Tag Archives: krisflyer

The Krisflyer UOB account has a sign up promotion, but is it worth your time?

The Krisflyer UOB account needs no further introduction for frequent readers of the site (but for those of you who are new here, take a walk down memory lane…).

The account hasn’t changed since it launched- it still offers 0 interest, it still requires you to park a ridiculous amount of money to earn anything more than 1.4 mpd (which you could just as easily earn with a regular miles card), it still caps the bonus miles you earn at a ridiculously low threshold and it’s still shelling out for influencer Instagram ads (which at least are properly tagged with #ad now, with the exception of a certain ferrous female…)

What’s new is that UOB is currently running a sign up offer of 5,000 miles with $500 of spend on the Krisflyer UOB debit card.  You need to open an account and maintain a minimum monthly average balance of $5,000.

Now, don’t get too excited- this is a UOB-style sign up promotion so as you might expect there’s all sorts of caveats. Here are the main conditions (T&C here):

Note that although you have until 31 August to sign up for an account, you need to be among the first 5,000 people to register for the promotion via SMS. The T&C suggest this promotion has been live since 8 August. How many people have registered so far? How many have hit the $500 requirement already? Who knows!

The terms state that if you’re among the first 5,000 to register, keep $5,000 MAB in your account and spend $500 on the debit card by 30 Sept, you get

  • 1,000 miles within 3 months of spending the $500
  • 4,000 miles within 3 months of 30 Sept

But there’s more. Reading the fine print reveals this additional term-

If you close your account within 9 months from the time of opening, UOB reserves the right to claw back the 5,000 miles. There’s nothing stopping you from withdrawing your $5,000 after 30 Sept, but remember that you’ll incur a $2 fall below fee if your MAB is below $1,000 and a $30 fee if you close the account within 6 months.

I value miles at 2 cents each so 5,000 miles is about $100 of value. Is that a decent return for tying up $5,000 for a month and a half (and $1,000 for 7.5 more months, assuming you don’t want to incur $18 worth of fall below fees)? Depends what your alternative is. If that money would have sat in a savings account then you’re not losing much, but that money could obviously be put to much more fruitful purposes. For the record, I’m not a fan of the 3 month timeline given in the T&C either- it seems like a long time for your miles to credit given that one of the professed perks of the account is “faster miles crediting through direct deposit”.

The main problem I have with the promotions that UOB runs is uncertainty. The way they’ve structured this (and other sign up promotions like those for the UOB PRVI Miles card) is that you have no way of knowing ex-ante whether or not the promotion has been exhausted. You have to apply for the account, spend the $500 and pray that you’re still within the first 5,000. If not, the only way you’ll know is when nothing happens. The information asymmetry is not customer-friendly. I understand UOB’s want to cap the liability incurred with each promotion, but surely there’s got to be a better way of doing it than making customers guess in the dark.

Personally I can think of much better and faster ways of earning 5,000 miles, so this one is a pass for me. But if you really need the miles and are willing to bear both the risk (of missing out on the first 5,000 registrations)  and the wait (3 months for miles crediting, 9 months for account closure), well…

Krisflyer Monthly Redemption Deals- 30% off SQ Y and J awards

(Edit: Jimmy on the comments spotted something different between this promotion and the previous ones we’ve seen. Previous promotions allowed you to cancel completely unused tickets for a miles refund. The T&C of this promotion do not. Something to be aware of)

Krisflyer has been offering various discounted award redemptions on SQ and MI flights recently. Here are the recent promotions that we’ve had

May 2015: 50% off SQ and MI economy awards
Feb 2016: 30% off SQ and MI economy awards
July 2016: 50% off MI economy awards
October 2016: 50% off MI economy awards
November 2016:  30% off SQ premium economy and economy awards 
June 2017: 50% off MI business and economy awards

Although these promotions were certainly welcome, they never covered SQ Business Class. At most they’d cover MI J, and there was one promotion for SQ PY, but SQ J was never discounted.

