New partnership: Convert KrisFlyer miles to CapitaStar STAR$ (and vice versa)

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SIA and CapitaLand ink a new partnership, providing for two-way conversions of KrisFlyer miles and STAR$. Neither is a great idea.

Singapore Airlines has added a brand new KrisFlyer transfer partner in the form of CapitaStar, CapitaLand’s loyalty program.

Two-way transfers are now available, and a limited-time lucky draw offers members the chance to win either 100,000 KrisFlyer miles or 1,000,000 STAR$ (worth S$1,000) for making a transfer in either direction, from now till 4 May 2021. 

Transfers from STAR$ to KrisFlyer

STAR$ can be transferred to KrisFlyer miles at the following ratio:

 
9,880 STAR$ 380 miles

A maximum of 350,000 STAR$ can be transferred each calendar year, and all conversions are instant

STAR$ can be redeemed for CapitaVouchers for use at 16 participating CapitaLand malls island-wide at a rate of 5,000 STAR$= S$5, which means 1 STAR$ is worth 0.1 cents. Therefore, when converting STAR$ to KrisFlyer miles, you’re effectively buying 380 miles for S$9.88, or 2.6 cents per mile. 

That’s way too high a price to be buying KrisFlyer miles, let alone in a time like this. Save your STAR$ for spending at CapitaLand malls and you’ll be much happier. 

Transfers from KrisFlyer to STAR$

KrisFlyer miles can be transferred to STAR$ at the following ratio:

 
3,000 miles 21,000 STAR$

A maximum of 30,000 KrisFlyer miles can be transferred each calendar year, and all conversions are instant

As mentioned earlier, 1 STAR$ is worth 0.1 cents, so you’re basically trading 3,000 KrisFlyer miles for S$21, yielding a value of 0.7 cents per mile. That’s extremely grim, ranking near the bottom of your options for redeeming KrisFlyer miles. 

Option Value per mile
Flight Redemptions 2-6 cents
Shangri-La Golden Circle conversion 1.4 cents*
Pay with miles for flights 1.02 cents
KrisFlyer vRooms 0.8 cents
KrisShop 0.8 cents
TapForMore conversion 0.73 cents
CapitaStar conversion 0.7 cents
Kris+ 0.67 cents
Esso Smiles conversion 0.33- 0.67 cents
*Assumes you have GC Jade/Diamond status and use points for F&B at 10 GC points= US$1.25. If regular member, 10 GC points= US$1, i.e value is 1.1 cents/mile

While the wide range of merchants available in your typical CapitaLand Mall would arguably make conversions more useful than KrisShop or KrisFlyer vRooms, it’s still not a viable option for anyone other than the truly desperate. 

Launch promotion: Win 100,000 KrisFlyer miles or 1,000,000 STAR$

To mark the launch of this partnership, Singapore Airlines and CapitaLand are running a weekly lucky draw from 5 April to 4 May 2021. 

  • Week 1: 5 April to 11 April
  • Week 2: 12 April to 19 April
  • Week 3: 20 April to 26 April
  • Week 4:  27 April to 4 May

For each week, one prize of 100,000 KrisFlyer miles and one prize of 1,000,000 STAR$ will be given away. To participate, you must make at least one conversion from KrisFlyer to CapitaStar (or vice versa) during the respective weeks. Each participant receives one chance per eligible conversion, regardless of the number of miles or STAR$ converted. 

The lucky draw will be conducted on 18 May 2021, and the full T&C can be found here (scroll to the bottom of the page and click on terms & conditions). 

Other implications

I can think of two potential opportunities that this partnership creates, for AMEX CapitaCard cardholders and Ascott Star Rewards members. Neither, unfortunately, is particularly enticing. 

AMEX CapitaCard

The AMEX CapitaCard is the official cobrand card of CapitaLand malls, allowing cardholders to earn STAR$ with their day-to-day spending as follows:

  STAR$ per S$1 Equivalent MPD
General Spending 5 0.19
CapitaLand Malls 15 0.58
Selected merchants within CapitaLand Malls 65 2.50

As you can see, the earn rates for KrisFlyer miles aren’t fantastic. Even in a best case scenario, you’d get 2.5 mpd, which is easily outperformed by 4 mpd cards like the UOB Preferred Platinum Visa (everywhere mobile payments are accepted) or the HSBC Revolution (shopping boutiques, dining and department stores). 

There’s currently a sign-up bonus of 120,000 STAR$ when you spend S$2,400 in the first 2 months of membership, equivalent to ~4,615 miles. Even so, that’s probably not worth giving up your new-to-bank status for- much richer offers exist with the AMEX KrisFlyer Credit Card and AMEX KrisFlyer Ascend (don’t forget the Million Miles draw too, if you’re reading this in April!).

New AMEX KrisFlyer credit card sign up gifts: Conrad or Shangri-La staycation

Ascott Star Rewards

Ascott Star Rewards (ASR) is the loyalty program of The Ascott Limited, which brands include Ascott The Residence, Somerset, Quest and Citadines. I’ve written a primer on how the program and its various tiers work, but the tl;dr is that 1 ASR point= 0.25 cents.

You could, if you were so inclined, transfer 3,000 KrisFlyer miles to 21,000 STAR$ and then 20,000 STAR$ to 6,000 ASR points. But that gets you S$16 of value (S$15 from ASR + S$1 in STAR$), which is even worse than if you just stopped at the STAR$ stage (S$21). 

   
3,000 miles 21,000 STAR$ 6,000 points
(1,000 STAR$ leftover)

Forget it. 

Conclusion

As always, the old maxim holds:

“The best use of a loyalty currency is for that program’s native rewards”

-Some balding guy

KrisFlyer miles should be used for flights; CapitaStar STAR$ should be used for shopping at malls. Use one for the other, and you’ll lose so much value in the process it ceases to be worthwhile. 

You could buy KrisFlyer miles for way less than implicit cost of 2.6 cents when transferring STAR$ to KrisFlyer. Likewise, you could get way more from other redemption options than the 0.7 cents per mile you’d get when transferring KrisFlyer miles to STAR$. 

The best use case? I suppose you could see 9,880 STAR$ as the cost of buying a lottery ticket for the weekly 1,000,000 STAR$/ 100,000 KrisFlyer miles draw. I can’t imagine a whole lot of people will be making these transfers, so your odds might be better than you think. 

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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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chk

Good stuff. I saw the email and was wondering how bad it would be transferring the miles and stars back and forth. Worse than I thot!

D K

Thanks Aaron for the doing the Math. If I value a mile at 1.5cents, the lucky draw ticket would cost $4.30 for a chance to make $1000-$1500 in value. If there are more than 9999 conversions, won’t it be more worthwhile to buy a 4D ticket from Singapore pools? But yes, I did seriously consider the lucky draw concept 🙂

Wil

was also thinking abt the lucky draw but after your analysis, I think I buy 4D the returns are higher

JSong

Thanks for the review. I also saw the email and noticed how asymmetric is their 2-way exchanges.

What a waste of time from them…

Feeling Lucky

the linking doesn’t work. At least for me…

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