HeCredit card American Express Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer ASCENDis a co-branded credit card of American Express and Singapore Airlines. Due to such a long name, I will refer to it asAMEX KrisFlyer Ascenderto save both of us time!
I give the reasonthe black cardin the title because there are 2 AMEX SIA KrisFlyer co-branded cards. The first is the American Express Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer credit card (also known asAMEX Krisflyer, also known as blue), and the second is American ExpressSingapore Airlines KrisFlyer Ascend Credit Card (also known asAMEX increase, also known as black). This article focuses on the black card, which is the better card of the two.
I received my AMEX KrisFlyer Ascend card in 2019 after upgrading from the blue AMEX KrisFlyer card. For me, the upgrade was a no-brainer. Ascend has a slightly better accrual rate (1.2mpd vs 1.1mpd) and I get upgrade bonus miles, 1 night stay at Hilton and access to 4 lounges with annual fee payment.
If you want to buy AMEX KrisFlyer Ascend, you can buy it immediately without having to buy the blue card first and upgrade later. The reason I got the blue card first was because I was young and naive, I didn't do any research at the time.
As someone who has had an Ascend card for over 3 years, I will share my detailed review of the AMEX Ascend card in this article.
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What is the AMEX KrisFlyer Ascend card?
The AMEX KrisFlyer Ascend Card is a credit card that awards customers KrisFlyer miles when they spend on the card. KrisFlyer miles are deposited directly into the cardholder's KrisFlyer account once a month at no additional charge (which is a mixed blessing, more on that in Benefit #1 section).
In case you are not aware of KrisFlyer, it is the loyalty program of Singapore Airlines. Membership is free. You can earn KrisFlyer miles by flying SIA flights, shopping on SIA platforms, or converting credit card points into KrisFlyer miles. Miles can be used to redeem or upgrade flights, offset airline ticket purchases, and many other purposes that I'll explain in the Where to use KrisFlyer miles section.
Here are the requirements:
- Age: 21 or older
- Minimum. Income: not specified*
- Required documents:
- A copy of your NRIC/passport
- Proof of residency if different from NRIC
- Income documents (For employees: Last rent settlement and last computerized payroll OR computerized payroll of the last 3 months. For self-employed: Rent settlement of the last 2 years)
There is currently no specific income requirement on the AMEX website, it only states that "application for the card is subject to clients meeting statutory minimum income requirements and internal assessment." So if you're making more than S$30,000 (the legal minimum income), you can give it a try.
You will also need a KrisFlyer account. Registration is free. If you don't already have a KrisFlyer account, you can sign up with Singapore Airlines.website.
The annual fee is S$340.20 (including 8% GST). The annual fee for the additional card is waived for the first year, then S$81/card per year (including 8% GST).
In my own experience, it is possible to request an annual fee waiver for major cardholders, but benefits (eg hotel accommodation, lounge access, bonus miles) do not apply.
Welcome bonus for new registrations
From now until April 3, 2023, new registrations can earn up to32,600 miles Kris Flyer. Here's the breakdown:
- 5.000KrisFlyer bonus miles on your first transaction when you have a co-branded American Express Singapore Airlines credit card for the first time
- 10.000Earn bonus KrisFlyer miles when you spend S$3,000 in the first 3 months AND pay the annual fee
- 10.000KrisFlyer bonus miles if you are new to American Express (ie people who do not currently have a basic American Express consumer card at the time of application)
2.0004.000Bonus KrisFlyer miles (exclusive to Trevallog) when you sign up with my referral linkHere
- 3.600KrisFlyer miles from your S$3,000 spend (1.2mpd * 3,000 spend = 3,600 miles)
AMEX KrisFlyer Card Charge Fee
local editions: 1.2 KrisFlyer miles for every S$1 spent in local currency
Expenses abroad:2 KrisFlyer miles per S$ equivalent abroad, June and December only
singapore airline: 2 KrisFlyer miles for every S$1 spent on singaporeair.com, the SingaporeAir mobile app and KrisShop (inflight and online).
Grasp:3.2 KrisFlyer miles for every S$1 spent on eligible Grab Singapore transactions (excluding Grabpay top-up), capped at S$200 spent each calendar month. (AGB)
Benefits of the AMEX KrisFlyer Ascend
Benefit #1: Transfer KrisFlyer miles directly to your KrisFlyer account
The benefit of having a Singapore Airlines co-branded KrisFlyer credit card is that all earned miles are transferred directly to your KrisFlyer account at no additional charge. Thus, you can save the conversion fee of SGD 25 + GST that is normally charged on another miles card.
The bad thing about direct deposit is that the 3-year countdown starts once your miles have been credited to your KrisFlyer account. That's because KrisFlyer miles are only valid for 3 years. If you don't use them during the validity period, they expire worthless. So be sure to check the validity of your KrisFlyer miles using the SingaporeAir mobile app or the SIA website and redeem them before they expire.
