Westpac Singapore Airlines Platinum cards

Credit Card Review: Westpac Singapore Airlines Platinum cards

What's Hot

  • Earn 1.5 KrisFlyer mile per $1 spent, uncapped
  • 10,000 KrisFlyer miles just for signing up
  • Reasonable $250 annual fee

What's Not

  • Mileage earned on the Visa card is abysmal within Australia
  • 3.5% foreigh transaction charge on the AMEX

X-Factor

  • More generous insurance than many other Platinum-grade cards

Introduction

NOTE: This card is no longer available to new applicants. To earn Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer miles with a Westpac credit card, new customers can apply for the Altitude Platinum or Altitude Black cards.


As the only direct-earning KrisFlyer card in the Australian market, the Westpac Singapore Airlines Platinum card comes packed with features for frequent travellers to Asia and beyond.

Boasting both a Visa and an American Express card, you’ll earn the most points on the AMEX, while still earning some points through the wider Visa merchant network where AMEX isn’t accepted.

Customers pick up KrisFlyer miles on their everyday transactions, which can be used to book flights with Singapore Airlines, Virgin Australia and SQ’s Star Alliance partners.

KrisFlyer miles can also be redeemed for upgrades to business class, although the upgrade rates are a little high for our liking.

For every dollar charged to the American Express card, you’ll earn 1.5 KrisFlyer miles. That’s the same on the Visa when you’re spending abroad, but at home, it’s a paltry 0.5 miles per dollar.

When using either card to book flights or to redeem upgrades with Singapore Airlines in Australian dollars, you’ll pick up double the points.

As SQ levies the same credit card fees for both American Express and Visa, we’d suggest charging these to your AMEX and raking in an impressive three miles per dollar spent.

Miles are swept across to your KrisFlyer account each month, so they’ll join your growing pile without a fuss.

 

Who’s it good for?

If you regularly travel with Singapore Airlines or its international partners, these cards are strong contenders for your wallet.

A minimum income requirement of just $30,000 makes it easily accessible to both full and part time employees, who need only qualify for a credit limit of at least $6,000.

Although a partner to Virgin Australia, this card isn’t ideal for those looking to redeem their miles for domestic flights, as the redemption rates are significantly higher than Velocity.

Also, KrisFlyer miles expire three years from the month in which they’re earned – so neither the program nor the credit card are suited for ‘hoarders’, as they’ll disappear before you can likely redeem them.

Welcome bonus, balance transfers

The card pays out a nice bonus of 10,000 KrisFlyer miles after the first transaction, although this offer isn’t available to existing Westpac customers who migrate across from another different credit card type.

New customers can also take advantage of a promotional interest rate on balance transfers – paying only 0.99% p.a. on these amounts for six months, after which the interest rate reverts to the standard purchase rate.

There’s also a 1% fee charged on the total balance transfer amount, but chances are that’s still considerably less than you’d be paying elsewhere.

How much you have to spend to earn a free flight

Sydney residents could swap 11,000 KrisFlyer miles for a Virgin Australia flight to Melbourne, with a payment of $21.11 on the side to cover the taxes and surcharges.

You’d earn those miles by spending either $7,334 on the American Express card or on the Visa while overseas, or a more staggering $22,000 on the Visa on home soil.

Despite this, we’d actually recommend keeping your KrisFlyer miles for Singapore Airlines flights, rather than taking shorter hops on Virgin Australia.

On SQ, 25,000 miles is enough for a one-way journey from Sydney to Singapore, which is barely a touch more than taking a Melbourne round trip.

That flight is yours after spending $16,667 on the AMEX (or on the Visa abroad), but a ridiculous $50,000 on the Visa within Australia – so use the American Express card whenever you can.

Insurance

Travel and medical insurance is reasonably generous, and is automatically activated after charging at least $500 of pre-paid travel expenses to the card – so long as you also hold a return air ticket before leaving Australia.

As with many other Platinum-grade cards, extended warranty protection comes as standard. On this card, it’s above average with coverage of up to 24 months, rather than the usual 12.

Also a standout is ‘purchase security’, which insures against goods bought with the card that are subsequently lost, stolen or damaged for four months.

If that’s not enough, there’s transport accident cover, a guaranteed pricing scheme and interstate flight inconvenience insurance for that all-important piece of mind.

Fees and charges

Marginally better than most frequent flyer cards is a 19.49% p.a. interest rate on purchases, with a more typical 20.74% p.a. cash advance rate.

Slightly inferior to other cards is an interest-free period of up to 45 days, which is more relevant to high flyers who choose to pay off their accounts in full each month.

Abroad, you’ll be slugged a 3% foreign transaction fee when using the Visa and an even-higher 3.5% on the American Express – both of which are unfortunately common among most frequent flyer credit cards.

An annual fee of $250 is quite reasonable for a top-tier card, particularly when you can add an additional cardholder to the account at no extra charge.

How it compares

When stacked against Westpac’s other KrisFlyer-earning cards, the Singapore Airlines Platinum card performs quite well.

Also earning 1.5 KrisFlyer miles per dollar spent is Altitude Black – although that commands a $395 annual fee while reeling in the same number of points as this $250/year card.

Singapore Airlines miles on Altitude Black are a bit of a catch-22: Altitude lets you stockpile your points with Westpac before converting them across to the airline, but if you’re spending enough to redeem your miles before they expire, this only creates extra hassle.

On the other hand, if you don’t spend a great deal and were hoping to pile up your points, the high annual fee on the Black card likely outweighs any tangible benefit.

That’s where the Singapore Airlines Platinum card comes into play – filling that ‘sweet spot’ with a high earning rate on the AMEX and a reasonable annual fee.

Provided that you frequently shop where American Express is accepted, the ability to earn 1.5 KrisFlyer miles per dollar on everyday transactions makes the Westpac Singapore Airlines Platinum cards my top pick for KrisFlyer earning.

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2 Comments

  • Jono

    Jono

    8 Jul, 2014 02:41 pm

    Hey Chris,

    Any plans to review the NAB Velocity Premium Card?

    I'm just in the process of switching from it's Qantas equivilent after their 40,000 points on sign up offer woo'ed me over.

    No member give thanks

  • Natalia Matronitsky

    Natasha

    25 Jul, 2014 11:03 am

    Thanks Chris,

    great review of all pros and cons.

    I'd preffer Amex Plat Edge as an amex as it gives 3 points per dollar (in supermarkets, 2 point at petrol station etc) that you convert to Kris Miles at any time.

    Hey, do you know the best card to earn Asia Miles for Cathay Pacific here in Australia? (except for Amex with MR points)?

    Thanks.

    No member give thanks

Guest

26 May, 2017 12:31 am

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