Credit Cards Deals KrisFlyer

KrisPay adds instant transfers from UNI$ to KrisFlyer miles

You can now transfer your UOB Rewards UNI$ into KrisFlyer miles instantly via KrisPay, starting from UNI$1,000, but should you?

You may recall back in June 2019 KrisPay introduced its first bank partner, allowing DBS customers to transfer their DBS Points instantly into KrisPay miles for use in that app, or better still for instant conversion to KrisFlyer miles to top up their frequent flyer balance without worrying about the usual transfer time.

At the time KrisPay labelled this their “first rewards conversion partner”, leaving the door open for future loyalty programmes to offer a similar feature in future.

You can now convert UNI$ to KrisPay miles

Well 14 months later here it is – KrisPay’s second bank loyalty points partnership, this time with UOB.

KrisFlyer members can now transfer their accrued UOB UNI$ from their UOB Rewards account into the KrisPay app, then move them directly to KrisFlyer from there, effectively an instant process.

The process is exactly the same as for transferring DBS Points into KrisPay. Simply tap ‘Wallet’ on the KrisPay app homepage, then ‘Top Up’.

You’ll then see the UOB Rewards option (if you don’t, you may need to update to the latest version of the app).

Click on ‘UOB Rewards’ and you will be redirected to authenticate your account via the UOB Mighty App on your mobile device to then proceed with a UNI$ to KrisPay transfer.

For more information, see the following KrisPay link:

  UNI$ > KrisPay Guide

What is the rate?

Of course the first question that crops up for miles addicts like us: Is it a good rate?

Like with DBS Points to KrisPay transfers – not really is the answer!

Let’s say you’ve accrued UNI$5,000 on your UOB PRVI Miles 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.

UNI$1,000 = 1,700 KrisPay Miles
UNI$1,000 = 1,700 KrisPay Miles

The minimum transfer block us UNI$1,000 (1,700 KrisPay or KrisFlyer miles), with equally-sized blocks thereafter.

If you’re using the UOB PRVI Miles card you are earning 1.4 miles per S$1 spent locally (actually accrued as UNI$7 per S$5 block of eligible spend). Those accrued UNI$ can be transferred to KrisFlyer Miles or Asia Miles in blocks of UNI$5,000 to 10,000 KrisFlyer miles, a process typically taking between 1 and 3 days.

Making the ‘instant’ transfer via KrisPay means you’ve effectively only earned 1.19 miles per dollar on the quantity transferred once you’ve taken that 15% sacrifice, a more mundane rate comparable to some other local cards for general spending, like the DBS Altitude (when not transferring via KrisPay) and Citi PremierMiles options.

Benefits

Despite the poor transfer ratio, there are some potential benefits to being able to transfer your UNI$ in to KrisFlyer instantly via this new KrisPay method.

  Insufficient points for a transfer


If you don’t have enough UNI$ 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 UNI$5,000 (into 10,000 KrisFlyer miles).

For example if you have UNI$3,000, you’re still some way off the minimum transfer amount to KrisFlyer miles using the UOB Rewards 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 UNI$5,000 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 in this example (3,000 x 1.7), 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.

  Transfer fee


Each time you transfer UNI$ into KrisFlyer miles you’ll pay a S$25 fee, regardless of the number of ‘blocks’ you are transferring into the programme.

That means you’re somewhat diluting the value of your points for smaller transfers.

For example transferring a single UNI$5,000 block into 10,000 KrisFlyer miles is costing you 0.25 cents per mile (S$25 ÷ 10,000) to cover the transfer fee.

We value KrisFlyer miles at 1.9 cents each, so you’re taking an approximate 13% hit on that by paying the S$25 transfer fee in this case.

For the benefit of an instant transfer to KrisFlyer via KrisPay, it may be worth taking the 15% hit in this example, provided you’re comfortable with receiving 8,500 miles instead of 10,000 miles (but saving S$25).

  Short of points for a redemption due to blocks


This situation might arise when you have enough UNI$ for a redemption, but the normal UOB Rewards 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 UOB Rewards account and it’s good news – you’re sitting on UNI$32,000 so you have enough for 64,000 KrisFlyer miles.

