What to do with expiring KrisFlyer miles

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KrisFlyer miles will expire again from July 2023. Here's the options for spending your expiring stash, ranked from best to worst.

Back in April 2020, Singapore Airlines announced that it would extend expiring KrisFlyer miles in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.

What started off as a one-time extension ended up becoming a recurring feature as borders remained shut for the better part of two years. It was only in October 2022, after Singapore scrapped most of its border control measures, that the airline decided to sunset the policy and expire miles again from 31 January 2023. 

Well, not really.

In a surprising turn of events, KrisFlyer members were granted a final six month extension, which gave a reprieve until at least 31 July 2023.

✈️ KrisFlyer Miles Extension Policy

If you have KrisFlyer miles in your account expiring between January to June 2023, they are eligible for a final 6-month extension. This extension will be processed automatically, and no action is required on your part. This means that miles in your account will only begin expiring from July 2023.

If miles are expired when you voluntarily refund a redemption booking, the miles will not be eligible for extension.

-Singapore Airlines

KrisFlyer Miles Extension

Well, July is just a few months away, and since I think it’d be foolhardy to expect another final extension, you’d better start getting your house in order.

In this post, we’ll evaluate the various options for spending expiring miles.

✈️ Options for Expiring KrisFlyer Miles
 ↓ Value Per MileMin. Required
Redeem award flight ≤5 cents 8,500 miles
Cash + Miles  0.95 cents 1,050 miles
Convert to Velocity points 0.9 cents 5,000 miles
Spend on KrisFlyer vRooms ≥ 0.8 cents 1,200 miles
Spend on KrisShop 0.8 cents 1,000 miles
Convert to Shangri-La Circle 0.74 cents 20,000 miles
Convert to CapitaStars 0.7 cents 3,000 miles
Spend on Kris+ 0.67 cents 1 mile
Spend on Pelago 0.67 cents 1,050 miles
Convert to LinkPoints 0.65 cents 3,000 miles
Convert to Marriott Bonvoy 0.5 cents 3,000 miles
Convert to Esso Smiles 0.33-0.67 cents 3,000 miles

KrisFlyer miles expiry policy

First, a brief recap of Singapore Airlines’ mileage expiry policy:

A member’s 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.

For example, KrisFlyer miles credited to a member’s KrisFlyer account in July 2017 will expire at 23:59 hours Singapore time (GMT +08:00 hours) on 31 July 2020.

-KrisFlyer T&Cs

Basically: any KrisFlyer miles will expire three years after they were earned, with the exception of miles won from contests, which expire after one year. All expiry takes place at the end of the month, e.g. miles earned from 1-31 July 2017 all expire on 31 July 2020. 

❓ PPS Club member?

KrisFlyer miles belonging to Solitaire PPS Club or PPS Club members never expire so long as they maintain their status. Should they subsequently fail to requalify, their KrisFlyer miles will expire three years from the last day of the month they failed to requalify. 

Do note that this benefit does not apply to supplementary Solitaire PPS Club members.

You can see a summary of all miles due to expire in the next 12 months by logging in to your KrisFlyer account and clicking on Miles Validity. 

When making a redemption, the KrisFlyer miles with the earliest expiry date are always used first.

Can KrisFlyer miles be extended?

KrisFlyer members have a one-time option of extending their miles by paying a fee of 1,200 miles or US$12 (~S$16) per 10,000 miles. This grants a 6-month or 12-month extension, depending on tier.

 KrisFlyerElite SilverElite Gold
Fee per 10,000 miles1,200 miles or US$12
Extension6 mo.12 mo.12 mo.

Should you pay the extension fee in cash or miles? It boils down to how much you value a mile:

  • If your value per mile is below 1.34 cents, pay with miles
  • If your value per mile is more than 1.34 cents, pay with cash

Perhaps a better question is whether you should pay to extend miles in the first place, and I lean towards no. Quite frankly, I think you’d be much better off taking one of the options listed below.

(1) Redeem an award flight

Value Per MileUp to 5 cents per mile
Min. Required8,500 miles
Pros
  • Better value than any on-ground redemption
  • Book flights up to one year in advance
Cons
  • Fees may apply if you need to make changes to your booking
  • No refund of miles if you cancel the ticket after the miles expiry date

The best use of miles is always to redeem them for flights, where you can get up to 5 cents per mile depending on the cabin redeemed (it’s debatable whether you should derive your valuation based on the cash price of the ticket, but that’s another topic for another time). 

If you can’t travel before your miles expire, don’t sweat it. Just because your miles are expiring on 31 July 2023 doesn’t mean you need to travel by 31 July 2023. 

