Airlines Credit Cards

SCB X Card offering 100% bonus on Emirates Skywards transfers- is it worth it?

Expired
Emirates Skywards points are normally very hard to earn in Singapore, but this is your best chance to get naked at 30,000 feet. Just mind the fuel surcharges.

Although the SCB X Card doesn’t have the best earn rates, perks or even a sign up bonus anymore, it does have a wide variety of transfer partners. In addition to KrisFlyer, your 360° Rewards Points can be transferred to nine other FFPs and two hotel loyalty programs.

Unfortunately, most of the other FFPs don’t have very favorable transfer ratios. While transfers to KrisFlyer, EVA Air, FlyingBlue, and Qantas use a rate of 2,500 points: 1,000 miles, other programs have a much worse ratio of 3,000/3,500 points: 1,000 miles.

SCB is offering a 100% transfer bonus for Emirates Skywards

The good news is that’s set to change for Emirates Skywards, albeit temporarily. From 24 Feb to 8 Mar 2020, SCB is offering a 100% transfer bonus for Emirates Skywards conversions.

Instead of the usual 3,500 points: 1,000 miles, you’ll receive double the miles (i.e 3,500 points: 2,000 miles), with no cap. 

All transfers must be made by 11.59 p.m SGT on 8 Mar 2020 to be eligible for the bonus.

As a reminder, the SCB X Card’s usual local/overseas earn rate of 1.2/2.0 mpd assumes you’re transferring to KrisFlyer. If you’re transferring to Emirates Skywards with this 100% bonus, your equivalent local/overseas earn rate becomes 1.7/2.9 mpd. 

If you’re still holding on to your 360° Rewards Points from the original “100,000 miles” sign up bonus, that stash is now worth about ~153,000 Skywards miles – none too shabby.

360° Rewards Points Skywards Miles (with bonus)
Base points: For spending S$6,000 @ 3 points per S$1 18,000  10,286 
Bonus points: For hitting S$6,000 spending 175,000  100,000 
Annual fee points: For paying the S$695.50 annual fee 75,000  42,857 
Total 268,000  153,142 

Is it targeted?

Here’s where it’s a bit confusing. The T&C has wording which suggests this is a targeted offer:

This offer is only valid for the recipient of this email and is not transferable

I didn’t receive the email, and when I go to the rewards portal, I see the usual 3,500: 1,000 rate.

Advertising

However, I know of other people who did receive the email, and they still see the usual 3,500: 1,000 rate too. The following line in the T&C leads me to believe the portal won’t show the bonus by default.

Bonus Skywards Miles will be awarded together with original transferred Skywards Miles according to standard transfer lead times. 

tl;dr: If you received the email, you’re safe. If you didn’t, you’d best check with customer service before transferring anything over.

Where do I find the Emirates Skywards transfer option?
The most fuss-free way of finding Emirates Skywards (or any transfer partner that isn’t KrisFlyer) is to go via the mobile app. That’s because SCB’s desktop rewards portal is a mess. If you insist on using it, follow these steps. 

First, click on your X Card in the i-banking portal.

Then, resist the urge to click “Redeem Rewards Now”, and instead click on “Card Details” at the top of the page.

After that, an expanded list will appear. Click on “View My Rewards”.

You’ll be shown a list of the cards you have. Click “Transfer Rewards”, and you’ll see the full list of transfer partners (except KrisFlyer- for that you’ll need to use the old rewards portal; read this for more info)

A primer on Emirates Skywards

I take it that Emirates Skywards is unchartered territory for most of you. That’s fine, it’s fairly new to me too.

Let’s do a quick primer on the program, its rules, partners, and some sample award costs that can help you decide whether it’s worth transferring points over.

Award Types

Emirates Skywards has three levels of awards- Saver, Flex, and Flex Plus. Saver awards are the cheapest, but with the least availability and most restrictive rules. Flex Plus awards are the most expensive, but have more availability and more flexible rules.

What’s confusing is that Flex awards are only available for First Class travel, while Saver awards are only for Business and Economy. There are also restrictions on one-way awards; these can only be booked in the most expensive Flex Plus bucket. Hence, one-way Emirates awards will always be more than 50% of the miles required for a round-trip. 

