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Singapore Airlines (SQ) has an impressive reputation for both its hard and soft products, no matter which class you fly. But if you read this website, there’s a good chance you want to experience the best that SQ has to offer. Even if you are booked at the back of the bus, you still have a chance to work your way forward. So here’s my guide to help you make sure you have the best chance of upgrading on Singapore Airlines.
Firstly, your flight must be an SQ number on an SQ plane – so no codeshares. Secondly, it’s important to note that you can only upgrade by one class. Want to try the iconic SQ Suites? You’re going to have to be booked into business class I’m afraid. Pay attention to which aircraft your flight is scheduled on. If it’s an a380, a350 or a 777-300ER, these aircraft have a premium economy cabin. If you’re flying economy on these planes then you can only upgrade to premium economy. Any other plane and you can jump straight up to business class. Thirdly, only the most flexible economy tickets may be upgraded. These are booking codes Y, B or E.
There are two main ways to upgrade; using your KrisFlyer miles or bidding with cash.
Upgrading on Singapore Airlines Using KrisFlyer Miles
KrisFlyer miles are of course the currency for SQ’s Krisflyer loyalty program. A great feature is that upgrades can be confirmed as soon as you book your flight by going to the ‘My Bookings’ page. Click on your reservation and there will be an option to upgrade with miles if eligible.
Upgrades are subject to availability and just like SQ award flights, can be purchased at either “Saver” or “Standard” prices. “Saver” prices cost fewer miles, but have much more limited availability compared to “Standard”. If there is no availability at the “Saver” level, you can apply to be on the waitlist. You must have sufficient miles at the time in order to be waitlisted. Then it’s time to grab the nearest four leaf clover, put on your horseshoes and do the “Airmile Dance” to the Upgrade gods and hope the upgrade is cleared closer to your departure.
There is also the “Full” price category. I won’t go into this because you require almost 4 times as many miles for this compared to the “Saver” level – this is only really for the extremely miles-rich amongst you!
Upgrades to premium economy can only be made at “Saver” level so the chances are even slimmer. Business and First upgrades also have the “Standard” option. Unless you’re deep-fried in KrisFlyer miles I would generally advise to be frugal and only try for “Saver” tickets.
Europe to Singapore (one way) will cost you 32 500 miles to upgrade from economy to premium economy. One of the sweet spots is SQs fifth freedom route from Manchester to Houston aboard their new a350. An upgrade to premium economy will cost you a cool 15 000 miles.
Europe to Singapore (one way) will cost 45 000 miles at “Saver” level and 65 000 at “Standard” level to upgrade to business class from premium economy. For Manchester to Houston it is 21 000 or 31 000 miles respectively.
Europe to Singapore costs 67 500/130 000 if you’re able to upgrade from economy straight to business.
My suggestion is that when you are buying your flight, run an award flight search on the SQ website for the same routing. If there is “Saver” award availability on your dates, then you should be able to immediately confirm that upgrade once you’ve purchased your ticket.
You will also have to pay for any increased taxes that are associated with your higher cabin class.
Upgrading on Singapore Airlines Using Cash
Your other option for upgrading on Singapore Airlines is something called mySQupgrade. This is only available for economy to premium economy upgrades.
About 7 days before your departure you may receive an email inviting you to lodge a bid with cash if your fare is eligible. SQ is particularly vague on what constitutes an eligible fare. They say that there are “certain criteria and combination of factors, which are dynamic”. I suspect that being booked into Y, B or E class codes is one of them.
There will be a range of a minimum and maximum bid and you pick a value on the slider. You may change the value of your bid as many times as you’d like until 50 hours before departure and will need your debit or credit card details to secure the bid. If successful you should receive an email any time prior to 40 hours before departure and only successful bids will be charged.
You may notice a ‘strength meter’ that rates the strength of your bid i.e. The higher the bid, the higher you’ll get on the meter and in theory have a better chance of the bid being accepted. Be aware that just because the meter reads “strong” or “excellent” you are not guaranteed to be successful.
If you are bidding for a group booking, there is no guarantee that you will be able to be seated together. However, once the bid is accepted, move fast and go to “manage my booking” to try and select seats together.
With the mySQupgrade you can only pay with money and not KrisFlyer miles.
If you are successful with your upgrade, you will only accrue the KrisFlyer miles and Elite miles of your original ticket. Award tickets are also not available for upgrades
Earning KrisFlyer Miles
KrisFlyer is a transfer partner for American Express Membership Reward points. This is one of the most straightforward ways to rack up a large number of Miles with Singapore Airlines. It’s also worth checking out SQ’s KrisFlyer Spree. This is their equivalent of the Avios eStore where you can earn extra miles via your online purchases. KrisFlyer Spree has some surprisingly useful and varied partners such as Virgin Trains, HungryHouse and Expedia (amongst many others). Krisflyer is also a transfer partner with many hotel chains such as Melia, SPG, Hilton, Marriott and Accor. There is also an interesting partnership with Shangri-La’s golden circle scheme called Infinite Journeys.
Upgrading on Singapore Airlines Bottom Line
SQ has some extremely aspirational products across its fleet so it’s worth knowing how you can make the most of any opportunities to use them. Your options are limited, but they do exist, so I suggest you know what they are when you are thinking about purchasing your ticket. Upgrading on Singapore Airlines isn’t cheap so make sure you know if it’s worthwhile for you.
Has anybody been successful at getting their SQ upgrades? Do let us know in the comments below!