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Just a week into 2019, and we’re gearing up for our first award-chart devaluation. Singapore’s Krisflyer program is raising award and upgrade prices for premium economy, business, and first class.

There will also be changes to the award waitlist process, a new search interface for finding award seats, and an expansion of the Spontaneous Escapes promotion.

While there is some positive news, on the whole, this is bad for KrisFlyer members, particularly when taking into account that Singapore last devalued its award chart less than two years ago. Of course, Singapore has great things to say about the changes, so you can check out the positive spin on their announcement page.

Here’s a recap of the changes on the way for KrisFlyer members:

  • Effective January 24, 2019, both Saver and Advantage Award rates are changing for premium economy, business, and first-class awards
  • The cost to upgrade a paid ticket using miles will also change
  • Upgrades from economy to business class for flights with a premium economy cabin are now available
  • Waitlisted awards will either be confirmed or canceled 14 days from departure
  • Spontaneous Escapes will become a monthly promotion
  • Updated search tool will show award availability across a seven-day window

Singapore-Airlines-A380

KrisFlyer Award Chart Changes Effective January 24, 2019

Of all the ‘enhancements’ listed in Singapore’s announcement, the changes to premium award rates will have the most significant impact on members. For example, award increases for flights to/from the US include:

One-Way Business-Class Saver Award Changes

  • East Coast – Singapore: 92,000 —> 99,000 miles
  • West Coast – Singapore: 88,000 —> 95,000 miles
  • East Coast – South Asia: 110,000 —> 121,000 miles
  • West Coast – South Asia: 98,000 —> 109,000 miles
  • East Coast – Hong Kong~South China~Taiwan: 100,000 —> 110,000 miles

One-Way First-Class Saver Award Changes

  • East Coast – Singapore: 120,000 —> 132,000 miles
  • West Coast – Singapore: 118,000 —> 130,000 miles
  • East Coast – South Asia: 145,000 —> 160,000 miles
  • West Coast – South Asia: 138,000 —> 153,000 miles
  • East Coast – Hong Kong~South China~Taiwan: 135,000 —> 150,000 miles

Most of the price increases are between 6-12%, which is far from the worst devaluation we've seen. But these changes do put Singapore at the high end of the spectrum compared with other programs. Fortunately for travelers on a budget, Singapore has left the economy award chart untouched.

Catch all the changes to Singapore’s award charts in the links below:

These changes only affect flights operated by Singapore Airlines and SilkAir, and you have until January 24, 2019, to book at the old rates. At the moment, there are no changes to the Star Alliance or partner award charts.

Waitlist Awards Will Be Cleared or Cancelled 14 Days From Departure

Another feature of KrisFlyer is the ability to waitlist awards when there is no award space available. Provided you have the miles in your account, you can request an award ticket, and if a seat opens up before departure, you’re first in line. Previously, you could be left waiting up until the day of departure to find out if you’ve secured a waitlisted award.

Under the new rules, Singapore will either confirm or cancel all waitlisted awards 14 days before departure. Singapore is putting a positive spin on this feature, stating it provides more certainty for waitlisted awards and allows members to make alternative travel plans.

But with many premium-cabin awards not opening up until the last minute, it’s hard to see how this benefits members. (Unless Singapore intends to release more award space in advance to confirm waitlisted awards.)

This feature is set to launch in the second quarter of 2019.

Spontaneous Escapes Promo Becomes a Monthly Feature

Singapore has recently been experimenting with regular award specials similar to the Promo Awards offered monthly by Flying Blue. KrisFlyer Spontaneous Escapes provide discounts on Saver redemption rates to select destinations across the Singapore Airlines and SilkAir network for travel the following month. Singapore will be expanding this into a permanent feature, offering monthly award specials advertised a month in advance of departure.

February looks set to be a big month for Spontaneous Escapes, with Singapore announcing deep discounts to celebrate the official release of the new promotion on February 15, 2019.

Updated Seven-Day Award Search Results

By far the best news to come out of Singapore’s announcement is the updated award search functionality. One of the pains of searching for premium cabin award space on Singapore (or any award space for that matter) has always been the limited award search capability, restricting searches to single dates only.

Starting January 31, 2019, you will have the ability to view redemption options across a seven-day window when selecting the ‘Flexible Dates’ box during an award search. The results will show awards +/-3 days from your selected departure date, showing a week of availability at a time.

This is a great feature and will make searching for Singapore award space a lot easier than it has been in the past. Whether you’ll want to book those awards at the new increased rates is another story.

Final Thoughts

With a top hard product, some high-value award sweet spots, and the ability to transfer points from Membership RewardsUltimate RewardsThankYou RewardsCapital One Rewards, and Marriott Rewards, Singapore has traditionally been a fan favorite of the points and miles community. But, when added to the changes made in 2017, this latest award chart devaluation sees the rates for premium cabin awards on many routes creeping into uncompetitive territory when compared to other programs.

It’s also hard to view the updates to the waitlist process as positive when so many award seats on popular routes traditionally open up in those last two weeks. The expansion of Spontaneous Escapes and the updated award search functionality are a huge plus, but not enough to compensate for the changes to the waitlist and award charts.

Singapore Devalues Premium Awards, Changes Waitlist Rules & Updates Award Search
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