Till now.

SQ has started offering “Krisflyer Monthly Redemption Deals”. The name of the promotion gets me excited because it implies we’ll see new deals every month.

The catch is that you have to travel within the next month- so for the current promotion you have to book between now and 31 August and travel between 1-30 Sept (both dates included). I imagine the same convention will be followed on subsequent deals.

If you have that kind of flexibility, then there are some interesting deals to be had. You can by all means go and look for economy deals, but I wanted to focus on the business class deals on offer this time round.

Here’s the list:

list of discounted Business Class awards. Note that SQ has made a typo- SIN-BNE is not SQ494/495, that belongs to Dubai

Of all these flights, I’d encourage you to look at the following if you wanted to try SQ‘s newest business class. These routes reliably have SQ’s 2013 Business Class seat.

  • SQ494/495 to Dubai (77W)
  • SQ422/423 to Mumbai (A350)
  • SQ828/827 to Shanghai (77W)
  • SQ806/801 to Beijing (77W)

Image result for sq new business class

The other catch is that you need to get your award ticketed before 31 August. Therefore, if you see that saver awards are on waitlist, you’ll need to either find a new date or waitlist yourself and bug them like crazy to clear the waitlist. To be absolutely clear, if your award waitlist clears after 31 August, notwithstanding the fact you’re travelling between 1-30 Sept, you will be paying the non-discounted rate.

So kudos to SQ for starting these promotions, and let’s hope we see other long haul destinations added for subsequent promotions.

Edit: And, of course, thanks to Chelsea who pointed this sale out to me. I’d better add myself back to SQ’s mailing list

How to save tons of miles by using Krisflyer’s stopover feature

One little-known feature of Krisflyer awards is stopovers.  I’ll bet you the average Krisflyer member has never booked one before. But for power users like us, stopovers can be a great way of saving thousands of miles each year.

this table refers to the number of FREE stopovers you get with each type of award. You can add a stopover to a one-way saver award for US$100

A stopover refers to a break in a journey of at least 24 hours. You can add a stopover to a one-way Krisflyer saver award for US$100, or have a free stopover with a one-way standard award.

Here’s the deal- whenever you’re planning a vacation, book two one way awards instead of a round trip (one way awards cost half of a round trip). Then, think about your return flight like this-

Ending City of Previous Vacation (X)–> SIN Stopover (Y)–> Starting City of Next Vacation (Z)*

*For shorthand, we’ll refer to the ending city of previous vacation as X, Singapore as Y and starting city of next vacation as Z

When you do this, you end up saving miles because redeeming (X–>Y–>Z) costs fewer miles than redeeming (X–>Y) + (Y–>Z) separately.

An example to make things more clear: I’m heading to Tokyo in September to finish off the leftover SIN-HND JAL J segment from my RTW trip (I chose to start and end the trip in Tokyo because it represented a significant cost saving over starting and ending in Singapore, even after positioning to HND).

Image result for jal 767 business class
JAL 767 Business Class

When planning my flight back to Singapore, my initial thought was to book HND-SIN in SQ F.

Image result for sq new first class
SQ 77W New First Class

Then I remembered- I’m heading to SYD in December in F to hopefully get a chance to try SQ’s new Suites product (although with every day that passes with no announcement I’m starting to have doubts whether we’ll see it deployed by then)

Instead of buying two award tickets like this:

  • HND-SIN: 65,000 Miles + $33 taxes (X–>Y)
  • SIN-SYD: 80,000 Miles + $67 taxes (Y–>Z)

Why couldn’t I do this instead?

map

  • HND-SIN (stopover)-SYD: 105,000 Miles + $100 taxes + US$100 stopover fee ($136) (X–>Y–>Z)

I’ll do my HND-SIN in September, have a stopover of a few months in SIN, then proceed with SIN-SYD in December. All in all, I’ll save 40,000 miles for an incremental cost of $136. I don’t know about you, but I think that’s a good deal*

(*if you want to be technical about it my actual miles savings were a bit different because I booked SIN-SYD before the Krisflyer devaluation at 63,750 miles + $260. The figures I’ve shown above are post-devaluation figures. In other words I saved less miles and more money. But you get my point)

The maximum stopover duration is 1 year from the date of your first flight on the same ticket. That’s to say, if X–>Y is on September 1st 2017, I must fly Y–>Z by September 1st 2018.

