What’s the cheapest way to buy KrisFlyer miles?

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Don't have enough miles for your award ticket? Here's the cheapest ways to buy the remaining balance- without flouting the rules!

At some point, everyone’s probably found themselves short of the miles they need for a redemption (well, except this guy).

In that case, you might turn to some quick and instant ways of topping up a KrisFlyer account, such as transferring OCBC or HSBC TravelOne points, shopping at a Kris+ merchant, or converting Linkpoints. But what if those avenues still aren’t enough to get you over the line? 

Well, while I generally advocate earning miles as a by-product of spending instead of buying them outright, there are situations where purchasing miles can make sense- if the price is right.

In this post, we’ll look at how you can buy KrisFlyer miles for your next trip- legitimately.

How do I know if a source is legitimate?

Protip: If the seller says “fast deal bro”, it’s not legitimate

Let’s start with an important question: how can you know if a given source of miles is legitimate?

The simple answer is to check whether it’s featured on KrisFlyer’s partner list. At the time of writing, more than 200 banks, hotels, car rental companies, loyalty programmes and retail partners have the right to issue KrisFlyer miles. Anything that does not appear on this list is not kosher. So, for example, you shouldn’t be buying KrisFlyer miles from a random dude on Carousell!

I should also clarify that even though we talk about “buying KrisFlyer miles”, most of these partners will not sell you KrisFlyer miles directly. 

In some cases, you’ll earn KrisFlyer miles as a by-product of your spending, such as signing up for a Forbes subscription, or purchasing an electricity plan with PacificLight. Other times, the partner may sell you its own points currency, which can then be converted into KrisFlyer miles (for example, by paying the $194.40 annual fee on my DBS Altitude Card I receive 5,000 DBS Points, which can be converted into 10,000 KrisFlyer miles).

And finally, even if a given source is legitimate, there can be illegitimate ways of going about things. For example, banks are a legitimate source of miles, but manufactured spending (where you artificially spend money for the sole purpose of generating credit card rewards) is going to land you in trouble eventually.

The methods I’m listing below may not be the most exciting, but they’re all above board.

(1) Bill payment services

PriceFrom 1 cent each (based on the lowest price we’ve seen in 2023; the actual price depends on ongoing promotions)
  • Cheapest source of miles
  • Regular promotions can further reduce the cost
  • Capped by credit limit
  • Some platforms require submission of documentary proof of bills
  • Not an instant source of miles

If you have bills to pay, then bill payment services consistently offer the cheapest way of buying miles in Singapore.

PlatformAdmin FeeEarn RatesCPM
Pay+Earn*2.5%1.0-1.6 mpd1.52-2.44
1.7-2.6%1.0-1.6 mpd^1.04-2.53
2.2%1.2-1.6 mpd1.38-1.83
VOYAGE Payment Facility1.9-1.95%1.0 mpd
Up to 1.9%1.2-1.4 mpd1.36-1.58
VI Tax Payment Facility
1.6%1.0-1.4 mpd1.14-1.6
Payment Facility1.7-2.2%1.0 mpd1.7-2.2
*Not to be confused with AXS Pay Any Bill, which is not a reliable way of earning miles
^HSBC credit cards do not earn rewards with CardUp

These platforms work in two main ways. 

AXS Pay+Earn, CardUp, Citi PayAll, and SC EasyBill will: 

  1. Charge your credit card for the amount due plus an admin fee
  2. Perform a bank transfer to the recipient on your behalf (the recipient need not be registered with the platform)

Here’s an example:

  • I have a S$5,000 rental payment to make
  • I schedule a payment with CardUp, which charges a 1.79% admin fee (code: SAVERENT179)
  • I charge the entire S$5,089.50 amount to my UOB PRVI Miles Card
  • CardUp sends S$5,000 to my landlord
  • I earn 7,125 miles from the transaction (S$5,089.50 @ 1.4 mpd, ignoring rounding)
  • Cost per mile= S$89.50/7,125 miles= 1.26 cents

OCBC VOYAGE Payment Facility, SC VI Tax Payment Facility and UOB Payment Facility will:

  1. Charge your credit card for the amount due plus an admin fee
  2. Transfer the amount due to your designated bank account (in cash)
  3. You use the cash to pay the bill yourself

