Credit Cards KrisFlyer News

KrisFlyer UOB cards get easier bonus qualification, extended miles validity

The KrisFlyer UOB credit card terms get a shake-up, including a 40% cut in SIA Group spend needed for bonus miles, and a ridiculously overcomplicated validity extension for miles earned this year.

Earlier this month Singapore Airlines announced a new scheme allowing members to retain or upgrade their KrisFlyer status tier for a year, plus just this week the carrier gifted the latest and most generous extension yet for KrisFlyer miles due to expire in the coming 12 months.

Now UOB is catching up a little on the enhancements with its KrisFlyer co-brand credit card, by:

  • Reducing the SIA Group spend threshold to trigger your annual bonus miles by 40%
  • Adding an alternative way to achieve KrisFlyer Elite Silver status
  • Extending miles you earn this year with the card to have an additional 12 months of validity.

There are also a couple of small KrisShop and GrabFood discounts thrown in, for the first cardholders to use some new promo codes.

Card recap

First let’s recap how the KrisFlyer UOB credit card usually works. For general spend you’ll earn:

  • 1.2 miles for every $1 spent locally or overseas

For SIA Group transactions, like those with Singapore Airlines, SilkAir, Scoot or at the KrisShop, you’ll earn:

  • 3 miles for every $1 spent

Finally for those who spend at least S$500 on SIA Group transactions in their card membership year, there’s a bonus rate on a range of dining, online shopping, food delivery, transport and online travel spend, whereby you’ll earn:

  • 3 miles for every $1 spent, comprising the basic 1.2 mpd earn rate plus a bonus component of 1.8 mpd awarded two months after the end of your card membership year

UOB calls the 1.8 mpd bonus element “Accelerated miles” (yes, we know…).

Reduced SIA Group spend for Accelerated Miles

For cardholders whose membership year is ending between April 2021 and August 2022 (both months inclusive), you will instead earn the Accelerated Miles on these Dining, Online Shopping, Online Travel and Transport card transactions with a reduced minimum requirement of S$300 on SIA Group spend charged to your card in a membership year.

That means your required spend at Singapore Airlines, SilkAir, Scoot or the KrisShop during the membership year is 40% less, potentially also extending into your next membership year too.

‘Fast track’ to Silver status

The KrisFlyer UOB Credit Card currently offers a fast track option to achieve KrisFlyer Elite Silver status, with a minimum spend of S$5,000 on Singapore Airlines, SilkAir, Scoot or at the KrisShop during your first card membership year.

Rather obviously, the benefit is not applicable to those who already hold KrisFlyer Elite Silver, Elite Gold or PPS Club status.

Originally that offer was for card accounts opened before 30th April 2021, but the benefit will be slightly enhanced for those with account opening dates between 1st May 2021 and 30th April 2022 (inclusive), allowing the status upgrade to kick in with either:

  • a minimum S$5,000 SIA Group transactions, as before; or
  • a minimum S$50,000 total spend on the card.

Either of these criteria must be triggered within your first membership year.

Here’s what you get as a KrisFlyer Elite Silver member:

KrisFlyer Elite Silver benefits

  • 25% tier bonus on actual miles flown with Singapore Airlines and SilkAir
  • Complimentary ‘Standard’ seat selection when you fly in Economy Class on Singapore Airlines or SilkAir
  • 10% discount on other seat selection fees
  • Priority reservation waitlist
  • Priority airport standby
  • Waived or discounted KrisFlyer service fees

Unfortunately as you can see KrisFlyer Elite Silver doesn’t really get you much. No priority check-in, no complimentary lounge access, no priority boarding, no extra baggage allowance…

It’s not fast!

UOB continues to be quite misleading by describing the Silver status offer as ‘fast’. Ignore the fact for a moment that KrisFlyer Elite Silver status is basically useless, and concentrate instead on the term “Fast Track”. If you want it, it can happen quickly, right?

Wrong. Just like before, when the status tier could only be unlocked with SIA Group spend, you’ll have to wait for up to six weeks after the end of your first card membership year to get the upgrade.

