Singapore Airlines has announced that it is waiving ticket rebooking fees for those wishing to cancel their existing travel plans and retain the value for a flight on a later date, including for award tickets, and applicable to any route on the network.
To be eligible, tickets must be already issued, or purchased between now and 31st March 2020, for travel up to 31st May 2020.
The new itinerary must be completed by 31st March 2021.
“This new policy will allow customers the flexibility to defer their travel plans and applies to all bookings for travel up to 31 May 2020. All rebooking fees will be waived, although a fare difference may apply for the new itinerary.
SIA will continue to review its waiver policy and retains the flexibility to extend the cut-off date of 31 May 2020 as it assesses the impact of the Covid-19 outbreak on global air travel in the coming weeks.” Singapore Airlines
This change to the previous policy, allowing changes to tickets issued on or before 31st March 2020, was inevitable given the increasing level of travel restrictions coming into force and flight cancellations SIA is adding day by day.
An extension to 31st May 2020 is therefore welcome, but as the airline itself admits could easily be extended, so don’t be too concerned if you are travelling after the current cut-off date.
Crucially for many of our readers award tickets are covered by the policy, so if you have a redemption locked in for travel between now and the end of May 2020, or you now wish to book one inside that date range, you can shift it to a later date without paying the US$25 admin fee for a Saver award.
For Advantage awards, there is no date change fee, so you’re not saving anything here since you could always do this.
Change fee waiver for award tickets applies if you’re booked on a Singapore Airlines or SilkAir flight. Rebooking is dependent on award space on a future preferred date. If you later have to cancel the award, the usual US$75 fee (US$50 for Advantage awards) still applies.
Do be aware of some fees that are not waived under this policy for award bookings:
- A change of route, cabin class or award type (between Saver and Advantage) is not covered by the policy and will still attract the usual US$25 fee on processing.
- Any changes for partner airline bookings and cancellation / miles redeposit fees are not covered by the policy, and will still attract the usual fees.
- No show fees are not covered by the policy. So if your award flight was last week and you didn’t cancel it, then failed to show up for it, but you now wish to shift the itinerary to November 2020 for example, you’ll still pay the no-show fee (e.g. US$300 for a Business Class award), however the usual US$25 date change fee will be waived in this case.
If you booked a cash ticket with Singapore Airlines or SilkAir for travel before the end of May 2020, or indeed if you do so now, you’ll be able to alter this to another date of your choice before 31st March 2021 with no change fee applied.
The big catch here? The fare difference will still apply.
That’s not a concern with an award ticket, whose ‘value’ is effectively identical for an available redemption in January 2021 as it was for your April 2020 one.
It’s impossible to accurately predict how fares will change between what you paid already and those in force your new preferred travel date, since pricing is dynamic and SIA certainly isn’t ‘selling itself short’ for available seats many months from now, in the hope that demand rebounds to the usual levels.
You may therefore still find yourself well out of pocket in this scenario, however the change fee will be removed.
Before you call…
Due to a very high level of calls given the recent new travel restrictions being announced, including for travel to and from the United States, India, New Zealand and Europe, Singapore Airlines is asking customers with flights departing in the next 72 hours (3 days) to contact them, while encouraging those with longer-term bookings to hold off for now so that issues with imminent journeys can be resolved.
We are hearing of some shocking wait times over the phone, however that’s somewhat understandable given the unprecedented situation.
“Due to the high volume of incoming requests, we seek our customers understanding that it may take longer than usual for our service agents to respond.” Singapore Airlines
In essence, those with upcoming journeys are encouraged to only SIA if their flight is departing in next 72 hours, so that the focus can be on those with urgent flight changes.
Methods for resolving your flight booking changes or queries are:
- SIA’s online form
- Your local SIA reservations team
- Contacting your travel agent (if you booked through one, e.g. Expedia)
- Calling the reservations team on +65 6223 8888
Singapore Airlines also has updated guidance on COVID-19 Travel Advisories and Waiver Policies.
An inevitable extension of SIA’s fee waiver policy, which was previously applicable only to tickets issued on or before 31st March 2020.
For award tickets it’s good news, as you’ll be able to avoid the usual US$25 fee when switching a saver redemption across to a future date on the same route.
For cash fares it’s a little more complicated, since you’ll still be subject to the fare difference applicable when rebooking.
(Cover Photo: Phuong D. Nguyen / Shutterstock)