Singapore Airlines and CapitaLand have inked a new partnership that allows for two-way conversions between KrisFlyer and CapitaStar. Is this a good use of your miles and points?
Singapore Airlines and CapitaLand have launched a new partnership that allows for two-way conversions between frequent flyer program KrisFlyer and mall rewards program CapitaStar. Members are now able to convert miles to STAR$ (and vice versa), opening up additional redemption possibilities.
But is this necessarily a good use of your hard-earned miles and points? Let’s find out.
How points conversions work
Transferring STAR$ to KrisFlyer miles
CapitaStar STAR$ can be converted to KrisFlyer miles at a ratio of 9,800 STAR$ to 380 KrisFlyer miles.
A maximum of 350,000 STAR$ can be transferred per calendar year. Conversions are instant, and can be done via the CapitaStar Rewards conversion page.
Transferring KrisFlyer miles to STAR$
KrisFlyer miles can be converted to CapitaStar STAR$ at a ratio of 3,000 miles to 21,000 STAR$.
A maximum of 30,000 KrisFlyer miles can be transferred per calendar year. Conversions are instant, and can be done via the KrisFlyer partner programs page.
Is it worth converting points?
STAR$ can be redeemed for eCapitaVouchers at a rate of 5,000 STAR$ = S$5, which means 1 STAR$ is worth 1/10th of a cent. In other words, converting 9,800 STAR$ to 380 KrisFlyer miles is equivalent to paying S$9.80 for 380 KrisFlyer miles, or 2.6 cents per mile.
Occasionally, it’s possible to find special offers on the CapitaStar app that yield a higher value than 1/10th of a cent per STAR$, but these tend to be for specific merchants, which may have limited appeal.
Everyone’s personal value of a mile will differ, but I’d wager that 2.6 cents per mile is way too high to be paying during regular times, much less right now when we can’t fly. There are many other ways you can purchase miles for a lower price, such as:
- Paying the annual fee on your DBS Altitude or OCBC 90N Card (S$192.60 for 10,000 miles, or 1.93 cents each)
- Paying your rent, condo fees or other bills with Citi PayAll and a Citi PremierMiles Card (2% fee and 1.2 miles per dollar, or 1.67 cents each)
- Paying your tax bill using the Standard Chartered Visa Infinite (1.6% fee and 1.4 miles per dollar, or 1.14 cents each)
Instead, it’s a much better option to use STAR$ to redeem vouchers, which can be used at various CapitaLand malls across Singapore.
Looking at the equation in reverse, since 1 STAR$ is worth 1/10th of a cent, trading 3,000 KrisFlyer miles for 21,000 STAR$ is equivalent to accepting S$21 for 3,000 KrisFlyer miles, or 0.7 cents per mile.
That’s very poor value, compared to your other alternatives for redemption:
- Redeem KrisFlyer miles for flights: 2 – 6 cents per mile
- Pay for flights with miles: 1 cent per mile
- Use miles on KrisShop: 0.8 cents per mile
- Convert miles to TapForMore points: 0.73 cents per mile
My advice is to keep STAR$ for shopping vouchers, and KrisFlyer miles for flights. Trying to use one for the other is a sure-fire recipe for poor value.
That said, Singapore Airlines and CapitaLand are celebrating the launch of this partnership with a weekly lucky draw that runs from 5 April to 4 May 2021:
- Week 1: 5 April to 11 April 2021
- Week 2: 12 April to 19 April 2021
- Week 3: 20 April to 26 April 2021
- Week 4: 27 April to 4 May 2021
Each week, one prize of 100,000 KrisFlyer miles and one prize of 1,000,000 STAR$ will be given away. Members must make at least one conversion from KrisFlyer miles to CapitaStar STAR$ to be eligible for that week’s draw. One chance is awarded per conversion, regardless of the number of miles or STAR$ converted. If you’re feeling lucky, you could make a token conversion in either direction—think of it like buying a lottery ticket!
The lucky draw will be conducted on 18 May 2021, and the full T&C can be found here.
What other opportunities does this partnership create?
The KrisFlyer x CapitaStar partnership creates some other opportunities that are worth analysing in a bit more detail.
One such example is the AMEX CapitaCard. This is the official cobrand card for CapitaLand malls, and earns STAR$ as follows:
- Spending at CapitaLand Malls: 15 STAR$ per S$1
- Spending at selected merchants within CapitaLand Malls: 65 STAR$ per S$1
- All other spending: 5 STAR$ per S$1
Given the conversion rate of 9,800 STAR$ to 380 KrisFlyer miles, you’re effectively earning:
- Spending at CapitaLand Malls: 0.58 miles per S$1
- Spending at selected merchants within CapitaLand Malls: 2.50 miles per S$1
- All other spending: 0.19 miles per S$1
These aren’t fantastic rates, and should be a further illustration of why converting STAR$ to KrisFlyer miles does not make sense. By simply using a card like the Citi Rewards or HSBC Revolution to do your shopping, you could earn 4 miles per S$1, a much better return.
Another option that could potentially be of interest is converting of STAR$ to Ascott Star Rewards (ASR), the loyalty program of Ascott, Somerset, Citadines and other serviced apartment brands. 1 ASR point is worth ¼ of a cent when used towards stays, and 20,000 STAR$ can be converted to 6,000 ASR points.
So hypothetically, you could transfer 3,000 KrisFlyer miles to 21,000 STAR$, then convert 20,000 of those STAR$ to 6,000 ASR points. However, your net value would be S$16 (S$1 from 1,000 STAR$, S$15 from 6,000 ASR points). That’s even worse than if you just stopped at the STAR$ stage (S$21)! To put it another way, the more levels you convert, the more value you lose.
Let’s face it: companies aren’t dumb. There’s no way they’d create a system where members could generate value by making points conversions. Instead, the best you can hope for when converting one currency to another is to retain value—but more often than not, you’ll find it destroys value.
While I’m all for new partnerships, this is one you may want to pass on. Converting KrisFlyer miles to STAR$ doesn’t make sense in either direction, and unless you’re specifically hoping to win a prize during the launch lucky draw, there’s no reason to do so.
Remember: the golden rule is to always redeem a loyalty currency for that program’s native rewards. Use miles for flights, use STAR$ for shopping, and you’ll be a lot happier.
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By Aaron Wong
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