What Are Your Thoughts on KrisFlyer's New Cash and Miles Program?
TPG Twitter follower Beatrik is interested in a new feature KrisFlyer has just released:
"@thepointsguy what are your thoughts on KrisFlyer's cash and miles program that was recently introduced?"
Recently Singapore Airlines introduced a new cash and miles feature which allows you to pay for airfare in cash while also redeeming miles to bring down the cost of the ticket. Off the bat, I don’t think this is a very good deal because you're going to get less than 1 cent per mile in value (the conversion rate seems to be closer to 0.8 cents per mile in most cases) towards airfare and you can usually do better than that with an outright award redemption.
On the positive side, one good thing about this feature is that you will at least earn miles on the paid portion of the ticket. This is different from airlines like Delta which offer a pay with miles option if you're a Delta American Express cardholder, but you won't earn any award miles or elite-qualifying miles on that ticket. At least with Singapore Airlines, you will earn miles proportionate to the amount of the total fare you pay for with a credit/debit card instead of with miles. So if you pay for half your ticket and redeem miles for the other half, you'll earn half the Krisflyer and elite-qualifying miles you would if you bought the ticket.
In general, I would only recommend using this feature if you’ve got a really small amount of KrisFlyer miles that you won't be able to use and are going to expire (you only need a minimum of 5,000 miles to use this feature). Even then I would advise you to transfer points in from American Express or Starwood Preferred Guest to get your KrisFlyer miles up to one of their award levels, the lowest being 7,500 miles from Singapore to Malaysia/Indonesia/Brunei. KrisFlyer has some really good sweet spots like one-way half-priced awards and a 15% mileage discount when redeeming for Singapore Airline flights online so you should try to take advantage of those if you can.
Krisflyer is also great program if you want to fly Singapore's much-lauded first class because they open up a lot of availability to their own frequent flyer members but not members of its partner airline programs. Singapore Airlines is an amazing airline and I've gotten to fly with them several times before though one thing to note is that it can be very challenging to book business or first class using a Star Alliance partner's miles, especially if you're trying to book far in advance, so that's a good reason to join KrisFlyer even though many of their mileage requirements for awards are higher than their partners'.
While I do think KrisFlyer miles are valuable, I don’t think that this cash and miles feature is a very good deal in terms of getting value from your miles. That said, if you're going to let your miles expire you might as well get some value out of them. If cash and miles is your only option then go for it, but otherwise try to increase your miles to redeem them for a Saver Award.