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Review: AMEX SIA Business Credit Card (AMEX HighFlyer)

Review: AMEX SIA Business Credit Card (AMEX HighFlyer)

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I think The American Express Singapore Airlines Business Credit Card has a pretty lengthy name, do you think so? To make our lives easier, let’s just call it AMEX SIA Business Card, or AMEX HighFlyer. I will use both name interchangeably throughout this article.

I’ve been a holder of AMEX SIA Business Card since late 2021. To be honest, I’ve been a very satisfied customer. This card has become my go-to card for the majority of my spending because of its huge earning rate (1.8 miles per dollar spent), its minimal spending exclusion, and the many offers it has from time to time.

In this article, I’ll share my in-depth review of the AMEX SIA Business Card (AMEX HighFlyer Card).

What is AMEX SIA Business Card?

AMEX SIA Business Card is a credit card that rewards small businesses with HighFlyer Points when they spend using the card.

On top of that, there are various benefits, such as free Accor Plus membership, Priority Pass access, Hertz Gold status, etc. I’ll dive more into these in “Benefits” section.

The HighFlyer Points can be converted into KrisFlyer Miles (1:1 conversion ratio), however, each individual can only receive a maximum of 30,000 KrisFlyer miles from HighFlyer program per year, and each HighFlyer account can only convert a maximum of 150,000 HF Point to KF Miles in a year. I’ll explain about this more in the “Where to use HighFlyer Points” section.

Companies must enroll into Singapore Airline’s HighFlyer Program, which is a free corporate program for businesses. If your company is not in HighFlyer Program yet, a new HighFlyer account will be created for you when your card is approved.

Requirements

Here are the requirements:

  • Age: 21 or older
  • Min. income: S$30,000 (Singaporean/PR) or S$60,000 (Foreigner) a year
  • Must be a business owner and/or person with executive authority of a Company/Business with a valid UEN
  • Documents required:
    • A copy of your NRIC/passport
    • Proof of residence if different from NRIC
    • Last 2 years’ Income Tax Notice of Assessment (not Form B)
    • Director’s or Board Resolution, except Sole-Proprietorships and Partnerships
    • Certified NRIC/Passport of owners/shareholders, and Proof of residence if different from NRIC

Do note that the income requirement refers to the income of the individual applicant, not the business. So, if your business is earning less than S$30,000, but you have a day job and your total income is more than S$30,000, then you’re eligible to apply.

Business refers to Sole-Proprietorships, Partnerships and Private Limited. There is no income requirement for the business.

Annual Fee

The annual fee is waived for the first year. Annual fee is S$299/year. Supplementary card is free for the first 2 cards, thereafter, S$99/card per year.

I have not reached the end of my first year membership yet, so I can’t give you data points about whether waiver request is possible or not. I will update this later when I renew my card.

Welcome Bonus for New Sign-Ups

From now until 10 October 2022, there are 2 sign-up bonuses you can choose:

Option 1 (worth S$520):

  • 55,000 HighFlyer Points when you pay the annual fee (S$299) AND spend S$5,000 in the first 3 months

Option 2 (worth S$440):

  • 15,000 HighFlyer Points when you spend S$5,000 in the first 3 months without paying annual fee

Do note that these offers are valid for new sign-ups (not new customers to Amex). So, it doesn’t matter if you already have other Amex cards, you will still get these welcome bonus.

On top of those, you will also get the additional benefits as follow:

  • 5,000 HighFlyer points when you spend S$500 within the first 12 months AND15,000 HighFlyer points when you spend S$10,000 annually with Singapore Airlines Group
  • S$100 Statement Credit when you enroll and spend S$2,888 from 4 Oct till 3 Nov 2022.

If you like my writing and you want to support me, do consider signing up with my referral by filling up this form. An Amex representative will get in touch with you in the next few days and assist with your enrollment. And you will still get the above-mentioned welcome bonus.

Benefits of AMEX SIA Business Card

Benefit #1: Lounge Access

AMEX SIA Business Card holders are entitled to 2 complimentary visits to airport lounges worldwide (via the Priority Pass network) per membership year.

To enjoy the free airport lounge access, you need to enroll here. Upon submission, you will have to wait about 1-3 business days (but can take up to 15 business days) for approval. Priority Pass will email you directly once your enrollment is completed. For me, I received approval email in minutes after I submitted my enrollment.

Upon successful registration, you’ll have a digital membership card in your Priority Pass mobile app. When you visit a lounge, simply present your PP digital membership card in the app together with your AMEX SIA Business Card, as well as your boarding pass.

