It certainly seems to have been a year of devaluations for the Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer program. It kicked off in early January with the announcement of a hike in saver and advantage redemption rates across most Business Class and First Class / Suites tickets on Singapore Airlines and SilkAir flights.
That ship has well and truly sailed, with the new rates in effect since 24th January 2019.
We expected the Star Alliance award chart to follow suit sometime this year. It currently offers some better award rates than the Singapore Airlines chart simply by adding a (sometimes very short) flight on a Star Alliance carrier to your journey, a disparity SIA wasn’t going to accept long-term.
It wasn’t long before the changes were announced in March, with another three-week lead time to lock in your awards at current rates before the increases take effect. Shortly after that news, Singapore Airlines also tweaked a number of its partner airline award rates and the Star Alliance upgrade award chart too, with increases coming into effect on the same date as the other Star Alliance changes.
Some good news
There are probably three bits of good news, if you can call it that, regarding this latest devaluation:
- Not all award rates will increase. If you are redeeming a trip in Economy Class, the mileage requirements are staying the same across the board, and so there’s no rush for you. Some partner charts also have minimal changes, and one is staying exactly the same as before.
- Where rates are changing, it’s not too dramatic with increases of 6% to 12% typically seen.
- KrisFlyer rates for Star Alliance Round The World Awards are not changing. You’ll still be able to book these for 180,000 miles in Economy Class, 240,000 miles in Business Class or 360,000 miles in First Class. See our guide on booking a Round The World award.
If you’re planning a trip in Business or First Class however, for most airlines there are some increases that may well affect you. If you know your travel plans for the next year and can lock them in by Monday next week, it makes sense to act now and save.
Star Alliance rate changes
In case you missed it, here are the old and new redemption rate tables for itineraries including at least one flight on a Star Alliance airline, by cabin class:
The tables also fully describe which countries fall into each zone. These differ slightly in some cases from the redemption table for Singapore Airlines and SilkAir awards.
If you predominantly redeem to or from Singapore, here are the new round-trip rates, with Economy (unchanged) in the left hand column and Business and First Class in the middle and right hand columns respectively:
Increases are 8% to 12% for Business Class and 6% to 10% for First Class in these examples.
In February we outlined a range of options you can use to save thousands of miles on a number of award routings by using the Star Alliance redemption rates. You should definitely check out that article and see if it gives you any ideas for making savings on your own upcoming travel over the next year or so, provided you can book by Monday.
- Saving 1,500 miles flying Business Class from Singapore to Bangkok with Singapore Airlines for no extra cash at all, provided you only have hand luggage.
- Saving 7,000 miles flying Business Class from Singapore to Europe with Singapore Airlines (with a short Lufthansa flight at the end, which you can either take or ditch).
- Saving 7,000 miles flying Business Class from Manchester to Houston with Singapore Airlines (with an S$8 additional United flight you can definitely ditch, even with checked baggage)
- Saving 11,000 miles flying Business Class from Sydney to Zurich, almost wholly with Singapore Airlines, and even with checked baggage.
Take a look for yourself at our analysis. Sadly, it’s only good for four more days.
How far in advance can you book a Star Alliance redemption?
It depends on the Star Alliance airline you are including in your booking, but generally speaking you can book up to 11 months prior to departure for most airlines.
Thai Airways for example is up to 340 days in advance (just over 11 months), United is 345 days and Lufthansa is 355 days in advance (close to 12 months).
That means if you need a redemption even as far ahead as early March 2020, provided you book by Monday 15th April 2019, you will pay the current miles rate for your flights.
The Star Alliance Upgrade Chart
It rarely makes sense to use your KrisFlyer miles to upgrade a firm (i.e. paid) Star Alliance ticket, unless your company bought it for you in the first place. That’s because only the most expensive fare codes are eligible for upgrade.
We discussed this in our article about partner changes, and found that the increases are:
- 3% to 7% from Economy* to Business Class
- 4% to 10% from Business Class to First Class
* For selected airlines, this also applies to Premium Economy to Business Class upgrades
Take a look at that article for full details, or see the old and new redemption charts at the following links.
|Upgrade Award Charts|
Partner redemption changes
Having escaped the last devaluation, Singapore Airlines quietly amended the award rate tables for many of its partner airline flights too, a few days after the Star Alliance one.
Four of Singapore Airlines’ five partner airlines (i.e. non-Star Alliance members, on whom you can also redeem KrisFlyer miles) are having at least some of their award charts devalued in the Business / First Class redemption categories.
One partner however, Alaska Airlines, escapes any increases at all.
The following partners all see some devaluation:
- Juneyao Airlines
- Virgin Australia
- Virgin Atlantic
Again we covered the increases in detail in our article earlier this month, but to summarise here are the tables highlighting the main changes for each carrier.
Business and First Class redemption rates are increasing across the board, by 8% to 16%.
Business Class on flights from Brisbane, Melbourne or Sydney to Bali or Hong Kong are increasing in cost by 19%. Business Class on flights from Perth to Bali or Hong Kong are increasing in cost by 20%.
The rest of the network, including domestic Australia and trans-Tasman routings, is staying the same.
Largely academic, because award availability to KrisFlyer members is scarce (and that’s a generous description), but Premium Economy Class and Upper Class awards from the UK to North Asia, Central America and Africa are increasing slightly in cost. UK to USA flights, the airline’s mainstay, won’t change.
Premium Economy and Business Class award rates are increasing across the board, by 7% to 19%.
You can search award availability for all Star Alliance airlines through the Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer online search tool, with the exception of:
- Air India
- Air New Zealand (domestic flights in NZ)
- All Nippon Airlines (domestic flights in Japan)
- Avianca (most subsidiaries, except Avianca Brazil)
- TAP Air Portugal
The united.com site is a good way to search availability for the ‘missing’ carriers before having to call Singapore Airlines to make your booking. Remember it’s the ‘Economy Saver’, ‘Business Saver’ or ‘First Saver’ awards you need to see at the United site, as these are the redemptions available to members of other Star Alliance frequent flyer programs.
Once you find the routing and flights you want with availability, you can then call KrisFlyer to book.
On the partner side, only Juneyao and Virgin Australia awards are searchable through singaporeair.com, so you’ll have to call to enquire about availability on:
- Alaska Airlines
- Virgin Atlantic
Remember in any case where you have to call Singapore Airlines to book due to lack of any option online, service fees associated with booking over the phone should be waived.
Most of our readers use their KrisFlyer miles purely for Singapore Airlines or SilkAir redemptions, which is understandable. A few use the Star Alliance redemption table, with even fewer venturing into the partner airline charts or the Star Alliance upgrade award chart.
Nevertheless there are some good value options among all of these, depending on your travel habits, and with just a few days left to take advantage of lower redemption rates now is definitely the time to see if any of these ideas can work to save you some precious KrisFlyer miles for your upcoming travel plans.
(Cover Photo: Lufthansa Group)