Miles can be used to book an award flight or upgrade up to 355 days in advance on Singapore Airlines (fresh award availability is loaded at 8 a.m SGT each morning), or any of its Star Alliance/other airline partners. For example:

  • Today is 10 July 2023
  • I have 30,000 miles expiring on 31 July 2023
  • I can use these miles to book a flight departing up till 29 June 2024  (+355 days from 10 July 2023)
❓ How much further out can I push the flight?
Award tickets are valid for 1 year from the date of issuance (i.e. the date you redeemed the miles). In our example above, you can push it out a maximum of 10 more days (355+10=365 days), i.e. 9 July 2024.

In other words, the expiry date refers to when miles need to be redeemed by, not necessarily when you need to travel by. To better understand the difference, refer to the article below:

KrisFlyer miles validity versus award ticket validity- what’s the difference?

Two caveats to take note of.

First, should you subsequently decide to cancel your award ticket, you may not get a refund of miles if the expiry date has passed. Going back to our example above:

  • If I cancel this award ticket on or before 31 July 2023, I will get my 30,000 miles back (with the same expiry date)
  • If I cancel this award ticket from 1 August 2023, I will not get anything back

In other words, your miles have a “memory”, and cancelling an award does not give them fresh validity (otherwise everyone would be gaming the system by making reservations and cancelling them, “renewing” their miles for a US$50/75 cancellation fee!).

Second, once the expiry date has passed, you will not be able to make any changes that require a ticket reissuance, such as:

  • Destination
  • Cabin
  • Carrier

You can continue to make date changes up to the validity of the ticket (one year from booking date), as these do not require a reissuance.

(2) Cash + Miles (SIA or Scoot)

Value Per Mile0.95 cents
Min. Required1,050 miles
Pros
  • Redeemable for any flight, in any cabin, on any date
  • Can be used to pay for taxes and surcharges
  • Earn KrisFlyer miles or status credits on portion paid in cash
Cons
  • Much lower value than award flight redemption

For Singapore Airlines

KrisFlyer miles can be used to offset the cost of a Singapore Airlines ticket at a fixed value of 0.95 cents per mile, with a minimum redemption of 1,050 miles. This rate used to be slightly higher at 1.02 cents per mile, but was devalued in August 2021.

A slider bar will appear during payment, allowing you to mix cash and miles. This means you can redeem just up your expiring balance, and nothing beyond that. 

What’s the difference between Cash + Miles and redeeming an award flight?

 Cash + MilesRedeem KrisFlyer Miles 
AvailabilityAny seat available for saleAward inventory only
Min. Required1,050 miles8,500 miles
Taxes & SurchargesCan be paid with milesMust be paid in cash
Accrue Miles & Status CreditsYes (on cash portion)No
Value Per Mile0.95 centsVaries

Cash + Miles allows you to spend miles on any seat available for sale, regardless of cabin, route or date. KrisFlyer award redemptions are dependent on award space availability.

Cash + Miles has a minimum requirement of 1,050 miles, whereas the cheapest KrisFlyer flight award starts from 8,500 miles.

Taxes and surcharges can be paid with miles when using Cash + Miles, but only with cash when redeeming KrisFlyer awards.

Cash + Miles tickets are conceptually similar to revenue tickets, and you’ll earn KrisFlyer miles, Elite miles and PPS Value in proportion to the amount paid with cash. No miles or status credits will be earned on KrisFlyer award tickets.

So it sounds like Cash + Miles is an altogether superior option. What’s the catch?

The catch is that under Cash + Miles, each mile has a fixed value of 0.95 cents. When redeeming KrisFlyer awards, the value can be much, much higher. Suppose you wanted to travel to San Francisco:

  • Redeeming KrisFlyer miles for a Business Saver award would cost 214,000 miles + S$84
  • Paying with Miles + Cash would cost upwards of 651,000 miles (based on a fare of S$6,200)

Of course, the question is whether you’re able to find Business Saver awards in the first place but assuming you can, then a KrisFlyer redemption represents much better value.

For Scoot

Similar to the option above, KrisFlyer miles can be used to offset the cost of Scoot flights at a value of 0.95 cents per mile, with a minimum redemption of 1,050 miles. 

KrisFlyer miles can be used to pay for airfares, taxes and add-ons (excluding e-Visa, travel insurance, infants and credit card processing fees). You will not be able to use the Miles + Cash option when booking a mixed itinerary (e.g. SIA-Scoot).