Do note that the free 2 visits entitlement is per membership year. It starts from the day you activate your Priority Pass. If you’ve used up your free 2 visits but you want to visit another lounge in PP network, your next visit will be charged at the prevailing rate (currently it’s USD 32 per person per visit).

Benefit #2: High Earning Rate

Amex HighFlyer card has one of the best earning rate compared to other miles credit cards. You can earn up to 8.5 HighFlyer points per S$1 spent on eligible Singapore Airlines Group flights. And you will also earn 1.8 HighFlyer points per S$1 spent on all other spending.

For comparison, other cards only give between 1.1 to 1.4 miles per dollar for general spending, that means AMEX HighFlyer is giving 40%-60% more miles compared to other cards. This explains why I’ve been using AMEX HighFlyer for most of my general spending.

Furthermore, AMEX HighFlyer is really generous, whereby they give points even for transactions that are excluded by many other credit cards, such as Grab top-ups, insurance, utilities, telcos, and government transactions.

IMPORTANT: To earn the 8.5 HF points on SIA flights, you need to book the flight by logging in to your HighFlyer Account on SIA website. I made the mistake of booking my flight directly via singaporeair.com and I never received the 8.5 HF Points.

Benefit #3: Free Accor Plus Membership (worth S$408)

This is the one benefit that I treasure the most from the Amex HighFlyer card. Each cardholder is entitled to a free Accor Plus Membership. With this membership, you can get a free 1-night stay (called Stay Plus) at a participating hotel, dining discount (up to 50%) at various participating restaurants located in Accor Hotels, 10% off the best available rate for hotel rooms including 10% off sales and promotional rates, and occasional room sales.

This membership alone can more than cover the cost of annual fee, and you get annual fee waived for your first year, so that’s like a free hotel stay for you without any strings attached, how cool is that?

For the dining discount, I’ve used it once at Ellenborough Market Café (read my review here) where I got 50% discount when dining with my hubby on the eve of Public Holiday. There’s no cap on how many times you can use the discount, basically you can use it as frequently as you want, you just need to make booking and tell them that you’re Accor Plus member.

For the free hotel stay, I’m planning to use it to stay at the tallest hotel in Singapore. I’ll write a review on this blog as soon as I complete my stay. You can use the Stay Plus in any country, not just Singapore.

Benefit #4: Acceleration to KrisFlyer Elite Gold status

If you’re a frequent flyer with SIA, you’re definitely familiar with the Elite status. As a holder of AMEX Highflyer card, you can fast-track to KrisFlyer Elite Gold status by spending S$15,000 with Singapore Airlines Group within the first 12 months. Do note that the status will be valid for 1 year only, subsequently you need to earn 50,000 Elite miles to requalify for Elite Gold status.

If you’re not familiar with Elite status, here’s a brief explanation. You earn Elite miles based on the distance you flew. So, you can’t earn Elite miles by transferring your credit card point. You have to fly to earn it. In the normal scenario, you need to earn 50,000 Elite miles within 12 months to get Elite Gold status. But, this card allows you to get Elite Gold by just spending S$15,000 with SIA Group.

Here are the benefits of KrisFlyer Elite Gold status:

  • Regardless of what class you’re flying, if you’re flying with SIA, you and a guest will get access to KrisFlyer Gold Lounge at Singapore Changi Airport and SilverKris Lounges worldwide. If you’re flying with Star Alliance airline, you and a guest will get access to Star Alliance Gold lounges worldwide, regardless of your flight class.
  • Priority airport check-in
  • Extra baggage allowance
  • Gold Track (Priority Security & Immigration)
  • And many more (see complete privileges here)

For me, I would definitely love to get Elite Gold status, but unfortunately, I’m not a high spender, so I can’t qualify for Elite Gold status in my first year via this route.

Benefit #5: Hertz Gold Status

As an Amex HighFlyer card holder, you’ll get Hertz Gold Status immediately without having to spend any amount. You need to enroll here.

Privileges of Hertz Gold Status include 10% off best available retail rates, one-car-class upgrade for rentals of 5+ days (subject to availability) and fee-waived additional driver.

Benefit #6: Complimentary Travel Insurance

You’ll get a complimentary travel insurance if you charge the full fare of your round-trip flight ticket to Amex SIA Business Card, or if you use HighFlyer Points to pay for the flight ticket.

This insurance is underwritten by Chubb Insurance and covers baggage delay, baggage lost, flight delay, loss/damage to Personal Belongings, travel accident which leads to accidental death or total disablement, and trip cancellation/postponement. Full T&Cs here.

