The Cheapest Ways for Buying KrisFlyer Miles

I hear you ask why would you need to find the cheapest way for buying KrisFlyer Miles!  Well the most obvious reason is to top-up for that award that you are booking or looking to book in the future.  I certainly wouldn’t advise anyone buying any airline miles without a good intention to use them in the near future – remember miles expire and programmes get devalued!

However if you are looking to buy fundamentally there are three ways to buy KrisFlyer Miles:

  1. Through KrisFlyer directly
  2. Through a credit card partner like American Express
  3. Transfers from Hotel and or other Partners

KrisFlyer Image

How to buy KrisFlyer Miles through Singapore Airlines

It’s a frequent question on how to buy KrisFlyer Miles through Singapore Airlines because it’s not something that is widely known or publicized.

You can buy KrisFlyer Miles directly through KrisFlyer, but only if you have a minimum of half of the required redemption – so if you are booking a redemption for 80,000 KrisFlyer Miles you’ll need a minimum of 40,000 in your account. You normally need to do this at the time of booking.

The purchase cost is $40 USD per 1,000 KrisFlyer Miles (50SGD) meaning that they cost 5 cents per KrisFlyer Mile (SGD)

Buying KrisFlyer Miles with American Express

Note that there are many different American Express products/fees based on which country you have the cardmember agreement, in this example I will be looking at a Singapore based card.

American Express offers purchases of membership rewards points in increments of 1,000 at $S30.  The transfer rate is 450 membership rewards points for 250 KrisFlyer Miles or 400 points for 250 KrisFlyer Miles depending on the card you have.

5,000 KrisFlyer Miles you would pay $S270 making it 5.4 cents per Mile.  You can buy a maximum of 20,000 Membership rewards points and they must be purchased with a transfer to KrisFlyer.

If you have a Singapore Airlines co-branded card like the Singapore Airlines Amex Ascend or a Centurion/Platinum card there are no additional fees, but if you have a  or Rewards card expect to pay an additional fee of $S20 per transfer.  Centurion and Platinum cards also receive a slightly better transfer rate of 400 to 250 KrisFlyer Miles.

  • Cost: 5.4 cents per KrisFlyer Mile (Rewards Cards and Other Cards)
  • Cost 4.8 cents per KrisFlyer Mile (Centurion and Platinum Cards)
  • You can find more details about purchasing Membership Rewards Points here and more about redemptions here.

Buying KrisFlyer Miles through a Hotel Partner

Hilton HHonors

You can purchase HHonors Points for various amounts but the best value is 40,000 points for $400 USD.  These can then be transferred at a rate of 10-1.  So assuming you purchased the 40,000 HHonors points that would give you 4,000 KrisFlyer Miles for $400 USD (504 SGD) costing nearly 13 cents per KrisFlyer Mile (SGD).

  • Cost: 13 cents per KrisFlyer Mile
  • You can find more details about purchasing HHonors Points here and more about exchanges here.

IHG Rewards Club

You can purchase IHG Rewards Club points at the following rates:

  • 1,000 – 10,000 points for $13.50 per 1,000 points
  • 11,000 – 25,000 points for $12.50 per 1,000 points
  • 26,000 – 60,000 points for $11.50 per 1,000 points

The transfer rate is 5 to 1 so a purchase of 26,000 points would give you 5,200 KrisFlyer Miles at a cost of $S377 so 7.5 cents per KrisFlyer Mile (SGD).

At the time of writing there was a promotion for IHG Rewards Club points offer potentially offered a rate at just 3.5 cents per KrisFlyer Mile.

Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG)

SPG allows you to purchase SPG points at a cost of $USD 0.035 per point up to a maximum of 20,000 per year.  SPG points transfer to KrisFlyer at a fantastic rate of 1-1, and in addition SPG offer a bonus of 5,000 KrisFlyer Miles per 20,000 transfer.  If you were to buy and transfer 20,000 SPG points it would cost you $S882 for 25,000 KrisFlyer Miles working out at the cheapest purchase rate of 3.5 cents per KrisFlyer Mile (SGD) – 1.5 cents cheaper than through Singapore Airlines itself!

Increase the Starwood Preferred Guest Purchase Limit

Although the limit for the number of purchased Miles is 20,000 you could also get a friend or family member to gift you SPG points and then do a transfer as you can transfer a maximum of 79,998 SPG points per year to KrisFlyer giving you 94,998 Miles.

The drawback being that if a redemption is available you may have to wait for two weeks until the transfer is complete from SPG meaning that you may miss the opportunity whereas purchases through Singapore Airlines would be instant and enable you to get that redemption on the spot.

  • Cost: 3.5 cents per KrisFlyer Mile
  • You can find more details about purchasing Starwood Preferred Guest Points here and more about transfer here.

Buying KrisFlyer Miles from another KrisFlyer member

I’ve seen rates on ebay at $25 per 1,000 KrisFlyer Miles which on first hand seem very reasonable when considering the price through the official channels.  I would not recommend purchasing in them in this way as this violates the terms and conditions and may mean your account is closed and therefore you purchase miles forfeited.

Conclusion

Buying KrisFlyer Miles through Starwood Preferred Guest is the cheapest way to purchase Miles at 3.5 cents compared to 5 cents.  But it may still be better to purchase through Singapore Airlines to make sure that you get that redemption that you were looking for, as the purchase is instant and no wait required to transfer Miles.

Generally I don’t think that it’s worth buying KrisFlyer Miles as buying the cash price of a ticket will in most cases be cheaper than paying for a redemption by buying KrisFlyer Miles.  The only exceptions I can see are when you are booking a higher cost cash ticket like suites/first or a last minute ticket where the value of a KrisFlyer Mile goes beyond the 3.5 or 5 cents (depending on your purchase option).  Even then this would only be if a Saver Award is still available as the points value for redemptions drops significantly for non-saver awards. For more details on the value of a KrisFlyer Mile check out my previous post here.

On occasions where there are purchase offers with partners, especially SPG it may be worth considering for a top-up.

(Quick thanks to anonymous (aka superman) for spotting some areas I missed with the American Express cards – if you spot anything let me know!)