Back in June this year, a couple of months after transfers between LinkPoints and KrisFlyer miles first became available, we noticed that NTUC had removed the option to convert your LinkPoints to Cathay Pacific’s Asia Miles programme.
We gave our readers a heads-up on this development via our Telegram Channel, which you should definitely consider subscribing to since we don’t always write a full article for every topic, but we do still share important news there for the community.
While these transfers were never good value to do this, it was probably the easiest way for Singapore-based members to ensure any Asia Miles in their account earned on or or after January 2020 would not expire.
That’s because the programme moved to an activity-based miles expiry policy, meaning all you now have to do to keep your entire stash of miles alive for another 18 months is earn or redeem at least 1 mile.
LinkPoints to Asia Miles transfers are back
This week NTUC Link Rewards reinstated the Asia Miles transfer option, under the Cathay Pacific banner (Asia Miles is now the currency of the new ‘Cathay’ frequent flyer programme).
Sadly the conversion rate has not improved, so this is still an option to avoid on a regular basis.
LinkPoints Asia Miles
260 : 110
(per individual transfer)
If you wish to transfer more than one block of LinkPoints to Asia Miles, you will have to make separate transfer requests, though you can do so immediately if you wish (no need to wait for each transfer to complete).
Transfers can only be made to the linked Asia Miles account in your name.
If you don’t have an Asia Miles account yet, you can earn 1,000 welcome miles when you sign-up by 7th November 2022.
You can accrue LinkPoints by making purchases at any partner outlet, like NTUC FairPrice, FairPrice Online and Unity Pharmacy, at a rate of 1 LinkPoint for every S$2 spent in most cases.
That means making a spend of at least S$580 (290 x 2) at LinkPoints partners to be able to achieve an Asia Miles transfer, outside any bonus earning promotions.
Keeping your Asia Miles alive is the benefit
This restored transfer option once again allows you to convert 290 LinkPoints to 110 Asia miles (around a 2.6:1 ratio).
With 290 LinkPoints worth S$2.90 against future in-store purchases, on paper this conversion makes no sense unless you value Asia Miles at 2.6 cents each.
The case we are presenting here is for using a relatively small LinkPoints transfer as a way to keep your entire Asia Miles balance ‘alive’ for another 18 months, under the programme’s activity-based expiry system.
If you have regular activity in the Asia Miles programme at least once every 18 months, including any other earning or redemption transactions, you won’t need to bother with this.
Transfers are not instant
One point to note about LinkPoints to Asia Miles transfers is that, unlike those made to KrisFlyer, the conversion is not instant.
LinkPoints quotes a timescale of up to 10 working days for transfers to be completed.
I made a transfer of 290 LinkPoints across to 110 Asia Miles on the evening of Friday 28th October to test the transfer time, but the miles have still not credited to my account at the time of writing (Sunday 30th October).
If your Asia Miles are expiring at the end of the current month, it would therefore be prudent to make your transfer from LinkPoints by mid-month at the latest, to ensure they reflect in your account (and therefore count as Asia Miles activity) in sufficient time.
How to tell when your Asia Miles are expiring
You can see when your Asia Miles are expiring by logging on to your Cathay account, either via the desktop site or the mobile app.
After signing in, go to “Asia Miles & Status Points” and scroll down to “Your Asia Miles” (or via the Cathay Pacific app go to “Account overview” then “View miles & points”).
Your current balance is then displayed, along with the expiry date, as you can see below for my account.
My last Asia Miles earning was in April 2022, so all my miles will expire at the end of the month 18 months later, on 31st October 2023.
Once any LinkPoints to Asia Miles transfer reflects in your Asia Miles account, the expiry date of all your miles (earned after Jan 2020) will be extended by 18 months, which will reflect here.
Other ways to keep your Asia Miles from expiring
A LinkPoints to Asia Miles transfer isn’t the only way you can reset your Asia Miles validity clock and give them a fresh 18 months of life.
