Credit Cards KrisFlyer Singapore Airlines

Amex tweaks sign-up bonus on KrisFlyer co-brand cards

A two-tier bonus for both cards isn't Amex's most generous deal of 2018. It is worth considering though if you have plenty of spending to do, and a little patience.

Amex KF Cover

Every three months or so American Express adjusts the sign-up bonus offer for the Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer co-brand credit cards, and this week they have enhanced the existing deal about a month earlier than planned.

You can now get up to 20,000 KrisFlyer miles sign-up bonus on the Blue card and 35,000 miles on the Ascend version, right through to the end of March 2019.

This time round the sign-up bonus is split into two portions for both cards with an offer for meeting a spend threshold in the first three months of card membership which you can then replicate in the subsequent three months, assuming the same spend threshold is reached again, for the maximum bonus.

The previous offer

Previously successful applicants for the entry-level KrisFlyer Blue card received a 5,000 miles welcome bonus plus 7,500 bonus miles for meeting a minimum spend of S$3,000 in the first three months of card membership, for a maximum total bonus of 12,500 KrisFlyer miles.

The Ascend card on the other had also had a 5,000 miles welcome bonus but offered 26,000 miles if you managed to spend at least S$10,000 on the card in the first three months, for a maximum total bonus of 31,000 KrisFlyer miles.

The new offer

The new deal is a straightforward enhancement for the Blue card – you can generate the 7,500 bonus miles a second time by meeting the same spend threshold in months 4-6 of card membership.

For the Ascend card it’s a smaller bonus than before in the first three months, albeit for a lower spend threshold of S$6,000, but the ability to replicate it again in months 4-6 of card membership, for a slightly higher overall miles bonus.

While the previous offer was supposed to be in force from 1st October 2018 to 31st December 2018, it has been superseded by the following deal – now offered effective from 1st December 2018 to 31st March 2019:


Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer American Express (Blue)

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  • 5,000 KrisFlyer miles welcome bonus on first spend with the card.*
  • 7,500 bonus KrisFlyer miles if you spend S$3,000 within 3 months of card approval.
  • 7,500 bonus KrisFlyer miles if you spend S$3,000 in the 4th to 6th month of card membership.
  • Total: 20,000 KrisFlyer miles bonus.

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

Note that American Express advertises this as a “Welcome bonus of up to 26,600 KrisFlyer miles when you spend in your first 6 months”. That’s quite misleading, as 6,600 of those miles are those you earn anyway from spending on the card at 1.1 miles per S$1, so they can’t form part of the bonus.

Indeed you can easily achieve higher local earn rates per dollar on other credit cards in Singapore, so you are actually more likely to be giving up some miles to achieve the bonus offered in this deal.

Example: A BOC Elite Miles cardholder earns 9,000 miles for S$6,000 of local spend (@ 1.5mpd). Obtaining the Amex KF Blue card for this promotion to earn 20,000 bonus miles for the same spend (assuming S$3,000 in first 3 months, S$3,000 in second 3 months) will net them only 6,600 miles for the spend itself.

The actual bonus becomes 17,600 miles (26,600 gained minus 9,000 lost).


Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer American Express Ascend

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  • 5,000 KrisFlyer miles welcome bonus on first spend with the card.*
  • 15,000 bonus KrisFlyer miles if you spend S$6,000 within 3 months of card approval.
  • 15,000 bonus KrisFlyer miles if you spend S$6,000 in the 4th to 6th month of card membership.
  • Total: 35,000 KrisFlyer miles bonus.

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

Again American Express are advertising this as a “Welcome bonus of up to 49,400 KrisFlyer miles when you spend in your first 6 months”. Not the case – as 14,400 of those miles are those you earn anyway from spending on the card at 1.2 miles per S$1, so they can’t form part of the bonus.

You’d easily earn that element with any number of miles earning credit cards in Singapore.


When do the bonus miles credit?

Approximately six weeks after you meet the spend threshold in each respective three-month offer period. That means if your card account is activated on 1st January 2019 and it takes you until the end of each three-month period to achieve the required spend, your two sets of bonus miles won’t credit until around mid-May 2019 and mid-August 2019 respectively.

That means you may have to be a little patient with this offer. Other cards like the Standard Chartered Visa Infinite for example award the sign-up bonus (35,000 miles in this case) immediately, though of course a high annual fee applies.

If you’re in a hurry for extra miles, this deal probably isn’t for you.

Which transactions are ineligible?

Some fairly obvious and standard spend categories are not eligible for consideration under the minimum spend threshold for the bonus miles in each period, including cash advances, American Express Travellers Cheque purchases and EZ-link top-ups.

For a full list see the terms and conditions document for the Blue card and the Ascend card as appropriate.

Top sign-up bonuses

We’ve amended our top sign-up bonuses page for miles earning credit cards in Singapore. Currently it’s still the Standard Chartered Visa Infinite with the highest upfront bonus of 35,000 miles (at a cost of 1.68 cents each with the annual fee) or the HSBC Visa Infinite with the same bonus for 1.86 cents per mile.

The Citi PremierMiles card is still running a good deal with a 21,000 miles sign-up bonus, extended until 31st January 2019 at a cost of just 0.92 cents per mile, though you’ll have to spend S$7,500 in the first 3 months for that one.

Click here for our full list of the top sign-up bonuses currently on offer

We have also updated our full reviews of the KrisFlyer Amex Blue and KrisFlyer Amex Ascend card to reflect the new sign-up bonuses now in force. You can read many more details about the card benefits there.

Summary

The Amex KrisFlyer Blue card gets the best boost here in our opinion – a relatively achievable 20,000 miles bonus with no annual fee in year one. A better 25,000-mile bonus was available earlier this year however, so this isn’t exactly ground-breaking.

For the Ascend card, the new bonus isn’t much higher than the previous one offered, with more complexity and a longer tie-in period. Again, the deal in June was better.

Seat 11A
The bonus on the KrisFlyer Blue card is the easiest to achieve, and the 20,000 bonus miles are enough to get you a seat like this from Singapore to Bangkok. (Photo: MainlyMiles)

If you’re are interested then whichever of the two deals suit you best, Blue or Ascend, you probably won’t want to keep either of these cards once you’ve met the spend threshold to trigger the bonus miles. There are simply better general spend cards on the market. Amex are no doubt aware of this and want to keep you using the card for longer, probably close to six months in this case, hence this new bonus structure.

Remember the KrisFlyer Blue card is fee-free in the first year so the bonus miles remain technically ‘free’ assuming you have S$3,000 to spend to make in the next three months, or S$6,000 in the next six months.

For the KrisFlyer Ascend card the annual fee of S$337.05 remains payable, meaning you’re effectively ‘buying’ KrisFlyer miles for 1.69 cents each with a S$6,000+ spend in three months, or 0.96 cents each if you participate in both parts of the bonus with a further spend of S$6,000+ in the subsequent three months (i.e. S$12,000+ spend total).

A good rate in the second case, well ahead of our upper limit for buying miles of 2 cents each.

Remember the welcome bonus element (5,000 KrisFlyer miles in each case) is only applicable to first time applicants for any co-branded American Express Singapore Airlines credit card.

(Cover Photo: Alan Wilson)

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