My Singapore Air 15% Bonus Dilemma – Go Big… or Stay Home?

Update 23/12/2020: Extended to 16th Jan. Another few weeks to procrastinate!

Singapore Air is offering 15% bonus when you convert your bank points to KrisFlyer miles, an unprecedented offer in the carrier’s storied history, and it is causing me an unprecedented dilemma in my almost equally storied history of chasing miles… as a cashback person.

I discussed a few reasons why I’m hesitant to go big on this promotion, as tantalising as a 15% bonus sounds. To summarise the last article, I am worried about not being able to expend my KrisFlyer miles within 3 years, especially if the next year continues to be a big question mark for travel. Also, I was concerned about Singapore Air going bust (not so much now, since it feels like there’s light at the end of the tunnel, but still).

In the last post, I predicted that I’d procrastinate to the last moment, thinking about this issue endlessly the whole time.

I was incredibly prescient. It’s 4 days to the end of the promotion, and officially, most banks require weeks to process the transfer of points to KrisFlyer miles. Most take a couple of days at most, and even then I guess I’m kinda pushing it.

New things have developed since then – Singapore-Hong Kong air bubble (sigh), vaccines are rolling out (yay!), and there’s supposedly a super virulent strain of Covid surfacing in the UK (oh no). Things aren’t really clearer now than it was a month ago, but it’s days to the deadline and there’s not much time left for crystal ball gazing.

Seth
Seth

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Showing off my stash of points and what I’m doing with them

Point TypeNumber of PointsMiles15% Bonus
KrisFlyer Miles185,000185,000N/A
Citi Thank You735,000 + 165,000290,000 + 60,00043,500 + 9,000
DBS Points49,00090,00013,500
OCBC$250,000100,00015,000
OCBC Travel$50,00050,0007,500

DBS Points
With only Singapore Airlines and a couple other airlines to pick from, and a rather abysmal valuation when you redeem for cash rebates or vouchers, converting my DBS Points was a relatively no-brainer affair, especially when some of my points expire in March. The only unfortunate thing was that I was 1,000 shy of a round 50,000, and therefore only managed to transfer 90,000 miles with a 13,500 bonus.

OCBC$
OCBC$ can be converted into vouchers at a relatively fair value in my opinion: about 0.37 cent per OCBC$ which is 0.925 cent per mile. Using KrisFlyer miles for redemption of products on their catalog typically gives 0.8 cents per mile, but this is bumped up to 0.92 cents with the 15% conversion bonus, which is kind of on par. In the event I really don’t use my miles for flights, I’m not losing much value on my OCBC$.

Also, I’m not sure if it’s on purpose, but OCBC did something nice and credited bonus OCBC$ for November’s spending quite a bit earlier this month, rather than the usual end of month timeframe. I had a significant amount coming in, almost 90,000 OCBC$, and after they came in, I totalled 250,000 OCBC$ which represented a round 100,000 miles with 15,000 bonus.

Travel$
I have decided to leave the OCBC Travel$ alone because of their versatility and value. They don’t expire, can be converted in blocks of 1,000 instead of 10,000, and can be cashed out at better values than air tickets especially since I don’t value business class at a very high premium.

The big dilemma

If you’re keeping count, I now have 185,000 existing KrisFlyer miles + 90,000 + 13,500 + 100,000 + 15,000 = 403,500

Herein lies my dilemma, and it’s what I should do with my Citi Thank You points. By far my biggest miles stash, mostly hoarded from the good old days of 8 mpd Apple Pay promotion, I have 350,000 worth of miles here to be converted that’d give me a sizeable 52,500 bonus miles. That’d bring me to 800,000 miles, and I almost want to do it just to see that number in my KrisFlyer account.

Alas, travel is uncertain for 2021, and converting now would mean I have two years, 2022 and 2023, to expend 800,000 miles before they expire, and I wonder if my travel habits can reliably expend these miles in time.

It is very likely I’d take my parents to an Asian destination in business or first class by the end of 2022, and that’d likely take up 300,000 miles. 100,000 miles leftover – if I don’t convert my Citi points – doesn’t seem all that much to use for 2023, and 400,000 if I do convert those points seem like a bit much to consume within a year. Another family trip perhaps?

Given that my Citi points still have 2.5 more years before they expire, I had planned to keep them until then before converting so that the 3-year timer for my KrisFlyer miles would only start then. Also, given how Citi Thank You points are one of the most versatile points in the number of transfer partners it has, some advise not to use them for this promotion.

I guess I could convert partially, but good luck getting my indecisive self to decide on what’s a good proportion to transfer and to keep.

What do you think?

All this to say, I’m none the wiser what to do with my Citi points, and am curious to know what you think. How have you approached this promotion, and what would you do if you were me?

Let me know in the comments, or in the Telegram group!

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