KrisFlyer News Singapore Airlines Star Alliance

Update: 4 months on – Star Alliance and partner award bookings through KrisFlyer online

There seems to be no 'big push' to get the last few carriers included in the online booking system, even after 4 months

LH Regional CRJ sunset (Julian Herzog)

It’s 4 months since the botched introduction of online Star Alliance award tickets through the KrisFlyer portal. Having heralded the new feature as a great leap forward only a few weeks before, it basically only worked for two airlines on day one.

A week later, not much had changed, but a month later it was a different story. Finally the vast majority of Star Alliance award tickets and about half the partner award flights could be searched and booked online as intended (or expected at least) from the outset.

How does it look now?

On the whole not that much has changed in the last three months. In some ways things have become worse (Virgin America is gone), and in some ways we’ve found even more limitations than we were aware of before.

To show it as clearly as we can we’ve compiled a revised table showing the latest online search and booking functionality for Star Alliance and SIA partner airlines.

To create the table we needed to determine which awards were and weren’t showing. To do this we found at least two separate itineraries where we could find saver award space as 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.

Here’s how the table works:

Yes Fully searchable and bookable online
Partial Partial online functionality, see our notes after the table
No Not searchable or bookable online

Star Alliance Airlines

Airline 7 Dec
2017
14 Dec
2017
7 Jan
2018
9 Apr
2018
JP No No Yes Yes
A3 No Yes Yes Yes
AC.png No Yes Yes Yes
CA.png No Yes Yes Yes
AI.png No No No No
NZ Partial Partial Partial Partial
NH No No Yes Partial
OZ No No No No
OS.png No No Yes Yes
AV No No Partial Partial
SN.png No No Yes Yes
CM.png No No Yes Yes
OU.png No No Yes Yes
MS No No Yes Yes
ET No No Yes Yes
BR No Yes Yes Yes
LO No No Yes Yes
LH Yes Yes Yes Yes
SK.png No Yes Yes Yes
ZH No No Yes Yes
SA No No Yes Yes
LX No Yes Yes Yes
TP No No No No
TG No No Yes Yes
TK No Yes Yes Yes
UA.png No No Yes Yes

Air India (AI)

We found immediately confirmable saver award tickets on Air India flights in both economy and business class using the United MileagePlan site and KVS tool. None of these redemptions showed up on the Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer search engine.

We also looked at flights all the way between Singapore and Europe where we found Air India award seats are either available for the entire trip, or in combination with a Singapore Airlines or Thai Airways flights. Again – no dice.

Air India is definitely not working through KrisFlyer online and you must therefore search elsewhere – then call to secure a redemption.

Air New Zealand (NZ)

The problem with Air New Zealand flights remains with business class redemptions. While economy award availability is easily replicated with the KrisFlyer online search function, for some reason business class flights cannot be searched and booked using the Singapore Airlines online system.

Also, domestic redemption flights within New Zealand – like Auckland to Christchurch – can be searched online but the system will not compute a total cost and so they can only booked by calling.

All Nippon Airways (NH)

All business and economy award flights are searchable online however as with Air New Zealand – domestic flights within Japan will not compute a total cost and so can only be booked by calling.

ANA Star 777
Domestic flights with ANA are searchable but not bookable using the KrisFlyer site

 

Asiana Airlines (OZ)

We couldn’t replicate any Asiana award availability through the KrisFlyer search engine, again these were on routes and dates we had checked and found saver award space in both economy and business class. You’ll still have to call to secure Asiana redemptions using KrisFlyer miles.

Avianca

Avianca is complicated because it’s actually made up of a number of separate airlines:

  • Avianca Brazil (O6)
  • Avianca Colombia (AV)
  • Avianca Costa Rica (LR)
  • Avianca Ecuador (2K)
  • Avianca El Salvador (TA)
  • Avianca Guatemala (GU)
  • Avianca Honduras (WC)
  • Avianca Nicaragua (W8)
  • Avianca Peru (T0)

Only Avianca Brazil award flights are searchable through KrisFlyer. That’s fine – except that only their international flights will calculate a price and allow you to book. For domestic flights the availability displays, but you’ll have to call KrisFlyer to book.

Avianca Brazil International
No problem to book an Avianca Brazil international flight
Avianca Brazil Domestic
But it won’t allow you to proceed further than an availability check on a domestic flight

That’s three airlines (Air New Zealand, ANA and Avianca Brazil) where domestic sectors can only be searched, not booked using KrisFlyer online. It immediately raised our concerns that Virgin Australia domestic flights might not be bookable online anymore – but they are. Lufthansa domestic flights work fine too. Strange.

