Analysis KrisFlyer Singapore Airlines Star Alliance

Booking a KrisFlyer Star Alliance Round The World Award

Securing some of the best value you'll likely ever get from your KrisFlyer miles isn't an easy undertaking

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We wrote on Wednesday this week about our upcoming round-the-world First Class trip and in doing so mentioned one key thing – we’re not using KrisFlyer’s excellent value ‘Star Alliance Round The World Award’ ticket (RTW award) for this trip.

In that article we touched on a few of the reasons why it didn’t work for us on this occasion but we thought this would be a good time to give an overview of exactly what the RTW award looks like and how you can go about planning and booking one to make the most from a large pot of KrisFlyer miles.

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Introduction

Possibly the ‘holy grail’ of KrisFlyer miles value, a ‘Star Alliance Round The World Award’ ticket lets you make a trip of a lifetime with up to 7 stopovers along the way for a significant saving on the regular KrisFlyer miles rates payable for those flights as individual sectors.

You can book these awards as soon as redemption flights become available for the airlines you’re choosing to fly with. Realistically that means up to 330 days before for all Star Alliance carriers, however some will let you book close to a month further in advance than that (355 days before travel). The whole RTW trip can span a maximum 12-month period from start to finish (oh to be retired… and swimming in KrisFlyer miles).

Like anything to do with KrisFlyer miles which represents good or excellent value though, such as the $100 stopover trick for example, it’s not that straightforward to arrange nor that well advertised. In fact this is the only page on the Singapore Airlines website mentioning the option (and don’t even bother with the reservation request form link there, it’s not going to help!).

Star Alliance airlines

Star Alliance RTW award flights can involve flight segments on any of the 27 full Star Alliance member airlines.

Star Alliance Airlines
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Remember that SIA’s partner airlines (like Alaska and Virgin Australia) are not Star Alliance members and so their flights can’t be included on a RTW award itinerary. Flights operated by SilkAir (not a Star Alliance member) also can’t be included. You must stick to the Star Alliance group.

One exception is ‘surface sectors’, where you take a break from the ticket and pick it up later on in a different city at your own expense. These can involve any combination of cars, trains, buses or flights on any airline you like. You can even redeem your miles or points in the process, though that would be totally separate (and additional) to the RTW award.

The rules

A few basic rules apply and a host of more complex ones too.

  • Travel must take place in one continuous direction at all times, the ‘no backtracking’ rule. That means you can choose from the outset to go either west or east from your starting point but must continue to do so until you make it back to the starting point again.
  • The journey must begin and end in the same country. Not a big issue for most of our readers planning to start and end an RTW trip in Singapore, however if you started the trip in Australia for example it’s fine to start in Brisbane and end in Sydney.
  • A maximum of 7 stopovers are permitted in total.
  • A maximum of 2 stopovers are permitted in each countryNote the exception that up to 5 stopovers are permitted in the USA which applies to Star Alliance round the world fares (i.e. cash tickets) is not extended to the KrisFlyer RTW award ticket.
  • Maximum total travel distance is 35,000 miles (i.e. the sum of all sectors flown must not exceed this).
  • Maximum number of flight segments is 16. That includes segments flown on routes purely flown in transit, for example Mumbai to Istanbul to Thessaloniki on Turkish Airlines is 2 segments (sectors) even if you are only changing planes in Istanbul. It is not a stopover though in that case (don’t mix up the two!).
  • ‘Surface sectors’ are permitted. You’ll make your own travel a