Wow: Singapore Airlines offering 15% bonus for credit card conversions to KrisFlyer miles

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From now till 27 December 2020, convert credit card points to KrisFlyer miles and get a 15% bonus, with no cap.

Well this is a first.

From now till 27 December 2020, Singapore Airlines is offering a 15% bonus on all bank rewards points conversions to KrisFlyer, with no cap. As far as I know, this is the first time we’ve seen a transfer bonus for KrisFlyer. 

KrisFlyer 15% Transfer Bonus

While I’ll probably be converting at least some of my credit card points under this promotion, you should be aware of the potential drawbacks of cashing out your entire balance. We’ll talk about that in a bit, but first, the offer. 

Earn 15% bonus KrisFlyer miles when you convert bank points

No registration is required for this offer, which applies automatically for all transfers of bank rewards points completed by 27 December 2020. Note how it’s “completed”, not “initiated”- you’ll need to leave time for conversion (see below), so don’t wait till the last moment.

Bank Points Bonus KrisFlyer Miles
Equivalent of
10,000 miles 
+15% 11,500 miles
β†’

15% bonus KrisFlyer miles will be awarded for every eligible bank rewards points conversion, with a minimum of 10,000 KrisFlyer miles transferred. While the minimum amount to transfer is 10,000 miles, you need not do it in blocks of 10,000. For example, someone who transfers 15,000 miles will receive a total of 17,250 miles (15,000 + 2,250). 

πŸ’³ 20% bonus for selected overseas banks

If you have points from the above banks in Brunei, Hong Kong or Indonesia, you’ll earn a 20% transfer bonus instead. For Hong Kong DBS customers, 20% bonus miles is applicable to the first 10,000 DBS Bank reward points conversion to KrisFlyer miles only, after which 15% bonus miles will apply.

All banks in Singapore are participating. You’ll want to keep in mind the transfer times, and add a few working days of buffer to be safe. 

Bank Min. Transfer Transfer Timing
American Express 450 points
(250 miles)^
48 hours
Bank of China 6,000 BOC points
(1,000 miles)
>1 week
Citibank
25,000 ThankYou points
(10,000 miles)
2-3 working days
10,000 Citi Miles
(10,000 Miles)
2-3 working days
DBS 5,000 DBS Points
(10,000 miles)
2 working days
HSBC 25,000 HSBC points
(10,000 miles)
~1 week
Maybank 12,500 TREATS
(5,000 miles)
2 working days
OCBC 25,000 OCBC$
(10,000 miles)
2 working days
1,000 Travel$
(1,000 miles)
2 working days
1 VOYAGE Mile
(1 mile)
2 working days
Standard Chartered 2,500 points
(1,000 miles)*
~1 week
UOB 5,000 UNI$
(10,000 miles)
2-3 working days
^400 points= 250 miles for AMEX Platinum Charge and Centurion members
*3,500 points= 1,015 miles for non Visa Infinite cardholders
Note: Data points are based on personal experience and data points provided on Flyertalk/ Milelion Community

The full list of participating banks worldwide can be found here

What about cobrand cards?

Sadly, this offer does not apply to cobrand credit cards, so AMEX KrisFlyer and UOB KrisFlyer credit card members are out of luck.

You can transfer points instantly from DBS/UOB via Kris+ (but don’t bother)

Kris+ (formerly KrisPay) allows DBS and UOB cardholders to instantly convert DBS points/UOB UNI$ to KrisPay miles, which can then be converted to KrisFlyer miles at a 1:1 ratio (within 7 days of transfer). 

  Transfer Ratio
UOB UNI$ 1,000 UNI$: 1,700 KrisFlyer miles
DBS Points 100 DBS Points: 170 KrisFlyer miles

As the table above shows, there’s a catch. Cardholders will take a 15% haircut when they transfer points this way, which means it’s poor value unless you’re desperate for quick miles. 

While the 15% bonus also applies to transfers via Kris+ and sounds like it may offset the haircut, the math isn’t that simple.

To illustrate, suppose I transfer 5,000 UNI$. I will receive a total of 9,775 KrisFlyer miles (8,500 base miles, and 1,275 bonus miles). 

But remember, had I transferred those 5,000 UNI$ with the current 15% bonus, I would receive 11,500 miles, so I’ve lost out on 1,725 miles. Yes, I haven’t paid any transfer fees (Kris+ conversions are free of charge), but the more miles you’re transferring, the more significant the haircut becomes, and the less significant the transfer fee. 

So I wouldn’t bother taking the Kris+ route, unless perhaps you’re reading this article for the first time on 26 December (Merry Christmas!).

Should I transfer my points now?

As I mentioned at the start, this is the first I’ve heard of a KrisFlyer transfer bonus. I’ll certainly convert some points, but I wouldn’t cash out the farm, for the following reasons. 

Your 3 year expiry countdown will start immediately

While KrisFlyer has been diligent about extending miles that are due to expire during this COVID-19 period, it just goes to show the problems inherent with a time-based expiry policy.

