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Get Star Alliance Gold and Virgin Clubhouse access by transferring your Amex points

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Singapore Airlines has launched a very interesting promotion – you can earn status, all the way up to Gold, by transferring American Express Membership Rewards points to its KrisFlyer programme.

In fact, it is broader than this.

As you can see here, until February 2022, all non-flying points earned in the Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer scheme will also earn elite status miles.

This means that transfers from, say, hotel reward schemes will also count. For UK residents, transfers from Heathrow Rewards count. HSBC Premier credit card points will also count.

This is how it works:

  • you receive 1 elite status mile for every 5 redeemable miles you earn from non-flying methods
  • you need 25,000 elite miles for KrisFlyer Silver (Star Alliance Silver)
  • you need 50,000 elite miles for KrisFlyer Gold (Star Alliance Gold)

Ignore references to ‘PPS’ on the KrisFlyer website which is a separate spend-based loyalty programme. You are only interested in elite miles.

This means:

  • 250,000 HSBC Premier points gets you 125,000 Singapore Airlines miles and Silver status
  • 500,000 HSBC Premier points gets you 250,000 Singapore Airlines miles and Gold status
  • 187,500 UK American Express Membership Rewards points gets you 125,000 Singapore Airlines miles and Silver status
  • 375,000 UK American Express Membership Rewards points gets you 250,000 Singapore Airlines miles and Gold status

More interestingly (based on £1 to $1.37):

  • 91,250 UK American Express Membership Rewards points gets you 125,000 Interational Dollar Card Amex MR points which gets you 125,000 Singapore Airlines miles and Silver status
  • 182,500 UK American Express Membership Rewards points gets you 250,000 International Dollar Card Amex MR points which gets you 250,000 Singapore Airlines miles and Gold status

If you have no idea what I am talking about with the final two points above, read this article from last week about how you can arbitrage Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer by getting an International Dollar Card from American Express.

You should remember that Singapore Airlines runs occasional transfer bonuses when you move over credit card points. If it ran another one during 2021, you could reduce the requirements above by another 10% – 15%.

Is this a good deal?

The key benefit of Star Alliance Gold is lounge access across the alliance, for you and a guest. You also get the usual priority check-in etc.

The Star Alliance website lists the benefits here.

It is important to note that Star Alliance Silver does NOT get you lounge access across the alliance. You only receive it with the airline which issues your status, ie Singapore Airlines. This isn’t a lot of use if you live in the UK. You really need to aim for Gold if you are going to do this.

I wouldn’t do this purely for the status. One downside is that Singapore Airlines status only lasts for 12 months from the date you achieve it.

It isn’t like British Airways Executive Club, where you can get almost two years by earning it early in your membership year. It isn’t like Lufthansa Miles & More, where you get status for two years.

For most of us, there is a limit to the amount of value you would get from Star Alliance Gold within one year.

Of course, you would also have a lot of Singapore Airlines miles, and you can use those for some great value redemptions. This HfP article explains some of them.

You also get Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse access

A little known benefit of Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer Gold status is that you can access the Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse in Heathrow Terminal 3 – when it reopens. See the image below.

Our most recent review of the Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse at Heathrow is here.

You must be travelling on a Virgin Atlantic operated flight, not a codeshare or a Delta service, in order to do this. No guests are allowed.

You can confirm this on this page of the Virgin Atlantic website.

Get Virgin Clubhouse access with Singapore Airlines Gold

Don’t forget the TAP status match as an alternative

Remember that the TAP Portugal Star Alliance status match is still running. TAP will match British Airways Silver to Star Alliance Gold as long as you pay a €99 fee, as we explain here.

TAP status does not get you into the Virgin Clubhouse, for clarity. This is only available via Singapore Airlines Gold status.

I have Star Gold via TAP Portugal until September 2021. There is a chance I won’t be able to use it in that time. TAP may or may not extend it.

If they don’t, and if I see a big travel year ahead in 2022, I might be tempted to pull the trigger on KrisFlyer in early 2022. I have a lot of Amex points sitting in my International Dollar Card account and I wouldn’t have any trouble spending 250,000 KrisFlyer miles – perhaps the new First Class Suite, as pictured above, if the A380 fleet returns?

