KrisFlyer Singapore Airlines

Updated: KrisFlyer miles expiring? 12 ways to save them from the scrapheap

Expiring KrisFlyer miles needn't be resigned to junk status. Here are a dozen ways to get some value out of them.

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Many of you will know that last week Singapore Airlines finally awarded some breathing space to KrisFlyer members whose miles are expiring over the coming months, in light of the almost complete inability to make future travel plans due to the COVID-19 outbreak.

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It’s not just at times like these you need to keep an eye on your miles validity though. We get regular emails throughout the year from KrisFlyer members whose miles are expiring, asking us what they can do to prevent it, or alternatively get at least some value from the miles before they vanish.

14K Overhead
Once you know what experiences your KrisFlyer miles can unlock, it’s hard to watch them expire and go to waste. (Photo: MainlyMiles)

In a nutshell there are four principal options:

  • Use them to redeem a flight before they expire (your trip can be up to a year away).
  • Pay a fee to extend them for 6 or 12 months (you can only do this once).
  • Sacrifice around half of them, but keep the rest for another 3 years.
  • Cash them out somehow.

Which option is best for you will depend on your upcoming travel plans, the number of miles you have expiring and the number of miles you have in total.

How KrisFlyer miles expiry works

First a quick rundown on how your KrisFlyer miles may end up expiring. In common with many airlines (but to be fair not in common with many others!), Singapore Airlines applies a fixed validity period on your KrisFlyer miles.

KF Logo trans

No matter how you earn your KrisFlyer miles (from revenue flights to credit card spend, from Chope vouchers to foodpanda) they will expire on the last day of the month 36 months following the month in which they were first credited to your account.

KrisFlyer Miles Expiry A member’s KrisFlyer miles will expire after three years at the end of the equivalent month in which they were earned. For example, miles credited to a member’s KrisFlyer account in July 2019 will expire on 31st July 2022.

The ‘oldest’ miles in your account are used up first when you make any kind of redemption. For most of us that means there’s no need to worry about miles expiry. We churn through what we earn more frequently than once every 3 years.

Your KrisFlyer account page on the SIA website or mobile app will show you how many miles you have expiring in the next six months (listed by month). Your KrisFlyer account statement, which should arrive by email each month, also shows these details:

Expiring Miles
In this example you have 348 KrisFlyer miles expiring on 31st July 2020 and a further 20,000 expiring on 31st August 2020

Remember, at the time of writing KrisFlyer miles expiring between April 2020 and August 2020 will be extended by six months.

If you thought you could circumvent the miles expiry issue by making a flight redemption several months into the future with miles that are just about to expire, then later cancel the ticket and redeposit the miles, that won’t work unfortunately.

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Every KrisFlyer mile in your account has a ‘memory’ – it knows exactly when it was earned, including miles redeemed for a flight you haven’t taken yet.

If any of the miles you used for a flight redemption would have expired at the time of cancellation / redeposit request you won’t get those miles back.

PPS Club

There’s one bit of good news – if you’re a PPS Club or Solitaire PPS Club member, your KrisFlyer miles never expire. Any KrisFlyer miles in your account stop having a ‘memory’ expiration countdown once you become a PPS Club member.

PPS Club

If you fail to requalify for PPS Club in future, all the KrisFlyer miles in your account are reset with a full three-year validity period from the month you drop back into a KrisFlyer tier.

For example if you drop from PPS Club to being a KrisFlyer member on 1st June 2020, all the KrisFlyer miles in your account at that time will now expire at 23:59 hours Singapore time on 30th June 2023.

The options

Here are the 12 options, ordered best to worst by value, for your expiring KrisFlyer miles.

1 A flight redemption
SQtrans small MI logo Star Alliance 3
Value: 1.90+ cents per mile
Min. expiring miles: 7,500
Pros
  • Best value for your miles.
  • Ability to book a year in advance.
Cons
  • You must have some travel plans.
  • Sufficient award availability must match your travel dates.
  • If you cancel the ticket after date the miles would have expired, you’ll lose them.

This one might seem a bit silly or obvious to include, after all if you could have used your expiring miles to book a redemption ticket surely you would have done by now?

