You can now redeem KrisFlyer miles for Pelago experiences (but probably shouldn’t)

Spend KrisFlyer miles with Pelago on attractions, tours or staycations at a rate of 150 miles= S$1. Or maybe not.

Towards the end of last year, Singapore Airlines launched an activities platform called Pelago, which is similar in concept to Klook or KKday. Users can book attraction tickets, F&B experiences, staycations and tours, all while earning KrisFlyer miles (on top of regular credit card miles).

Pelago has now added the option to redeem KrisFlyer miles on the platform, but unless you’re flush with them, it’s not worth considering.

Redeem KrisFlyer miles on Pelago

 
150 miles S$1

KrisFlyer members can now redeem miles on Pelago at a rate of 150 miles= S$1, with a minimum redemption of 1,050 miles.

You should see straight away that this yields a value of just 0.67 cents per mile– extremely dismal. In fact, it ranks towards the bottom of all the things you can do with KrisFlyer miles. 

Options for Spending KrisFlyer Miles
Redemption Option Value per mile
✈️ Award flights 2-6 cents
🏨 Shangri-La Golden Circle conversion 1.4 cents*
✈️ Pay for flights with miles 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
🎡 Pelago 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 you’re a regular member, 10 GC points= US$1, i.e 1.1 cents/mile

To make matters worse, Pelago takes an all or nothing approach to redemption. You must pay the entire amount with KrisFlyer miles; there’s no option to mix cash and miles!

For example, suppose I want to buy an attraction ticket that costs S$16. At check-out, I can select KrisFlyer miles as my payment method, but the system forces me to pay the entire S$16 with 2,400 miles. 

This means that you couldn’t even use Pelago to selectively burn a small number of miles that are due to expire (not that miles are expiring now, anyway)

A few other things to note:

  • Pelago bookings using KrisFlyer miles must be made under your name, or the name of one of your redemption nominees
  • Pelago bookings using KrisFlyer miles can be cancelled, subject to the activity’s T&Cs. If so, miles will be refunded within two weeks. I’m pretty sure they’ll still have their original expiry date tagged to them, so you won’t be able to use this as a sneaky way of extending miles.

It’s just very hard to see any situation where spending KrisFlyer miles on Pelago would be warranted. If you wanted to redeem staycations, you could get 0.8 cents per mile by using KrisFlyer vRooms (not saying that you should, just that you could!). If you wanted to buy activities or experiences, KrisShop has a (small) selection you can choose from, also at 0.8 cents per mile. 

KrisShop has a handful of activities which can be redeemed with miles at 0.8 cents/mile

What’s more, both these platforms allow for the mixing of miles and cash, enabling you to fine tune exactly how many miles you wish to spend. 

Earning KrisFlyer miles with Pelago

While redeeming KrisFlyer miles with Pelago is a dud, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t earn them when making Pelago bookings.

Pelago itself awards 1 mpd on bookings, which you can stack with the following credit cards for an additional 4 mpd (Pelago has confirmed that transactions are processed under MCC 4722: Travel Agencies and Tour Operators).

Card Earn Rate Cap

HSBC Revolution
Apply

4.0 mpd S$1,000 per calendar month

DBS Woman’s World Card
Apply

4.0 mpd S$2,000 per calendar month
UOB Lady’s Card
Apply
4.0 mpd S$1,000 per calendar month. Must choose travel as 10X category
UOB Lady’s Solitaire
Apply
4.0 mpd S$3,000 per calendar month. Must choose travel as 10X category

Avoid the Citi Rewards Card, as MCC 4722 falls under the travel category which is explicitly excluded from earning the bonus 4 mpd rate for online transactions. 

However, from 1-31 May 2021, you can earn 6 miles per US$1 spent with KKday, which works out to about 4.5 miles per S$1. Stack this with the right card, and you’re looking at 8.5 mpd- a clearly better option, assuming you can find the same activities and prices. 

Conclusion

Spending KrisFlyer miles with Pelago is a flat-out bad idea, and even if you find yourself with expiring miles on hand (which shouldn’t be an issue for the near future), there’s better ways of salvaging value.

On a separate note, Pelago is currently offering 15% off any booking made with the promo code PELAGOKF15, valid from 3 May to 3 August 2021. It’s worth poking around the site and seeing if you can score a deal, but do note the discount is capped at S$20 and it’s limited to one use per account. 

Aaron Wong
Aaron founded The Milelion to help people travel better for less and impress chiobu. He was 50% successful.

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