Here’s an example:

  • I have a S$10,000 income tax bill
  • I apply for the OCBC VOYAGE Payment Facility, which charges a 1.95% admin fee
  • OCBC deposits S$10,000 into my designated bank account, and charges my VOYAGE Card S$10,195
  • I use the S$10,000 to pay IRAS myself
  • I earn 10,000 miles from the transaction (S$10,000 @ 1 mpd; unlike the CardUp example, you don’t earn miles on the admin fee as this is an in-house solution)
  • Cost per mile= S$195/10,000= 1.95 cents

When comparing platforms, don’t make the mistake of only looking at admin fees. That’s just half the picture; you need the earn rates to calculate the all-important cost per mile.

For example, the OCBC VOYAGE Payment Facility has an admin fee of 1.9-1.95%, but the earn rate is a flat 1 mpd (instead of the VOYAGE Card’s usual 1.3/1.6 mpd earn rate). So even though Citi PayAll has a higher admin fee of 2.2%, it comes out cheaper because the earn rates on Citi cards range from 1.2-1.6 mpd.

In general, Citi PayAll offers the cheapest miles if you manage to catch one of its periodic promotions. The most recent offer upsized the earn rate to 2.2 mpd across all Citi cards, which meant an excellent price of just 1 cent per mile.

For a full guide to Citi PayAll, refer to the post below.

Citi PayAll Complete Guide: How to pay bills and earn miles

Running a close second is CardUp, which offers frequent discounts on certain payment types that further reduce the admin fee.

For a full guide to CardUp, refer to the post below.

What’s the best card to use for CardUp?

The main catch with bill payment services is that you actually need a bill of some sort to pay (except with the OCBC VOYAGE Payment Facility and UOB Payment Facility). Certain platforms (e.g. CardUp) request documentation, others (e.g. Citi PayAll) do not. I’m going to let you draw your own conclusions on that, suffice to say you’re not allowed to pay yourself, and paying family members may result in tax implications. 

But look- even if you don’t rent a house, rare is the man who is short of bills to pay: insurance premiums, tuition fees, utilities bills, income or corporate taxes, renovations, membership fees, MCST or town council fees will haunt you to the grave, I assure you of that.

You can mourn the fact, or you can take advantage of the opportunity to generate some extra miles for a small fee.

(2) Credit card annual fees

PriceFrom 1.41 cents
  • Minimal effort required
  • You can only pay your annual fee once per year
  • The timing of the annual fee may not coincide with when you need the miles
  • The lower-cost options are only available to those with high incomes
  • Not an instant source of miles

Most general spending cards offer miles in exchange for paying the annual fee. This allows cardholders to buy miles on an annual basis. 

💳 Miles with Annual Fee
CardAnnual FeeMilesCPM
HSBC Visa Infinite
(1st year only)
SCB Visa Infinite
(1st year only)
HSBC Visa Infinite
(1st year only)
OCBC 90°N Visa
Citi PremierMiles
DBS Altitude AMEX
DBS Altitude Visa
KrisFlyer UOB Credit Card
SCB Journey Card
Citi Prestige
DBS Vantage
UOB VI Metal Card
#Regular annual fee is S$54; top-up S$139 for 10,000 miles
^Alternative option: Pay S$3,240 for 150,000 miles, which cannot be kept as VOYAGE miles and will be automatically converted to KrisFlyer

While this helps top-up your mileage account, you can only take advantage of it once a year, and only in the month your card is due for renewal. If you need the miles now, but your card is only due for renewal six months down the line, you can’t call up the bank and ask to pay early (what a model customer you are)!

Frequency and timing issues aside, you’ll also notice the prices here aren’t nearly as good as bill payment services- especially if you’re not a high earner. You could, in theory, buy miles from as little as 1.41 cents, but that requires you to be a HSBC Premier customer with at least S$200,000 AUM.

If you earn closer to the S$30,000 mark, then you’ll be paying around 1.94 cents per mile with mass market options like the Citi PremierMiles Card or DBS Altitude Card. I’d argue this is probably too expensive, given the lower prices available via bill payment platforms.

For a full rundown of this topic, refer to the post below.

Should you pay your credit card annual fee to earn miles?

