How much is a KrisFlyer mile worth?

Short answer: it depends. But you won't lose money assuming a 1.9 cents per mile valuation, provided you redeem sensibly.

(Updated June 2019)

Introduction

The value of a KrisFlyer mile differs from person to person because it is based on how you typically use them, and just as importantly – what your alternative would be if you couldn’t.

That makes any valuation quite subjective, but having one we can justify to our readers and are prepared to use ourselves, especially when discussing offers where you can take opportunities to ‘buy’ miles throughout the year, is essential.

The spoiler

This is a long article, so let’s cut to the chase for those who want a quick answer.

Value of a KrisFlyer mile

KF Logo trans.png

Previously (2018) Now (2019)

2.0¢

1.9¢

Firstly, don’t get all dismayed and rush to cash out all your miles and abandon the scheme just yet!

Think of this as our ‘upper limit to buy’

There is no ‘single’ valuation for a KrisFlyer mile. As always, and as we will show in this article, you can get much less value for your miles (even ‘negative value’, as we’ve often demonstrated), but used properly you can usually get much more value than 1.9 cents each from them.

  • This remains the case.
  • This remains our objective (and should be yours too).

We’ll say this again later on, but remember when you’re buying KrisFlyer miles, you’re exchanging something very fluid (cash) for something often very restrictive (saver award availability). It therefore makes little sense to buy miles at your average redemption rate.

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Unless you’re making a small top up to achieve a specific redemption, you must build in a comfortable buffer between the cost of buying miles and the value you can achieve from them. That’s what we’re aiming to calculate in this article.

Our analysis

We’re going to repeat our 2017 analysis in this article using the latest KrisFlyer redemption rates, breaking it down under the following sections:

  • Part 1: The bare minimum value Singapore Airlines will give you for each of your KrisFlyer miles, when used in the most flexible way – as a cash equivalent.
  • Part 2: The theoretical value when redeeming flights on Singapore Airlines, based on your traveller profile and cabin class.
  • Part 3: The value we have personally achieved in the last few years, if we assume current redemption rates for all those trips (nearly 1.7 million miles spent at today’s rates).

How much do Singapore Airlines think a KrisFlyer mile is worth?

Just 1 cent (or, more accurately, 1.02 cents). That’s because it’s what they’ll give you off any full fare ticket when you choose to part-pay with miles. While this offers great flexibility, since an award redemption does not have to be available, it doesn’t represent good value, and you should probably never do it.

Take the example of a Singapore to Dubai flight in Business Class.

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If you want to offset the cash cost of this flight using some of your KrisFlyer miles, it’s possible as shown.

SINDXB Pay Miles.jpg
Part payment with 50,568 KrisFlyer miles on this business class flight to Dubai is saving you only $515.95 (1.02 cents per mile).

To cut the price of a one-way business class ticket from Singapore to Dubai by $515.95, for example, would cost you 50,568 KrisFlyer miles. You would still have over $2,500 left to pay. Since a one-way ‘Saver’ redemption in business from Singapore to Dubai is 49,000 miles + S$51.70 in taxes, this is nonsensical.

Of course, you would only go down the part-pay with miles route if a redemption was not available, and you needed to travel. However, Emirates is offering a non-stop business class flight on their A380 on the same route and the same day for S$2,450, less than you’d be paying to fly on Singapore Airlines having already forked out over 50,000 miles for the ‘discount’.

Assuming the Singapore Airlines redemption was not available, and you would be happy with the Emirates option, use of part-pay with miles in this case actually gives them a negative value.

Is it ever useful?

Granted, we picked an obvious ‘waste of miles’ example there. If you have miles expiring which you cannot use as there are no redemptions available, having considered a number of other options we outline here including extending your miles for 6 months, this is a possible way to get at least some value from them.

It is a slightly better rate than you will achieve using your miles on Scoot, for example.

Also, while derisory in value, the discount for part payment with KrisFlyer miles is helpful in one sense. It means if you can ‘buy’ KF miles for less than 1.02 cents each (call it 1 cent or less), you basically cannot lose out (provided you would book and fly with Singapore Airlines in any class, which most of our readers would).

Whether you should part with more than 1 cent per mile when ‘buying’ depends on how you use them, i.e. your own personal valuation. More on that later.

Non-flight redemptions

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If you want an even poorer rate for your miles, just head to the KrisShop, where you can buy a wide range of price-inflated items and instead of using cash, redeem your KrisFlyer miles for 0.8 cents each. There’s almost no excuse for this, please never do it.

KrisShop 2019.jpg
A current KrisShop product – a brand new MacBook Pro for the price of a return suites redemption to London. (Image: KrisShop)

In the above example KrisShop are selling a MacBook Pro, delivered to your door, but they are giving you just 0.8 cents per mile versus the retail price of the device (S$2,045).

For the same number of miles you could redeem a return suites redemption from Singapore to London, or fly return business class to Sydney twice (and still have miles left over).

