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Convert Points to Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer for Star Alliance Gold!

Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer has launched a new promotion that allows regular KrisFlyer members to convert points from third-party programs and earn KrisFlyer Elite Silver or KrisFlyer Elite Gold status – the latter of which corresponds to Star Alliance Gold status.

For anyone who’s been contemplating a points transfer to Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer – including from our very own HSBC Rewards points in Canada – in advance of post-pandemic travel, the highly attractive prospect of earning Star Alliance Gold for 12 months may very well sway your decision.

Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer: Unlock Status Credits without Flying

The new promotion from Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer runs for almost a year through February 28, 2022, allowing KrisFlyer members to work their way towards elite status with actual travel on Singapore Airlines predicted to be severely limited throughout this period.

(In many ways, this promotion is similar to Air Canada’s Travel at Home promotion that we saw last year, giving members a pathway toward elite status by converting a large balance of credit card points. However, Singapore Airlines has gone one step further than Air Canada, offering up their Star Alliance Gold equivalent to anyone who converts points, rather than only Aeroplan 25K and Star Alliance Silver.)

Members with different current tiers of status are eligible to earn various types of status upgrades. As you can see, a regular no-status peon in the KrisFlyer program would be able to upgrade to KrisFlyer Elite Gold using this promotion.

KrisFlyer Elite Gold normally requires earning 50,000 Elite miles within the KrisFlyer program to qualify for, upon which you’d earn the status for a 12-month period.

Now, under the current promotion, KrisFlyer is offering the following additional ways to earn Elite miles in addition to flying activity:

It’s the rows entitled “Conversion of Bank Points to KrisFlyer miles” and “Spend or Conversion with Non-Air Partners” that you should pay attention to: for every 5 KrisFlyer miles converted, you’d earn 1 Elite mile that counts towards your KrisFlyer Elite status.

This means that in order to rack up the 50,000 Elite miles required for KrisFlyer Elite Gold (and therefore Star Alliance Gold), you’d need to convert a total of 250,000 KrisFlyer miles from the various third-party bank programs in the US and Canada, as well as hotel loyalty programs like Marriott Bonvoy.

You’ll find the list of participating bank partners listed here, as well as the participating non-air partners listed here.

The only bank with a Canadian presence is HSBC, whose HSBC Rewards points can usually be transferred to KrisFlyer miles at a ratio of 25,000 HSBC Rewards points = 9,000 KrisFlyer miles.

Relying solely on HSBC Rewards transfers for this promotion would be quite challenging (but not impossible for a dedicated spender on this card), as you’d need a total of 694,444 HSBC Rewards points to convert into 250,000 KrisFlyer miles.

Transferring points from Marriott Bonvoy would also qualify, since Marriott is an eligible non-air partner. Marriott transfers to airlines are best executed at an optimal ratio of 60,000 Bonvoy points = 25,000 airline miles, so you’d need a whopping 600,000 Bonvoy points to take full advantage of this promotion.

In my view, there are better uses out there for 600,000 Bonvoy points, so I’d only choose to transfer Bonvoy points as a means to top-up to the required 250,000 KrisFlyer miles, not for the entire balance.

Meanwhile, on the US side, all of the “big three” points programs of American Express Membership Rewards, Chase Ultimate Rewards, and Citi ThankYou Points are participating partners as well. Each of these convert into KrisFlyer at a 1:1 ratio, so if you hold any sums of points in these programs that add up to 250,000, then that would be enough to earn you one year of Star Alliance Gold by transferring to Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer.

If you have a US-based business and signed up for the recent Brex Cash 110K promotion, Brex is also a 1:1 transfer partner to KrisFlyer, so this promotion could easily sway your decision as to what to do with your stockpile of Brex points.

Indeed, I’d say that this promotion is more relevant for those of you with a credit card presence in the US, because of the wider range of participating partners and ease of earning points compared to the HSBC and Marriott options we have in Canada.

(Some of you may have recently held the Canadian-issued American Express Platinum Card, earned Shangri-La Jade status as a result, and matched that into Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer Elite Silver status. My understanding is that this status match only increases your status without actually granting you KrisFlyer Elite miles, so you’d still need to earn the full 50,000 Elite miles to bump up to KrisFlyer Elite Gold status.)

