Singapore Airlines’ KrisFlyer frequent flier program used to be my “go-to” alternative to United’s MileagePlus program. It was a great way for me to earn full mileage on many cheap United Airlines flights and earn Star Alliance Gold status year after year. But after a string of cuts and devaluations, KrisFlyer is no longer a valuable program for me. First, they devalued their own award chart for travel on Singapore Airlines, then they cut earning rates on United Airlines flights and now, they just devalued their award chart for partner airlines and increased fees. What was once a rewarding program, Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer is now no better than their competition.
If you’re new to the mileage earning game or just want to learn more about it, I’ll give you all the details about Singapore Airlines’ KrisFlyer program here. In this guide, I will update you on all the recent changes and devaluations and help you maximize your earning and redemption potential.
Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer
Singapore Airlines’ frequent flier program is called “KrisFlyer.” Like American Airlines’ AAvantage and United’s MileagePlus programs, KrisFlyer manages both the earning of elite frequent flier status and benefits (priority services, lounge access, etc.) and the travel rewards program (award travel). Membership to KrisFlyer is free and you can sign up by clicking here.
Once you become a KrisFlyer member, you can earn both Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer Miles and Elite Miles. KrisFlyer Miles are your award miles that can be used to redeem award travel; whereas Elite Miles are earned to obtain elite status. KrisFlyer Miles are earned when flying Singapore Airlines/SilkAir, Star Alliance partner airlines and non-alliance partner airlines such as Alaska Airlines/Virgin America, Virgin Atlantic, Virgin Australia and Vistara.
Elite Miles, on the other hand, are more limited. Elite Miles can only be earned when flying Singapore Airlines/SilkAir; any Star Alliance partner airline; Virgin Atlantic-operated flights on non-transatlantic routes; Virgin Australia codeshare flights within Australia, trans-Tasman and between Australia and the Pacific Islands; and Vistara codeshare flights within India. Flights on Alaska Airlines/Virgin America and JetBlue will not earn Elite Miles.
KrisFlyer is not a revenue-based rewards program but earning KrisFlyer and Elite Miles is directly tied to the fare class of your purchased ticket and the distance flown. As of January 20, 2018, Singapore Airlines introduced three new fare types: Lite, Standard, and Flexi fares.
For economy class tickets, you will earn the following KrisFlyer and Elite Miles and receive the following benefits. Lite fare classes include Q, N, V and X. Standard fare classes include M, H and W. Flexi fare classes include Y, B and E.
Note: Economy Lite tickets no longer include complimentary advance seat selection (unless you are traveling with a child or infant on the same booking).
For premium economy class tickets, you will earn the following KrisFlyer and Elite Miles and receive the following benefits. Standard fare class is P and Flexi fare classes include S and T.
For business class tickets, you will earn the following KrisFlyer and Elite Miles and receive the following benefits. Lite fare class is D. Standard fare class is U and Flexi fare classes include Z, C and J.
For first/suites class tickets, you will earn the following KrisFlyer and Elite Miles and receive the following benefits.
When flying one of their partner airlines, it’s very important that you purchase tickets in the correct fare class. For example, United Airlines first class tickets (A, F) will earn 150% of mileage flown. Business class tickets (C, D, J) will earn 125% of mileage flown. Economy class tickets (B, E, H, M, U and Y) will earn 100% of mileage flown. Economy class tickets (Q, V and W) will earn 75% of mileage flown. Economy class tickets (L, S and T) will earn 50% of mileage flown and lastly, economy class tickets (G, K) will only earn 25% of mileage flown when credited to KrisFlyer. Economy class tickets N (Basic Economy) will earn zero miles.
The full KrisFlyer mileage accrual chart for both Singapore Airlines and partner airlines can be found here:
In addition to flying, you can earn KrisFlyer Miles with hotel stay and car rentals. You can also transfer points from any of the bank rewards programs such as American Express Membership Rewards, Chase Ultimate Rewards, Citi Thank You Rewards and SPG Starpoints to KrisFlyer. All bank rewards programs transfer directly to KrisFlyer at a 1:1 ratio. SPG does offer a 5,000 point bonus for every 20,000 points you transfer to KrisFlyer but I don’t recommend doing this as SPG Starpoints are very valuable for SPG hotel awards. The transfer time for these programs can vary but usually transfer within:
- Chase Ultimate Rewards: almost instantly but can take up to 12 hours.
- American Express Membership Rewards: almost instantly but can take up to 24 hours.
- Citi Thank You Rewards: a little slower than the other two but usually within 24 hours.
- SPG Starpoints: within 6 days but usually sooner.
Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer does have a banking relationship with American Express cards but none of those credit cards are offered for residents of the United States.
BE AWARE!! Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer Miles expire 36 months after accrual, regardless of activity. KrisFlyer members may extend their KrisFlyer Miles for an additional six months and Elite Silver and Elite Gold members may extend their KrisFlyer Miles for an additional year for a nominal fee. However, you may only extend your miles once so make sure to EARN AND BURN!
Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer Elite Status
Unlike the other programs, Singapore Airlines Elite Miles are not accrued on a calendar year basis (January 1 to December 31). Instead, Elite Miles are earned on a 12 consecutive month basis. In other words, your 12-month clock starts the day you earn your first Elite Mile. From that date, you will have until the end of the 12th month to accrue enough Elite Miles to make status. Once you reach an elite tier status level, your new elite status will commence from that day and will be valid for the next 12 months.
There are three tiers of KrisFlyer Elite status:
- KrisFlyer: Once you join, you will be a KrisFlyer member.
- This allows you to start earning and redeeming KrisFlyer Miles and earning Elite Miles towards elite status.
- There are no additional benefits for this tier.
- KrisFlyer Elite Silver: Awarded after earning 25,000 Elite Miles within a 12 consecutive month period.
- Star Alliance Silver status.
- 25% bonus on KrisFlyer Miles earned on flights flown with Singapore Airlines, SilkAir and Virgin Atlantic. Restrictions apply.
- Priority reservation waitlist and priority airport standby (does not apply to award flights).
- Waived or reduced KrisFlyer service fees.
- Complimentary standard seat assignments at time of booking, when traveling on Singapore Airlines/SilkAir economy class “Lite” fares.
- KrisFlyer Elite Gold: Awarded after earning 50,000 Elite Miles within a 12 consecutive month period.
- Elite Silver benefits listed above.
- Star Alliance Gold status.
- Extra baggage allowance when traveling on Singapore Airlines, SilkAir, Virgin Atlantic, Virgin Australia and Star Alliance partner flights.
- Priority boarding and baggage handling.
- Star Alliance Gold lounge access when flying any Star Alliance partner airline. Elite Gold members may invite one guest traveling on the same itinerary.
- Virgin Australia Lounge access when traveling on Virgin Australia. Elite Gold members may invite one guest traveling on the same itinerary.
- Complimentary standard and forward zone seat assignments at time of booking, when traveling on Singapore Airlines/SilkAir economy class “Lite” fares.
In addition to the KrisFyler program, Singapore Airlines also recognizes their most valuable passengers with the Priority Passenger Service Club (PPS Club). PPS Club membership comes with a hefty $25,000 annual spend requirement on premium cabin travel. Needless to say, I won’t be talking about this much as anyone reading this blog probably isn’t spending that kind of cash on premium cabin travel.
KrisFlyer miles are best used for award travel on Singapore Airlines’ own flights, especially in premium cabins. This includes award travel on their brand new Airbus A380 Suites and Business Class seats, which can only be booked with KrisFlyer Miles.
Singapore Airlines has eight different award charts:
- Travel on Singapore Airlines/SilkAir metal only.
- Travel on a combination of Star Alliance partner airlines and Singapore Airlines/SilkAir.
- Travel on Alaska Airlines
- Travel on Juneyao Airlines
- Travel on Virgin Atlantic.
- Travel on Virgin Australia.
- Travel on Virgin America.
- Travel on Vistara
Note: the above links are direct links to the respective award charts. Click on them for more information.
Singapore Airlines opens their award chart 350 days out. However, they do regularly release awards seats closer to travel as well. Awards can be booked as one-ways for half the price of a roundtrip. However, you cannot book one-way awards involving SAS, TAP Portugal or Virgin Atlantic flights. SWISS first class awards are not bookable using KrisFlyer Miles and neither are premium economy seats on Star Alliance partner airlines. Mixed cabin awards are allowed but will be priced at the higher mileage.
KrisFlyer Award Fuel Surcharges
Singapore Airlines does not add fuel surcharges to their own flights but does add fuel surcharges to partner airlines’ flights (when the operating carrier imposes them). For example, most European and Asian carriers will add fuel surcharges to their award flights and they are quite hefty. But other airlines such as Air New Zealand, Avianca, Copa and Virgin America do not. United Airlines does not add fuel surcharges to award flights within North America (including Hawaii) and Air Canada flights within North America do not incur fuel surcharges either.
Award Routing Rules
KrisFlyer routing rules are very strict. They typically require you to book a published routing (something you can buy from the airline’s website) and they specifically prohibit any significant backtracking on awards. Your routing must be the most direct route (even if you are adding stopovers). You can book up to six segments per award.
On a roundtrip saver award, you can add one stopover and one open jaw. On a one-way award, you can only add one stopover to Advantage (standard) awards but not to saver awards. However, you can add an additional stopover to any award booking for $100. You can add up to three stopovers to any Singapore Airlines/SilkAir metal or Singapore Airlines/Star Alliance partner award.
For award travel, a stopover (defined as any layover longer than 24 hours) is not allowed when:
- The itinerary is wholly within one country (domestic award). For example, you can’t do a stopover in Denver when traveling from Los Angeles to New York.
- Within the country of departure on an international award. For example, you can’t do a stopover in New York when traveling from Los Angeles to London.
- On any itinerary containing only European cities. For example, you can’t do a stopover in Frankfurt when traveling from London to Prague.
