SingaporeAir Changes Award Fees: The Forgotten Winner

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Palace of Westminster, London

Recently, Singapore Airlines announced it will increase its award fees for flights on Singapore Airlines, eliminate the 15% online booking discount, and eliminate fuel surcharges on Singapore Airlines award flights.  This news is either good or bad depending on how you redeem your miles.  For some of us, the news is almost exclusively good: Singapore Airlines’s around-the-world ticket is now approximately $400 cheaper (reduced fuel surcharges) and the mile redemption amounts remain unchanged!

Recent Singapore Airlines Award Changes

KrisFlyer members received the following email:

Thank you for your support as a KrisFlyer member.
We conduct regular reviews to keep the KrisFlyer programme updated. Following a recent review, we will be making these changes:

    • 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 had last made adjustments to award levels in various zones in 2012.
    • The 15% discount for redemption and redemption upgrade bookings made through our website and mobile channels will be discontinued, and the same redemption fare will be applied across all channels.
    • Fuel and insurance surcharges will be removed from all redemption award tickets on Singapore Airlines and SilkAir operated flights.

The above changes and the revised Award Chart will be effective for redemption and redemption upgrade bookings ticketed on/after 23 March 2017.

What does this mean for me?

In this latest update, there will be an increase in the number of miles you will need to redeem for selected flights in certain zones. However, you can also expect to enjoy cash savings from the removal of fuel and insurance surcharges from the cost of your redemption ticket.
We have included some examples below to further illustrate what this may mean for you. You can also find more information and FAQs here.

Singapore to London Example (one-way)

Reactions are mixed.  For some redemption, the above-discussed changes offer a decrease in value and for others, they offer an increase in value.  If you are considering redeeming Singapore Airlines miles, you will want to do the math to see whether the increase in miles is offset by the decrease in fuel surcharges for your particular trip.  Price Per Point = Cost of fuel charges / (points of old redemption – points of new redemption)

The Real Winner–The Singapore Airlines’s Around-the-World Ticket

I am in the process of outlining my dream around-the-world award trip, booked with Singapore Airlines miles.  As far as we know, Singapore Airlines’s business class around-the-world redemption on Star Alliance members will still cost 240,000 miles, economy 180,000 miles, and first class 360,000 miles.  One of the downsides of using Singapore Airlines miles for an around-the-world ticket is the imposition of fuel surcharges, approximately $1,000 – $2,000 for an around-the-world business class award ticket.

Given that my dream trip will likely use Singapore Airlines segments from Australia to Singapore and Singapore to Johannesburg, the recent news means that the total cost of fuel surcharges on this around the world ticket just decreased by approximately $400 (~$200 per segment).  You can approximate fuel surcharges online at https://matrix.itasoftware.com/.  Business class fees on the following segments will now cost under $70 USD per segment:

  • SYD-SIN on Singapore Airlines:  ~$66
  • SIN-JNB-CPT on Singapore Airlines:  ~$39

Air New Zealand charges similarly low fuel surcharges/ taxes when booked with Singapore Airlines miles.  This means you can fly from the US-New Zealand-Australia-Singapore-Cape Town (South Africa) on Star Alliance airlines that charge low, if any, fuel surcharges.  I recently priced the fees and fuel surcharges for an around-the-world award ticket (business class) booked through Singapore Airlines at $1,090.  This amount will vary by itinerary, but this calculation is a solid $400 less than if Singapore Airlines had not removed its fuel surcharges.  Singapore Airlines still charges fuel surcharges on award flights flown on most other Star Alliance carriers.

Conclusion

Overall, your mileage will vary under Singapore Airlines’s new award ticket rules.  Redemption amounts are increasing by slightly more than the decrease in fuel surcharges for some routes.  The real winner here, however, is Singapore Airlines’s around-the-world award ticket that just became ~$400 cheaper.

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