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.

  2. I’m trying to make a reservation from Mainland to Hawaii using Singapore Airlines KF Miles (Which I got by transferring TY Points & MR Points). Found a data point here: Only Earned TY points (By CC Spending) are transferable to other airlines, not the courtesy points or retention points. Since I couldn’t transfer everything I supplemented the remaining with MR points.

    Going by the General Wisdom, I did a search on United website for “Saver Award Economy” availability and then call Singapore Airlines, just to find “Not Available for those days”

    Do you think is it because of Hawaiian Airline connection? Should I only look for UA flights? Or is there a sub quota for Singapore within the available award tickets from United? or is it because of one connection where there is no availability?

    • 1) Hawaiian Airlines isn’t a partner with Singapore. You won’t be able to use your Singapore miles for any flight operated by Hawaiian. You’ll need to find an itinerary that doesn’t include Hawaiian airlines.

      2) Yes, you should only look for UA flights (unless you want to fly Virgin America, which will require more miles and I don’t know how they determine saver availability).

      3) I don’t know of any sub-quota. In my experience, I was able to book everything I could see available on United with one major exception: Singapore won’t allow a connection of more than 4 hours on a domestic itinerary. Even though United.com will show you itineraries with a 6 or 8 hour layover, Singapore won’t let you book that as one award.

      4) If there is a leg without saver availability, you won’t be able to book it. All legs need to have United saver availability for you to book it (and they all have to be on United metal — again, no Hawaiian airlines).

      Lastly, this won’t help you now (but good to know for next time): it’s always best practice to confirm all of the availability before you transfer miles. In the case of Singapore, transfers aren’t instant — so you’ll still run the risk of your preferred flights being booked while you’re transferring miles. But it’s better to confirm that you can do what you want to do before you make irreversible transfers. Also, on the note of availability: if you’re a United Airlines credit card holder or you have United Airlines elite status, make sure you are NOT logged in when looking for availability. United makes more seats available to elites/CC holders, and Singapore won’t have access to that.

  3. Thanks much Nick.

    My travel is in Feb 2018, so I took the risk of transferring and still see availability, but not to KOA. I see availability to HNL and rarely to OGG. With baggage charges added to all separate itineraries, I was thinking of getting a single ticket all the way to KOA, but seems it is not possible. I will keep checking.

    Thanks again for the quick reply.

    • You’re welcome.

      If you’re looking to visit the big island, have you tried ITO? I believe United flies into Hilo (the Volcanoes National Park side of The Big Island).

  4. I got a great deal on HGV for 5 nights and 6 days which includes Rental Car as well for all those days. We plan to visit Hilo one day and plan on attending Luau.

    The 4 hour stopover came-back to bite on me as I do have to pay $100pp. So I took a midweek flight to eliminate that cost.

    Since I bought the Tickets with KF Miles (Even-though converted from TY Points) Citi Prestige won’t offer me travel insurance. So I’m planning on taking Exact care from BHTP. Do you have any idea or experience with them?

    I have AMEX PCRP or US Bank Altitude. Do you think I should take Car Rental Insurance or should I take CDW from the Rental agency I wont be paying anything for the Car Rental (As I’m getting complimentary car rental from Hilton)

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