Remember that date changes are free of charge with Krisflyer award tickets, so it doesn’t matter if your Y–>Z dates are a bit fuzzy. You can move it as often as you want (subject to there being saver award space) within the constraints of the 1 year period.

Points to note

  • You cannot book stopovers on a one-way saver award online. You will need to call Krisflyer membership services to get it done. Give them the date of your first leg and second leg, tell them you know there’ll be a US$100 fee and everything should run smoothly. Remember to call it a STOPOVER, not a layover (layover is 24 hours or less)
  • If you’re booking First Class from X–>Y but only Business Class is available from Y–>Z, you’ll pay the First Class price from X–>Z as shown on the award chart, regardless of the fact that you flew J from Y–>Z. This is often the case when your first vacation is to a long haul stop where F is available, but your second is to a regional destination where J is the highest cabin class available
  • Although date changes do not attract additional fees, route changes do. So, if having flown X–>Y you later decide to change Y–>Z to Y–>A, you’ll need to pay a fee
  • You may encounter a scenario where X–>Y is available and immediately confirmable but Y–>Z is waitlist only. If this happens, X–>Y–>Z cannot be ticketed immediately and you’ll have to waitlist. I’d recommend you be very flexible about the dates on Y–>Z and pick whichever one has saver space, even if it’s a random date, knowing that you can change the date later for free. It’s much better to lock in  X–>Y first, and can worry about negotiating the Y–>Z dates later
  • EDIT: An additional point came to mind- if you want to do this you have to be like a pendulum, swinging in one direction through Singapore and continuing to head the other way. In other words, I can’t do SYD-SIN-CHC because that’s a backtracking award. Nor could I do HKG-SIN-TPE, for example, or SFO-SIN-LHR Your next holiday has to be in a place where the East–>West / North–> South direction generally continues. It’s not a big deal for me per se, but if you’re the sort who likes to go to the same place all the time then this might not work for you. The Krisflyer award chart will tell you if it’s possible to fly between two regions.

Ideas and potential sweet spots

Some close study of the Krisflyer award chart will reap dividends, but if you need ideas for potential routings, here are some sweet spots I think are good deals.

(the + in the brackets refers to the incremental cost over ending your journey in Singapore)

  • Zone 9 to Zone 1-4 (Same Cost) or Zone 8 (+25K in F/J)
  • Zone 5 to Zone 8 (+15K in F/J)
  • Zone 11 to Zone 7 (+23/15K in F/J- this is incredible value to me, 15K more miles +US$100 for a second trip to Tokyo!) or Zone 9 (+33/20K in F/J- this is also great, 33K more miles + US$100 for First Class to Sydney, anyone?)
  • Zone 7 to Zone 8 (+10K in J)- build in a trip to Perth in Business Class?
  • Anywhere to Zones 1-3 (Same Cost)*

*I’ve touched on this topic before when I wrote about the $100 Bangkok Trip, but needless to say regardless of wherever you’re flying back from it almost always costs the same to end your journey in Singapore vs Zone 2 and 3, so if you feel $100 is worth it you can always tag on another flight later on in the year

This is obviously not a complete list so feel free to chime in.

What I love about this opportunity is that it’s a good way for those of us based in Singapore to really stretch our miles. We may not earn them as easily as folks in the USA, but they won’t be able to take advantage of this unless their home base is Singapore.

So, always think one step ahead, and you’ll be saving a lot more miles.