Even if you’re keen, don’t do this today

Because your 12 month clock starts counting down from the day you achieve Gold, this is not something you should be doing today.

You should also remember that you can reduce the credit card points you would need to transfer by crediting any upcoming Star Alliance flights to KrisFlyer. If I did decide that I was going to go for this in early 2022, I would be sending the points from any Star flights this year to KrisFlyer to reduce the Amex transfer required.

(Before you do this, always check that you are flying in a booking class which earns miles in the KrisFlyer programme.)

If this deal sounds interesting, you can find out more on the Singapore Airlines website here.

For clarity, I am not an expert on the KrisFlyer programme so there may be aspects of this offer which I have missed. I will amend this article if any interesting new information comes up.

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

If you are looking to apply for a new credit or charge card, here are our November 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 top current deals:

British Airways BA Amex American Express card

British Airways American Express

5,000 Avios for signing up, no annual fee and an Economy 2-4-1 voucher for spending ….. Read our full review

British Airways BA Premium Plus American Express Amex credit card

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

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

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

30,000 Avios sign-up bonus – plus annual bonuses of up to 30,000 Avios 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:

Barclaycard Select Cashback Credit Card

1% cashback and no annual fee Read our full review

Comments (22)

  • Liam says:

    I did the TAP status match last year because I sometimes take United flights, either domestically in the US or transatlantic. I had assumed that Star Alliance Gold would get you two free checked bags, but no—just the one. United also don’t allow anyone except their own Gold members to select an extra-legroom economy seat for free before check-in.

    Lounge access for US domestic flights is nice, though. As anyone who’s flown in the US will know, except in a handful of very specific circumstances, access to lounges when flying domestic is available to “members” (usually around $500/year, or waived if you take out a credit card with the airline with a similar annual fee) rather than just business- or first-class passengers or status-holders.

  • Nick OCallaghan says:

    Can I point out that if you have SQ Krisflyer Silver (Star Silver), you most definitely do NOT get any lounge access at Singapore Changi airport. Even Star Gold holders only get access to a designated Star Gold lounge when flying in Economy, which is not as nice as the “Krisflyer Lounge” purely for customers flying in Business/First or PPS members.

  • Pablo says:

    What about those who already have SQ silver through Amex platinum-Shangri-La Jade option? Is it 25000 miles from Silver to Gold or 50000?

  • Andrew says:

    Also worth remembering that if you’re Virgin Flying Club Gold you also get lounge access when flying Singapore Airlines. And if you’re chasing Gold with SQ, you can credit VS flights to them.

  • Sandgrounder says:

    They also have a shopping portal, Krisflyer Spree, that works from the UK. I haven’t looked too closely at the earning rates yet.

  • BuildBackBetter says:

    Couple of things to note here:
    1) Krisflyer has a hard expiry of 3 years for miles credited. So plan well in advance on how you’ll be using them.
    2) where there are two or more lounges in the same airport (example in hubs), the star gold lounge is usually very poor in comparison.
    The Krisflyer gold lounge in Singapore is one of the worst lounges in that airport. It doesn’t even have toilets – you have to exit the lounge.

    • Sam G says:

      They’re finally opening a new Gold lounge at Changi T3 that’ll have toilets in ! Hopefully it’s bigger too, always an overcrowded mess before COVID, pretty much all the PP options were better anyway.

  • Koala says:

    From the SIA website, only cobrand cards in certain countries count for this offer. I don’t see the UK listed.

    • Sandgrounder says:

      The transfer opportunity comes from the ‘conversion bank points’ category not the cobranded card category. We don’t have a cobranded card in the UK unfortunately.

    • Rob says:

      That’s because there is no co-brand Singapore Airlines credit card in the UK 🙂

  • Axel says:

    So is it 100 000 HSBC UK points to renew Gold? Wonder when the cut off date is as my renewal is August.

    Also I’ve earned KrisFlyer miles and bonuses from my IHG stays by selecting them as my preferred partner with IHG, I’m wondering if they may now count for status renewal? This is PhD KrisFlyer stuff, so not sure if anyone knows what I’m on about.

    • BuildBackBetter says:

      Anything earned from now on will count.

    • mr_jetlag says:

      No, elite miles are 10:1 so 500k premier points required. Terrible deal tbh given the restrictions.

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