How to Earn Miles and Redeem Free Flights with Singapore Airlines’ KrisFlyer

krisflyer-miles-earn-redemption-guide
Image: Giphy / The Comeback

Have you seen friends or others on social media boasting about the free flights they got thanks to their miles? Did that make you go green with envy and wonder how the heck they did it? 

If so, we’ll tell you all about how you can get there too! 

When travel resumed after the pandemic eased up, there was suddenly a dearth of people flying business class on the miles they accumulated and couldn’t use during the roughly two years (2020-2022) when global travel stopped. 

You can get there too once you understand the process of miles accumulation and what’s needed to redeem them. But before you go sign up for a whole bunch of cards on our Best Air Miles Credit Cards Singapore 2024 list, here’s our guide that tells you all about how to earn, calculate and redeem KrisFlyer miles, neatly summarised into 5 steps. 

(Note: This article talks about KrisFlyer miles as it’s the most popular frequent flyer programme in Singapore. General principles apply for other programmes like Asia Miles, but the specifics differ.)

 

How to Earn Miles and Redeem Free Flights with Singapore Airlines’ KrisFlyer

  1. Step 1: Sign up for KrisFlyer membership
  2. Step 2: Earn KrisFlyer miles with your regular spending
  3. Step 3: Convert your rewards points to KrisFlyer miles
  4. Step 4: Calculate how many KrisFlyer miles you need for your trip
  5. Step 5: Do the actual KrisFlyer miles redemption (finally!)
  6. Frequently Asked Questions
  7. KrisFlyer contact details

 

Step 1: Sign up for KrisFlyer membership

In order to earn miles, you first have to sign up for the membership programme (duh!)—and KrisFlyer membership costs nothing to sign up for. 

While you’re at it, you may also wish to check if there are any promotions. Although rare, Singapore Airlines may have a promotion and you can key in the promo code on the registration page. 

So anyway, KrisFlyer is a loyalty programme that primarily rewards customers for spending on the following airlines:

  • Singapore Airlines
  • Scoot
  • Star Alliance airlines (e.g. ANA, Thai Airways, Lufthansa, SWISS, United Airlines)
  • Star Alliance connecting partners (i.e. Juneyao Air, the only one so far)
  • SQ partner airlines (Alaska Airlines, Malaysia Airlines, Olympic Air, Virgin, Vistara)

For most of these, you’d earn 50% to 100% of the actual miles flown, known as KrisFlyer miles. For example, a return trip from Singapore to Bali’s Denpasar earns you 2,082 miles. 

But it gets more confusing. 

Assuming you’re flying Economy on Singapore Airlines, you can earn 50% (1,042 miles), 75% (1,562 miles) or 100% (1,760 miles) in KrisFlyer miles, depending which fare class you book your tickets under. The fare class is indicated as a letter of the alphabet when you book.

If you fly Premium Economy, Business or First class, you get to earn slightly more—from ~125% to 200%—depending on which tier ticket you have. 

But if you’re flying on Scoot, you earn 1 mile for every S$1 spent on the base fare. So if you’re serious about collecting miles, you may not want to fly budget. 

You can check out the KrisFlyer miles chart to see how miles are allocated based on your air ticket and the KrisFlyer miles calculator to help you get a more accurate sense of how many miles you’ll earn before you fly. 

But there are other ways to earn miles besides just flying such as shopping on KrisShop and with SQ’s partners, such as hotel chains and car rental companies.

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Step 2: Earn KrisFlyer miles with your regular spending

While buying Singapore Airlines tickets earns KrisFlyer miles, that defeats the purpose of a frequent flyer program, right? The goal is to snag FREE flights through accumulated miles.

And you can do so through everyday spending. This allows you to travel at a reduced cost, but it takes commitment and making sure you’re getting the maximum amount of miles with your spending. Choosing just one miles credit card isn’t enough. To truly maximise your miles, you’ll need to explore various methods beyond flight purchases.

Rewards programmes: On the KrisFlyer partner pages, you’ll see that there are also rewards programmes with other partners such as hotels, financial services, retail and car rental companies that you can join.

