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Singapore has announced upcoming changes to the KrisFlyer program.
The updates to KrisFlyer, like most alterations to frequent flyer programs, received a mixed response from members.
A lot of changes fell on the unfavorable side for routes into and out of the U.S. with the number of miles required rising (offset somewhat by the drop in fuel surcharges), whereas the cost of Intra-Asia routing has dropped.
To be fair to Singapore here, they communicated the changes clearly and did not try to frame the new prices as if they were doing members a favor, unlike some of the carriers closer to home (here’s looking at you Delta…).
In addition to providing some notice of changes (minimal yes, but notice none the less), these were also the first large-scale updates to KrisFlyer since 2012, and look pretty well balanced.
The three major changes according to Singapore’s press release were:
- Revisions to Saver Award levels in the Singapore Airlines and SilkAir Award Chart have been made to ensure that flight rewards remain sustainable yet competitive. We last made adjustments to award levels in various zones in 2012.
- The 15% discount for redemption and redemption upgrade bookings made through singaporeair.com and the Singapore Air app will be discontinued, and the same redemption fare will be applied across all channels.
- Fuel and insurance surcharges from all redemption award tickets on Singapore Airlines and SilkAir operated flights will be removed.
How the Changes Affect KrisFlyer Members
The first two changes are a blow to members who stockpiled points for flights on Singapore. Award rates didn't increase on all routes but affect the majority of fares to the U.S. and Europe, across the northern half of Asia, and to South Pacific destinations like New Zealand and Australia.
The changes are double barrelled in the sense that while the award rates only rose by 5-15%, combined with losing the 15% discount on awards booked via Singapore's website or app, some awards will cost between 30/50% more miles than they did previously. You can find the new pricing on Singapore's new award chart, which came into effect March 23, 2017, which we've also detailed in our post on how to book Singapore awards.
Singapore mitigated the increased miles by removing the fuel and insurance charges, a big plus if you have a huge stockpile of miles to use as you lose less cash out of your wallet. But the removal of fuel surcharges is not enough in most cases to offset the increased miles for the award.
The cash-equivalent price of awards has not gone up by much. But most awards will require more miles and less cash, which affects members in different ways depending on your earning and redemption patterns.
Singapore provided the following example (plus two others) of the new award pricing structure compared to the old awards:
Considering these are the first major adjustments to the KrisFlyer award chart in almost 5 years, they are remarkably fair when compared to the 100-200% rise in award costs we’ve seen from other carriers in the same space.
The cash equivalent price of awards has not increased dramatically, but rewards will require a higher number of points as opposed to paying a cash fuel and insurance surcharge.
Singapore is folding fuel surcharges into the base fare on cash tickets during the same period, so these changes are part of a larger reconfiguration of Singapore's ticket price model.
Have the changes affected any travel you were planning to redeem via Singapore KrisFlyer? Let us know in the comments.
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