The Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer program is offering a 15% transfer bonus when you convert points from worldwide banking partners – including HSBC Rewards here in Canada, as well as several popular points currencies in the US – into KrisFlyer miles.
While KrisFlyer isn’t necessarily the most easily accessible program from a Canadian perspective, it remains an essential program for anyone wanting to book a dream flight in Singapore Airlines’s premium cabins – especially the famous First Class and Suites Class products, one of the greatest prizes on offer in the game – making this unprecedented 15% conversion bonus worth a closer look.
The 15% Transfer Bonus
Rather than being offered by any particular bank’s rewards program, the 15% transfer bonus is a promotion put on by Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer themselves. As long as you convert points to KrisFlyer by January 16, 2021, you’ll get a 15% bonus on top of your original amount.
(The promotion was originally supposed to run until December 27, 2020, but has now been extended until mid-January, perhaps as a competitive response to Asia Miles’s 10–15% promotion that runs through January 2021.)
You’ll find the list of participating bank partners on the Singapore Airlines promotion page.
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. Under this promotion, the effective transfer ratio would be 25,000 HSBC Rewards points = 10,350 KrisFlyer miles.
Unfortunately, the timing of the promotion sadly doesn’t coincide with the excellent offer we recently saw on the HSBC World Elite Mastercard.
Even though the card offered 100,000–130,000 HSBC Rewards points as a welcome bonus, cardholders do not receive the full bonus until six months after opening the card, so the utility of this promotion from an HSBC perspective will be limited to:
- Cardholders who had signed up under the previous offer of 60,000 HSBC Rewards points back in the spring, who should access to their full bonus after the six-month waiting period by the promotion’s end date of January 16
- Cardholders who signed up recently and who have earned the 20,000 HSBC Rewards points as part of the initial bonus upon first purchase
- If you live outside of Quebec and have met your $5,000 in minimum spending, then that’d earn you an additional 15,000 HSBC Rewards points for a total of 35,000, which would convert into 14,490 KrisFlyer miles
Do keep in mind the rather peculiar redemption structure when it comes to transferring HSBC Rewards points to frequent flyer partners:
- A minimum of 25,000 HSBC Rewards points must be redeemed at once
- On top of the minimum amount, HSBC Rewards points may be redeemed in increments of 10,000 points
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 the effective ratio during this promotion is 1:1.15.
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 HSBC, as well as the fact that HSBC’s current 35% transfer bonus to British Airways Avios is nominally stronger than the KrisFlyer bonus anyway.
Finally, note that hotel transfer partners like Marriott Bonvoy are not eligible for the 15% bonus.
Should You Transfer Points to KrisFlyer with a 15% Bonus?
A 15% bonus may or may not move the needle for whether you wish to convert points into KrisFlyer miles, and there are quite a few different factors that may sway your decision.
On one hand, Singapore Airlines has historically liked to keep its KrisFlyer program as exclusive as possible, and I can’t recall them offering transfer promotions like these in the past, so this may well be a one-time opportunity.
In that same vein of exclusivity, Singapore Airlines’s long-haul premium cabins were also historically gated-off from partner award redemptions and could mostly only be accessed through the KrisFlyer program only.
There have been some exceptions here and there, like when I managed to book Auckland–Singapore on Singapore Suites using Aeroplan miles, or when the world’s longest Newark–Singapore flight became widely available through Aeroplan during the early days of the pandemic.
But by and large, KrisFlyer miles gave you access to the widest range of premium cabin availability across the entire Singapore Airlines route network, and I’d expect that to continue in the post-pandemic days.
On the other hand, there’s the question of when those post-pandemic days will really return. Singapore Airlines recently removed all inventory in First Class and Suites Class until October 2021 – for both awards and paid tickets – signalling that it doesn’t expect to offer its top-tier cabins until late next year.
Adding another layer of intrigue is KrisFlyer’s strict mileage expiration policy, under which 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.
Therefore, any points conversions to KrisFlyer under this promotion should be accompanied by a careful plan for redeeming your miles within three years’ time. In this regard, what might be a minor challenge during regular times can certainly become a major challenge during times of a pandemic.
Personally, the one reason that I’m tempted by this promotion is because I still have yet to try the Singapore Airlines A380 New Suites Class. After flying with Emirates and Etihad a few times, Singapore’s new A380 Suites are now the single top-most item on my bucket list for aspirational travel.
What’s more, Mainly Miles recently reported that Singapore Airlines will retrofit all 12 of their Airbus A380s with the new seats and interiors, which bodes very well for the long-term future of Singapore’s A380s as a whole. This means that when the A380 fleet returns to the skies, the “old” Suites Class may no longer be a thing, and we’ll see the new A380 Suites being offered on more routes than they were before.
Between Amex, Chase, and Citi, I probably would’ve had to transfer some of my US points over to KrisFlyer to book this in the future anyway, so I’m thinking I may as well transfer some over now under the 15% bonus. Some of the common one-way redemption price points in First & Suites Class include:
- North America to Europe (such as the New York JFK–Frankfurt fifth-freedom route): 86,000 KrisFlyer miles
- North America to North Asia: 104,000 KrisFlyer miles
- Singapore to Europe: 125,000 KrisFlyer miles
With a 15% bonus in play, these correspond to 74,782, 90,434, and 108,696 points in the major US currency of your choosing (or perhaps combined among all three major currencies or even with HSBC Rewards points).
Personally, I’ve decided to go ahead and convert a large chunk of my Amex US MR points balance over to Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer under this promotion, with a primary goal of redeeming these KrisFlyer miles for two seats on the new Singapore Suites sometime over the next three years.
Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer is putting on a 15% conversion bonus from worldwide bank partners until January 16, 2021, which is a rarity for a program that has historically liked to keep things as exclusive as possible.
In my opinion, the temptation for taking advantage of this bonus lies in the prospect of redeeming KrisFlyer miles for Singapore Airlines A380 New Suites Class at some point in the next three years, so if you’re like me and have Singapore Suites on your aspirational bucket list, then this promotion will definitely pique your interest.
Outside of a bucket-list Singapore Suites redemption, however, I don’t think a 15% bonus will move the needle too much, especially considering the strict 36-month expiration policy on KrisFlyer miles.