Analyzing the Krisflyer Ascend sign up bonus mile offer

Let the record show that I’m not the biggest fan of the Krisflyer Ascend, because of its substantial non-waivable first year fee (S$337.05- that’s about 2/3 the fee of an entry level prestige card), stingy MPD on overseas spend (2 mpd, only in June and December) and somewhat lackluster benefits.

However, I’m all for good sign up promotions and the Krisflyer Ascend has an interesting one going on now.

Receive 15,000 KrisFlyer miles on your first S$6,000 spend and a Samsonite Sigma 76cm Expandable Spinner on your next S$4,000 spend in the first 3 months upon Card approval. Apply and receive approval between 21st July and 30th September 2017 (both dates inclusive) to be eligible.

Let’s ignore the luggage and just focus on the miles offer. Assuming you’ve never held a co-brand AMEX SQ credit card before, you’ll be eligible for a 5,000 mile welcome bonus with your first spend of any amount. Therefore, you’re looking at potentially 20,000 Krisflyer miles with $6,000 of spend within the first 3 months of approval, plus the $337.05 annual fee.

How does that compare to the other sign up bonuses on the market now?

CardSpend RequirementTime PeriodAnnual FeeBonus MilesMiles: Spending Ratio
Krisflyer Ascend$6,0003 months$337.0520,0003.2
Citibank Premiermiles$10,0003 months $192.6030,0003
AMEX Rewards$1,500 (min $500 each month)3 months$53.5011,6667.8
AMEX Platinum Reserve$5,0006 months$53527,7775.0

You should remember that sign up bonuses are binary- it’s all or nothing. In other words- you don’t realise the ratio until you hit that spending mark. Fortunately, the sweetest ratio is also the easiest one to get- the AMEX Rewards Card. So I’d definitely recommend people go for that before looking at other options. The offers are of course not mutually exclusive and if you have a banquet/renovation/other big ticket item coming up there’s no reason why you shouldn’t spread it over a few cards.

There’s also an additional offer with the Ascend that gives you 1,500 bonus miles for every approved supplementary card. The good thing is that supplementary cards have a first year fee waiver, and I don’t see anything in the T&C that limits the number of supplementary cards you can apply for (although how many they approve is, of course, up to them). Get cards for your kids, your wife, your parents, your secret other family.

This offer is only applicable to American Express Singapore Airlines Credit Card Members whose new Supplementary Card is applied and approved between 21 July 2017 and 30 September 2017 (both dates inclusive)

Other card benefits

To quickly recap some of the other benefits of the Ascend

  • Complimentary one night at selected Millennium Hotels around the world (some hotels have minimum stay requirements- read the fine print!) and upgrade to My Millennium Premium membership
  • 4 lounge vouchers for use at participating SATS and Plaza Premium lounges
  • Double Krisflyer miles accrual voucher with $15K minimum spend on Singapore Air until 30 June 2018 (capped at 5,000 miles. Don’t ask, bad deal)
  • Free upgrade to Krisflyer Gold status with $15K minimum spend on Singapore Air within 1 year of approval (much more intriguing offer…has anyone tried the good ol’ tie up $15K in working capital with SQ and get a refundable ticket strategy?)

I understand that second year fee waivers are available but you don’t get any of the renewal gifts (like the hotel voucher). I’m still unconvinced about the value prop of the Ascend as a general spending card, and this bonus certainly doesn’t change my baseline stance. However, the bonus means the Ascend should be a card you consider as part of your sign up bonus strategy.

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18 thoughts on “Analyzing the Krisflyer Ascend sign up bonus mile offer”

  1. I got the first year fee waived somewhat by accident. I was looking for a back door route to kfg (as unlike certain high fliers, I will never get there from bum on seat flying) and blur sotong applied for a different sq amex card. I am not interested in the hotel and lounge vouchers. Customer service said I could change to the kf ascend for no charge. So I did so and am almost on the way to kfg. I did get the other signup bonuses I think. Some derisory amount of miles iirc.

  2. if you ignore the other card benefits for a moment, the Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer Credit Card offers a better deal at the moment.

    first yr fee waived off (thats a given , no need for any back door)
    any first purchase >1 $ gives u 5000 miles and spend 2500$ in first 3months nets u 7500miles
    so the miles spending ratio is a whopping 5.0 🙂

    1. and i forgot to add , Singsaver just gave me 80$ of NTUC vouchers to sign up for this card 😉
      ps: im in no way affiliated to SS or marketing for them 😛

  3. Hi Aaron, I think there is an error in your table.
    The 42k miles awarded by Citi includes 12k base miles on $10k spend + 30k miles bonus.
    For the Ascend card, the 20k miles is purely the bonus on spending $6k in 3 months. Adding the base earn of 1.2mpd translates to a miles spending ratio = 4.5 mpd
    (i.e. 27.2k miles/ S$6k spend)
    This is on par, if not better, than Citi’s miles spending ratio.

    1. Ah yes, you’re right. I will fix the table to just show bonus and exclude base for consistent comparison. Thank you!

  4. Anyone tried waiving annual fee for the amex ascend card and still get to keep the 20000 sign up and bonus miles?

      1. Used to be a free lunch when the first year annual fee was waived and they gave you a millennium hotels voucher 😉

          1. OP was asking about about signup bonus and first year fee. AFAIK, Amex never waived first year fee. From the second year I have got annual fee waived (for Ascend only), but no vouchers or bonus miles.

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