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The little-known way that Amex Platinum gets you Star Alliance Silver and fast track Star Alliance Gold

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One of the quirks of American Express Platinum is that you get more benefits than Amex tells you about.  This is because some American Express partners have reciprocal deals with other companies.

The most obvious example of this is free Marriott Rewards Gold.  Amex Platinum comes with free Starwood Preferred Guest Gold, and when Marriott bought Starwood they allowed you to status match.

This has been an excellent result because Marriott Gold is far, far better than Starwood Gold – it comes with guaranteed executive lounge access and guaranteed 4pm check-out (except at resort and conference hotels).  Unfortunately this benefit will end in August when the Marriott and Starwood schemes are merged, as Gold in the new combined programme will not have much in the way of guaranteed benefits.

There is also a partnership between Shangri-La Hotels and Taj Hotels.  You can match your free Shangri-La Hotels Jade status via Amex Platinum to the equivalent tier in the Taj Hotels programme.  This HFP article explains how.

There is a third, lesser known arbitrage which gets you Star Alliance Silver airline status for a year.

Shangri La Shard

Singapore Airlines Krisflyer and Shangri-La Hotels Golden Circle have a partnership called Infinite Journeys.  Before I explain why this is interesting to UK residents, let me outline the key benefits:

Shangri-La Golden Circle Jade and Diamond members receive:

a one-year status match to Krisflyer Elite Silver

a fast-track path to Krisflyer Elite Gold if they take three Singapore Airlines or SilkAir flights (Jade) or one Singapore Airlines or SilkAir flight (Diamond) within four months of registration

Singapore Airlines Krisflyer PPS Club and Elite Gold members receive:

a one-year status match to Golden Circle Gold status and promotion to Jade status after just one stay at a Shangri-La group property

All Shangri-La Golden Circle and Krisflyer members receive:

a 25% bonus (1:1.25) when converting hotel points to Krisflyer miles

the ability to convert Krisflyer miles into Golden Circle points at 12:1

500 Krisflyer miles as well as Golden Circle points when staying at any Shangri-La group hotel

So, why should this interest me as an Amex Platinum member?

In 2016, American Express Platinum added Shangri-La Golden Circle Jade status to its list of permanent benefits.

The other hotel benefits of Amex Platinum are:

  • Gold in Starwood Preferred Guest
  • Gold in Radisson Rewards
  • Gold in Hilton Honors
  • Gold in Melia Rewards

This means that you can use your free Shangri-La Golden Circle Jade status to instantly match to Singapore Airlines Krisflyer Elite Silver status.

Unfortunately, the benefits of Singapore Airlines Silver status are not huge:

  • 25% bonus KrisFlyer miles on actual miles flown
  • Priority reservation waitlist
  • Priority airport standby
  • Waived or discounted service fees

Star Alliance thumbnail

Is Star Alliance Silver status rubbish?

Yes.  Take a look at this fancy website which outlines the, erm, non-benefits of having Silver status.

The big difference between Star Alliance mid-tier status and oneworld mid-tier status is lounge access.  oneworld gives it, Star Alliance does not.  You won’t be getting in any lounges with Krisflyer Elite Silver.

You also need to remember that this is a one year, one-off match.  If you don’t have any plans to fly on Star Alliance in the near future, there is no point.  If you do have some Star Alliance flights coming up you might value free Star Alliance Silver status.

(One possible use of this free Star Alliance Silver card would be to try to match it to another airline that was running its own status match offer.  statusmatcher.com can show you who is currently matching what to where.)

But Star Alliance Gold status is not rubbish

The real value is in getting Star Alliance Gold status for a year for taking three Singapore Airlines or SilkAir flights within four months of registering for the match.  This would get you lounge access on all Star Alliance carriers, amongst other benefits.

When Singapore Airlines flew from Manchester to Munich, it was possible to get your three Singapore Airlines flights fairly easily.  That is no longer the case, as the Manchester flight now routes Singapore – Manchester – Houston.

If you are going to Asia soon, however, this could work out.  If you can squeeze in three Singapore Airlines flights within four months of registration it would trigger your Star Alliance Gold upgrade.

Final question …. is it worth linking your Shangri-La Jade and Singapore Airlines accounts in order to get Shangri-La points?

The other thing worth mentioning about the Singapore Airlines / Shangri-La Hotels partnership is the ability to transfer miles out of Singapore Krisflyer.

American Express points convert at 1:1 to Singapore Airlines as you can see on the Membership Rewards site here.  This means that you can indirectly earn Shangri-La Golden Circle points at the rate of 12 American Express points to 1 Shangri-La point.

Is this worth it?  Not really.  Your average Shangri-La hotel (ie Dubai, Doha, Singapore) is 5,000 to 6,500 Golden Circle points per night.  That would requires (x 12) 60,000+ Membership Rewards points per night!  That doesn’t make sense unless rooms rates are well above £400.

On the other hand, a $100 dining voucher – which can be used at The Shard in London – is 1,000 Golden Circle points.  This isn’t totally terrible.  You are converting 12,000 American Express points into 1,000 Golden Circle points into $100 (£76) of food.  That is 0.6p per Membership Rewards points which is better than redeeming Amex points for gift cards (0.4p to 0.5p) if you don’t want airline or hotel points.

Of course, if you have any Singapore Airlines miles about to expire then this new partnership is a good way to salvage some value.  The minimum transfer is 20,000 Krisflyer miles and there is an annual transfer cap of 180,000 miles.

Full details of the Infinite Journeys tie-up can be found here.

(Want to earn more miles and points from credit cards?  Click here to visit our dedicated airline and hotel travel credit cards page or use the ‘Credit Cards Update’ link in the menu bar at the top of the page.)

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Comments

  1. I did this, as we happened to be travelling around SE Asia last Christmas, so was easy to achieve. One thing to add is that I believe that Star Alliance Gold receives a similar Heathrow Express upgrade to BA GGL that you reported on the other day.

  2. There is one advantage to SQ Silver though, which you mentioned but didn’t expand on. Many of their cheapest redemptions ‘sell out’, but they allow members to submit a waitlist request. Having ANY SQ status at all puts you much higher in the queue. Not saying it’ll always work out, but there will be occasions where it’s very valuable for this.

    • Louie says:

      Do you happen to know if the waitlist priority is based on your status at booking or at the current time? I’ve waitlisted some flights for July and have made silver since I waitlisted them. Not sure if I now have any priority or not.

  3. Arcanum says:

    “The big difference between Star Alliance mid-tier status and oneworld mid-tier status is lounge access. oneworld gives it, Star Alliance does not.”

    I guess it depends on your definition of “mid-tier”. Star Alliance only has two levels, which are roughly equivalent in terms of earning requirements and benefits to oneworld Ruby and Sapphire. Many individual programs have higher levels which are similar to Emerald, but the alliance as a whole does not. If you consider Gold to be the “mid-tier” status, both Star Alliance and oneworld provide lounge access at comparable levels.

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