What many people don’t necessarily appreciate however is how far in advance you can lock in an award ticket using KrisFlyer miles, and the breadth of Star Alliance and partner airline award options out there, which might help.

Fresh availability of KrisFlyer award seats in 355 days time on Singapore Airlines and SilkAir, for example, is loaded at 8am SGT each morning (GMT+8), and this is often a good time to jump on a pair of Business Saver redemptions a year out.

We’ve also spoken to people who think you must redeem and have travelled on an award flight before your miles expire – that’s not the case. You must have booked the award ticket, but it can be locked in close to a year in advance. The fact you’ll be sitting on a flight using miles which would have expired up to a year before doesn’t matter.

With this option you’re looking at trying to lock in a redemption ticket or upgrade (where permitted):

  • On a Singapore Airlines or SilkAir flight.
  • On a Star Alliance member airline flight (most are now searchable and bookable online through KrisFlyer).
  • On a partner airline flight, like Alaska Airlines or Virgin Australia.
A340 Business Class (Swiss)
Even a Star Alliance redemption can be locked in almost a year in advance. (Photo: Swiss)

Since these options by far represent the best value you can extract from KrisFlyer miles you should absolutely exhaust them first in our opinion, before moving on to any of the following steps.


2 Extend your miles for a fee
KF Logo trans
Value: 1.73 cents per mile*
Min. expiring miles: No minimum
Pros
  • Some breathing room.
  • An opportunity to still get top value for your miles for a small fee.
Cons
  • If you don’t go on to use the miles for a flight redemption, it’s wasted money.

* Assuming you pay cash to extend your miles, then go on to redeem the extended miles and achieve 1.9 cents per mile in value.

One option for your expiring miles is to extend their validity by 6 months. You can choose to pay US$12 (around S$17) per block of 10,000 expiring miles, or sacrifice 1,200 miles per 10,000-mile block to achieve the same extension.

KrisFlyer Elite Silver and Gold members get 12 months additional miles validity for the same fee or miles cost (and remember miles never expire for PPS Club members).

First point to note here if you are considering this option is that it’s probably better to use cash to extend your miles than sacrifice a portion of the miles themselves. If you’re extending the miles ideally you want them all to still be there for one thing, and as you should never be redeeming then at less than 1.9 Singapore cents of value per mile, 1,200 miles (implied value S$23) is a bigger price to pay than the cash equivalent (S$17).

Before you go ahead with this though, remember that paying to extend your KrisFlyer miles is only useful if you are fairly certain it will help you use them.

It’s also a one-time offer, you can only extend expiring miles once.


3 Transfer to Shangri-La points for ‘Instant Dining Awards’
KF to SLGC
Value: 1.20 cents per mile
Min. expiring miles: 20,000
Pros
  • Shangri-La Golden Circle Awards points are valid for 3 years.
  • Redeem at 23 bars and restaurants in Singapore and over 500 worldwide.
Cons
  • High minimum transfer quantity.
  • You may have no use for a Shangri-La GC ‘Instant Dining Award’.
  • You may argue that many of these bars and restaurants, which tend to be in hotels, are overpriced anyway, eroding the ‘value’ if you’d never otherwise consider drinking or dining there.

Transfers from KrisFlyer to Shangri-La Golden Circle (SLGC) Awards points are subject to a minimum transfer quantity of 20,000 miles, the highest of all the options for your expiring miles.

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If you do have enough expiring miles to warrant this option your KrisFlyer miles will transfer to SLGC points at a 12:1 ratio. The key to this rewards scheme is their ‘Instant Dining Awards’ program, where you’ll likely achieve best value per point. Each SLGC point is worth 10 US cents against a bar / restaurant charge at a participating outlet.

There are 23 such bars and restaurants in Singapore alone and more than 500 worldwide.

SLGC Instant Dining.jpg
An example of some of the outlets in Singapore in the SLGC ‘Instant Dining’ program. (Source: Shangri-La)

If you hold ‘Jade’ or ‘Diamond’ status in the Shangri-La program each SLGC point can be redeemed for 12.5 US cents, improving the value of this method to cash in your expiring KrisFlyer miles to 1.5 cents per mile.

