Deals KrisFlyer Singapore Airlines Star Alliance

Is there still value in the KrisFlyer Star Alliance award chart?

Our analysis on the remaining value options using your KrisFlyer miles to book Star Alliance award flights

AC 787 In Flight (Air Canada)

One of the great benefits of accumulating KrisFlyer miles is not only for redemption on Singapore Airlines and SilkAir flights, but also the option to secure award seats on other Star Alliance airline flights and those of SIA partner airlines.

Star Alliance Airlines
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SIA Partner Airlines
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In this article we’ll take a look at the Star Alliance options and leave partner airline redemptions for a later date.

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Star Alliance Devaluation

Cast your minds back to November last year when we were reporting on the devaluation of the KrisFlyer Star Alliance redemption chart. At the time we promised ourselves to have a good look at the new chart to check if there were any ‘sweet spots’ and good value options left and we’ve finally got round to it!

KrisFlyer Star Chart
The new Star Alliance redemption chart (click to enlarge)

Remember the chart pricing is for round-trip awards, a one-way ticket requires half the stated mileage.

Why do a Star Alliance redemption?

Singapore Airlines undoubtedly has some of the best cabin products and service in the business, pretty much whichever class you’re flying in, so why would you use your KrisFlyer miles to fly on a Star Alliance airline instead?

To us there are three key reasons:

  • When a saver award is not available on Singapore Airlines for the route and date of your choice.
  • When your routing or destination is not served by Singapore Airlines, or is better served with another carrier.
  • When the miles rate is simply much better value, the so-called ‘sweet spots’.

There’s another reason some people may justify it too:

  • To try out the cabin product of another airline.

Do remember for the latter category though to make sure you are still getting good value for your redemption. For example if you want to try out Lufthansa First Class then flying from Singapore to Frankfurt for 129,000 miles is not a good redemption. The Middle East to Europe for 60,000 miles, Europe to South Africa for 70,000 miles or even Europe to the USA for 90,000 miles represent much better value.

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Are there any ‘sweet spots’ left?

Yes there certainly are, though not all are terribly useful for those based in Asia. We found a number of excellent deals if your travels take you to Europe, the Middle East, Africa or the USA / Hawaii.

A few things surprised us too. For example almost everyone knows it now costs 85,000 KrisFlyer miles to fly in Business Class from Singapore to Zurich. Not many people realise though that you can take advantage of a ‘sweet spot’ between the Middle East and Europe to reach Zurich for 70,000 KrisFlyer miles in Business Class.

DXB Saving

That’s because the Business Class Star Alliance redemption rate between the Middle East and Europe is only 25,000 KrisFlyer miles. The Singapore Airlines site won’t let you book this itinerary as a single ticket for 70,000 miles because it is an invalid routing but you are free to book the two legs separately. Just remember to build in suitable contingency, or perhaps plan a night or two in Dubai to break up the journey.

In another example not many people realise you can take a cheap Scoot flight from Singapore to the Maldives (S$191) for a couple of days in paradise then continue your journey to Europe from there on Turkish Airlines in Business Class for 47,500 KrisFlyer miles.

That’s a significant saving on the 85,000 miles a Singapore Airlines or Star Alliance Business Class saver redemption to Europe would cost you and potentially opens up a much wider choice of European destinations than SIA offer given the extensive Turkish network. It’ll also buy you some time in the excellently rated Turkish lounge in Istanbul.

‘Sweet spot’ vs ‘Good value’

It’s important to note that we haven’t specifically assigned all the examples shown into one of these two categories – it’s fairly obvious where a definite ‘sweet spot’ exists but many other routings would probably be best called a ‘good value’ redemption.

15 hours in Lufthansa First Class for 90,000 KrisFlyer miles is a ‘sweet spot’, 20,000 KrisFlyer miles to fly East to West Coast USA in Business Class is probably better described as ‘good value’.

LH A346 F (Travelling the World)
15 hours in Lufthansa First Class for 90,000 KrisFlyer miles is a definite ‘sweet spot’, at only 10,000 miles more than an 8-hour First Class saver redemption from Singapore to Sydney on SIA. (Photo: Travelling the World)

Taxes and fees may be higher

Remember that since Singapore Airlines no longer applies a fuel surcharge on award tickets you may find yourself paying quite a bit more cash than you would normally expect on top of the KrisFlyer miles rate to secure Star Alliance redemptions.

Lufthansa for example still apply a steep fuel surcharge, in some cases adding hundreds of dollars to your miles cost.

It’s not all bad news though – United redemptions within North America and Hawaii carry only US$5.60 of additional cost on top of the miles rate, and during our searches we also found that Ethiopian Airlines does not add a fuel surcharge to award tickets.

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Between Singapore and Europe

KrisFlyer Rates

  • Economy: 45,000 miles
  • Business: 85,000 miles
  • First: 129,000 miles

Our Thoughts

Poor value in Economy Class or First Class where the mileage rates are higher than a saver award ticket with Singapore Airlines (38,000 and 115,000 miles respectively), however the Business Class redemption rate matches the SIA saver award rate at 85,000 miles one-way.

