Credit Cards

Krisflyer Ascend – The best card you’ll never use

The Idea

  • Although the Krisflyer Ascend Card has horrible earning rates and shouldn’t be used as a general spending card, it comes with 4 very generous gifts which you can get for free just by signing up
  • Sign up for the card, opt for the 1st year fee waiver option and enjoy
    • 5,000 bonus miles with the first spend
    • 1 free night at selected Millennium Hotels worldwide
    • Free M&C Gold status (1 free meal, 2 free upgrades)
    • 4 free lounge access vouchers

The Details

By now you’ll have noticed that I don’t promote any of the Singapore Airlines co-branded AMEX cards on this site. There’s a simple reason for that. Their earning rate is terrible. Yes, they have convoluted multiplier systems where your spending in the first 3 months gets a bonus, and if you spend S$1K in a month you get a 300 mile bonus for every additional S$0.5K spent (have I lost you here?)

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But ultimately the earn rate can never even hope to be as good as one of the bank issued cards. Heck, even Citibank is more generous when it comes to awarding miles for purchases made on Singapore Airlines (2 miles per S$1 vs 1.6 miles for the co-branded cards). And the base earn rate of 0.83 miles per S$1 is pathetic.

So why am I even bothering to write about it? Because the card comes with several gifts, all of which can be yours without so much as having to pay an annual fee.

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When you apply for the card, you have the option of getting the first year fee waived or paying the full fee but getting some sort of bonus on your first 3 months of spending. Since you’re not ever going to spend any money with this card, take the first year waiver option. Then, enjoy the following

5,000 miles upon first spend

These miles will be gifted to your Krisflyer account (direct deposit, because the card is co-branded) upon your first charge to the card. No minimum spend. You can go to Watsons, buy a $2 packet of tissues, charge it to your card and never use it again (remember to pay your  bill at the end of the first month, of course)

1 free night at Millennium Hotels worldwide

It gets better. Your card comes with 1 complimentary night at selected Millennium hotels worldwide. Depending on where you stay, this can be a tremendous saving. When I first saw “selected”, I thought that they’d limit the participating properties to some run down shacks in backwater towns. But no- the full list of hotels is here and there are some extremely attractive, high cost locations, including-

  • Millennium Hotel London Mayfair
  • Millennium Hotel London Knightsbridge
  • Millennium Hotel Paris Opera
  • Millennium Hotel Broadway New York
  • Grand Millennium Dubai

During peak season, 1 night at these properties could easily be in excess of US$200, to be conservative. So if you and your partner apply for this card and travel together, you guys can potentially save 2 nights accommodation in the most expensive cities in the world


Free Millennium Hotel Gold Status

Your card will come with a voucher that upgrades your status in the M&C loyalty program to Gold. Some of the key benefits that come with this include

  • 1 free buffet meal for your birthday (valid for 3 months)
  • 20% off a weekend stay for your birthday (valid for 3 months)
  • 2 upgrade vouchers (valid for 1 year)

So, use the upgrade voucher when you utilise your free night and get 1 free meal covered when you’re there. Ditto for your companion, who should also be applying for this card

4 x Free Lounge Access Vouchers

The card comes with 4 lounge access vouchers for the SATS premier/Plaza Premium Lounge. Frankly, I think the SATS Premier lounge in Singapore is not worth coming to the airport early for, but Hong Kong is one of the flagship lounges in the Plaza Premium Lounge chain and recently underwent a major refurbishment. I visited the lounge a few times back in 2010, before the refurbishment, and already thought it was one of the nicest pay per use lounges out there.

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So, all this free stuff and all I have to do is fill out an application form? What are you waiting for? Be sure to cancel your card at the start of the 2nd membership year to avoid the annual fee.

What about some cards that are actually worth using? Why not look at our article on general and specialised spending cards?

EDIT: It appears that the first year fee waiver is no longer being offered, at least for online applications. If anyone has recent experience applying for this card, do let us know if it’s still possible!

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11 Comments on "Krisflyer Ascend – The best card you’ll never use"

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I’ve just completed the three month opening bonus with this card and just got over the $10K threshold including $4K of SQ tickets. I ended up with a total of 56K miles once all the weird bonuses were calculated so I would say that if you have some big spends planned it may be worth using the card rather than immediately binning it, especially as this is a one time offer.
I also got a night at Millennium Gloucester in London so all in all very happy with the card! Its still going in the bin now though…

Hi Phil, do you have to spend the 10K on Amex merchants or any service providers that used Amex cards? Thanks for sharing.

I think it was any merchant, but the offer has changed a bit since last year so it may be worth giving them a call or reading the small print.

Thanks Phil

Maybe its no coincidence that Millennium Gloucester was the only good London hotel with availability and has a Bugis themed restaurant! Checkin didn’t blink when presented with the voucher so probably well used to Singaporeans taking up the offer!

Datapoint contribution to TML 🙂

My experience was a bit low. Earned 45K miles on 10K general spend- and had to sweat in the last week to find avenues for spending !

Guess I am better off with 4x miles – atleast saves the stress.

with Annual Fee 330 SGD, it isnt worth to keep this card for hotel voucher, For example i checked 1 of the most expensive hotel in the list :Millenium Glocester per night is 315 SGD in Expedia (and you still can get 20% discount by combinin voucher + shopback and using citi PM get 6 miles somemore )

I think it really depends on your spending and credit payment. I have perfect record of monthly payment (in full) and spend average 300-400sgd on the card. Recently got a full payment waive (2nd time) with all benefits still given ( lounge access + free 1 night stay) I am a customer account manager, so sometimes the card i use do “reflect” to my customers which are higher managements people(CEOs, MDs, Directors etc). And to them, American Express is like a representation of the level. All hands up for the better benefit card out there (let me know which ones)… Read more »

I am really not sure, I tried to calculate $337 for 27,200 miles (including the sign up bonus of 5000 miles) translates to 1.24 mpd. If I am not wrong reading Aaron’s other posts, I think 1.24 is pretty decent value? Dont have good lobang like you (I wish) that can help people with booking and earn miles! lucky u