Explained: KrisFlyer UOB’s absurd miles extension perk

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KrisFlyer UOB cardholders can extend their miles by 12 months...if they divide by zero, build a perpetual motion machine, and apply on a day that doesn't end with a "y"

UOB is already known for convoluted T&Cs, but I’m of the opinion they’ve outdone themselves with the new complimentary miles extension perk on the KrisFlyer UOB Credit Card

It’s so spectacular that I think it warrants a stand-alone post, just to lay out what exactly it takes to enjoy this benefit. 

Enjoy a 12-month KrisFlyer miles extension with the KrisFlyer UOB Card…

For the uninitiated, UOB recently unveiled some updates to the KrisFlyer UOB Credit Card: the spending threshold for Accelerated Miles was reduced, a second fast track option for KrisFlyer Elite Silver was added, and a 12-month complimentary miles extension benefit was introduced.

I’ve already discussed the changes in this post, but I want to zoom in on the miles extension benefit since it piqued my interest the most. On the surface, this has the potential to be a very useful perk. 

Cobrand cards automatically transfer any miles earned to your KrisFlyer account each month, which is both a blessing and a curse. On the one hand, you don’t pay any conversion fees. On the other, your 3-year expiry countdown starts ticking the moment the miles are in.

Compare this to certain non cobrand cards like the Citi PremierMiles or DBS Altitude, which allow you to hold your points indefinitely on the bank side (not that holding indefinitely is to be encouraged), and start the 3-year countdown when you’re good and ready. 

Short of Singapore Airlines switching to an activity-based expiry policy for KrisFlyer, offering cobrand cardholders a complimentary mileage extension is the next best alternative. But a perk is only as good as the execution, and oh boy, the way they’ve done this one…

…if you can jump through these hoops

Singapore Airlines First Class on the B777-300ER
Singapore Airlines First Class on the B777-300ER

Straight off the bat, the 12-month extension is only available for up to 60,000 miles. This makes little sense to me, since if anything, it discourages people from spending more on the card.

Second, it’s only valid for miles earned between 1 January to 31 December 2021. I suppose it’s always possible they’ll extend it to future years, but the stating of an explicit timeline leads me to believe it’s more of a concession for the COVID-19 period, rather than a business-as-usual perk. 

Third, it’s not automatic. Cardholders must manually opt-in via SMS if they want their KrisFlyer miles extended. Why? Maybe there are folks out there who’d take umbrage should their miles be extended sans consent. I don’t know, umbrage is pretty common these days. 

📱 Send SMS to 77862
MILESEXTENSION<space>Last 4 digits of Principal Card number<space>10-
digit KrisFlyer membership number<space>number of Eligible Miles to extend

Fourth, you’ll need to wait till at least August 2023 to send the SMS (although ideally you’ll want to send it in January 2024; see below). I’m all for giving advance notice, but this is taking it to a whole other level. In fact, the system isn’t even activated yet- and why should it? There’s still 2+ years to go!

Fifth, the SMS must be sent in accordance with the following timeline: 

Earn Month Expiry Month SMS submission period
Jan 2021 Jan 2024 Aug 2023 to Jan 2024
Feb 2021 Feb 2024 Sep 2023 to Feb 2024
Mar 2021 Mar 2024 Oct 2023 to Mar 2024
Apr 2021 Apr 2024  Nov 2023 to Apr 2024
May 2021 May 2024 Dec 2023 to May 2024
Jun  2021 Jun 2024 Jan 2024 to Jun 2024
Jul 2021 Jul 2024 Feb 2024 to Jul 2024
Aug 2021 Aug 2024 Mar 2024 to Aug 2024
Sep 2021 Sep 2024 Apr 2024 to Sep 2024
Oct 2021 Oct 2024 May 2024 to Oct 2024
Nov 2021 Nov 2024 Jun 2024 to Nov 2024
Dec 2021 Dec 2024 Jul 2024 to Dec 2024

To illustrate, should your miles be due to expire in March 2024, you must send the extension SMS anytime from October 2023 to March 2024. 

Sixth, you can only send a maximum of two SMS requests (the third one onwards will be disregarded). Each request can consolidate the miles to be extended in blocks of up to six months.

Let’s take a brief interlude here to discuss the issue you’ll face, should you actually get down to doing this. 

