At one point or other, we’ve probably all been in the same situation. Staring at an available KrisFlyer saver award flight on the computer screen – perfect dates, perfect timings, but just a painfully small amount more miles than you currently have in your account to lock it in for you or your travelling party.
Several transfer methods can recharge your KrisFlyer balance in the next few days or weeks, but what are the chances of those perfect award seats still being available then? Especially for short-term redemptions, it’s a big risk to take.
Thankfully there are some instant (yes, absolutely instant) and quick (within 24 hours) ways to top up your balance. They might just save the day.
Almost everyone in Singapore makes at least some of their regular spending in Cold Storage, Marketplace, Jasons, Giant or Guardian.
If you’re the same, you might well have a PAssion card. Swipe it every time you shop at one of those outlets and you’ll be accruing TapForMore points at a rate of 1 point per S$1 spent.
The two most important things for our readers to know is that:
- TapForMore points transfer to KrisFlyer miles (at a ratio of around 2.3:1), and
- Transfers are instant
If you’ve been racking up your Cold Storage and Guardian bills over the last few months to the tune of S$5,000, for example, and tapping your PAssion card each time, your 5,000 points will give you an instant 2,173 KrisFlyer miles if you need them.
Go to tapformore.com.sg and select ‘Partner Program > KrisFlyer’. There you can log in (or register your PAssion card if you haven’t done so yet).
Enter your KrisFlyer membership details then click ‘Convert to KrisFlyer Miles’ to complete the transfer. You can transfer as many TapForMore points as you wish, but the minimum is 300.
Miles will reflect in your KrisFlyer account straight away.
Is it good value?
Yes. Take the above example where you have accrued 5,000 TapForMore points, exchangeable for 2,173 KrisFlyer miles. We value KrisFlyer miles at 1.9 cents each, so that’s worth at least S$41.29 against future flight redemptions.
The alternative is to use your points for an instant redemption at the checkout when shopping at one of the five eligible merchants, at a rate of 150 points = S$1 off. Your 5,000 TapForMore points will get you a discount of S$33.33 in this case.
Looking at it another way, if you opt for the KrisFlyer option you’re buying miles for 1.53 cents each (S$33.33 discount you could have had, divided by 2,173 miles you will have instead).
Not only is this an instant method to top up your KrisFlyer balance, you should probably already be doing it anyway, provided you agree with us that a mile is worth more than 1.53 cents.
You’ll no doubt know that we definitely don’t suggest that you ever transfer KrisFlyer miles to KrisPay to spend them there, due to the awful 0.67 cent per mile value they give you against purchases at a relatively limited range of merchants.
You should however be using KrisPay to earn miles when making purchases at participating merchants, as these are on top of any miles you’ll also be earning using the right credit card for the same transaction.
At the time of writing 39 partners allow earning via KrisPay, typically at the 1 mile per S$1 spent rate.
Earning is instant at the time of transaction, and you can then instantly transfer those KrisPay miles to your KrisFlyer account. This can be very useful for a small, quick top-up.
For example let’s say I’m looking at an available KrisFlyer redemption at 62,000 miles from Singapore to Brisbane in Business Class. I thought I had enough but I just realised I only have 61,967 miles in my account. 33 miles short!
Also, I don’t have any TapForMore points left to transfer, so that option is out. Here’s where KrisPay comes in.
I can walk down to my local Bottles & Bottles store and pick up this nice Shiraz:
Scan my KrisPay app when I pay, and now I have 33 KrisPay miles. I can transfer these instantly into my KrisFlyer account, and now I have exactly the 62,000 miles I need for the award booking.
Note that KrisPay miles earned can only be converted into KrisFlyer miles and transferred to your KrisFlyer account if you convert and transfer the number of miles earned from your transaction in its entirety and within 7 days from the point of accrual of the KrisPay miles.
If you have already spent some of your KrisPay miles earned from a transaction, a partial transfer is not supported.
Is it good value?
Yes. Transferring miles earned at KrisPay merchants into your KrisFlyer account is the only good value thing you can do with them.
DBS Points via KrisPay
For most people buying a bottle of wine isn’t going to see them over a redemption threshold (even a case of wine probably won’t do it!). There is another method using KrisPay if you have DBS Points.
For every DBS Point transferred you’ll get 1.7 KrisPay miles. The process is instant, and the KrisPay miles can then be instantly transferred into your KrisFlyer account as we discussed above.
There is no fee for the transfer and you only need a minimum of 100 DBS Points, with additional increments of 100 points at a time, so it’s quite a flexible option.
Is it good value?
Not really, as DBS Points normally convert to KrisFlyer miles at a 1:2 ratio. That means taking a 15% hit using this method. The problem with the regular transfer is that it typically takes 1 to 4 days, too long to be regarded as either ‘instant’ or ‘quick’ for the purposes of this article.
Virgin Australia Velocity Points
Do you have a Virgin Australia Velocity Frequent Flyer account? Like most of our readers in Singapore, the answer is probably no.
That’s because unless you have a mailing address in one of Virgin’s primary markets (e.g. Australia or New Zealand), you aren’t eligible for one.
If you do have one though here’s another instant transfer option. You can move Velocity points to KrisFlyer at a 1.55:1 ratio provided you have at least 5,000 Velocity points (which would become 3,226 KrisFlyer miles).
Is it good value?
Almost certainly not. Velocity points are worth approximately 1.8 cents according to some reputable estimates, so you’re taking a value hit of over 30% by doing this, assuming you would use them in the Velocity programme.