KrisShop: Doing your online shopping? Not so fast. Before you do, you may want to check KrisShop to see if you can find what you want and earn some miles at the same time. From beauty, fashion, sports, travel, electronics to home items, it’s got everything you could earn miles on. 

Air miles credit cards: Any miles chaser knows that a credit card with an earning mechanism that best suits their lifestyle is key. Look for a card with a welcome promotion that gives you a whole bunch of miles to kickstart your miles journey. 

We’ve got the following cards for welcome miles promotions:

American Express logo
MoneySmart Exclusive
Convenience & Perks for Frequent Flyers
Local Spend
S$1 = 1.2 Miles
Overseas Spend
S$1 = 2 Miles
on Eligible Grab transaction, capped at $200 per month
S$1 = 3.2 Miles
UOB logo
MoneySmart Exclusive
AMAZING APRIL PROMOTION
on Singapore Airlines, Scoot, KrisShop, Kris+ purchases
S$1 = 3 Miles
on dining, food delivery, online shopping, online travel, and transport spend
S$1 = 3 Miles
on all other spend
S$1 = 1.2 Miles
MoneySmart Exclusive:

[Amazing April Promotion | CASH BONUS]
Stand a chance to get an Sony PlayStation®5 (SLIM) Disc Edition (worth S$799) when you apply through MoneySmart! The first 6 successful applicants who submit the claim form at 2pm or 9pm can also receive a S$88 Cash Bonus via PayNow! T&Cs apply.
 
PLUS get up to 31,000 miles plus first year annual fee waived for new-to-UOB credit card customers who successfully apply for an eligible KrisFlyer UOB Credit Card and spend a min. of S$2,000 within 60 days of the card approval date on their card. T&Cs apply.

Valid until 21 Apr 2024
Standard Chartered logo
MoneySmart Exclusive
Annual Fee Waived
for every S$1 spend on Transportation, Food Delivery & Online Grocery merchants. Capped at 3,000 Miles in a statement cycle
S$1 = 3 Miles
for all Eligible Foreign Spends
S$1 = 2 Miles
for all Eligible Local Spends
S$1 = 1.2 Miles

Rewards credit cards: Pair your miles credit card with a rewards card to get the most out of your shopping and day-to-day purchases. The right one can let you earn up to 4 miles per $1 spent.

Standard Chartered logo
MoneySmart Exclusive
Up to 6% Cashback
Cashback from Netflix, Spotify, fast food joints and more. *T&Cs apply.
6%*
Annual Fee
S$0
Minimum Spend
S$0
MoneySmart Exclusive:

Get a Sony LinkBuds S Earbuds (worth S$309) or a Lenovo Tab M10 Gen 3 (worth S$299.01) or up to S$230 Cash via PayNow when you apply and meet the relevant spend criteria! T&Cs apply.

Valid until 30 Apr 2024
Citibank logo
MoneySmart Exclusive
LUCKY DRAW | GET UP TO S$18,000 WORTH OF PRIZES
on Online & Shopping Purchases
S$1= 10X Points
on all other purchases
S$1= 1X Point
Rewards Conversion
10X Points = 4 Miles
MoneySmart Exclusive:

[FASTER GIFT REDEMPTION | GIVEAWAY]
Get a Sony WH-1000XM5 Wireless Noise Cancelling Headphones (worth S$589) or an Apple iPad (9th Gen), 64GB (worth S$508.30) or a Nintendo Switch OLED (worth S$549) or S$300 Cash via PayNow, in as fast as 6 weeks from meeting the S$500 spend criteria!
 
PLUS stand a chance to get a Rolex Submariner 124060 (worth S$15,521) or an Apple iPhone 15 Pro, 128GB (worth S$1,664.25) or a Sony PlayStation®5 (SLIM) Digital Edition (worth S$669) when you apply through MoneySmart! T&Cs apply.

