Singapore Airlines Introduces Premium Economy Awards and Upgrades, Eliminates “Full” Awards

Singapore Airlines premium economy awards will become available to KrisFlyer members May 24 and mileage upgrades to premium economy will become available June 1. This is for Singapore flights only, and not for Star Alliance partner flights.

Since only one category upgrade is possible, that means on flight which offer premium economy it will no longer be possible to upgrade from coach to business. And premium economy cabins are small, those upgrades could be tough to get. There are separate award charts for economy to premium economy and for economy to business upgrades (.pdf).

These upgrades aren’t cheap. Singapore charges 30,000 miles one-way between Los Angeles and Tokyo or between San Francisco and Seoul. Of course there are no cash co-pays. Oddly the chart shows only 32,500 miles between the US West Coast and Singapore and 38,000 between the US West Coast and Sydney.

Singapore’s Premium Economy is a quality product which offers:

  • noise-cancelling headphones
  • seat power and 2 USB ports
  • designated storage for water bottle, mobile phone and laptop
  • 18.5 or 19.5 inch width, 38-inch pitch, 8-inch recline, and a 13.3-inch HD screen.
  • footrests
  • retractable aisle seat armrest that can be pushed down at the touch of a button, so that it is completely flush with the seat bottom for greater spaciousness
  • amenity kit
  • champagne and ‘book the cook’ pre-order meal service

For award tickets, I’d consider booking business class rather than premium economy.

A one-way saver award between Los Angeles or San Francisco and Singapore is 65,000 miles in premium economy or 80,000 miles in business class. Houston or New York JFK to Singapore is 70,000 miles in premium economy or 85,000 miles in business class. Business class is only a 15,000 mile premium in each direction.

Singapore Airlines Boeing 777-300ER Business Class

Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer, which has had a three tier award chart (saver, standard, and full awards), is eliminating the ‘full’ category. That’s the category which offers provides last seat availability at appallingly high pricing. The appallingly high pricing goes away, and I have to assume last seat availability does as well though I’ve asked Singapore to clarify.

Anyone with ‘full’ awards May 24 onward will be reticketed as ‘standard’ and get a refund in miles. Meanwhile the two award zones for Europe are being combined into a single zone.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. It wasn’t actually last seat availability … it was more like “almost last seat” availability.

  2. @Rapid Travel Chai – it creates an interesting opportunity to book FULL awards now, where only full is available, and get miles back. These are seats that it isn’t clear would even be available later that you can get for ‘cheap’.

  3. Are they serious about this (copied from the Economy to PE upgrade chart)?

    “Economy Class tickets purchased on Singapore Airlines or SilkAir must be in Y, B or E booking classes to be eligible for the upgrade redemption award.”

    Many PE fares are already cheaper than full-fare economy. Looking at SQ NYC-FRA fares, the lowest PE fare is $629 while the lowest eligible economy fare in E is $737.

    Or is this like most useless *A upgrade awards where in most cases you can usually buy a business class seat cheaper than paying for the eligible economy booking classes and then using your miles on top of it?

  4. I notice with this change they are also devaluation their first and business class tickets. What are the rules with Singapore? Say I book a first award now prior to the devaluation can I later change it to another date at the old price?

  5. I would never book an award at full the prices were insane. The prices at standard are bad enough. None of my waitlists for nrt to lax are clearing and it’s getting to the point where i will have to hope i can book alternative transport. The lack of availability so far just completely sucks.

  6. “Meanwhile the two award zones for Europe are being combined into a single zone.”

    This is actually a stealth mini devaluation – as AMS-AKL for example is 68,000 Krisflyer miles (inc 15% online discount) in business class one-way and this will change to 80,750.

    Not a massive amount I know but only 1 weeks notice. Thankfully mine is already booked 🙂

  7. Redeeming airmiles for Premium Economy at 80% of the price of Business seems like madness. I’d almost certainly choose to just pay cash for Economy if Business redemption was unavailable.

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