New American Express Singapore Airlines business credit card could prove particularly popular with growing SME sector  

14 August, 2019

American Express and Singapore Airlines (SIA) are aiming to take advantage of the growth of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and their extensive travel plans with the launch of a new co-branded business credit card.

The American Express SIA business credit card is the first of its kind in the Asian country and will allow SME owners access to credit terms, greater savings and travel benefits to support their ambitions.

The card will let holders earn both HighFlyer points for their businesses and KrisFlyer miles for themselves on any SIA Group flights, also offering complimentary travel insurance, airport lounge access and and 0% interest on instalments over six months on Singapore Airlines flights.

"Singapore Airlines' HighFlyer programme was launched two years ago to reward and support SMEs, including in their endeavours to expand overseas," says Campbell Wilson, senior vice president of sales and marketing at SIA.

"This new product enables SMEs to maximise their HighFlyer privileges by earning more rewards faster, which can be redeemed for a range of benefits that improve their bottom line even as employees themselves continue to earn KrisFlyer miles for their own personal benefit."

American Express and SIA say the new card will help SMEs better manage cash flow and turn business expenses into benefits. They will receive up to 8.5 HighFlyer points for every SGD1 spent - worth up to 8.5% in savings. Travel benefits include complimentary airport lounge access, accelerated upgrade to KrisFlyer Elite Gold, and Accor Plus membership with an annual complimentary night's stay.

The new product marks a continuation of a 20-year partnership between the two companies and follows other recent agreements between SIA and financial services specialists.

To coincide with the launch of the new card, findings of a new survey on Singapore SME business and travel activity were revealed. It showcases Singapore's most ambitious SMEs - their outlook, experience going overseas, and business travel habits and was conducted in Jun-2019 with 200 SME owners with business revenues under SGD20 million.

According to the 'SMEs Go Places Survey', most SME owners are bullish - with more than 74% expecting to grow their businesses in the next 12 months. That said, more than half of the respondents said that increasing competition and cash flow management keep them up at night, and one in three feels challenged taking their business overseas.

The survey shows that Singapore SMEs are optimistic about growth, but cash flow and overseas expansion are ever-present concerns. American Express' senior vice president, global commercial services for Asia Pacific Geoff Begg says they can rest more easily now with the new business credit card that provides them access to "credit terms, more savings, and a suite of travel benefits - to support their ambitions and help them overcome these challenges".

According to the 'SMEs Go Places Survey', Singapore's SME owners travel at least once every six weeks for business, while 70% have employees travelling two or more times per month. These frequent travellers prioritise value, convenience and flexibility, with 47% citing the importance of having complimentary travel insurance when it comes to corporate airline programmes. Nine in 10 SMEs surveyed have dealings overseas, with one in three of them citing lack of access to capital and cash flow as key inhibitors to international expansion.