Where to use HighFlyer Points

To see where you can use HighFlyer Points, simply login to your SIA corporate account and go to Points Tab, then Use Points. Here is the screenshot of how it looks like.

AMEX HighFlyer Card Review - How to redeem Highflyer Points

1. Transfer HighFlyer Points to KrisFlyer Miles

1 HighFlyer Point is equal to 1 KrisFlyer Mile. Minimum redemption is 1,000 HighFlyer Points per conversion. There’s no fee involved in converting HighFlyer Points to KrisFlyer Miles, so you can transfer as frequently as you like.

BUT, here are some important points to note:

  • Each HighFlyer account shall only be linked to a maximum of 5 selected KrisFlyer Accounts for conversion of HighFlyer points to KrisFlyer miles
  • Each Selected KrisFlyer Account shall only receive a maximum of 30,000 KrisFlyer miles converted from HighFlyer points per calendar year, amounting to 150,000 KrisFlyer miles for each HighFlyer account

To convert HighFlyer Points to KrisFlyer Miles, login to your Business account on Singapore Airlines’ website. Go to Points > Use Points > Convert into KrisFlyer Miles. Then, choose the traveller account that you want to transfer to, and how many points you want to transfer.

AMEX HighFlyer Card Review - Convert HighFlyer Points to KrisFlyer Miles
Transfer HighFlyer Points to KrisFlyer Miles

2. Use HighFlyer Points to offset flight tickets

1,050 HighFlyer Points can be used to offsets S$10 from the cost of your flight ticket. That means, each HF Point is worth $10/1050 = $0.0095 per point = 0.95 cents per point.

If you value 1 KrisFlyer mile as 2 cents per mile, then you might want to steer away from using HF Point to offset flight tickets, unless you have too many HF Points and you’ve already maxed out your individual conversion entitlement of 30,000 points transfer per year.

To use HighFlyer Points to offset flight tickets, login to your Business account on Singapore Airlines’ website. Go to Points > Use Points > Offset the cost of a flight booking. Alternatively, you can directly go to Book Flights tab. Then, search for the flights that you want to book, fill up your details and determine how much HighFlyer Points that you want to use.

AMEX HighFlyer Card Review - Use HighFlyer Points to offset cost of flight
Use HighFlyer Points to offset cost of flight

3. Convert HighFlyer Points to Scoot e-Vouchers

Similar to Point #2 above, 1,050 HighFlyer Points can be converted to S$10 Scoot e-Vouchers. That means, each HF Point is worth 0.95 cents per point.

There are 4 denomination of vouchers you can choose from: S$10, S$50, S$100 and S$500. To convert HighFlyer Points to Scoot e-Vouchers, login to your Business account on Singapore Airlines’ website. Go to Points > Use Points > Airline e-vouchers. In the ‘Select Airline’ field, choose Scoot and click Next. Lastly, choose the voucher denomination and quantity that you want.

AMEX HighFlyer Card Review - Convert HighFlyer Points to Scoot vouchers
Convert HighFlyer Points to Scoot vouchers

4. Convert HighFlyer Points to Lufthansa and SWISS vouchers

5,500 HighFlyer Points can be converted to S$50 Lufthansa and SWISS Vouchers. That means, each HF Point is worth $50/5500 = $0.0091 per point = 0.91 cents per point.

There’s only one denomination available for this conversion, and that is $50 voucher. To convert HighFlyer Points to Lufthansa and SWISS e-Vouchers, login to your Business account on Singapore Airlines’ website. Go to Points > Use Points > Airline e-vouchers. In the ‘Select Airline’ field, choose Lufthansa and SWISS, and click Next. Lastly, choose the voucher denomination and quantity that you want.

AMEX HighFlyer Card Review - Convert HighFlyer Points to Lufthansa and Swiss vouchers
Convert HighFlyer Points to Lufthansa and Swiss vouchers

5. Use HighFlyer Points to redeem Lounge Passes

5,000 HighFlyer Points can be converted to 1 Lounge Pass. Each lounge pass allows a traveller to access SATS Premier Lounge at Singapore Changi Airport Terminal 1 and 3.

To redeem Lounge Pass, login to your Business account on Singapore Airlines’ website. Go to Points > Use Points > Lounge Pass. Choose the quantity of pass that you want. Upon submission, it will take up to 5 working days for the lounge pass to be emailed to you.

AMEX HighFlyer Card Review - Use HighFlyer Points to redeem lounge passes
Use HighFlyer Points to redeem lounge passes

If you ask me whether this is worth it, I would say nope, unless you have too many HighFlyer Points and you don’t know where to use it.

