KrisFlyer News SilkAir Singapore Airlines

Singapore Airlines devalues KrisFlyer program from 24 January

Happy New Year from Singapore Airlines! KrisFlyer redemption rates are increasing for First and Business Class saver award tickets from 24th January 2019.

A350R Landing 2 (Adelaide Airport)

Getting through 2019 without a devaluation of the KrisFlyer scheme was a Christmas wish we probably all hoped would hold true. That Singapore Airlines would leave its mileage redemption rates untouched for two years in a row (the last devaluations happened in 2017) wasn’t too much to ask, surely?

Well just three days into 2019 and it’s Happy New Year from Singapore Airlines with the news we always fear – it’s going to cost you more KrisFlyer miles to secure a raft of Premium Economy, Business Class and First Class award seats starting in just 3 weeks time.

The key points

Before we get into the details, here are the main points from the news:

  • Economy Class redemption rates will remain completely unchanged.
  • Revised mileage rates for other cabin classes come into effect for bookings made on or after 24th January 2019, so you still have 3 weeks to book at current rates.
  • Waitlist awards that clear and are booked prior to 24th January 2019 will be charged at the current rates. Those that clear on or after that date will attract the higher rates.
  • Star Alliance award and SIA partner airline award redemption rates are staying the same.
  • No KrisFlyer awards are getting cheaper (unlike the Cathay ‘revaluation’ last year, where some rates reduced). It’s the status quo or a devaluation, depending on how you normally use your miles.

Based on flights to and from Singapore:

  • Premium Economy Saver awards will set you back around 3% to 9% more miles than before.
  • Business Class Saver awards will cost roughly 7% to 12% more. This is the biggest hit in our opinion.
  • First Class and Suites Saver awards suffer a 6% to 10% higher redemption rate.
  • Pricing for Star Alliance round-the-world award tickets using KrisFlyer miles remains unchanged.

Saver Award Rate Increases

With the exception of Economy Class award rates, which are remaining the same across the board, all other Saver award redemptions booked on or after 24th January 2019 will increase in cost. The following tables show the increases for one-way redemptions to and from Singapore.

Premium Economy

Premium Economy Saver award rates, already a poor value redemption anyway, are increasing from 3.2% to 8.9% depending on the zone.

2018W A350ULR Seats 31AC.jpg Premium Economy Saver Awards
Current Rate New Rate Change
Zone 4
South China, Hong Kong & Taiwan
22.5 24.5 +8.9%
Zones 5 & 6
Beijing & Shanghai
India, Sri Lanka, Maldives & Bangladesh
30.0 32.0 +6.7%
Zone 7
Japan & South Korea
32.5 34.5 +6.2%
Zone 9
Australia & New Zealand
45.0 47.0 +4.4%
Zone 10
Africa, Middle East & Turkey
35.0 37.0 +5.7%
Zone 11
Europe
62.5 64.5 +3.2%
Zone 12
USA West Coast
65.0 68.0 +4.6%
Zone 13
USA East Coast & Houston
70.0 73.0 +4.3%

Redemption rates are shown in thousands of KrisFlyer miles

Business Class

This is the biggest hit – those valuable Business Saver award rates are suffering an increase ranging from 6.9% to 12.3% depending on the zone.

SQ 77W J (MM).jpg Business Class Saver Awards
Current Rate New Rate Change
Zone 2
Malaysia, Indonesia & Brunei
17.5 19.0 +8.6%
Zone 3
Philippines, Thailand, Vietnam, Myanmar, Cambodia & Laos
20.0 21.5 +7.5%
Zone 4
South China, Hong Kong & Taiwan
27.5 30.5 +10.9%
Zones 5 & 6
Beijing & Shanghai
India, Sri Lanka, Maldives & Bangladesh
35.0 39.0 +11.4%
Zone 7
Japan & South Korea
43.0 47.0 +9.3%
Zone 8
Perth & Darwin
32.5 36.5 +12.3%
Zone 9
Other Australia & New Zealand
58.0 62.0 +6.9%
Zone 10
Africa, Middle East & Turkey
45.0 49.0 +8.9%
Zone 11
Europe
85.0 92.0 +8.2%
Zone 12
USA West Coast
88.0 95.0 +8.0%
Zone 13
USA East Coast & Houston
92.0 99.0 +7.6%

Redemption rates are shown in thousands of KrisFlyer miles

First Class & Suites

First and Suites Saver redemptions also suffer some sharp increases, rising by 6.0% to 10.2% depending on the zone.

