Back in October last year, Singapore Airlines launched a new online venture called Pelago. Marketed as a “destination discovery platform”, Pelago currently offers a range of activities, experiences and attraction tickets in Singapore, with plans to branch out internationally once borders reopen.
If you’re familiar with online travel and experiences site Klook, it’s a very similar concept, though the big draw for our readers with Pelago is KrisFlyer miles earning when you spend.
Activities and experiences available include include theme park admission, food and drink tours, wellness treatments and staycations, with over 210 packages currently available ranging from as little as S$4 to S$1,400 at the time of writing.
In return, you’ll earn 1 KrisFlyer mile for every S$1 spent on the site, in addition to up to 4 mpd using the right credit card for the purchase.
You can now redeem KrisFlyer miles on Pelago
Given that Pelago is a Singapore Airlines venture, it probably wasn’t going to be too long before the portal started accepting KrisFlyer miles as a payment method too, rather than just awarding them for purchases made.
Until very recently, there weren’t very many things you could pay with miles. Flight upgrades, hotel bookings, and that was pretty much it. The result? A huge stockpile of miles sitting idly in your account waiting to be spent. Thankfully, you can now put those miles to good use by redeeming miles for activities and experiences on Pelago.Pelago
Miles redemption is now possible, with the following conversion ratio applied.
KrisFlyer miles Pelago purchases
Before you whip out your calculator to check whether this can work out as a good deal – it really can’t. Pelago is offering the new ‘default low’ when converting your KrisFlyer miles into cash at 0.67 cents per mile, the same rate you’ll get using Kris+ and (at best) when converting to Esso Smiles points.
Other points to note:
- KrisFlyer redemption on Pelago is subject to a minimum spend of 1,050 miles (which would offset a S$7 transaction).
- Part miles / part cash redemptions are not supported – it’s all or nothing.
- Pelago bookings must be made under your name, or the name of one of your redemption nominees, to redeem miles.
- If you cancel your unused Pelago experience booking made by redeeming from KrisFlyer, your miles will be refunded back into your account within two weeks, but there is no cash refund alternative.
Here’s how this new way of spending stacks up against the other ‘cash’ options for your miles.
KrisFlyer miles ‘cash-out’ rates
|Method||Min. miles||Value per mile|
|Transfer to Shangri-La points for ‘Instant Dining Awards’
Jade / Diamond SLGC status
|Transfer to Shangri-La points for ‘Instant Dining Awards’
Gold SLGC status
|Credit towards an SIA / SilkAir cash ticket||980||1.02¢|
|Credit towards a Scoot cash ticket||1,050||0.95¢|
|Redeem a KrisShop purchase||1,000||0.80¢|
|Redeem a vRooms hotel stay||1,200||0.80¢|
|Transfer to Tap for More points||3,000||0.73¢|
|Transfer to Esso Smiles points||3,000||0.67¢
As you can see the value here is really poor.
Even if you have expiring miles in future, there are several better value options to use them up if you can’t secure a Singapore Airlines redemption, which should get you 1.9+ cents per mile in Business Class. Better value methods than Pelago include a KrisShop purchase, or conversion to Tap for More points for spend in Cold Storage or Giant.
For the time being, Singapore Airlines is extending all expiring KrisFlyer miles with validity now set until at least April 2022, so the expiry factor should not be an issue for anyone at the moment.
15% discount offer
Pelago is currently offering a 15% discount on its experiences using promo code PELAGOKF15 at the checkout stage, valid for bookings made between 3rd May 2021 and 3rd August 2021.
The discount is only applicable once per user, and is capped at S$20, so you can maximise it on a S$133.33 purchase.
The important thing to note here is that the discount applies to the regular cash cost of your chosen experience. The number of KrisFlyer miles earned or needed for a redemption is then based on this new cost, so you aren’t getting any better value from your miles by redeeming when using the discount code (it’s still 0.67 cents each, based on the new cash cost).
