It’s safe to say that KrisPay hasn’t exactly been setting the world on fire since it launched back in July this year. Singapore Airlines’ blockchain wallet is meant to let you spend KrisFlyer miles like money, but an abysmal cash-out rate and an anemic merchant list has led to a resounding “meh” from most observers.
To recap the rules of KrisPay:
- KrisFlyer miles can be converted into KrisPay miles at a 1:1 ratio
- KrisFlyer miles that have been transferred to KrisPay cannot be transferred back into your KrisFlyer account
- 150 KrisPay miles are worth S$1 (0.66 cents per mile)
- KrisPay miles are valid for 6 months
KrisPay is still struggling to grow merchant acceptance, and the 18 merchants it first launched with has only increased by four (three, if you exclude the yet-to-be onboarded Presto Drycleaners) in the three months since launch. New additions include Escape Room venue Xcape Singapore and TCM provider Kin Teck Tong, and at this point I’ve given up trying to discern any semblance of a merchant curation strategy. Heck, even where KrisPay is accepted, you still need to be careful because some merchants list item exclusions (eg you can only use KrisPay at Esso to pay for petrol).
In any case, the KrisPay team must really be under some real pressure to show user growth, because they’ve just launched two new promotions:
First time KrisPay users get 500 free KrisPay miles
Were you an early adopter of KrisPay, or did you download the app just to play around with it when it first launched? If so, tough luck, because KrisPay is offering 500 free miles ($3.33 of value) to anyone who logs in for the first time in November.
All you need to do is download the KrisPay app and log in. Once you’ve done that, you’ll see a push notification crediting 500 KrisPay miles to your account.
Remember that KrisPay miles cannot be transferred back into your KrisFlyer account, so you won’t be able to use these miles for flights. For the life of me I can’t think of anything at any of KrisPay’s current merchants that costs $3.33 or less, so you’re still going to have to transfer at least some KrisFlyer miles to KrisPay if you want to take advantage of this.
Speaking of transferring miles to KrisPay…
KrisPay is matching your first KrisFlyer miles transfer in November
KrisPay will match your first top-up in November, up to a limit of 50,000 KrisPay miles. In other words, if on 3 November you transfer 5,000 miles (if you do, please disavow ever reading The Milelion) and on 5 November you transfer a further 6,000 miles (see previous point about disavowment), you’ll only get a bonus of 5,000.
This effectively doubles the value you get out of KrisPay- so instead of 0.66 cents per mile, you now get 1.32 cents per mile. Is that good? No. Is that less bad? Yes, certainly.
Protip: Back, Sac and Crack waxing at Strip costs 16,212 KrisPay miles, but can be yours with this promotion for just 8,106. No one likes a Milelion with a messy mane. Go for it.
Should I take advantage of this promotion?
I’m sticking to what I first said about KrisPay when it launched: the only time you should ever consider using it is if you have a small balance of miles that were about to expire, and you couldn’t use them for award flights, the pay-with-miles function on revenue flights, KrisFlyer vRooms, or KrisShop.
It’s true that the 1 for 1 top-up matching in November boosts the value of KrisPay above some of your other alternatives. But remember this only applies to your first top-up, and subsequently you’re back to the terrible 0.66 cents per mile valuation. Maybe if you had way too many miles and needed a place to cash them out…but how many of us fall into that category?
Conclusion: there are better ways of driving KrisPay adoption
As before, I really can’t understand what Singapore Airlines’ strategy is with KrisPay. The majority of KrisFlyer members are just going to use the 500 KrisPay miles (with a small top-up) and never come back.
Look, I get what the team is trying to go for here: they’re hoping that the top-up matching will persuade people to lock in a large number of miles in KrisPay, which they’ll then need to find ways to spend over the next six months. The hope is that this will “normalize” KrisPay to users, such that it becomes part of their natural payment flow and when the miles are gone, they’ll top them up again at the regular rates.
Fat chance. If the goal is to drive KrisPay adoption, the way to do it is to add merchants. Mobile payments are all about network effects, and when 3 of your 24 merchants are personal groomers, you’re not achieving world domination any time soon. Or why not add an earn function (KrisPay is currently burn-only)? Or why not try and get merchant co-funding so the value of a mile can at least be somewhat less miserable at certain places(perhaps a less-popular merchant may agree to a co-funding arrangement where KrisPay miles are worth slightly more at shop, in order to attract customers)?
The way I see it, this promotion will end up costing KrisPay a whole lot with very little to show for it. So yeah, enjoy your Gong Cha, but how many of you will be using the app again in 6 months?
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