1F Overview Low.jpg First Class & Suites Saver Awards
Current Rate New Rate Change
Zone 2
Malaysia, Indonesia & Brunei
25.0 27.5 +10.0%
Zone 3
Philippines, Thailand, Vietnam, Myanmar, Cambodia & Laos
30.0 32.5 +8.3%
Zone 4
South China, Hong Kong & Taiwan
37.5 40.5 +8.0%
Zones 5 & 6
Beijing & Shanghai
India, Sri Lanka, Maldives & Bangladesh
50.0 53.0 +6.0%
Zone 7
Japan & South Korea
65.0 70.0 +7.7%
Zone 8
Perth & Darwin
47.5 52.0 +9.5%
Zone 9
Other Australia & New Zealand
80.0 85.0 +6.3%
Zone 10
Africa, Middle East & Turkey
70.0 75.0 +7.1%
Zone 11
Europe
115.0 125.0 +8.7%
Zone 12
USA West Coast
118.0 130.0 +10.2%
Zone 13
USA East Coast & Houston
120.0 132.0 +10.0%

Redemption rates are shown in thousands of KrisFlyer miles

Advantage Award Rate Increases

We only really endorse using KrisFlyer miles for Saver awards, however the rates for Advantage awards are also increasing for all First Class redemptions, and for Business Class tickets to and from the USA. Here are the Advantage award rate increases.

Business Class

Business Class Advantage awards will only increase on flights to and from the USA, by around 4%. You should always be redeeming a Saver award where possible to get best value from your KrisFlyer miles in any case, so this is a rather moot point.

SQ 77W J (MM).jpg Business Class Advantage Awards
Current Rate New Rate Change
Zone 12
USA West Coast
120.0 125.0 +4.2%
Zone 13
USA East Coast & Houston
135.0 140.0 +3.7%

Redemption rates are shown in thousands of KrisFlyer miles

First Class & Suites

Increases of 3.3% to 5.7% for First Class Advantage awards, though again this is not where the value of the KrisFlyer scheme ever lay and you should be avoiding Advantage awards wherever possible.

1F Overview Low.jpg First Class & Suites Advantage Awards
Current Rate New Rate Change
Zone 2
Malaysia, Indonesia & Brunei
50.0 52.5 +5.0%
Zone 3
Philippines, Thailand, Vietnam, Myanmar, Cambodia & Laos
60.0 62.5 +4.2%
Zone 4
South China, Hong Kong & Taiwan
70.0 73.0 +4.3%
Zones 5 & 6
Beijing & Shanghai
India, Sri Lanka, Maldives & Bangladesh
95.0 98.0 +3.2%
Zone 7
Japan & South Korea
115.0 120.0 +4.3%
Zone 8
Perth & Darwin
95.0 99.5 +4.7%
Zone 9
Other Australia & New Zealand
150.0 155.0 +3.3%
Zone 10
Africa, Middle East & Turkey
130.0 135.0 +3.8%
Zone 11
Europe
210.0 220.0 +4.8%
Zone 12
USA West Coast
210.0 222.0 +5.7%
Zone 13
USA East Coast & Houston
225.0 237.0 +5.3%

Redemption rates are shown in thousands of KrisFlyer miles

Remember, all Economy Class redemption rates are remaining the same, even after 24th January. Advantage rates not listed above will also be unchanged.

To view the full award tables with the revised rates from 24th January 2019 – click here.

Two-class upgrades are now available

In other news, effective today, two-class upgrades are now available from Economy Class to Business Class on flights with a Premium Economy Class cabin.

These ‘double upgrades’ won’t apply to other cabin combinations (e.g. Premium to First), but it’s good news for passengers who had to otherwise avoid flights fitted with a Premium Economy cabin to take advantage of a miles upgrade to Business Class.

