How to make the most of your miles

Tips to squeeze the most out of your KrisFlyer miles

One of the exciting benefits you get when you pay with your credit card is earning air miles. Whether it’s getting 15,000 bonus miles when you spend $10,000 in the first 3 months on the AMEX Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer Ascend card, or receiving 3,500 miles when you sign up for selected credit cards on GoBear, there are many offers to rack up those miles.

There are two parts to the miles game – accumulating and spending. 

In accumulation, the goal is to chalk up enough miles so that you can redeem flight tickets to your dream destination. In spending, it’s about maximising the value you get from each mile. Here are some tips on how you can earn miles and squeeze the most out of them.

Maximise your miles accumulation

To collect enough miles to redeem flight tickets, you must first have an idea of where you want to go and how many miles you need to fly there.

Let’s say you want to go on a vacation to Japan with your partner. A round-trip to Japan on Economy Saver tickets cost 50,000 miles. For two people, you’ll need 100,000 miles. How will you get to that number? 

Miles Required Infographic
KrisFlyer miles needed to fly to different regions (Round-trip, Saver Awards). Source: KrisFlyer Miles Chart

Look for credit cards with generous lump sum bonuses

Air miles credit cards usually give a lump sum of miles when you first sign up, make your first purchase, or clock the minimum spending. Some cards also reward you with miles when you pay the annual fee.

The AMEX KrisFlyer card lets you earn up to 59,000 miles when you hit the spending requirements. The DBS Altitude Visa card gives you bonus miles upon sign-up and when you pay your annual fee. Tip: You can easily compare across credits cards on GoBear

For the AMEX KrisFlyer card, the catch is that you have to spend $10,000 in the first three months, and another $10,000 in the following three months to be able to hit the 59,000 miles. While that is a lot of spending, it is attainable if you’re paying for big-ticket items.

For example, if you’re paying for a wedding banquet, or if you’re buying home furnishing, you can opt to pay in instalments. This allows you to spread out the cost so that you can hit the spending requirements. So it’s important to plan ahead with your credit card spending.

Spread out your spending, but not too thinly

Then, there are other credit cards that give you more miles for every dollar spent. These cards may not have lump sum bonuses but if you diversify your spending to these cards, you might be able to get more miles.  

For example, if you’ve managed to get the 59,000 miles from the AMEX KrisFlyer card in the first six months, you’ll only get 1.2 miles for every dollar spent thereafter. 

That is when another card like the Maybank Horizon Visa Signature card can come into play, where you get 3.2 miles per dollar spent on dining or petrol. The catch is the minimum spending of at least $300 per month on the card and a maximum redemption of 12,000 miles a year.

The key is to know what you are spending on and avoid spreading yourself too thinly across multiple cards. If you cannot even hit the bonus miles on one credit card, you might want to choose a different card that better suit your spending plans.

Remember to keep your goal in mind 

Let’s say you’ve managed to get 59,000 miles and 12,000 miles from the AMEX and Maybank cards respectively, and you need 100,000 miles in total. How do you get the last 29,000 miles? 

Look at what you’re paying for on your AMEX and Maybank cards. Do you have other expenditures that a third miles card can cover? If you do not see yourself spending more, fret not, there are still many ways to use your miles.

For example, you can consider other holiday destinations. Two round-trip tickets to Taiwan on Economy Saver will cost you 60,000 miles. Or you could fly to Europe on Economy Saver for 76,000 miles (round-trip, per pax) and pay for your other ticket with cash.

Redeem for long-haul or premium flights

One way to squeeze the most dollar value out of your miles is to redeem for long-haul or more premium flights. For example, the round-trip to Japan would cost 94,000 miles on Business Saver. 

Let’s say you plan to fly there in March 2020. The flight fare costs $780 on Economy and $3,550 on Business. You’ve to pay airport and government taxes whether you’re using cash or miles. To calculate the dollar value you get out of each mile, you divide the fare by the number of miles needed. 

Singapore–Tokyo Economy ClassSingapore-Tokyo Business Class

This means that you get $0.0156 per mile when you redeem the Economy class ticket, while you get $0.0378 per mile when you redeem the Business ticket to Japan.

To look at how long-haul flights can give you more value, we can compare a round-trip ticket to London and Taiwan in the same period. The round-trip tickets to London on Economy Saver and Business Saver cost $1,170 and $5,770 respectively. 

Singapore–London Economy ClassSingapore–London Business Class

The round-trip tickets to Taiwan on Economy Saver and Business Saver cost $388 and $1,896 respectively.

Singapore–Taipei Economy Class
Singapore–Taipei Business Class

So amongst these trips, which one gives the most dollar value for each mile? 

 

 

Singapore – Japan

Singapore – London

Singapore – Taiwan

Miles Needed

Value Per Mile

Miles Needed

Value Per Mile

Miles Needed

Value Per Mile

Economy Saver

50,000

$0.0156

76,000

$0.0154

30,000

$0.0129

Business Saver

94,000

$0.0378

184,000

$0.0314

61,000

$0.0311

You can see that the Business Class flights squeeze more dollar value from your miles. Going further to Japan or London is also more bang for your mile than flying to Taiwan. Given the three-years validity of miles, you can take your time to save up for your preferred trip.

