AMEX slashes Singapore, Emirates rates, adds Qatar

You’ll need more American Express Membership Rewards points to bulk up your Singapore Airlines or Emirates accounts.

By David Flynn, July 4 2023
AMEX slashes Singapore, Emirates rates, adds Qatar

American Express is reducing the transfer rate from its own Membership Rewards points to Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer Miles and Emirates Skywards Miles, while adding Qatar Airways and Hawaiian Airlines as new airline partners.

The shakeup is likely to shift loyalties in the credit card space, with upsides or downsides depending on which airline AMEX card holders prefer to fly, so here’s what you need to know:

From October 4, transferring American Express Membership Rewards points to the Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer and Emirates Skywards programs will drop from the current rate of 2:1 to 3:1.

In other words, you’ll need to convert 3 Membership Rewards points to get 1 KrisFlyer Mile or 1 Skywards Mile, rather than today’s lower rate of 2 Membership Rewards points per 1 KrisFlyer or Skywards Mile – an effective 33% devaluation.

Those revised rates apply across the American Express card portfolio for Australian and New Zealand card holders.

But there are also two new airline partners on the AMEX runway.

From August 2023 you’ll be able to convert American Express Membership Rewards points into the Avios currency of Qatar Airways – and with Avios also used by the likes or British Airways, Iberia and Aer Lingus, this will be a positive boost for many.

The Membership Rewards-Avios conversion rates will be

  • 2 Membership Rewards points = 1 Avios for Australian card holders
  • 3 Membership Rewards points = 1 Avios for New Zealand card holders

Hawaiian Airlines will follow in October 2023, at a flat exchange rate for Australian and New Zealand card holders of 2 Membership Rewards points for 1 Hawaiian Miles.

26 Jul 2015

Total posts 76

That's pretty ordinary, Singapore have already tripled the points for an award flight and now Amex have cut the redemption rate. A lot of money for a card for less and less.

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

06 Aug 2017

Total posts 83

"Singapore have already tripled the points for an award flight...".

This is incorrect. The most recent devaluation last year increased award flights by about 15-20%. For example, a business class "Saver" award between Australia's east coast and Europe increased from 116,000 points to 130,000 points. An annoying devaluation, yes, but nowhere near tripling in price!

Singapore Airlines - KrisFlyer

14 Jun 2017

Total posts 48

in like, 2015, you could get a one-way business to europe from the east coast for 68,000 points (oddly to Rome or Copenhagen only) with singapore airlines. 

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

06 Oct 2016

Total posts 164

Regardless, KrisFlyer is not looking very attractive any more with their hard expiry, drifting points value (cent/point equivalent), and now effectively losing a channel. AMEX USA (not sure about Europe) has a 1:1 transfer so Australians were already a bit hard done with 2:1. Unfortunate as SQ is my favourite airline

I predict within 12 months other good partners like Cathy and Etihad will follow suit

QF

11 Jul 2014

Total posts 943

I'm just hoping one-day Velocity has the option to transfer points to Avois and Amex has a Mastercard or Visa option without the inflated charges.

 

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

06 Aug 2017

Total posts 83

A Velocity-Avios transfer would be wonderful for the consumer but I suspect it's wishful thinking. As for American Express issuing a Mastercard or Visa, they're competing brands so it'll never happen unless one buys out the other.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

02 Jun 2015

Total posts 34

Great news re: Qatar.  

16 Oct 2012

Total posts 40

Amex seem intent on irritating customers who like to utilise points transfers. 

Some years ago the first shake up was changing the earn-rates, now comes a devaluation with SQ (and others). 

Add to that the now non-existent personal recognition for long-term card holders (I've held Plat since the 90s) and it leaves me wondering why I should stick with them.

08 Nov 2022

Total posts 4

Wouldn't criticise Amex for this, this has likely come from Singapore given St George has seen a similar change.

Adding QR is huge, sideways move at worst. Availability isn't quite as good but looking in advance I can see a fair bit of June 2024 availability for LHR - DOH - MEL for just 90k points in J. 

Carrier charges reasonable and cancellation penalty only 25 USD, so can book well in advance speculatively if needed.

12 Aug 2020

Total posts 16

Bad move. Now better value elsewhere ( including at Citibank ) 

Singapore Airlines - KrisFlyer

27 Feb 2015

Total posts 16

1400 a year for platinum charge includes one night at Accor ( value up to 350) 450 of charge card travel refund, 400 of credit card travel refund, 200 refund on domestic restaurants 200 refund on overseas restaurants. Membership to priority pass, Australian and WSJ subscriptions. I am unsurprised they need to be less generous on points conversions. 

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

26 Oct 2017

Total posts 93

Seems like everything has inflation these days, including points

12 Aug 2020

Total posts 16

There is some intrigue here. Just did online chat with AMEX. They say " Please dont worry, this is not from American Express, if there are any changes made in the future, you will be notified via email. ". 


Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

06 Oct 2016

Total posts 164

Which came though to my inbox at 11.07, just an hour and a half after you posted this

12 Aug 2020

Total posts 16

Looking forward to updates article here on nest options for Singapore and Emirates. 

PK
PK

03 May 2012

Total posts 118

I see it as a 50% devaluation, not a 33% devaluation.  Two points used to get the job done, now I need three, which means I need to use 50% more points. I know mathematically it depends on which perspective you view it from, as do all percentage losses/gains, but it definitely has become 50% more expensive.   

03 Jun 2019

Total posts 29

Global Transfer to the US AMEX, apply for an MR eligible card, then transfer your AU MR to your US card prorated by the currency exchange rate.


Hi Guest, join in the discussion on AMEX slashes Singapore, Emirates rates, adds Qatar

Clicky