Saver Flex Flex Plus
Applicable Cabins Y, J F Y, J, F
Available For Return Return One-way/Return
Maximum Stay 3 months 3 months 12 months
Ticket Validity 12 months 12 months 12 months
Stopovers 1 2 2
Open Jaw Permitted Permitted Permitted
Refund US$75 US$50 Free
Date Changes US$25 Free Free
Other Changes US$25 Free Free

Validity

Emirates says that Skywards miles are valid for three years from the date they’re earned.

In reality though, the validity can be up to 4 years, thanks to a very strange expiry policy: In the calendar year that Skywards miles are set to expire, they expire at the end of the month in which you were born.

Wait, what? What does the month of my birth have to do with the validity of my miles? Everything, apparently. If your miles were earned in June 2016 and your birthday is in August, your miles will expire on 31 August 2019.

By that same token, if your miles were earned on 1 January 2016 and your birthday is in December, your miles expire on 31 December 2019, giving you almost 4 years of validity. If your miles were earned on 31 December 2016 and your birthday is in January, your miles expire on 31 January 2020 (I’d have thought it’d be 31 January 2019 since the calendar year of expiry should be 2019, but that’s not what other people are saying online- someone enlighten me if you know better!)

Advertising

It’s a strange system, but it’s right there in black and white in the FAQs.

Award searching & booking

You can search for awards even if your Skywards balance is zero.

However, one quirk I’ve noticed about Emirates Skywards is that the online system doesn’t let you redeem a given award if you have just enough miles. For example, if you have a 100,000 miles balance and try to redeem an award costing 100,000 miles, you’ll get an error message saying your balance is insufficient.

In this case, you’ll either have to transfer a bit more than you need, or call up customer service to get the redemption done.

Sample Emirates award costs

Emirates does not publish an award chart; you’ll have to use its Miles Calculator feature to price specific routes.

Emirates also imposes hefty fuel surcharges on redemptions, which is confusing because it’s a well-known fact that water coolers in the UAE dispense free crude oil (source: Wikipedia). On the other hand, I suppose it takes a lot of fuel to lug around that shower in the sky.

Emirates A380 shower spa

These fuel surcharges tend to detract from the value of the program. Here’s some sample award prices out of Singapore:

Business (Saver)
First (Flex)
OW RT OW RT
SIN-DXB 72.5K +S$346 105K + S$686 98.75K +S$346 157.5K + S$686
SIN-MEL 62.5K + S$406 90K +S$825 85K + S$406 135K + S$825
SIN-DXB-JFK 131.25K + S$830 190K + S$1.6K 178.75K + S$830 262.5K + S$1.6K
SIN-DXB-LHR 103.75K +S$593 150K + S$1.5K 141.25K +S$593 225K + S$1.5K
SIN-DXB-ZRH 103.75K + S$584 150K + S$1.2K 141.25K +S$584 225K + S$1.2K
SIN-PEN 27.5K + S$53 40K +S$53 37.5K + S$53 60K +S$53
SIN-DXB-GRU 137.5K + S$782 200K +S$1.6K 187.5K +S$782 300K +S$1.6K
If you try to price these awards out for yourself and your numbers don’t match mine, it’s probably because you’re looking at a different award bucket. Use the flexible dates option to see how award prices differ by day.

Remember that you can’t compare these directly to KrisFlyer redemption rates unless you divide the mileage amounts by 1.43, and even then you’ll want to take note of the difference in cash outlays.

Emirates A380 First Class | Photo Credit: Travel Daily Media

If you’re hoping to redeem Emirates First Class, you definitely want to get the A380 because this is the only aircraft with the onboard shower. The A380 is operated on the SIN-DXB route, as well as numerous routes out of DXB such as New York JFK, Frankfurt, and Zurich.

I’d say that Singapore to Dubai in one-way First Class for 98,750 Skywards miles (~69,000 KrisFlyer miles equivalent) + S$346 might be worth a look if taking a shower in the sky is on your bucket list. Be careful what flight you book, as not all the SIN-DXB flights are on the A380.

Advertising

If you want the chance to take two showers (because why not), then Singapore to New York via Dubai is also another possibility at 178,750 Skywards miles (~125,000 KrisFlyer miles equivalent) + S$830. This will also let you experience the Emirates First Class lounge in Dubai, which by all accounts is absolutely massive.