(3) Convert to Velocity points

Value Per Mile0.90 cents
Min. Required5,000 miles
Pros
  • Velocity points don’t expire so long as you earn or redeem at least one point every 24 months
Cons
  • Velocity is only open to residents of selected countries
  • Limited appeal, unless you’re already invested in the Velocity programme

This probably won’t be very useful to someone based in Singapore, but if you’re a member of Virgin Australia’s Velocity Frequent Flyer programme (open only to residents of Australia, NZ and Pacific Islands), you can convert KrisFlyer miles into Velocity points. 

1.55 KrisFlyer miles can be transferred to 1 Velocity point, with a minimum transfer of 5,000 miles. 

KrisFlyer MilesVelocity
5,0003,225

I asked Matt Graham from Australian Frequent Flyer how much he values a Velocity point, and his figure is 1.5 Aussie cents (1.39 SG cents). Based on this value, you get 0.90 cents per KrisFlyer mile.

Velocity points don’t expire so long as you earn or redeem at least one point within a 24-month period, but the bigger question is whether you’re invested in the programme in the first place. 

(4) Use on KrisFlyer vRooms

Value Per MileUpwards of 0.8 cents
Min. Required1,200 miles
Pros
  • Spend miles at thousands of hotels and various rental car agencies worldwide
  • Smaller redemption amounts yield higher value
Cons
  • Stays booked through vRooms do not earn hotel points or elite status credits
  • vRooms may not offer the lowest rates, rendering your savings illusionary

KrisFlyer vRooms, launched in 2018, allows members to use their miles to book rental cars and hotels. The minimum number of miles required depends on hotel or rental car agency, as the screenshot below illustrates. However, the lowest I’ve seen starts from 1,200 miles.

After you’ve chosen the hotel you like, a slider bar will allow you to change the mix of miles and cash in 11 system-determined increments. 

The marginal value of a mile on KrisFlyer vRooms is 0.8 cents, but here’s a little trick: pay with the absolute minimum number of miles the system permits. 

For example, a Grand Deluxe Room at The Peninsula Bangkok costs S$731.74 on the official website. On KrisFlyer vRooms, the starting option is S$450.11+ 16,600 miles, which gives you an average value of 1.7 cents per mile.

However, if you choose to pay with more miles and less cash, e.g. S$225.05 + 44,800 miles, your average value per mile drops to 1.13 cents per mile. That’s because each additional mile you use to pay has a value of 0.8 cents, which drags down the average value.

Therefore, you should always opt for more cash, less miles when using vRooms. This makes it an ideal platform for burning a small number of expiring KrisFlyer miles, which I imagine is why we’re here in the first place.

However, do note that vRooms may not always present the cheapest options for car rentals or hotels. If that’s the case, and you could book the same car or room elsewhere for less, all your savings are illusionary. 

Also note that bookings via vRooms are not eligible to earn hotel loyalty points or enjoy elite status benefits such as room upgrades or free breakfast. Assuming this is important to you, then vRooms is best used for unaffiliated hotels. 

(5) Spend on KrisShop

Value Per Mile0.8 cents
Min. Required1,000 miles
Pros
  • Stackable with discounts and KrisShop vouchers
Cons
  • Prices may be inflated compared to other platforms

KrisFlyer miles can be used to offset your KrisShop purchases at a rate of 0.8 cents per mile, with a minimum redemption of 1,000 miles. The interface helpfully shows how many miles you have expiring in the next six months, perhaps a tacit acknowledgement of this use case. 

The main problem is that KrisShop prices may be inflated, so 0.8 cents per mile represents a ceiling. If you’re able to purchase the same item elsewhere for less, your real value per mile is actually lower!

Furthermore, don’t forget that KrisShop prices are all before GST, so even if an item appears to be the same price as a different website, it could end up being more expensive. For example, this Copper Line Antibaterial mask retails at S$45.90 on Lazada.

KrisShop also displays the price as S$45.90, but when you click through to the final screen, you see S$3.21 of GST added on.

When doing your comparison shopping, be sure to use a like-for-like basis. 

(6) Convert to Shangri-La Circle points

Value Per Mile0.74 cents
Min. Required20,000 miles
Pros
  • As good as cash for Shangri-La hotel stays or dining
  • Circle points are valid for 3 years
Cons
  • High minimum conversion amount

Thanks to the Infinite Journeys partnership, KrisFlyer miles can be transferred to Shangri-La Circle Points and vice versa. 

A minimum of 20,000 KrisFlyer miles can be exchanged for Circle Points at a 12:1 ratio, capped at 180,000 KrisFlyer miles per calendar year. 

KrisFlyer MilesCircle Points
20,0001,666

Circle Points can be used to offset the cost of hotel stays or F&B (even when not an in-house guest). Unfortunately, this option was nerfed in April 2022. 10 points used to be worth up to US$1.25 of F&B credit; following the devaluation, this became 15 points= US$1. 