Rates to upgrade from Economy to Business Class on these flights are the same as those applicable to flights without Premium Economy installed, and are based on the Economy fare class booked and the type of Business upgrade award available. Upgrade prices themselves will increase slightly from 24th January – you can see the full tables showing the new rates here.

This will be a useful change for passengers flying on routes which are exclusively operated by aircraft with a Premium Economy cabin, but also on routes where mixed aircraft types are used.

2017 J (Singapore Airlines).jpg
Premium Economy will no longer get in the way of your KrisFlyer miles upgrade straight from Economy to Business Class, effective today. (Photo: Singapore Airlines)

For example between Brisbane and Singapore you previously had to be flying on the 777-200ER to achieve an Economy to Business Class upgrade using miles, resulting in the 2006 J seat. Now you’ll be able to do so on any flight with upgrade availability in Business Class, meaning you can secure the superior 2013 J seat on that route instead.

Avoiding the increases

Effectively your only solution to avoid these KrisFlyer rate increases is to lock in your redemptions now – or at least before 24th January. That way you’ll obtain the existing rates.

If you have to make changes later to your redemption ticket, such as a date or flight change, you will unfortunately have to pay the additional miles in this case, even if the ticket does not need to be reissued. That’s a shame, and means you’ll want to have relatively certain travel plans, which can be difficult a year in advance.

It also means if you hold an award redemption ticket now (even one issued in 2018) and make changes on or after 24th January 2019, you’ll also be asked to stump up any applicable miles difference, which seems a little unfair.

If you do want to lock in some advance awards however, remember from our KrisFlyer College Part 1 guide that award tickets are loaded 355 days before departure date just after midnight Singapore time (SGT).

That means you can be locking in redemptions right up to mid January 2020 at current rates, provided you have sufficient miles (transfer them in now to take advantage!), and you’re able to make travel plans so far in advance.

For our readers from around the globe wanting to jump on award seats as they are released, SGT is GMT+8 and you can check the current SGT date and time here.

Star Alliance awards

With no current change to the rates for Star Alliance award tickets using KrisFlyer miles, there are now set to be several routes where it will cost you fewer miles to redeem for a Star Alliance flight than for a Singapore Airlines one come 24th January.

Examples in Business Class will include:

  • Singapore to Europe (85,000 miles instead of 92,000 miles)
  • Singapore to Japan / South Korea (43,000 miles instead of 47,000 miles)
  • Singapore to the US East Coast (97,500 miles instead of 99,000 miles)
  • Singapore to Bangkok (20,000 miles instead of 21,500 miles)
Star Alliance Plane Sunset (Marina Hinic).jpg
No change to the Star Alliance redemption table may be a glimmer of hope for KrisFlyer members after 24th January. (Photo: Maria Hinic)

We’ll take a closer look at what value you can get from Star Alliance awards post-devaluation in a dedicated article.

Remember provided at least one of your flight segments in an award booking is operated by a Star Alliance carrier, the entire trip prices based on the Star Alliance redemption table (which shows round-trip rates, but can be booked as one-way for half the stated value).

That means you can fly Singapore Airlines Business Class from Singapore to Munich, for example, then tag on a Lufthansa Business Class flight elsewhere in Europe (e.g. Manchester) to the same booking and pay the lower 85,000 miles rate even after 24th January 2019.

These benefits may be short lived, you’ll recall the KrisFlyer Star Alliance chart was eventually devalued in December 2017, eight months after the last devaluation for Singapore Airlines and SilkAir flights. History will no doubt repeat itself here, so the window of opportunity may be short.

Summary

The last time Singapore Airlines increased mileage redemption rates was in March 2017, and it’s a disappointing trend to see yet another program devaluation less than two years later.

While Premium Economy was never a good redemption option with the program, Business and First Class awards are the heart of its value and these are sadly going to set you back more miles with relatively little notice given.

That said, these increases aren’t devastating and certainly don’t cause us to write the program off.