As an Emirates First Class passenger departing Singapore, you’ll also have access to the amazing Qantas First Class lounge in Terminal 1. Just be sure to note your departure timing, as the Qantas lounge only opens from 2.30 p.m to midnight.

Qantas First Class Lounge Changi
Qantas First Class Lounge Changi

Alternatively, if you’re really lucky you might be able to snag an award seat on Emirates’ new B77W, which features floor to ceiling doors, a “zero-gravity” seat, and virtual windows for the centre suites. Award space on the new First Class only appears 48-72 hours before departure, so you’ll need to be able to travel on short notice.

Emirates new B77W First Class | Photo Credit: TPG

This cabin product is only available on selected flights to:

Route Flights Sample RT pricing
Brussels EK 183/184
EK 181/182
135,000 miles
Frankfurt EK 43/44 135,000 miles
Geneva EK 89/90
EK 83/84
135,000 miles
Kuwait EK 855/856 45,000 miles
London Stansted EK 33/34 135,000 miles
Riyadh EK 819/820 45,000 miles
Seychelles EK 705/706 112,500 miles
Tokyo Haneda EK 312/313 187,500 miles
Vienna EK 125/126 135,000 miles

Other redemption partners

Emirates Skywards miles can also be redeemed on:

  • Air Mauritius
  • Alaska Airlines
  • Bangkok Airways
  • Copa Airlines
  • easyjet
  • GOL
  • JApan Airlines
  • JetBlue
  • Jetstar
  • Korean Air
  • Malaysia Airlines
  • Qantas
  • S7 Airlines
  • South African Airways
  • TAP Portugal

Note that only selected partner airlines (namely Qantas and easyjet) can be booked online. For all other partners, you’ll need to call up customer service or fill in an online form.

Here’s a few potential routings that may interest you:

  • Singapore to Melbourne/Sydney on Qantas for 60,000/90,000 miles in one-way Business/First Class
  • Domestic USA flights on JetBlue from 7,500 miles in one-way Economy (connecting flights price as two separate awards, so look for non-stops)
  • Domestic Brazil flights on GOL from 4,500 miles in one-way Economy
  • Singapore to North America on JAL for 125,000/185,000 miles in round-trip Business/First Class

It’s highly recommended you look for award space before calling up Skywards or sending in the form. Refer to this guide for how to search for award space on oneworld/Star Alliance, or learn how to use the KVS Tool.

Conclusion

Advertising

The main pain point with Emirates Skywards is the fuel surcharge you’ll pay on awards. Assuming you’re willing to look past that for the chance to get naked (legally) at 30,000 feet, then this transfer bonus may be the opportunity you’ve been waiting for. The transfer bonus also makes some of Emirates’ partner redemptions look comparatively good value, even if you’re looking at short haul Economy.

I’d give this one serious thought, considering the only other Emirates Skywards transfer partner in Singapore is American Express, and the earn/burn rate through that program is very poor.

8
Leave a Reply

Please Login to comment
avatar
4 Comment threads
4 Thread replies
0 Followers
 
Most reacted comment
Hottest comment thread
6 Comment authors
Aaron WongmOjO jOjOLadyGLadyGIgnore this Recent comment authors
  Subscribe  
Notify of
Syok
Guest
Syok

Being naked, means take showers, or, get service while you are naked?

Ignore this
Guest
Ignore this

Not sure if it’s still the case, but ex HKG used to have very low fuel surcharges for EK redemptions. When they start getting to $500+ you might consider routing out of HKG. Maybe more award space too if travel to/from HKG is down.

LadyG
Guest
LadyG

My experience with the transfer. Had the full sign-up bonus and wanted to transfer 308k SC points but the app only showed 88k Emirates Skyward Miles (SKM). Called up the hotline… CSM didn’t know this promo existed, wasn’t sure of the rules and just said it’s only 88k SKM instead of 176SKM with 100% promo. After checking with her supervisor, she finally confirmed that it would only show the normal point transfer on the SC Mobile app but reflect the bonus miles on the Emirates account. The text prompt said it may take about 5 days but viola it was… Read more »

Do NOT follow this link or you will be banned from the site!
%d bloggers like this: