Singapore Airlines’ KrisFlyer program has many advantages for Australians. It’s long been a great option for travellers booking reward flights with Singapore Airlines and right across the global Star Alliance network. But with some recent changes in the credit card space, it pays to check your strategy for earning KrisFlyer miles.
For instance, the Amplify Rewards program of St.George, Bank of Melbourne and BankSA is now using a 3:1 conversion rate when transferring credit card points to KrisFlyer. The same is now true of Amex Membership Rewards. With so many changes taking place, it can pay to keep a sharp eye on your points-earning strategy, to make sure it’s still a rewarding one.
Conversion rates with our partners are reviewed and negotiated regularly based on a range of factors, and are now standardised across most bank partners in Australia.
The KrisFlyer program provides travellers with great value and a range of opportunities to earn and burn frequent flyer miles. Singapore Airlines does not charge fuel surcharges and carrier fees on redemptions, and offers a huge range of options to earn and redeem miles on the ground and in the air. From travel-related earn and burn with partners such as Scoot and Star Alliance or attractions platform Pelago, through to everyday lifestyle purchases with Kris+ and KrisShop, KrisFlyer continues to provide a diverse range of opportunities for Australians to access a great value frequent flyer program.
While we’re unable to provide details of any upcoming (points transfer) campaigns, we are in regular discussions with partners to roll out promotions such as bonus mile campaigns.– Singapore Airlines spokesperson, July 2023
For those still keen to earn KrisFlyer miles, here’s how to make the most of the program from credit card spend in 2023.
Converting existing credit card points to KrisFlyer
Had your eye on a jaunt in Singapore Airlines Suites? How about a Star Alliance round the world trip booked using miles? Don’t fret – these changes to credit card conversion rates don’t impact how you could spend your KrisFlyer miles. Once those miles are in your KrisFlyer account, everything remains the same.
Just be aware of KrisFlyer’s biggest catch – its miles expire. From the month that those miles land in your KrisFlyer account, you’ll have three years to spend them. KrisFlyer isn’t like Qantas or Velocity where your balance remains active as long as you continue earning or spending. Every mile in your account has a hard expiry date.
That’s not a problem if you’re planning a big trip soon. But if you’re sitting on a pile of transferrable points in another rewards program, it could be smart to keep them where they are until you’re ready to book a reward flight.
Ways to earn KrisFlyer miles on credit card spends going forward
Many credit cards have sign-up bonuses, which could be a nice boost to your KrisFlyer account. But everyday spending can be rewarding too. KrisFlyer doesn’t offer any ‘direct earning’ credit cards in the Australian market. This means, to earn KrisFlyer miles, you would earn points in another program first. Later on, you could then convert those points into KrisFlyer miles.
Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer is a direct points transfer partner of most major bank loyalty programs. And interestingly, it’s also possible to convert Virgin Australia Velocity Points directly into KrisFlyer miles. Here are those conversion rates.
|Reward program||Conversion rate to KrisFlyer|
|American Express Membership Rewards||3:1|
|Amplify Rewards (Bank of Melbourne, BankSA and St.George)||3:1|
|ANZ Business Rewards||3:1|
|Card Services Rewards||2.5:1|
|Citi Rewards (Platinum cards)||3:1|
|Citi Rewards (Premier and Prestige cards)||2.5:1|
|Diners Club Rewards*||2:1|
|HSBC Rewards Plus (Premier cards only)||2:1|
|Star Alliance Rewards||1.25:1|
|Suncorp Credit Card Rewards||2.5:1|
|Virgin Australia Velocity Frequent Flyer||1.55:1|
|Westpac Altitude Rewards||3:1|
As you can see, there are plenty of ways to turn credit card points into KrisFlyer miles. But it’s worth highlighting again the option of converting Velocity Points into KrisFlyer miles. That’s because sometimes, you might be able to maximise your KrisFlyer miles by earning Velocity Points first.
For instance, some bank programs use a more favourable conversion rate to Velocity. From there, Velocity Points can become KrisFlyer miles… and if you play your cards right, you might end up with even more miles than if you’d transferred directly to KrisFlyer. Or discover a way of earning more KrisFlyer miles on your everyday spends.
