Standard Chartered has launched an exclusive 100% transfer bonus for its Visa Infinite X cardholders allowing you to convert your Rewards Points to Emirates Skywards miles at double the usual transfer ratio for the next two weeks.
Emirates Skywards miles aren’t usually good value, and their reward tickets come with hefty fuel surcharges, but under this offer you can make a number of redemption options that may still make sense, including redeeming on Qantas flights.
If you’ve kept your accumulated Standard Chartered Rewards points since the X Card sign-up promotion, you could be looking at a useful windfall here.
Any local spending on the card at a 1.2 miles per dollar rate into the KrisFlyer programme would now be worth 1.7 Skywards miles per dollar into Emirates Skywards, while for overseas transactions the previous rate of 2 miles per dollar (assuming KrisFlyer conversion) would be worth 2.9 Skywards miles per dollar.
Similarly your 100,000 miles sign-up bonus, assuming you still have it in your Standard Chartered rewards account, now buys you over 140,000 Emirates Skywards miles.
Standard Chartered rewards points usually transfer into Emirates Skywards at an (unattractive) 3,500 points : 1,000 miles (3.5:1) ratio. With this offer you’ll get 2,000 Skywards miles for every 3,500 points converted instead (1.75:1).
Standard Chartered rewards points transfer into KrisFlyer miles at a 2.5:1 ratio.
Simply transfer your points between now and 8th March 2020 into the Skywards programme to take advantage of the bonus.
Note that while the offer is marketed as an exclusive for Standard Chartered X Cardholders, my points balance in Standard Chartered is aggregated across my SCVI and X cards, and the system allows me to transfer all the points earned from both cards into Skywards miles with a 100% bonus.
How to convert
The easiest way to make a transfer to Emirates Skywards miles (and most of the new Standard Chartered transfer partners) is using the mobile app, under the ‘Credit Card Rewards’ section from the top left menu icon.
Otherwise using the desktop site you’ll have to navigate from your X Card account summary via the ‘Card Details’ tab and then the ‘View My Rewards’ link right at the bottom to access transfers to these new partners.
Note that the ‘Redeem Rewards Now’ link still takes you to the old rewards page – for KrisFlyer conversions only (no bonus there unfortunately). You must go through the new ‘View My Rewards’ link from the ‘Card Details’ page.
Your bonus miles under this offer will be credited to your Skywards account at the same time as the usual miles you would receive at the standard rate.
Emirates awards from Singapore start from 17,500 miles in Economy Class to Penang, the new fifth freedom route starting in April 2020.
That’s not a great option, but Business Class at 27,500 miles and First Class at 37,500 miles are perhaps more worthwhile.
With this 100% transfer bonus from Standard Chartered, that’s the equivalent of paying 19,250 KrisFlyer miles (assuming that would be your usual FFP of choice from Standard Chartered) in Business Class, or 26,250 KrisFlyer miles in First Class.
Sadly those rates are actually no better than using Qantas Frequent Flyer (QFF) on this route instead. You can also transfer Standard Chartered Rewards points at a 2.5:1 ratio into QFF (the same ratio as into KrisFlyer).
On longer routes it’s a better deal, with Singapore to Melbourne for 62,500 Skywards miles in Business Class (equivalent to 42,750 KrisFlyer miles if you’d usually transfer into that scheme).
First Class on the Melbourne route is 85,000 Skywards miles (equivalent to an excellent 59,550 KrisFlyer miles with this offer).
Picking up a First Class award on an A380 route also means use of the in-flight shower, quite an experience. Singapore to Dubai can work here, for 98,750 Skywards miles (69,100 KrisFlyer miles equivalent with this offer), though that’s still on the steep side for a flight of this length.
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You can even use this offer to try and redeem the airline’s new exclusive fully-enclosed Suites product on the latest Boeing 777-300ER aircraft (see our review), flying to a limited route network to and from Dubai including:
- Kuwait City
- London Stansted
- Tokyo Haneda
Look for six First Class seats on the seat map, in a two-row 1-1-1 configuration, to ensure the new seats.
Pro Tip: Award seats on Emirates’ new First Class Suites tend to be made available around three days before departure.
Dubai to London Stansted in this cabin is 85,000 Skywards miles (equivalent to an excellent 59,550 KrisFlyer miles if you’d usually into that scheme). That’s less than the miles rate from Singapore to Sydney in Business Class on Singapore Airlines, and of course includes the Emirates First Class lounges in Dubai.
You can also redeem Emirates Skywards miles on Qantas flights, including:
- Singapore to Melbourne / Sydney for 60,000 miles in Business Class
- Singapore to Melbourne / Sydney for 90,000 miles in First Class
That’s the equivalent of 42,000 KrisFlyer miles / Qantas points in Business Class, or 63,000 KrisFlyer miles / Qantas points in First Class, assuming you would normally transfer your Standard Chartered rewards balance into those schemes.
This could also be a great way to access the new Qantas Singapore First Lounge (see our review) at a competitive miles rate.
Emirates Skywards miles can also be used to redeem flights on their other partners, including Jetstar, Air Mauritius, Alaska Airlines, Malaysia Airlines, JAL and JetBlue.
Unfortunately you’ll be hit with significant fuel surcharges when using Emirates Skywards miles for flight redemptions.
For example on a First Class award from Dubai to London Stansted it’s an extra S$609 on top of the miles needed (though we’d still be tempted for the new First Class Suite at an equivalent 59,550 KrisFlyer miles).
For Singapore to Dubai in Business Class, you’ll shell out S$294 in fuel surcharges.
Skywards miles expire
Do be aware that if you transfer your points into Emirates Skywards, they expire after three years, plus the number of months from date of earning to the end of your birthday month.
Your Skywards Miles are valid for three years from the date of travel. Within the calendar year that Skywards Miles are due to expire, they will be removed from your account at the end of the month in which you were born.
For example, if you earned Miles in June 2016 and your birthday is in August, these Miles will expire on 31st August 2019.
As one of Standard Chartered’s 3.5:1 ratio frequent flyer partners, transfers to Emirates Skywards miles were never particularly great value, however with this new 1.75:1 offer this gives you 43% more miles than you would usually get transferring to KrisFlyer.