Unlike cobrand cards which automatically convert your spending into miles with a particular airline, bank cards allow you to choose which airline or hotel’s loyalty program you’d like to transfer your points to.
But not all banks are equal. Although every bank in Singapore partners with KrisFlyer, and almost every bank partners with Asia Miles, some banks simply have a greater variety of partner programs. The table below summarizes who partners with whom in Singapore:
Here are a few other points to note:
Transfer times will differ dramatically by FFP
If you transfer credit card points to KrisFlyer, it’s pretty safe to say that you can expect to see the miles show up in your account within 3 working days or so. I know most banks quote you a few weeks, but that’s more of a “cover backside” kind of thing. I’ve done transfers with DBS, UOB, OCBC, Citibank and HSBC and in all those cases the miles showed up very quickly. I’ve noticed similarly fast times for Asia Miles, although I’ve only ever transferred UOB and HSBC points to this program.
Outside of that, it’s a bit of a crapshoot. I remember worriedly refreshing my Garuda account every hour back when they were doing the 90% off promotion once upon a time, just to see if my miles were in (they ended up taking about a week). I’ve read horror stories about other people who have had really slow transfers to Flying Blue and Turkish as well. I don’t have enough data points to comment further, suffice to say that if your goal is to cash out to Asia Miles or KrisFlyer, you don’t need to be too worried.
Transfer ratios are mostly uniform across programs…but value may not be!
With the exception of Air Asia, which runs a very different type of FFP, all banks except SCB will transfer points at similar ratios to all their program partners. That’s to say: 1 DBS point is worth 2 miles with KrisFlyer and Asia Miles; 450 AMEX Rewards points are worth 250 miles with British Airways, China Airlines, Emirates Skywards or any of their other partners.
What is different is the value that each FFP has to offer. Depending on my desired destination and class of travel, certain FFPs may offer better value than others. A simple example: Suppose I want to fly from Singapore to Hong Kong. Here’s how much that flight would cost me on Asia Miles vs KrisFlyer:
Remember that my credit card points transfer at equivalent ratios to both programs. Therefore, if my goal was to fly Economy, Premium Economy or Business Class, Asia Miles would represent better value.
If, however I wanted to fly First Class, KrisFlyer would be better value (this assumes you’re indifferent between the products of Cathay Pacific and Singapore Airlines).