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ENDING SOON: Use Amex Platinum to get Star Alliance Silver and fast track Star Alliance Gold

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As we covered recently, American Express is ending its partnership with Shangri-La Hotels on 31st March.

After that date, American Express Platinum cardholders will no longer be able to claim Jade status in Shangri-La Golden Circle.

You will also lose the ability to match to Gold status in the Taj Hotels InnerCircle programme.  We cover both of these opportunities 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?

Until 31st March, American Express Platinum cardholders can claim free Shangri-La Golden Circle Jade status.

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 can squeeze in three Singapore Airlines flights within four months of registration it would trigger your Star Alliance Gold upgrade.  Unfortunately, coronavirus means this is unlikely to happen if you do the Silver match now.

However …. you only need to apply for Shangri-La Golden Circle Jade status by 31st March.  The Shangri-La status should be valid for a year after that.  This means that you would have until Spring 2022 to claim your free Star Alliance Silver status and do the four month Gold challenge.

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.  It would require (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 ‘instant dining award’ – 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.


Want to earn more points from credit cards? – June 2021 update

If you are looking to apply for a new credit or charge card, here are our June 2021 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. Here are the other top current deals:

British Airways American Express card

British Airways American Express

5,000 Avios for signing up, no annual fee 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 offers.

Amex 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

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

British Airways Accelerating Business American Express card

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Capital On Tap Business Rewards Visa

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

Comments (24)

  • Clubx says:

    SQ Gold will be worth it if you want to redeem some longhaul first seats!

  • Baji Nahid says:

    Little off topic but i feel only etihad and BA silver really has any value in it. Many silver status with airlines are quite basic in all honesty.

  • The Original Nick says:

    I’m waiting for TAP to extend my Gold Status that I was matched to.

    • AJA says:

      I hope TAP does that as well. Not expecting them to though. I have status until 31 Aug so a bit of time.

  • John says:

    As an aside, I’d like to see more Star Alliance coverage on here.

    Although I am BA silver and have a fair few Avios, a lot of my flying for work tends to be with United. I have a ton of miles (especially now they don’t expire) and always seem to struggle to redeem!

    • BuildBackBetter says:

      Wish there was at least one star alliance member based in UK. The market is being enough to feed two airlines, but is currently lopsided.
      On a similar topic, what happened to airline ownership rules post brexit deal? Are we happily letting EU owned airlines fly here while not getting reciprocal benefits ?

      • Rob says:

        IAG and easyjet have removed voting rights from some UK shareholders where necessary to ensure that they remain 51% EU owned.

        If you start an airline tomorrow you are free to fly to the EU BUT you cannot fly INSIDE the EU.

        The impact of Brexit has been to turn easyJet from a UK airline to an EU-based airline, albeit based in Luton. The UK could, technically, now ban easyJet and BA from flying domestically in the UK – since neither airline has majority UK ownership – but that would be a little stupid and even Boris worked out that was a vote loser.

        • Paul says:

          Sadly, I don’t think vote losing is a consideration. The English nationalist base that Boris plays too don’t care about the nuances of Brexit or the economic impact. Indeed, even cabinet ministers like Raab are clueless blaming the parlous state of shellfish businesses in Scotland/Wales on bad management rather than on the disastrous deal that has been struck.
          I don’t think its too simple to suggest that Brexit was built on Blue passports and people who don’t actually go beyond their own street.

  • MD says:

    The wording I keep seeing for the three flights to fulfill the conditions for gold is “complete three flights.” Possibly a daft question, but do they have to be paid flights, or would a three leg redemption work?

    • Andrew (@andrewseftel) says:

      If you are a Golden Circle Jade member, you can enjoy an accelerated upgrade to KrisFlyer Elite Gold simply by flying three times on Singapore Airlines or SilkAir in any booking class except ‘G’ (Group fares) within four months of registration. Award and codeshare flights are not eligible for this accelerated upgrade. Miles earned from the qualifying flights must be credited to your KrisFlyer membership account first to be eligible for the accelerated upgrade.

