Maybank increases minimum transfer blocks for frequent flyer miles conversions

Maybank has increased the minimum transfer blocks for its airline partners, and is nudging customers to its awfully-reviewed TREATS SG app.

Maybank has made some changes to its TREATS rewards program, increasing the minimum transfer blocks for all four partners and adjusting the transfer ratios depending on transfer method.

KrisFlyer users in particular will need to transfer a minimum of 10,000 miles (versus 5,000 miles before), and use the TREATS SG app for the most favorable transfer ratio going forward. 

Maybank’s new transfer ratios

Until recently, Maybank TREATS points could be converted at the following ratios:

  TREATS Airline Miles/Points
KrisFlyer 12,500 5,000
AsiaMiles 5,000 2,000
Enrich 2,500 1,000
AirAsia BIG 2,000 1,000

These transfer blocks were notably smaller than other banks out there, which generally adopted minimums of at least 10,000 miles. The result was greater flexibility; for example, you could transfer 35,000 KrisFlyer miles from Maybank, but if you had Citibank or DBS cards, you’d either have to do 30,000 or 40,000 KrisFlyer miles. 

Unfortunately, Maybank has now increased the minimum transfer blocks, and added differential rates depending on how you transfer your points. 

  TREATS SG app Rewards Portal Manual
10,000 KrisFlyer 25,000 25,600 26,200
5,000 AsiaMiles 12,500
5,000 Enrich Points 12,500
2,000 BIG Points 4,000

Let’s first address the minimum transfer blocks:

  • KrisFlyer has increased from 5,000 to 10,000 miles
  • AsiaMiles has increased from 2,000 to 5,000 miles
  • Enrich has increased from 1,000 to 5,000 points
  • AirAsia BIG has increased from 1,000 to 2,000 points

There’s still good flexibility for Asia Miles, Enrich and AirAsia (although there’s absolutely no reason to redeem your TREATS for the last two), but KrisFlyer transfers now require a minimum of 10,000 miles, on par with most banks. Admin fees remain the same at S$26.75 per transfer, regardless of the number of points transferred.

⚠️ The conversion fee is waived for AirAsia BIG until 31 March 2022, but again, why on earth would you want BIG points?

Now let’s talk about the transfer method. Currently, all transfers to Asia Miles, Enrich and AirAsia BIG must be done manually. Customers fill up a form to register their frequent flyer account details, then another one to indicate how many miles to transfer. 

When it comes to KrisFlyer, however, there are three options:

Maybank is presumably keen to get people using its TREATS SG app, and hence offers the best transfer ratio to those who go down that route. 

After all, there’s nothing people want to do more than download yet another app to their phone, especially one with a 1.9★ rating on Google Play and a laundry list of complaints about hanging and crashing. 

But if you don’t play ball, you’ll pay a higher price of 25,600 points when redeeming through the online rewards portal, and 26,200 points via the manual form.

To put things in perspective, the Maybank Visa Infinite earns 3 TREATS points per S$1. That’s the equivalent of:

  • 1.2 mpd, if you use the TREATS SG app
  • 1.17 mpd, if you use the online rewards portal
  • 1.145 mpd, if you use the manual form

For what it’s worth, Maybank is rolling out this carrot and stick approach to other rewards options too. For example, a S$20 CapitaVoucher will cost 6,700 points, 7,300 points and 7,900 points when redeemed via the TREATS SG app, online rewards portal and manually respectively.

Conclusion

With Maybank’s latest changes, only the OCBC VOYAGE (1 mile), OCBC 90N (1,000 miles) and AMEX Platinum Cards (250 miles) have sub-10,000 minimum transfer amounts. Of course you want to transfer as many points as possible at one go to minimize transfer fees, but having smaller transfer blocks allows you to do it with great fineness. 

Having to use the TREATS SG mobile app shouldn’t be a big deal in and of itself, although the reviews indicate you’re liable to run into some annoying bugs. If only companies would make proper investments in their apps before forcing customers to use them…

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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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Adam

What’s a minor annoyance to miles chasers? After all, we dealt with BOC’s archaic systems when they lured us with good earn rates…

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