We couldn’t replicate confirmed award availability found on United MileagePlus on the KrisFlyer search engine for Avianca Colombia or any of the other Avianca carriers, making the KrisFlyer online booking option for Avianca Group flights extremely limited.

TAP Air Portugal (TP)

As with Asiana, several checks for flights we verified as available for redemption on other channels yielded no return using the KrisFlyer system. You’ll have to call to secure TAP redemptions using KrisFlyer miles.

Partner Airlines

Airline 7 Dec
2017
14 Dec
2017
7 Jan
2018
9 Apr
2018
 AS No No No No
VX Yes Yes Yes No
 VS No No No No
 VA Yes Yes Yes Yes
 UK No No No No

Alaska Airlines (AS)

There is still no availability showing for Alaska Airlines flights through the KrisFlyer online system. We called the KrisFlyer contact centre to check a couple of flights between Los Angeles and Seattle and the agent confirmed availability with us in both economy and business class. These flights could not be replicated using a partner airline search on the KrisFlyer site however, so you’ll have to call both to search availability and book on Alaska.

Virgin America (VA): A step backwards

You’ll recall that back in December when just a handful of online Star Alliance and partner airline redemptions were first made available that Virgin America was one of the airlines on which you could immediately search and redeem flights using KrisFlyer miles through the Singapore Airlines website. That situation continued right through until January.

Since 11th January 2018 however, Virgin America reverted to being merely a brand name wholly operated by their new owner Alaska Airlines – under the latter’s operating certificate. That means the reservation system has been switched to Alaska Airlines and as such all award availability for Virgin America flights has disappeared from the Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer online system.

For redemptions on both Alaska Airlines and flights still branded as ‘Virgin America’ you’ll have to call KrisFlyer to search availability and book.

VX A320 (Eddie Maloney)
Many flights still carry the Virgin America branding, but none of them can be searched or booked online using KrisFlyer miles

Virgin Atlantic (VS)

We found no Virgin Atlantic redemptions using KrisFlyer online on a number of their main routes over several dates. As you may be aware, Virgin Atlantic bottleneck availability to KrisFlyer members very severely so it’s hard to know if it’s working online or not because there is so little award space made available in the first place.

A quick check with a KrisFlyer phone agent yesterday, after consultation with a supervisor, revealed that currently Virgin Atlantic “aren’t offering us anything at the moment”. We can’t verify that of course, but we’ve assumed for the purposes of this analysis it’s not working.

Speaking of calling…

Singapore Airlines have not gone back on their original promise, following the non-launch back in early December, to honour any bookings unable to be completed online over the phone with the offline service fee fully waived.

Summary

Disappointingly little change overall in three months since our last analysis – if anything the situation has worsened with Virgin America flights no longer searchable or bookable through the online system and the domestic flights booking issue with some carriers, which may or may not be a ‘new’ thing.

Overall though for the vast majority of Star Alliance carriers the system appears to be working well. Asiana and Air India would be the most welcome additions as carriers based in Asia, both of which serve Singapore directly.

We’ll keep an eye on it and let you know if anything changes.

(Cover Photo: Julian Herzog)

2 comments

  1. Hi Andrew,

    Am thinking of booking an award redemption using KF miles for an ANA flight from SIN to MEX. The flights don’t show on the SQ website, but it’s available on United – I guess not all flights are searchable on the former yet? :/

    Also, I understand that you can’t redeem one-way flights if using miles accrued on ANA’s FFP. Do you know if that rule applies if using KF miles?

    And how far in advance do redemptions on *A flights (esp ANA in this regard) open up for KF? I do not have much flexibility as to the dates I can travel, so would definitely like to snap up the tickets once they’re available.

    I’ve tried googling around but to no avail; thought you might know!

    Thanks!

    Like

    1. Hi Bob. No problem redeeming one-way flights on ANA using KF miles, but yes as you say if using ANA miles it’s round-trip only.

      SQ site should show redemption availability for ANA but it may not understand SIN-Tokyo-MEX as a valid routing, are you searching the sectors individually?

      Provided the availability shows up individually for the 2 sectors you should be able to call KrisFlyer to book, make sure they waive the offline service fee if the booking cannot be completed online.

      As for how far in advance the seats are made available generally this starts 11-12 months in advance but *A award availability can then go up and down continually and is controlled by the operating carrier. Most make it deliberately unpredictable so that no ‘pattern’ emerges, ensuring there is still a good incentive for people to buy full-fare tickets! If you’re patient and willing to keep checking you should secure an award seat.

      Hope it helps!

      Like

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