Saving up Krisflyer Miles for South Africa

Yes, I am finally going to visit South Africa next year (well it’s still 6 months ahead, anything can happen but fingers cross) and.. I just want to document my krisflyer miles earning process and then analyse to see if it was worthwhile.

Before I start, I hope you are aware of the changes Krisflyer made towards the discount on redemptions made only.

Basically, they took away the 15% mileage discount they previously gave to redemptions made on the website and app. In return. they remove the fuel and insurance surcharges which you previously had to pay. I wanted to do a comparison but I realised I can’t really find out the previous fuel/insurance charges. Anyway, base on the existing calculation made by SIA (see below), it seems like $1 is worth 30.52 miles (Biz class) and $1 is worth 19.60 miles (Economy Class).

Example 1: Singapore-Shanghai (one-way)

Current Saver Award Chart
Tickets issued before 23 March 2017
Revised Saver Award Chart
Tickets issued on / after 23 March 2017
Miles required
(After online discount)
+
Cash (SGD)*
Miles required
across all channels
+
Cash (SGD)
Business Class 35,000 miles
( 29,750 miles )
+
$172 Fuel & insurance surcharges
+
Airport taxes / fees
35,000 miles
+
Airport taxes / fees
Economy Class 20,000 miles
( 17,000 miles )
+
$153 Fuel & insurance surcharges
+
Airport taxes / fees
20,000 miles
+
Airport taxes / fees

*Approximate cost of fuel & insurance surcharges based on USD to SGD exchange rate, as of 21 February 2017.

It is super worth it to redeem your krisflyer miles for tickets to South Africa

If you are doing a round trip from Singapore to Cape Town – your 50,000 miles is worth $1620 ($1 = 30.86 miles).

On the other hand, if you are doing a round trip from Singapore to Incheon (Seoul) – your 50,000 miles is worth $820 ($1 = 30.86 miles).

This means that should you choose to redeem tickets to Korea using Krisflyer miles, it is like the most not worth it thing ever as it would be cheaper to just pay $820 and use your 50,000 miles on a ticket which could have cost you $1620.

Note: (In case it matters to you) The SIA aircraft which flies to Cape Town is the older plane which does not have First Class; only Business/Premium Economy & Economy.

One-way booking is cheaper using krisflyer miles

When searching for flights on the same date for one-way and return trip, the price of one-way was more expensive than a return trip. I was like.. are you serious? It turns out to be that there was only economy flexible option for the one-way flight, whereas for the return trip, there was economy super saver and economy saver options. No idea what algorithms generated such vast differences but.. ok, do not attempt to book one-way flights on Singapore Airlines.

On the other hand, booking using redemption of miles does not give you such disparity. Tickets are based on demand and supply and the miles pricing will be dependent on the seat option base on this redemption chart by SIA.

How on earth do you save up for 50,000 miles?

Okay, this is the most important part of my article and it wasn’t really easy for me. It took a bit of research, a bit of planning, a bit of effort on my end to pay the bills plus.. you need to be really aware where this is heading to. It helps to have a plan and for my case, I had a destination in mind – Cape Town – which makes the goal clearer.

Note: miles expire every 3 years so.. you got to take this into consideration, especially when accumulation takes so long.

1) Fly Singapore Airlines and its Star Alliance Partners

Well, this is pretty duh but yep, it is the most straightforward way to earn your miles. Do note that miles are awarded base on ticket type. Flying by super saver prices and booked during promo period usually gives you very little miles. My return tickets to Hong Kong last year only gave me 320 miles. On the other hand, my Osaka return tickets which were not saver tickets gave me 3046 miles per way. Every time when you fly, don’t forget to check if the airlines is a Star Alliance member.

2) Signup for new Credit Card

This option is only applicable to readers with more than $30,000 annual income and the option of ‘new credit card’ can only come once in your entire lifecycle (not sure how often they reset their data).

The American Express® Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer Credit Card

Link: https://www.americanexpress.com/sg/content/singapore-airlines-krisflyer-credit-card/

Advantages

  • This card is extremely generous for sign-up bonus – 15,250 miles *
    You will receive 5,000 miles the first time you charge your card. Should you spend $2,500 accumulated within the first 3 months, you will receive additional 7,500 miles!
    By spending $2,500, you will also receive 2,750 miles (base on 1.1 miles per dollar spend)
    * Promo accurate as at (21 July – 31 Dec 2017).
       When I signed up in Apr 2017, the bonus was only 12,750 miles =(
  • Unlike other credit cards, airline miles for this card are awarded on a monthly basis. There is no extra conversion surcharge (unlike the other cards).
    This is very useful for micro awarding when you are short of a few miles to make the mark.

