Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer is one of the programs that has several sweet spots but one redemption option can be a real pitfall: Using miles to offset cash amounts when booking a regular flight.
Paying with miles means that you book a revenue based ticket and when it comes to payment you can use your KrisFlyer balance to offset a portion of the cash amount due. The ratio is absolutely horrendous!
You can access Singapore Airlines website with the details of this redemption option here.
SQ describes it like this:
Don’t have enough miles for an award ticket or a flight upgrade? Don’t worry. Your miles are as good as cash when you book on singaporeair.com.
Simply go through the usual booking process, and choose KrisFlyer miles as your currency at the payment stage.
If you have enough miles, you can choose to pay for the whole fare, including airport taxes and surcharges*, with your miles. You can also use your miles to pay for seat selections and pre-purchase additional baggage allowance. Otherwise, starting from just 980 miles, you can use your miles to reduce what you pay using your credit/debit card. …
When booking a regular ticket the other day I noticed this option popping up on the payment screen and looked at the ratio they offered. It was even worse than I imagined!
For the route from Bangkok to Singapore (return) the Economy Class ticket costs 7,735 THB. There were a bit over 5,000 KrisFlyer miles left in the account so I played with the tool to see what value SQ would assign when trying to redeem these 5k and it turned out to be US$36.
Members should absolutely stay away from redeeming their miles in this way and instead look for ways to get a ticket in the required award inventory for the best value.
Airlines like to come up with such unattractive redemption options in the hope that passengers don’t know any better and for whatever reason decide to cash in their miles for peanuts.
The problem with Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer miles is that they have an expiration date. Unlike many other frequent flyer programs, KrisMiles do expire and even though it’s possible to extend them by paying a processing fee most of the time people let them expire and use them for nick nacks such as souvenirs from the KrisShop which has about the same bad value as this cash redemption.