Why I'm Considering Earning KrisFlyer Elite Status Through Point Transfers

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Now through February 2022, Singapore Airlines is running a very compelling promotion that offers Singapore KrisFlyer members the opportunity to earn status without flying. The terms of this promotion make it such that anyone with a stash of transferable points can take advantage.

Based on the travel that I have planned for next year, I am seriously considering taking advantage of Singapore Airlines’ offering. However, this promotion probably won’t make sense for many U.S.-based flyers.


The Deal

Between April 7, 2021 and February 28, 2022, Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer members can earn status credits based on everyday activities and spending. If you already have KrisFlyer status, you can still work toward qualifying for the same (or potentially higher) status for the coming year as well.

In total, Singapore Airlines offers six distinct ways to earn status credits without flying:

  1. KrisShop: earn 3 Elite miles for every Singapore Dollar spent
  2. Kris+: earn 3 Elite miles for every Singapore Dollar spent
  3. Conversion of bank points to KrisFlyer miles: earn 1 Elite mile for every 5 KrisFlyer miles converted
  4. Conversion of bank points to KrisPay miles: earn 1 Elite mile for every 5 KrisFlyer miles converted
  5. Co-brand cards: earn 1 Elite mile for every 5 KrisFlyer miles earned
  6. Spend or conversion with non-air partners: earn 1 Elite mile for every 5 KrisFlyer miles earned or converted

Earn Singapore elite status without flying

The option of converting bank points to KrisFlyer miles stands out. Singapore Airlines partners with Amex, Brex, Chase, Capital One, Citi, and Marriott. Amex, Brex, Capital One, Chase, and Citi points all transfer to Singapore Airlines at a 1:1 transfer ratio. Meanwhile, Marriott points transfer to Singapore Airlines at a 3:1 rate, with a 5,000-mile bonus for every 60,000 points transferred.

For every 10,000 KrisFlyer miles generated via bank transfers — which is the minimum conversion amount considered — KrisFlyer members earn 2,000 Elite miles.

  • 25,000 Elite miles are required for KrisFlyer Elite Silver.
  • 50,000 Elite miles are required for KrisFlyer Elite Gold.

This means that transferring 250,000 bank points to Singapore Airlines nets KrisFlyer members Elite Gold status for at least the next 12 months.

Is KrisFlyer Elite Gold Worth Earning?

The perks of this promotion directly correlate to how often you fly and where you fly. KrisFlyer Elite Gold status corresponds to Star Alliance Gold status, which comes with a handful of notable benefits:

  • Priority airport check-in
  • Extra baggage allowance
  • Star Alliance Gold lounge access — including United Airlines lounge access (even on domestic travel)
  • Priority boarding
  • Priority baggage handling

Frequent fliers of United Airlines or other Star Alliance airlines will get the most out of KrisFlyer Elite Gold status. That's particularly true for those flying to/from airports with United lounges. If you don’t see yourself flying on United anytime soon — or have no way to take advantage of these perks — it likely makes sense to sit this promotion out.

Why I am Seriously Considering this Deal

At the moment, Star Alliance Gold status doesn’t mean much to me. My wife and I aren’t loyal to any single airline. We live close enough to a few airports. So, we are spoiled for options when booking airline travel. Even before the pandemic, we probably flew United Airlines the least among the three U.S. legacy carriers.

So why would I be seriously considering taking advantage of this promotion? It turns out that I have a very real use for almost exactly 250,000 Krisflyer miles.

Earlier this year I was lucky enough to grab a week of award space at the Waldorf Astoria Maldives Ithaafushi, one of the most aspirational properties available on points and one of Hilton properties where points are worth the most. Conveniently, Singapore Airlines is one of a surprisingly high number of airlines that offer 1-stop itineraries between the United States and the Maldives.

The 250,000 Krisflyer miles I would gain via bank transfer would cover one-way business class travel for two on Singapore Airlines. Other Star Alliance airlines' frequent flier programs require fewer miles for this kind of itinerary. However, Singapore Airlines typically restricts other programs’ access to premium cabin award space.

