One of the best ways to access a decent supply of KrisFlyer awards on Singapore Airlines flights is to book well in advance, and there’s often no better time to do so than as soon as the space is loaded, just under a year in advance.
That happens at ‘T-355 days’, or 355 days before the departure date for each flight, but the exact timing isn’t quite as simple as you might think.
When does Singapore Airlines load fresh award space each day?
As most of our regular readers will know, this happens each day at 8am Singapore Time… right?
Well, yes in most cases that’s true – both revenue and award space on SIA flights is added at 00:00 GMT (which is 08:00 SGT) each day, 355 days in advance.
There are some exceptions though, as I recently discovered when locking in two Business Class Saver awards for a USA trip next year.
Redeeming from Singapore to San Francisco was no issue – 2 Saver awards appeared as usual at 8am Singapore Time on both of the airline’s daily flights on this route, and I locked a pair in for the evening SQ34 departure.
All that was left to do was repeat the process two weeks later, for the return leg.
That’s where things became confusing. At 8am Singapore Time, 355 days before the departure of SQ33 from San Francisco to Singapore, the site was still showing absolutely no availability, either for revenue or award tickets. The same went for Los Angeles… Seattle… Houston… New York!
It was then I realised there’s an exception to the 8am SGT rule – and it applies only to these five US cities.
At 8am Singapore Time it is still only mid-afternoon the previous calendar day in the USA, so if SIA loaded award space for those departures then it would effectively mean doing so 356 days in advance, which for whatever reason they don’t want to do.
Instead for these locations SIA loads up fresh revenue and award space at 00:00h (midnight) local time at the departure city, 355 days prior to the scheduled flight departure date.
Here’s how that looks.
KrisFlyer ‘fresh’ award space timings
(355 days before departure)
and non-US cities
|US West Coast
If you’re not too adept at deducting 355 days from a particular date to determine when the new award space will come online for your desired flight, especially with a leap year in play like in 2024, don’t worry – we’ve got a handy calculator below for you to use.
For example, if your desired flight is departing out of Los Angeles on 1st November 2024, you’ll need to be online to book on 12th November 2023 at 3pm Singapore Time to get access to the first release of both revenue and award seats.
Finally for our international readers, here is the current date and time in Singapore for reference.
🇸🇬 Singapore Date and Time
Is award space guaranteed at T-355?
Unlike some frequent flyer programmes, KrisFlyer doesn’t guarantee any award space at the T-355 days mark, and certainly for First Class, Suites and even popular holiday periods in Business Class you may see only Advantage space initially loaded.
That said, the T-355 window is often perfect timing for snagging a pair of Saver Business Class awards even on some of the carrier’s most popular long-haul flights like Singapore to London or non-stop services to the USA.
Even the popular Singapore – London route has 16 immediately confirmable Saver Business Class awards loaded in the popular summer July 2024 period on a single day when you book 355 days in advance, based on a search this morning (4 each on SQ306, SQ308, SQ318 and SQ322).
Closer to home it’s typically even more generous – for example you can snag 6 Saver Business Class awards on the same Singapore – Bali flight 355 days from now, with 4 choices of departure time, plus 2 Saver Business awards on the smaller 737 MAX flight, so effectively at least 26 people can lock in this routing using miles at the lowest rate in that cabin on the same day.
We’ve used this strategy in the past, even as basic KrisFlyer members, to redeem a pair of Singapore Airlines Saver Business Class awards to Cape Town and back, and to the UK and back, so it’s worth considering if you can make reasonably certain travel plans almost a year in advance.
Good strategy for expiring miles
Booking almost a year in advance is potentially a great strategy if you have expiring miles, an issue which sadly begins to rear its ugly head again from the end of July 2023 onwards, since you can use expiring miles to book future flights, even if they would have long expired by the time you actually step on board.
As you can see from our recent analysis of what to do with expiring miles, a flight redemption is almost always the best value way to ‘cash out’, especially in premium cabins, so do consider whether you can plan a trip 355 days in advance and try to lock in a redemption as soon as it becomes available.
Award space is added progressively
Grabbing award space on Singapore Airlines flights a year in advance is a great tactic, because most of the time the airline will offer a decent initial selection of redemption seats at this stage.
However, one of the most common misconceptions we hear about KrisFlyer award space on Singapore Airlines flights is the old adage “once it’s gone, it’s gone”.
This simply isn’t true.
For example, while there’s certainly no guarantee that once there are no more Saver Business Class awards on your desired flight that Singapore Airlines will load more closer to the departure time, the airline does actually load more in many cases.
Award space is dynamic and progressively loaded based on a number of factors that include booked cabin loads, number of days to departure and predicted occupancy / revenue management.
For the flight to San Francisco on which I recently booked two Saver Business Class seats at T-355 days, my booking had the effect of switching the next available redemption in this cabin only to the more expensive Advantage rate (not even waitlist for Saver).
However, one immediately confirmable Saver Business award has already been loaded on the same service in the meantime – so there is simply no such thing as “all the saver award seats are gone”.
Keep checking is always our advice here – award space comes and goes.
Remember there is also a necessary element of randomness with KrisFlyer award space, so that predictable patterns of redemption availability don’t emerge, which is why you’ll sometimes see no award space offered, even on flights with almost empty cabins.
How late can you book?
Since we’re discussing how early award bookings become available on Singapore Airlines, for the sake of completeness we should also mention how late you can book too.
Commercial seats and KrisFlyer award seats may be available until your flight is closed for commercial sale. That happens 2 hours prior to the scheduled departure time.
You may think there will be no award space at that late stage, but there sometimes still is. At the time of writing, for example, I can book two Saver Business Class awards on SQ494 to Dubai, leaving less than three hours from now!
One strategy for circumventing poor award space in the limited supply post-COVID era remains the option to jump on award space as soon as it is released, with Singapore Airlines typically still generous with its initial offering at the T-355 days mark, for those who can make travel plans well in advance.
8am Singapore Time (00:00 GMT) has always been the golden rule, and while that remains true for most cities there’s actually a slight nuance in that flights departing from the USA get progressively loaded through the afternoon (Singapore Time).
Even if your strategy is not successful, or you missed the first release of award seats, do keep checking for space as the airline often adds more as the departure date approaches.
(Cover Photo: Lucas Wunderlich / Shutterstock)