A few weeks ago I wrote about Singapore Airlines’ policy change, whereby they would start releasing saver award space to their KrisFlyer members for travel in their new first and business class products.
The history on that is that over five years ago Singapore Airlines launched a new first and business class product, which at the time was quite good. Therefore to “protect” the cabins and make them exclusive, they made the decision to not release saver award space on those flights in first and business class. This applied to their own KrisFlyer frequent flyer members, and therefore the same also applied to those trying to redeem miles with their partner airlines for travel on Singapore.
At first I could understand how they justified such a policy, though over the years their business class product was no longer “cutting edge” as the competition caught up, not to mention virtually all of their longhaul routes are now operated by the new business and first class products. Therefore the value of their frequent flyer program decreased quite a bit, since it became impossible to redeem miles for travel on Singapore at the “saver” level.
Last month they announced they would be changing this policy, and as of March they’d start releasing saver award space in business and first class for travel starting in April. Now, it’s worth clarifying that they only announced this as it concerns KrisFlyer members. This means it’s no guarantee that Air Canada, United, and US Airways flyers, for example, would have access to the same space, since Singapore is known for having different award inventory for those using KrisFlyer miles and those using miles from other airlines. So I’m not quite jumping into the “everyone’s going to be flying Singapore Airlines first class using US Airways miles” bandwagon just yet.
That being said, while the new policy isn’t supposed to kick in till next week (March 8) we’re already seeing promising signs relating to this change.
Singapore has now started readily releasing business class award space to their alliance partners for a majority of their flights to the US, all of which are operated by their new business class product. This includes their all business class services from Newark and Los Angeles to Singapore, which are operated by Airbus A340-500s featuring only 100 business class seats. Newark to Singapore is the longest flight in the world, while Los Angeles to Singapore is the second longest flight in the world, both clocking in at over 18 hours.
Anyway, while they’re only releasing award space last minute for these routes as of now, this is really exciting news, since I suspect there’s more where this came from. After all, they’re already releasing space for travel in March, which isn’t even part of the program change which is only supposed to kick in for travel starting April 1.
As much as I’m all for flying first class whenever possible instead of “roughing it” in business class, I’m incredibly tempted by the world’s longest flight…
If you’re interested in reading a trip report about Singapore’s new business class, here’s one I wrote about my flight from Los Angeles to Tokyo to Singapore last year.