Given the conversion ratio of 12 KrisFlyer miles to 1 Circle Point, you’re basically getting 0.74 cents per mile. 

(7) Convert to CapitaStars

Value Per Mile0.7 cents
Min. Required3,000 miles
Pros
  • Spend at 18 CapitaLand malls islandwide
Cons
  • May end up with orphan STAR$

Singapore Airlines added CapitaStar as a transfer partner in April 2021, which allows for two-way transfers between KrisFlyer miles and STAR$. 

A minimum of 3,000 KrisFlyer miles can be exchanged for STAR$ at a 1:7 ratio, capped at 30,000 KrisFlyer miles per calendar year. 

KrisFlyer MilesSTAR$
3,00021,000

STAR$ can be redeemed for eCapitaVouchers for use at 18 participating CapitaLand malls island-wide at a rate of 5,000 STAR$= S$5, which means 1 STAR$ is worth 0.1 cents. Therefore, you’re trading 3,000 miles for S$21, which works out to 0.7 cents per mile.

STAR$ can also be used for direct payment at CapitaLand malls merchants at the same rate, though some merchants will only accept payment in denominations of S$5. CapitaLand says it’s working to get all merchants to accept denominations down to the cents, so hopefully that will solve the orphan points problem.

(8) Spend on Kris+

Value Per Mile0.67 cents
Min. Required1 mile
Pros
  • Spend like cash at 400+ merchants
  • Periodic miles-back promos can further increase the value per mile
Cons
  • All miles transferred into Kris+ cannot be transferred back
  • 6-month validity for Kris+ miles

Kris+ allows you to spend your miles like cash at more than 400 dining, lifestyle and wellness merchants across Singapore.

Kris+ allows you to pay with KrisFlyer miles at 400+ merchants islandwide

KrisFlyer miles can be converted to KrisPay miles at a 1:1 ratio, with a minimum conversion of just 1 KrisFlyer mile. That said, be careful of how many KrisFlyer miles you transfer to Kris+, because any miles transferred cannot be transferred back!

Once transferred to Kris+, KrisPay miles must be used within six months. 

Here’s the kicker though: KrisPay miles can be spent at a rate of 150 miles= S$1, or just 0.67 cents each! This is sometimes boosted by miles-back offers, but even then you’re talking about 0.8-0.9 cents at best, a far cry from their full potential.

Put it another way: a round-trip Business Class ticket from Singapore to Tokyo would cost 104,000 KrisFlyer miles. Those miles would only get you ~S$700 of value at a Kris+ merchant. I know which one I’d rather have!

(9) Spend on Pelago

Value Per Mile0.67 cents
Min. Required1,050 miles
Pros
  • Occasional promos can boost value
Cons
  • Limited choice of activities
  • Partial offsets not allowed; KrisFlyer miles must be used to pay for entire purchase

Pelago is Singapore Airlines’ activities booking platform, similar in concept to Klook or KKday. 

The selection isn’t anywhere as big as those two, but if you can find something you’re interested in, then KrisFlyer miles can be used to offset the cost. A minimum of 1,050 miles must be redeemed, and each mile is worth 0.67 cents.

The problem is that 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, if I want to use my KrisFlyer miles to pay for the booking below, I need to cover the entire amount (S$17.28) with KrisFlyer miles (2,592). 

Therefore, unless your expiring miles are less than or equal to the cost of the transaction, you’ll be forced to use some of your non-expiring miles too, at very poor value.

(10) Convert to Linkpoints

Value Per Mile0.65 cents
Min. Required3,000 miles
Pros
  • Satisfy your inner auntie
Cons
  • If you intend to spend Linkpoints at NTUC, you might as well use Kris+ for 0.67 cents per mile (FairPrice Finest only)

Singapore Airlines and Link Rewards launched a two-way conversion partnership in April 2022, giving KrisFlyer a new grocery partner after the demise of its tie-up with Dairy Farm’s TapForMore.

A minimum of 3,000 KrisFlyer miles can be exchanged for Linkpoints at the following ratio, capped at 80,000 KrisFlyer miles per calendar year. 

KrisFlyer MilesLinkpoints
3,0001,950

Since 100 Linkpoints can be redeemed for a S$1 rebate, this is the same as accepting a value of 0.65 cents per mile. 

There’s no real reason to do this. Even if you wanted to spend your miles on groceries, you’d be better off using Kris+ at FairPrice Finest, where you’ll get 0.67 cents per mile. 

