Credit Cards KrisFlyer Singapore Airlines

Credit Card Review: Amex Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer

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Here’s our review of the Amex Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer (Amex SIA KF) credit card issued in Singapore. It forms part of our series of credit card reviews, which are all summarised on our dedicated Credit Cards page.

Dollar amounts refer to SGD, and ‘miles’ refer to KrisFlyer miles, except where stated. This review was updated on 1st October 2018.

Key features

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Annual fee: $176.55/yr (first year free)
EIR/APR: 25.9%
Sign-up bonus: 12,500 miles*
Local earn rate: 1.1 miles per $1
Overseas earn rate: 1.1 miles per $1**
Minimum Age: 21
Minimum income: $30,000/yr (Singaporean / PR)
Minimum income: $60,000/yr (Foreigner)
* – Includes 5,000 miles welcome bonus and requires $3,000 spend in the first three months
** – 2.0 miles per $1 spend during the months of June and December

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Foreword

The Amex Singapore Airlines suite of credit cards come in several varieties, this article is only looking at the entry-level Amex SIA KF (blue) card.

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Annual fee

The annual fee for the Amex SIA KF card is $176.55, though the fee is waived for the first membership year.

Sign-up bonus

The current sign-up bonus for the Amex SIA KF card, which is applicable from 1st October 2018 to 31st December 2018, is up to 12,500 miles, made up of the following components:

  • 5,000 miles on first spend.*
  • 7,500 bonus miles if a minimum of $3,000 is spent in the first three months from card approval.

* The 5,000 miles welcome bonus is only applicable to first time applicants for any co-branded American Express Singapore Airlines credit card.

As we value KrisFlyer miles at 2 cents each, those 12,500 miles are worth at least $250 against future redemptions, so provided you have a $3,000 spend to make over the next three months this card a is a worthwhile addition. Just be prepared to cancel before the end of the first year, otherwise the annual fee kicks in, and there is no recurring bonus.

Earning rates

The Amex SIA KF earns 1.1 miles for every $1 spent both locally (i.e. transacted in SGD) and overseas (i.e. transacted in foreign currency). The overseas earning rate is boosted to 2.0 miles for every $1 spent during the months of June and December.

A note about Dynamic Currency Conversion (DCC)

Beware the ‘Dynamic Currency Conversion’ (DCC) offer you’ll often experience overseas when paying with your Visa or MasterCard. It’s very common when settling your overseas hotel bill, for example, to be offered to pay in SGD instead of local currency. This is a terrible idea, because:

a) you’ll suffer financially, even after the credit card foreign exchange fee is accounted for. If you remember the SGD amount you were offered to pay, then pay in local currency instead, once the transaction appears on your credit card statement you’ll generally find they were scamming you, you’d have paid at least 2% more using DCC.

b) you will earn credit card miles at the local spend rate if you accept DCC, because the transaction will take place in SGD, not the local currency.

In other words, you’ll pay more, and lose miles. Always insist on paying in the local currency of the country you are in.

Are KrisFlyer miles credited directly?

Yes. As these are Singapore Airlines’ own branded cards the miles accrued are automatically transferred to your KrisFlyer account at each monthly statement.

Remember that KrisFlyer miles expire three years after they are earned, and with this card you don’t have the added protection of keeping them ‘alive’ for longer in a credit card points scheme before transferring into your KrisFlyer account.

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The latest business class on the A380 Version 3 is currently achievable with 27,500 KrisFlyer miles between Singapore and Hong Kong. (Photo: MainlyMiles)

Is there a transfer cost to KrisFlyer miles?

No. Unlike most other credit cards in Singapore as these miles are transferred automatically each month there is no additional fee involved. Transfers are effectively instant.

How are points rounded?

Only full miles are awarded, so a fraction of a mile is rounded up from (and including) 0.5 miles and rounded down if it is less than 0.5 miles. For example:

  • $13 local purchase x 1.1 = 14.3 miles (rounded down to 14 miles)
  • $15 local purchase x 1.1 = 16.5 miles (rounded up to 17 miles)

Can I transfer miles into other loyalty schemes?

No. Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer is the sole partner with this card and you can only accrue miles in this scheme.

Other benefits

As a relatively low (or no) fee card, Amex SIA KF isn’t showered with additional benefits but some of the key ones which will be of most interest to our readers are:

  • 2.0 miles per $1 spent on eligible purchases made on singaporeair.com, SingaporeAir mobile app, silkair.com and KrisShop (in-flight and online), with no cap
  • 3.1 miles per $1 spent on Grab and Uber rides, capped at $200 spend each calendar month
  • 500 miles for your first Grab booking (new customers only)
  • $150 cashback against your next purchase on singaporeair.com when you spend $12,000 on eligible purchases with your Card from 1 July 2018 till 30 June 2019.

Our summary

The Amex SIA KF card is a basic miles earning option, with an attractive sign-up bonus and low income requirement, however ongoing miles-earning rates are poor and the overseas bonus earn rate is needlessly complicated as it only applies two months of the year.

While 2 miles per $1 spent at Singapore Airlines is a nice addition, the DBS Altitude (review here) boasts 3 miles per $1 in this category, and also includes a few other useful airlines like Cathay Pacific and Qatar Airways.

For those with sufficient income, we would suggest the Citi PremierMiles (review here) or UOB PRVI Miles (review herecards instead, especially Citi for the more attractive sign-up bonus currently on offer.

That said, this remains a good card with a few nice perks, and a fee-free option in year one which makes the sign-up bonus very competitive. The automatic miles conversion into KrisFlyer each month also makes this a simple card for many people who don’t want to keep on top of the transfer process.

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Our recommendations for credit cards and other similar products on this site do not constitute financial advice.

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