Singapore Airlines will be increasing the redemption rates for all award tickets, as well as upgrades, from 24 January 2019. This increase will see Krisflyer members forking out anything from 2,000 miles to 15,000 miles more for their premium economy, business or first class ticket.
For those who have longer term memories, the last revision was in March 2017 (yes we are in 2019, guys), where SQ famously removed its 15% online redemption discount, in return for absorbing fuel surcharges on its tickets.
This time round it’s mostly grim. Economy class rates remained unchanged, but everything else is going up – both saver and advantage rates. We will take a look at the increases at the saver level, because, frankly who redeems at an advantage level unless you really need to travel?
One great news for those who usually upgrade with their miles: SQ will now allow a two-class upgrade from Economy to Business for aircraft with the premium economy product. Previously this will not be possible.
Premium Economy saver rates have gone up between 2,000 and 5,000 miles per way. If you are travelling from Southeast Asia to anywhere in Asia Pacific, you are likely to have to fork out an additional 2,000 miles each way.
For ultra-long journeys, expect to pay 5,000 miles more. See below for some examples:
|Singapore to||Premium Economy saver, each way (‘000 miles)|
|Hong Kong, Taiwan||22.5||24.5||+2 (8.8%)|
|Japan, South Korea||32.5||34.5||+2 (6.1%)|
|South Asia||30||32||+2 (6.6%)|
|Australia (excl Perth, Darwin)||45||47||+2 (4.4%)|
|USA (West Coast)||65||68||+3 (4.6%)|
|USA (East Coast, Houston)||70||73||+3 (4.3%)|
This is where the shit gets real. Business Saver rates have gone up between 1,500 and 11,000 miles each way. To show that inflation spares no one, every single city pair have gone up, including Zone 1 to Zone 2 fares, i.e. Singapore-Jakarta & Singapore-Kuala Lumpur flights.
For very long flights like Australia to Europe services, travellers will now have to fork out about 22,000 miles more for a business class return flight. Under the old rules that would have given you a Singapore-Bangkok one-way business ticket. Ouch.
|Singapore to||Business saver, each way (‘000 miles)|
|Indonesia, Malaysia||17.5||19||+1.5 (8.6%)|
|Thailand, Vietnam||20||21.5||+1.5 (7.5%)|
|Hong Kong, Taiwan||27.5||30.5||+3 (10.9%)|
|Japan, South Korea||43||47||+4 (9.3%)|
|South Asia||35||39||+4 (11.4%)|
|Australia (excl Perth, Darwin)||58||62||+4 (6.9%)|
|USA (West Coast)||88||95||+7 (8.0%)|
|USA (East Coast, Houston)||92||99||+7 (7.6%)|
Of course, First and Suites are not spared, but then again if you have enough miles for redeeming a first class ticket, the increase really shouldn’t matter that much. The mileage required for redeeming a first class ticket have gone up between 2,500 and a cool 15,000 miles, depending on your city pair.
The shortest first class flight you can get is on Singapore-Jakarta for 25,000 27,500 miles which will let you have a taste of their famous Private Room at Changi Airport Terminal 3 before you head off south.
If you are like me who like to save your miles for very long haul trips, be prepared to save even more miles now. The famous SQ11/12 Singapore-Frankfurt-New York service will now cost you a cool 132,000 miles each way, up from 120,000 miles. This is a far cry from the time when there was a 15% online discount, which will only set you back by 102,000 miles back before 2017.
Here’s a look at some of the changes:
|Singapore to||First saver, each way (‘000 miles)|
|China (Beijing, Shanghai)||50||53||+3 (6%)|
|Japan, South Korea||65||70||+5 (7.7%)|
|Australia (excl Perth, Darwin), New Zealand||80||85||+5 (6.3%)|
|USA (East Coast, Houston)||120||132||+12 (10%)|
I don’t normally encourage people to use miles for upgrades since you will usually have to purchase fairly expensive fares to be able to upgrade.
There are however exceptions to this, for instance, if you are travelling for work and your company policy allows you to upgrade with your own miles.
So what have gone up for upgrade awards? Generally, short haul flights are unaffected, the changes impact mid (anything further than Singapore-Hong Kong) and long haul flights. Increases are generally modest (1,000 to 2,000 miles each way) and tops off at 6,000 miles increase for Australia-USA flights, for a economy to business class upgrade award.
The one good news that came out of it is that customers can now do an economy-to-business upgrade on flights with premium economy. This was previously not possible and customers wishing to upgrade to business would have to purchase a premium economy fare, to the dismay of many.
No more waitlist within 14 days of travel
Another good news that came out of today’s announcement was the confirmation of waitlisted flights 14 days before your flight. Previously there have been harrowing accounts of how flights were confirmed only a day or two before, but this will not longer be the case as SQ will no longer allow redemptions waitlisting within 14 days of departure.
We didn’t see this coming. This increase certainly came very shortly after the last round, and the increases are a sign of things to come with Singapore Airlines’ transformation. While the increases are not dramatic, but the creeping and somewhat frequent changes should let you reconsider whether to stick to a single mileage programme, or hedge it with another.
Bottomline is: don’t hoard your points. The longer you keep, the more value you lose.
Of course, there are some bright spots, such as how Singapore Airlines have decided to make the Spontaneous Escapes a permanent feature, meaning you can enjoy last-minute redemption deals at 30% discount. Of course, this will heavily depend on what is unsold, almost akin to a bakery’s end-of-day discount sale.
For the full changes and new award charts, see SQ’s website here.