Singapore Airlines operates a solid and popular frequent flyer program known as KrisFlyer. This article will look at how the scheme works, and the best ways to earn and use miles. We’ll explain why it’s one of our favorite of the Star Alliance programs, and highlight some of its strengths and features.
Not just for Singapore
Whilst you naturally think of KrisFlyer as a choice for those based in Singapore, it’s coverage is far wider than that. True, it does work well for Singapore based flyers (not least as it is one of the only ways to access mileage tickets in their excellent first class), but it is worth considering for anyone who travels regularly with any Star Alliance carrier.
And when you do find yourself traveling with Singapore Airlines you are in for a treat! It is regularly voted as one of the best airlines – including Skytrax airline of the year 2018.
Singapore Airlines is a member of Star Alliance and miles can be earned and redeemed with any of its airlines. KrisFlyer goes even further and adds several other additional airline partners:
- Alaska Airlines
- Virgin Atlantic
- Virgin Australia
KrisFlyer – The basics
Getting started with KrisFlyer is simple – just sign up on the website.
Once joined, you can earn KrisFlyer miles and Elite miles for flights. This concept is similar to many airline loyalty programs and put simply:
- KrisFlyer miles are your award miles, redeemable for flights or other awards
- Elite miles are used to determine your status level in the KrisFlyer program
The KrisFlyer program – earning status
All flights with Singapore Airlines, Star Alliance partners and other partner airlines will earn redeemable KrisFlyer miles. Most (but not all) of these flights will also earn Elite miles. In particular, the following will earn Elite miles:
- All flights with Singapore Airlines and SilkAir
- All flights with Star Alliance partners
- Virgin Atlantic, only on non-transatlantic routes
- Virgin Australia, only for Singapore Airlines code share flights within Australia, Trans-Tasman, and between Australia and the Pacific Islands
- Vistara, only if codeshare with Singapore Airlines
The number of Elite miles earned depends on the booking class of the ticket and the flight distance. The lower the booking class, the lower the percentage of miles flown is awarded as Elite miles. For Singapore Airlines, this is all but the lowest economy booking classes (such as G class). The table below shows earnings for Singapore Airlines. Further tables and a useful calculator can be found on the KrisFlyer website.
Status is awarded based on the number of Elite miles awarded in the year starting from your date of joining, and will apply until the end of the next year. This is an unusual system that you should be aware of. Most airline schemes work on a calendar year, not based on date of joining.
Elite status privileges
Higher status brings increased benefits, both with Singapore Airlines and across Star Alliance. Whilst benefits are good (and in line with other programs for benefits like lounge access and baggage), those moving across from a program such as United Airlines will miss the opportunities for free upgrades!
Silver status is awarded at 25,000 Elite miles, with the following benefits:
- 25% bonus miles on flights with Singapore Airlines, SilkAir and Virgin Atlantic
- Complimentary seat assignment on Singapore Airlines and SilkAir
- Silver status with Star Alliance
- Priority wait-list and reduced service fees
Gold status is awarded at 50,000 Elite miles, and adds:
- Star Alliance Gold status
- Extra baggage allowance on Singapore Airlines, SilkAir, Virgin Atlantic, Virgin Australia and Star Alliance partners, and priority baggage handling
- Lounge access on all Star Alliance flights (including one guest)
- Virgin Australia lounge access only when traveling with them (plus one guest on same flight)
There are also additional benefits for continued earning at Gold level, known as Gold Rewards:
- 60,000 Elite Miles – one voucher for double miles on one flight
- 75,000 Elite Miles – one upgrade coupon for a short haul flight
- 100,000 Elite Miles – one upgrade from booked economy to premium economy
Earning KrisFlyer Miles with flights
You will earn miles for flights with Singapore airline and all partners. Earning are always based on flight distance and ticket class / booking code, but vary widely between airlines! KrisFlyer produces separate tables for earnings with Singapore Airlines, all Star Alliance partners and each of the other partners. For more details see our guide to earning KrisFlyer miles.
Other ways to earn KrisFlyer miles
As with most airline programs, there are plenty of ways to earn miles other than flying. You can earn with hotel bookings with most major chains, car rentals and through their own shopping portal. Many other offers and shopping bonuses are local for Singapore. Again, we cover more in our guide.
Combining miles with other programs
In our opinion, one of the top features of KrisFlyer is the ability to combine points with other reward programs. You can transfer points into KrisFlyer from all of the following programs, all at a 1:1 ratio:
This means you can earn miles from spend on any credit card linked to one of these programs, then transfer points across. This is a very useful feature!
Be careful with KrisFlyer miles expiration!
KrisFlyer miles expire 36 months after they are earned. This is an unfortunate policy that you need to be careful of. With many other schemes, mileage remains valid as long as there is in ongoing activity, but this is not the case here.
Spending KrisFlyer miles
As you would expect, mileage can be redeemed for awards tickets on Singapore airlines and all partners. There are separate mileage redemption tables for each. Rewards are based on zones and can involve multiple segments with partner airlines.
One of the best uses for KrisFlyer miles is for premium cabin tickets on Singapore Airlines. Their first class suites are one of the best available. Business class is excellent as well – check out our review. Rewards seats are excellent value, but very hard to get, and to make it harder, Singapore Airlines do not normally release these award seats to other partners.
For more details on flight awards and the best deals, and some ideas for ways to spend miles on other things, see our guide to spending KrisFlyer miles.
Overall, we really like the SIA KrisFlyer program. It is a great option for anyone flying Star Alliance carriers regularly – especially those in the US looking for an alternative to United Airline’s revenue based mileage earning system. It is also good for those in Australia as Virgin Australia is a non-alliance partner (plus you are closer to Singapore to get to redeem on Singapore Airlines!).
There are plenty of strong points to the program – distance based earning, zone based awards and excellent points transfer options.
A couple of things let the program down. Firstly, the reductions in earning rates and increase in award pricing in recent years. This is a shame, but Singapore Airlines is not alone in doing this. Also, the strict mileage expiration policy of three years after earning – this though is fine for anyone who treats it as “earn and burn” rather than holding onto mileage.