KrisFlyer Singapore Airlines

What’s the best KrisFlyer redemption per minute of flight time?

We've crunched the numbers on how many KrisFlyer miles you're spending per minute on Saver redemptions by route, and some of the results may surprise you

Airport Clock

Firstly, the title of this article might cause you to think this is not a particularly original idea. I’ll admit – it’s not. Rob, founder of website Head for Points in the UK, ran a very similar article in February last year relating to the British Airways ‘Avios’ frequent flyer scheme, and I’ve been meaning to replicate the analysis for the KrisFlyer program for some time.

HFP logo

Partly it was for my own curiosity (I’m a bit of a self-confessed nerd when it comes to spreadsheets), but also I thought it would make a pretty interesting article for all to read too. After all, we often talk about KrisFlyer redemption ‘sweet spots’ without really looking closely at exactly what that means.

Anyway before we move on, Rob has kindly stated that he doesn’t object to my blatant plagiarism of his idea and (though he didn’t ask me to) I’d strongly recommend following his site if you have any interest in the Avios program, as there are often topics and articles that can be relevant to those of us based in Singapore.

The Analysis

It’s pretty simple – how many KrisFlyer miles does it take to redeem a round-trip ‘Saver’ award flight from Singapore per minute of scheduled flight time, by cabin class? I’ve left SilkAir out for simplicity and just concentrated on SIA flights. If there’s enough interest maybe I’ll do the SilkAir tables in a future article.

KrisFlyer Logo
Not all KrisFlyer miles are created equal…

Methodology

Where flight times differ slightly between Singapore Airlines services on the same route, I’ve assumed the shortest flight is chosen in both directions for fairness, based on flight schedules for the week commencing 2nd April 2018.

For example on Bali the shortest flight is scheduled at 02:40 on the SIN-DPS sector (even though most are 02:45), and 02:45 is the shortest scheduled time on DPS-SIN (even though most are 02:50). I’ve therefore used 05:25 as the shortest round-trip timings you can get for that route.

It becomes more important on long-haul east-west routes where flight times can differ significantly, such as Singapore to Amsterdam which is 13:20, while Amsterdam to Singapore is 12:40, so using a total of 26:00 takes account of the difference on a round-trip redemption.

For routes with a stopover, such as Singapore to Cape Town where the aircraft stops in Johannesburg for an hour, the time spent on the ground in both directions has been deducted from the total – since you usually have to get off the plane anyway during these stops, and even if you can stay on board there is little or no service offered.

Flight schedules were sourced from ExpertFlyer.com, but can also be found on the Singapore Airlines website. KrisFlyer saver award miles requirements were sourced from the redemption chart at the Singapore Airlines website.

For simplicity I didn’t look at the taxes and charges payable for each route, which can be significant (for example on ex-UK awards).

Of course average or cheapest fare is the true determining factor of the ‘value’ you are getting from your miles – this article does not attempt to do this and simply analyses the time-based redemption costs. If you’re interested in our analysis of the cash value of your miles see our guide here.

Economy Class

Here’s how the miles per minute calculation works out for economy class saver round-trip redemptions from Singapore, the average across all routes being 57 miles per minute.