The fact that you’re capped at two SMS requests means the only logical way to do this is to send:

  • one SMS in January 2024 (to extend miles expiring from January to June 2024)
  • one SMS in July 2024 (to extend miles expiring from July to December 2024)

But while your KrisFlyer account will show you how many miles are expiring in the upcoming months, it won’t give you a breakdown of where those miles came from. 

Suppose it’s now January 2024, and I see in my KrisFlyer member area that 30,000 miles are due to expire in March 2024. I start composing the SMS, which you’ll recall goes like this:

📱 Send SMS to 77862
MILESEXTENSION<space>Last 4 digits of Principal Card number<space>10-
digit KrisFlyer membership number<space>number of Eligible Miles to extend

That part in red is the killer. How many of those 30,000 miles came from my KrisFlyer UOB Credit Card, and how many came from other sources? Since the T&Cs reserve the right to reject your extension request if your SMS is “inaccurate”, it’s crucial you get the figure right. You know, by figuring out exactly how much you spent roughly three years ago, adjusting for Accelerated Miles, redemptions and refunds. It’s virtually impossible to do, unless you earn all your miles from a single source. 

Seventh, your extension may not actually be 12 months. According to the T&Cs:

Eligible Miles that have been successfully extended will be valid for another 12 months from the date on which such Eligible Miles have been successfully extended. For example, if Eligible Miles have been successfully extended in April 2024, the new expiry date will be April 2025.

SMS requests will be processed within three months. So let’s say you follow the game plan by sending one SMS each in January and July 2024. Your new timeline looks like this:

Original Expiry Month New Expiry Month
Jan 2024 Jan-Mar 2025
(depends on approval date)
Feb 2024
Mar 2024
Apr 2024 
May 2024
Jun 2024
Jul 2024 Jul-Sep 2025
(depends on approval date)
Aug 2024
Sep 2024
Oct 2024
Nov 2024
Dec 2024

Since the 12 month extension runs from the date the extension request is approved, here’s one scenario where you actually want them to take their time!

For example, if they’re Johnny-on-the-spot and approve your January 2024 request in the same month, all the miles you requested an extension for will be valid till January 2025. That’s a 12-month extension for the miles expiring in January 2024, but only 6 months for the miles expiring in July 2024!

Who could possibly use this perk?

Look. If you’re playing the miles game, you should ideally be able to earn and burn through your miles within a three year period, so expiry doesn’t become an issue (remember, the oldest miles are used first in any redemption). 

But in the off chance you wanted to use this extension perk, you’d need to:

  • Remember to apply for an extension in the August 2023 to December 2024 period
  • Accurately calculate how many miles to request an extension for (remember, you only get two tries to get this right!)

And all this to extend a maximum of 60,000 miles, some of which may not even get the full 12 months! I swear, the entire process is so stacked against the customer to the extent it feels almost maliciously designed. Perhaps I’m crazy, but wouldn’t it be simpler to just tag and extend these miles automatically on the backend? 

Well, yes, which is probably why it hasn’t been done. 

Conclusion

I’ll be the first to admit my morbid fascination with the KrisFlyer UOB product line. I mean, if it were a person, they’d have have filed a restraining order against me by now. 

From the Byzantine way you earn miles on the KrisFlyer UOB bank account (capped at 5% of your monthly average balance, no less), to the convoluted Accelerated Miles system (accelerated= get them up to 15 months after you spend), to this absolute gem of a miles extension perk, there’s never a dull moment to be had. 

But despite all this, I’m actually a cardholder. Not so much to earn miles, but because of the possibility there’ll be another opportunity to redeem discounted KrisFlyer Experiences sometime down the road. I deeply suspect that using the card for anything other than this is a surefire recipe for high blood pressure. 

At the same time, I can’t wait to see what they think of next…

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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JY W

The krisflyer number in ur sms screenshot is in full view.. is it supposed to be censored?

Martin

nice one… well written.

Lifshitz

You only wrote this article in order to use the word umbrage, didn’t you?

Chian Yorn

I was feeling quite upset as I read the article, but um-chio at the end of the article when I realised you too have the card. Feels a bit better.

Salmon Lee

I have the card too; to me it serves as the “other” Krisflyer card, since the Amex one is not universally accepted and some merchants only accept Masters or Visa. What Aaron wrote was hilarious, and certainly umbrageous to UOB if they bother to read, but I never keep my miles for more than 1-2 years so not really an issue. Unless of course we’re not allowed to fly for the next 5-6 years then that becomes a huge issue.

Last edited 4 months ago by Salmon Lee
cheesecake

GOODNESS. GRACIOUS.

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