At long last, the unique Velocity-KrisFlyer points transfer is back. It gives you the ability to transfer points between the two programs at a ratio of 1.55 to 1 in either direction.
I’d say more of us would have bigger balances with Velocity Frequent Flyer than we do with Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer. That’s given the breadth of Velocity Points earning opportunities in Australia.
But now that you can once again book Singapore Airlines reward seats directly through the Virgin Australia website, does it make sense to transfer your points to KrisFlyer miles?
Three important points to consider
1. Award seat availability is not equal
Singapore Airlines has three levels of award seat availability. Its own KrisFlyer members will see the most seats, including additional options for waitlists and paying more miles for an Advantage award.
Velocity Frequent Flyer members have the next-best access to Singapore Airlines reward seats on the Virgin Australia website, thanks to the special partnership between the two airlines.
Lastly, all other Singapore Airlines partners have access to any remaining reward seats. Availability in premium cabins is quite rare at this stage.
2. Velocity will introduce a carrier charge for Singapore Airlines
Singapore Airlines award flights are well-known for charging very little in fees and taxes. You can often book a round trip anywhere on the network for under AU$200 in co-payments! But sadly, this is changing with Velocity Points.
From 5 October 2022, Velocity Frequent Flyer will introduce a new carrier charge that could add up to US$480 on a standard return booking between Australia and Europe. KrisFlyer won’t charge this fee, so it’s definitely another factor to consider when transferring.
3. KrisFlyer miles do expire
Unlike Velocity Points, which remain active indefinitely if you earn or use points every 24 months, KrisFlyer miles have a hard expiry of 3 years. This means you shouldn’t transfer more points into KrisFlyer than necessary. With that all in mind, we explore when it’s worth transferring your points.
Transferring Velocity Points to KrisFlyer for Singapore Airlines Suites & First Class
If you want to travel in Singapore Airlines Suites or First Class, you’ll have to use KrisFlyer miles. At the time of writing, Virgin Australia hasn’t yet re-enabled First Class/Suites rewards. But we’ve included the figures in the table below for reference.
|From Singapore to:||KrisFlyer miles (Saver)||Velocity Points (not currently available)||Velocity Points transferred to KrisFlyer|
|Delhi/Mumbai||58,500 miles||78,000 pts||90,675 pts|
|Sydney/Melbourne||93,500 miles||95,000 pts||144,925 pts|
|Between Frankfurt & New York||97,000 miles||95,000 pts||150,350 pts|
|London/Paris/Frankfurt||141,000 miles||134,000 pts||218,550 pts|
|New York via Frankfurt||148,500 miles||203,000 pts||230,175 pts|
If we take the example of flying from Sydney to Singapore in Suites or First Class, that would cost you 93,500 KrisFlyer miles. Directly through Velocity, it would cost you 95,000 Velocity Points.
However, First Class/Suites rewards are not currently available through Velocity. Therefore, you would have to convert 144,925 Velocity Points to 93,500 KrisFlyer miles to book this award.
Obviously, booking this reward directly through Velocity would save you a lot of points, but we’ll have to assess what award availability is like when that option returns.
Transferring Velocity Points to KrisFlyer for Singapore Airlines Business, Premium Economy and Economy
If you have access to KrisFlyer miles, then that remains the cheapest way (at least where taxes are concerned) to book a flight in Singapore Airlines Business, Premium Economy or Economy Class.
Do you only have Velocity Points? See if you can access reward seats through Velocity. You’ll usually pay less in points but more in carrier charges from 5 October 2022. Alternatively, you could also choose to transfer your Velocity Points to KrisFlyer.
We’ve compared the pricing of one-way Singapore-operated flights from Sydney and Melbourne to four destinations: Singapore, Bangkok, Tokyo and London.
|From Sydney/Melbourne to:||Cabin||KrisFlyer miles||Velocity Points||Velocity Points transferred to KrisFlyer|
|Singapore||Business||68,500 miles||67,000 pts|
(+ US$90 + taxes)
|Premium Economy||51,000 miles||52,500 pts|
(+ US$60 + taxes)
|Economy||30,500 miles||29,000 pts|
(+ US$30 + taxes)
|Bangkok||Business||68,500 miles||71,000 pts|
(+ US$180 + taxes)
|Economy||30,500 miles||31,000 pts|
(+ US$60 + taxes)
|Tokyo||Business||100,500 miles||104,000 pts|
(+ US$180 + taxes)
|Premium Economy||77,000 miles||84,000 pts|
(+ US$120 + taxes)
|Economy||45,500 miles||56,000 pts|
(+ US$60 + taxes)
|London||Business||130,500 miles||139,000 pts|
(+ US$240 + taxes)
|Premium Economy||101,000 miles||112,500 pts|
(+ US$160 + taxes)
|Economy||58,500 miles||75,000 pts|
(+ US$80 + taxes)
(The KrisFlyer miles needed for each destination are usually the same from Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide and Cairns. Figures from Perth and Darwin are lower. We’ve incorporated the 5 Oct 2022 changes into this table.)
Here are the key takeaways from this table:
- From a points perspective, it’s always cheaper to book directly with Velocity Frequent Flyer than it is to transfer your points to KrisFlyer.
- But if you have access to flexible reward points – such as Amex Membership Rewards, Westpac Altitude or PayRewards points that can convert to KrisFlyer or Velocity – it’s usually better to transfer those directly to KrisFlyer if you’re after a Singapore Airlines redemption.
- Looking at fees and taxes, you’ll always pay less with KrisFlyer because of the Velocity carrier charges coming in from 5 October 2022.
- However, if you already have Velocity Points, we still suggest it’s better to pay the new carrier charges with Velocity rather than transfer points to KrisFlyer to avoid it.
Taking the Sydney-Singapore-London example in Business Class – from 5 October, you’ll need to pay an additional US$240 (~AU$345) co-payment on a reward seat with Velocity Points, on top of the usual taxes. But if you transfer your points to KrisFlyer to avoid the co-payment, you’ll need to use up 63,275 more Velocity Points instead.
Unless you’re really points-rich or really want to save on cash payments, we think it’s better just to stomach the new carrier charges and save your points for something else.
For example, those Velocity Points are nearly enough for another Business reward seat between Sydney and Singapore, which is far more valuable than just saving US$240 in carrier charges.
Bulk up your Velocity Points balance and fly in style with Singapore Airlines.
Based on the current changes, Velocity Frequent Flyer remains the best-value way to redeem points for Singapore Airlines reward seats. Members get access to more availability than most of Singapore Airlines’ other airline partners, which is a neat perk.
From 5 October 2022, Velocity will begin levying a new carrier charge on Singapore Airlines bookings. But after crunching the numbers, we believe it’s better to pay the surcharge rather than transfer more points to KrisFlyer and avoid the carrier charge.
So, when does it make sense to transfer your Velocity Points to KrisFlyer? Well, it comes down to a few other scenarios where you might get more perks:
- access more award seat availability that’s not present on Velocity
- to book Singapore Airlines First Class and Suites awards
- to book seats up to 355 days before departure (instead of 330 days with Velocity)
- get a free stopover with return Saver or one-way Advantage KrisFlyer awards
- you want to book other Star Alliance partners with Velocity Points, such as Thai Airways
- booking a round-the-world ticket with Star Alliance for 280,000 miles in Business Class
This article was originally written by Matt Moffitt.