I really hate it when an airline makes changes to their frequent flier program without notice (or with little notice). Even if it’s just a small change or a change that won’t affect many people, I appreciate it when the airline is transparent with their actions and informs their members about upcoming changes.
United Airlines, for example, devalued their award chart last year but they gave us plenty of notice and warning before the changes took effect. So even though the devaluation was a huge blow, I appreciated the opportunity to book awards at the cheaper rates before the devaluation. It’s just common courtesy and it made the devaluation easier to swallow.
And as much as I love Singapore Airlines’ KrisFlyer program, they have been pulling some sneaky sh*t lately. First, they lowered mileage earning rates on partner airlines without notice and now, I just found out they will be raising their fees for award travel changes. These fee changes are not major and won’t affect a ton of people but I don’t appreciate how little they communicated about this.
Here’s their existing schedule of fees. Fees are pretty reasonable for both general members and elite members alike. These low fees are great as they allow us to book award flights before actually making plans. And if our plans don’t work out, being able to change dates at no cost or completely cancel and redeposit miles back into our accounts for $15 is fantastic. But soon, these changes won’t be so cheap.
Starting March 1, 2018, fees for award ticket changes will no longer be based on elite status; but rather, will be based on the type of award booked. Saver awards (what most of us are booking) will see higher fees than Advantage awards (formerly known as standard awards).
With the new fee structure, all changes to saver awards will have an increased cost. Date changes for Singapore Airlines awards will cost $25 and any changes to partner airline awards, at any time, will double in price to $50. For Elite Gold members, completely canceling an award currently costs you $15 but after March 1, 2018, will cost you $75 to have you miles re-deposited back into your account.
The real kicker is the “no show” fee (or canceling within 24 hours). No show fees are currently a flat $75 fee but starting March 1, 2018, will be based on the cabin class of the award booking. Business and first class awards will soon cost $300 for a no show/canceling within 24 hours PLUS an additional $75 to redeposit your miles back into your account. That’s a whopping $375 fee compared to the current fee of just $75.
Overall, these are not major changes and KrisFlyer still ranks well below the competition in terms of fees. But what I’m not a fan of is the lack of flexibility for elite members. Most of the other frequent flier programs have reduced fees for elite members but with this new fee structure, fees will be based on the type of award booked and not elite status. With negative changes like these, this is just another example of how the KrisFlyer program will be less valuable for elite members moving forward.
To learn more about the Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer program, click here to read my 2018 Guide to Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer.