You can now earn Star Alliance Gold status without flying — here’s how
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Singapore Airlines is awarding KrisFlyer elite status qualifying points on non-travel points earning through Feb. 28, 2022. This includes things like points transfers, shopping purchases and spending on international cobranded credit cards. This has the potential to be a great deal if you’re looking for full-fledged Star Alliance Gold status — but there are a few things you should keep in mind.
In this article, I’ll give you a quick look at this promotion, discuss KrisFlyer Elite Gold benefits, and show you a couple of interesting ways to earn status with this promotion. Then, I’ll round discuss what you should consider before earning status with this promotion.
Singapore Airlines’ new status promotion
Today, Singapore Airlines announced that it will award elite qualifying miles on several points earning methods. This includes things like points transfers from transferrable points programs and spending on shopping the Singapore Airlines shopping portal. You can use this to outright qualify for Singapore elite status, including Singapore KrisFlyer Gold. This tier includes Star Alliance Gold benefits which we’ll discuss in the next section.
According to the Singapore Airlines website, you can use this promotion to earn, upgrade or requalify for KrisFlyer elite status. You can also use the promotion to earn PPS Value points, but you cannot earn PPS Club status outright with the promotion.
There are many ways to earn status qualifying miles with this promotion. Each of these has a different earning rate — here’s a look:
U.S.-based travelers will want to pay attention to bank points conversions, spending with non-air partners and earning with KrisShop. These are the easiest ways to earn KrisFlyer points for Americans and they earn at the following rates:
- Converting bank points: 1 Elite mile per 5 points converted
- Spend or conversion with non-air partners: 1 Elite mile per 5 points earned or converted
- Shopping with the KrisShop: 3 Elite miles per $1 SGD (~$2.23 USD) spent
The most interesting of the three is converting “bank points” to Singapore miles. This includes transfers from American Express Membership Rewards, Capital One Rewards, Chase Ultimate Rewards and Citi ThankYou. You’ll earn 1 Elite mile per 5 points converted, meaning you’d earn 100,000 redeemable Singapore miles and 20,000 Elite miles if you transfer 100,000 points from Amex to Singapore.
The easiest way to earn with non-air partners is by shopping through the Singapore Spree shopping portal. This portal awards bonus points whenever you spend with one of Singapore’s partner merchants. The number of redeemable miles varies by merchant, and some eligible merchants include Apple, Staples, Marriott and others. Marriott earns 11 redeemable miles per $10 spent, so a $200 hotel stay yields 220 miles and 44 Elite miles.
Finally, KrisShop is Singapore Airlines’ online store that sells merchandise from a variety of retailers. All prices are in Singapore Dollars and many products only ship to Singapore. That said, there are some exceptions, like Apple products. You will be able to select “international” shipping when you add an item to your card. Just make sure that the price of the product you’re purchasing is comparable to other retailers before you make a purchase.
Even better, you’ll earn double elite qualifying miles when you spend with KrisShop, KrisFlyer Spree and at Kris+ partners between now and Apr. 21, 2021. This effectively doubles your earning to 6 Elite miles per $1 SGD spent at KrisShop and 2 Elite miles per 5 points earned with the KrisFlyer Spree shopping portal.
Benefits of earning KrisFlter Gold elite status
Singapore Airlines has two KrisFlyer elite status tiers: KrisFlyer Elite Silver and KrisFlyer Elite Gold. Silver status requires 25,000 Elite miles to earn, while Gold status requires 50,000.
Silver status has minimal benefits on Singapore Airlines and its Star Alliance partners, so I’d recommend skipping it for this promotion. This status tier includes seat selection on Singapore Airlines flights, a 25% bonus on miles earned when flying Singapore Airlines and Star Alliance Silver status.
KrisFlyer Elite Gold status, however, is a bit more intriguing. It gives you a basic set of benefits on Singapore Airlines flights, but the real benefit comes with the included Star Alliance Gold status. Using this, you’re entitled to priority boarding and extra baggage on all Star Alliance flights. Plus, you’ll gain access to Star Alliance business class lounges regardless of your class of service. This even includes United Clubs when flying domestically.
Ironically, United Premier elite members don’t get United Club access on domestic flights. This benefit alone can be worth a lot depending on how often you fly United Airlines. United sells United Club memberships for $650 per year. It’s also included with the United Club℠ Infinite Card, which has a $525 annual fee.
So if you’re a frequent United or Star Alliance flyer who wants access to these benefits, it may be worth earning Singapore KrisFlyer Gold status with this promotion. Just make sure to look through your future travel plans and see if the effort (and potential points transfer) is worth your time and transferrable points.
Strategies for earning KrisFlyer Gold status
There are a few strategies for earning status with Singapore’s new status promotion — here’s a look.
Transfer 250,000 points from Amex, Chase or Citi
The fastest way to earn KrisFlyer Elite Gold status with this promotion is to transfer 250,000 points from Amex, Chase or Citi to Singapore Airlines. This would give you 250,000 redeemable miles and 50,000 elite qualifying miles — just enough to earn Gold status. You should see Gold status reflected in your KrisFlyer account shortly after the transfer is completed.
