Traditionally, Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer membership has always been individual, without the option to share or link your accounts, which can make earning and spending as a family for future award trips a little complicated.
Most people get around this by setting up their family members as redemption nominees, to allow flexibility when it comes to booking award tickets.
The redemption nominee system
KrisFlyer members can have up to five redemption nominees, who can be family members or anyone you like really. You can then use your miles to redeem flights for them.
That’s useful because otherwise, under KrisFlyer’s rules, you can only book award tickets in your own name, unlike programmes live Avios and Alaska Mileage Plan which allow you to redeem for anyone.
You can only change someone who is a redemption nominee on your account six months after adding them. Furthermore, if you do not hold KrisFlyer Gold status or above, a fee applies each time you change your nominees list.
KrisFlyer for Families
Singapore Airlines has now made an enhancement to the flexibility for accounts in your child’s name, with the ability to transfer up to 50,000 KrisFlyer miles a year held by your kids into your own account if you wish.
Once a child turns two years old, he or she is eligible for a KrisFlyer account and is then able to earn miles when flying with Singapore Airlines, Scoot, or on SIA’s partner airlines.
A lot of people forget that their kids can earn KrisFlyer miles too, and they should definitely be doing so because they will earn the same number of KrisFlyer miles as an adult travelling in the same booking class, despite only paying 75% of the adult fare in most cases, while they are aged 2 to 12.
The only difference? When a child ages 2 to 15 signs up for KrisFlyer, Singapore Airlines will automatically email their parent or guardian to request for permission to open the account.
Linking your accounts
Before you can transfer miles, the first step is to set up a parental link, by logging in to your child’s KrisFlyer account and turning on the Parental Link via the ‘Personal Details’ page.
If you are the listed parent or guardian, an invitation to link accounts will then be emailed to you. Once you accept the invitation, the accounts will be linked.
Once this is done, a member aged 2 to 15 cannot then link their KrisFlyer account to any other KrisFlyer account (each account can only be linked to one parent or guardian).
Linked KrisFlyer accounts will be automatically de-linked if child’s account is closed, expires, or when they turn 16 years old.
Each parent or guardian’s KrisFlyer account can be linked with the KrisFlyer accounts of up to five children, so mum and dad can cover up to 10 kids between them!
Once 24 hours have passed since you successfully link accounts, you can then transfer up to 50,000 miles per calendar year from your child’s KrisFlyer account to yours via the Miles Transfer Child’s Miles link.
Transfers are one-way only, so you won’t be able to move miles from your account to your child’s account, or reverse the transfer once you’ve made it.
Your child’s account must have at least one miles accrual from a flight in the last 36 months and no miles accrued from credit card transfers or co-brand credit card spend in the last 36 months.
Now for the bad news – miles transfers are not free.
For every 5,000 KrisFlyer miles (or part thereof) transferred from your child’s account, you can opt to pay a fee of US$5 (around S$6.80 at the time of writing), or sacrifice 500 miles.
For example a transfer of 40,000 miles would cost US$40 (~S$55), or you could achieve a fee-free transfer of 36,000 miles, with 40,000 deducted from your child’s account and 4,000 miles taken by SIA in lieu of the fee.
We value KrisFlyer miles at 1.9 cents each when they are used to redeem First and Business Class flights, so 4,000 miles in the above example should be worth around S$76. It will be better for most people to therefore pay the fee when transferring, not take the miles hit.
On the other hand, parents might well consider they’ll happily transfer across 90% of the miles their children accrued into their own account, on tickets they probably paid for anyway!Pro Tip: Try to make transfers in 5,000-mile blocks to optimise the fee payable. Once you go just 1 mile into the next block, it is rounded up to the next 5,000 for calculation of the fee element (cash or miles).
This isn’t a way around miles expiry rules
If you were thinking that this transfer process might be a way to extend the validity of your child’s expiring KrisFlyer miles, unfortunately that won’t work (in most cases).
Every KrisFlyer mile has a ‘memory’. It knows when is was first earned and its expiry, in normal times, is set for 36 months later. Moving them from one account to another will not wipe this memory, unfortunately.
“A transfer of KrisFlyer miles from the KrisFlyer account of a Minor to the KrisFlyer account of a parent/guardian will not change the expiration date of the relevant KrisFlyer miles”Singapore Airlines
There are a couple of exceptions:
- You are a PPS Club member and your child is not a PPS Club member, in which case the transferred KrisFlyer miles will now have no expiration date provided you retain PPS Club status; or
- Your child is a PPS Club member (lucky them!) and you are not a PPS Club member, in which case the transferred KrisFlyer miles will expire three years from the date of the transfer.
Remember, all KrisFlyer members’ miles are currently being extended by the airline, due to COVID-19, until at least April 2022.
Earn 500 miles when you link accounts
As part of the KrisFlyer for Families launch campaign, the first 5,000 parents and guardians who link their child’s account to their own between now and 31st August 2021 will receive a 500 KrisFlyer miles gift.
The miles will be credited to the parent or guardian’s account only for the first child account linked.
The KrisFlyer miles will be credited between four to six weeks from the end of the campaign period, which is by 12th October 2021.
Unfortunately the 500 KrisFlyer miles awarded under this promotion are only valid for one year (probably expiring on 31st October 2022) and “no extensions will be permitted”.
Full terms and conditions for the promotion are available here.
This new ability to link your child’s KrisFlyer account to your own represents the first time we’ve seen the possibility to transfer miles between individual KrisFlyer accounts, which could be a useful function if you’re in need of a top-up.
Unfortunately there is a fee involved, either payable by cash or by sacrificing some of the miles along the way, so for many families it will still be better to use the redemption nominee system to book award tickets.
If your kids have upwards of 50,000 miles, for example, it’s probably best to add yourself as a redemption nominee on their account and redeem that way than it is to transfer.
If you’re short of miles for a redemption you need though, and your child has a relatively low (but sufficient) amount, there’s probably no harm in raiding your kid’s KrisFlyer ‘piggy bank’ – before they get old enough to refuse!
There may also be more to come for families, with Singapore Airlines saying “Other family exclusive benefits are also planned for the near future”.
(Cover Photo: Singapore Airlines)