KrisFlyer’s new feature allows families to pool their miles together, enabling them to redeem a wider variety of awards.
If you’ve travelled with kids before, you might be unhappily aware that most frequent flyer programmes aren’t very equitable. Even though Mummy and Daddy pay for the ticket, the miles are strictly the property of the person whose name is on it!
KrisFlyer has historically been no exception. Children as young as two years old can open a KrisFlyer account in their own name and earn miles, but cannot transfer these to their parents. At best, parents can cash out their children’s miles via the redemption nominee system (where the child’s account is used to redeem an award ticket in the parent’s name).
But this is problematic, because it’s very difficult for a child to earn a sufficient volume of miles for a worthwhile redemption – they can only earn them from flying, after all, and not through other channels like credit cards.
Thankfully, there’s finally a solution: KrisFlyer for Families. This newly-launched feature by Singapore Airlines allows parents to transfer up to 50,000 KrisFlyer miles a year from their child’s KrisFlyer account to their own (with a nominal fee). This makes vacation planning a whole lot simpler.
KrisFlyer for Families
KrisFlyer for Families allows for family pooling of miles among parents and children aged up to 16.
Each child’s account can be linked to a parent, done by navigating to Profile ➤ Personal Details ➤ Parental Link. After this, miles can be transferred by going to Miles ➤ Transfer Child’s Miles.
A maximum of 50,000 KrisFlyer miles can be transferred per calendar year, and a fee of US$5/500 miles per 5,000 miles transferred applies. This is charged per block or part thereof, i.e.:
- Transferring 5,000 miles will cost US$5/500 miles
- Transferring 5,005 miles will cost US$10/1,000 miles
- Transferring 10,000 miles will cost US$10/1,000 miles
Should you pay the fee in cash or with miles? It boils down to how much you value a mile. If we assume a value of 1.8 Singapore cents per mile (what I personally use), then you’re better off paying the fee with cash.
Important things to note
Each child’s KrisFlyer account can be linked to only one parent, but each parent’s account can be linked up to five children. This means that between you and your spouse, there’s capacity for pooling with up to ten children.
The linkage will automatically terminate once the child turns 16. All mileage transfers are one-way only, and parents will not be able to transfer miles into their child’s account. KrisFlyer miles are valid for three years, and transferring them from a child to a parent does not grant an extension, unless:
- the child is a PPS Club member and the parent is not, in which case the transferred miles now expire three years from the date of transfer
- the parent is a PPS Club member and the child is not, in which case the transferred miles have no expiration.
For what it’s worth, children (even those aged two to 11 who enjoy discounted fares) earn the same number of miles that adults do when flying. The number of miles earned boils down to the fare class purchased:
For example, an Economy Lite fare earns 50% of the miles actually flown, so someone on a round trip between Singapore and San Francisco would earn 50% * 2 * 8,440 = 8,440 KrisFlyer miles.
You can see the number of miles accrued on different routes and fare classes using Singapore Airlines’ mileage calculator tool.
Earn 500 free miles for linking an account
To mark the launch of KrisFlyer for Families, Singapore Airlines is giving 500 free miles to the first 5,000 parents/guardians who link a child’s account by 31 August 2021. Each parent/guardian can earn a maximum of 500 miles, regardless of how many children’s accounts are linked.
The child’s KrisFlyer account must have been created on or before 15 August 2021, so any newly-created accounts will not qualify. If successful, miles will be credited to the parent’s KrisFlyer account within four to six weeks from 31 August 2021.
Strategies for parents
In most situations, parents will find it more worthwhile to transfer over their childrens’ miles, then redeem tickets from the parent’s account.That’s because redemptions are all about accumulating a certain critical mass, and parents simply have access to more sources of miles, such as credit cards, hotel stays and third-party loyalty programmes. Children, on the other hand, are limited to earning miles from flying only.
Let’s look at a simple illustrated example of the Lee family, who have two kids aged nine and 13. The Lees wish to fly to Germany as part of the upcoming VTL arrangement, which will require 304,000 miles in total (76,000 miles per person, round-trip).
Mr and Mrs Lee each have 140,000 miles, while their children have 12,000 miles each. Before KrisFlyer for Families, their children’s miles are essentially irrelevant to the equation- the 12,000 miles each one has are well short of the 76,000 required per person.
But with the new pooling arrangement, one child (aged nine) can link his/her account to Mr Lee, and the other child (aged 13) can link his/her account to Mrs Lee. Assuming a full transfer of miles (US$15/1,500 miles fee), Mr and Mrs Lee each have 152,000 miles, and each of them can redeem a ticket for themself and one child.
Conceptually speaking, think of it as Mr and Mrs Lee paying a fee to access their childrens’ miles. Otherwise, it would take a very long time for either child to earn sufficient miles for a redemption.
KrisFlyer for Families finally adds a way for parents to access their children’s miles. While it’s not free, the admin fee could still be worth paying if only to “liberate” the miles from their account.
Just remember that this option is only available until the child turns 16. They grow up so fast!
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By Aaron Wong
Aaron started The MileLion to help people travel better for less and impress ‘chiobu’. He was 50% successful.