Buying an iPhone with your miles might be the dumbest idea ever

Buying "superfoods". Believing in homeopathy. Buying an iPhone 8 with miles.

I received an email from Krisshop telling me that the most anticipated phone was now available for purchase. “Good”, I thought. I’d been waiting for months for this obelisk of beauty to hit Singapore shores, and now I could finally cradle it in my hands. The black edition of the Blackberry Keyone, with dual sim support, battery life that puts the competition to shame, and of course that sensual, tactile backlit keyboard with laser etched clickable keys. Just the thought of it gave me big boy feelings.

Image result for blackberry keyone black

So naturally I was disappointed to open the email and see this:

Apparently you can redeem something called an iPhone 8 and 8 Plus for 198,000 miles and 218,000 miles respectively. Seriously? The thing doesn’t even have a keyboard. Next thing I know you’ll be telling me it doesn’t have a headphone jack…

The 256GB versions of the iPhone 8 and 8 Plus retail at $1,388 and $1,548 respectively, so this is the equivalent of getting 0.7 cents per mile.

We’ll have long and philosophical debates about the true value of a mile, but I can tell you right away the answer is not 0.7 cents. Here’s a reminder of the value a Krisflyer mile can buy, depending on what you redeem it for:

  • Redeem as cash against revenue SQ ticket- 1 cent
  • Redeem for Scoot/Tigerair vouchers- 1 cent
  • Economy Class- 1.5-3 cents
  • Premium Economy Class- 2-3 cents
  • Business Class- 4-5 cents
  • First Class- 6-7 cents

Oh, you can also use your miles for payments in Krisshop, but therein lies the ultimate insult- if you buy an iPhone through Krisshop with your miles, you actually get worse than usual value.

Here’s a sampling of SQ’s electronics catalog. You’ll note that whatever the item, the value per mile is a consistent 0.8 cents (eg Jabra Sports Pace is $165 or 20,625 miles, so 0.8 cents per mile exactly).

Going by that valuation, an iPhone 8 and 8 Plus should cost 173,500 and 193,500 miles respectively. But instead, you’re paying 198,000 and 218,000 miles, a ~13-14% premium because, er, Apple. 

Let’s not forget that 218,000 miles is a jaw droppingly large number. What could I do with 218,000 miles?

  • Fly two people in round trip first class to Beijing/ Shanghai/ Mumbai/ Delhi
  • Fly two people in round trip business class to any destination in Japan or South Korea
  • Fly to Sydney in first class (get the new A380 maybe?) round trip, then slum it and fly back one more time in business class because you left your glasses behind
  • Fly round trip to Bali in economy 14 times, because you’re worth it

I could go on and on, but the point is that you’d have to be some sort of madman to spend 218,000 miles on an iPhone. Oh, and the iPhone 8 is available for full miles redemption only- you can’t combine miles and cash as you can for other Krisshop items. So you can’t even make the argument that you’re only burning a few miles that are set to expire anyway.

To summarize, using your miles on Krisshop is a fool’s game for two reasons- the first is the pitiful valuation that SQ gives you for your miles. The second is the inflated prices you pay for items, as this comparison photo between Krisshop and Lazada shows:

LHS: Krisshop prices, RHS: Lazada prices

Guys, come on. It doesn’t even have a keyboard.

Aaron Wong
Aaron Wong
Aaron founded The Milelion to help people travel better for less and impress chiobu. He was 50% successful.

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If SQ happens to read this, they might just offer the sexy Keyone at the KrisShop. For the same miles.


Fighting injustice.. 1 bad deal at a time. You should make that your tagline!


In China, people can sell away 1 kidney for an iphone….

Aaron Wong

I know right. Even the Chinese won’t swap 218k miles


You know your country has degenerated when kidneys are offered on krisshop for miles

Alvin Widjaja

me: 14 round-trip to Bali in Y

KS: look…no keyboard.. and you can keep your kidney


I was waiting for this post when I saw the email in my inbox. 😀

Chelsea Kang

Am I the only one feeling insulted that they’re even offering this to us consumers?


there will be takers…probabaly with too many points and in the scenario “oops i forgot my other half’s b’day, i can buy this, super convenient, i’m awesome & other half will love me more”


Looks like your wish will soon become reality. The Keyone Black Edition (without the dual-SIM – that’s only on the Limited Edition model in India) will be launching in SG next week with M1 and Starhub.


I hear you brother. I’m queuing as well…

[…] much more to KrisFlyer miles than just Singapore Airlines flights, hotel rooms, rental cars, KrisShop or -gulp- KrisPay. In fact, some of the best value in KrisFlyer is hidden away in obscure corners […]



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