How to keep Singapore Krisflyer miles from expiring (for up to 1 year)

A couple of years ago, I flew Singapore Airlines’ Suites Class and absolutely loved it.  The combination of fully enclosed suites, extremely comfortable bedding, and psychic flight attendants (who seem to know what passengers want before the passengers do) is hard to beat.  You can book Singapore Suites with miles (although saver-level availability can be difficult to find), but you have to use Singapore Krisflyer miles to do so.

keep Singapore Krisflyer miles from expiring

Fortunately, Singapore Krisflyer miles are easy to come by.  You can transfer points from Amex Membership Rewards, Chase Ultimate Rewards, Citi ThankYou Rewards, or Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG).  For my Suites Class flight, back in 2013, I originally thought I’d fly Singapore to Los Angeles via Tokyo for 91,375 miles.  To make that possible, I transferred 92,000 miles from Membership Rewards.  In the end, though, I booked a non-stop flight from Hong Kong to San Francisco, for which I paid only 70,125 miles (plus $175 in taxes and fees).

My switch from a 91,375 mile award to a 70,125 mile award left me with almost 22,000 extra KrisFlyer miles.  I figured that I would surely use those miles for something. Worst case, I’d use them to fly on a Star Alliance partner like United.  Somehow, though, that never happened…

Singapore Krisflyer mile expiry policy

Singapore has an awful mileage expiry policy.  Miles expire after 3 years even if you have activity in your account.  Most airline programs reset the clock anytime you earn or use miles.  Not Singapore.

Expiry notification

Singapore does send an occasional account statement showing when your miles will expire, but it would be easy to overlook:

keep Singapore Krisflyer miles from expiring

Much better, in my opinion, is how AwardWallet sends email alerts, like this:

keep Singapore Krisflyer miles from expiring

The best solution, of course, is to find a good use for your miles before they expire.  But, what if you can’t?

Pay to extend miles

Singapore makes it easy to extend your miles for 6 months (12 months for elites) if you’re willing to pay for it.  You can pay either approximately $12 (USD) per 10,000 miles or forfeit 1200 miles for every 10,000 miles you want to extend.  If I were serious about this option, I would extend only 20,000 miles for a total cost of $24 or 2400 miles.  Since I would have 1875 miles that would expire anyway, I would pay with miles.

Note that the cost shown below is in Singapore Dollars.  In US dollars, the cost would be $36:

keep Singapore Krisflyer miles from expiring

keep Singapore Krisflyer miles from expiring

A major problem with the 6 month mileage extension is that it can be done only once.  It’s a short term fix, at best.

A better option

Another option for extending the life of your miles goes like this:

  1. Use your expiring miles to book a Singapore Airlines placeholder flight as far into the future as possible.
  2. When you find a good opportunity to use your miles for a real flight, change the existing placeholder award reservation.
  3. If you don’t find a good use for your miles, and the booked flight is coming up soon, then change the flight to a later date.  At most, I believe that you can extend the date a year past your original ticketing.

This plan is contingent upon Singapore continuing to offer extremely reasonable award change fees.  Here’s a chart of award related fees for those with no elite status (you can find more details on Singapore Airlines website, here):

Award related fees US$
Change / Cancel less than 24 hours before departure $75
Change date of Singapore Airlines and SilkAir flights No Charge
Online change of route, cabin class or award type for tickets issued for flights on Singapore Airlines and SilkAir $12
Offline change of route, cabin class or award type for tickets issued for flights on Singapore Airlines and SilkAir $20
Change of flight, date, route or carrier for tickets issued for flights on partner airlines $20
Redeposit miles of completely unused tickets (subject to validity of ticket and/or miles) $30
(note that expired miles cannot be re-deposited)

Notice how date changes to Singapore Airlines award flights are free?  That means that you can book an award that you are likely to take eventually, and keep changing its date into the future (up to a year) until you have a chance to actually use it.  Or, if you find a different use for those miles, you can change to a different Singapore Airlines route or cabin and pay only $12.  Worst case, but still not bad at all, is if you find a use for the miles that includes partner airlines.  In that case, you can change the flight and pay only $20.

I’d like to visit both Singapore and Hong Kong sometime soon, but I don’t have any immediate plans for either, so I booked a business class flight from Singapore to Hong Kong for 23,375 miles plus about $27:

keep Singapore Krisflyer miles from expiring

The Singapore Airlines website allowed me to book as far out as November 21, 2016 – just short of a year into the future.  Then, just to see how easy it would be, I logged into my account, found the flight, and clicked “manage booking”.  Then I walked through the steps to change the flight to November 20th.  At first it listed the new price as 23,375 miles, but on the next screen it confirmed that there would be no charge:

keep Singapore Krisflyer miles from expiring

 

 

 

 

I stopped just short of confirming the change.

Real Experience

I followed the above steps in order to preserve some of my expiring miles and, as expected, was able to pay just 20 Singapore dollars to change to a flight that I actually needed.  In the process I learned that when the new award costs fewer miles, they cannot refund the extra miles.  So, while I did effectively preserve my miles past the expiration date, I did lose a few thousand miles in the process.

About Greg The Frequent Miler

Greg is the owner, founder, and primary author of the Frequent Miler. He earns millions of points and miles each year, mostly without flying, and dedicates this blog to teaching others how to do the same.

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Comments

  1. Not sure that this will work. I think that when you cancel the holding booking your miles go back to your account and are immediately expired. I believe the best you can do is change the booking date on the same route.

  2. This is a great plan as long as you can use the ticket within one year of when you first issue it. I believe that the ticket will be valid for use within one year of date of issue so the ticket itself will expire if you haven’t used it by then…

  3. Won’t you run up against the one year expiry on air tickets? I think all air tickets have that restriction, don’t they?

  4. Changing the date will only work for one more year for expiring points. You can rebook an SQ award ticket up to one year from booking date. For any date beyond that you have to redeposit and pay $30 to rebook, and you mentioned you can’t rebook expiring points.

  5. With Flying Blue I had booked an award just before an expiration deadline. Later, I required a change (to dates only) and somehow was given some miles back in the process. Those should have been dead on arrival, but were not expired for another week or so, when they did their batch job (a computer program). Sadly, I didn’t use the sizeable number of miles in the mean time. Anyway, I don’t think it’s a foregone conclusion that miles redeposited will instantly evaporate, but it’s not something one would want to find out the innards of either.

  6. As you likely know, that 20k is good for a 1st class domestic redemption on United. (17k LH is a little bit better, but those miles are harder to come by, so probably worth a bit more.) Anyway, I’d probably book a United flight EWR-{SFO,LAX}-xxx, and within the year date change that partner flight for $20. Transiting SFO or LAX, you should keep the option of hopping off if you want, and anyway those PS Service flights are fully flat and a boner.

    • Transferring Krisflyer to Velocity (Virgin Australia) is done at a rate of 1.35 Krisflyer points to 1 Velocity point. You can transfer the other way as well but again at a bad rate: 1.35 Velocity points to 1 Krisflyer point.

  7. Surely you could also transfer the points to another loyalty airline. I know the exchange rate means you lose out, but better than to lose all.
    Also, as well as Krisflyer I am with loyalty programs for Qantas, British Airways and Virgin Velocity. Not a lot of points in any of them. Majority Krisflyer 10,500 points.
    What would be the best one to exchange all to one, losing least points?
    KInd regards

    • Singapore doesn’t support transferring points directly to any airline other than Virgin Australia, but I suppose you could use Points.com to do a trade. I don’t know how much you’d lose by doing so (my guess is “most”), so its hard for me to speculate on which program you should transfer to.

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