With no significant changes expected to the SIA Group’s flying schedule amid continued travel restrictions due to COVID-19, the carriers have once again extended their travel waiver period for booked tickets by two months, covering the entire first quarter of next year.
This allows those who booked to travel on or before 15th March 2020 with a ticket to fly between now and 31st March 2021 to obtain a full cash refund with no fees regardless of your fare type.
Previously, the travel waiver was extended until 31st January 2021.
Both SIA and SilkAir are continuing to encourage affected customers to retain the value of their tickets towards a future booking, by offering a bonus flight credit towards your next trip worth up to S$500 on top of the fare already paid, with Scoot offering 120% in vouchers as its incentive.
Singapore Airlines and SilkAir recently announced increased flight frequencies and routes for January 2020, plus a reinstatement of non-stop New York services and A350 ULR flights to San Francisco, though overall only around 19% of normal capacity will be operating during the first month of next year.
Meanwhile low-cost carrier Scoot is operating around 10% of its usual flights during December and January, the latest additions including Bangkok and Ho Chi Minh.
Singapore Airlines / SilkAir
Singapore Airlines and SilkAir have extended their global travel waiver policy, now offering customers who purchased a ticket on or before 15th March 2020, for travel up to 31st March 2021, the option to retain the full value of the unused portion of their tickets as flight credits.
These flight credits can be used to book new travel up to 31st December 2021.
This is designed to give you flexibility to plan, book and travel between now and well into next year, with no-show and rebooking fees waived.
ATB Tickets Singapore Airlines is also applying its “full refund with no fees” policy regardless of fare type for cash tickets and redemptions made on the recently postponed Singapore – Hong Kong Air Travel Bubble (ATB) flights. Alternatively, you can also rebook a different date for no fee (fare difference may apply).
Bonus Flight Credits
SIA and SilkAir are continuing to award bonus flight credits to all those who choose to retain their tickets as flight credits.
Based on the original cabin class of travel, you will receive the following bonus flight credits when making a new booking with Singapore Airlines or SilkAir:
|Bonus Flight Credits|
|First / Suites||S$500|
* If your eligible ticket contains a combination of cabin classes, the bonus flight credits will be based on the higher cabin class. If you have a partially flown ticket, you’ll only have the remaining value of your ticket retained as flight credits, but it will not be eligible for these bonus flight credits.
If you previously opted to keep your tickets open due to the COVID-19 outbreak, prior to Bonus Flight Credits being offered, you’ll also retain the value of the unused portion of your ticket as flight credits in addition to automatically qualifying for these bonus flight credits.
Similarly, if your flights were cancelled by Singapore Airlines or SilkAir, you will retain the full value of the unused portion of your tickets as flight credits plus you’ll also be awarded these bonus flight credits when rebooking your travel.
If you booked directly with Singapore Airlines, you should use the COVID-19 online assistance request form to cancel your booking and retain its value as flight credits.
Provided your request is submitted before your original travel date, all no-show fees will be waived.
Bear in mind that the bonus flight credit is a fixed amount and you will still be subject to any fare difference when rebooking in future. For example in the same class on the same route, the fare may have increased by more than Singapore Airlines is providing in additional credit when you come to rebook.
Once you have firmed up your new travel plans, you can submit your preferred rebooking options and travel dates using the same COVID-19 assistance request form. Customer service will then follow up on your request.
If you intend to travel in the next 72 hours, contact your local Singapore Airlines reservation and ticketing office rather than using the online form. The ION Orchard service centre is also a good option for those based in Singapore.
How Bonus Flight Credits work
- You can use the flight credits from an eligible ticket for up to two new flight itineraries with SIA or SilkAir for yourself, with the last flight sector of each flight itinerary being on or before 31st December 2021.
- At the point of rebooking of the new flight itinerary, the bonus flight credit will first be applied to the total cost of the new flight itinerary.
- If your flight credit is sufficient to cover the cost of your new itinerary, the entire cost of the new itinerary will be deducted against the flight credits. Any remaining flight credits may then be used to offset the cost of a second flight itinerary for the same passenger.
- Where your flight credit is insufficient to cover the entire cost of your new flight itinerary, you will have to pay for any top-ups for the new flight itinerary.
