Although the five major transferable points programs (Chase Ultimate Rewards, American Express Membership Rewards, Citi ThankYou, Capital One Venture Rewards, and Marriott Bonvoy) count a limited set of hotel loyalty programs as direct transfer partners, there is a clever indirect method to transfer points into Shangri-La Hotels and Resorts’ Golden Circle program using any five of these currencies. Through a partnership between Singapore KrisFlyer and Golden Circle called Infinite Journeys, members of either program may register to convert KrisFlyer miles into Golden Circle points and vice versa — which in turn can turn into Shangri-La free nights.
Given that KrisFlyer is a transfer partner of the five major programs, Shangri-La free nights may be redeemed via an initial transfer to KrisFlyer and a subsequent twelve-to-one transfer to Golden Circle.
The key to extracting value from this option is in understanding the sweet spots in the Shangri-La Golden Circle program such that it makes sense to part with a transferable currency for the purpose of redeeming at a Shangri-La property at an effective twelve-to-one ratio.
Shangri-La’s footprint of over 100 properties worldwide is heavily concentrated throughout Asia, with mainland China home to 50 hotels alone. London, Paris and Istanbul comprise Shangri-La’s European presence, while Toronto and Vancouver hold the brand’s only North American properties. Remaining hotels are located in the Middle East, Africa, and Oceania. New 2020 openings are slated for Bali, Indonesia and Phnom Penh, Cambodia.
Shangri-La Golden Circle Sweet Spots
On face value, the transfer ratio would seem to disqualify moving transferable currencies into a hotel loyalty program, but reviewing Golden Circle’s redemption charts garners a closer look.
Shangri-La Free Nights Redemption Chart
Golden Circle also allows its members to redeem points for room upgrades.
In Collection B, for instance, the Shangri-La Hotel, Chiang Mai, whose nightly base rates typically fluctuates between $100 and $200, has relatively expensive rates over the Chinese New Year period.
Where a standard room might go for $275 or more per night including taxes and fees, transferring 24,000 KrisFlyer miles for a free night award could be worthwhile. The same goes for spending 18,000 or 24,000 KrisFlyer miles upgrading a standard room to a club room or executive suite.
Moving further upmarket into Collection E, Shangri-La’s Boracay Resort and Spa is another property to keep an eye on.
With nightly base rates starting at $400 and eclipsing $1,000 during peak periods, transferring KrisFlyer miles to Golden Circle points for award redemptions, either for Shangri-La free nights or room upgrades, could offer value at this property.
In addition to room free night and upgrade awards, another redemption possibility unrelated to the cost of a room stay is for dining and spa vouchers.
Transferring either 6,000 or 12,000 KrisFlyer miles in exchange for $50 or $100 respectively would yield a return of 0.83 cents per point, not tremendous value but perhaps worth the cost in points for some to free up cash on spa treatments or fine dining.
Shangri-La Golden Circle Promos
Taking advantage of periodic Golden Circle and Infinite Journeys promotions is where the value of using KrisFlyer miles for Shangri-La free nights redemptions really shines.
In the last couple months of 2019, Golden Circle ran a promotion of up to 30% off award redemptions across all three room types. Infinite Journeys has previously run a promotional transfer ratio of twelve-to-two, effectively cutting the cost of all redemptions in half.
Chase Ultimate Rewards earning credit cards, such as the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card, are great options to accrue transferable currencies, as are cards earning American Express Membership Rewards points, Capital One Venture Rewards miles, Citi ThankYou points and Marriott Rewards points.
Using KrisFlyer miles for Shangri-La free nights awards is a little known, but potentially useful, method to derive value from one’s KrisFlyer or transferable currency balances.
As always, one should compare the cost of the hotel with the value of one’s points – either through a transfer or a direct travel portal redemption. Outside of select sweet spots, the best use of transferring KrisFlyer miles into Shangri-La Golden Circle points will be during promotional periods offering transfer bonuses or reduced redemption rates.
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