The added benefit of Star Alliance Gold status would be a bonus on top of what would be a very memorable flight home. Plus, next year when travel opportunities could be much more plentiful, this status could be used either as a way to enhance travel on Star Alliance carriers or to gain similar status with other airlines via status match opportunities.

Potential Downside?

If for some reason this trip can’t go ahead as planned, I would have 250,000 KrisFlyer miles instead of 250,000 transferable bank points. Luckily there are still some great redemptions possible thanks to the Singapore Airlines frequent flier program, but I would still prefer the flexibility that transferable bank points offer.

I would also need to make sure to use the miles within three years from when they were transferred to the program, as KrisFlyer is notoriously stringent about when miles expire.

Our Take

Singapore Airlines stands out from other airlines with this promotion, and in a positive way. Providing an option for its members to earn airline status without having to fly still encourages would-be travelers to tie themselves to Singapore Airlines. Those who earn status may wish to enjoy it on Singapore Airlines, and those like me who would end up with heaps of KrisFlyer miles would want to cash them in for rewarding travel.

Still, it’s important to weigh the opportunity costs of this promotion. Do you have an immediate use for these points? If not, this deal definitely does not make sense to pursue. The perks of Star Alliance Gold status will depend on each individual, but in no situation would they be worth tying up 250,000 points in the KrisFlyer program.

Do you have better uses of 250,000 transferable bank points? If the answer is a resounding “yes” that could also be a signal to sit out this promotion. Ultimately it will depend on the value you place on the status earned by the transfer.

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  • I have earned KrisFlyer Silver through the bank transfer method for a redemption. When I fly United in the future, would I need to enter my KrisFlyer number to get the Silver status perks? I’d prefer to use my United number so I earn points there, so I’m wondering if Star Alliance knows I am the same person even if I use my United FF number. Or maybe there is some way to link them?

    • Lily – you have to choose. You can put in your KrisFlyer number to get the benefits of your status, or you can use your United number if that’s where you want the miles to go. You can’t get both, unfortunately.

  • IMHO, Singapore’s haul flights are the best experience I’ve ever had in my lifetime, while flying.

  • An additional consideration is if one’s travel plans include Europe, just 2 round trips, if you can book award seats on Singapore’s “Fifth Freedom” routes from Houston to Manchester (70k miles saver one way), or New York to Frankfurt.
    From Manchester, one can book a cheap “positioning flight” on the award winning Jet2.com (Europe’s equivalent to JetBlue) whose menu is a distinctive inflight experience on its own, to almost anywhere in the Mediterranean and eastern Atlantic (among other European destinations), including many vacation spots popular with Europeans but completely off the radar for most Americans. Houston to Manchester includes United Polaris Business Lounge access in Houston.
    From Frankfurt, you could use lower level Star Alliance awards for Lufthansa positioning flights to other European cities – maybe even as part of ;your SIA award itinerary if you are ok with calling SIA for the award space.

  • Aside from those Amex, Chase, Capital One, City and Marriott, you can also transfer Brex points to Krisflyer acct

  • Rotemburo says:

    Thank you very much for sharing this deal. Very useful information, especially regarding

  • Its great that you were able to get the booking at the WA Maldives. That is certainly aspirational. However the 3 year expiration for Krisflyer miles is certainly a risk. I had a trip booked for mid 2020 to Singapore for which i had transferred my Chase/Citi points to Krisflyer and now i’m sitting on those points as the trip got cancelled.

  • This does seem like a good idea. Even if it doesn’t work out for your planned trip you could always look using Krisflyer miles on a partner for another trip. The time limit and expiration rules always makes me nervous about transferring any points into an account.

  • This is a very interesting strategy and I would certainly consider it if they didn’t have the hard expiration date. If there were to be another reason we couldn’t travel again, the value of those points might not be used. Giving up all those valuable flexible points is a big ask.

  • my issue with this promotion is that once I transfer flexible points to KrisFlyer program, those points/miles will automatically expire after a couple of years regardless of whatever activity one makes in the account.