Maximising KrisFlyer miles from everyday credit card spends
We’ve crunched a lot of numbers. And it turns out, the most rewarding credit card for earning KrisFlyer miles on everyday purchases is the least likely suspect.
American Express Velocity Platinum Card
As the name suggests, the Amex Velocity Platinum Card earns Velocity Points. On most everyday purchases, the card provides 1.25 Velocity Points per $1 spent, uncapped. But remember, Velocity Points can become KrisFlyer miles. So even though this is a ‘Velocity’ card, it’s still a useful way to earn KrisFlyer miles.
Because Velocity Points transfer into KrisFlyer miles at a 1.55:1 rate, every dollar spent earns the equivalent of 0.806 KrisFlyer miles. For example, spend $20,000 on everyday purchases and you’d first get 25,000 Velocity Points – 1.25 Velocity Points per $1 spent. Convert those rewards to KrisFlyer at the 1.55:1 rate, and that becomes approximately 16,129 KrisFlyer miles.
This makes the Amex Velocity Platinum Card Australia’s most rewarding credit card for earning KrisFlyer miles on everyday transactions. It’s a little unconventional, sure. But just think of Velocity like a bank rewards program. You earn points there from your credit card transactions. And when you’re ready for KrisFlyer miles, you convert them across.
Of course, Velocity Points can be spent on a range of flights too, including with Singapore Airlines. You may find that booking some flights through Velocity presents even greater value than through KrisFlyer. But when you need KrisFlyer miles, you’ll have a good stash of points ready to go.
HSBC Star Alliance Credit Card
One alternative to Amex is the HSBC Star Alliance Credit Card. It provides one Star Alliance Point per dollar spent on eligible purchases up to $3,000 per statement period. That’s akin to 0.8 KrisFlyer miles per $1 spent on these Visa credit card transactions.
On purchases beyond $3,000/month, the earn rate is 0.5 Star Alliance Points per $1 – worth 0.4 KrisFlyer miles.
A good strategy to maximise miles could be to use an American Express card where possible. This takes advantage of the comparable earning rate but with the uncapped points earning potential. But where you can’t use Amex – or would prefer not to – whipping out the HSBC card could earn a similar number of points on modest monthly spends.
American Express Platinum Card
With a slightly lower ‘everyday’ earn rate, the American Express Platinum Card comes in next. On most transactions, Card Members can earn 2.25 Membership Rewards points per dollar spent. Under the new 3:1 conversion rate with KrisFlyer, that’s on par with 0.75 KrisFlyer miles per $1 spent, uncapped.
That’s the case if you convert points from Membership Rewards straight across to KrisFlyer. But Membership Rewards is a very flexible program, with many transfer options. One of those is Velocity – and at a more favourable 2:1 conversion rate from Amex, versus 3:1 when converting to KrisFlyer.
Where this gets interesting is that Velocity regularly runs points transfer bonus offers. And for Amex Platinum Card members, these are often in the region of 20% bonus points. You could therefore wait until there’s a transfer bonus from Amex to Velocity. Then, transfer your points to Velocity – and from Velocity, onwards to KrisFlyer.
We’ll point out right now that future transfer bonus deals are never guaranteed. But for the sake of our calculations, here’s what that could look like if Velocity once again offers a 20% bonus offer on points transfers.
Let’s say you had 100,000 Membership Rewards points. You could:
- Convert them straight from Amex to KrisFlyer at a 3:1 rate, and get 33,333 KrisFlyer miles.
- Convert them from Amex to Velocity first at a 2:1 rate. This gives 50,000 Velocity Points. Under the separate 1.55:1 transfer rate from Velocity to KrisFlyer, that’s 32,258 KrisFlyer miles. (Worse than a direct transfer as above).
- Wait until Velocity is running a 20% transfer bonus. Convert from Amex to Velocity at the 2:1 rate (50,000 Velocity Points), plus a 20% bonus (10,000 Velocity Points), for 60,000 total Velocity Points. Convert onwards from Velocity to KrisFlyer at the 1.55:1 rate, and that’s 38,709 KrisFlyer miles. (Better than a direct transfer from Amex to KrisFlyer).
If you can avail yourself of that third option, you’d wind up earning the equivalent of 0.87 KrisFlyer miles per $1 spent. But hypothetically, even if Velocity never ran a transfer bonus offer again, you’d still fetch at least 0.75 KrisFlyer miles per $1 spent – thanks to the ability to convert from Amex straight to KrisFlyer.
