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HomeTravel Tips & GuidesTravel Credit CardsAmerican Express KrisFlyer Ascend Card Review (2024)

American Express KrisFlyer Ascend Card Review (2024)

The American Express KrisFlyer Ascend Card targets Singapore Airlines (SIA) loyalists aspiring for KrisFlyer Elite Gold Membership, offering accelerated benefits towards this coveted tier. However, recent adjustments to the card’s benefits have diminished its appeal beyond the initial year of membership.

Updated: 29 Feb 2024

american express krisflyer ascend

Pros:

  • Access to KrisFlyer Elite Gold Membership: A primary allure of this card is the expedited route to KrisFlyer Elite Gold Membership, bestowing cardholders with privileges such as priority check-in, baggage handling, and lounge access.
  • High MPD for Regular Grab Users: Cardholders benefit from a robust 3.2 MPD rate on Grab transactions, providing substantial mileage accrual opportunities for frequent users of the ride-hailing service.
  • Double KrisFlyer Miles Accrual Voucher: The card offers a Double KrisFlyer Miles Accrual Voucher, facilitating accelerated miles accumulation for select transactions.
  • Direct Crediting of Miles: Miles earned through card transactions are seamlessly credited directly into the cardholder’s KrisFlyer account, streamlining the redemption process.

Cons:

  • Limited Overseas MPD Rate: The enhanced 2 MPD rate for overseas spending is restricted to June and December, potentially limiting the card’s appeal for international travelers throughout the year.
  • Average Local MPD Rate: The standard 1.2 MPD rate for local spending is comparable to cards with lower annual fees, diminishing the card’s attractiveness for domestic transactions.
  • Diminished Sign-up Bonus and Renewal Incentives: Recent revisions to the card’s benefits have resulted in a less appealing sign-up bonus and the absence of a renewal bonus, reducing the card’s value proposition over time.

Current Promotion

New cardholders can earn up to 34,000 KrisFlyer miles by fulfilling annual fee payment and minimum spending requirements within the initial three months of card approval, providing an incentive for prospective applicants.

Eligibility Requirements

Eligibility criteria include being a Singaporean, PR, or foreigner aged 21 and above, with a minimum annual income of S$50,000 for Singapore Citizens and Permanent Residents, or S$60,000 for Foreigners residing in Singapore. Notably, the income requirement positions the card as a mid-tier offering, one tier above the American Express KrisFlyer blue card.

Annual Fees and Charges

Annual fees amount to S$340.20 for the principal cardholder and S$81 for supplementary cardholders, inclusive of GST, with a first-year fee waiver provided. Additional charges such as late payment fees and foreign currency conversion fees apply, necessitating careful consideration.

Miles-Per-Dollar (MPD) Rates and Other Benefits

The card offers varying MPD rates for different spending categories, with notable features including:

  • Local Spend: 1.2 MPD
  • Grab Transactions: 3.2 MPD, capped at S$200 monthly
  • Overseas Spend: Enhanced 2 MPD rate limited to June and December
  • Travel Privileges: Benefits include complimentary lounge passes, hotel stay vouchers, and travel insurance coverage, albeit offering standard or below-average perks compared to other mid-tier cards.

Accelerated Upgrade to KrisFlyer Elite Gold Membership

The card expedites the attainment of KrisFlyer Elite Gold Membership with a minimum eligible spend of S$15,000 on Singapore Airlines within a year. While advantageous for initial membership acquisition, the absence of an attractive renewal bonus and the necessity to requalify annually may deter continued usage beyond the first year.

Whom This Card Is Best For

The American Express KrisFlyer Ascend Card is most suitable for:

  • SIA frequent flyers anticipating an annual spend of at least S$15,000 on the airline for KrisFlyer Elite Gold Membership.
  • Regular Grab users seeking to maximize the boosted 3.2 MPD rate for ride-hailing transactions.
  • Individuals planning significant purchases in the upcoming year.

However, given the current drawbacks outweighing the benefits, prospective applicants should carefully assess their spending patterns and travel preferences to determine if the card aligns with their financial objectives.

This review offers comprehensive insights into the American Express KrisFlyer Ascend Card, enabling informed decision-making for potential cardholders seeking optimized travel rewards and financial management solutions.

Remember also to check out 2024 Best Miles Cards in Singapore

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Can I apply for the American Express KrisFlyer Ascend Card if I don’t meet the minimum income requirements?

No, eligibility for the American Express KrisFlyer Ascend Card requires meeting the specified minimum income criteria. However, individuals who do not meet the income requirement may consider applying for the American Express KrisFlyer blue card and subsequently upgrading to the Ascend card.

2. Are there any limitations on the usage of the Double KrisFlyer Miles Accrual Voucher?

The Double KrisFlyer Miles Accrual Voucher can typically be used for specific transactions to accelerate miles accumulation. However, cardholders are advised to review the terms and conditions associated with the voucher to ensure compliance with usage guidelines.

3. How can I maximize the benefits of the American Express KrisFlyer Ascend Card for overseas spending?

To optimize overseas spending benefits, cardholders should plan their international transactions during the designated months of June and December to leverage the enhanced 2 MPD rate. Additionally, exploring other cards offering competitive MPD rates for overseas spending outside of these months may be beneficial.

4. Can I transfer my accrued KrisFlyer miles to another individual or account?

KrisFlyer miles accrued through the American Express KrisFlyer Ascend Card are typically non-transferable and can only be redeemed by the primary cardholder. However, authorized users on the account may also earn miles with their transactions, subject to the terms and conditions of the card agreement.

5. What are the steps to qualify for KrisFlyer Elite Gold Membership with the American Express KrisFlyer Ascend Card?

To qualify for KrisFlyer Elite Gold Membership, cardholders need to achieve a minimum eligible spend of S$15,000 on Singapore Airlines within a specified timeframe. Upon meeting this requirement, individuals can enjoy the benefits associated with Elite Gold status, subject to verification by Singapore Airlines.

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