    • Tom1 says:

      Yep – silk air is a cheaper option on some routes and these qualify. However, be careful not to book the ticket sold by SQ on silk air planes. Even though it’s the same flight you need to book a Silk ticket. I fell foul and had to appeal to their kind nature to honour the match.

      • MilesOnPoint says:

        Would this mean that a ticket booked on SQ website with SQ flight number but operated by Silk Air would NOT count?

        EG. LHR-SIN(SQ) then SIN-DAD(MI) return, only the SQ legs would count as ONE of the 3 required for match to Krisflyer Gold?

        • Tom1 says:

          Correct – it would not count – which is what happened to me.

          But they would count if the same flight operated by silk was booked on MI flight number.

          Apparently when you book on MI metal through SQ it has a SQ prefix with a 4 digit flight number. These are not allowed.

          I misunderstood and annoyingly booked them all on SQ flight codes – and paid more than if I booked on MI.

          I pleaded with SQ customer services that they had actually benefited from my stupidity (as I paid more) and they agreed!

          That got me SQ gold (now extended) which has given me VS clubhouse access at LHR, and then the status match to Qatar. Not bad for 3 short SQ flights!

          • Pangolin says:

            I booked all flights on SQ, which included two MI legs to hop to KUL and back, and had no issues whatsoever. Both of these flights had SQ xxxx flight numbers, together with their MI equivalents.

            FT data points show that others have done likewise, so it doesn’t seem to be a rule. There’s nothing in the T&Cs to say that the MI flight must be booked via Silk Air and not SQ. I think SQ cocked things up in your case.

          • MilesOnPoint says:

            Good to know, thank you.

            I have Oneworld Emerald status at the moment but CX have suspended Danang route (planning for Nov/Dec) and SQ look to be main viable option from UK. £550-ish return would yield SQ Gold (Priority pass lounge access at SIN), VS clubhouse access would be a particular bonus from Krisflyer Gold for future US trips.

          • Tom1 says:

            Interesting – I thought the offer excluded codeshare flights – and that was what a 4digit flight number was on SQ?

            I think MI are merging in to SQ at some point so this problem will go away.

  • Save East Coast Rewards says:

    Star Alliance silver is not a mid tier, it’s equivalent to oneworld ruby (BA bronze), Star gold is the one equivalent to oneworld sapphire (BA silver). Neither Star Alliance or SkyTeam have an alliance wide status equivalent to oneworld emerald

    BA is unique in calling a decent status level silver. Typical British understated naming. Whereas AA goes in the other direction and calls their lowest status gold!

    It’s worth noting that some star alliance airlines do give extra benefits for their silver members but they’re not alliance wide perks. bmi used to give lounge access when flying on their own aircraft on a silver card but it was restricted to their lounges and flights

    • Dan says:

      I think is the case for TAP Silver when I was doing the research for the status match.

      You can quite easily buy TAP Silver through their Club Platinum programme which gets into TAP Lounges in Lisbon I think but not any other *A lounge – which makes sense given it would be very easy to get lounge access by not flying!

    • Pangolin says:

      ANA is the strangest: Bronze, Platinum, Diamond. So platinum status with them is basically a worthless *S, which gets you nothing other than slightly higher waitlisting priority.

  • 747_Brat says:

    Which restaurant in Shard allows the Shangri-La Golden Circle points to be redeemed for dining vouchers?

    I tried redeeming my odd 500 Shangri-La points last year for a $50 dining voucher, and was met with an incompetent and unhelpful response from Golden Circle customer service, who were unaware of the restaurant where it can be redeemed.

    • Andrew (@andrewseftel) says:

      Gong and Ting certainly, perhaps the ground floor cafe too. There is no need to redeem for a voucher any more though, you can do an instant dining award instead.

      • 747_Brat says:

        Thanks Andrew.
        Please could you explain how the instant dining award works. Is it done through the Golden Circle app?

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