Depending on your typical use of the program, these changes could be broadly seen as an approximate 10% devaluation of the KrisFlyer mile for most members, though a bit more analysis is needed before we jump to a revised ‘value of a mile’ conclusion. 2 cents per mile was always on the safe side, given we currently achieve about 2.9 cents against some fairly tough measures, so that’s unlikely to change.

This announcement also comes just three days after Singapore Airlines devalued its conversion rate between KrisFlyer miles and Virgin Australia Velocity points.

Many people will have transferred their Velocity points across to KrisFlyer in advance of that deadline to secure a Singapore Airlines award, only to now be hit with the possibility they won’t have enough miles unless they can redeem in the next three weeks.

SQ A380 (Peter Russell).jpg
The KrisFlyer scheme still holds good value, despite this devaluation. (Photo: Peter Russell)

There is a silver lining of course – you can lock in as many redemptions as you like (or are able to) up to a year in advance at the current rates provided you book by 23rd January at the latest, giving you 21 days to act. We will certainly be doing this – you should too!

In other positive news, from today you can now upgrade your Economy Class ticket to Business Class even on flights featuring a Premium Economy Class cabin (a double upgrade). This removes the need to avoid flights with a Premium Economy cabin fitted, and will often result in a newer Business Class seat as a result.

The rates for redeeming your KrisFlyer miles with Star Alliance airlines and SIA partner airlines will also remain the same, and we’ve already highlighted above a few routes on which this will become an attractive alternative to a Singapore Airlines redemption post-devaluation.

What are your thoughts on the Singapore Airlines 2019 KrisFlyer devaluation? Let us know in the comments section below.

(Cover Photo: Adelaide Airport)

14 comments

    1. Award bookings made on or after 24th January 2019 will be at the revised rates, so lock in any redemptions before then if you can. Unfortunately though even if you change your award booking after 24th January 2019, you’ll have to pay the difference in miles, so you might want to have fairly certain travel plans.

  1. “Waitlist awards that clear and are booked prior to 24th January 2019 will be charged at the current rates”. Can you clarify – what about confirmed seats that are not ticketed? Ie waitlist cleared but ticketing deadline is further out

    1. According to the FAQs, these would be charged at the higher rate if they are ticketed on or after 24th January 2019. They are being quite strict this time round, even charging members with existing bookings the higher miles rate if they make changes after the increase kicks in.

  2. What about the “Certainty for waitlisted redemptions”?

    It sounds to me that in the future no waitlist are permitted within 14 days of departure, which is another devaluation on top of increasing the amount of miles needed!

    1. Yes we will write separately about this. Effectively you will no longer be able to waitlist within 14 days of departure, with the exception of waitlists for redemption upgrades which will continue to be available up to departure time.

      1. In my opinion this is even more ridiculous than the devaluation (based on my travel habits of course, I’m sure others will feel differently)

  3. hi Andrew, what do you think will happen (on the calculation of miles) if I were to book a stopover before 24 Jan, fly the first leg as scheduled, but subsequently change the date for the second leg?

      1. What if first leg is not flown? For example I redeem a trip for Sept 2019, stopover SIN, book a date for 1st Jan 2020. Can I subsequently change the date to March 2020 when it opens up in March 2019 without topping up the additional miles but pay a fee change?

  4. Hi Andrew,

    Did you notice in the new award chart they have added additional footnote/asterisk for backtracking routes, such as Europe to Zone 7, Zone 8 to either Zone 2 or 3. Looks like SIA is establishing the backtrack routes in this chart. It will be interesting to know after 24 Jan whether these routes can appear in the online search.

  5. Hi Andrew
    Thanks for the article. A tangential question stems from your mentioning of booking Singapore to Munich and tagging on a Lufthansa flight to Manchester. In such an itinerary, is one allowed to stopover in Munich?

    Many thanks!

    1. Unfortunately not, you can only add a stopover to round-trip Star Alliance bookings, not one-way ones like I gave as an example.

      There is of course nothing to stop you getting off in Munich then leaving the airport and skipping your Manchester flight, giving you an SQ Business SIN-MUC award for 85,000 miles not 92,000. This would only work if you had no checked baggage.

      Hope it helps!

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