Benefit #2: One free night at Hilton hotels per year
I admit it, I am a sucker for free hotel nights! Give me any credit card with a free hotel stay on it, and I'll transfer the annual fee to you (as long as the fee is less than the cost of the hotel stay, of course!).
As a cardholder paying an annual fee, you are entitled to one free night atto participateHilton properties each year. Here it isthe list of hotelsfrom which you can choose. It has not only Hilton properties, but also Conrad, DoubleTree and Curio.
After paying the annual fee, you will receive a physical Hilton coupon. Use the coupon code to book the hotel throughhttp://apac.hilton.com/amexkrisflyer. The expiration date is indicated on the voucher itself. I am quite disappointed that they were only valid for about 7 months.
I used my first annual voucher for myselfKonrad Singapore. In subsequent years, I applied for an annual waiver due to a pandemic and therefore did not receive a free hotel stay. Now that travel is back, I'm paying the annual fee again to get the free hotel stay.
Unfortunately, the Conrad Singapore is no longer listed as a hotel. At the time of writing, there is only one Singapore Hilton hotel where you can redeem a free hotel stay with an AMEX Ascend coupon and that is… [drum roll]…. Hilton Garden Inn Singapore! Thanks, but no thanks, I'll pass! I would rather use it abroad and I hope you will too.
Advantage #3: Free access to 4 VIP rooms per year
Each AMEX Ascend cardholder who pays the annual fee is entitled to 4 free access to VIP lounges forto participateSATS Lounge & Plaza Premium. Here it isthe list of participating salons.
After paying the annual fee, you will receive a physical Hilton coupon. You must present this coupon at check-in for lounge access, along with your physical AMEX Ascend card and boarding pass. You can only leave it to your family or friends if you are traveling together. Children under 2 years old have free admission.
The expiration date is indicated on the voucher itself. The expiration date is similar to that of the hotel voucher, which is valid for about 7 months. Pooh!
Benefit #4: Expedited upgrade to KrisFlyer Elite Gold membership level
If you're a frequent flyer with SIA, you're probably familiar with elite status. As an AMEX Highflyer cardholder, you can quickly achieve KrisFlyer Elite Gold status by spending S$15,000 with Singapore Airlines Group within the first 12 months. Please note that the status is only valid for 1 year. You must then earn 50,000 Elite miles to qualify again for Elite Gold status.
If you are not familiar with elite status, here is a brief explanation. You earn elite miles based on thatdistanceyou flew. Therefore, you cannot earn elite miles by transferring points from your credit card.You have to fly to earn it.. Generally, you must earn 50,000 Elite miles within 12 months to achieve Elite Gold status. However, this card allows you to get Elite Gold by spending just S$15,000 at SIA Group.
These are the benefits of KrisFlyer Elite Gold status:
- Regardless of which class you fly in, when you fly with SIA, you and one guest will have access to the KrisFlyer Gold Lounge at Singapore Changi Airport and SilverKris Lounges around the world. When you fly on a Star Alliance airline, you and one guest get access to Star Alliance Gold lounges around the world, regardless of your flight class.
- Priority check-in at the airport
- additional baggage allowance
- Gold Track (priority security and immigration)
- And many more (see complete privilegesHere)
Personally, I would definitely like to achieve Gold Elite status, but unfortunately I'm not a high-earner, so I can't qualify for Gold Elite status through this path in my first year.
Benefit #5: 500 bonus KrisFlyer miles on a recurring telecom bill
You can receive a one-time bonus of 500 KrisFlyer miles on your first recurring telecom bills. To do this, you must set up automatic bill payment through your telecommunications provider's website. Participating telecommunications providers are: Singtel, StarHub, M1, Circles.Life and MyRepublic. Details can be foundHere.
Where to redeem KrisFlyer miles
Here's how to use your KrisFlyer miles:
- Redeem miles for free flights (also known as award tickets) on Singapore Airlines, Star Alliance or partner airlines
- Redeem miles for flight upgrades
- liquidate plane tickets
- Charge your purchase in KrisShop, Kris+
- Redeem miles for hotel stays and car rentals through vRooms
- Convert miles into Shangri-La GC Rewards points to redeem free hotel stays, room upgrades, spa/dining credits
- Convert to Virgin Australia Velocity Points to redeem award seats and upgrades
Personally, I would only use KrisFlyer miles to redeem flights (business or first class) because that's where the mile is worth the most.