American Express Explorer / ANZ Rewards Black
Next in line are two cards with similar earning and conversion rates. One is the Amex Explorer Card – the other, ANZ Rewards Black. Both Amex Membership Rewards and ANZ Rewards convert points to KrisFlyer at a 3:1 rate. Transfers can also be made from those programs to Velocity at a 2:1 rate.
As you might have guessed, this creates a similar points-boosting potential as with the Amex Platinum Card. Waiting for a Velocity transfer bonus offer, converting those credit card points to Velocity and then onwards to KrisFlyer could be even more rewarding than those direct KrisFlyer transfers. Here’s what that looks like.
ANZ Rewards Black earns two ANZ Reward Points per $1 spent on eligible purchases up to $5,000 per statement period. Then one Reward Point per $1 spent on any further eligible purchases each statement period. Amex Explorer earns a flat rate of two Membership Rewards points per $1 on most transactions, uncapped.
This translates into 0.66 KrisFlyer miles per $1 spent – uncapped on Explorer, and up to $5,000 per month with ANZ before the rate halves. But sweep those credit points to KrisFlyer via Velocity during a 15% Velocity points transfer deal, and it’s even better.
You’d end up with 0.7419 KrisFlyer miles per $1 spent. This factors in the more favourable transfer rate to Velocity versus KrisFlyer from the credit card program, as well as a 15% promotional bonus. And from Velocity, converting those same points into KrisFlyer miles at the usual 1.55:1 rate.
On the one hand, the Amex Velocity Platinum Card may be a better fit for those merely wanting KrisFlyer miles from everyday credit card spends. That’s due to both a higher base earning rate and no need to wait for a transfer bonus to maximise points. But Amex Explorer, as well as ANZ Rewards Platinum, can convert points to other programs as well, should the need arise.
Virgin Money Velocity High Flyer Card
Here’s another option that’s a little out of left field. Virgin Money offers Visa credit cards that directly earn Velocity Points. But again, because Velocity Points can be converted onwards into KrisFlyer miles, this presents an interesting opportunity.
On most everyday purchases, the Virgin Money Velocity High Flyer Card earns one Velocity Point per $1 spent, up to $8,000 per statement period. Given the 1.55:1 conversion rate from Velocity to KrisFlyer, that’s on-par with 0.645 KrisFlyer miles per $1 spent (up to $8,000/month).
Purchases exceeding $8,000 per statement period accrue 0.5 Velocity Points per $1 spent instead. That’s 0.322 KrisFlyer miles per $1. For high spenders, that could be less rewarding than using some other cards. But for those primarily using an American Express card where possible, and looking for a Visa for other purchases throughout the month, it’s an option to consider.
Just be aware that Velocity and KrisFlyer don’t normally offer transfer bonuses when converting points between the two programs.
Of all the international frequent flyer programs that operate in Australia, KrisFlyer has the largest local presence. With a long line-up of credit card points transfer partnerships, earning KrisFlyer miles isn’t as difficult as with some other foreign programs. But the changes made to some KrisFlyer conversion rates this year will make it harder for some to earn miles in large numbers.
That’s why it’s important to make the most of your hard-earned points. And of course, to make sure you’re maximising the rewards you can earn, based on your own spending patterns.
Fittingly, there is no one ‘best’ credit card for KrisFlyer. The most favourable choice will depend on a number of things. For instance, income, spending habits, appetite for fees, patience to wait for transfer offers and more.
We’ve simply highlighted the cards that can deliver the highest number of KrisFlyer miles on regular, everyday transactions. Some may find other cards more rewarding for their particular circumstances. Especially those who regularly spend in places where bonus points are available, compared to a card’s ‘everyday’ earn rate.
For example, the CBA Ultimate Awards Mastercard earns three CommBank Awards points per $1 spent abroad. With a 3:1 conversion rate, that’s one KrisFlyer mile per AU$1 spent – and without any foreign transaction fees. Yet on ‘everyday’ spend in Australia, the earn rate is just one-third of that, making the options highlighted in our article at least twice as rewarding per dollar spent.
Which cards will you be using to earn KrisFlyer miles going forward? Let us know in the comments below.
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