Kaligo, the hotel booking site that awards frequent flyer miles or loyalty points for hotel stays, has launched another offer this month for KrisFlyer members. Bookings between now and 30th November 2019, for stays from now until 31st March 2020, will earn 50% more KrisFlyer miles.
First thing to note is that Kaligo isn’t usually the cheapest option when booking a hotel (though it can be competitive), so you’ll need to shop around for the best rate to decide whether it’s either a good deal, or the rate at which you’re ‘buying’ miles is worthwhile.
Also a Kaligo booking means you won’t earn any loyalty points or status accrual in the hotel’s own loyalty scheme during your stay, and some hotels won’t even recognise your status benefits either.
That makes Kaligo better for stays at smaller independent properties, or at chains where you don’t hold any status and aren’t chasing their loyalty points.
Any hotel stays booked between now and the end of November 2019, where the stay itself is completed before 31st March 2020, are eligible for the bonus. There is no cap on the amount spent or number of bookings made per person.
KrisFlyer miles will be credited to your account 4 to 6 weeks after the completion of each hotel stay.
If you’re going to take advantage of this offer you first need to register at www.kaligo.com/krisflyer-extra-50. You’ll also find the full terms and conditions at that page.
Once your email address is entered, it will automatically recognise if you have an existing account (both new and existing Kaligo account holders are eligible for the bonus offer). You should then get an email confirmation:
From there just search as normal and you’ll see the bonus miles applicable to each booking at the details page when you select your preferred room type.
Here’s an example of searching before registering for the offer (left), and the identical search after registering (right):
As you can see the bonus miles are listed separately, so for this booking you’re now earning 16,335 miles instead of the usual 10,890 miles.
It’s not always a good deal
Kaligo works by sharing some of the commission it receives for each hotel booking with you in the form of miles. Since a ‘middle man’ is involved, it often means paying more than the best available rate for the stay.
It also means some bookings will earn you more KrisFlyer miles per dollar than others (where the commission Kaligo receives is a greater percentage).
That’s not to say it is always more expensive though, we have found hotels on Kaligo that are actually the same rate and sometimes even cheaper than booking direct.
The important thing to do is shop around first, then consider whether Kaligo is giving you a good rate for the hotel of your choice.
Example: Bad deal
A 2-night weekend stay at the Andaz Singapore in a King Bed with City View room on a room only basis, refundable rate (8-10 November 2019) costs:
- S$753 booked directly with the hotel
- S$829 booked through Kaligo, with 2,880 KrisFlyer miles awarded
You are paying S$76 extra in this example for 2,880 KrisFlyer miles (2.6 cents per mile), which is a poor deal. Our upper limit to buy KrisFlyer miles is 1.9 cents each, and even then there would have to be a very good reason for us to pay that rate.
Example: Good deal
A 4-night stay in Melbourne at the Pan Pacific in a Premier King City Skyline Room on a non-refundable rate (14-18 Jan 2020) costs:
- S$1,206 booked directly with the hotel
- S$1,265 booked through Kaligo, with 6,015 KrisFlyer miles awarded
Yes the Kaligo rate is more, with an additional cost of S$59, however you are receiving 6,015 KrisFlyer miles. That’s the equivalent of ‘buying’ miles at 1 cent each. We would definitely buy miles at that rate.
Example: Excellent deal
A 2-night stay at the Ibis London Blackfriars hotel in Double room on a room only basis, non-refundable rate (7-9 Feb 2020) costs:
- S$491 booked directly with the hotel
- S$491 booked through Kaligo, with 4,590 KrisFlyer miles awarded
The Kaligo rate is the same as you’re paying by booking direct, but earns 4,590 KrisFlyer miles (worth almost S$90).
That’s not to be sniffed at, the miles are ‘free’ and are equivalent to more than 17% ‘value back’ on the stay at our 1.9 cents per mile valuation.
Status at chain hotels
Remember if you’re booking a chain hotel you won’t get any points or status credits in the hotel loyalty scheme for your Kaligo booking. Effectively you are sacrificing those for the frequent flyer miles instead.
This makes Kaligo more useful if you’re staying at an independent property, or at a chain you don’t bother collecting points / status with.
Some hotels will still recognise and award your status benefits during your stay, even if you book via an OTA like Kaligo. In our experience Marriott and Ritz-Carlton hotels usually will honour your status perks in these examples, some Hyatts do and some don’t, ex-SPG properties and Hilton’s usually won’t.
Arguably if you have already secured the status level you desire with a particular hotel chain, Kaligo may make more sense for your booking if the miles deal works out much better than the hotel points, provided the hotel will still honour your status perks during your stay, or if you’re booking a club room anyway in which case you’ll get most of the benefits regardless.
The wildcard – credit card points
If you have read our full article on Kaligo from December 2017, you’ll recall there’s normally a better way to earn more KrisFlyer miles (or other frequent flyer points) when booking through the service by crediting your miles to your credit card, provided you hold one of the following Singapore-issued cards:
When loyalty points from these cards are subsequently transferred to KrisFlyer, or another frequent flyer scheme like Asia Miles or Avios, each of them will result in a fixed 10 miles per S$1 spent at Kaligo (including taxes), often over 4 times the basic earn level compared with crediting directly to KrisFlyer instead (which works on a variable rate based on commission, as mentioned above).
Note that for the DBS Altitude card, spend is capped at S$5,000 per month for the Kaligo 10 miles per dollar offer. This does not apply to Citi cards or the UOB PRVI Miles cards.
Let’s take the ‘good deal’ above, tapping into the 50% KrisFlyer mile bonus level with a 4-night stay at the Pan Pacific in Melbourne during January 2020. If you have a Citi PremierMiles card, you’ll earn a fixed 10 miles per S$1 spent on the Kaligo booking, which actually works out as significantly more miles even after the KrisFlyer bonus rate is accounted for.
As the table shows, the room will still cost S$1,265 booked through Kaligo, S$59 more than booking directly with the hotel, however using your Citi PremierMiles card you will earn 12,650 Citi Miles which is a 1:1 equivalent to KrisFlyer miles, Asia Miles, Avios, etc.
In this case you’re far better off crediting to Citi (or DBS Altitude / UOB PRVI Miles) instead, earning 110% more miles in the process.
Indeed it reduces the cost per mile from 1 cent to less than 0.5 cents, an excellent deal.
Our searches show it is nearly impossible for the KrisFlyer bonus offer to be of great interest to anyone already holding one of the aforementioned credit cards in Singapore. These credit card options almost always award more miles.