On 1st April, American Express cut the transfer rate from UK Membership Rewards points to the Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer programme.
It dropped from 1:1 to 3:2.
This was a big surprise, because no other airline had ever broken the ‘rule’ of 1:1 transfers from the UK Membership Rewards programme.
It is totally normal for Amex cards in other countries to have odd transfer ratios, to keep the value roughly constant across different currencies, but the UK had a cosy 1:1 set-up.
Something happened that I didn’t expect
KrisFlyer is also a partner with the International Dollar Card from Amex.
If you look at the reward chart of the International Dollar Card, which I hold, it is a mix of 3:2 and 1:1. 3:2 makes sense with the International Dollar Card because 1 point per $1 is easier to earn than 1 point per £1.
Ironically, KrisFlyer is one of the handful of airlines at 1:1 on that card.
It seemed logical that Singapore Airlines would also be looking to cut the transfer rate on the International Dollar Card. After all, the airline is already more generous than most in its transfer rate. In the UK, it has made an active decision to become less generous than the competition.
And yet, it hasn’t.
Here is UK Membership Rewards website:
Here is the International Dollar Card website, where KrisFlyer is still 1:1.
If you want Singapore Airlines miles, you really need to get the International Dollar Card
The Amex International Dollar Card was always a no-brainer if you had a lot of Membership Rewards points to transfer to Singapore Airlines. It now becomes sensible even for smaller balances.
100,000 UK American Express Membership Rewards points is now worth:
- 66,666 KrisFlyer miles if you transfer directly from the UK programme at 3:2, or
- 137,000 KrisFlyer miles if you get the International Dollar Card, transfer your existing UK Membership Rewards points across (they are boosted by the $ FX rate, currently £1 to $1.37) and then send them to KrisFlyer at 1:1
You are basically getting a 105% transfer bonus.
Is there a sign-up bonus on the International Dollar Card?
Yes. As this HfP article explains, you get 30,000 Membership Rewards points if you sign up for IDC Platinum.
You get this bonus irrespective of what UK Amex cards you hold and it will not impact future UK Amex bonuses.
Alternatively, pay $100 and get the basic IDC Green American Express. If your only concern is moving points to KrisFlyer, it will do the job.
What are the best uses of Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer miles?
If you are thinking about taking the route outlined above, you probably already use KrisFlyer.
Whilst we don’t cover KrisFlyer much on Head for Points, it does have some sweet spots.
This HfP article looks at the best deals with Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer miles.
It is, for example, the cheapest way to get from the UK to the Middle East in Business Class. You pay just 58,000 miles RETURN in Business Class.
Remember that British Airways wants up to 120,000 Avios on a peak day for a return Club World flight to Dubai, Abu Dhabi etc. You can use just 58,000 KrisFlyer miles, most likely routed on Lufthansa via Frankfurt or SWISS via Zurich, instead. Other fun routings include Turkish via Istanbul and Egyptair via Cairo.
Other good options include:
- Europe to South East Asia, at 92,000 miles one-way in Business. You can fly direct to Singapore on Singapore Airlines for 90,000 miles, but if you can’t find seats on your dates (not unlikely) then you should get something on Thai, Lufthansa, SWISS, Turkish etc for just 2,000 additional miles
- Europe to South Africa for 52,000 miles one-way in Business. Your primary choices would be South African, Lufthansa, SWISS, Ethiopian and Turkish.
- Europe to the Maldives is 54,500 miles one-way in Business. Turkish is your likely airline. Sri Lanka and India are in the same pricing zone.
- Domestic USA / Canada flights. Whilst not as cheap as Avios for short hops, 12,500 miles one-way in Economy or 23,000 miles one-way in Business (domestic First in the USA is priced as Business) can work out well.
And if you are prepared to start your trip in Turkey ….
- Istanbul to Singapore is astonishingly cheap at 49,000 miles one-way in Business. Taxes are also exceptionally low – just US$55 last time I checked.
If you use Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer miles, it seems that the sky hasn’t fallen in after all.
Whilst the UK Membership Rewards scheme has devalued, the International Dollar Card scheme has not. This has created a sweet spot – for how long, who know?
Want to earn more points from credit cards? – August 2021 update
If you are looking to apply for a new credit or charge card, here are our August 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
5,000 Avios for signing up, no annual fee and a companion voucher for spending £20,000 Read our full review
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
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
The Platinum Card from American Express
30,000 points and an unbeatable set of travel benefits – for a fee Read our full review
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.
American Express Business Gold
20,000 points sign-up bonus and free for a year Read our full review
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
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
For a non-American Express option, we also recommend the Barclaycard Select Cashback card for sole traders and small businesses. It is FREE and you receive 1% cashback on your spending: