Singapore Airlines (SQ) became my favorite airline when I lived in Singapore and flew them enough to attain PPS status in their Kris Flyer rewards program. Even after leaving Singapore, I have flown them regularly and love their Business Class and First Class service. Unfortunately, they have announced changes that will reduce the value of Kris Flyer miles by up to 67% – a drastic devaluation by any standard! Find out what it means to you and what you can do!
Well, first the good news: They announced the changes by email (instead of calling them “enhancements” like the US airlines and they provided advanced warning of three weeks, making them effective March 23rd, 2017 and giving you a chance to book flights under the old rates. There are three parts to the changes:
1. Elimination of 15% online booking discount: The online booking discount of 15% for all SQ reward flights booked through their web site made award trips great value – I was able to book my First Class flight from Manila to Europe for only 72,250 miles one-way – using United MileagePlus miles for the same trip would have cost 115,000 miles!
The impact on you is limited if you are not living in a city served by Singapore Airlines – because you cannot book partner flights online, this discount was not available for mixed itineraries, for example a connecting United or Lufthansa flight and SQ.
2. Elimination of fuel/insurance fees: Singapore Airlines charged some very steep fuel surcharges (over $200 to Europe) and is eliminating these going forward. While this is of course good news, it is long overdue. It is outrageous that airlines in times of low oil prices still charge those fees.
For me, this makes no difference, as the Philippines had outlawed these fees and SQ was not allowed to charge them on flights originating in Manila!
3. Revision of Award Chart: SQ is also changes the miles needed for Saver Awards on their flights. While the short-haul flights around Asia are not affected, premium cabin awards to Europe and the US are hit hard. SQ merged the two European zones, so that my recent trip from Manila to Amsterdam is going up by 59% in First Class and 67% in Business Class – that’s one of the deepest devaluations I’ve seen in airline rewards programs – ever! Here are a few more examples:
Bottomline: This is a big devaluation and if you have a lot of KrisFlyer miles saved for trips between SE Asia and Europe, the US or Australia, I recommend that you book your award flights prior to March 23rd, 2017, to make the most out of your miles. Keep in mind that you can transfer points from many credit cards to top of your KrisFlyer account, like the Citibank Prestige, the Chase Sapphire Preferred or cards around Asia, like the Citibank Premier Miles.
I consider myself lucky that my KrisFlyer account is almost empty and I have relied on transferrable Citibank ThankYou points to book rewards with SQ most recently. It shows again the value of transferrable points, as you are less exposed to sudden and drastic devaluations like this, and can transfer to other airlines instead! I will be less likely to fly Singapore Airlines going forward!
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