KrisPay.jpg

Just when we thought it couldn’t get any worse, in July 2018 Singapore Airlines brought us KrisPay. It’s a one-way ticket to using up your KrisFlyer miles as cash at a pathetic 0.67 cents value each at a very limited range of merchants in Singapore, including ‘car beautification’ (that’s a thing?), spas and strip wax joints.

On the plus side, earning through KrisPay came about in March this year, and that is a useful way of topping up your miles at a limited merchant list.

Bottom line here is that whenever you convert your KrisFlyer miles to any form of cash (or pseudo cash) it’s almost always at a terrible rate.

If you think these options might be useful for any expiring KrisFlyer miles, think again. Depending on your geographical location and circumstances, and of course how many of your miles are about to disappear, we came up with up to 12 methods to get something rather than nothing out of them, and at least 9 of them were superior to these two options!

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If you’re in this situation do check out the methods that might work for you, before resigning yourself to something like KrisPay.

Part 1

What value we think you can actually achieve

We examined four short to medium-haul trips (Bali, Hong Kong, Da Nang and Beijing) and also four of long-haul trips (Auckland, Zurich, New York and Paris) all originating in Singapore and booked as round-trip saver awards.

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(Photo: Singapore Airlines)

We assessed the value of each one on the basis of four different preference / travel behaviour assumptions to determine the cents per mile valuation of the redemption.

  • Type A – You would only be willing travel on Singapore Airlines, and would buy a full fare ticket on the same route with SIA, if the redemption was not available.
  • Type B – You would only be willing to travel on an alternative cheaper (non-SIA) flight if it was still non-stop, and operated by a full service carrier.
  • Type C – You would be willing to travel on an alternative cheaper (non-SIA) flight, with one stop, operated by a full service carrier (for long-haul, the Business Class product would have to be of a similar service standard and seat layout to Singapore Airlines).
  • Type D – You would be willing to travel on an alternative cheaper (non-SIA) flight if it was still non-stop, but operated by a low-cost carrier (applicable for short to medium-haul economy class only, including pre-payment for 1 checked bag, a drink and a meal, for fair comparison).

You generally book each short to medium-haul flight 3 months in advance, and the long-haul flights 6 months in advance. You are only willing to book a ‘Saver’ category redemption, otherwise you pay full fare.

Full fare tickets are also assessed outside any holiday periods. If you can redeem during peak periods (when fares are higher, but redemptions will also be harder to come by) you will achieve a higher value than shown because the alternative cash fares will be higher.

If you tend to book one-way redemptions, you will also achieve a higher value than shown because one-way tickets, especially with full-service airlines, tend to cost much more than 50% of a round-trip ticket cost, while the KrisFlyer miles needed are exactly half.

Economy Class

Bali return (SIN-DPS-SIN)
Saver Redemption: 15,000 miles + $71.40
Type Cost Value per mile Method
A S$376.40 2.03¢ SQ nonstop
B S$302.40 1.54¢ KL nonstop
C S$260.00 1.26¢ MH via KUL
D S$259.00 1.25¢ TR nonstop
Hong Kong return (SIN-HKG-SIN)
Saver Redemption: 30,000 miles + $95.10
Type Cost Value per mile Method
A S$535.10 1.47¢ SQ nonstop
B S$355.90 0.87¢ CX nonstop
C S$337.50 0.81¢ MH via KUL
D S$373.10 0.93¢ 3K nonstop
Da Nang return (SIN-DAD-SIN)
Saver Redemption: 25,000 miles + $79.90
Type Cost Value per mile Method
A S$427.90 1.39¢ MI nonstop
B n/a n/a n/a
C S$316.00 0.94¢ VN via SGN
D S$380.00 1.20¢ 3K nonstop
Beijing return (SIN-PEK-SIN)
Saver Redemption: 40,000 miles + $68.10
Type Cost Value per mile Method
A S$593.10 1.31¢ SQ nonstop
B S$523.10 1.14¢ CA nonstop
C S$487.00 1.05¢ MH via KUL
D n/a n/a n/a

Auckland return (SIN-AKL-SIN)
Saver Redemption: 56,000 miles + $113.10
Type Cost Value per mile Method
A S$1,115.10 1.79¢ SQ nonstop
B S$1,115.10 1.79¢ NZ nonstop
C S$891.10 1.39¢ MH via KUL
D n/a n/a n/a
Zurich return (SIN-ZRH-SIN)
Saver Redemption: 76,000 miles + $96.60
Type Cost Value per mile Method
A S$1,156.60 1.39¢ SQ nonstop
B S$1,156.60 1.39¢ SQ nonstop*
C S$979.00 1.16¢ CA via PEK
D n/a n/a n/a

* Note: SIA is already the cheapest full fare carrier on this route in Economy Class

New York return (SIN-NYC-SIN)
Saver Redemption: 80,000 miles + $145.60 (JFK via FRA)
Type Cost Value per mile Method
A S$1,497.60 1.69¢ SQ direct
B n/a n/a n/a
C S$1,066.60 1.15¢ CI via TPE
D n/a n/a n/a
Paris return (SIN-CDG-SIN)
Saver Redemption: 76,000 miles + $131.10
Type Cost Value per mile Method
A S$1,226.10 1.44¢ SQ nonstop
B S$1,226.10 1.44¢ SQ nonstop*
C S$876.60 0.98¢ VN via SGN
D n/a n/a n/a

* Note: SIA is already the cheapest full fare carrier on this route in Economy Class

Airplane Window Sunset
KrisFlyer Economy Class redemptions only make sense on certain routes, or at certain times of the year, when regular fares are higher

Premium Economy Class

Firstly, a note about Premium Economy redemptions

Premium economy redemptions are not a good way of using KrisFlyer miles, and that’s not just because we don’t like the product (we don’t, by the way), it’s because in miles terms it’s simply too expensive.

Singapore Airlines price their Premium Economy redemptions just below Business Class, which is a farce, not only when you look at the difference in product and service, but also when you see the difference in price.

Take a flight from Singapore to Paris for example. A round-trip ticket on Singapore Airlines booked six months from now in Premium Economy would set you back S$2,437.40. Business would be $5,942.40, a massive jump in cost of 144% (more than double).

However, if you want to book a round-trip saver redemption using KrisFlyer miles for your flight it’s going to set you back 129,000 miles in Premium Economy, and 184,000 miles in Business Class, only a 43% increase.

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to work out that you’re getting a much better deal redeeming in Business than in Premium Economy on this route. The same goes for just about any Singapore Airlines route.

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We honestly wouldn’t part with the increased cost to fly in this cabin over Economy Class, so personally for us it’s a poor redemption and the value per mile rates aren’t ‘real’. (Photo: Singapore Airlines)

Bali return (SIN-DPS-SIN)

Cabin not operated on this route

Hong Kong return (SIN-HKG-SIN)
Saver Redemption: 49,000 miles + $95.10
Type Cost Value per mile Method
A S$1,119.10 2.09¢ SQ nonstop
B S$940.90 1.73¢ CX nonstop
C n/a n/a n/a
D n/a n/a n/a

Da Nang return (SIN-DAD-SIN)

Cabin not operated on this route

Beijing return (SIN-PEK-SIN)
Saver Redemption: 64,000 miles + $68.10
Type Cost Value per mile Method
A S$1,478.60 2.20¢ SQ nonstop
B S$969.60 1.41¢ CA nonstop
C n/a n/a n/a
D n/a n/a n/a
Auckland return (SIN-AKL-SIN)
Saver Redemption: 94,000 miles + $113.10
Type Cost Value per mile Method
A S$2,714.10 2.77¢ SQ nonstop
B S$2,404.10 2.44¢ NZ nonstop
C n/a n/a n/a
D n/a n/a n/a
Zurich return (SIN-ZRH-SIN)
Saver Redemption: 129,000 miles + $96.60
Type Cost Value per mile Method
A S$2,686.60 2.01¢ SQ nonstop
B S$969.60 2.01¢ SQ nonstop*
C n/a n/a n/a
D n/a n/a n/a

* Note: SIA is already the cheapest full fare carrier on this route in Premium Economy Class

New York return (SIN-NYC-SIN)
Saver Redemption: 146,000 miles + $80.40
Type Cost Value per mile Method
A S$1,932.40 1.27¢ SQ nonstop
B n/a n/a n/a
C S$1,747.40 1.14¢ BR via TPE
D n/a n/a n/a
Paris return (SIN-CDG-SIN)
Saver Redemption: 129,000 miles + $131.10
Type Cost Value per mile Method
A S$2,438.00 1.79¢ SQ nonstop
B S$2,189.10 1.60¢ AF nonstop
C S$2,081.10 1.51¢ EY via AUH
D n/a n/a n/a

Business Class

SQ 77W J (MM)
Now we’re taking. This is where the value of the KrisFlyer miles lies for us. (Photo: MainlyMiles)
Bali return (SIN-DPS-SIN)
Saver Redemption: 38,000 miles + $71.40
Type Cost Value per mile Method
A S$1,136.50 2.80¢ SQ nonstop
B S$620.50 1.45¢ KL nonstop
C S$601.00 1.39¢ MH via KUL
D n/a n/a n/a

Hong Kong return (SIN-HKG-SIN)
Saver Redemption: 61,000 miles + $107.30
Type Cost Value per mile Method
A S$1,887.30 2.92¢ SQ nonstop
B S$1,753.10 2.70¢ CX nonstop
C S$1,054.00 1.55¢ MH via KUL
D n/a n/a n/a

Da Nang return (SIN-DAD-SIN)
Saver Redemption: 43,000 miles + $79.90
Type Cost Value per mile Method