Exclusion of expenses
You will not earn KrisFlyer miles for the following expenses (Those):
- a) Charges processed and billed prior to the Registration Date, or prepaid charges on a Card Account prior to the first billing for that Card Account after the Registration Date;
- b) cash advances and other cash benefits;
- c) effective expres;
- d) Purchase of American Express Traveler's Checks;
- e) charges for uncashed checks;
- f) Financing fees, including credit line fees and credit card interest charges;
- g) late payment and collection charges;
- h) refund of taxes for purchases abroad;
- i) balance transfers;
- j) payment plans;
- k) annual ticket fees;
- l) Amount invoiced for the purchase of KrisFlyer miles to top up your miles balance;
- m) bill payments and all transactions via SingPost (eg SAM kiosks, mobile app, online portal);
- n) payments to insurance companies (excluding payments for insurance products purchased through an authorized American Express channel);
- o) Payments at Singapore Petroleum Company Limited (SPC) petrol stations;
- p) payments for GrabPay top-ups;
- q) utility payments (effective February 12, 2021);
- r) Payments to public/restructured hospitals, polyclinics and other public/restructured and health institutions (effective October 1, 2022);
- s) Charges at merchants or establishments excluded by American Express at its sole discretion and notified by American Express from time to time.
You can earn miles when you use CardUp (Those).
How to check how many KrisFlyer miles have been earned on each transaction
Similar aAMEX Krisflyer, I am unable to verify how many miles have been earned for each transaction via the desktop browser. However, I canvia mobile app.
To do this, I need to open my Amex SG mobile app, select AMEX KrisFlyer Card, tapmembershipat the bottom of the screen, then touchshow activityButton. Here I can see my recent transactions and the number of points I've earned on each transaction.
What I love about the AMEX KrisFlyer card
Generous welcome bonus. The Ascend card welcome bonus is quite generous compared to cards from other banks when you want to stay at Hilton hotels. Let's say a night at a Hilton hotel costs S$200, that means you pay $140 to earn over 30,000 miles (ie, you buy miles for 0.4 cents/mile, which is decent).[PS: 30,000+ Welcome Bonus Miles is correct at time of writing; this may change in the future, but I'm sure you know how to adjust the calculation].
But unless you rate a stay at a Hilton hotel at S$200, think it's closer to S$150 (because you plan to use it at lower-end Hilton hotels like the Hilton Garden Inn), does that mean you pay S$190? to earn more than 30 miles (also known as buying miles for 0.6 cents/mile), then it's like signing up for aCiti Premier Mailen. In that case, the Ascend welcome bonus might not be that interesting for you.
To make the yearly fee for the free hotel stay worth it, I'd trade it in for hotel rooms that cost at least S$200. The more expensive the better.
Direct transfer of KF miles to the KF account. I love not having to pay for mileage conversion. Since I plan to redeem my KF miles at least every 3 years anyway, I'm not afraid of the 3-year mile validity.
Good customer service.This point is very subjective. From my own experience, I think the AMEX team was very efficient (card approval was very fast) and the quality of support I received from their hotline is much better than other banks (they are well trained and can answer to most of my questions).
They reward loyal customers (in my opinion).Again, this point is very subjective and may change in the future. But now I feel well rewarded as a loyal customer. Although they did not offer me a full annual fee waiver in my fourth year, they did offer me a reduced annual fee and a Hilton gift card plus hotel rooms.
Your miles may vary. It probably depends on your spending level (not sure, my guess is as good as yours). If you're lucky, you can get the full annual fee, plus Hilton and Lounge vouchers (sorry, not so lucky yet).
What I don't like about the AMEX KrisFlyer card
Expensive annual fee. It is worth paying the annual fee for the first year. BUT from the 2nd year it's hard to justify paying $340 just to get a Hilton coupon and access to 4 lounges. So I applied for a waiver for my sophomore and junior years.
For my fourth year, I was offered a reduced annual fee by applying for the annual fee waiver. After doing some mental math over the phone, I decided it was worth paying for. Whether or not I pay the annual fee in future years depends on what they offer me because I definitely don't want to pay the full $340 just to get a Hilton gift card and access to 4 lounges.
short validity of the voucher. Not everyone can plan a vacation in 7 months! The validity of the 7-month voucher is too short to plan a significant trip. If you add Hilton Orchard and Conrad in Singapore to the list of hotels, I agree with the short validity of the voucher.
Low income rate. For a supposedly higher-end entry-level card, the 1.2mpd is frankly too low.
I think the AMEX KrisFlyer Ascend is worth buying for the first year (because of the bonus miles).
After the second year, it's only worth continuing to pay the annual fee if you plan to stay at a Hilton property and if the cost of the Hilton stay + 4 lounge access justifies the annual fee you pay.
If you are not willing to pay the annual fee, you can still request an annual fee waiver and forfeit the Hilton and Lounge credits. I think this is a suitable option for people who frequently fly with Singapore Airlines and want to earn more miles while flying with SIA.
If you're an opportunist, you can get thisAMEX Kris Flyerfirst, then upgrade toAMEX increase. This way you can get the welcome bonus of both cards.
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