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Singapore Airlines devalues KrisFlyer to Velocity points transfer rate

Transferring miles between the Singapore Airlines and Virgin Australia frequent flyer programs is about to become a poorer deal

Virgin Australia 777 (Damien Aiello)

If you’re a member of Virgin Australia’s Velocity frequent flyer program, you’re probably aware of the ability to transfer KrisFlyer miles into Velocity points and vice-versa.

There were always a couple of catches – firstly to even be eligible for a Velocity account you need an address in one of their primary markets like Australia or New Zealand, and secondly whichever direction you moved miles you lost out with a 1.35:1 transfer ratio.

From 1st January however, the conversion rate will get much poorer as it shifts to 1.55:1, a significant devaluation.

Here’s the announcement from earlier this week relating to the changes.

Why would you do it?

Generally there is no good reason to convert your KrisFlyer miles to Velocity points, broadly speaking they are worth less and you’re taking a conversion hit on top of that. There are circumstances however where it might be considered. For example if you have a large KrisFlyer balance this is one way to use them to redeem into Etihad’s A380 apartments.

A380 Apartment (Etihad Airways)
The Etihad A380 First Apartment. (Photo: Etihad Airways)

It’s not cheap, a flight from Abu Dhabi to London in this cabin for example will set you back 78,000 Velocity points, so you’d need to convert 105,300 KrisFlyer miles to make it work under the current 1.35:1 transfer rate. After 1st January 2019 it’s even worse with the 1.55:1 transfer rate kicking in you’d need to transfer 120,900 KrisFlyer miles for the same trip, a full 15% more.

If it is something you would consider however it may be worth moving the necessary miles over to Velocity before the end of December 2018, assuming you have a Velocity account or are eligible for one.

As a point of comparison alternative redemption rates for the same flight sector in Etihad’s A380 apartments are 87,750 Etihad Guest miles or 62,500 American Airlines AAdvantage miles.

On the other hand if you have a lot of Velocity points for whatever reason and you had your eye on a KrisFlyer redemption, you’ll get much better access to award seats including Singapore Airlines A380 Suites by transferring your points into KrisFlyer miles. Again it would make sense to do this before the end of the year to take advantage of the better ‘exchange rate’.

Remember if you transfer from KrisFlyer into Velocity those points will be valid for at least 2 years, however all your Velocity points stay ‘alive’ provided you transact in the scheme at least once every 2 years – so it’s a worst case scenario.

Transfer Velocity points into KrisFlyer miles on the other hand, and they’ll last 3 years.

Expiring miles

While we’re talking about miles expiry, many of you will recall our analysis in August this year outlining 12 methods to extract the best value from any KrisFlyer miles you may have which are expiring (i.e. coming up to 3 years since they were earned).

Two of those methods involved the Virgin Australia Velocity scheme, for those eligible to be a member.