The main headline was that come 31 January 2023, the S$400 Air Travel and S$400 Lodging Credit would be discontinued and replaced by S$1,200 of statement credits broken into:
- S$200 in dining credits at participating local restaurants
- S$200 in dining credits at participating overseas restaurants
- S$400 in lifestyle credits at participating retail partners (min. spend applies)
- S$204 (not a typo) in entertainment credits for news or music streaming services
- S$200 in airline credits for spend at Singapore Airlines (min. spend applies)
We still don’t have the full details of these new credits, beyond the fact that they’ll be issued on a calendar year basis rather than membership year (which allows new cardholders to double dip on two sets of credits in their first membership year).
However, we do know that cardholders with existing Air Travel and Lodging Credits have just over two weeks to spend them before they go bye-bye forever.
|⚠️PSA: Expiry dates not updated on the AMEX Travel Portal
Due to technical limitations, the AMEX Travel Portal will still show your original credit expiry date. In my case, it’s end September 2023 since my renewal takes place in October each year. Do not rely on this information. All existing Air Travel and Lodging Credits will expire on 31 January 2023, period.
In case you’ve been out of the loop, here’s a quick guide to the travel credits and what you can spend them on.
Recap: Existing S$800 travel credits
- S$400 Air Travel Credit
- S$400 Lodging Credit
Despite the name, the Lodging Credit can be used not just for hotels, but tours and cruises as well. You’ll need to contact the Platinum Concierge for more details on these, as they can’t be booked online.
Credits will be automatically deposited into your account at the beginning of the month your membership is obtained or renewed, even before the annual fee is charged (if you’re thinking of pulling a fast one by burning the credits then cancelling the card, it’s safe to say AMEX won’t let you get away with it).
A few important points to note:
- While your credits must be spent before 31 January 2023, the actual travel or stay dates can be after 31 January 2023
- Credits can be used to book travel for other people. There is no requirement that the principal cardholder be part of the travelling party
- Credits can be combined with Pay with Points, wherever applicable (but seriously, the Pay with Points rate is so poor it’s not worth considering)
- Credits are valid for a single redemption only, and will not be refunded if the booking is subsequently cancelled
Available travel credits will automatically show up as a payment option on the AMEX Travel Portal, provided the total payable amount is at least S$400.
In the screenshot above, Travel Credit is an available option for the first hotel, since the payable amount is ≥S$400. It is not displayed for the second hotel, since the payable amount is <S$400.
However, I can click into the second hotel and select a more expensive room. If this costs ≥S$400, then the Travel Credit option will appear again.
When redeeming a travel credit, the full amount will be charged to your card first, followed by a S$400 statement credit within three working days. This means you can earn Membership Rewards points on the full amount, not just the nett amount.
A step-by-step guide to redeeming your travel credit can be found here.
S$400 Air Travel Credit
The S$400 Air Travel Credit can be used for any carrier bookable on the AMEX Travel Portal, regardless of cabin class or routing. Do note, however, that the choice of airlines is not as extensive as other OTAs (you won’t find STARLUX here, for example).
You can use your Air Travel Credit in conjunction with the American Express International Airline Programme (IAP), which offers special airfares to AMEX Platinum Charge cardholders (both principal and supplementary) travelling in Premium Economy, Business or First Class on participating airlines.
|✈️ IAP Participating Airlines
As a reminder, all IAP fares must start or end in Singapore, and the Platinum cardholder must be one of the travellers. IAP fares will earn elite status credits or miles with the relevant frequent flyer programme based on their fare bucket, i.e. you can accrue Elite miles and PPS Value when flying with Singapore Airlines.
I used my S$400 travel credit for a one-way Business Class ticket from Phuket to Singapore in August last year, which brought the nett cost down to S$193.
The same itinerary and fare bucket on Singapore Airlines’ website would cost THB 17,010 (~S$645), so I saved about 8% via IAP. It’s relatively modest on this route, but based on my searches I’ve found savings of up to 17% for Tokyo, 15% for London and 10% for New York. Savings depends on carriers, dates and class of travel.
S$400 Lodging Credit
The S$400 Lodging Credit can be used for any hotel bookable on the AMEX Travel Portal, including Fine Hotels & Resorts (FHR) and The Hotel Collection (THC) rates.
Stays booked through FHR and THC price the same as the hotel’s best flexible rate, while including the following additional benefits:
|Fine Hotels & Resorts
|The Hotel Collection
for two adults
12 p.m, when available
4 p.m, guaranteed
(or equivalent amenity)
Depending on the property, you may also receive the 3rd, 4th or 5th night free. Such offers will be noted in a blue box on the booking screen.
Even better, FHR stays are eligible to earn elite status credit and points with hotel loyalty programmes like Marriott Bonvoy and Hilton Honors. This means there’s really no reason not to book through one of these programmes, unless perhaps the hotel is offering a deep discount for non-refundable rates booked directly on its website.
Get 5,000 bonus MR points for travel bookings
In what I suppose is a parting gift, American Express is offering a one-time bonus of 5,000 Membership Rewards points to cardholders who make an eligible booking via American Express Travel Online. No minimum spend is required.
Transactions must be made by 31 January 2023, and bonus points will be credited within 14 working days of a successful transaction. 5,000 MR points are equivalent to 3,125 miles, worth about S$45 or so if transferred to KrisFlyer.
When will the new credits come in?
As mentioned earlier, we still don’t have a good sense of how the new S$1,200 statement credits will work, including the all-important terms and conditions. If I had to guess, I’d say we’d see them go live in early Feburary 2023 on the AMEX Offers portal, so keep your eyes peeled.
I’ve done some speculation on how these credits might work in the article below.
Current sign-up offer
From now till 31 January 2023, the AMEX Platinum Charge is offering the following sign-up offer.
|Pay S$1,712 Annual Fee
(25K public + 10K MileLion)
|Base Points from S$20,000
(@ 2 pts/S$1.60)
However, it’s not clear whether your application will be processed in time to get the S$800 travel credits before 31 January 2023 comes round, so that’s the risk you run if you send it in now.
It might be better to wait till February 2023 is here, whereupon you can register for the S$1,200 statement credits and enjoy a second set of S$1,200 statement credits in January 2024, before deciding whether you want to cancel or keep the card.
If you haven’t used your S$400 Air Travel and S$400 Lodging Credits yet, you’re living on borrowed time. Make it a point this weekend (or during CNY visiting, if you’re the anti-social sort) to visit the AMEX Travel Portal and lock in your bookings- remember, they can be for travel after 31 January 2023.
Try your best to stack credits with IAP fares or FHR rates for maximum value!