That means there’s an opportunity here to redeem on another airline like Lufthansa, Swiss, Turkish or Thai to Europe when a saver redemption on SIA is not available or you’re flying somewhere a bit more obscure.

Examples

There are no Business saver awards with Singapore Airlines to London this coming Thursday, so why not book this Thai Airways / EVA Air routing via Bangkok?

Route: Singapore – Bangkok – London Heathrow
Airline(s): Thai Airways / EVA Air TG BR SIN-LHR
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KrisFlyer Cost: 85,000 Miles + S$205.20
Flight Duration: 13:55
Total Duration: 18:45
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EVA Air’s 1-2-1 flat-bed configuration in Business Class is a very comfortable route from Bangkok to London when a KrisFlyer redemption is not available. It’s also a good opportunity to try another airline’s product if you’re becoming bored of the SIA offering! (Photo: The Shutterwhale)

When you’re heading to London don’t forget to check flights to and from London Gatwick – Turkish provide a good option here.

Route: Singapore – Istanbul – London Gatwick
Airline(s): Turkish Airlines TK SIN-LGW Click to Enlarge
KrisFlyer Cost: 85,000 Miles + S$356.50
Flight Duration: 15:00
Total Duration: 17:00

Heading slightly off the beaten track doesn’t mean ditching Singapore Airlines either, you can combine an SIA and Star Alliance award flight if you wish. The Star Alliance redemption rate then takes precedence, but to Europe it’s the same in Business Class anyway.

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You can still take Singapore Airlines as far as you can if an award seat is available, even when you’re ultimately flying somewhere they don’t serve

Between Europe and North America

KrisFlyer Rates

  • Economy: 27,500 miles
  • Business: 65,000 miles
  • First: 95,000 miles

Our Thoughts

Since North America is a single redemption zone on the KrisFlyer Star Alliance award chart it’s far better value to use your miles to fly between Europe and the West Coast of the USA or Canada (like Los Angeles or Vancouver) than it is to the East Coast (like Boston or New York) as the mileage rate you’ll pay is the same in both cases.

A great rate in Economy Class here, a definite ‘sweet spot’ if you are able to exploit the maximum distance between these zones (e.g. Eastern Europe to West Coast USA).

Route: Warsaw – Los Angeles
Airline(s): LOT Polish LO WAW-LAX
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KrisFlyer Cost: 27,500 Miles + PLN 403.87
Flight Duration: 12:05
Total Duration: 12:05

The non-stop flight with LOT Polish from Warsaw to Los Angeles will only set you back 27,500 KrisFlyer miles in Economy Class. It’s even longer than their Singapore to Warsaw flight, which costs 45,000 KrisFlyer miles in Economy!

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You’ll probably be happy to get off the LOT Polish Boeing 787 having flown in Economy Class for 12 hours but for only 27,500 KrisFlyer miles at least you got a very good deal. (Photo: Pawel Drozd)

Business Class isn’t bad at 65,000 miles – not great value from Western Europe to the East Coast of the USA where flight times are around 7-8 hours but again if you head all the way to the West Coast of Canada or the USA there’s good value here.

First Class is pretty much restricted to Lufthansa on this route, remember that Swiss First Class redemptions are blocked to KrisFlyer members. First is of course an aspirational experience, which can include the Lufthansa First Class Terminal at Frankfurt, but at far superior value on this routing compared with say an Asia to Europe redemption.

Route: Frankfurt – San Francisco
Airline(s): Lufthansa LH FRA-SFO.jpg
Click to Enlarge
KrisFlyer Cost: 95,000 Miles + EUR 325.03
Flight Duration: 11:25
Total Duration: 11:25

Not exactly a ‘sweet spot’ but Lufthansa First Class from Frankfurt to San Francisco is significantly fewer miles than their Singapore to Frankfurt flight in this cabin (129,000).

Intra-Europe

KrisFlyer Rates

  • Economy: 12,500 miles
  • Business: 27,500 miles
  • First: 40,000 miles

Expensive at 27,500 miles in business, but 12,500 miles in economy can make sense for longer or more costly routings. More often though it doesn’t make sense. Europe is relatively cheap to fly around, especially booking well in advance with a number of low-cost airlines and competitive fares from the full-service carriers too.

As always the key is to know the cost and get good value for your miles. Here are a couple of examples where that’s not the case.

Flying from Paris (CDG) to Frankfurt with Lufthansa in economy class a month out is a poor redemption. Europe is a single zone – so the number of miles needed is ridiculous for such a short hop:

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The actual fare for a firm ticket is also low:

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Since you can book this flight as a firm ticket for €157.94 and Singapore Airlines are asking 12,500 KrisFlyer miles and €82.94 it’s valuing your miles at only €0.006 each (about 0.9 Singapore cents per mile). That’s really poor value.

Ok so if a short hop isn’t worth it, what about a longer flight? Again let’s look about 3 weeks from now and fly the longer 3-hour flight from Malaga to Frankfurt.