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 in 2019, and some of the results may surprise you

Airport Clock

Last year we analysed how many KrisFlyer miles per minute you were spending on Singapore Airlines routes to and from Singapore by cabin class. While the analysis was really a bit of fun (‘value’ is based more closely on money saved than time spent) the article was a lot more popular than we expected.

Following the devaluation of the KrisFlyer scheme this week however, it was now completely wrong! So here’s the updated version for 2019.

Credit for the idea

Firstly, the title of this article might cause you to think this is not a particularly original idea. We’ll admit – it’s not. Rob, founder of website Head for Points in the UK, ran a very similar article in February 2017 relating to the British Airways ‘Avios’ frequent flyer scheme, and we decided to replicate the analysis for the KrisFlyer program.

HFP logo

Partly it was for our own curiosity (we’re self-confessed nerds when it comes to spreadsheets), but also we 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 kindly stated that he doesn’t object to our blatant plagiarism of his idea and (though he didn’t ask us to) we’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? We’ve left SilkAir out for simplicity and just concentrated on SIA flights. If there’s enough interest maybe we’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, we’ve assumed the shortest flight is chosen in both directions for fairness, based on flight schedules for the northern summer 2019 schedule.

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). We’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 the GDS timetables, but can also be found on the Singapore Airlines website. KrisFlyer saver award miles requirements were sourced from the latest 2019 redemption chart at the Singapore Airlines website.

For simplicity we 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

Economy Class redemption rates were not increased in the 2019 KrisFlyer devaluation, so this table is largely unchanged. Some new routes like Seattle are shown.

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 56 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 (JFK) 42:30 80,000 31
Cape Town 24:55 50,000 33
Los Angeles (SQ11) 36:00 76,000 35
San Francisco (SQ2) 34:35 76,000 37
Los Angeles (SQ36/38) 32:45 76,000 39
Istanbul 21:30 50,000 39
Johannesburg 21:00 50,000 40
San Francisco (SQ32/34) 31:55 76,000 40
Wellington 22:30 56,000 41
Seattle 30:30 76,000 42
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 16:40 56,000 56
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 close to the average Business Class miles per minute rate.

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 redemption cost came out at 82 miles per minute (formerly 79 miles per minute before the 2019 devaluation).

2018W A350ULR Row 31.jpg
Premium Economy on the Airbus A350ULR. (Photo: Singapore Airlines)
Premium Economy Class
Route Total Duration Miles Miles / Minute
Cape Town 24:55 74,000 49
Houston 45:35 146,000 53
New York (JFK) 42:30 146,000 57
Johannesburg 21:00 74,000 59
Los Angeles (SQ11) 36:00 136,000 63
New York (EWR) 37:10 146,000 65
San Francisco (SQ2) 34:35 136,000 66
Los Angeles (SQ36/38) 32:45 136,000 69
San Francisco (SQ32/34) 31:55 136,000 71
Seattle 30:30 136,000 74
Christchurch 20:35 94,000 76
Auckland 20:25 94,000 77
Barcelona (SQ378) 27:55 129,000 77
Manchester 26:45 129,000 80
Tokyo (NRT) 14:15 69,000 81
London 26:30 129,000 81
Barcelona (SQ388) 26:15 129,000 82
Paris (CDG) 26:10 129,000 82
Tokyo (HND) 13:55 69,000 83
Amsterdam 26:00 129,000 83
Stockholm 25:50 129,000 83
Dubai 14:45 74,000 84
Dusseldorf 25:25 129,000 85
Frankfurt 25:05 129,000 86
Zurich 25:00 129,000 86
Beijing 12:20 64,000 86
Milan 24:40 129,000 87
Copenhagen 24:35 129,000 87
Rome 24:35 129,000 87
Munich 24:15 129,000 89
Seoul 12:45 69,000 90
Canberra 16:40 94,000 94
Delhi 11:15 64,000 95
Mumbai 10:50 64,000 98
Brisbane 15:50 94,000 99
Sydney 15:50 94,000 99
Moscow 21:35 129,000 100
Shanghai 10:40 64,000 100
Melbourne 15:05 94,000 104
Hong Kong 07:35 49,000 108

Cape Town is the obvious standout on value once you move into the premium cabins – 49 miles per minute in Premium Economy on that route is less than most Economy Class rates.

