FlyAnywhere: Redeem Max Miles for flights at 1.8 cents

Book a commercial flight through any channel you wish and redeem your Max Miles for reimbursement at a flat rate of 1.8 cents per mile.

MCC-lookup tool and online shopping portal HeyMax has launched a new featured called FlyAnywhere, which allows users to spend their Max Miles on flights at a fixed rate of 1.8 cents per mile. 

It’s certainly not the best value you can get from your Max Miles, but it could be an interesting option for those targeting utilitarian travel over aspirational redemptions, who would find traditional frequent flyer programmes to offer poor value.

How FlyAnywhere works

FlyAnywhere allows you to use Max Miles to book commercial air tickets for travel anywhere around the globe, whether domestic or international.

On the surface, this sounds similar to bank platforms like Travel with OCBC, or Citi’s now-discontinued ThankYou Travel Portal. However, the mechanism is very different- and in a good way.

LHS: Travel with OCBC | RHS: Google Flights. Note the 20% markup charged by Travel with OCBC for the same flight

Bank platforms are basically glorified OTA interfaces. This means your choices may be limited, and prices could be marked up compared to elsewhere.

With FlyAnywhere, you book your own flight outside of HeyMax, via whatever channel you wish: official website, OTA, or even a brick-and-mortar travel agency. Subsequently, you upload the receipt and get reimbursed for your flight via PayNow at a rate of S$0.018 per Max Mile.

It’s so simple, the sum total of FlyAnywhere’s UX is a form for uploading receipts!

Here’s an example: suppose you buy a ticket from Singapore to Bangkok for S$300. You submit the receipt, and HeyMax will reimburse you the S$300 via PayNow by deducting 16,667 Max Miles (S$300/S$0.018) from your account. For avoidance of doubt, this includes both the base fare as well as taxes and surcharges. 

Since you have the freedom to book your own flight, you can use whatever tricks you like to bring the cost down, such as booking through a cashback portal, with a special promo code, or with a special discount (e.g. the British Airways AARP discount).

Moreover, since you’re basically buying a commercial ticket, you’ll also be eligible to earn frequent flyer miles and elite status credits such as PPS Value or Elite miles, where applicable.

FlyAnywhere does not require you to be the named traveller on the booking, so you can even redeem Max Miles for flights for friends and family if you so wish. You can even submit redemption requests for completed flights as well, the only limitation being that the flight must have been booked no more than one month prior.

What’s the catch?

Redeem Max Miles for any flight on any carrier

Here’s a few things to note about FlyAnywhere:

  • You can only submit a request for a redemption of the full amount shown on the receipt. Partial redemptions are currently not supported. In other words, if you don’t have enough Max Miles to cover the cash price of the ticket, you can’t use FlyAnywhere
  • If your purchase is made in foreign currency, it will be converted into SGD at the spot rate before the redemption is processed
  • FlyAnywhere only supports redemptions for commercial tickets; if you book an award ticket, you cannot submit a request to redeem Max Miles for the cash component
  • If you use a non-cash instrument to pay for part of your commercial ticket, e.g. United TravelBank or some other airline credits, Max Miles can only be redeemed for the remaining component paid in cash

I would say the biggest catch, if you want to call it that, is the valuation of 1.8 cents per mile. This is not great, not terrible. You could certainly get more value from your Max Miles by converting them into airline miles, then redeeming a First or Business Class flight.

However, FlyAnywhere doesn’t have aspirational redemptions in mind- indeed, it’d cost a prohibitive number of Max Miles to pay for your average First or Business Class ticket. If you wanted to fly Business Class to Helsinki on Finnair, for example, a commercial ticket would cost upwards of S$5,700, or 316,667 Max Miles. In contrast, you could transfer Max Miles to British Airways Executive Club and redeem the same ticket for 125,000 Max Miles plus taxes. 

But if you don’t mind travelling in Economy, then FlyAnywhere lets you take advantage of cheap Economy or budget flights that you couldn’t otherwise redeem with miles. For example, let’s say you want to travel to Bangkok. You can find Jetstar fares from as little as S$142 round-trip, which works out to 7,889 Max Miles. 

Alternatively, if you wanted the comfort of a full-service carrier, then Singapore Airlines tickets start from S$276 or 15,333 Max Miles, significantly less than the 27,000 KrisFlyer miles you’d need for a regular KrisFlyer redemption, and eligible to accrue miles. 

Therefore, FlyAnywhere is really targeting the segment of travellers who see flying as getting from point A to B, and there’s nothing wrong with that. If you want the full fat experience with champagne and caviar, use your Max Miles for regular frequent flyer miles. If you just want to get there on the cheapest ticket, use your Max Miles as a form of extra cashback. 

Other uses of Max Miles

Redeem Max Miles for World of Hyatt points

As a reminder, Max Miles can be converted to 25 airline and hotel partners at 1:1 ratio with no conversion fees, including Alaska Mileage Plan, Aeroplan, British Airways Executive Club, Etihad Guest, Qatar Privilege Club and World of Hyatt. 

You can also redeem your Max Miles for gift cards, though the rate is a rather underwhelming 1,000 Max Miles = S$10. You’d be better off looking at FlyAnywhere in that case. 

I’ve dived into the various redemption options for Max Miles in the post below. 

What’s the best use of Max Miles?

Conclusion

HeyMax users can now redeem their Max Miles for commercial airline tickets at a flat rate of 1.8 cents per mile. Only full redemptions are supported at the moment, but it’s otherwise a straightforward way of cashing out your balance. 

Given the valuation, this is probably best for Economy or budget travel, short of finding an error fare.

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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Eddie

Any plans of Max Mile supporting the conversion to SQ Krisflyer?

Joe Lu (ceo - heymax.ai)

It’s our intent to support all programs customers would like, but implementation timeline is complex to predict. Stay tuned!

Zaos

I don’t know what’s the big deal about KF anyway. Gobs and gobs of programmes convert there.

Duty8870

As someone who only cares about KrisFlyer miles, there’s finally a reason to earn Max Miles. Now if only they allowed partial redemptions…

Maniahk

Hmm.. If I paid for 2 tickets in 1 booking, can I only redeem max miles for 1 ticket?

Joe Lu (ceo - heymax.ai)

We are adding these options gradually.

Shockedpikachu

No wonder I see people buying air ticket receipts on carousell already,!!!!

lol, time to sharpen up my photoshop skills!