Introduction

The basics? After registering for a KrisFlyer account and religiously using credit cards to earn those precious points, remember to transfer them to your KrisFlyer account before they expire. Some actually don’t expire, which is great. While I haven’t redeemed my Suites Class flights yet, a pair of Business Class would be a nice appetizer.

After accumulating miles and deciding on where to spend them, the rest should be easy, right?

Maximizing miles? That’s the tough part, but I’m going to make it easy for you with an example. I’ll illustrate what I know as the stopover travel hack, which is pretty simple once you get the hang of it. First of all, let’s understand the difference between a layover and a stopover.

Layover

Let’s say I’m taking a Scoot flight from Singapore to Narita via Taipei. Therefore, we have a layover in Taipei – basically a stop that is less than 24 hours in duration.

SIN – TPE (Layover) – NRT

Stopover

What if I’m on a business trip from Singapore to Bangkok via Kuala Lumpur? Further assume I’m going to be staying in Kuala Lumpur and working for a week (more than 24-hours) before resuming the second leg of my trip.

SIN – KUL (Stopover) – BKK

How Does The Stopover Trick Work?

To make best use of our miles, we need to look closer at the KrisFlyer redemption chart. Below is a section of the KrisFlyer Saver awards redemption chart.

Say I want to fly from Taipei (Zone 4) to Singapore (Zone 1). A Business Saver award would require 27,500 miles per pax. Looking closer, we can see that flying from Zone 4 to Zone 2 costs the same number of miles too. Isn’t that odd? Can we use it to our advantage?

This means that both the routes below (assuming Saver Business Award) costs the same number of miles, despite one being much further than the other –

  • TPE > SIN = 27,500 miles
  • TPE > DPS = 27,500 miles

If we make two separate redemptions, it would look like this –

  • [TPE > SIN] + [SIN > DPS]  =  27,500 + 17,500 miles

But wait, something is off. I want to go home (Singapore) from Taipei, not end up in Bali. What gives? Well, we can insert stopovers! At a rate of US$100 per stopover.

  • TPE > SIN = 27,500 miles
  • TPE > SIN (Stopover) > DPS = 27,500 miles + US$100

And the best thing is that a stopover can last as long as one full year.

If it isn’t clicking for you yet, it basically means this : US$100 will buy me a business ticket with up to one year validity in the future from the time of booking, and this is best used in conjunction with knowledge of a planned/known subsequent trip. In my case, a vacation to pool-villa paradise in Bali.

What’s The Catch?

  • As a basic criteria, the route cannot be back-tracking. What does that mean?
    TPE > SIN > DPS = Good
    TPE > SIN > BKK = No Go (‘V’ shape route)
  • Obviously, such a redemption would work best with at least some form of knowledge as to where we would be travelling to next. We have to indicate the final destination, after all.
  • Also, you gotta set the date of the second flight from the date of calling in the booking. Sure, the date can be changed later on, but it’ll cost US$25 per ticket change.
  • You have to call in the reservation. It is not possible to make the Saver redemption online with a stopover inserted.

Unlike conventional thinking, we are actually free to make other flights while technically still on a stopover.

Step-By-Step Guide

Not sure what to expect when calling in to make your first redemption? Let me help 🙂

  1. Log in to KrisFlyer account and add a nominee if you will be redeeming ticket for someone other than yourself. This is important, and they can’t issue the ticket (for your girlfriend etc) if you don’t do this step.
  2. Have a valid credit card and computer/laptop with internet access handy.
  3. Call KrisFlyer Membership Services number 6789 8188.
  4. Once patched through, tell the customer service officer what you want e.g.
    • What – Redemption of Business Saver Award flight using KrisFlyer miles
    • Where – Taipei to Bali (Denpasar) via Singapore (Stopover)
    • When – First Leg = 1st Jan 2018, Second Leg = 1st Jan 2019. This also means that you have do prior homework on which flight number and timing you want, especially important if you want to snag a particular aircraft type such as A380 for Suites Class.
    • Who – Names (prevent mistakes using NATO phonetic alphabet). In any case, can simply inform the CSO that the passenger names are as per your KrisFlyer account and nominees.
  5. Usually I’ll ask for a breakdown to know exactly how much I’ll be paying.
  6. The customer service officer will then email you the itinerary (no payment yet) for you to check the details while still on the line. So, no worries for any mistakes here and slowly double-check the details.
  7. Once happy with the itinerary, inform the customer service officer that you would like to make payment via credit card.
  8. He or she will divert the line to an automated payment system – just enter the credit card details as instructed.
  9. Once payment has cleared, the customer service officer will once again email the confirmed itinerary as well as the tickets. Your KrisFlyer miles will be immediately deducted.

Pro-Tip : If there is certain flight availability that you die-die want to lock in, but can’t confirm yet, the CSO can hold the tickets for you temporarily. A couple of days should not be a problem.

There you have it. The infamous US$100 business class flight. By letting your imagination run wild, multiple stopovers can be inserted. Also, by chaining up redemptions with stopovers, one can really stretch the miles by paying budget-flight/economy-class prices for business-class flights!

Now go out there and try flying in luxury! It’s actually possible given a little bit of effort and patience. Well, unless you’re in the cash-back camp – this game is not for you then 🙂