(3) Buying Marriott Bonvoy points

PriceFrom 2.71 cents per mile (based on the lowest price we’ve seen in 2023; the actual price depends on ongoing promotions)
  • 5,000 miles bonus for every 60,000 points transferred
  • No conversion fees
  • Conversions usually processed within a day
  • Bonvoy points sales are frequent, but not always available
  • Might be a better idea to convert Bonvoy points to more “exotic” airlines

Marriott Bonvoy runs periodic points sales throughout the year, offering targeted bonuses that run as high as 50% (based on what we’ve seen so far in 2023).

Assuming a 50% discount, you’re paying 0.83 US cents per point. Marriott Bonvoy points can be transferred to KrisFlyer miles at a rate of 3 points = 1 mile, with a 5,000 miles bonus for every 60,000 points transferred (i.e. 60,000 points = 25,000 miles).

Do the math, and this works out to paying US$500 for 25,000 miles, or 2.71 cents per mile. That’s not very cheap, and remember- it’s already a best case scenario. If you need the points during a period where there’s no sale, or where your targeted bonus is smaller, then the price can go up significantly. 

Moreover, given how easy it is to earn KrisFlyer miles in Singapore, if I were to convert Bonvoy points to miles, I’d much rather pick more “exotic” programmes with other sweet spots.

(4) Buying from Singapore Airlines

PriceUS$40 per 1,000 miles (5.4 cents each)
  • Miles are credited instantly
  • Prohibitively expensive

While other airlines like Alaska, British Airways and United run a roaring trade selling their miles at discounted prices throughout the year, Singapore Airlines has chosen not to go down that path. That said, you can buy miles from SIA- though the price is so exorbitant that this should only be seen as a last resort!

KrisFlyer members who have at least 50% of the miles required for an award ticket may purchase the remaining balance from SIA during the booking process. The offer will be made automatically if your itinerary is eligible, and miles awarded instantly

❓ What if I cancel my award?

SIA’s physical miles top-up request form (thankfully, you don’t ever need to use this if you book your ticket online!) contains the following line:

“In the event that miles from a completely unused award ticket are redeposited into a member’s account, any purchased miles will not be refunded.”

This has led some to conclude that any purchased miles will simply vanish. Thankfully, this is untrue. SIA has confirmed that the cash paid for the miles will not be refunded, but the miles themselves will be refunded to the member’s account as per normal.

What’s the catch? The price. Singapore Airlines charges a jaw-dropping US$40 per 1,000 miles, or approximately 5.4 cents per mile at the time of writing. Given the cheaper alternatives we’ve covered here, why would you even consider it?

Well, I can think of two reasons:

  • Purchased miles are available for use instantly. If you were to buy miles via bill payment platforms or annual fees, there’d be a time lag for the points to be credited to your account, then a further time lag for them to be converted to miles. In that period, the award seats you’ve been eyeing may have disappeared
  • If you’re just shy of a small number of miles, then it might be acceptable to purchase miles to get yourself over the finish line- but keep in mind we’d be talking about very small amounts, perhaps no more than 5,000 or 6,000 miles (everyone will have a different threshold, of course)

I mean, it’s a terribly expensive price to pay, but if you want the flight badly enough…

Other ways of getting miles?

Given the time lag involved with earning miles from bill payment services and credit card annual fees, the unpredictability of Bonvoy points sales, and the hefty price of buying miles directly from SIA, it’s probably better you don’t find yourself in this situation in the first place. 

For those who need a quick way of topping up KrisFlyer miles on standby, I’d recommend planning your spending around the options mentioned in this post. 

Instant and quick ways to top-up a KrisFlyer miles balance



If you find yourself short of the miles required for a redemption, the good news is that you can buy them through legitimate channels at competitive rates.

The best option by far would be to rely on bill payment services such as CardUp and Citi PayAll, although you can also pay your credit card’s annual fee (albeit at a much less competitive rate). And finally, there’s always the option of buying miles via Marriott Bonvoy or from Singapore Airlines during the booking process, but this is highly unadvisable unless you’re truly desperate.

Any other ways to legitimately buy 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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Thomas Heavenly

Kris+ ?


doesnt it make sense to sort out the various methods by cost? or time to credit?


Aiya, simple solution…buy airline tickets directly lor.



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