Note that points redemption is subject to blackout dates at some restaurants – see the dedicated microsite for full details.

Remember the value here assumes you would actually consider paying to dine at one of these outlets even without having to do so to use up your miles. Since these tend to be more expensive restaurants the quoted value of 1.2 cents per KrisFlyer mile is not ‘real’ if you’d never actually normally pay that much for dinner or drinks for example.

Note: If you’re thinking of transferring your miles to SLGC points then transferring them back to KrisFlyer to extend your validity – don’t bother! 1 SLGC point becomes 1.25 KrisFlyer miles (remember it was 12:1 on the way in), so you’ve lost 90% of the miles. That’s even worse than KrisPay!

If you were interested in transferring KrisFlyer miles to SLGC points for a hotel stay redemption, the value is variable depending on the hotel and season. With a brief search we saw value of between 8 and 13 Singapore Cents per SLGC point, which means your converted KrisFlyer miles would be worth between 0.67 cents and 1.08 cents if used this way.

The dining option certainly seems better value to us.


4 Transfer to Velocity points
KF to VA
Value: 1.05 cents per mile*
Min. expiring miles: 5,000
Note (April 2020): This option is currently unavailable due to a temporary suspension of the transfer programme between KrisFlyer and Velocity.
Pros
  • Velocity points are valid for at least 2 years.
  • Flight redemptions with Virgin Australia and a host of partner airlines, including Singapore Airlines, provided you have enough miles.
  • Transfers between KrisFlyer and Velocity are instant.
Cons
  • You may not be eligible for a Velocity account.
  • You may not have enough miles to convert for a useful redemption in the Velocity scheme, or you may have no use for such a redemption.

* Based on the approximate value of a Velocity point when used to redeem in economy class on Virgin Australia, as assessed by Executive Traveller and Point Hacks. The average of most examples is 1.80 Australian cents per mile (1.63 Singapore Cents per mile), then the 1.55:1 transfer ratio is accounted for.

If you’re a member of Virgin Australia’s Velocity frequent flyer program there are two ways you can extend the life of your KrisFlyer miles. This is the first one, a simple transfer to Velocity with the intention to use your miles in that scheme instead of KrisFlyer.

Before we get into the details you’ll have to be a member of the Velocity scheme and that’s unfortunately not open to everyone. To be eligible you need to have a residential address in one of their key markets – basically in Australia or New Zealand (some Pacific Ocean islands are also included).

For most of our readers in Singapore that’s not possible, however there’s always the option of registering your Velocity account at the address of a friend or family member in one of those countries.

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If you’re eligible none of your Velocity points will expire provided you transact in the scheme at least once every 24 months (2 years), so even if transferring miles from KrisFlyer is the only activity you make in the scheme those points will still be good to use for another 24 months.

Points can be used to redeem Virgin Australia flights and upgrades or Singapore Airlines tickets, plus flights with a number of other partner airlines (click here for the current list).

Unlike the points you might hold in other Star Alliance airline frequent flyer schemes (e.g. Lifemiles), Velocity points can be used to redeem long-haul Business Class and First Class seats on Singapore Airlines flights, though the required number of miles is quite a bit higher than using KrisFlyer.

Virgin Australia 737.jpg
In our valuation we’ve assumed you’d use your Velocity points to book domestic Economy Class redemptions with Virgin Australia. There are more and less valuable ways to use them, and bear in mind a small volume probably won’t help you much here.

The snag is your KrisFlyer miles convert at a 1.55:1 ratio into Velocity (devalued from 1.35:1 in 2018), so if you have 10,000 KrisFlyer miles expiring and decide to transfer them you’ll only get 6,452 Velocity points after conversion.

Now we wouldn’t normally recommend transferring KrisFlyer miles into Velocity points, the former are generally more valuable per mile from the outset so taking a hit on the conversion on top of that fact means the idea makes even less sense, but remember we’re talking about expiring miles here.

Velocity points can also be used against hotel bookings through their hotels portal, offsetting hotel costs by using as few as 2,000 points, however you will get much poorer value per point compared to a flight redemption or upgrade.

