Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

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 actually tells you about.  This is because some American Express partners have reciprocal deals with other companies.

For example, there is 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 as we explain here.

There is a second, 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 you 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 Marriott Bonvoy
  • 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
  • Free seat selection when flying economy on Singapore Airlines or SilkAir
  • Priority reservation waitlist
  • Priority airport standby
  • Waived or discounted service fees

Star Alliance thumbnail

Is Star Alliance Silver status rubbish?

Singapore Airlines Silver status also gets you Silver benefits across all other Star Alliance airlines.

Unfortunately, those benefits are not worth much.

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 into 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 (£77) 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 partnership is a good way to salvage some value.  The minimum transfer to Shangri-La Golden Circle 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.

PS.  If you missed it, take a look at our recent article on the top 10 reasons why you should consider the American Express Platinum card.


Want to earn more points from credit cards? – December 2020 update

If you are looking to apply for a new credit or charge card, here are our December 2020 recommendations based on the current sign-up bonus

You can see our full directory of all UK cards which earn airline or hotel points here.

British Airways American Express card

British Airways American Express

5,000 Avios for signing up, no annual and a companion voucher for spending £20,000 Read our full review

BA Premium Plus American Express card BAPP

British Airways American Express Premium Plus

25,000 Avios and the UK’s most valuable credit card perk – the 2-4-1 companion voucher Read our full review

Nectar American Express

American Express Preferred Rewards Gold

Your best beginner’s card – 20,000 points, FREE for a year & two airport lounge passes Read our full review

American Express Platinum card Amex

The Platinum Card from American Express

30,000 points and an unbeatable set of travel benefits – for a fee Read our full review

Virgin Rewards Plus credit card

Virgin Atlantic Reward+ Mastercard

15,000 points bonus and the most generous non-Amex for day to day spending Read our full review

Earning miles and points from small business cards

If you are a sole trader or run a small company, you may also want to check out these:

American Express Business Gold card

American Express Business Gold

20,000 points sign-up bonus and free for a year Read our full review

Amex Platinum Business American Express

American Express Business Platinum

40,000 points sign-up bonus and a long list of travel benefits Read our full review

British Airways Accelerating Business American Express card

British Airways Accelerating Business American Express

Earn both Avios and BA On Business points with your business spending Read our full review

Capital On Tap Business Rewards Visa

The most generous Avios Visa or Mastercard for a limited company Read our full review

Disclaimer: Head for Points is a journalistic website. Nothing here should be construed as financial advice, and it is your own responsibility to ensure that any product is right for your circumstances. Recommendations are based primarily on the ability to earn miles and points and do not consider interest rates, service levels or any impact on your credit history.  By recommending credit cards on this site, I am – technically – acting as a credit broker.  Robert Burgess, trading as Head for Points, is regulated and authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority to act as a credit broker.

Comments (97)

  • Doug says:

    OT, I’m also stranded abroad due to the storm, easyJet an Ba don’t have any available flights until next Thursday lol! I managed to rebook myself into tomorrow’s flight form a city 300km away, I m keeping costs of transport, meal and hotel to the minimum, but I feel I should stick to them as they don’t pick the phone or twitter. It is 2020 and companies should have some better way to handle problems /rantover

    • TGLoyalty says:

      Just keep them reasonable and make a claim online for duty of care costs in a few days time.

    • Rob says:

      By doing what? Sending spare aircraft they don’t have to pick you up? Throwing people off flights home today so you can go?

      BA will cover all your costs. Enjoy a free holiday.

  • Nigel Williams says:

    I collect KrisFlyer Miles (via the HSBC Prem mastercard) purely for the Manchester > Houston flight (As it is ridiculously cheap compared to flying to Dallas with another airline, plus a nicer plane and 2 checked bags).

    tempted to do the status match to Silver Elite simply to get me a free seat selection +25% earning ratio for the flight.