When the COVID-19 pandemic hit in early 2020, Singapore Airlines launched a travel waiver policy, allowing customers who booked flights on or before 15th March 2020 to obtain a full cash refund with no fees, or opt to retain the value of tickets including a bonus credit for rebooking at a later date.
The benefit also included a waiver of rebooking fees for new tickets issued from 5th March 2020 onwards, as part of a policy that has been continuously extended over the last two years, while strict travel restrictions have remained in place due to the pandemic.
The latest extension to the Complimentary Rebooking Policy was announced in mid-May 2022, for tickets issued by 31st July 2022.
The complimentary rebooking benefit is ending
Though we knew it was eventually inevitable, unfortunately Singapore Airlines confirmed to Mainly Miles this week that its complimentary rebooking benefit will not be renewed after 31st July 2022.
That means you only have 10 days left to make new cash or award bookings and continue to benefit from the policy, with one free change available even after the complimentary rebooking benefit has ended.
Here’s a table illustrating the benefit.
SIA Rebooking Policy
|Booking date||On or before
31st July 2022
|On or after
1st August 2022
|Now to 31st July 2022||
Unlimited complimentary rebooking*
|1st August 2022 onwards||
One-time complimentary rebooking*
Normal fare conditions apply, including rebooking fees
* Any fare difference will apply
As you can see, it’s worth considering locking in bookings or redemptions between now and 31st July 2022 to give yourself the extra flexibility of a complimentary rebooking, which will no longer apply for tickets issued on or after 1st August 2022.
How the benefit works
For cash or award bookings made on or before 31st July 2022, you can make date and/or destination changes with all fees waived, depending on when you make the change, as outlined below.
|Date of change||Eligibility|
|On or before 31st July 2022||Unlimited free changes|
|From 1st August 2022||One-time free change|
Any booking 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.
- For cash bookings, any fare difference will apply.
- For award bookings, any miles difference will apply for a change of destination or award type (i.e. Saver to Advantage), but not for a date change, even if you booked at pre-devaluation rates.
- From 1st August 2022, after your complimentary one-time change has been utilised, normal fare conditions and change fees will then apply for any further changes.
In most cases, you can make a date change or change the destination in your original booking (or both) using the airline’s Manage Booking portal, whether you’re holding a cash or award ticket.
I made use of this benefit only last week, when I changed a Business Class Saver award redemption from Manchester to Singapore departing in November 2022 to a date in March 2023 instead.
While the change could not be processed online for some reason, it was all done and dusted over the phone within 10 minutes, and there was no change to the 92,000 KrisFlyer miles rate I originally paid (even though the rate is now 103,500 miles).
What about add-ons?
If you have paid for add-ons such as additional baggage, seats, or add-on deals (e.g. seats with additional baggage bought as a bundle), your options are:
Change of travel dates only
- Purchased additional baggage may be transferred to the new flights.
- Purchased seats may be transferred to the new flights, if available. If not, a full refund of the purchase will be offered.
- Purchased add-on deals may be refunded.
Change of destination
- All purchased additional baggage, seats or add-on deals will be refunded. You may choose to re-purchase the add-ons for your new flights, subject to availability and prevailing prices.
Fare differences are still payable
If you change to a more expensive flight, you will still have to pay any applicable fare differences, despite the change fee itself being waived.
For example, let’s say you book this return flight to London for travel in September 2022 under the current travel waiver with complimentary booking change.
If you change to a flight later in the year, you will save the change fee.
Unfortunately you’re still on the hook for the S$195 fare difference per person (S$1,629 instead of S$1,434), since the flights you are moving to are now (or always were) more expensive.
Which tickets will attract change fees?
Between now and 31st July 2022 you can book any Singapore Airlines fare type and benefit from at least one complimentary change prior to departure.
Here’s a summary of the fare types that will once again attract a change fee for new bookings made on or after 1st August 2022.
SIA Change Fees by Fare Type
1st August 2022
Source: Singapore Airlines
Note in particular that if you have your eye on an Economy Lite fare, you might want to lock it in before the cutover date, since these cannot be changed at all if booked from 1st August 2022 onwards.
What about award tickets?
Award tickets are also covered by the complimentary rebooking policy, so if you lock in a redemption between now and the end of July 2022, for any future travel date in the schedule, you can shift it to a later date or change routing without paying the applicable fees outlined below.
