Standard Chartered adds Asia Miles points transfers

StanChart cardholders may be losing a whole bunch of transfer partners, but at least they've gained Cathay Pacific Asia Miles!

Standard Chartered cardholders are having kind of a mixed day.

On the one hand, the bank has just announced that from 24 March 2024, it’ll be dumping nine airline and hotel transfer partners, significantly reducing the options for cardholders. On the other, long-time absentee Asia Miles has finally been added to the roster, ensuring that cardholders will still have both a Star Alliance and oneworld option even after the nerf. 

I’ve already written about the loss of the nine partners, so in this post, let’s talk about the silver lining: the addition of Asia Miles.

Standard Chartered adds Asia Miles transfers

StanChart has always been a strange outlier in not offering transfers to Asia Miles, since every other bank in Singapore — even BOC — offered this option. Asia Miles is, I’d wager, the second most popular frequent flyer programme in Singapore after KrisFlyer. 

Well, that omission has finally been rectified, and Asia Miles transfers are available via the  360° Rewards portal. A minimum transfer of 10,000 miles is required, which costs either 25,000 or 34,500 points, depending on which card you hold. 

Frequent Flyer Programme
Conversion Ratio
(SC Points: Partner)
Visa Infinite & JourneyAll others
25,000 : 10,00034,500 : 10,000
25,000 : 10,00034,500 : 10,000

Why the two different ratios? That’s because StanChart has a very odd way of doing things:

  • If you have a StanChart Journey Card, StanChart Visa Infinite Card or StanChart Priority Banking Visa Infinite Card, your transfer ratio is 25,000 points = 10,000 miles
  • If you have any other StanChart card, your transfer ratio is 34,500 points = 10,000 miles.

It would be so much simpler if they just built this differential into the earn rate, and used a standardised redemption rate across all cards (though to be fair American Express also has a preferential conversion ratio for the AMEX Platinum Charge and AMEX Centurion cards). But hey, that’s StanChart for you.

A fee of S$27.25 applies to all conversions, regardless of how many points are transferred, and transfers should be completed within five working days. 

How to make a transfer

Asia Miles transfers must be done via the 360° Rewards portal. Do not confuse this with the SC EasyRewards portal, which in any case will soon be sunset. 

 🖥️ Desktop📱Mobile App
SC 360° Rewards
(for KrisFlyer & Asia Miles)
✓*
SC EasyRewards
(for all other partners, ends 24 Mar 24)
 
*Via in-app browser

Getting to the 360 Rewards portal is much simpler than SC EasyRewards anyway. Just follow this link, login with your internet banking credentials, and click on Travel.

You’ll then see both KrisFlyer and Asia Miles conversion options. 

What to do with Asia Miles?

Cathay Pacific A350-1000 Business Class

Asia Miles underwent a devaluation on 1 October 2023, which saw an 8-29% increase in the cost of premium cabin awards.

Here’s the revised award chart for travel on Cathay Pacific.

✈️ Asia Miles Redemptions for Cathay Pacific Flights
(in 000’s)

DistanceYPYJF
1-7507.5111625
751 – 2,750
(Type 1)*
10202843
751 – 2,750
(Type 2)^
12.5233250
2,751 – 5,00020385890
5,001 – 7,500
275084125
7,501+3875110160
*Type 1: Routes to/from China, Malaysia, Singapore, South Korea
^Type 2: Routes to/from India, Indonesia, Japan

Asia Miles no longer publishes an award chart for partner redemptions, but Australian Frequent Flyer has put together the following, which I believe to be accurate:

Source: Australian Frequent Flyer

Some potential sweet spots are:

  • Singapore to Malaysia in Business for 20,000 miles (not so much for the flight, but the opportunity to do a oneworld lounge safari)
  • Singapore to Hong Kong & Taipei in Economy/Business for 10,000/28,000 miles
  • Singapore to Perth in Economy/Business for 15,000/33,000 miles
  • Singapore to Amsterdam, Frankfurt, Milan in Economy/Business for 27,000/84,000 miles
  • Bangkok to Helsinki in Economy/Business for 27,000/63,000 miles

The bigger problem is that Cathay Pacific award space, especially on medium and long haul routes, has become very difficult to find. 

Asia Miles will pass on any carrier imposed fuel surcharges where applicable, so avoid carriers like British Airways and Qatar Airways where you can. 

How does StanChart’s line up now compare?

StanChart’s current line up of 11 transfer partners places it a very competitive third among banks in Singapore.

However, its ranking will drop precipitously on 24 March 2024, when nine partners exit the ecosystem. Following this, it’ll be tied joint last with Bank of China (insert your own joke here).

Conclusion

Standard Chartered cardholders can now transfer their points to Cathay Pacific Asia Miles, which while welcome, arguably isn’t what miles chasers in Singapore really needed. Instead, it’s the more exotic, soon-to-be-gone partners that made things interesting, and without them, the case for holding a StanChart card becomes much weaker.

You know it’s bad when you’re ranked the same with BOC…

Aaron Wong
Aaron Wong
Aaron founded The Milelion to help people travel better for less and impress chiobu. He was 50% successful.

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