That means even if you make the qualifying S$5,000 SIA Group spend or S$50,000 of general spend in your very first week of card membership, let’s say by mid-May 2021, you will have to wait until at least June 2022 before you see that shiny silver card (which doesn’t really get you anything).

It’s really quite misleading, let alone worth your while.

If you do go for it, your Elite Silver status (when you finally get it) will be valid for one year from the date of upgrade, after which time requalification is based on the standard KrisFlyer terms.

Complimentary KrisFlyer miles validity extension

This is one of the potentially more useful but equally more bizarre new benefits for cardholders this year.

For the first 60,000 KrisFlyer miles earned on your KrisFlyer UOB credit card in 2021, you’ll get an additional year of validity, meaning instead of expiring at the end of the equivalent month three years after the month they are credited to your account, you’ll get four years validity instead.

This extension applies to miles credited from your regular spending, plus any block of “Accelerated Miles” you earn during the year.

An extra year to use the KrisFlyer miles earned on this card sounds great… (Photo: MainlyMiles)

On the face of it, that’s quite a nice gesture. One of the primary drawbacks of co-brand credit cards is that miles accrued are automatically transferred into your KrisFlyer account every month, which sets the expiry clock ticking straight away, so an additional year’s validity from the outset is certainly welcome.

How to complicate something simple

Having all the miles earned through your KrisFlyer UOB credit card this year last for four years instead of three is a great, but boy has UOB made it complicated!

It’s not automatic, so you’ll have to apply by SMS to have your miles extended (yes, in 2024!).

To do so, principal cardholders must send an SMS to 77862 using their mobile number registered with UOB, in the following format:

    77862
MILESEXTENSION [space] Last 4 digits of your principal card number [space] 10-digit KrisFlyer membership number [space] number of miles to extend

Example: If your card ends in 1234, your KrisFlyer membership number is 1234567890, and you need to extend the validity of 20,000 miles, you will need to send “MILESEXTENSION 1234 1234567890 20000” to 77862

It gets more complicated. You are only permitted to submit this SMS request up to a maximum of two times during the period from August 2023 to December 2024 based on the following schedule of 12 separate submission periods!

SMS Request Schedule

Earn month Expiry month SMS submission period
Earliest Latest
Jan 2021 Jan 2024 Aug 2023 Jan 2024
Feb 2021 Feb 2024 Sep 2023 Feb 2024
Mar 2021 Mar 2024 Oct 2023 Mar 2024
Apr 2021 Apr 2024 Nov 2023 Apr 2024
May 2021 May 2024 Dec 2023 May 2024
Jun 2021 Jun 2024 Jan 2024 Jun 2024
Jul 2021 Jul 2024 Feb 2024 Jul 2024
Aug 2021 Aug 2024 Mar 2024 Aug 2024
Sep 2021 Sep 2024 Apr 2024 Sep 2024
Oct 2021 Oct 2024 May 2024 Oct 2024
Nov 2021 Nov 2024 Jun 2024 Nov 2024
Dec 2021 Dec 2024 Jul 2024 Dec 2024

For each SMS Request, you can consolidate the miles to be extended in blocks up of to six months.

For example, you can submit an SMS Request in January 2024 for all eligible miles that are expiring between January 2024 and June 2024, then another SMS Request in July 2024 for those expiring between July 2024 and December 2024.

If you have accrued miles from this card in most or all of the monthly periods and they are expiring on the equivalent months three years later, be very careful how you extend them.

If you make the extension request for your eligible miles expiring in January 2024 as soon as that becomes possible, in August 2023, you’ve just used up one of your two requests! The optimal way to do this will be to send an SMS in January 2024 to extend miles expiring during the six months from January to June 2024, then another SMS in July 2024 to extend those expiring from July 2024 to December 2024.

Each SMS Request will be processed within three months from receipt. Eligible miles that are successfully extended will then be valid for another 12 months from the extension date, not their original expiry date, so in some cases you’ll actually only potentially get a six-month extension.

All in all – this is just horribly convoluted!