- You will be issued a new ticket when the flight credits are used to rebook a new flight itinerary. All fare conditions of the new ticket, including any applicable rebooking fees, refund conditions and/or cancellation fees, will be applicable to that new ticket.
- You will not be allowed to transfer and/or combine your flight credits in any manner whatsoever.
- Any unused flight credits will expire on 31st December 2021, and will be non-refundable thereafter. Any residual value in your partially used flight credits are also non-refundable.
Bonus Flight Credits for foreign currency bookings
The bonus flight credits in the table above relate to the additional amount you will receive over and above your originally ticketed fare when you rebook a flight denominated in Singapore Dollars.
If you rebook a flight with the fare in a currency other than Singapore Dollars, the Bonus Flight Credits will be awarded in local currency, based on an exchange rate determined by SIA and published in this table.
It is subject to change in line with the latest foreign exchange rates.
If you purchased a Singapore Airlines or SilkAir ticket on or before 15th March 2020, for travel up to 31st March 2021, but you do not wish to keep the value of your flight or take advantage of these new bonus flight credits, you can instead apply for a full refund.
Cancellation fees and no-show fees will be fully waived. There will be a wait involved, with Singapore Airlines stating:
“As our offices around the world have been affected by government-imposed lockdowns, we seek your patience as it may take longer than usual for us to process the refunds.
“The time it takes to receive your refund will also vary depending on the type of refund. For example, refunds for partially flown tickets and those with ancillaries such as seat selection fees, will take longer than fully unused tickets with no ancillaries.
“If you booked directly with Singapore Airlines, you will receive an email notification once your refund request has been processed. It may then take up to 6 weeks for the amount to be credited back to your original mode of payment, subject to your bank’s processing time.”
If you booked directly with Singapore Airlines, you should use the COVID-19 online assistance request form to cancel your existing booking and request for a refund.
You’ll then receive a confirmation email and it will be too late to retain the value of your ticket as flight credits or be eligible for the new bonus credits.
If your ticket was issued after 15th March 2020 and your SIA or SilkAir flight was subsequently cancelled, you are entitled to a refund with cancellation fees waived.
If you used miles to redeem your flight tickets on or before 15th March 2020, you will have both your miles and taxes refunded. No cancellation fees are payable, including any fees payable for redepositing of KrisFlyer miles.
This policy also includes award bookings on Star Alliance and partner carriers.
If you purchased your tickets using a combination of miles and cash, you will also receive a refund. This is now applicable for award bookings through 31st March 2020. You will not be eligible for any flight credits.
If the miles you used for your redemption booking were imminently expiring, their expiry dates will be extended as follows:
|Miles Expiry Month||Miles redeposited extended until:|
|On or before March 2020||30th June 2021*|
|Between April 2020 and May 2021||30th June 2021|
|On or after June 2021||Original miles expiry date|
* Miles cannot be further extended, even for a fee
For miles redemption bookings made after 15 March 2020, if your flights have been cancelled by Singapore Airlines, any expired miles redeemed in your tickets will be reinstated to your KrisFlyer account with additional 6-12 months validity from the original month of expiry, as per the latest validity extensions for KrisFlyer members.
For example, if you made a redemption booking in April 2020 for a flight in January 2021 using miles that were expiring in September 2020, these will be redeposited into your KrisFlyer account with validity extended until September 2021.
It may take up to 4 weeks for your expired miles to be redeposited. Miles that are still valid will be redeposited back to their original month of expiry.
Remember if you’re a PPS Club member, this does not apply as your miles never expire.
Unfortunately if you refunded your redemption tickets before this policy was first implemented (i.e. before 9th April 2020) and your expired miles were forfeited, they will not be retroactively refunded.
Similarly if you opted for a refund on your award ticket before 9th April 2020, any redeposit of miles fee paid will also not be retroactively refunded.
Bookings made through a travel agent
If you booked through a travel agent or a partner airline, you should contact them for assistance to either retain the value of their tickets in the form of flight credits or to request for a refund. Singapore Airlines has issued guidance to agents allowing them to take advantage of these new options in relation to your booking:
“Travel agents will be able to help customers get the bonus flight credits, as well as utilise their flight credits to book a new itinerary. Any rebooking fees will be waived.
“If you are a travel agent and require assistance, please contact your local SIA sales office.”
