In an email announcement last night, Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer has updated many of its rules for redeeming award miles for upgrades and award travel. Although all airlines make changes to their award pricing on a regular basis, often every one or two years, the other changes seem geared toward making the program easier to use.
Additional changes include upgrades from economy to business class even when premium economy is available, a seven-day view of award chart availability when searching online, a promise that any waitlisted reservations will be “filled or killed” 14 days before departure, and the extension of a program called Spontaneous Escapes that offers discounted last-minute awards to select destinations.
New Prices for Award Travel
In general, prices are increasing for award travel on Singapore Airlines by about 5,000 to 10,000 miles each way. Links to the current and future award charts are available on the KrisFlyer announcement page, and the change will go into effect for tickets booked on or after January 24, 2019. Remember to scroll to the second page of each PDF for saver awards. Examples are below:
Zone 13 (East Coast and Houston) to Singapore
- First class increases from 120,000 to 132,000 miles
- Business class increases from 92,000 to 99,000 miles
Zone 12 (West Coast) to Singapore
- First class increases from 118,000 to 130,000 miles
- Business class increases from 88,000 to 95,000 miles
Zone 4 (South China, Hong Kong, and Taiwan) to Singapore
- First class increases from 37,500 to 40,500 miles
- Business class increases from 27,500 to 30,500 miles
Waitlist up to Two Weeks in Advance
Singapore Airlines has long offered a waitlist policy in the event that the flight you want does not have award space available. This allows you to request a seat and have first dibs in case award space becomes available later. The problem is that you may be waiting until the day of departure only to be disappointed and find yourself stuck at the airport.
The new policy will decide on all waitlist requests at least two weeks before departure. If your waitlist does not clear, the request will be cancelled and you’ll still have two weeks to make alternate arrangements to reach your destination. The change will take effect in spring.
One hopes that maybe this will push KrisFlyer to add award space a little earlier if it knows these requests are about to be cancelled. On the other hand, if you have to go to another airline as a backup then I hope that you have elite status to avoid any last-minute booking fees.
Spontaneous Escapes Permanent Extended
Spontaneous Escapes are similar to the monthly promotional awards offered by Air France/KLM, with discounts of up to 30% in select cabins and on select flights. For example, February discounts include travel in business class for just 61,600 miles each way from Singapore to Los Angeles on flights SQ 35/36. That’s much better than the usual price of 88,000 miles.
Note that the discounts are very specific. There are no discounts for economy or first class travel on this particular route (at least not in February), and you must be traveling on flights SQ 35/36. There are also discounts in premium economy for the same route, and those allow you to travel on flights SQ 35/36/37/38.
You can read more about all the changes coming to the KrisFlyer program, including changes to upgrade awards and new search tool functionality, by visiting the Singapore Airlines website.