Economy Class 3
Don’t smile too much – on some routes this seat is costing you over 100 KrisFlyer miles a minute. (Photo: Singapore Airlines)
Economy Class
Route Total Duration Miles Miles / Minute
Houston 45:35 80,000 29
New York 42:30 80,000 31
Cape Town 24:55 50,000 33
Los Angeles (SQ7) 37:20 76,000 34
Los Angeles (SQ11) 36:00 76,000 35
San Francisco (SQ2) 34:35 76,000 37
Istanbul 21:30 50,000 39
Johannesburg 21:00 50,000 40
San Francisco (SQ32) 31:55 76,000 40
Wellington 22:50 56,000 41
Christchurch 20:35 56,000 45
Barcelona (SQ378) 27:55 76,000 45
Auckland 20:25 56,000 46
Manchester 26:45 76,000 47
London 26:30 76,000 48
Barcelona (SQ388) 26:15 76,000 48
Paris (CDG) 26:10 76,000 48
Amsterdam 26:00 76,000 49
Stockholm 25:50 76,000 49
Bali 05:05 15,000 49
Dusseldorf 25:25 76,000 50
Frankfurt 25:05 76,000 50
Zurich 25:00 76,000 51
Milan 24:40 76,000 51
Copenhagen 24:35 76,000 52
Rome 24:35 76,000 52
Munich 24:15 76,000 52
Beijing 12:20 40,000 54
Ahmedabad 11:20 37,000 54
Surabaya 04:35 15,000 55
Taipei 09:10 30,000 55
Delhi 11:15 37,000 55
Dubai 14:45 50,000 56
Mumbai 10:50 37,000 57
Manila 07:15 25,000 57
Brunei 04:20 15,000 58
Tokyo (NRT) 14:15 50,000 58
Moscow 21:35 76,000 59
Brisbane 15:50 56,000 59
Sydney 15:50 56,000 59
Canberra 15:45 56,000 59
Tokyo (HND) 13:55 50,000 60
Hanoi 06:50 25,000 61
Nagoya 13:35 50,000 61
Guangzhou 08:05 30,000 62
Melbourne 15:05 56,000 62
Osaka 13:20 50,000 63
Shanghai 10:40 40,000 63
Perth 10:35 40,000 63
Adelaide 14:20 56,000 65
Seoul 12:45 50,000 65
Fukuoka 12:40 50,000 66
Hong Kong 07:35 30,000 66
Male 09:10 37,000 67
Yangon 06:00 25,000 69
Bengaluru 08:50 37,000 70
Jakarta 03:30 15,000 71
Chennai 08:30 37,000 73
Kolkata 08:25 37,000 73
Dhaka 08:10 37,000 76
Colombo 07:45 37,000 80
Bangkok 04:50 25,000 86
Ho Chi Minh 04:10 25,000 100
Kuala Lumpur 02:10 15,000 115

The longest routes come out best for economy saver redemptions at around 30 KrisFlyer miles per minute – Houston and New York, while the shortest flight to Kuala Lumpur is by far the worst at 115 miles per minute. That’s the same as the average business class miles per minute rate and more expensive per minute, for example, than a business class award to Zurich.

Ho Chi Minh also comes out particularly poorly at 100 miles per minute owing to its proximity to Singapore and high redemption rate. It’s not all bad news for closer destinations though, Bali is a very respectable 49 miles per minute.

Premium Economy Class

The average premium economy class redemption cost came out at 79 miles per minute.

Premium Economy Class_02_small

Premium Economy Class
Route Total Duration Miles Miles / Minute
Cape Town 24:55 70,000 47
Houston 45:35 140,000 51
New York 42:30 140,000 55
Johannesburg 21:00 70,000 56
Los Angeles (SQ7) 37:20 130,000 58
Los Angeles (SQ11) 36:00 130,000 60
San Francisco (SQ2) 34:35 130,000 63
San Francisco (SQ32) 31:55 130,000 68
Auckland 20:25 90,000 73
Barcelona (SQ378) 27:55 125,000 75
Tokyo (NRT) 14:15 65,000 76
Tokyo (HND) 13:55 65,000 78
Manchester 26:45 125,000 78
London 26:30 125,000 79
Dubai 14:45 70,000 79
Barcelona (SQ388) 26:15 125,000 79
Paris (CDG) 26:10 125,000 80
Amsterdam 26:00 125,000 80
Stockholm 25:50 125,000 81
Beijing 12:20 60,000 81
Dusseldorf 25:25 125,000 82
Frankfurt 25:05 125,000 83
Zurich 25:00 125,000 83
Milan 24:40 125,000 84
Copenhagen 24:35 125,000 85
Rome 24:35 125,000 85
Seoul 12:45 65,000 85
Munich 24:15 125,000 86
Delhi 11:15 60,000 89
Mumbai 10:50 60,000 92
Shanghai 10:40 60,000 94
Brisbane 15:50 90,000 95
Sydney 15:50 90,000 95
Moscow 21:35 125,000 97
Hong Kong 07:35 45,000 99
Melbourne 15:05 90,000 99

Cape Town is the obvious standout on value once you move into the premium cabins – 47 miles per minute in premium economy on that route is less than most economy rates.