Tickets for travel after 31st March 2021
If your SIA or SilkAir ticket is for travel after 31st March 2021 and was issued on or before 4th March 2020:
- Any changes or cancellations will be subject to your ticket’s fare conditions, and you are not eligible for flight or bonus flight credits (our advice: wait to see if the travel waiver is extended again).
If your SIA or SilkAir ticket is for travel after 31st March 2021 and was issued between 5th March 2020 and 31st December 2020:
- You can postpone your trip by changing your travel dates via Manage Booking.
- You may make unlimited changes to your travel dates before 31st December 2020 with all change fees waived.
- After 31st December 2020, you can still have a complimentary one-time change to your travel dates.
- Note that any date change must be made within a year of your ticket’s date of issue and any cancellations will be subject to the ticket’s fare conditions.
- You are not eligible for flight and bonus flight credits.
Further details are available here.
Our Tip: Don’t jump the gun by cancelling your flight under existing terms and conditions if you’re travelling after 31st March 2021. Singapore Airlines is continually reviewing its travel waiver policy month-by-month and further extensions to the full refund / bonus flight credit options are likely.
Partially used tickets
If your Singapore Airlines or SilkAir ticket is partially used and you are eligible under the travel waiver policy, you will be entitled to a refund of the unused portion of your ticket in either cash or as flight credits.
Note that Bonus Flight Credits are not applicable for partially flown tickets.
You can refer to full details of your options under the revised travel waiver policy on Singapore Airlines and SilkAir flights at the following page:
If you made a Scoot booking on or before 15th March 2020 travelling on flights scheduled to depart between 23rd January 2020 and 31st March 2021, which was later cancelled, there continue to be two options to claim a refund.
- A 100% refund via the original method of payment, or
- A 120% refund in Scoot vouchers, valid for 24 months.
For a 100% refund to your original payment method, Scoot is advising of a wait of up to 14 weeks for processing.
If you previously applied for a refund and opted for the voucher, this will be voided on processing of the cash refund should you now opt for that method.
If you would rather receive the 120% refund in Scoot vouchers, note the following:
- You have 24 months to use these vouchers to make a new booking, for any travel period available on the Scoot website at the time of booking. You may use up to two vouchers per transaction.
- If you have previously received a 100% refund in the form of Scoot travel vouchers, you will receive an additional voucher worth 20% of your original itinerary value.
Scoot’s Manage My Booking portal now supports customers wishing to select these options online.
If you booked your Scoot flights through third-party booking channels or a travel agent, you should contact the relevant channel or agents for assistance.
As with Singapore Airlines, remember this Scoot voucher has a fixed value, dependent on the total price of your original itinerary, and there will be no point in complaining if your ticket is 50% more expensive when you come to rebook in future, even on the same route.
Full details of the current Scoot COVID-19 travel waiver policy can be found here.
KrisFlyer miles extension
Singapore Airlines has been progressively extending the validity of miles for members with expiries approaching during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The latest extension was announced earlier this month and is now applicable for those with miles expiring between April 2020 and June 2021, with validity extended until at least April 2021 and up to December 2021 in some cases.
Those whose miles were expiring between April and December 2020 and had already received a 6-month extension have had their miles extended by a further six months.
Another extension to the group’s travel waiver policy through to the end of March 2021, given the continued 80%+ capacity cuts.
There will likely be further extensions to the waiver while so many services continue to be cancelled over the coming months, so don’t jump the gun if your flight is booked for April 2021 onwards, though since these tickets cannot have been booked on or before 15th March 2020 (SIA releases its schedules 355 days before departure), the waiver may start to take a slightly different form.
Group airlines continue to offer full refunds with no fee, though of course they would prefer to entice you with their bonus flight credits or enhanced voucher value, which you can use against subsequent bookings through the end of 2021 in the case of SIA or SilkAir, and well into 2022 for Scoot vouchers.
Do remember though, no one can say what the price of your future preferred flight option will be – you are not protected for fare differences. Even including the bonus credit, you may fall short of the amount you need if the fare has risen.
Those making redemption bookings with miles that would now have expired, or were due to expire before May 2021, will continue to have those miles extended until 30th June 2021. Additionally, miles redeposit fees will be waived.
KrisFlyer has also continued to extend the validity for miles expiring between April 2020 and June 2021 by 6-12 months, depending on the original expiry month.
(Cover Photo: Brian Bukowski)