Last week Singapore Airlines added a new way to instantly accrue KrisFlyer miles, by transferring your DBS Points across to KrisPay and then moving them to KrisFlyer from there.
Here’s a ‘how to’ from the KrisPay website showing you the transfer process via the KrisPay app. If you don’t see the option you may need to update to the latest version of the app.
Of course the first question that crops up for miles addicts like us, is it a good rate? The first catch – of course it isn’t.
What is the rate?
Let’s say you’ve accrued 5,000 DBS Points on your DBS Altitude card. These would normally transfer to KrisFlyer miles at a 1:2 ratio, giving you 10,000 miles.
Transferring to KrisPay however will give you a 15% poorer ratio of 1:1.7, so you’ll get just 8,500 KrisPay miles for the same transfer, which you can (and should) then transfer immediately to KrisFlyer.
Remember if you’re using the DBS Altitude card you are earning 1.2 miles per S$1 spent locally when you transfer to KrisFlyer in the normal way, which typically takes 1 to 4 days, even over a weekend.
Making the ‘instant’ transfer via KrisPay means you’re only earning 1.02 miles per dollar, a really poor rate among local cards for general spending.
Despite the poor transfer ratio, there are some potential benefits to being able to shift your DBS Points in to KrisFlyer instantly.
If you don’t have enough DBS Points to make a regular transfer to KrisFlyer, but you need the miles in the near future, this is an option to circumvent the minimum transfer quantity of 5,000 DBS Points (into 10,000 KrisFlyer miles).
For example if you have 3,000 DBS Points, you’re still some way off the minimum transfer amount to KrisFlyer miles using the DBS system, so while these points should be worth 6,000 KrisFlyer miles they aren’t really worth anything until you at least reach the first 5,000 points conversion threshold.
Now you can get some value from a small balance. While you’ll only get 5,100 KrisFlyer miles transferring them into KrisFlyer via KrisPay, you can unlock those straight away if you need to, for example if it’s a sufficient top-up to enable you to make a redemption you have your eye on.
If you have enough DBS Points for a redemption, but the normal DBS to KrisFlyer transfer ‘blocks’ leave you short.
For example, say your KrisFlyer account is currently empty (0 miles) but you have found the perfect saver redemption in Business Class to Sydney for 62,000 miles. You check your DBS points and it’s good news – you’re sitting on 32,000 DBS Points so you have enough for 64,000 KrisFlyer miles.
Unfortunately DBS Points to KrisFlyer conversions must be in 5,000-point batches, so you can only transfer 30,000 (60,000 miles) this way, as you don’t have enough to transfer the next greater batch of 35,000 (70,000 miles).
That will leave you short by 2,000 miles and I’m sure you can see where we’re going with this. Once you’ve made the 30,000 DBS Points to 60,000 KrisFlyer miles transfer in the regular way, leaving you with 2,000 DBS Points, just transfer 1,200 of those DBS Points to KrisPay (1,200 x 1.7 = 2,040 miles).
Transfer those straight into KrisFlyer and voila – you have the balance you need for your redemption (once the miles from DBS come in). Sure, you’ve taken a small hit in value on that final 1,200 DBS Points, but it has made the difference between securing the redemption and not being able to.
If you no longer accrue DBS Points, but have a small balance remaining.
In this situation assuming you have less than 5,000 DBS Points in your rewards account, which you won’t be adding to in future, you may as well cash out into KrisFlyer via KrisPay to recover something from the balance.
One thing you won’t be wanting to do with your DBS Points is keep them in KrisPay and use them for a cash discount off purchases with the merchants there. That’s because the value is diabolical (0.67 cents per mile).
Earning miles through KrisPay is a different matter, and something you should consider.
That would give each of your DBS Points a value of just 1.14 cents, while we value KrisFlyer miles at 1.9 cents each meaning each DBS Point should be worth 3.8 cents (more than three times that amount).
Even if you converted your DBS Points into shopping vouchers (e.g. FairPrice) you’ll get 1.45 cents value from each one. Clearly you still shouldn’t do that while the KrisFlyer option exists, but it remains 27% better value that transferring to KrisPay and using the miles there.
The catch is twofold. Firstly you’ll have to move any points transferred from DBS to KrisPay into KrisFlyer miles within 7 days, otherwise they are stuck in KrisPay.
The second is just as important, you cannot use any of the KrisPay miles you have earned from your DBS Points transfer for any KrisPay purchase, no matter how small, as that automatically renders the entire transfer stuck in KrisPay forever.
The golden rule therefore is to transfer in to KrisPay, then transfer straight out to KrisFlyer. Even with that 7 day window available, don’t even wait.
More to come?
Singapore Airlines has said that DBS is the “first rewards conversion partner” to allow rewards points conversion to KrisPay, leaving the door open for additional partners to join in future.
That could include more bank rewards points programs, though even in these cases the conversion rate is still likely to be less attractive than current bank to miles transfer process. We’ll let you know as and when there are any new programs linked to KrisPay, and how the value stacks up.
Very few of our readers are going to accept a 15% cut in their DBS Points balance just to take advantage of instant, fee-free transfers to KrisFlyer.
That said for a short term need as we’ve mentioned above there are some potential benefits. If you’re comfortable with the maths and your required top-up is small then this process could work well for you, just remember to leave the miles fully intact in KrisPay (don’t spend at a KrisPay merchant), then immediately transfer them to your KrisFlyer account.
You have 7 days to do it, but why wait?
Remember you can also transfer DBS Points into Asia Miles if you prefer (it probably goes without saying this is only possible through DBS rewards, not through KrisPay), or to Air Asia BIG Points (which you should never do as the value is even poorer than redeeming shopping vouchers).
We comprehensively reviewed the DBS Altitude cards in Singapore in March 2018, but we’ve updated that review today to reflect this new transfer option.