Analysis: Buying Miles at 1.11 Cents Each With Citi PayAll

Citibank is again offering a promo for its payment service, Citi PayAll. This time, users get 1.8 miles per dollar paid through the service, and there is a 2% fee payable. In essence, you are paying 2 cents for every 1.8 miles earned through this, making your effective purchase rate 1.11 cents per mile. If you’re new to the service, you can even get S$50 GrabFood vouchers.

Promo details

This promo is valid until 31st January 2023, and there is a minimum spend of S$5,000 required during the promotional period (21st October 2022 to 31st January 2023). Note that the payment date has to fall within the promotional period, so don’t wait until the last few days to take advantage of this promo.

The maximum spend eligible for bonus points is S$80,000, which means you can earn a maximum of 144,000 miles from this promo. All users get the base earn rate of the card used upfront, with the remaining points credited within 16 weeks from 31st January 2023.

The cards eligible for the 1.8 mpd earn rate include:

  • Citi ULTIMA Card
  • Citi Prestige Card
  • Citi PremierMiles Card
  • Citi Rewards Card
  • Citi Lazada Card

Check out the promos for Citi cards here – the sign-up offer is currently the highest at S$400 set to end today (8th November 2022).

Example
To illustrate, if you use Citi PremierMiles to make a payment of S$10,000 through PayAll, you pay a service fee of S$200 and get 12,000 miles upfront (with the card’s base 1.2 mpd earn rate). You will subsequently get another 6,000 miles by 23rd May 2023 (16 weeks from 31st January).

Users who are new to the service can also get S$50 of GrabFood vouchers as long as the S$5,000 minimum spend is met.

Analysis of promo

My value of a KrisFlyer mile is around 1 to 1.25 cents each, which is why the previous promo of paying 0.8 cents per mile was attractive to me. Paying 1.11 cents per mile pretty much puts this promo in the okay zone if you value miles similarly to me.

Those who have a taste for more premium flights may, however, find this a very good promo. A business class return ticket to Tokyo costs 104,000 miles (and about S$100 in taxes). With this promo, it’s possible to buy 104,000 miles for with around S$1,155.

How attractive this promotion is thus depends on your willingness to pay for air tickets. Paying around S$1,250 (after taxes) for a return trip to Japan in Singapore Air’s business class is a steal for some, while those who prefer to keep their travel costs low may still baulk at such a price.

The points you earn from this promo can also be boosted by airlines offering conversion bonus. Qatar, for instance, is offering 30% bonus until 15th November 2022. Your bonus points for this promo (due in May 2023) obviously won’t make it in time, but your base rewards may arrive in the nick of time. It’s cutting it close, since conversions take another few business days, so you might want to hope for more frequent flyer promos to come.

How to use Citi PayAll

You can find Citi PayAll in the Payments tab of your Citibank app, and it supports payments for a variety of purposes. Unlike CardUp or ipaymy, no invoice is required, and it’s entirely possible to pay another individual instead of just companies.

Conclusion

I would personally be making use of this promo, but perhaps not as much as I did the previous one. Buying miles at 1.11 cents each isn’t fantastic value in my books, but it’s still a good opportunity to buy business class tickets for a cheaper price. Gathering points for a potential frequent flyer bonus is also worth it, and Citi points are one of the most versatile around.

Cashback users – if any of you are still reading to this point – would probably find little reason to care for this promo. Technically, there is some reward to be earned here: you could use Citi Cash Back+ to earn 1.6% cashback, and the S$50 GrabFood voucher if you are new to Citi PayAll. This gives you a net return after the 2% fee is paid, although whether the trouble is worth it is another question. Citi’s cashback cards qualify for the GrabFood voucher, but not for the 1.8 mpd earn rate.

See more details at Citi PayAll’s website

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