Melbourne and Hong Kong come out worst in this cabin, at nearly 100 miles per minute – that’s a higher rate than a suites redemption to New York. Moscow, Sydney and Brisbane also fare poorly.

It’s not all bad news in the Australia and New Zealand zone for premium economy though, as you’d expect for the same miles rate Auckland is a much more reasonable 73 miles per minute.

Cape Town Table Mountain
47 miles per minute in Premium Economy or just 60 miles per minute in Business Class – Cape Town is an unbeatable KrisFlyer redemption

Business Class

The KrisFlyer miles rate for saver business class redemptions worked out as 115 miles per minute on average.

For the business class table I’ve also added some colour coding to represent the seat types you can book on each route. It’s designed to help you easily see where you can get the best value redemptions on the latest products, like the 2013 J, 2017 J and 2018 RJ seats. It also exposes the routes on which you’re paying through the nose for an older seat.

Key to Business Class Seat Types
2006 RJ Window Pair J
2018 RJ 2018RJ-6 (AusBT)
2006 J SQ 77W 2006J (miya.m)
2013 J 12Aoverview
2017 J 94A
Business Class
Route Total Duration Seats Miles Miles / Minute
Cape Town 24:55 90,000 60
Houston 45:35 184,000 67
Istanbul 21:30 90,000 70
Johannesburg 21:00 90,000 71
New York 42:30 184,000 72
Los Angeles (SQ7) 37:20 176,000 79
Los Angeles (SQ11) 36:00 176,000 81
Wellington 22:50 116,000 85
San Francisco (SQ32) 34:35 176,000 85
San Francisco 31:55 176,000 92
Manila 07:15 40,000 92
Christchurch 20:35 116,000 94
Beijing 12:20 70,000 95
Auckland 20:25 116,000 95
Hanoi 06:50 40,000 98
Taipei 09:10 55,000 100
Tokyo (NRT) 14:15 86,000 101
Barcelona (SQ378) 27:55 170,000 101
Dubai 14:45 90,000 102
Perth 10:35 65,000 102
Ahmedabad 11:20 70,000 103
Tokyo (HND) 13:55 86,000 103
Delhi 11:15 70,000 104
Nagoya 13:35 86,000 106
Manchester 26:45 170,000 106
London 26:30 170,000 107
Osaka 13:20 86,000 108
Mumbai 10:50 70,000 108
Barcelona (SQ388) 26:15 170,000 108
Paris (CDG) 26:10 170,000 108
Amsterdam 26:00 170,000 109
Shanghai 10:40 70,000 109
Stockholm 25:50 170,000 110
Yangon 06:00 40,000 111
Dusseldorf 25:25 170,000 111
Seoul 12:45 86,000 112
Frankfurt 25:05 170,000 113
Fukuoka 12:40 86,000 113
Zurich 25:00 170,000 113
Guangzhou 08:05 55,000 113
Bali 05:05 35,000 115
Milan 24:40 170,000 115
Copenhagen 24:35 170,000 115
Rome 24:35 170,000 115
Munich 24:15 170,000 117
Hong Kong 07:35 55,000 121
Brisbane 15:50 116,000 122
Sydney 15:50 116,000 122
Canberra 15:45 116,000 123
Male 09:10 70,000 127
Surabaya 04:35 35,000 127
Melbourne 15:05 116,000 128
Moscow 21:35 170,000 131
Bengaluru 08:50 70,000 132
Brunei 04:20 35,000 135
Adelaide 14:20 116,000 135
Chennai 08:30 70,000 137
Bangkok 04:50 40,000 138
Kolkata 08:25 70,000 139
Dhaka 08:10 70,000 143
Colombo 07:45 70,000 151
Ho Chi Minh 04:10 40,000 160
Jakarta 03:30 35,000 167
Kuala Lumpur 02:10 35,000 269

Cape Town rules the roost again in business class – an incredible value redemption at 60 miles per minute of flight time – roughly the average economy redemption rate. Houston is second followed by Istanbul, Johannesburg and New York.

