Update 9 Oct: Singapore Airlines has now announced that Premium Economy Lite fares are also ineligible for mySQupgrade, in addition to award redemption tickets and Economy Lite fares.
Singapore Airlines has announced some changes to its mySQupgrade instant upgrade programme, which offers travellers the option to top-up their fare or award ticket with cash on selected flights to sit in a higher cabin class, from 72 to nine hours prior to departure time, subject to availability.
While the offer can sometimes be unattractively expensive, depending on your original fare type and how many seats the airline has left to offer in these higher cabins, there can be some good deals too.
Indeed I have recently used it to upgrade an Economy Flexi ticket purchased by my company on the Singapore – Bangkok route to upgrade to Business Class, for a S$240 top-up, which I considered worthwhile for the additional perks.
Award tickets and cheaper Economy fares are no longer eligible
Effective from 7th October 2023, the following ticket types are no longer eligible to receive mySQupgrade offers:
- Redemption award tickets (Saver or Advantage)
- Bookings in Economy Lite (V, K) or Economy Value (Q, N) fare types
This will be disappointing news for many of our readers who have taken advantage of this cash upgrade method from these ticket types.
It brings mySQupgrade in line with upgrades using KrisFlyer miles, which similarly are not available to those on Economy Lite or Value fares.
Redemption award tickets are also not eligible for upgrade using KrisFlyer miles.
All Economy Standard (M, H, W) and Flexi (Y, B, E), plus Premium Economy Standard (L, P) and Flexi (S, T) tickets will continue to be eligible for mySQupgrade.
Obviously you will not receive an upgrade offer if you are travelling on a paid Business Class fare and your flight does not feature a First Class cabin (i.e. this may only be offered, subject to availability, on Airbus A380 and Boeing 777-300ER flights).
Update: mySQupgrade stopped offering upgrades to First Class / Suites in January 2023. Only upgrades to Premium Economy and Business Class are now available, from Economy Class (Standard and Flexi) and Premium Economy Class (Standard and Flexi). Thanks to Aaron for the heads-up.
Options for affected travellers
If you’re holding an award ticket you will no longer be eligible for the mySQupgrade programme, and you already can’t use KrisFlyer’s upgrade with miles option, so what are the alternatives?
Instead you will have to either:
- Book an available redemption in a higher class on your flight, then cancel your original award booking and pay the miles redeposit fee, or
- Call Singapore Airlines and have your award booking reissued in a higher cabin class, subject to availability and payment of the additional miles and the change fee.
If you used miles and cash to make your booking (we never recommend this due to the lousy offset rate of 0.95 cents per mile), then it is treated as a cash booking and provided you booked in an eligible fare class you can then upgrade using miles and you will be eligible for mySQupgrade.
If you’re holding an Economy Lite or Economy Value fare, you will now not be eligible for any advance upgrade options.
In all cases, paid last-minute upgrades may be available at the check-in desk, regardless of your ticket type and fare category.
How mySQupgrade works
SIA’s mySQupgrade option was first launched in 2016, though back in those days it was a bidding system whereby you were able to make a cash offer to upgrade your flight, on a sliding scale. There was a minimum and maximum bid, and the more you offered the higher the likelihood that your bid would be successful.
This changed in 2022 and mySQupgrade now offers a fixed price upgrade from 72 hours (3 days) prior to departure, the cost of which varies based on your booked cabin class and fare type, revenue fares and upgrade space availability.
Here’s a summary of how mySQupgrade works.
mySQupgrade: Things to know
- Upgrades may be offered from 72 hours to nine hours prior to departure (previously up to six hours prior to departure)
- Upgrades are first-come, first-served, so if you have received an offer you may need to act on it quickly. If upgrade award space has already been taken by others, unfortunately you’ll be told it’s too late.
- You can pay with cash or miles for your upgrade, but you cannot mix miles with cash.
- The miles rate is fixed at the unattractive rate of 0.95 cents per mile, also applicable when you offset full-fare (non-award) SIA and Scoot ticket purchases with miles. Avoid!
- Upgrade confirmation is instant on making payment using cash or miles.
- You can upgrade to Premium Economy, Business or First / Suites*. You may be offered more than one upgrade option (e.g. from Economy to Premium Economy or to Business Class).
* – upgrades to First / Suites were discontinued in January 2023
- Upgraded travel class perks, including additional baggage allowance, priority check-in, priority boarding and (where applicable) lounge access and ‘Book The Cook’, are all included with successful mySQupgrade bookings.
- Miles and status credit earning remains based on your underlying ticket and fare class (i.e. original booking).
- mySQupgrade is non-refundable, but your underlying fare may still be refundable based on the purchase conditions.
- Payments for additional baggage or advance seat selection made for your original booking can be refunded following a successful mySQupgrade booking, but you will have to contact Singapore Airlines to process this.
Singapore Airlines will email you if you are eligible for a mySQupgrade offer for your upcoming flight, including a link to the offer itself, but you can also check whether your ticket is eligible by entering your booking details here.
Be careful with Boeing 737-800 flights
If you’re travelling in an eligible Economy Class fare category on one of SIA’s Boeing 737-800 flights, do be aware that the Business Class product on these older ex-SilkAir jets is far from the usual luxurious experience found on the carrier’s other aircraft.
Instead a basic recliner seat is the hard product on board, so do bear this in mind if you receive a mySQupgrade offer on one of these flights. It may not be worth it.
Here’s how the Business Class experience stacks up, based on our review in December 2022.
If you are travelling on the Boeing 737-8 MAX, however, a more impressive flat-bed product is installed in the Business Class cabin, which is a different matter altogether in terms of the hard product experience.
Singapore Airlines has withdrawn its mySQupgrade offers from travellers who booked award tickets and those holding cheaper Economy Lite and Economy Value fares.
This brings the programme more closely in line with the upgrade using miles option, which is also closed to award bookings and revenue tickets booked under cheaper fare codes.
Thankfully all other revenue fares remain eligible for the advance paid upgrade option, which can be particularly useful – especially if your company is paying for your trip.
(Cover Photo: Singapore Airlines)