Melbourne and Hong Kong come out worst in this cabin, at over 104 miles per minute – that’s a higher rate than a suites redemption to New York. Moscow, Shanghai, 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 77 miles per minute.

Cape Town Table Mountain
49 miles per minute in Premium Economy or just 66 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 122 miles per minute on average (115 miles per minute prior to the 2019 devaluation).

For the Business Class table we’ve also added 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
2009 RJ Window Pair J
2018 RJ 11A.jpg
2006 J SQ 77W 2006J (miya.m)
2013 J 12Aoverview
2017 J 94A

For a more specific guide to which Singapore Airline Business Class seats are flying by route and flight number, see our regularly updated list here.

Business Class
Route Total Duration Seats Miles Miles / Minute
Cape Town 24:55 98,000 66
Houston 45:35 198,000 72
Istanbul 21:30 98,000 76
New York (JFK) 42:30 198,000 78
Johannesburg 21:00 98,000 78
Los Angeles (SQ11) 36:00 190,000 88
New York (EWR) 37:10 198,000 89
San Francisco (SQ2) 34:35 190,000 92
Wellington 22:30 124,000 92
Los Angeles (SQ36/38) 32:45 190,000 97
Manila 07:15 43,000 99
San Francisco (SQ32/34) 31:55 190,000 99
Christchurch 20:35 124,000 100
Auckland 20:25 124,000 101
Seattle 30:30 190,000 104
Hanoi 06:50 43,000 105
Beijing 12:20 78,000 105
Barcelona (SQ378) 27:55 184,000 110
Tokyo (NRT) 14:15 94,000 110
Dubai 14:45 98,000 111
Taipei 09:10 61,000 111
Tokyo (HND) 13:55 94,000 113
Manchester 26:45 184,000 115
Ahmedabad 11:20 78,000 115
Perth 10:35 73,000 115
Nagoya 13:35 94,000 115
Delhi 11:15 78,000 116
London 26:30 184,000 116
Barcelona (SQ388) 26:15 184,000 117
Paris (CDG) 26:10 184,000 117
Osaka 13:20 94,000 118
Amsterdam 26:00 184,000 118
Stockholm 25:50 184,000 119
Yangon 06:00 43,000 119
Mumbai 10:50 78,000 120
Dusseldorf 25:25 184,000 121
Shanghai 10:40 78,000 122
Frankfurt 25:05 184,000 122
Zurich 25:00 184,000 123
Seoul 12:45 94,000 123
Fukuoka 12:40 94,000 124
Canberra 16:40 124,000 124
Milan 24:40 184,000 124
Bali 05:05 38,000 125
Copenhagen 24:35 184,000 125
Rome 24:35 184,000 125
Guangzhou 08:05 61,000 126
Munich 24:15 184,000 126
Brisbane 15:50 124,000 131
Sydney 15:50 124,000 131
Hong Kong 07:35 61,000 134
Melbourne 15:05 124,000 137
Surabaya 04:35 38,000 138
Male 09:10 78,000 142
Moscow 21:35 184,000 142
Adelaide 14:20 124,000 144
Brunei 04:20 38,000 146
Bengaluru 08:50 78,000 147
Bangkok 04:50 43,000 148
Chennai 08:30 78,000 153
Kolkata 08:25 78,000 154
Dhaka 08:10 78,000 159
Colombo 07:45 78,000 168
Ho Chi Minh 04:10 43,000 172
Jakarta 03:30 38,000 181
Kuala Lumpur 02:10 38,000 292

Cape Town rules the roost again in business class – an excellent value redemption at 66 miles per minute of flight time – not much more than 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 regional Business Class seat, we’d strongly recommend flying to Toyko or Taipei instead (around 110 miles per minute), rather than some of the shorter routes, though Bali comes in quite reasonably at 125 miles per minute.