Who will actually do this?

Most KrisFlyer members manage to earn and burn through their miles every three years without having any expiry issues to worry about, since the oldest miles are used up first in any redemption transaction.

If you did want to take advantage of this extension, not only would it require you to remember to send these SMS messages three years later, you’ll also have to know how many miles you earned from your KrisFlyer UOB credit card in each of the relevant months, since you may have miles expiring in the same window from other sources.

The number of miles expiring in each month may also not match those credited the same month three years earlier, since they may have been partially used, so this will be highly confusing for all involved.

Why they couldn’t have just tagged these miles with an extra year of validity as they land in your KrisFlyer account without any further action on your part, I have no idea!

KrisShop and GrabFood offers

UOB is also throwing in a couple of additional promotions with the KrisFlyer credit card in this latest raft of updates.

From 1st May 2021 to 31st December 2021 (both dates inclusive), the first 200 redemptions per month using promo code UOBKFSG12 at the KrisShop With Love, SG website will get you S$12 off with a minimum spend of S$70 (before GST) in a single transaction, on a first-come-first-served basis.

You’ll get three GrabFood rebates worth S$5 each (up to S$15 total value) using promotion code KFUOBCC between 22nd April 2021 and 31st December 2021 (both dates inclusive).

This code is valid with a minimum GrabFood spend of S$30, which is charged to your UOF KF credit card and made using the Grab mobile app. Your card must be set as the primary payment method in the Grab app in order to use the code.

This code is limited to the 15,000 redemptions on a first-come-first-served basis.

MCC changes

UOB has also added some valid payment categories and MCC codes for its “Accelerated Miles” earning rate, effective from 1st April 2021.

Food Delivery

For food delivery, you’ll now earn bonus miles for transactions made to Deliveroo and Foodpanda in Singapore using PayPal:

  • PAYPAL *DELIVEROOSI (wef 1 April 2021)
  • PAYPAL *FOODPANDASG (wef 1 April 2021)

Online Shopping

For online shopping, two MCC codes are added, as highlighted in the following table showing all the valid options.

Category Eligible MCCs
Computer Network/Information Services 4816
Duty Free stores, discount stores, department stores, marketplaces 5262
5306
5309
5310
5311
Variety stores, general merchandise stores 5331
5399
Clothing stores 5611
5621
5641
5651
5691
Accessory stores and shoe stores 5631
5661
Electronics sales and music stores 5732
5733
5735
Pharmacies, book stores 5912
5942
Clock, jewellery, watch and silverware stores 5944
Game, toy and hobby shops 5945
Camera and photographic supply stores 5946
Card, gift, and souvenir shops 5947
Leather goods and luggage stores 5948
Fabric, needlework and sewing stores 5949
Miscellaneous / specialty retail 5999
Buying / shopping clubs
(only applicable for Shopee, Lazada and Qoo10)
7278
(restricted)

Online Travel

Some additional valid transaction markers have also been added for Booking.com and Hotels.com payments in the card terms and conditions, to ensure all valid spend is captured.

Terms and conditions

For further details about these changes and new card features, see the card’s updated terms and conditions document.

Summary

It’s good news that KrisFlyer UOB cardholders will be able to unlock their bonus miles earning categories with 40% less SIA Group spend for those with membership years ending over the next 17 months, covering two years for some people.

It’s quite logical with no travel on the immediate horizon to reduce the annual challenge of this precondition for the time being.

As far as the other changes though, there’s not much to speak of here, with a disappointingly overcomplicated way to extend your miles earned on the card this year by an additional 12 months, a process so over-engineered we can’t see anyone realistically bothering with it!

For full details of the KrisFlyer UOB credit card, see our comprehensive review covering all its pros and cons.

KrisFlyer UOB Credit Card
Card Small
1.2 mpd
general spend

3 mpd
SIA spend

3 mpd
dining & travel
READ OUR REVIEW
KrisFlyer UOB Credit Card
Card Small

1.2 mpd
general spend

3 mpd
SIA spend

3 mpd
travel & dining
READ OUR REVIEW

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