stores, Power Mac. Access to concierge services for limousine rental and private dining services. Discount on their Ayala Southlinks Golf course. I must be in the wrong circle.
The only perks I redeemed so far are the valet parking (free 5 vouchers) and access to the customer lounge. I’m as cheap as they come. But it’s perfectly fine, since you don’t have to spend for something just because it’s discounted. Also, the card is a privilege, and not something to be maximized. In the rare situation I need to go to the branch, I know that I won’t have to lineup and wait long. There is also a priority queue for their phone banking, plus a 24 hour Concierge Chat. Good thing the membership is valid for 5 years, which should be more than enough time for me to explore and utilize more benefits.
*For more details on ARC, you can check their website here.
Published eligiblity requirements are: existing BPI Preferred or Globe Platinum Acct. Holder, Purchased vehicle from Honda/Isuzu/Volkswagen worth P1.25MM, or purchased property from Alveo/Ayala Premiere worth 3MM. *