Singapore Airlines Award Chart Changes: more miles, no fuel surcharges

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Singapore Airlines has announced upcoming changes to their award chart. While award chart changes typically mean huge devaluations that result in award prices skyrocketing, this change isn’t all bad depending on how you value points vs cash.

The Devaluation

For bookings starting on March 23rd, award prices will be increasing moderately and the 15% online booking discount will be discontinued. One of the key benefits of booking awards on Singapore Airlines using Singapore miles has been the 15% discount for online bookings.  You don’t even necessarily have to book online to get the discount.  Just last month, I booked an itinerary with a stopover, which requires calling to book with an agent.  The phone agent proactively offered to give me the 15% discount since the award wasn’t bookable online.  I’ve read that sometimes you need to ask for it, but agents typically do it if your itinerary is not bookable on the website.

After March 23rd, this discount will no longer exist.  This results in a de facto devaluation before increasing the cost of awards (and the costs in miles are increasing a bit).  Still, the rates have not risen drastically.  For example, before March 23rd, a saver award ticket in First/Suites class between Frankfurt, Germany and New York JFK costs 67,500 miles before the 15% discount or 57,375 miles after:

SWFRA-JFK

Under the new award chart, that same flight will cost 76,000 miles through all booking channels.

Why that’s not so bad

In the top right of that previous image, you’ll notice that the price is 57,325 miles plus EUR 287.61:

FRA-JFK YQ

Under the new changes, Singapore is eliminating fuel and insurance surcharges from Singapore Airlines and Silk Air award tickets.  Fuel surcharges can be steep.  On that Frankfurt-New York route, the fuel surcharges are about €170:

SQYQ

In this case, while a Frankfurt-New York suites class flight will cost an additional 18,675 miles, the cash price will be about $179 less with today’s currency conversion.

On routes like San Francisco to Singapore, the fuel surcharge makes up a more significant amount of the fees. Under the old chart, a first class award was 91,375 miles and $284:

SWSFO-SIN

In this case, the fuel surcharge is $240:

SQYQSFO-SIN

Under the new award chart, that award is going up 25,625 miles — but will cost $240 less.

The new award chart forces us to trade miles for cash at a value of less than $0.01 per point.  One Singapore KrisFlyer mile is worth more than a cent in most scenarios. That certainly makes this a devaluation.  However, it’s not so bad.  Award prices are increasing, but paired with the elimination of fuel surcharges, those changes seem much more palatable.

See the full new award chart for bookings after March 23rd here.

For bookings between now and March 23rd, the award chart can be found here.

Even better, View from the Wing brings us a great tip courtesy of Reward Flying: Under the new award charts, bookings will cost fewer miles on many routes when including a Star Alliance flight on another carrier.  For example, choosing a carrier like United that does not impose fuel surcharges and including a United flight on your award will make it fall under the partner award chart.  See the View from the Wing post for more detail.

In the end, devaluations are never great, but this one hurts less than some.

 

 

 

About Nick Reyes

Nick Reyes is a (fairly) regular guy with an animalistic passion for maximizing the value of miles and money to travel the world in comfort and style. There is little in life that he loves more than finding a fantastic deal and helping you shop smarter & harder to achieve your travel dreams.

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Comments

  1. The part where you need to find a domestic UA saver award flight may be a bigger challenge than finding the long haul SQ space.

    • Well, you will still be paying tax. It’s the fuel and insurance surcharges that they are eliminating.

      Because it’s surcharges rather than taxes, I don’t think you’ll automatically get a refund doing it that way. I don’t know whether you’d get a phone agent to refund them without paying more miles, but I wouldn’t book counting on that.

      Of course, since Singapore’s change and cancellation fees are so low, it might be worth a gamble.

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