Should You Transfer 250,000 Points to KrisFlyer for Star Alliance Gold?

Earning one year of Star Alliance Gold for no flying activity certainly sounds like a very appealing proposition.

Star Alliance Gold entitles you to priority check-in, boarding, security queue, and baggage handling; an extra baggage allowance of three bags of up to 32kg each; and lounge access around the world (including to some lounges that aren’t accessible by regular business class passengers, like the Swiss Senator Lounge Zurich with its dedicated whiskey bar) across the entire Star Alliance network.

At the same time, 250,000 points is a lot of points to convert into what’s definitely a more niche loyalty program from a Canadian perspective, while also considering the fact that you may or may not be able to maximize 12 months of Star Alliance Gold depending on how much you travel during that period.

One thing is for sure: since the promotion runs until February 2022, and you earn KrisFlyer Elite Gold for 12 months after converting 250,000 points, it only makes sense to take action on this promotion when you’ve planned a fair bit of travel over your upcoming 12-month horizon.

Ideally, most of us would probably be looking to convert points in early 2022, in anticipation of travelling a fair bit in 2022 before our Star Alliance Gold status lapses in early 2023.

While 250,000 KrisFlyer miles is a lot to convert, keep in mind that Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer miles are also fairly useful for booking Singapore Airlines’s long-haul premium cabins, which were historically blocked from partner award redemptions and could mostly only be accessed through the KrisFlyer program.

Singapore Airlines A380 New Suites Class

Indeed, if you were aiming to book an aspirational trip for two passengers in the ultra-luxurious Singapore Suites on the Airbus A380 someday, you’d most likely need to transfer over roughly 200,000 to 250,000 KrisFlyer miles at some point anyway. You may as well earn a free year of Star Alliance Gold out of it if you can get the points balances, booking windows, and travel timelines to line up.

Do also take note of KrisFlyer’s strict mileage expiration policy: your KrisFlyer miles will expire 36 months after you’ve earned them, rather than following an “inactivity rule” like most other programs around the world these days.

If you’re thinking of converting 250,000 points in early 2022, you’d better do so with a plan for redeeming those KrisFlyer miles before early 2025 (a time by which Singapore’s A380s are once again gracing the skies, I’d hope).

Will I Be Taking Advantage of This Promotion?

Speaking personally, I won’t be taking advantage of this promotion because my Aeroplan 50K status – which also comes with Star Alliance Gold – has already been extended through to the end of 2022. The benefits of a 12-month period of Star Alliance Gold would be largely moot for me.

However, if I didn’t have my Aeroplan 50K status, I’d be at a bit of a crossroads because I had only recently converted a large sum of Amex US MR points to Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer under the 15% conversion bonus that lasted through January 2021.

I’d be feeling hard-pressed to convert yet another 250,000 points, even as much as I’d value the free year of Star Alliance Gold.

Having said that, I do think that Star Alliance Gold could be a bigger temptation for folks to convert points into KrisFlyer compared to a 15% bonus, so I imagine that those of you with larger balances of HSBC Rewards or US bank points would find this promotion fairly attractive.

Indeed, the only reason I won’t be taking advantage of this promotion is that I already have both Star Alliance Gold and a sizeable KrisFlyer balance. If I had neither, I’d almost certainly be taking advantage of this promotion early next year.

Conclusion

If you’ve always dreamed of flying Singapore Suites and also wouldn’t mind a nice status boost to elevate your “revenge travel” in 2022, Singapore Airlines’s “Unlock Status Credits without Flying” promotion is a fantastic opportunity.

By transferring points from bank programs and hotel loyalty programs to earn at least 250,000 KrisFlyer miles (enough for two one-way flights in Suites Class between Singapore and Europe), you’ll also come away with one free year of Star Alliance Gold status without having to fly a single mile.

Thanks to the promotion’s year-long window, you have plenty of time to decide whether and when to convert your points, based on your projected travel activity over the upcoming 12 months.

Ricky

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