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Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer is one of my frequent flyer programmes – particularly for using up American Express Membership Rewards Points. I was therefore slightly alarmed to see the dreaded subject line “Upcoming changes to the KrisFlyer programme” in my inbox. When it comes to loyalty programmes “changes” are rarely a good thing…
Let’s go through the changes bit by bit:
Greater convenience on redemption availability
“From 31 January 2019, you will be able to view available redemption options across a seven-day window. Simply check the Flexible travel dates box during your redemption search to get an overview of the redemption availability and respective lowest redemption award levels, for flights three days before and after your selected date.
This will enable you to see relevant available redemption inventory at a glance and select alternative dates of travel more conveniently.“
If you’ve ever tried to search for award space on the Singapore website, you’ll know that this minor change is actually a pretty big deal. The site is currently one of the most annoying in existence, so anything that makes it quicker to search is a good thing in my book.
Discounted redemptions for last minute travel
“Due to popular demand, KrisFlyer Spontaneous Escapes will be made a permanent programme feature from February 2019. It offers significant discounts off regular redemption rates each month to selected destinations across the Singapore Airlines and SilkAir network, for travel the following month.
To commemorate the official launch of KrisFlyer Spontaneous Escapes, the February edition will offer never-before redemption deals to destinations in our network. Details will be made available on singaporeair.com/kfescapes on 15 February 2019.”
I really like the Spontaneous Escapes initiative and am pleased to see it’s being kept. It will be interesting to see whether the February edition meets the hype Singapore are giving it – I suspect not.
More upgrade options
“As part of our commitment to bring you more redemption options, upgrades from Economy Class to Business Class for flights with a Premium Economy Class cabin are available with immediate effect. The number of miles required for an Economy to Business Class Upgrade will be the same for aircraft with or without a Premium Economy cabin.”
To be honest, I wasn’t 100% sure which category to place this in. It sounds good in theory, but I’ve never spent any time looking at KrisFlyer upgrades so can’t be sure. In general though, more options are a good thing.
The probably bad
Certainty for waitlisted redemptions
“To give you greater certainty for your waitlisted flight redemptions, you will be informed of the outcome of your waitlist 14 days before the flight.
At least two weeks prior to the flight, all successful waitlist redemptions will be confirmed, and unsuccessful ones cancelled. This change is aimed at removing the uncertainty of being on a redemption waitlist, and to give more time to make alternative travel plans should your waitlist not be successful. It will come into effect in the second quarter of 2019.”
On the face of it, this doesn’t sound too terrible, but I’m very sceptical about how it will work in practice. Waitlist redemptions often clear close to departure – and that makes perfect sense, as Singapore can quite accurately predict how many seats would otherwise go out empty at that point.
I can’t see how Singapore can clear as many waitlist redemptions 2 weeks out as they do 2 days out, without it hurting the bottom line. Anyone betting that they are willing to take that hit? 😉
The definitely bad
Revisions to Singapore Airlines and SilkAir Award and Upgrade Charts
We have also reviewed our Award and Upgrade levels and will be making the following revisions:
- Adjustments will be made to Award and Upgrade levels in First Class, Business Class and Premium Economy Class
- Existing Economy Class Saver Award and Advantage Award levels, as well as Economy Class to Premium Economy Class upgrades, will remain unchanged
The revised Award and Upgrade charts apply to redemption and redemption upgrade bookings ticketed on or after 24 January 2019.
Note that you have to scroll down to the second page on both charts to see the ‘Saver Award’ prices.
From a European perspective, you can see in the charts below that Economy awards stay the same; Premium Economy is going up by 2,000-4,000 Miles; Business Class is going up by 7,000-11,000 Miles; and First Class awards are increasing by 10,000-15,000 Miles. These are all one way prices, so you’d need to double the increases for a return.
Awards between Singapore and other parts of the world show a similar pattern.
The only major change here is the increase in award prices – the ‘good’ news is all relatively minor stuff.
Although the increases aren’t massive, they are still definitely unpleasant and I would strongly advise making any KrisFlyer bookings you’ve got planned before they kick in, if at all possible.
If you are considering topping up your account for an award, be aware that it can take longer than you might think to transfer American Express Membership Rewards Points across – my last transfer took about a week.
What do you make of the changes?