Seat 11A.jpg
The new 2018 RJ seat is the most expensive redemption per minute of flight time on the entire Singapore Airlines network if you choose to try it out between Singapore and KL – 292 miles per minute. (Photo: MainlyMiles)

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

First Class / Suites

The average KrisFlyer rate in Singapore Airlines’ most exclusive cabins – First and Suites, is now 162 miles per minute, up from 150 miles per minute before the latest devaluation.

1F Overview Night.jpg
The Singapore Airlines 2013 First Class seat on the 777-300ER. (Photo: MainlyMiles)
First Class / Suites
Route Total Duration Miles Miles / Minute
New York (JFK) 42:30 264,000 104
Los Angeles (SQ11) 36:00 265,000 123
San Francisco (SQ2) 34:35 265,000 128
Auckland 20:25 170,000 139
Beijing 12:20 106,000 143
Manila 07:15 65,000 149
Delhi 11:15 106,000 157
London 26:30 255,000 160
Paris (CDG) 26:10 255,000 162
Mumbai 10:50 106,000 163
Tokyo (NRT) 14:15 140,000 164
Shanghai 10:40 106,000 166
Tokyo (HND) 13:55 140,000 168
Frankfurt 25:05 255,000 169
Dubai 14:45 150,000 169
Zurich 25:00 255,000 170
Canberra 16:40 170,000 170
Copenhagen 24:35 255,000 173
Osaka 13:25 140,000 174
Sydney 15:50 170,000 179
Seoul 12:45 140,000 183
Melbourne 15:05 170,000 188
Hong Kong 07:35 90,000 198
Jakarta 03:30 55,000 262

Fewer surprises here – New York, the longest route with a Suites cabin, is the best value at 104 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 104 KrisFlyer miles per minute. (Photo: Singapore Airlines)

Jakarta is the worst value, and the oldest 2006 F product – it’ll set you back 262 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 – 188 miles per minute is on the steep side.

Yes, it’s simplistic

Remember this is a relatively simple analysis based on flying to and from Singapore. We 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 we could think of was from New York to Frankfurt to Singapore to Auckland, which comes in at just 100 KrisFlyer miles per minute (167,000 miles for nearly 28 hours in First Class).

For Business Class – Los Angeles to Seoul to Singapore to Delhi will cost you just 74 KrisFlyer miles per minute (109,000 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!

23 comments

  1. Appreciating the persistence you put into your website and in depth information you present.
    It’s good to come across a blog every once in a while
    that isn’t the same old rehashed information. Wonderful read!

    I’ve bookmarked your site and I’m including your RSS feeds to my Google account.

  2. I always take advantage of the same amount of miles needed from MEL to SIN and MEL> SIN > HKG. Both route is 58k one way, which represents good value if you add HKG in!

    Just came across this post. Very useful content here. Appreciate your effort!

    1. Absolutely right Tom, especially if you manage to get the new A380 with the latest Business Class seats on the SIN-HKG leg.

      You can even add a stopover in Singapore (up to a year!) for US$100 on a saver award ticket if you don’t want to fly straight out. Check our $100 stopover trick article if you didn’t see it.

      Cheers.

  3. Very useful post Andrew!

    One hidden gem for krisflyer is that it considers Central Asia as part of South Asia. Need to argue that backtracking is the most direct route possible with the agent though.

    Just flew CGK – SIN – IST – TAS with 42,500 miles on J – 39.5 miles / minutes. 18 hours flying time on business with SQ and TK.

  4. That redemption cost per minute for CGK might be high but if you check in 48 hours early and eat and drink as much as you can in TPR for 2 days…

    1. That’s very true! Though technically TPR closes for a few hours overnight. You can do that and stay at the Aerotel like we did once.

      Had breakfast, lunch and dinner in TPR! Certainly maximises the value of the miles.

  5. TPR = The Private Room..?

    I haven’t gone through the entire menu, but I’ve yet to have anything from, that was even decent.. Do share.. what’s good..? (Not being sarcastic.. I’d really like something nice the next time)

    Tho at least pouring DP (again)… but there IS such a thing as too much campers, no..?

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