Singapore Airlines Kris Flyer has announced a host of changes to its program that will be coming in 2019. Changes in the pipeline are to award waiting lists, the award availability calendar, award sales, flight upgrade option. Not all changes are happening at the same time although most will be phased in in the first few months of 2019. While it will come as no surprise to point and miles aficionados that some changes are negative (after all positive changes are pretty rare these days), there are also some positive changes in the Singapore announcement which is a nice change from the usual negative news.
Award Chart Devaluation
The biggest hit announced by Kris Flyer is the devaluation to its own award chart. Thankfully the devaluation is not as severe as it could have been when compared to some of the ones we have recently seen in the industry. Also, the devaluation only affects awards booked on Singapore metal and not ones booked on Star Alliance partners; those remain unchanged.
The changes to the Kris Flyer Award chart come into force on January 24, 2019, and affect bookings in business and First (J & F) classes respectively. Select bookings are increasing in price by between 6% and 12.3%. The changes are as follows:
Effectively you will be parting with between 1,500 and 12,000 more Singapore miles for your awards. If you are planning on making a booking after January 24, 2019, and need to make some plans to know how much a Singapore award will cost you, all you need to do is check the new Singapore award chart.
One thing to remember is that Singapore is one of the few airlines that is partnered with every major points currency. So you can transfer points from Chase, American Express, Citi, and Marriott Rewards over to Singapore to get your next flight award. This means points earned from your CSP, CSR, and MCC can all be transferred. I you are planning on transferring Marriott points, remember that Marriott has a 5,000 mile bonus for the transfers of 60,000 points. normally Marriott points transfer over to Singapore Kris Flyer at a ratio of 3:1, however for every 60,000 points you transfer you will receive 25,000 miles including the bonus.
Improved Upgrade Options
Effective January 24, 2019, Singapore is removing one of its most annoying rules, the one cabin upgrade rule. Up to now if you had an economy ticket you could only upgrade to premium economy if the aircraft was equipped with that class of cabin. From January 24, 2019 you will be able to skip the premium economy and upgrade directly to business class from economy. This is a massive improvement since ultimately as much as Singapore upsells its premium economy cabin, it is nowhere near as nice as its Business class cabins. While upgrade rates have not been announced yet, it is obvious that it will require more miles to upgrade from economy to business than it does from Economy to Premium Economy.
Enhanced Award Calendar Availability
Singapore is also improving the award search functionality on its site. Currently you can only search for awards on a specific day, which is very annoying if you are flexible with your plans and want to see multiple days, since you have to do a series of individual searches.
From January 31, 2019, you will now be able to search Singapore award availability with a window of +/- 3 days. For instance, if you submit a search for an award on March 12, 2019, you will see all the available award space on your route from March 9, through March 15, 2019. This new 7-day search window should make finding and booking Singapore Award space much easier.
Award Waiting List Alterations
One of the unique features of the Singapore Kris Flyer program is that it does have a waiting list for Saver awards. So if you are after a saver award on a given route, you can go on the waiting list and grab an award if one becomes available. Currently you can join the waiting list, but can end up waiting to a few days before departure before finding out if your booking has cleared or not. The new system will give you at least 14 days’ notice prior to departure to let you know if your saver award has cleared or not.
Singapore Kris Flyer has not announced the exact date this new 14 day notice system will be coming into force, although the company announced we can expect it sometime in the second quarter of 2019. At this point in time we don’t know whether this is a positive or negative change and opinion is split. While some people think this is a good development, others think it will lead to less flyers picking up Saver Award space in premium cabin. We will have to wait and see how this development pans out.
Recurring Award Sales
Singapore recently announced its award sale Spontaneous Escapes. The discounted award are on various global routes. Singapore is making this award sale a permeant feature. Typically with Spontaneous Escapes the sale is on for one month, and is valid for travel the following month.
This is a great little promotion from Singapore and is worth checking out on a regular basis. Our only gripe is that the travel window is so close to the booking window making planning difficult. We wish Singapore could take a leaf out of Flying blue and its Promo Rewards promotion, where the travel window is for two months, and starts at the end of the month following the promotion month. The next Spontaneous Escapes promotion will hit the site on February 15, 2019.
Like all changes some are good, and some are bad, while the devaluation is disappointing, the other changes are positive. Overall we think these changes are just on the positive side. What do you think, we would love to hear what you think of these changes to the Kris Flyer program.