Disadvantages

  • At 1.1 miles per dollar spend, it is quite unattractive as compared to the other cards. Then again, if you are booking tickets via Singaporeair and Silkair official website, you will be entitled to 2 miles per dollar (but.. DBS is offering 3).
  • No annual fee waiver after 1st year (common policy for amex cards) – $176.55
  • Amex card is not widely accepted as compared to Visa and Mastercard.

DBS Altitude Card

DBS Altitude Card

Link: https://www.dbs.com.sg/personal/cards/credit-cards/dbs-altitude-cards

Advantages

  • This card used to have 10,000 miles as a sign-up bonus (7,000 miles for people with existing DBS credit card). Right now, they don’t seem to have anything so.. Please do not sign up for any credit card if you don’t receive any benefits. I feel that the benefits need to be at least $80 in value for it to be worthwhile.
  • Offers 1.2 miles for local spend, 2 miles for overseas spend and 3 miles for online flight and transactions.
  • Get 10,000 miles by paying annual fee of $192.60 (somewhat like buying files)

Disadvantages

  • You don’t actually receive miles, you will receive DBS points for your spend and the points can be transferred to miles in blocks of 5,000 points to 10,000 miles.
  • An adminstrative charge of $26.75 is payable per transfer.
  • Points may not be awarded for transactions which fall outside of the local/overseas/non-flight or hotels related transactions (in this case – online transactions)
  • Points are awarded in blocks of $5 (lose out on rounding error) and there’s no proper summary of DBS points awarding breakdown within the month. There isn’t even a statement which tells you how much you earn for the month, you just see a number in your account every month.

If your salary is above $50,000, these are the cards that you can apply for:

UOB PRVI Miles Card

Website: http://uob.com.sg/personal/cards/credit/uob-prvi-miles-card/index.html

CITI PREMIERMILES VISA CARD

Website: https://www.citibank.com.sg/gcb/credit_cards/premiermiles-visa-card.htm

Tip if you haven’t started with any of these credit cards
Always stagger out your credit card applications as it is kind of impossible to clock up so much credit card expenditure within the same few months. I planned one card after the other so I could accumulate my purchases on one card at any one point in time. If you happen to be a user of UOB One card which requires you to have $2,000 monthly spend every month for the entire quarter, it might be difficult for you to jump cards. Thus, I prefer OCBC 365 which tracks expenditure on a per month basis. There was one month I gave up my bonus interest rate for OCBC 365 as I couldn’t meet the minimum spend. I was only ‘penalised’ for one month and not three (if you are on UOB One). Sorry for expressing my unsatisfactory feelings for UOB One. They recently sent me the UOB One card despite be replying ‘negative’ to their SMS marketing message. Pretty disappointed in their sales and communications and I haven’t decide what to do with it..

3) Earn from 3rd Party Apps like Krisflyer Spree or Mileslife

Krisflyer Spree (Website: https://www.krisflyerspree.com) functions like Shopback, which gives you a ‘rebate’ if you shop via their referral. It is somewhat an affiliate program whereby brands pay for the affiliate sale in terms of Krisflyer miles.

There are many brands on this website including Lazada, AliExpress, Hotels/Booking.com etc. It may not give you the best conversion rate – shall not go into details as this MileLion guy has given a thorough breakdown. In short, it is not very worth it but it’s kind of like a better than nothing option I guess.

Miles Life (Website: https://www.mileslife.com) is a well, kind of 3rd party app which is not exactly linked to any particular bank or hotel. Instead, it functions as a lifestyle app which rewards users with airline miles if they visit (eat/stay/play) their preferred partners. I believe it is somewhat similar to Shopback ‘rebates’ model, just that they offer the offline options like dining. I’ve heard about this app since June 2017 but I’ve only signed up recently because I received an edm from amex offering 2,000 miles if I spend $49 via the app. $49 for 2,000 miles sound like a good deal but I’ve been struggling to dine at their preferred restaurants. The restaurants are mainly $$$ and the options are not that mainstream. The closest one that I’ll most likely dine at would be Crystal Jade. Well, I kind of have 3 more weeks before the expiry of my chance to earn 2,000 miles. Lets hope I don’t give up!

The good thing about Miles Life is that they let you double earn rewards – both from your credit card and the app. To be honest, the miles earning percentage is not a lot for the dining portion but it is more like a ‘by the way, why not’ step which helps you increase your mileage bank. Anyway, if you don’t own an Amex card (which give u 2,000 miles as a welcome bonus), you can use my referral code ‘FLYHONEYSTARS‘ and receive 1,000 miles as a welcome benefit! 1,000 miles might not sound like a lot but it’s actually 4% of my one way south africa air ticket! Well, the only catch about getting the 1,000 miles is that you have to spend at least $49 using the app within 60 days.

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Do you have any other suggestions on earning Krisflyer miles? Do share with me and I’ll update the list 😀

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