When Aegean Miles+Bonus last held a Black Friday miles sale, there was good reason to get excited.
A 100% bonus was on offer, which at the prevailing exchange rates meant buying miles at 1.96 SG cents each. That let you redeem a round-trip Business Class ticket from Singapore to Japan or South Korea for ~S$820 plus taxes and surcharges. It was a fantastic deal.
Aegean is running another Black Friday deal this year, and once again it’s a 100% bonus. This time round, however, the sale should be greeted with a resounding “meh”.
First, the brass tacks. From now till 1 December 2019, 6 a.m SGT, Miles+Bonus members will receive a 100% bonus on any miles purchased. Aegean normally charges €25 per 1,000 miles, so you’re effectively buying miles at 1.88 SG cents each (slightly lower than last year, on account of exchange rate movements).
Miles+Bonus members can buy up to 30,000 miles (pre-bonus) in a year if they haven’t had any activity in their account in the past year. If they have, they can buy up to 50,000 miles (pre-bonus).
Is it worth buying Aegean Miles+Bonus miles?
Earlier this week, Aegean Miles+Bonus unceremoniously devalued its award chart, without notice.
The new award chart gutted the value of Singapore to Japan Business Class awards, which went from 42,000 to 65,000 miles overnight. Singapore to Europe was also hit, albeit not as hard.
|Round-trip Business Class||Old Chart||New Chart||Devaluation|
|Far East to Far East||42,000||65,000||55%|
|Far East to Europe||110,000||130,000||18%|
|Far East includes China, Hong Kong, Japan, Macau, Mongolia, North Korea, South Korea, Taiwan, Brunei, Cambodia, East Timor, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam. You can see the full listing of Aegean’s geographical groupings here.|
The increase in mileage requirements more than offset the depreciation of the Euro, so net-net your trip to Japan has become 50% more expensive. Black Friday sales ain’t what they used to be, eh?
|Round-trip Business Class||2018 Black Friday Sale||2019 Black Friday Sale||Price Increase|
|Singapore to Japan||~S$820||~S$1,220||+50%|
|Singapore to Europe||~S$2,160||~S$2,440||+13%|
If you really wanted to buy miles for Business Class travel to Japan, you have the following options:
|Buy EVA Air miles via Citi PayAll||50K||~$625-835||Fuel surcharges apply. Timings not ideal- overnight stay in TPE required|
|Buy KrisFlyer miles via one of these methods (assume 1.14-2 cpm)||94K
|No fuel surcharges. Spontaneous Escapes awards only released one month before travel.|
|Buy LifeMiles at 150% bonus||72K
|No fuel surcharges. Promo awards must be booked by 10 Dec|
|Buy Aegean Miles+Bonus at 100% bonus||65K||~S$1,220||Fuel surcharges apply|
|Buy Alaska Mileage Plan at 50% bonus||50K||~S$1,345||No fuel surcharges|
Therefore, I really can’t see any good case for buying Aegean Miles+Bonus, at least if you’re flying out of Singapore. Remember: you’re still on the hook for fuel surcharges with Miles+Bonus, which further sours the deal.
The other annoying thing is you can’t search for Miles+Bonus award space if you don’t have sufficient miles in your account, so someone with a zero balance would be playing award space roulette- buying miles before ascertaining that award space exists.
Edit: see the comments for a workaround. Thanks guys!
What card should I use?
I wouldn’t recommend getting into Miles+Bonus if you’re fresh to the program. However, if you’re still holding on to miles in your account, this could be an opportunity to top-up your balance (and subsequently cash out your miles and exit the program).
Miles+Bonus transactions are processed by Aegean Airlines, meaning they’ll code as foreign currency airline spend. Here are the cards that will give the highest miles return:
|OCBC 90N Card
|4 mpd||None||Until 29 Feb 2020|
|UOB Visa Signature
|4 mpd||S$2K/statement period||Min spend S$1K per statement period|
|DBS Woman’s World Card
|SCB Visa Infinite
|3 mpd||None||Min spend S$2K per statement period|
|BOC Elite Miles
|DBS Altitude Visa/ AMEX
Despite the lack of notice, I think we can all be thankful that Aegean devalued first, then held a miles sale. It’d be quite something if they did it the other way round (like what Alaska did with Emirates awards in 2016).
That said, there’s very little reason for anyone in Singapore to get into Miles+Bonus at this point in time. If you’ve got some orphaned miles in your account, consider using this sale to top them up. Otherwise, steer clear.