- Saver award date change: US$25 (waived)
- Advantage award date change: Free (no benefit)
- Saver award route / class change: US$25 (waived)
- Advantage award route / class change: US$25 (waived)
These fees will be reinstated for all award bookings made on or after 1st August 2022.
For Advantage awards, there is no date change fee, so you’re not saving anything here since you could always do this without charge.
Do note that if you wish to cancel an award ticket, the usual miles redeposit fee of US$75 (Saver) or US$50 (Advantage) will apply.
The complimentary rebooking benefit does not apply to Spontaneous Escapes awards, which cannot be amended or refunded.
As with cash bookings made by 31st July 2022, you’ll get unlimited changes on or before 31st July 2022, then one complimentary change after that.
Remember you can book KrisFlyer award tickets up to 355 days in advance, so a redemption ticket locked in on the final day of the complimentary rebooking policy (31st July 2022) can be for travel as late as 21st July 2023, and still benefit from a fee-free change.
A change of routing (destination only) or class of travel is also possible, subject to any difference in miles and taxes (upwards only, no refunds here for cheaper routings / cabins!).
Rebooking is dependent on award space in your desired cabin on the preferred date / new route.
Do be aware of some fees that are not waived under this policy for award bookings:
- A change of 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 Star Alliance or partner airline award 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. For example, 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 October 2022 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.
What about new award rates?
If you originally booked your Singapore Airlines award ticket at pre-2022 devaluation rates, you won’t have to stump up any extra miles for a simple date change, provided you are not changing your destination or award type.
For example if I change my upcoming Singapore – Phuket – Singapore Saver award booking, which cost 43,000 miles return per person when booked earlier this year, to a later date next year with award space, the new higher post-devaluation 48,000 miles rate per person does not apply (even though it is displayed in the search results).
If I change the trip to Bangkok instead of Phuket, however, this requires the ticket to be reissued, and the additional 10,000 miles will be charged, even though the two destinations are in the same redemption zone.
On the plus side, marginally lower airport taxes in Bangkok compared to Phuket means SIA would refund me a grand total of S$3 if I made this change!
- If you change a Saver award locked in at the pre-devaluation rate to a Saver award on another date on the same route, you won’t pay any extra miles.
- If you change a Saver award locked in at the pre-devaluation rate to an Advantage award on the same route, you’ll have to top-up the difference to the post-devaluation Advantage miles rate.
- If you change a Saver award locked in at the pre-devaluation rate to a Saver award on a different route, with or without a date change, you’ll have to top-up the difference to the post-devaluation miles rate for the new route.
If you secured an Advantage award on a route where the redemption rate has since increased, you won’t need to pay any extra miles for a simple date change to another Advantage award.
Still holding Bonus Flight Credits?
If you booked your Singapore Airlines ticket on or before 15th March 2020, for travel up to 31st March 2021, you may have opted to hold the value of your tickets plus Bonus Flight Credits under SIA’s travel waiver policy.
If you haven’t used these yet, they are now redeemable for travel until 31st December 2022, under the latest extension.
What about Scoot?
Scoot’s equivalent to the complimentary rebooking benefit was called ‘Plan with Confidence’, and as we noted in May this year the applicable booking timeline for the benefit had diverged for the first time from that of the mainline carrier, with extension only for bookings made by 30th June 2022.
That means complimentary rebooking for newly booked Scoot flights has now ended, with the carrier instead adopting an optional ‘Flexible Flight Tickets’ add-on for bookings made from 1st July 2022.
This effectively allows you to make your Scoot flight more flexible by paying extra when booking your ticket, with the following options available:
- BookFlex: A one-time flight date or time change with no fee
- MultiFlex: Unlimited flight date or time changes with no fee
Changes can be made up to four hours prior to your flight departure time, and any fare difference at the time of rebooking will still be payable.
There are only 10 days left to lock in Singapore Airlines cash and award bookings with the complimentary rebooking benefit attached, which will still allow one free change made on or after 1st August 2022, now that SIA has confirmed the benefit will cease at the end of July.
It’s very useful to have this added flexibility, especially for Economy Lite tickets, which will become strictly non-changeable again once this policy comes to an end.
It’s also worth considering making some award redemptions now, safe in the knowledge that you’ll still get one free date change down the line, if you need it.
Further details are available at the Singapore Airlines Complimentary Rebooking page.
(Cover Photo: Pavel Kapysh / Shutterstock)