KrisFlyer Miles News Singapore Airlines Star Alliance

One week on: What’s changed with online Star Alliance redemptions?

The Singapore Airlines IT team must be on an early Christmas break, given the lack of progress adding online Star Alliance redemption award functionality.

A week ago, Singapore Airlines increased the KrisFlyer mileage rates needed for many redemption flights with Star Alliance carriers.

At the same time, presumably as a way to placate us all, they started offering something we should always have had – Star Alliance and partner airline redemption searching and booking functionality online, not just through the call centre. Altogether, in typical Singapore Airlines IT style, it was totally botched.

SIA pleaded that they hadn’t ever intended to have the system fully functional on the launch date (7th December), and that these flights would be “progressively rolled out” to the online system.

Strange that they only admitted this halfway through the day, after several blogs had already stated it wasn’t working, and online forums were filling with frustrated comments from KrisFlyer members along the same lines.

NotYet.jpg
SIA hurriedly added this message to their online search function a few days after the Star Alliance and partner redemption search was supposed to have gone live. We won’t judge them too much for the grammatical mistake.

So we decided to have another look, one week on from the ‘non-launch’, at what’s changed. In summary, the answer probably won’t surprise you: not a lot.

What’s always worked?

Since 7th December, these redemption searches and award bookings have always appeared on the KrisFlyer website.

Partner awards:

  • Virgin America (VX)
  • Virgin Australia (VA)

Star Alliance awards:

  • Air New Zealand (NZ) (sort of, see below)
  • Lufthansa (LH)

What’s been added?

It appears that the following Star Alliance carriers have had at least some or all of their award inventory added to the system in the last week:

  • Aegean Airlines (A3)
  • Air Canada (AC)
  • Air China (CA)
  • EVA Air (BR)
  • Scandinavian SAS (SK)
  • Swiss International Air Lines (LX)
  • Turkish Airlines (TK)

What’s still missing?

Given that it’s now starting to get a bit complicated, we made a table of all the airlines you’re supposed to be able to perform online redemption searching and award booking with, and then listed whether you actually can or can’t currently do it. Can’t is the operative word, as you’ll see.

$Star Alliance
* offline only

How we determined it

For four partner airlines, we checked random routings across several months where we would expect at least one award seat to come up as available. Trial and error, but better than nothing.

For all 27 Star Alliance airlines (yes, this took us a long time), we found at least two separate itineraries where we know award space was offered to Star Alliance members (using the United MileagePlan site, or ‘KVS’ tool which largely uses the Air Canada Aeroplan database). These are called ‘Star Awards’ and are collectively offered to the frequent flyers of all Star Alliance member carriers.

ANA Star 777
ANA, a little airline with only 220 aircraft and 100 destinations, still can’t be searched for online redemptions through KrisFlyer.

The definitive list

Here it is. As of 15th December, these are the airlines you can and can’t search and redeem awards online with, using the Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer system.

Partner airlines

AS.jpg

Alaska Airlines (AS)*

no
VX.jpg

Virgin America (VX)

yes.jpg
VA

Virgin Australia (VA)

yes.jpg
UK

Vistara (UK)

no

* Note that we originally stated that Alaska Airlines partner awards were showing, but I think it was getting very late that night, and we were just getting confused with Alaska / Virgin America awards. Alaska is not working.

We don’t know about Virgin Atlantic, as they so heavily restrict award availability to KrisFlyer members it’s nearly impossible to determine whether they are or aren’t able to be booked online.

Star Alliance airlines

JP.jpg

Adria Airways (JP)

no
A3

Aegean Airlines (A3)

yes.jpg
AC

Air Canada (AC)

yes.jpg
CA

Air China (CA)

yes.jpg
AI

Air India (AI)

no
NZ

Air New Zealand (NZ)

sortof.jpg
NH

All Nippon Airways (NH)

no
OZ

Asiana Airlines (OZ)

no
OS

Austrian Airlines (OS)

no
AV

Avianca (AV)

no
SN

Brussels Airlines (SN)

no
CM

Copa Airlines (CM)

no
OU

Croatia Airlines (OU)

no
MS.jpg

EgyptAir (MS)

no
ET

Ethiopian Airlines (ET)

no
BR

EVA Air (BR)

yes.jpg
LO

LOT Polish Airlines (LO)

no
LH

Lufthansa (LH)

yes.jpg
SK.jpg

Scandinavian Airlines (SK)

yes.jpg
SZ

Shenzhen Airlines (ZH)

no
SA

South African Airways (SA)

no
LX

Swiss International Air Lines (LX)

yes.jpg
TP

TAP Air Portugal (TP)

no
TG

Thai Airways (TG)

no
TK

Turkish Airlines (TK)

yes.jpg
UA

United Airlines (UA)

no

Star Alliance ‘connecting partners’

HO

Juneyao Airlines (HO)

no

 Sort of?

Air New Zealand is ‘sort of’ because we found Star Award itineraries with them which can be booked through KrisFlyer online, but also ones which can’t. So basically it works for some routes, and not for others.

Interestingly, the award seats we found that it doesn’t work for (but which are available, and you can still book with KrisFlyer over the phone), were all for business class redemptions, like Sydney to Auckland.

NZ(Y)-SYD-AKL
ANZ: Economy yes, but business no…
KVS-NZ.jpg
…yet a Star award seat is available in both classes on this date (CS+ on KVS confirms this).

On the SIA FlyerTalk post, it was also mentioned that Lufthansa awards are not being accurately shown within Europe, or more specifically from European cities to North America via Germany, but we could find no examples of this.

LH-CDG-FRA-JFK
Here’s a Lufthansa business Star Award seat from Paris to New York, it identically mirrored a seat we found previously on KVS tool.

Please let us know if you think we’ve got this wrong.

Singapore Airlines are prioritising their own flights

Not too surprising, but we noticed that SIA are keen that whenever you use your KrisFlyer miles to make another Star Alliance partner a bit richer, at least part of that journey should be with Singapore Airlines, if possible. After all, they need their load factor to look good.

Take a simple business class itinerary from Singapore to Istanbul.

NoThanks
This would be a fantastic way to get to Istanbul in business class…
Finally
…until you realise the obvious non-stop service with Turkish Airlines is finally offered – last!

Caveat

Obviously we didn’t have time to check every single redemption permutation for each airline in order to determine whether the KrisFlyer online system is 100% accurately reflecting the availability. Where possible, we checked a short-haul flight and a long-haul flight for each carrier, and we avoided Singapore as a point of origin/destination to prove SIA weren’t just offering alternatives to their own services.

SIA are pushing their own services first, even when that means making an (unnecessary) connection in conjunction with other Star Alliance airlines, but to be fair most airlines do this. Always scroll to the bottom of the Star Alliance results, as there may be a much better option hiding there.

We’re fairly confident in the analysis, but please do let us know if there are any obvious errors or glaring omissions, and we’ll update it accordingly.

Conclusion

A grand sum of two out of four partner airlines (50%), and a measly nine out of 27* Star Alliance partners (33%) can now be booked through the KrisFlyer online system.

* – Juneyao Airlines is not a full Star Alliance member, but a ‘connecting partner’ airline.

Frustrated Online Search
One week on: beyond disappointing.

It’s still beyond disappointing. This was all basically promised last week, without even a hint to members that any of it wouldn’t be available on 7th December.

On the day, SIA’s response was half-baked.

A week on, and they still don’t even provide a list of what can and can’t be searched and booked through their site – that job is left to online forum enthusiasts and bloggers like us to work out. Pretty disgraceful.

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