Although long-haul and premium flights are more value-for-miles, you do not need to aim for them. If Taiwan is your favourite holiday destination and you’re comfortable with Economy class tickets, just go with it. One round-trip ticket to Japan on Economy Saver can almost get you two round-trip tickets to Taiwan. 

Redeem Saver Awards rather than Advantage Awards

Saver Awards flights cost fewer miles than Advantage Awards flights for several reasons. One, it requires you to book early. This means that you’ve to plan your holiday really early and book months in advance to get the Saver Awards tickets.

Two, there is a limited number of tickets allocated to Saver Awards as compared to Advantage Awards. If you’re planning to redeem miles for a big group, it might be advisable to split up your bookings. This allows you to get at least some Saver Awards tickets.

Alternatively, you can look at flights from other Star Alliance Members. Partner airlines have flight tickets that cost the same number of miles as the Saver Awards tickets on Singapore Airlines, so be sure to check out the miles needed and the flights available.

If you’ve bought Saver Awards tickets using your miles, you cannot make changes to your flight tickets. But if you bought the Advantage Awards tickets, you can pay $25 to make changes, subject to the availability of flights. This is the bit of flexibility for Advantage Awards tickets.

Extend the life of your expiring KrisFlyer miles

Remember that your KrisFlyer miles are valid for only three years starting from the moment they get credited. If you’ve accumulated a decent amount of miles but they are expiring and you don’t have enough to fly to your dream destination, fret not. 

Pay to extend the validity period

Firstly, you can pay a fee to extend the validity of the miles by another six months. It costs about $16.50 (US$12) to extend every 10,000 miles for 6 months.

This works well for those who have a lot of miles but are just shy of their target. If you’re confident of making up the remainder miles within the next six months to a year, it makes sense to extend their validity.

If you’ve only a few thousand miles or if you’re very far from your target, you might want to consider other options.

Pay for your flight tickets with a mix of miles and cash

KrisFlyer allows partial redemption of miles. That means you can use miles to offset part of the flight tickets and pay the remainder in cash. 

This may not get you the most value from your miles. But rather than let the miles go to waste, any rebate you squeeze out of your expiring miles is still worth something. You need to spend a minimum of 980 KrisFlyer miles on these transactions.

Redeem for non-flight items

If you’ve too few miles to get flight tickets, or if you do not want to fly, you can use them to buy merchandise on KrisShop, get hotel rooms, or convert into other membership points. 

If all else fails, consider donating your miles to beneficiaries of Make-A-Wish foundation. Since you cannot use them anyway, why not let someone else benefit from it. The minimum amount you’ll need to donate is 1,000 miles. 

Find creative ways to squeeze in that extra bit of miles

Every little effort goes a long way in helping you succeed in the miles game. Here are some ways to earn a few more miles. 

Pay for things in advance

There are some bills that you can pay in advance, like your annual insurance plans, or subscription plans for food or Netflix. Put these together, and you might squeeze in the last bit to hit the lump sum bonus miles on some cards. 

You can also use your credit card to top up e-wallets like GrabPay, or pay for monthly subscriptions with your card. Scheduling these payments on your card can help you hit the monthly minimum spending. 

Lastly, you can also use your credit card to buy shopping vouchers, grocery vouchers, or even gift cards. These stored-value cards are like upfront and advance payments that can help you hit the spending requirements. 

You definitely won’t be buying $10,000 worth of vouchers, but with that $500 or $1,000 spent on vouchers, it might just help you earn that extra bit of miles.

Redeem miles with other membership points

You can also make use of other memberships to get miles. 

For example, PAssion Card has a TapForMore programme that allows you to convert your points into miles. You get points for buying groceries at Cold Storage or Giant, which is a daily necessity. GrabRewards also allows you to convert your Grab points into KrisFlyer miles. 

Grab KrisFlyer Redemption
Grab points conversion to KrisFlyer miles. Source: Grab App

These may not seem significant but every small bit counts. You can rack up thousands of miles just from your daily expenditure. 

Find deals that give you extra miles

Lastly, you can also find online deals that reward you with miles. For example, GoBear is giving away 3 KrisFlyer miles for every $1 spend on selected travel insurance plans with our participating partners: 

Hong Leong Assurance

Tiq By Etiqa

What’s more, you stand to walk away with 50,000 bonus miles. This means that when you buy travel insurance with GoBear, you earn miles for your purchase and stand to win a free trip! 

Check out our step-by-step article to find out how you can win your next holiday from GoBear.

Compare Credit Cards On GoBear

Remember that the miles game is a relatively long-term game. To win this game, you have to set a target, make a plan, and work towards your goal. 

Find creative ways to earn miles, like getting miles for travel insurance, groceries, and subscriptions that you’ll be buying. Schedule annual and monthly payments to help you hit the spending requirements on cards. Strategise your credit card spending on separate cards to maximise the miles you earn.

When redeeming your miles, remember to plan and book early to get Saver Awards tickets. Choose long-haul or premium flights to maximise the dollar value of your miles. 

All these little tactics go a long way to making the most of your miles. 

 

Sources:

Singapore Airlines Website 
KrisFlyer Terms & Conditions 
KrisFlyer Miles Redemption Table 

Related articles:

5 reasons why free travel insurance may not be sufficient

6 air miles hacks you probably never knew existed 

Best credit cards to rack up bonus airmiles for a free flight (2019)