Unfortunately as mentioned above UNI$ 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 block 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 UNI$30,000 to 60,000 KrisFlyer miles transfer in the regular way, leaving you with UNI$2,000 in your account, just transfer the remaining UNI$ via KrisPay (2,000 x 1.7 = 3,400 miles).

Note: UNI$ to KrisPay miles transfers are less flexible than DBS Points transfers, because with DBS the minimum transfer is just 100 Points (to 170 KrisPay miles), then in identical blocks thereafter. With UOB it’s a minimum of UNI$1,000 (to 1,700 KrisPay miles). After that, you must transfer in UNI$1,000 blocks.

Once you transfer those KrisPay miles straight into KrisFlyer you have the balance you need for your redemption (once the initial transfer from UOB Rewards credits). Sure, you’ve taken a small hit in value on that final UNI$2,000, but it has made the difference between securing the redemption and not being able to.

UNI$ to KrisPay transfers can make the difference between securing a redemption and being unable to do so in some cases. (Photo: Singapore Airlines)

It’s certainly a better option than buying the remaining miles needed from Singapore Airlines at US$40 per 1,000 miles (at an additional cost of around S$110 in this example).

  Orphan points


If you no longer accrue UNI$, but have a small balance (less than UNI$5,000) remaining in your UOB 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.

Pro Tip: Don’t forget that UNI$ ‘pool’ with your other UOB credit cards, so if you are planning to cancel your card, any UNI$ accrued will survive in your ‘pool’ provided you still have at least one other UOB credit card earning UNI$.

You’ll need at least UNI$1,000 in your account to make this work.

Don’t spend using KrisPay!

One thing you won’t be wanting to do with your UNI$ 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 definitely consider.

KP Left 2.jpg
Whatever you do, don’t use your transferred UNI$ for KrisPay transactions. (Image: Singapore Airlines)

That would give each of your UNI$ a value of just 1.14 cents with the 1:1.7 transfer ratio, while we value KrisFlyer miles at 1.9 cents each meaning each UNI$ should be worth 3.8 cents given the 1:2 transfer ratio (i.e. over three times the value you’ll get spending them in KrisPay).

On the other hand if you convert your UNI$ into shopping vouchers (e.g. Watsons) you’ll get only 1 cent value per UNI$. Clearly you still shouldn’t do that while the KrisFlyer and Asia Miles options exist, but KrisPay actually provides a better value option in that example.

The catch is twofold. Firstly you’ll have to move any points transferred from UOB 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 UNI$ transfer for any KrisPay purchase, no matter how small, as that automatically renders the entire transfer stuck in KrisPay until expiry.

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.

Summary

It’s great to have another KrisPay bank partner, allowing you to make instant points transfers into KrisFlyer miles, however like the existing DBS arrangement this one is only good for smaller conversions in certain circumstances.

Not many of our readers are going to accept a 15% cut in their UNI$ to KrisFlyer miles conversion to take advantage of instant, fee-free transfers to KrisFlyer on a regular basis. Your usual method of transferring UNI$ to KrisFlyer miles should remain via the bank’s own conversion process.

That said for a short-term need as we’ve outlined 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 (i.e. don’t spend at a KrisPay merchant), then immediately transfer them to your KrisFlyer account.

You have 7 days to do that, but why wait?

Remember you can also transfer UNI$ into Asia Miles if you prefer (it probably goes without saying this is only possible through the UOB Rewards portal, not through KrisPay).

Finally a slightly more flexible option (though with identical value) is to transfer DBS Points into KrisPay, from just 100 points.

We comprehensively reviewed the UOB PRVI Miles cards, the bank’s most popular miles earning option, in July 2020, however we’ve updated that review today to reflect this new transfer option.

UOB PRVI Miles
Card Trans
1.4 mpd
local

2.4 mpd
FCY

6 mpd
travel
READ OUR REVIEW
UOB PRVI Miles
Card Trans

1.4 mpd
local

2.4 mpd
FCY

6 mpd
travel
READ OUR REVIEW

Our other UOB credit card reviews have also been updated:

(Cover Photo: Farshad Rezvanian)

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