You can even use Velocity points to book First Class awards on Etihad Airways (not possible with KrisFlyer miles), but if you have enough expiring miles to make that work after accounting for the 35% transfer loss you’ve either seriously mismanaged your KrisFlyer spending or you earn far more miles than you know what to do with!


5 Credit towards an SIA / SilkAir cash ticket
SQtrans small MI logo
Value: 1.02 cents per mile
Min. expiring miles: 980
Pros
  • Excellent flexibility.
  • Ability to book a year in advance.
Cons
  • Poor value.
  • Only reflects a real saving if you would truly book the flight anyway, other airlines are often cheaper.

Using your miles as ‘cashback’ against any Singapore Airlines or SilkAir flight gets you a fixed value of 1.02 cents per mile.

Arguably that’s not bad for miles which are expiring anyway, but it’s only ‘true’ value if you book an SIA / SilkAir flight you would have chosen to pay for anyway. If you’re heading to Bali or Phuket for example there are many low-cost options you’d probably put up with at much lower cash cost, so spending your miles to reduce the (more expensive) SIA ticket might not actually be saving you anything.


6 Credit towards a Scoot cash ticket
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Value: 0.95 cents per mile
Min. expiring miles: 1,050
Pros
  • Excellent flexibility.
  • The ability to book up to 15 months in advance on some routes, 3 months longer than for SIA / SilkAir flights.
Cons
  • Poor value.

This method works in a very similar way to using KrisFlyer miles to offset the cost of an SIA / SilkAir cash ticket (option 5). Here the group gives you a bit less value per mile for some reason.

One benefit of a Scoot redemption, despite the poorer value, is that they tend to load their flight schedules 15 months in advance giving you a longer window of opportunity to use your miles before they expire.


7 Transfer to Tap for More points then back to KrisFlyer
KF to TFM to KF
Value: 0.91 cents per mile
Min. expiring miles: 3,000
Pros
  • Get another fresh 3-year validity period for about half your expiring miles.
  • Transfers between KrisFlyer and Tap for More are instant.
Cons
  • 52% of your miles are lost, the equivalent of reducing the value of the original expiring balance from 2 cents per mile to 0.91 cents.

This method is for those who want to extend the validity of their miles in KrisFlyer but don’t have a Velocity account or aren’t eligible for one (see option 4 above). Additionally it may be of interest to those who don’t have any travel plans coming up to take advantage of options 1 or 5 (and potentially option 6).

Here the same process is repeated as for Velocity, transferring your expiring KrisFlyer miles into Tap for More points, and then transferring them back into KrisFlyer. You’ll lose 52% of your miles doing this, but they will be valid for another 3 years as a result.

Example 10,000 KrisFlyer miles > 11,000 Tap for More points > 4,785 KrisFlyer miles.

While this is a poor return, it’s better than some other options, including keeping the points in Tap for More and spending them there (see option 11 below). That’s because Tap for More points are actually worth slightly more when transferred to KrisFlyer miles than they are as a discount on your spending in Giant, Guardian etc., assuming you value a KrisFlyer mile at 1.9 cents.

A maximum of 80,000 KrisFlyer miles can be converted from KrisFlyer to Tap for More per calendar year, though very few people are likely to have an expiring balance that high.

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While you can make this ‘return transfer’ almost instantly if you choose, another option is to leave the expiring miles in Tap for More for as long as possible before later returning them to KrisFlyer when you need them, as this will extend their life some more.

Note that whatever date you transfer your KrisFlyer miles into Tap for More points, they will expire on 30th June the following year if left in that scheme.


8 Redeem a vRooms hotel stay
vRooms
Value: 0.80 cents per mile
Min. expiring miles: 1,200
Pros
  • Good choice of hotels.
  • Smaller KrisFlyer redemptions (part-pay) can achieve superior value.
Cons
  • Mostly poor value, with some exceptions.
  • You won’t earn hotel points for your stay and your status may not be recognised.

We examined KrisFlyer’s vRooms when it launched in May 2018. On the face of it this was just another poor value redemption, valuing your miles at 0.8 cents each, which is less than half what you should be aiming to achieve.

With closer examination though we found it was possible to get outsized value from your KrisFlyer miles on a vRooms redemption by using the minimum miles level to offset the cost of a hotel stay.