• Adam Garrett

My First Use of Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer Miles: 5 Cents Per Amex Membership Reward

In Brief:

While many have used Singapore Airlines miles for years, I did my first booking with them today, achieving 5 cents per Amex MR (roughly 2.5 times the TPG valuation of 2 cents per point) that I transferred to Singapore during a targeted 20% bonus promo in December. While 5 cents per point is much less than what's possible, it reaffirms the value of both points diversity & taking advantage of bonus promo transfers even when you don't have specific dates or itineraries in mind as long as you have viable possibilities in mind. I also get into the details about how it was the best option I had available, going over more than a dozen alternatives I didn't choose, ranked by their viability.


Details:

The standard pricing for US-Europe 1 way in economy is 27500 on partners with Singapore Air, so for booking Charlotte (NC) to Prague (Czech Republic) I essentially used 23k Amex MR +$5.60. I was only booking 1 way, and the flights, including the one I booked on that was <13 hrs in total, were all greater than $1200 among those <16.5 hrs if paying in $.


Image courtesy Singapore Airlines


Here are the $ costs on the same date/itinerary that were available:





Viable Alternatives:

1. It seemed to be the best option on the date & itinerary available among the points possibilities I have, including factoring in any bonus promo transfers that I've taken advantage of. Notably, among recent deals, I sadly did not take advantage of the deal of the decade for points acquisitions with AA that occurred recently. I thought that deal was too good to be true and didn't keep reading until that became more evident. Otherwise, I would probably be using 30k AA miles +$27.80 instead. Conversely, the recent 1:1 temporary transfer promo from Citi Thank You Rewards to AA would be included in the "worse possibilities" section of this post.


2. An alternative with significantly worse times (14 hrs and 40 minutes but the need to change airports in NYC or 19 hrs and 45 minutes or more) would have been 22.3k Amex MR +9.30 Euros for flights via Air France Flying Blue miles after a 30% bonus transfer promo I took advantage of (7/21 example) to acquire the 29k miles from Amex MR.


3. Lifemiles - no availability on those dates in standard pricing (30k miles + low fees, with plenty of transfer promos to Lifemiles including some for 25%, so 24k from a currency like Brex, Citi, or Capital One during a 25% transfer promo in November 2021)- if availability had been present, it would have been much more viable.


4. Aeromexico - I have points from Amex MR during a 25% bonus promo, but you have to call in to book awards on partners like Delta. In low season, a 1 way going this route could be 24k Amex MR (30k without the 25% promo). Because Flying Blue has the same European partners and no low/high season as well as a 30% instead of 25% max transfer promo in recent history, and because you can book Flying Blue online, you'd be better off going with Air France Flying Blue. Not knowing the $ surcharge without calling in, it could be worse than British Airways in the next section.


5. Alaskan didn't show any availability. For something like CLT-MUC (Munich, Germany) pricing can be as low as 22.5k +$19. That said, Alaskan Miles are more difficult to acquire than Aeromexico, Lifemiles, Air France Flying Blue or to a lesser degree in typical circumstances, AA miles.


Worse possibilities would have included options like:

1. Virgin Atlantic: 38.5k +$11.20 (29.6k after a 30% bonus promo transfer from Amex MR including the one available now)


2. United Miles (1:1 partner with Chase Ultimate Rewards with no recent history of bonus promo transfers) for the same itinerary I booked for 30k miles +$5.60


3. British Airways - you'd be getting charged per leg unless going through LHR, and once on mainland Europe, the partners are limited and a lot of connections go through LHR where fees are high. Even something like CLT to MUC using BA Avios on AA would be 25750 Avios +$228.30, or after a 40% bonus promo from Amex MR, 18.4k Amex MR +$228.30.


4. If available, Turkish miles on partners would have been 30k miles. There is a history of 1 former transfer promo of 25% from Citi years ago.


5. Aer Lingus doesn't fly to Charlotte.


Significantly Worse Possibilities:

1. ANA - only round trip possibilities are available for 55k from the US to Europe. If you were considering round trip business class, ANA would be a solid option on the same departure & arrival location.


2. Air Canada Aeroplan would have been 40k miles, so even with the 20% bonus transfer promo, no.


3. Qantas was buggy, so I couldn't check it.


4. Delta miles economy 1 ways from CLT-PRG start at 35k miles $23, but on May 28th, they start at 100k +$6.


5. Options on Iberia Avios flying American Airlines & British Airways started at 38000 +$255 (27.1k Amex MR after a 40% transfer).


6. Etihad prices by segment & you have to call in, and even with the 50% bonus promo from Capital One that I recently took advantage of, doesn't appear to make sense in this scenario.


Likely worse possibilities that I didn't check:

1. Asia miles don't have enough appeal to me even with a 20% transfer promo, so I don't have any.

2. I don't have any Korean Skypass miles since they exited Chase Ultimate Rewards transfer partners, Marriott's old nights and flights that I loved are no more, and Korean no longer has an effective acquisition option in my opinion.

3. With Marriott's old hotel + air packages that I loved being gone, as well as the legacy SPG card going away, as well as 2x on general spending on points like Capital One miles coming out and the Citi Double +Premier+Rewards+ combo being available, I don't find options like Asiana, Lufthansa, or Japan Airlines to be viable acquisition possibilities in the vast majority of cases, including this one, despite the fact that I acknowledge that each of those points options can be quite valuable.

4. I don't typically check Emirates, Finnair, SAS (all 3 Amex MR 1:1 partners & Emirates & Finnair being Capital One partners).

5. I don't typically check TAP Miles & Go (1:1 partner of Capital One) or Eva Air, a 2:1.5 partner of Capital One & 1:1 partner of Citi.

6. I don't typically check 1:1 Citi partners like Intermiles, Malaysia Air, Qatar Airways, & Thai Royal Orchid Plus.

7. JetBlue & Southwest don't have great options from the US to PRG unless you're talking a positioning flight.


Transfer Partner Master List from Frequent Miler




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