Valid until 21 Apr 2024
DBS logo
Online Shopping
on Online Purchases
S$5 = 5 DBS Points (2 Miles per S$1)
on All Other Purchases
S$5 = 1 DBS Point (0.4 Miles per S$1)
Rewards to Miles Conversion
1 Point = 2 Miles

Here’s how to optimise your spending for different categories:

Spending category How to optimise for KrisFlyer miles
Online shopping Shop via KrisShop + use a rewards card geared towards your spending categories
Dining Earn Chope dollars (1,200 Chope-Dollars convert to 1,000 KrisFlyer miles) + earn 100 KrisFlyer miles per reservation you make on Quandoo + combine with dining credit card rewards points

(*Chope is suspended for now – check back to see when it resumes)

Petrol Earn Esso Smiles (100 Smiles Points = 100 KrisFlyer miles)

Or

Earn Shell Escape points (300 Shell Escape Points = 200 KrisFlyer miles)

Grab rides Charge to Amex KrisFlyer + earn Grab Rewards points
Other day-to-day expenses Use a rewards credit card to pay for everything 
Travel spending Book KrisFlyer partner hotels + use a miles card with high earn rates for foreign currency spending
One-off expenses (e.g. home renovation, LASIK surgery) Get a miles card with a big sign-up bonus
Massive expenses (e.g. wedding banquet) Pay with a miles card with high local earn rate

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Step 3: Convert your rewards points to KrisFlyer miles

Before you start signing up for a whole bunch of credit cards and going on a spending spree, keep in mind that you’ll need to convert the points you gain from credit card programmes to KrisFlyer miles eventually. 

While we can’t cover the conversion procedures for ALL the rewards programmes out there, there are a few things to take note of before signing up to best optimise your spending. 

Expiry date: Yes, these rewards programmes come with an end date. Be sure to check when they expire and redeem them before your points disappear. 

(Hot tip: Citi Miles gained from the Citi PremierMiles Card don’t expire though). 

Denominations: Understanding the rewards offered by each programme you’re in also helps. While KrisFlyer generally doesn’t favour any partners in terms of earning rates, it’s important to pay attention to the redemption denominations.  You’ll want to ensure you can accumulate enough miles within the timeframe to reach the specific amounts needed for the rewards you want. 

Conversion fee: Unfortunately, converting points from credit cards to miles sometimes comes with a fee. For instance, converting Citi Miles or DBS Points to KrisFlyer miles costs $25. Better to accumulate as many points as you can to reduce those conversion fees. 

Lead time: Not all partner programmes offer instant transfers to KrisFlyer. Don’t expect points that you convert just before your trip to appear immediately in your KrisFlyer balance. Allow for a processing window of at least a week to ensure your miles are ready for redemption.

KrisFlyer miles expiry: Yep, even KrisFlyer miles themselves expire after three years at the end of the equivalent month in which they were earned. 

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Step 4: Calculate how many KrisFlyer miles you need for your trip

As you start to accumulate your miles, it’s good to know how many miles you’ll need for that business, or perhaps, first class flight to the destination of your dreams. This will help you see what you can potentially spend on, such as any big-ticket items, and plan accordingly. 

Here’s an overview of KrisFlyer miles needed for a round-trip Economy Saver (cheapest option) to popular destinations:

Return flights KrisFlyer miles needed
Singapore to Bangkok 27,000
Singapore to Tokyo (Narita/Haneda) 54,000
Singapore to Dubai 58,000
Singapore to Melbourne 61,000
Singapore to London / Paris / Los Angeles 84,000
Singapore to New York 88,000

This table is actually a simplification. In fact, there are several factors that determine the “cost” of your flight in KrisFlyer miles.

This table is just a simple one though. The actual miles required for a flight depend on several factors. 

Zone: The number of miles needed is not based on the actual distance but by zones. For example, all of Europe is in Zone 11 so it costs the same whether you fly to London or Frankfurt.

Cabin class: Economy requires the least number of miles but of course, the fee goes up if you’re aiming for Business or First class. Many people save their miles until they can redeem them for something more worth it like Business, or even First if you have enough. Treat yourself with the points you’ve earned!  

Saver or Advantage: These are the 2 rates for redeeming flights. As the name suggests, Saver flights cost less in miles, but they’re limited in availability. If you want more options, you’ll need to spend almost double the miles for Advantage.

Check out the specifics of how miles are awarded on Singapore Air’s charts: 

But if you can’t be bothered to dive into these numbers, there’s KrisFlyer miles calculator to figure out where you can fly for free instead!