- Chase Sapphire Preferred Card – Earn 100,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months from account opening. Earns 3 Ultimate Rewards points per dollar on dining and 2 Ultimate Rewards points per dollar on travel purchases.
- Chase Sapphire Reserve – Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months from account opening. Earns 3x points per dollar spent on travel and dining purchases.
- Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card — Earn 100,000 bonus points after you spend $15,000 on purchases in the first three months from account opening.
Spend through the Singapore shopping portal
You can also opt to earn Singapore status by shopping through Singapore Spree. Remember, each merchant offers a different number of points per dollar spent, but I’ve found most to offer between 10 and 20 redeemable miles per $10 spent. If you average 15 miles per $10 spent — or 1.5 miles per dollar — you’d need to spend $166,670 through the portal to earn Gold status. This would result in just over 250,000 redeemable miles and 50,000 elite qualifying miles.
While this sounds like a lot on paper, it may be relatively easy for business owners. For example, if you need to buy new computers for a 50-person team, you can earn 19 miles per $10 spent at HP.com. Alternatively, Staples earns 11 miles per $10 spent, FedEx Office earns 19 miles per $10 spent and Dell earns 15 miles per $10 spent.
Also, remember that you’ll earn double elite qualifying miles on Singapore Spree purchases made by Apr. 21, 2021. So if you have a large purchase coming up, it could be worth running it through the portal for bonus points.
Combine multiple earning strategies
Of course, you’re not limited to one of these strategies. You could opt to credit some United flights to Singapore Airlines, buy a new set of AirPods through KrisShop and earn 5,000 Elite miles through the Singapore Spree portal. Then, you could transfer in the remaining points required from a transferrable points program. Run the numbers and see if you can build an earning strategy that works for you.
Things to consider before earning status with this promotion
This all looks great on paper, but there are a couple of things you should consider before you earn Singapore airlines elite status with this promotion.
You’ll end up with a lot of redeemable Singapore miles
The first is that — if you plan to transfer points to earn status — you’re locking up your Amex, Capital One, Chase or Citi points with Singapore Airlines. These points cannot be transferred back to your credit card, so you’ll have to redeem them with the KrisFlyer program. While there are many great redemptions out there, you’ll lose the flexibility that comes with transferable points.
Singapore miles expire after three years with no way to extend. Make sure you actually plan on using your Singapore miles before you transfer to earn status. I’d stay away from this promotion if you either don’t plan on taking a trip with these miles in that timeframe. Some good redemptions include United flights to Hawaii and Singapore Airlines flights to Singapore and beyond in its posh Suites first-class product.
There’s an opportunity cost with this promotion
Further, there’s an opportunity cost involved with using the Singapore Spree shopping portal. This portal doesn’t always have the best earning rate compared to shopping portals like the Alaska Airlines portal or Rakuten. Consider whether you value Singapore status enough to offset the potential value you’re losing compared to earning with another program.
You’ll have to credit partner flights to Singapore to use some benefits
In some cases, you’ll have to credit your Star Alliance flights to use your KrisFlyer Elite Gold benefits — including United flights. Unlike United MileagePlus, you’ll earn Singapore miles based on the length of your flight. This can be advantageous for cheap flights, but not all fare classes earn 100% miles flown. Here’s a look at Singapore’s United earning chart:
Say you’re flying on United’s new route from New York-JFK to Los Angeles (LAX) in W fare economy. You’d earn 75% miles flown on a 2,475-mile flight for 1,856 Singapore miles. On the other hand, if the ticket costs $150 before taxes, a United MileagePlus member without elite status would earn 5x points per dollar spent for 750 miles.
The math works in favor of Singapore in this case, but this may not be the case on expensive short-haul tickets.
Of course, some Star Alliance Gold members have reported success in accessing lounges by showing their elite status cards. There’s no guarantee that this will work, but you may be able to credit Star Alliance flight miles elsewhere if you so choose.
Requalifying isn’t easy
One last thing: Singapore elite status is valid for 12 months from the date you earn it. Ensure you’re able to use status benefits enough over the next year to justify earning it with this promotion. After this, you’ll have to requalify for Singapore elite status “the hard way” (flying with Star Alliance airlines) before your current status expires. Again, KrisFlyer Elite Gold status requires you to earn at least 50,000 elite qualifying miles.
Since the promotion goes through February of next year, you may want to earn status near the end of the promotion if you’re not traveling during the coronavirus pandemic. So if you transfer 250,000 Chase points to Singapore in January 2022, your status is valid through January 2023.
This promotion is a great way to earn Star Alliance Gold status without stepping foot on a plane. While it requires a lot of spending or points transfers, it can be lucrative if you already plan on redeeming miles with Krisflyer. Benefits like free checked bags, lounge access and priority boarding on United flights have the potential to be worth thousands if you fly a lot. Simultaneously, make sure you actually value the status and KrisFlyer miles enough to part ways with your transferrable points.
Feature photo by viper-zero/Shutterstock
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