Istanbul benefits from being a relatively long flight which avoids the Europe pricing zone, instead falling into the ‘Africa / Middle East’ award pricing region.

At the bottom of the table – no prizes for guessing that a business class redemption to Kuala Lumpur is a complete waste of your miles – coming in at an eye-watering 269 miles per minute which is more expensive than any redemption on the network including for first class / suites.

If you’re looking at that route to try out the new ‘2018 RJ’ product launching next week, we’d strongly recommend flying to Bangkok instead (138 miles per minute), or waiting for the Perth or Osaka routes (both around 100 to 110 miles per minute).

2018RJ-7 (TPG)
The new ‘2018 RJ’ seat is the most expensive redemption per minute of flight time if you choose to try it out between Singapore and KL. (Photo: The Points Guy)

Notice that the older ‘2006 RJ’ seat is more prevalent on the poorer value (usually shorter) routes, while the best value is found in the newer 2013 J seats which are concentrated on the longer sectors.

First Class / Suites

First Class / Suites
Route Total Duration Miles Miles / Minute
New York 42:30 240,000 94
Los Angeles (SQ7) 37:20 236,000 105
Los Angeles (SQ11) 36:00 236,000 109
San Francisco 34:35 236,000 114
Auckland 20:25 160,000 131
Beijing 12:20 100,000 135
Manila 07:15 60,000 138
London 26:30 230,000 145
Paris (CDG) 26:10 230,000 146
Delhi 11:15 100,000 148
Tokyo (NRT) 14:15 130,000 152
Frankfurt 25:05 230,000 153
Zurich 25:00 230,000 153
Mumbai 10:50 100,000 154
Tokyo (HND) 13:55 130,000 156
Copenhagen 24:35 230,000 156
Shanghai 10:40 100,000 156
Dubai 14:45 140,000 158
Hong Kong 07:35 75,000 165
Sydney 15:50 160,000 168
Canberra 15:45 160,000 169
Seoul 12:45 130,000 170
Melbourne 15:05 160,000 177
Jakarta 03:30 50,000 238

Fewer surprises here – New York, the longest route with a suites cabin, is the best value at 94 miles per minute. Los Angeles and San Francisco also come out strongly, as does Auckland.

pdt-suites-4b
You can sip champagne at whatever pace you like in the 2006 Suites from Singapore to New York – safe in the knowledge it’s only setting you back 94 KrisFlyer miles per minute. (Photo: Singapore Airlines)

Jakarta is the worst value, and the oldest ‘2006 F’ product – it’ll set you back 238 KrisFlyer miles per minute of flight time for a saver redemption. You’ll literally have to gulp the Champagne back to do justice to that!

Melbourne also comes out quite poorly as one of the shorter Australia routes in the higher award band – 177 miles per minute is on the steep side.

Yes, it’s simplistic

Remember this is a ‘simple’ analysis based on flying to and from Singapore. I know it’s possible to beat these miles-per-minute rates on more complex routings and when stopovers are added.

For first class saver redemptions the best I could think of was from New York to Frankfurt to Singapore to Auckland, which comes in at just 91 KrisFlyer miles per minute (152,000 miles for nearly 28 hours in first class).

For business class – Los Angeles to Seoul to Singapore to Delhi will cost you just 67 KrisFlyer miles per minute (98,000 miles for about 24 hours in business class).

Neither of those routings are likely to be much use to many people though! If you can come up with any better value routings, please mention them in the comments section.

Remember there are a few routing anomalies too, for example Barcelona with a 1 hour stop in Milan comes in at a better miles per minute rate than the nonstop flight to Barcelona – even with the time on the ground excluded – but you’d have to be a bit of a nutcase to prefer the former to the latter.

Tokyo (Narita) comes out at a better rate than Tokyo (Haneda), purely because the flight is a bit longer, but if you’re heading downtown you’d be equally mad to choose a flight to Narita for that reason alone.

Finally

Don’t take it too seriously, the tables are supposed to be a bit of fun and aren’t intended to help you choose your next redemption destination.

If you want to go to Rome in business class, telling you that it’s half the KrisFlyer miles per minute to go to Cape Town instead is very interesting, but isn’t likely to make you want switch continents for your next vacation!

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