Singapore Airlines announced their intention to set up a blockchain-based digital wallet for their KrisFlyer customers back in February this year, and today they have launched it: KrisPay, their QR-code based mobile app.
As with any method to convert your frequent flyer miles to cash, we always knew the conversion rate would at best be unattractive, at worst truly awful.
It’s truly awful.
What is KrisPay?
You can use KrisPay “to instantaneously pay for your everyday purchases at participating merchants with KrisPay miles.”
Payment is made by scanning a QR code at the partner merchant and entering the payment amount. The app will then tell you how many KrisPay miles you’ll be parting with for the transaction.
Initially 18 merchants have signed up and more are promised, including overseas options in future. Esso, Cedele, Challenger and TWG Tea are some of the initial merchants, though notably not all outlets necessarily support KrisPay.
Before we get too much further into the details, two things need to be established.
What’s a KrisFlyer mile worth?
While the valuation is different for everyone (we did a full analysis here), we generally believe around 2 Singapore cents. First and Business Class redemptions can achieve a much higher value than this, but it’s fair to say you might fall short of that target if you use your miles to redeem some Economy tickets when fares are low.
What’s a KrisPay mile worth?
Approximately 0.67 Singapore cents, or about a third of the value of a KrisFlyer mile. Slightly different rates may apply with different merchants, however this represents very poor value when compared to keeping (and using) your miles in the KrisFlyer scheme.
The poorest value KrisFlyer redemptions such as offsetting a full-fare Singapore Airlines or SilkAir ticket will get you 1.02 cent per mile, or you’ll get 0.95 cents per mile for offsetting the cost of a Scoot ticket.
Even the KrisShop will get you 0.8 cents per mile, though still awful that’s quite a bit better than KrisPay.
Here are the basics of KrisPay:
- 1 KrisFlyer mile is equivalent to 1 KrisPay mile.
- KrisFlyer miles, once transferred to KrisPay, cannot be moved back into KrisFlyer (don’t experiment with this!). They also have a 6-month validity in KrisPay, so if you transfer on 1st January 2019 you need to use the KrisPay miles by 30th June 2019 otherwise they will expire.
- KrisPay can be used to partially offset the cost of a purchase if you wish, however the same dreadful rate applies.
- There are restrictions on what you can and can’t use KrisPay for with some merchants, for example with Esso it can only be used to pay for a fuel purchase (not a bag of sweets) and any discounts or promotions are not applicable to KrisPay redemptions.
There are promotions available exclusively to KrisPay customers with some merchants, however a “free starter with any main course” for example isn’t going to come close to recovering the value lost using this scheme over keeping your miles in KrisFlyer.
Our advice: don’t be tempted.
Should you ever consider it?
If your KrisFlyer miles are expiring this is one way to extract some value from them. That said, there are several better-value options you should be considering first like:
- Booking a Singapore Airlines / SilkAir or Star Alliance flight redemption if you can, they are usually loaded up to 355 days in advance, so you can try to plan a trip up to a year ahead.
- Consider extending your miles by 6 months for a fee, if you are fairly certain that will help you use them.
- Use SIA’s ‘part pay with miles option’ to get money off any full-fare SIA or SilkAir ticket in any class of travel, regardless of whether a redemption is available. You’ll only get 1.02 cents per mile of value here, but that’s 53% better than you’ll get transferring to KrisPay.
- Part-pay for a Scoot flight at 0.95 cents per mile (42% better value than KrisPay).
- Buy something from the KrisShop at 0.8 cents per mile (20% better value than KrisPay).
- Conversion to ‘Tap for More’ points, the currency of the ‘Passion Card’ loyalty scheme. Something we only usually endorse in the other direction (TFM to KrisFlyer miles), these can actually be used against your grocery or pharmacy shopping at Cold Storage, Marketplace, Jasons, Giant or Guardian at 0.73 cents per mile (10% better value than KrisPay).
So in effect, no. You should never consider it.
I never thought I’d recommend using your KrisFlyer miles in the KrisShop over any other redemption. That says it all.
(Cover Image: Singapore Airlines)