For more than a decade I’ve been the holder of a Kris Flyer frequent flyer card from Singapore Airlines. As great as Singapore Airlines are I’ve finally come to my senses and moved to Miles And More for my Star Alliance frequent flyer points.
People who have read my book on frequent flyer schemes know how I advocate being the member of at least one airline scheme for each of the three major alliances – Star Alliance, Sky Team and One World. This allows efficient gathering of frequent flyer points from trips with most major airlines.
However I don’t advocate splitting your points for each alliance across more than one frequent flyer scheme, that is wasteful and a detrimental way to achieving a goal of free flights or higher status on schemes.
So following my own advice I’m moving away from collecting points with Singapore Airlines’ Kris Flyer since it has a very distinct disadvantage to that offered by Miles and More.
The day I joined Singapore’s KrisFlyer
When I first began flying frequently more than 15 years ago I was relatively naive about frequent flyer schemes. I’d sign up for almost each airline I flew with. Then I discovered the alliances and realised that I could more efficiently collect points by being on few schemes.
When it comes to Star Alliance I used to fly long haul a few times with Singapore Airlines. At the time I thought it sensible to join their frequent flyer scheme known as KrisFlyer. I would continue flying with Singapore a few times a year, or so I thought and I like the airline.
I’ve earnt a fair few frequent flyer miles with them over the years and reasonably high flyer status. I’ve also been able to redeem points for flights over the years for myself and a travelling companion.
It sounds good so far.
The problem with KrisFlyer frequent flyer scheme
The only problem was that my points (or miles) were constantly wasted. My frustration was that Kris Flyer miles expire, after 36 months from the month of earning them. So if you don’t fly often enough you’ll rarely have enough miles to redeem for a dream flight.
Kris Flyer do offer the chance to extend the miles but it is far from alluring. You can only extend miles by a further 6 months. Once that extended 6 months is reached you can’t extend them again.
The extension also comes at a cost. It is either $12 USD or 1,200 miles charge for every 10,000 miles that you extend. Ouch! That is a sure fire way to lose your miles even more.
So what was I to do? Over the years I’ve had a few flight redemptions but seen even more miles expire without ever been used.
Compare that to my wonderful Sky Team frequent flyer scheme where I have over one million unexpired frequent flyer miles. This is the Air France / KLM frequent flyer scheme called Flying Blue. I love this scheme because as long as I take a qualifying flight for miles at least once every 20 months then my miles will not expire. No need to worry about expiry dates and if I’ll hit my target miles for a dream flight.
So what does the Star Alliance set of frequent flyer schemes offer?
Well there are nearly 30 different airlines in the Star Alliance. In fact Star Alliance round the world is the biggest airline alliance on the planet. It would take me an immense amount of time to assess each scheme to determine which is the best one. Then once I do the terms can and do change frequently. I’d hate to tell you that a particular scheme is the best one only for the terms to change the very next day.
After my frustrations with Kris Flyer I stumbled upon Miles and More, the frequent flyer scheme offered by Lufthansa and the my Austrian airlines.
I’ve flown with Lufthansa before and have a future flight scheduled with them. I quite like the German airline and they serve Europe and beyond well. There is plenty of opportunity to earn and redeem miles with them as well as other Star Alliance members such as Singapore.
When do the Miles and More miles expire?
At the time of writing, in early 2016, the Miles and More miles also expire after 36 months, just like Kris Flyer. However there are tricks to avoid this.
For a start, should I take out a Miles and More credit card, make a qualifying spend on the card each month (such as my weekly shop) then my miles would not expire 🙂
Yet would I be eligible for a Miles and More credit card? Well I must be because within days of joining their scheme they e-mailed me an invitation to apply for the card.
The Miles and More credit card is actually affiliated and offered in the following countries:-
That is a pretty extensive list of countries to qualify.
Whilst Kris Flyer also have their own credit card it is not offered to me in the UK and is primarily targeted at Asian citizens.
Another way points don’t expire with Miles and More but do with Kris Flyer
Another great feature of Miles And More is that if you fly often enough then your frequent flyer miles won’t expire either. If you can achieve one tier up, “frequent traveller” status (35,000 status miles or 30 flights in a calendar year (I prefer the 35k miles target)) then your miles will not qualify for expiration.
I’m not sure if I’d achieve that level of miles in 2016 but it is certainly something I could aim for in the future.
Any other significant differences between Kris Flyer and Miles and More?
When comparing schemes it is all a much of muchness really. Small details vary and it can depend on what is important to you.
For example, when it comes to airline partners for earning and redeeming miles there are 37 airlines that qualify with Miles And More (most are Star Alliance partners).
For KrisFlyer there are 35 airlines, however this includes the Virgin brands such as Virgin Atlantic which Miles and More don’t.
Both schemes allow you to earn miles with car hire at the following companies:
Miles and More also allows miles to be earnt with Budget compared to Kris Flyer who allow Rentalcars.com instead.
There are various shopping and hotel options too. I counted over 100 hotel brands with Miles and More and Kris Flyer was not too dissimilar. Such as both included Accor which is a massive chain. (Accor also have their own frequent hotel stayer scheme.)
Which is better Miles and More or Kris Flyer?
This is quite a subjective question because it depends on your needs and what your travel plans are. Both are free to join and you can start earning miles virtually immediately. Earn high enough status and you get privileges with them such as access to Star Alliance lounges around the world, extra luggage allowance, upgrades and flight redemptions.
However for me, seeing miles expire before I’ve redeemed them is a big gripe of mine so I am happy to say Miles and More is the better choice for me.
If you want to know more about the history and benefits of frequent flyer schemes and how to use them to the best advantage then have a read of my book which is available on the Amazon kindle format.