Full terms and conditions for the PELAGOKF15 promotion are available here.
There is also currently a WELCOMEPELAGO10 promo code running until 3rd August 2021, offering 10% off up to a maximum of S$10 discount, once per user. If you have more than one Pelago purchase to make between now and the end of the promotion, you could use this one after the PELAGOKF15 one. Terms for that code are available here.
How to redeem
We’re obviously not recommending using your KrisFlyer miles to redeem Pelago experiences given the rate on offer, but if you wish to do so here’s how it works.
At the payment stage, you’re now able to select the KrisFlyer Miles option, instead of Credit/Debit card, as you can see in the following example.
You’ll then be prompted to log on to your KrisFlyer account in order to use miles for this experience. As you can see it’s 5,100 miles in this case to offset a S$34 cost (0.67 cents per mile).
Once you’re logged in, Pelago now has a direct link to your KrisFlyer account and can deduct the appropriate miles quantity for the purchase automatically.
As a reminder, if you then cancel your experience any KrisFlyer miles used will be refunded to your account in full (the confirmation page says within one week, but the terms and conditions say up to two weeks).
Earn but don’t burn
Pelago continues to offer 1 KrisFlyer mile for every S$1 spent by credit or debit card when booking experiences through the site.
While this isn’t as attractive as the generous 5 mpd bonus rate offered when the platform first launched in 2020, it’s still worth considering if the activity or experience of your choice is good value compared to other similar sites offering these packages, especially with 15% / 10% discount codes currently available.
Pelago transactions fall under the following Merchant Category Code when processing credit card payments:
MCC 4722: Travel Agencies and Tour Operators
Pelago bookings should also classify as online transactions, giving you the following options to earn up to an additional 4 mpd through your credit card points for these transactions, for a total of 5 mpd equivalent earning.
(see our review)
|4 mpd||For online spend, capped at S$2,000 per calendar month.|
(see our review)
|4 mpd||For online spend at travel agencies (MCC 4722), capped at S$1,000 per calendar month combined with other 4 mpd bonus spend.|
|2 mpd||For travel transactions under MCC 4722, capped at S$2,250 spend per statement cycle but combined with other 4 mpd / 2 mpd bonus spend (i.e. S$2,250 cap assumes your only bonus category spend in a statement cycle is Travel).|
Don’t use your Citi Rewards card for Pelago bookings, as MCC 4722 falls under the travel category, specifically excluded from earning the 4 mpd rate for online spend with that card.
It will therefore only earn 0.4 mpd, so it’s probably much better in that case to use your best general spend card, assuming you don’t have one of the above options or have already hit the monthly bonus cap.
Remember, even using a relatively mundane general spend credit card like the DBS Altitude, earning 1.2 mpd for local transactions, you’re still getting a decent equivalent of 2.2 mpd for Pelago bookings, with no concerns about transaction eligibility.
It was only a matter of time before the option to redeem KrisFlyer miles on Pelago bookings was made possible, given that the company is a Singapore Airlines venture and already allowed miles earning from the outset.
Unfortunately the ‘cash-out’ rate has been pegged right down at the poorest level – 0.67 cents per mile redeemed.
That means outside any promotional offer where the value of your miles could potentially be enhanced (KrisPay, now Kris+, once offered a double value deal for 1.33 cents per mile), this is one to avoid.
Our advice therefore remains to earn miles through Pelago bookings, but don’t redeem them via this platform. You can still get up to 5 miles per dollar in total when you use the right credit card to make payment, and Pelago is offering a 15% discount code until 3rd August.
With overseas trips still off the cards for now, take a look at the Pelago site and see if there are any activities, tours or staycations here in Singapore that take your fancy over the coming weeks and months.
If the price is right for your chosen activity or experience, it’s definitely worth checking Pelago’s pricing with 15% off between now and early August, just be sure to earn yourself an extra 1 mpd over and above your regular credit card points for the spend, but don’t make the mistake of redeeming!
(Cover Photo: Pelago)