Credit Cards KrisFlyer Singapore Airlines

Credit Card Review: Amex Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer (2020)

AMEXKFbluelarge

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 3rd August 2020.

Fast Facts

AMEXKFbluelarge

Annual fee: $176.55/yr (first year free)
EIR:
26.9%
Sign-up bonus:
13,000 / 21,000 miles*
Local earn rate:
 1.1 miles per $1
Overseas earn rate:
 1.1 miles per $1**
Foreign transaction fee:
2.95%
Minimum age:
21
Minimum income:
$30,000/yr (Singaporean / PR)
Minimum income:
$60,000/yr (Foreigner)
* See below for details.
** 2 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 four varieties, this article is only looking at the entry-level Amex SIA KF (blue) card.

All 4 Cards

Annual fee

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

Fee waiver in subsequent membership years is on request, with most cardholders reporting success when requesting this.

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Sign-up bonus

The current sign-up bonus for new Amex cardholders in Singapore for the Amex SIA KF card is up to 21,000 miles, subject to successful approval by 30th September 2020 and made up of the following components:

  • 5,000 miles on first spend.*
  • 8,000 bonus miles if a minimum of $4,000 is spent in the first three months from card approval.
  • 8,000 bonus miles if a further $4,000 is spent in months 4 to 6 (i.e. the subsequent three-month period) from card approval. (New to Amex cardholders only)

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

For example if your card is approved on 1st April 2020, you’ll have to achieve $5,000 spend between 1st April and 30th June for the first 8,000 bonus, then replicate that minimum spend between 1st July and 30th September for the second bonus.

Note that the second tranche of bonus miles in months 4 to 6 is only applicable if you are new to Amex cards.

Bonus miles are awarded up to 10 weeks after each spend threshold is reached, so in the above example of a card approved on 1st April the latest you’ll be credited with the first bonus is 8th September and the second bonus is 9th December.

As we value KrisFlyer miles at 1.9 cents each, those 21,000 miles are worth at least $400 against future redemptions, so provided you have a $10,000 spend to make over the next six 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 (unless you can have it waived), and there is no recurring bonus.

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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 miles for every $1 spent during the months of June and December.

Eligible transactions

Eligible transactions on the Amex SIA KF card for miles earning are all retail purchases including recurring payments, with the exception of:

  • Charges processed and billed prior to the Enrolment Date or charges prepaid on any Card Account prior to the first billing statement for that Card Account following the Enrolment Date;
  • Cash Advance and other cash services;
  • Express Cash;
  • American Express Travellers Cheque purchases;
  • Charges for dishonoured cheques;
  • Finance charges – including Line of Credit charges and Credit Card interest charges;
  • Late Payment and collection charges;
  • Tax refunds from overseas purchases;
  • Balance Transfers;
  • Instalment plans;
  • Annual Card fees;
  • Amount billed for purchase of KrisFlyer miles to top-up your miles balance;
  • Purchase and top-up charges for EZ-Link Cards using American Express Cards;
  • Bill payments and all transactions via SingPost SAM kiosks and mobile app;
  • Payments to insurance companies (except payments made for insurance products purchased through American Express authorized channels);
  • Payments to Singapore Petroleum Company Limited (SPC) service stations;
  • Payments for the purpose of GrabPay top-ups;
  • Charges at merchants or establishments that are excluded by American Express at its sole discretion and notified by American Express to you from time to time.

Important exclusions to remember here are bill payments, insurance payments, petrol at SPC stations and GrabPay top-ups.

Note: ipaymy and CardUp payments do earn KrisFlyer miles with this card, at the local earn rate of 1.1 mpd.

You can check the latest updated list of excluded transactions for KrisFlyer miles earning at amex.co/SGexclusions.

Supplementary card bonus

If you successfully apply for a supplementary card before 30th April 2020 you will receive 1,500 bonus KrisFlyer miles for each of the first two approved supplementary cards (i.e. capped at 3,000 bonus KrisFlyer miles for each basic card member).

The supplementary card bonus KrisFlyer miles will be awarded to basic card members within 10 weeks from approval date of each supplementary card.

Each supplementary card has a $53.50 annual fee, however like the primary card it is waived for the first year.

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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.

SQ 77W J (MM) 2
The 2013 Business Class seat on a Singapore Airlines Boeing 777. (Photo: MainlyMiles)

Is there a transfer cost to KrisFlyer miles?

No. Unlike most other credit cards in Singapore, because these miles are transferred automatically each month, there is no additional fee involved.

When do miles transfer to KrisFlyer?

Transfers occur on the first day of each statement cycle, for the qualifying spend accrued in the previous period.

For example if your billing period is 19/02/2020 to 18/03/2020, miles earned during that period will be credited to your KrisFlyer account on 19/03/2020.

Intermediate transfers are not supported, so for example trying to top up your balance quickly using the miles from a large purchase won’t necessarily work if you’ve just missed the end of a statement period – you’ll have to wait around a month for them to post in that case.

Miles rounding

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)
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Minimum spend to earn miles

Due to the rounding policy, the minimum spend to earn miles using this card is:

  • $0.46 at the 1.1 mpd earn rate (rounds up to 1 mile)
  • $0.25 at the 2 mpd earn rate (rounds up to 1 mile)
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Forex fee / cpm overseas

The Amex Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer card has a 2.95% foreign currency transaction fee, an increase on the 2.5% rate which applied until March 2020.

With a relatively mundane bonus overseas earn rate of 2 miles per dollar, it’s certainly not the best card to use as it means paying 1.57 cents per mile when spending in foreign currency during the months of June and December.

Worse still, if you use the card for overseas spend during the other 10 months of the year when a 1.1 cents per mile rate applies you’re effectively paying an eye-watering 2.86 cents per mile for the privilege – way over the odds and therefore to be strictly avoided.

There are better cards for overseas spend even at the bonus rate, and you should be looking at the BOC Elite Miles or Standard Chartered Visa Infinite for much better value, not just in cost per mile terms but miles per dollar too.

That said during June and December the bonus rate does mean this card gives you a better cost per mile than the popular Citi PremierMiles and DBS Altitude cards.

Cost per mile on overseas credit card transactions by card
(Best to worst, March 2020)

Card Fee Miles per $ Cost per mile
Card.pngBOC EM 3.0% 3.0 1.06¢
image_standard-chartered-visa-infinite@2x02.pngSCVI 3.5% 3.0* 1.22¢*
Card Trans.pngUOB PRVI Miles 3.25% 2.4 1.43¢
Card.pngMaybank Horizon Visa 2.75% 2.0 1.48¢
Card.jpgOCBC Voyage 3.25% 2.3 1.49¢
AMEXKFbluelargeKF Blue
(Jun & Dec)
2.95% 2.0 1.57¢
AscendCC.pngKF Ascend
(Jun & Dec)
2.95% 2.0 1.57¢
CardOCBC 90°N
3.25% 2.1 1.63¢
CardMC2019Citi PM 3.25% 2.0 1.71¢