Given its relative ease and availability of award redemptions, I am a big fan of the Krisflyer program. I’ve previously written about using the Krisflyer and Velocity programs and their airline partners to redeem flights. Early in my points-collecting career, I would collect Velocity points and convert them to Krisflyer miles, as this represented the best value to me in terms of saving money and taxes and award availability. But is this the best way to do it? Indeed, the Velocity program has many reasons to keep your points with them. This includes the varied number of airline partners and much improved international airline redemptions, especially as of the last year or so. Let’s explore this unique frequent flyer program benefit and determine when and if you should convert Velocity points to Krisflyer.
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How to convert Velocity points to Krisflyer
It’s relatively straightforward. The first step is linking your accounts to each other, which you can do on the account management pages for each program. The names on both accounts will have to match before you are allowed to link them. Once connected, you need at least 5,000 Velocity or Krisflyer points to initiate the transfer, and the conversion rate is not 1:1. Instead, you need 1.55 miles to get 1 of the other program’s miles. This means you will lose some points in the transfer process for each conversion. For example, if you had 100,000 Velocity points, this would become about 64,500 Krisflyer miles. If you were to reverse this transfer, you would again be down miles, so it’s best to decide before you transfer. Note that transfers are instantaneous, so I would advise not transferring anything until you have a redemption in mind and have checked availability.
The Velocity program is not the only program to allow you to transfer miles. The Avios program lets you freely transfer miles between British Airways, Iberia, Aer Lingus and Qatar Airways at a 1:1 rate. While this is also worthwhile looking into, there is a lot of crossover in their airline partners, and Avios are pretty difficult to earn in Australia.
Why would you transfer miles?
On the surface, this seems like a bad deal. You’re losing more than one-third of your miles by transferring them, so surely keeping them where they are is better? Not necessarily.
Velocity and Krisflyer have different partners
Singapore Airlines is part of Star Alliance, meaning you can transfer miles to all Star Alliance airlines, including Ethiopian Airlines, Air India, Turkish Airlines and Egypt Air. Virgin does have a lot of cross-over in partners, but the significant opportunities here are Etihad and Qatar Airways, which Krisflyer does not have access to. This means you can occasionally find flights to a destination on one program and not the other, allowing you to do a points transfer and redeem it with ease.
The Velocity program is unique because it is not part of an alliance. This means they have a number of partners from different alliances they have partnered with and allow redemptions on. This can be an advantage in terms of finding availability with your points when you might not be able to in other programs but a disadvantage when it comes to overall consistency or approach and value in redemptions.
Seat availability is different on Singapore Airlines
Singapore Airlines is a Velocity partner. You can use Velocity points on Singapore Airlines seats, but not all are available. You get fewer seats on Velocity in Business class and no Suites or First class availability when booking Singapore Airlines with Velocity points. Transferring your miles to Krisflyer gives you a chance to redeem more premium seats as well as access features like advantage fares and waitlists. Bear in mind the loss of points when you do convert. This means if you can find availability with your Singapore Airlines flight of choice on Velocity you’re usually better off going ahead with this redemption rather than converting your Velocity points to Krisflyer.
Credit card bonuses and earn rate is more generous for Velocity
Many people earn most of their points through credit cards rather than flying. Credit card sign-up bonuses in Australia can be huge, allowing you to quickly accumulate air miles. One trend you will see is that earning miles on Velocity is much easier than on Singapore Airlines. This is even more true since American Express devalued their transfer from Membership Rewards to Krisflyer, giving you only 1 mile per 3 points transferred compared to 2 previously. This makes the Velocity to Krisflyer transfer perk even more valuable. Let’s see how:
- If you have 100,000 American Express points and convert them to Velocity points, you will get 50,000 Velocity points to use
- Converting the same number of points to Krisflyer will only yield 33,333 points.
- If you wait for the frequent 20% bonus point offers for transfers to Velocity, you can convert 100,000 American Express points to Velocity, giving you 50,000 Points + 20% or 60,000 points.
- Converting 60,000 Velocity Points to Krisflyer gives you 38,700 points.
Transfer bonuses are frequently offered throughout the year and vary in value, but 20% is generally the minimum bonus. You can see that the recent American Express devaluation (as well as those of other credit card programs) can potentially lead to you earning more Krisflyer miles by converting from Velocity to Krisflyer rather than transferring directly into Krisflyer.
Velocity has a generous family pooling allowance
Velocity allows you to transfer miles between family members at no cost. This can either be through manual transfers up to 4 times per year or as a family pool. Family pooling lets you automatically transfer all points and status to a nominated beneficiary in the family group (consisting of a maximum of 2 adults and four children in the same address). This makes it easier for a family to collect points under one name and accumulate status if desired. Krisflyer, unfortunately, isn’t as flexible with family transfers. They require that your child’s account is linked to yours and cap transfers at 50,000 miles per year, charging US$5 per 500 miles.
If you have a family, you can use the Velocity program to transfer miles to a family member who can transfer these to Krisflyer, getting around the Krisflyer restrictions (albeit losing some points in the process).
Get around Krisflyer’s point expiry
The last benefit which people forget about until they need it is that Krisflyer has a 3-year points expiry. While If you’re reading this site, I’m sure it has never impacted you; if you find yourself in this position, the option to transfer to Velocity is there. Losing some points’ value is better than losing them altogether. Velocity points also expire but require two years of inactivity before this happens (as you might imagine, this isn’t easy to do). This also means transferring Krisflyer miles to Velocity can keep your account active and stop these points from expiring too.
How would I use it?
I like to use the points transfer function now as an additional redemption option. I will first look at the program the points are in and look for reward seats before transferring. If no seats are available or my preferred route isn’t available, I will look at the other partner to check reward seat availability before moving. As the points transfer is instantaneous, I don’t have to worry about losing the seats after I initiate the transfer. This means I can maximise my use of the points and only transfer when necessary. The taxes and additional charges are generally slightly higher on Velocity but I don’t think taking the hit on points is worth saving that small amount of taxes.
The ability to transfer points between Krisflyer and Velocity is beneficial and can help you use both program partners and unlock rewards you might have missed out on otherwise. It’s one of the best benefits I’ve seen in a frequent flyer program and gives you flexibility, which you often don’t find in others.