Singapore devaluing Star Alliance chart, incl biz class to Hawaii

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Singapore Airlines has announced a devaluation to the KrisFlyer award chart for Star Alliance partner awards effective for bookings made from April 16, 2019 onward. In other words, you can book at the old rates between now and April 15th (even for travel beyond that date), but new bookings made 4/16 and thereafter are going up in price. Awards for business class travel on United to Hawaii, long a sweet spot in the chart, become semi-sweet in a few weeks.

Two separate charts, two separate devaluations

It’s worth noting that Singapore maintains two separate award charts: one for travel on Singapore Airlines and a separate chart for travel on Star Alliance partners. They last devalued the chart for travel on Singapore Airlines and Silk Air in January of this year. Since awards that mix flights on Singapore with flights on Star Alliance partners price according to the Star Alliance chart, this temporarily created some small sweet spots in traveling mostly on Singapore with a leg on a partner thrown in for good measure. That will cease to be the case in most (all?) situations with this devaluation.

Economy class awards not changing

The good news for those who are happy to fly in economy class is that economy class awards are not changing in price. If you’re just looking to get maximum travel out of your miles, you’re not losing anything here.

Business class awards increasing

You can compare the chart for awards ticketed by 4/15 here with the chart for award tickets booked 4/16 onward here.

In terms of US-centric changes, the one bummer most have probably long expected to hit us is that Star Alliance business class awards to Hawaii are finally increasing in price. For years, Singapore has charged 30K miles one-way in business class from the mainland US to Hawaii (whereas United charges 40K). Singapore KrisFlyer will now increase that award price to 34,500 miles one-way.

I paid 30K per passenger for these United lie-flats several years ago. The price goes up to 34,500 miles on 4/16/19.

On the one hand, that’s not terrible news. It’ll still be “cheaper” than United’s mileage price for the same flights. Furthermore, since Singapore is an Amex transfer partner, Chase transfer partner, Citi transfer partner, Marriott transfer partner, and Capital One transfer partner (albeit at a poor ratio), it’s really easy to amass that extra 4.5K miles.

On the other hand, I find the 500-mile pricing annoying. If you’re only looking to book one ticket, you’ll need 34,500 miles. The problem is that most partner programs only allow transfers in increments of 1,000. That means you’d actually be forced to transfer 35K points, thereby orphaning 500 miles with Singapore. To make matters worse, those miles expire after 36 months, regardless of activity. So if you don’t use those miles within 3 years, you lose them. I guess most people are probably booking 2 tickets to Hawaii, but I still don’t like it for those who are booking a single ticket.

Business class awards within North America (excluding Hawaii) are also increasing — in that case from 20K miles to 23K miles. Again, that’s still less than the 25K that most programs charge, but it is less of a value than it once was.

Bigger mileage increases are coming on a number of the longer-haul routes. For example:

North America to/from Old one-way price New one-way price Increase Percent increase
Europe 65K biz / 95K first 72K / 107.5K +7K / +12.5K +10.8% / +13.2%
Central / South Asia 110K biz / 145K first 122K / 160K +12K / +15K +10.9% / +10.3%
South America 50K biz / 70K first 57.5K / 80.5K +7.5K / +10.5K +15% / +15%

Note that the above examples represent some of the biggest increases. Some regions are seeing more modest devaluations. In many cases, Singapore isn’t your best option for Star Alliance awards as-is, so while the prices are worse, they likely don’t matter to many bargain shoppers.

Bottom line

The cost of Star Alliance awards using Singapore Krisflyer miles is increasing. You’ve got a few weeks to make plans at the current prices before the increase takes effect on April 16, 2019. Remember that through April 15th you can book tickets for travel through the end of the schedule at the current price scheme — so now is the time to lock in the price on your winter 2019-2020 Star Alliance travel. I’m not sure whether rates increase on 4/16 Singapore time or if it is 4/16 based on the local time at your airport of origin, but I suggest you not cut it that close if you can avoid it.

H/T: THE MILELION

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