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First of all happy Singapore National Day to all our readers! Almost a year ago telco provider StarHub and OCBC struck a deal to allow your points from either of their loyalty schemes to be transferred to the other. That’s good news for miles earners because it means StarHub customers can now effectively (though indirectly) transfer their StarHub Rewards points into KrisFlyer miles.
As part of their collaboration with OCBC, StarHub are now offering a one-off 2,500 Rewards points bonus if you switch your bill payment option to a recurring payment method using your OCBC credit or debit card, or a GIRO from an OCBC deposit account.
The offer is valid only until 31st August 2018, so you should act soon if you want to take advantage of it. The details of the offer can be found here, with the full terms and conditions available here.
How it works
StarHub customers earn StarHub Rewards points on post-paid contracts at a rate of 1 point per dollar spent, so this bonus offer is the equivalent of spending S$2,500 with them in one go.
StarHub Rewards points don’t directly transfer into KrisFlyer, in fact their only frequent flyer program partner is AirAsia BIG Points (and you certainly don’t want to transfer to them). Getting your StarHub Rewards points into KrisFlyer miles is achieved by first transferring them to OCBC$ or OCBC Voyage Miles, then transferring to KrisFlyer from there.
Batches of 100 StarHub points transfer to 350 OCBC$, while you’ll need 160 points to transfer into 100 OCBC Voyage Miles.
From either OCBC$ or OCBC Voyage Miles you can then transfer points into KrisFlyer, subject to a minimum total block of 25,000 OCBC$ (equal to 10,000 KrisFlyer miles) or 8,000 Voyage Miles (equal to 8,000 KrisFlyer miles).
Is it good value?
There are many redemption options for StarHub Rewards points, however the most useful benchmark to determine their ‘value’ is the option to use them for a bill rebate. Here each StarHub point is worth around 1.4 cents (700 points will get you $10 off your bill, 1,400 points for $20 off, and so on).
Other redemption options like shopping vouchers seem to value your points at slightly less than that, so why you’d redeem that way we don’t know.
StarHub > OCBC$
Transferring to OCBC$ is therefore a very good value proposition, as we know you’ll get 3.5 OCBC$ per StarHub point transferred, which you can then convert to KrisFlyer miles at a 2.5:1 ratio.
That means each StarHub point is (indirectly) transferring into 1.4 KrisFlyer miles, around 2.8 cents of value assuming like us you think a KrisFlyer mile is worth approximately 2 cents.
Even if your upper limit to ‘buy’ KrisFlyer miles is 1 cent each (you’d be mad not to stock up on them at that rate), this transfer process still matches a bill rebate in value terms.
StarHub > OCBC VMs
For transfers to OCBC Voyage Miles unfortunately it’s a poorer deal. With the 2,500 bonus points from this promotion you could transfer 15 blocks of 160 StarHub Rewards points (2,400 total) into 1,500 Voyage Miles. These transfer 1:1 to KrisFlyer, giving you a value of about S$30. That works out at 1.25 cents per StarHub Rewards point, less value than you’d get with a bill rebate.
While the value there is clearly much poorer it could still be worth considering if these points will help you achieve the next transfer ‘block’ from Voyage Miles to KrisFlyer, or if you personally value KrisFlyer miles at more than 2 cents each.
You should always be transferring to OCBC$
I hadn’t been doing anything with my StarHub Rewards points for the best part of a couple of years, having previously used them only for a bill rebate (prior to the StarHub / OCBC collaboration days).
Just last week I noticed the OCBC transfer options and was pleasantly surprised to do the maths and find it was a good deal. I transferred the 2,100 StarHub points I’d accumulated into 7,350 OCBC$ and they arrived in my OCBC Rewards account after a few days. Later they will be worth 2,940 KrisFlyer miles when I transfer across to Singapore Airlines in a bigger batch.
Had I gone with the bill rebate option again those 2,100 points would have discounted my next bill by S$30, but 2,940 KrisFlyer miles are worth closer to S$60 so this is clearly a superior value use of StarHub points.
If you want to move your OCBC$ or Voyage Miles to StarHub points for any reason the same conversion rates apply in reverse – 3.5:1 for OCBC$ or 1.6:1 for Voyage Miles.
If your monthly StarHub bill comes to S$100 the ongoing KrisFlyer earning rate of 1.4 miles per dollar spent (assuming you are able to transfer points through OCBC$) would be worth an extra 1,680 KrisFlyer miles a year. Not bad for the regular spending on your mobile phone contract and remember it’s in addition to the miles earned paying your bill by credit card.
You aren’t under any obligation to keep the OCBC card or account tied to your regular StarHub bill payment, so once you’ve qualified for this offer and received the bonus we would suggest moving across to a better miles earning option to settle your StarHub account each month.
Good options would be the BOC Elite Miles card (2.0 miles per dollar for the rest of 2018 then 1.5 miles per dollar after that) or the Standard Chartered Visa Infinite (1.4 miles per dollar provided you spend >S$2,000 on it in each statement cycle).
Recent news from OCBC has been somewhat negative, prematurely ending their 4mpd offer on mobile payments using the Titanium Rewards card and discontinuing their half-million miles sign-up offer on the OCBC Voyage card.
This offer is a bit of welcome news for those StarHub customers able to take advantage. If like me you have a StarHub phone contract while also holding an OCBC credit card which offers OCBC$, like the Titanium Rewards card, this deal is a no brainer offering 3,500 KrisFlyer miles for minimal effort.
Longer term the StarHub-OCBC link also means earning 1.4 miles per S$1 spent on your bills on top of your credit card earn rate. Whether that makes switching to StarHub appealing to some is a personal decision but could be an important factor.
(Cover Image: StarHub)