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Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer is one of the most valuable frequent flyer programs in the world. It’s one of my favorite places to transfer points from my Chase Sapphire Preferred Card. (Points transfer from American Express Membership Rewards and Citi ThankYou Rewards as well.)
- Almost no fees. There are no fees for telephone booking, for close-in award redemption, or for changing the time or date of travel on a Singapore Airlines award. (Changes to partner awards are just $20.) Award cancel and redeposits cost $30 — or $75 if you straight up no show.
- Great award availability. While it’s almost impossible to book premium cabin long haul awards on Singapore Airlines using partner miles like United MileagePlus, award availability is much better than average using Singapore’s own miles, and you can waitlist awards.
- Stopovers. You get one enroute stopover on a roundtrip for free, and you can book an open jaw as well. Extra stopovers, or stopovers on a one-way, cost $100. Although you do have to book the most direct routing.
Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer is making 3 significant changes effective March 23:
- Eliminating fuel surcharges on Singapore and Silkair redemptions.
- Eliminating the 15% online booking discount. (This was a discount only for Singapore flights, since partner awards can’t be booked online.)
- Raising award prices for Singapore Airlines economy, business, and first class awards
Whenever an airline says it’s raising award prices “to ensure that flight rewards remain sustainable yet competitive” what they really mean is “because we can.” KrisFlyer is generally too good, it’s been one of my favorite frequent flyer programs. And the best values do not last. Since the beginning of this blog 15 years ago I’ve been writing that anything which is several standard deviations better than the mean will eventually disappear, so enjoy it while it lasts.
It’s the dropping of the 15% discount that makes the changes significant. For instance,
- Singapore – San Francisco business class is 80,000 one-way today.
- It’s going up to 88,000 each way.
- That’s just a 10% increase.
- However the loss of the 15% discount means the ‘real’ price is going from 68,000 to 88,000, an increase of 29%
The mileage price goes up, but you’re saving ~ US$230 in fuel surcharges each direction. That’s a value of about 1.2 cents apiece you’re getting for the mileage increase. That’s not enough to be worth it but it’s a real offset that makes the changes not nearly as bad.
The offset though matters for redemptions on Singapore to South Asia, to Australia, and to Europe but there’s really no offset for North Asia redemptions since those fuel surcharges are so low to begin with.
For other US non-stop routes in business class,
- San Francisco – Hong Kong goes from 75,000 to 82,000 miles, and loses the 15% discount
- Los Angeles – Tokyo goes from 77,500 to 85,000 miles, and loses the 15% discount
- Los Angeles – Seoul goes from 77,500 to 85,000 miles, and loses the 15% discount
- Houston – Manchester goes from 57,500 to 65,000 miles, and loses the 15% discount
- New York JFK – Frankfurt goes from 57,500 to 65,000 miles, and loses the 15% discount
US-Europe at 130,000 miles roundtrip and no fuel surcharges is reasonable. US-Asia at 170,000 miles roundtrip and no fuel surcharges is expensive but non-crazy especially considering how much award availability Singapore Airlines offers when using KrisFlyer miles.
There are no changes to:
- Premium economy award prices
- Standard (extra miles) awards that give you much more award availability
- Upgrade award chart prices
- Star Alliance award prices
Of course standard awards and upgrade awards lose their 15% online discount, so the award chart price doesn’t change but the effective cost still goes up for those redemptions.
Bottom-line is that the elimination of fuel surcharges offsets, but isn’t enough to make up for, the increases in award prices — especially the loss of the 15% online discount. However prices are still within the ballpark, availability is in general still excellent, and with no change to upgrade or Star Alliance pricing it will still remain a go-to for my Chase Sapphire Preferred Card points transfers.
(HT: Gul C)