All KrisFlyer miles expire after three years, unless you’re a PPS Club member:

KrisFlyer miles will expire after three years (or one year for KrisFlyer miles received from contests) at 23:59 hours Singapore time (GMT +08:00 hours) on the last day of the equivalent month in which they were earned.

πŸ‘ Protip
Since this offer runs till 27 December 2020, why not wait till 1 December 2020 to make the transfer? You’ll get an extra month of validity, at no cost to you

With the timeline for resuming travel still uncertain, the last thing you want is a weird “in between” situation down the road, where enough countries have reopened their borders for KrisFlyer to cease granting miles extensions, but the “right” country you want to visit hasn’t. 

Remember: certain credit card points do not expire, so you can keep your powder dry on the bank side until you’re ready to fly again.

You lose flexibility

Unless your bank only has a single transfer partner (e.g OCBC), you’re losing out on flexibility by transferring them to KrisFlyer. This rules out the possibility of choosing a different frequent flyer program down the road, to take advantage of its sweet spots or other transfer promotions. 

KrisFlyer
Star Alliance
βœ… βœ… βœ… βœ… βœ… βœ… βœ… βœ… βœ…
βœ…   βœ…         βœ…  
βœ…   βœ…            
    βœ…            
              βœ…  
              βœ…  
Oneworld
βœ… βœ… βœ… βœ… βœ… βœ…     βœ…
βœ…   βœ…            
βœ…   βœ…     βœ…      
βœ…   βœ… βœ…          
    βœ…         βœ…  
SkyTeam
    βœ…         βœ…  
βœ…                
Non-aligned
    βœ…         βœ…  
βœ…             βœ…  
Hotels
              βœ…  
βœ…                
    βœ…         βœ…  
βœ…                

I’d think especially hard if I’m a Citibank customer, because those Citi Miles and ThankYou points are the most valuable transfer currency in all of Singapore. You can pick from 11 different frequent flyer programs across all three major alliances and Etihad Guest, which has a veritable harem of partners to choose from. 

What about the ‘D’ word?

For reasons I’ve covered before, I don’t think we’ll see a KrisFlyer devaluation anytime soon. Devaluations happen when there’s too many miles chasing too few seats, and with load factors as abysmal as they are, the opportunity cost of releasing award seats is low (except exceptional cases, like the Hong Kong travel bubble– where I believe we’ll see award space by early next year). 

So I wouldn’t let the prospect of a devaluation per se stop me from transferring miles- if anything, the bonus could help to cushion the impact of a future devaluation. 

To learn more about the history of KrisFlyer devaluations, have a read of the article below. 

Tracking 15 years of KrisFlyer devaluations and program changes

Conclusion

Singapore Airlines B787 Business Class- the highest cabin you can fly for now

I’m sure I can’t be the only one with a huge chunk of bank points at the moment, and a 15% bonus means at least some of those will be finding a new home in KrisFlyer.

If you’re planning to do some Christmas shopping over the next few weeks, remember that a 15% bonus effectively allows you to earn up to 4.6 mpd (4 mpd + 15%) on certain categories of spending, assuming your points transfers clear by 27 December 2020. 

Will you be taking advantage of this transfer bonus?

Aaron Wong
Aaron founded The Milelion with the intention of helping people travel better for less and impressing chiobu. He was 50% successful.

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ooyabun

Aaron,
You raise a very good point. I have Citi Prestige and a large chunk of miles. Given that first class / suites are not loaded for SQ till Oct 2021, does it make sense to even redeem miles on Krisflyer, or better to use my citi points for other airlines.

Meusp

Thanks ! While I can see this 15% bonus on OCBC website, I don’t see it on the AMEX website. Any luck for you guys ?

Blocks of 10000?

Hi Aaron, Thanks for the writeup. From what I read of the FAQs and TnCs, there may be two differing interpretations to whether or not one needs to transfer this in blocks of 10,000 miles. If you look at pt. 8 of the FAQ, it states that ‘your bank reward points must be converted in minimum blocks of 10,000 KrisFlyer miles in a single transaction’. I read this as them saying that the 15% bonus would only be awarded only if there is a complete block of 10,000 miles. However, pt. A.2 of the TnC suggest that ‘A KrisFlyer member… Read more »

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Marcus

The ‘Covid and the Miles Game’ video linked in this article no longer works as it seems to have been removed from Zoom. Can I watch this anywhere else, Aaron?

Tempted

I was thinking along the same lines which was to transfer my ocbc points which would be reaching two years validity anyway early next year and maybe even my uob points as I reckon cathay wouldn’t be as well supported as sing air I wasn’t thinking about transfering my citi points until I made a simple calculations that 600+k miles will earn me a bonus of about 100k miles, equivalent to a one way biz to europe that said, I doubt I can even burn a million miles by dec 2023, even if there is a devaluation so though tempting… Read more »

Smudger

just to confirm, even though I can see a date value (e.g. 17 Nov 2020) when the points gets transferred officially to Krisflyer account, it means the expiry is 30 Nov 2023 based on what i’m reading from your article?

ekinchow

Only get 1500 DBS points left, so just kris+ and cancel the credit card

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