Other options include:
- Making a flight redemption using Asia Miles with Cathay Pacific or a oneworld or partner airline
- Crediting a paid flight with Cathay Pacific or a oneworld or partner airline to your Asia Miles account
- Converting credit card points to your Asia Miles account (a 15% bonus is on offer till 12th November)
- Converting 150 Esso Smiles Points into 100 Asia Miles
- Contributing 100 Asia Miles (or more if you prefer) to Cathay’s Fly Greener carbon offset programme
- Spending miles or using a mix of miles + cash for an item at the Cathay Shop
- Offsetting some of a Cathay Pacific cash fare using at least 5,000 Asia Miles (caution: dreadful value)
What you should be doing with LinkPoints
With a transfer to Asia Miles being a useful but poor value option, you may be wondering what you should be doing with any accrued NTUC LinkPoints instead.
LinkPoints can be redeemed at 1 cent each against future purchases (e.g. 100 LinkPoints = S$1 rebate), in-store at NTUC FairPrice and other partner outlets, including immediacy offsetting your FairPrice Online bill at the checkout, for example, so you don’t even need to leave home to use them.
As far as we know, this is the best way to use your LinkPoints.
That’s unless you value KrisFlyer miles at 1.87 cents or greater, the rate you can achieve when converting larger volumes of LinkPoints across to the programme, as shown in the following table.
LinkPoints to KrisFlyer
Cost per mile*
* Based on the cashback opportunity you are losing out on
Personally, I have converted LinkPoints to KrisFlyer miles, just to prove the process is instant (it is!), but generally speaking it’s better value to use them to offset purchases at NTUC and partner stores (FairPrice Online is a simple option).
You can also convert your LinkPoints to AirAsia Rewards Points and Park Hotel Group’s PARK$, but both represent terrible value compared to NTUC group rebates.
You can also transfer from Asia Miles to LinkPoints (useless… or is it?)
This transfer option is two-way, also giving you the option to transfer Asia Miles to LinkPoints.
In this direction, you’re looking at a minimum block of 800 Asia Miles to 400 LinkPoints (formerly 800 : 600).
Asia Miles LinkPoints
800 : 400
With 400 LinkPoints worth only S$4, that’s giving you a truly lousy value of 0.5 cents per Asia Mile transferred, which you almost certainly won’t be interested in, but it’s worth mentioning that this transfer will also count as activity in the Asia Miles programme, extending the validity of all your remaining miles.
Importantly, it will also register as Asia Miles activity instantly, since the 800 miles will be immediately deducted from your account, so it’s possible to do this even on the day your Asia Miles are expiring to extend the validity of your stash, if you’ve left it that late!
For example if you have 80,800 Asia Miles expiring on 31st October 2022 and you make an 800 Asia Miles to 400 LinkPoints transfer that same day (expiry day), the remaining 80,000 Asia Miles in your account will be saved – now valid until 30th April 2024.
In this example, a transfer in the opposite direction from LinkPoints to Asia Miles initiated on 31st October 2022 will not save any of your existing Asia Miles, because it won’t credit to your Asia Miles account in time before your existing miles vanish.
Even though I didn’t need to, I just tested this by transferring 800 Asia Miles from my own account to LinkPoints.
As you can see, the activity and 800 miles deduction registered instantly, updating all my remaining miles to a new expiry of 30th April 2024 (18 months from now).
This could prove to be a lifesaver if you made a credit card points to Asia Miles transfer in order to keep your remaining miles valid, but it still hasn’t credited into your account by the last day of the expiry month!
Generally though, you shouldn’t be leaving it this late to protect your Asia Miles from expiry, but it’s great to have the option, and know about it!
LinkPoints to Asia Miles transfers are back, and they have returned at the same lousy value they offered before.
However, the option will still prove useful to many of our readers in Singapore as perhaps the simplest way to renew the validity of your Asia Miles for a further 18 months, by triggering a fresh account earning activity.
Just to reiterate, Asia Miles transfers should not be your go-to use of LinkPoints, given the poor value. This is a once every 18 months conversion (or once per year if it’s easier for you to remember), just to ensure your Asia Miles will never expire.
If you’ve left it really late to keep your Asia Miles balance alive, you can also do so instantly right up to their last day of validity with an Asia Miles to LinkPoints transfer, by effectively sacrificing 800 of your miles (for a terrible S$4 return), but protecting the remaining balance in the process.
(Cover Photo: Cathay Pacific)