- On any awards between the US, Canada, Puerto Rico or US Virgin Islands. For example, you can’t do a stopover in New York when traveling from Los Angeles to Puerto Rico.
Open jaws are only permitted at the origin or destination, not en-route. For example, you can go from Los Angeles to Singapore and then return from Singapore to San Francisco. But you cannot go from Los Angeles to Tokyo, open jaw, continue from Seoul to Singapore and then return from Singapore to Los Angeles. And lastly, the original outbound departure city may not be used as a transfer point to the final destination on a return leg. For example, you can’t fly from San Francisco to Hong Kong and then return from Hong Kong to San Francisco and then continue on to New York. However, you can fly from San Francisco to Hong Kong and then return from Hong Kong to Houston and then continue on to New York. Get it?
How to Redeem for Singapore Airlines Flights
Singaporeair.com is the best place to search for Singapore Airlines/SilkAir award space. When you log in, go to the main booking page and check the “Redeem flights” box. Fill in your route and dates and click search. Stopovers, if eligible, can be added later on in the booking process.
Available flights will then be shown to you along with the required miles. If there are no seats available, you can choose to “waitlist” for an award and hope a seat opens up at a later date. Singapore Airlines requires you to have sufficient miles in your account to waitlist for an award but they will not charge you until you actually book it. Once an award seat opens up, you will be notified via email. You will then have 24 hours to confirm the award seat. If you do not confirm the waitlisted award, it will go to the next person. Singapore Airlines does not allow you to place an award on hold.
How to Redeem for Partner Flights
All partner flights can now be booked at singaporeair.com. If you don’t see the flights you want or see the airlines you need, you can always call their North American service line at (312) 843-5333 to book your award. Booking via their call center will incur a $25 service fee.
- For Star Alliance partner airlines award space, you can also search United, ANA or Air Canada’s websites.
- For Virgin Atlantic and Virgin Australia award space, you can also search Delta.com.
- For Alaska Airlines/Virgin America, you can also search Alaskaair.com.
Note: You are looking for award space at the SAVER level. Singapore Airlines does not have access to partner awards at the standard level. And always confirm the award space is available before transferring miles.
Award Travel Fees
Singapore Airlines has some of the most decent fees in the industry. They just added a telephone service fee of $25 but they will waive it if the service you need can’t be done online. They don’t charge a close-in ticketing fee (booking an award within 21 days of travel) or a fee to change the date on a Singapore Airlines/SilkAir award. As for partner awards, changes to flights, dates, routes or carriers will cost you just $20. To completely cancel a booking and redeposit your miles will cost you $30. Elite members receive a discount on these fees.
However, starting on March 1, 2018, fees will be increased for award booking changes.
Award Chart Sweet Spots
KrisFlyer Miles are best used for Singapore Airlines premium cabin awards but there are some other sweet spots as well. For example:
- Using an Alaska Airlines award, travel from the west coast to Hawaii is only 12,000 miles each way for economy class (but first class is way overpriced at 44,500 miles each way).
- Using a Star Alliance partner award, anywhere in North America to Hawaii on United is 17,500 miles each way for economy class or 30,000 miles each way for first class (on a two-cabin plane) with no fuel surcharges. As a point of comparison, United’s own award chart charges 22,500 miles each way for economy class and 40,000 miles each way for first class (on a two-cabin plane).
- Using a Star Alliance partner award, anywhere in Australia or New Zealand to Tahiti or Fiji is only 12,500 miles each way for economy class or 28,000 miles each way for business class with no fuel surcharges. The best use of this award is if you are already in Australia. You can use this award for a roundtrip ticket on Air New Zealand from Australia to Auckland, spend a stopover there, and then continue on to Tahiti or Fiji for your final destination.
- Using a Star Alliance partner award, Turkey to North Africa or the Middle East is only 20,000 miles each way for economy class or 32,500 miles each way for business class. With KrisFlyer, Turkey is considered in the “North Africa/Middle East” region instead of Europe. So for only 20,000 miles each way, you can fly from Istanbul to Abu Dhabi or Dubai on Turkish Airlines or connect in Cairo for a free stopover in Egypt on a roundtrip award.
Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer used to be a rewarding program but unfortunately, I’m not sure that is the case anymore. There are still some pros to their program but overall, I think the KrisFlyer program is no longer a valuable alternative for United MileagePlus members.
- KrisFlyer is the only way to book premium cabin awards on Singapore Airlines.
- You can transfer outside points from other sources such as American Express Membership Rewards, Chase Ultimate Rewards, Citi Thank You Rewards and SPG Starpoints.
- You can earn additional KrisFlyer miles for non-airline activity such as hotel stays and car rentals.
- KrisFlyer Miles expire after 36 months, regardless of activity.
- Elite status only lasts for 12 calendar months.
- Elite status does not offer complimentary upgrades when flying United, Singapore Airlines, etc.
- Strict award routing rules.
- Fuel surcharges on partner airline awards.
What are your thoughts? With all these cuts, will you still credit your miles to Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer? Please let me know your thoughts in the comments section below. Thanks for reading!