See, 5,000 HighFlyer Points is equivalent to S$47.5 (using the conversion rate similar to using HF Points to offset flight cost). Meanwhile, a paid visit with Priority Pass is charged at US$32 (about S$45 at the time of writing).

By the way, your AMEX HighFlyer card comes with 2 free Priority Pass lounge access per year. If you have fully utilized this, simply charge extra visit to Priority Pass rather than converting HF Point to lounge pass.

For me, the main reason I accumulate HighFlyer Points is to convert them to KrisFlyer miles. The other options are just not worth it in my circumstances.

Spending Exclusion

You won’t earn HighFlyer Points for the following spending:

  • (a) Charges processed and billed prior to the Enrolment Date or charges prepaid on any Card Account prior to the first billing statement for that Card Account following the Enrolment Date. In other words, you need to be enrolled into HighFlyer programme first before your spending earns you HighFlyer Points (I didn’t have any issue with this because my HF Account was approved at the same time as my Amex HighFlyer card).
  • (b) Cash Advance and other cash services.
  • (c) American Express Travellers Cheque purchases.
  • (d) Charges for dishonoured cheques.
  • (e) Finance charges – including Line of Credit charges and Credit Card interest charges.
  • (f) Late payment and collection charges.
  • (g) Tax refunds from overseas purchases.
  • (h) Balance Transfer.
  • (i) Instalment plans, except where American Express determines otherwise.
  • (j) Annual Card fees.
  • (k) Amount billed for purchase of HighFlyer Points to top-up your points balance.
  • (l) Purchase and top-up charges for EZ-Link cards using American Express Cards.

You can see that the above list is fairly generous. I’ve said it but I’m going to say it again, you WILL EARN HF Points for insurance, telcos, utilities, eligible govt payment (incl public hospitals), and Grab top-ups.

How to Check How Many HighFlyer Points Earned in Each Transaction

There are 2 ways to check how many HF Points earned in each transaction. The first one is via desktop browser, and the second one is via mobile app.

Method 1: Via Desktop Browser

This is my preferred method because you can see transactions up to 3 months prior when you check via desktop browser.

Here’s the procedure: Visit Amex website and login to your account. On your homepage, under “Total HighFlyer Points Earned to Date”, click on View Details button. You will then be directed to a page that shows all your recent transactions in the past 3 months, the number of points you earned on each transaction, as well as bonus points if any.

AMEX HighFlyer Card Review - Check Points Earned via Desktop
Check Points Earned via Desktop (1)
AMEX HighFlyer Card Review - Check Points Earned via Desktop
Check Points Earned via Desktop (2)

Method 2: Via Mobile App

This method allowed you to see a very limited number of transactions (about 25 latest transactions). And you won’t be able to see the breakdown of basic points and bonus points.

Here’s the procedure: Open your Amex SG mobile app, select AMEX HighFlyer Card, tap the Membership tab at the bottom of the screen. Then, tap View Activity button. You will then be able to see your recent transactions and the number of points earned on each transaction.

AMEX HighFlyer Card Review - Check Points Earned via Mobile App
Check Points Earned via Mobile App

What I Love about AMEX HighFlyer Card

  • I really love having a free Accor Plus membership which comes with 1 free night say and dining discounts.
  • I also love that it has one of the best miles earning rate (1.8mpd for all spending) in the 30K income category.
  • I absolutely love that the spending exclusion is very minimal, unlike other consumer cards in the 30K income category.
  • Free 2 lounge access from Priority Pass. This will come in handy if I fly budget airlines.

What I Don’t Like about AMEX HighFlyer Card

  • Each individual can only receive 30,000 KrisFlyer Miles that’s converted from HighFlyer Points per year. Too bad this good stuff has a cap.
  • Once in a while, the SIA KrisFlyer portal gets buggy and I can’t login even though I’ve typed in the correct username and password. I can’t imagine how I feel if I have to buy a ticket urgently but can’t login to the portal and have go through the troublesome way of booking a flight via SIA ticket office, call center, or via travel agents.

Conclusion

AMEX SIA Business Card is a solid card for miles chaser who’s also an SME owner. It has one of the highest earning rate on general spending (1.8mpd for general spending is very rare in Singapore).

If you love the card but you don’t have a company, maybe it’s time to start exploring if you have any hobby that you can turn into a side hustle.

If you’re an SME owner but you’re not a miles chaser, and you love the idea of a free hotel stay. I think you’d love this card.

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