So the key question here is When Should You Convert Credit Card Points to Miles? For me it’s only when you need them, here are the reasons why.
Converting Regularly Can Cost Cash
Some banks charge a hefty fee for converting credit card points to cash. UOB, ANZ and Citibank all charge a $25 fee for converting.
DBS also have a Air Miles Programme Enrollment fee of $S40 in order to be able to convert your miles too.
There are some credit cards where there are no fees and automatic conversion like the Singapore Airlines Amex co-branded cards. The Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer Asend American Express credit card has for the last year had the highest sign-up bonus too.
So the trick is to only redeem you credit card points when you really need to and as infrequently as possible – but remember to keep an eye out on any points expiration.
Credit Card Points are Flexible Points
Non-KrisFlyer branded American Express and Citibank credit cards in Singapore are much more flexible than other cards when it come to spending the points. Unlike most credit cards they convert to a wide range of partners instead of just KrisFlyer and Asia Miles.
What that means is that you have far more options for redeeming you points for miles and can take advantage of cheap redemption, bonus conversions, or redemption discounts on other programs.
For example if you converted you Citimiles to British Airways Executive Club (Avios) it would cost you 40,000 Citimiles for a return flight in business class on Cathay Pacific.
If you converted to Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer it would cost you 46,750 Miles return in business class instead.
Credit Card Points Increase the Life of Your Miles
Another reason as to why you should perhaps hold off from converting your miles is that credit card points will extend the life of your miles.
If you convert to Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer your miles will expire 3 years from when they are first earned – or indeed converted.
Some credit Card programs have no expiration dates like American Express Membership Rewards and Citibanks Citimiles – so if you don’t convert then they won’t expire.
Other programmes do have expiry periods for their points, UOB for example has two years, and Maybank Treats Points just one. But even if you stretch out towards those dates you could increase the life of your miles.
Converting or Transferring Credit Card Points Takes Time
The downside of leaving balances in the credit card programmes is that if you find a redemption it may take a while for your points to be converted into miles.
The following page outlines a list of the time it takes to transfer from a hotel or credit card partner into Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer. This is updated periodically:
Note that for some credit card programs you have to first register your Frequent Flyer program before being able to transfer. If you have an idea you might convert in the future make sure you do so early otherwise you’ll have to wait.
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