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Step 5: Finally redeem your KrisFlyer miles! 

Now that you know how to go about collecting those KrisFlyer miles, it’s time to redeem them once you’ve got a whole bunch accumulated for that trip you want. 

 

Here are the redemption details for the different airlines: 

Redeem free flights: You can redeem free flights, known as “award flights”, on Singapore Airlines through singaporeair.com. Unfortunately, with Star Alliance airlines and SQ partner airlines, they are only integrated with KrisFlyer miles to some degree so the number of miles required are different. If you cannot redeem your flight online, you can fill in a reservation form or call KrisFlyer to book.

Upgrade paid flights: If you’re short on miles, don’t worry. You can still use your existing KrisFlyer miles to upgrade your purchased ticket to a higher cabin class, like Premium Economy or Business Class.

Use KrisFlyer miles to pay for Scoot: Flying budget but don’t want to pay? You can use KrisFlyer miles to pay for Scoot flights from as little as 1,050 KrisFlyer miles.

Use KrisFlyer miles to pay for other stuff: If you don’t know what to do with your miles or have some expiring soon, KrisFlyer miles also doubles up as money at partner merchants. Use your miles to pay for shopping on KrisShop or to KrisPay merchants

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FAQs about KrisFlyer miles redemption & fees

If you’ve followed this guide all the way through, you should be all set for your free trip! Or perhaps some questions popped into your head:

Are there any costs when you redeem KrisFlyer miles for flights?

Keep in mind that even with KrisFlyer miles, flights won’t be entirely free. Taxes and miscellaneous charges will still need to be paid in cash. While these are typically a small fraction of the total fare, it’s good to factor them into your planning. Bonus tip: Use your miles card to pay these fees and earn even more miles!

Can you transfer KrisFlyer miles to anyone else?

Nope,  direct transfers aren’t possible. If you’re accumulating miles with a partner, consider consolidating them into one account for faster accumulation. 

However, KrisFlyer members can create a “Redemption Group” of up to 5 KrisFlyer nominees. These nominees can use your miles to book flights and collect tickets on your behalf, essentially sharing your miles with family or friends. But be mindful, changing nominees after selection costs US$30 or 3,000 miles each time.

What if you don’t have enough KrisFlyer miles for the flight you want?

Well, you have to make do with either changing your destination or flying in a lower cabin class. 

But if you die die want to fly Business, you can top up our miles with cash, though it’s not the cheapest way. Miles are sold in 1,000-mile blocks for US$40 each.

Another way is to “buy” KrisFlyer miles by paying the annual fee on certain miles cards. For example, if you pay the annual fee of S$194.40 on the Citi PremierMiles or DBS Altitude, you get 10,000 miles. 

What if you want to make changes to your award flights?

Plan your award flight redemption strategically, as changes are generally not allowed after booking (except for Advantage awards which offer some flexibility for date and time adjustments).

These are the fees you’ll have to pay if you want to make changes to your flight:

Fee Cost (Saver) Cost (Advantage)
Change date or time (Singapore Airlines or SilkAir) US$25 Free
Change route, cabin class or award type (Singapore Airlines or SilkAir) US$25 US$25
Change date, route, flight or carrier (partner airlines) US$50 N/A
Cancellation / refund of miles US$75 US$50
No show penalty US$100 (Economy) / US$200 (Premium Economy) / US$300 (Business or First)

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KrisFlyer contact details

For anything else, there’s always the option of contacting KrisFlyer directly. Things like award flight bookings on partner airlines will have to go through KrisFlyer. 

Tel: +65 6223 8888 (24 hours)

Address: 2 Orchard Turn, #04-05 ION Orchard, Singapore 238801

For non-urgent enquiries, there’s also an online feedback form.

Alternatively, you can try to call Singapore Airlines’ ticketing office or go down to the counter to bang table, though I’m not sure how effective they’ll be at addressing KrisFlyer-specific issues.

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Want to start collecting miles now? See some of the best miles card in Singapore and apply with MoneySmart today. Share this article with a friend and start earning miles together!