If you’re a Grab user you can transfer your GrabRewards points into KrisFlyer miles at a rate of 1,500 points to 160 miles (1,400 points to 160 miles for Platinum members).
While Grab quotes a turnaround time of 2 working days for KrisFlyer transfers, they usually always credit to your account the following day at around 11am.
The downside is that you can only make a single transfer at a time, giving you just 160 KrisFlyer miles. That’s unlikely to be enough of a boost to secure your award seat.
Is it good value?
You can get better value with your GrabRewards points by using them for money off future Grab rides, so we don’t recommend regular transfers to KrisFlyer unless they are running a promotion, which they did recently.
OCBC$ / Voyage Miles / Travel$
OCBC quotes “approximately 21 working days” as the timescale for transferring their reward points to KrisFlyer miles. That’s a ridiculously long wait of basically one month.
The good news is that it doesn’t actually take that long. In reality transfers take just 24 hours.
This was first shared with us by one of our readers in February 2018, and also confirmed on the FlyerTalk forum transfer time post in September 2018 (a 12-hour turnaround that time 11pm to 11am the next day).
I transferred OCBC$ from my rewards account earlier this month (August 2019) at around 12pm on a Thursday. The miles were credited in my KrisFlyer account at 11.30am the following day (Friday).
The downside here is you’ll need at least 25,000 OCBC$ (for 10,000 miles), 10,000 Voyage Miles (for 10,000 miles) or 1,000 Travel$ (for 1,000 miles), with same-sized blocks thereafter, in order to transfer.
For OCBC$ a fee of S$25 applies for each transfer to KrisFlyer miles.
Is it good value?
Yes. Unlike the instant DBS Points via KrisPay method outlined above, where you take a hit on the rate, this is the standard way to transfer your OCBC$ / Voyage Miles / Travel$ into KrisFlyer at the normal ratio.
Citi Miles / ThankYou Points
The only other group of Singapore credit cards to make it onto the list. While Citi quotes a turnaround time of “up to 5 working days” for its miles / points to transfer into KrisFlyer, it’s almost always processed within 24 hours, sometimes less in our experience.
No guarantees here but it’s certainly faster than the other Singapore banks.
Like OCBC you’ll need at least 25,000 Citi ThankYou Points (for 10,000 miles) or 10,000 Citi Miles (for 10,000 miles), with same-sized blocks thereafter, in order to transfer.
A fee of S$25 applies for each transfer to KrisFlyer miles.
Is it good value?
Yes, unless you’re saving your points in Citi to transfer them to one of their many other frequent flyer programme partners aside from KrisFlyer.
Buy miles from Singapore Airlines
If the above options are no good to you, or you’ve exhausted as many of them as you can but still find yourself a bit short for a redemption, there’s one final option.
Provided you have at least 50% of the required miles for your award ticket, you can buy the rest from Singapore Airlines directly.
It isn’t cheap, at US$40 (around S$55) per 1,000 miles, so you’ll definitely want this to only be a small top-up if possible at 5.5 cents per mile.
Just book online as you normally would. The system will recognise that you have at least half the miles needed and allow you to proceed with the selection, then generates the following message:
The additional charge is added to the booking summary and will be paid along with the usual taxes and fees due.
In this example an additional S$221.88 is charged to top up 3,994 miles, but the redemption is now instantly confirmable.
Is it good value?
Absolutely not. As you can see it’s costing you 5.56 cents per mile, but if it’s enough to make your redemption work the cost per mile for a small top-up probably isn’t that relevant.
Doing this instead of walking down to Bottles & Bottles to buy wine and accrue the extra 33 miles I needed for my redemption in the KrisPay example provided earlier now seems like quite a lot of effort, when Singapore Airlines will simply sell me 33 miles for S$1.82.
Putting award seats on hold
If the instant transfer options don’t work for you, and there’s an award itinerary sitting there with availability, waiting a day or more to credit the miles needed is running a risk.
Let’s face it, most of us hold our biggest points balances in credit card reward programs as long as possible to extend their validity. Many of them aren’t in a particular hurry to transfer your points into frequent flyer miles once you make a request, and like most banks some see the weekend as ‘days off’.
Singapore Airlines will usually help out if you’re in this situation.
Give KrisFlyer a call and explain what you’re trying to do, why it’s important to you and how long you think the miles top-up will take based on your previous experience. They will generally hold your award seats for a couple of days so that you can call back and confirm everything once the miles are in without worrying about the seats disappearing.
Remember there is no formal written policy, so they aren’t obliged to do this. In our experience if you are polite they will do their best to help you.
There aren’t that many ways to recharge your KrisFlyer balance in real time. TapForMore, Velocity and KrisPay are the only three examples we can think of where it is literally instant.
The DBS Points method via KrisPay is a recently introduced way, also instant, though you pay a small price for the benefit compared with a standard points to miles transfer.
The only other instant method is by far the most expensive, though perhaps the simplest, buying the extra miles you need from Singapore Airlines directly.
Other than that we’ve provided a few fast methods where we know transfers usually take 24 hours / 1 day. If you are going to use one of those ways to achieve enough miles for your award ticket, or some that take even longer, it’s worth asking Singapore Airlines to put your award seats on hold. If you explain the situation to them, they will usually help you out.
Do you know of any other ways to transfer miles into KrisFlyer in a day or less? If so let us know in the comments section below and we’ll add them to the article.
(Cover Photo: Marc-Olivier Jodoin)