(11) Convert to Marriott Bonvoy

Value Per Mile0.5 cents
Min. Required3,000 miles
Pros
  • One of a very limited number of ways to earn hotel points in Singapore
Cons
  • You could buy Marriott Bonvoy points for less during sales
  • If you want hotel rooms, even KrisFlyer vRooms is better

Earlier this year, it became possible to convert KrisFlyer miles into Marriott Bonvoy points at a 2:1 ratio, with a minimum conversion of 3,000 miles.

KrisFlyer MilesMarriott Bonvoy Points
3,0001,500

A maximum of 180,000 KrisFlyer miles can be converted each calendar year.

As hard as it is to earn hotel points in Singapore, I don’t think this is something worth considering. I value a KrisFlyer mile at 1.5 SG cents apiece, while a Marriott Bonvoy point is worth about 0.7 US cents apiece (0.93 SG cents). By converting KrisFlyer miles to Marriott Bonvoy points, you’re taking a haircut of nearly 67%!

Moreover, Marriott Bonvoy points periodically go on sale at around 0.8 US cents apiece (1.06 SG cents). That’s a lower price than “paying” 3 SG cents by converting 2 KrisFlyer miles for 1 point. 

And look, if you really want to spend your miles on hotel rooms, why not just use KrisFlyer vRooms? At least you’d get 0.8 cents apiece!

(12) Convert to Esso Smiles

Value Per Mile0.33-0.67 cents
Min. Required3,000 miles
Pros
  • Petrol make car go vroom
Cons
  • The flat-out worst value option for your miles
  • Kris+ offers better value for spending miles at Esso

Singapore Airlines added Esso Smiles as a two-way transfer partner in February 2021. KrisFlyer miles can be converted into Esso Smiles points at a 6:1 ratio, with a minimum conversion of 3,000 miles. 

KrisFlyer MilesEsso Smiles
3,000500

A maximum of 80,000 KrisFlyer miles can be converted each calendar year.

Esso Smiles points can be redeemed for both merchandise and petrol, but petrol is the better choice. Even so, you’re looking at the following conversion ratios:

  • 250 Smiles: S$5 (2 cents/Smiles)
  • 300 Smiles: S$10 (3.3 cents/Smiles)
  • 750 Smiles: S$30 (4 cents/Smiles)

Depending on which denomination you redeem, your value per mile is anywhere from 0.33 to 0.67 cents each.

There’s absolutely no reason to take this option. Even if you wanted to spend your miles on petrol, you’d be better off going via Kris+:

  • Kris+ allows you to spend miles at Esso stations with a minimum of 1 mile (well, technically 2 because 1 mile isn’t even 1 cent), instead of the 3,000 miles minimum for Smiles conversions
  • Kris+ has a year-round 20% milesback offer on Esso spending, which boosts your value to 0.83 cents per mile

That makes the Esso Smiles conversion option essentially worthless. 

KrisFlyer Experiences

I didn’t mention this in the table because it’s hard to assign a value, but another option you can consider is redeeming your expiring miles for KrisFlyer Experiences. 

KrisFlyer Experiences allows members to redeem their miles for things like F1 Sky Suites, a chartered Points Plane to Langkawi, and a KrisFlyer cruise-to-nowhere. Of course, not every KrisFlyer Experience is worth redeeming. Some are truly money-can’t-buy experiences, others are just another way of spending miles like cash, at very poor rates. 

If you’re considering going down this route, be sure to get a KrisFlyer UOB Credit Card, because cardholders occasionally receive a 10% rebate on the number of miles required for selected KrisFlyer Experiences.

Apply
Income Req.S$30,000 p.a.Points Validity3 years
Annual FeeS$194.40
(First Year Free)
Min.
Transfer
N/A
Miles with
Annual Fee
10,000Transfer
Partners
  • SIA
FCY Fee3.25%Transfer FeeN/A
Local Earn1.2 mpdPoints Pool?N/A
FCY Earn1.2 mpdLounge Access?No
Special Earn3 mpd on SIA Group, dining, online shopping & travel, transportAirport Limo?No
Cardholder Terms and Conditions

Conclusion

It’s highly unlikely that Singapore Airlines will offer a further extension of KrisFlyer miles, so from July 2023 you’ll need to go back to your old routine of monitoring and burning expiring miles.

My first best option would be to make a flight booking, even if speculative, because the value per mile is so much higher than any of the on-ground options. In a pinch, I’d even take the Miles + Cash option over KrisShop or Kris+!

But if you don’t have plans to travel, then there are ways to liquidate your expiring KrisFlyer miles for dining or merchandise, albeit at lower valuations. 

What do you typically do with your expiring miles?

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

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