Redeeming Singapore KrisFlyer Miles For Star Alliance Awards

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On Wednesday Chase announced that Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer would be the next program to partner with Ultimate Rewards, allowing members to transfer points at a 1:1 ratio.

This was great news since some of Chase’s best credit cards accrue Ultimate Rewards points, including:

  • Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card — offers double points on dining and travel, no foreign transaction fees, and a 7% annual points dividend (plus a sign-up bonus of 40,000 Ultimate Rewards points after spending $3,000 within three months, plus an additional 5,000 points when you add an authorized user and they make their first purchase within three months)
  • Ink Plus® Business Credit Card — offers 5x points on office supply stores, and on cellular phone, landline, internet, and cable TV services (plus a sign-up bonus of 60,000 Ultimate Rewards points after spending $5,000 within three months)
  • Ink Bold® Business Charge Card — offers 5x points on office supply stores, and on cellular phone, landline, internet, and cable TV services (plus a sign-up bonus of 60,000 Ultimate Rewards points after spending $5,000 within three months)

Then on Thursday I shared some tips for redeeming Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer miles for travel on Singapore Airlines.

But Singapore Airlines is also one of the members of the Star Alliance, so what about redeeming KrisFlyer miles for travel on Star Alliance partner carriers?

Star-Alliance-Awards

As a reminder, Chase Ultimate Rewards also partners with United MileagePlus. As I explained in the last post, if you’re trying to redeem miles for travel on Singapore Airlines you’re much better off booking through KrisFlyer than through MileagePlus. But how about for travel on the Star Alliance?

Singapore KrisFlyer Star Alliance award chart

Singapore Airlines has separate award charts depending on whether you want to travel exclusively on Singapore Airlines, or on Star Alliance partners:

It’s worth noting that if you want to book travel on a combination of Singapore Airlines and their Star Alliance partners, then you’d be charged per the Star Alliance award chart.

KrisFlyer-Star-Alliance-Award-Chart

Singapore KrisFlyer Star Alliance award chart regions

Here’s a breakdown of the regions KrisFlyer uses for their award chart:

KrisFlyer-Award-Regions

Singapore KrisFlyer Star Alliance award fuel surcharges

It’s worth noting that KrisFlyer does impose fuel surcharges for award redemptions on all of their partner airlines. If the operating airline would impose a fuel surcharge on a revenue ticket, Singapore will impose it on an award as well.

All Star Alliance airlines impose fuel surcharges and do so in most markets.

For what it’s worth, United doesn’t impose fuel surcharges on domestic itineraries (including to Hawaii), so you shouldn’t have to pay them on those awards.

Singapore KrisFlyer Star Alliance award chart sweet spots

As a North American based flyer, the greatest value you’ll get out of KrisFlyer miles for redemptions on Star Alliance is for travel within the US, including Hawaii. Here are the redemption rates for travel within the US:

  • Domestic lower 48 economy class award: 12,500 miles
  • Domestic lower 48 business class award: 20,000 miles
  • Lower 48 to Hawaii economy class award: 17,500 miles
  • Lower 48 to Hawaii business class award: 30,000 miles

20,000 KrisFlyer miles for business class within the US, or 30,000 KrisFlyer miles for business class to Hawaii, is pretty tough to beat (United would charge 25,000 and 40,000 miles for the same awards, respectively).

Unfortunately the value for longhaul awards isn’t quite as good. For example, you’re looking at 175,000-195,000 miles for business class travel to Asia/Australia, while you’re looking at 200,000-255,000 miles for first class travel to Asia/Australia. Those rates are somewhat comparable to United’s Star Alliance award rates, except United doesn’t impose fuel surcharges.

The major exception is US to Europe, where they charge 80,000 miles one-way in first class. United charges 110,000 miles for Lufthansa first class. So you do save 30,000 miles by booking through Singapore, but would be hit with ~$400 in fuel surcharges.

The best option for Lufthansa first class to Europe remains Avianca LifeMiles (72,500 miles with no fuel surcharges) or Air Canada Aeroplan (62,500 miles with ~$400 in fuel surcharges), but neither of those are Ultimate Rewards transfer partners.

Singapore KrisFlyer Star Alliance award routing rules

On top of the fairly high redemption rates, KrisFlyer also has strict routing rules. They’ll typically require you to take a published routing and expressly prohibit backtracking. So for example, you may have an issue booking something like New York to Frankfurt to London, even though it’s a published routing, since it includes backtracking.

Singapore KrisFlyer Star Alliance award ticket fees

Singapore has very reasonable KrisFlyer award change and cancellation fees:

KrisFlyer-Service-Fees

So for Star Alliance award tickets, the fees are as follows:

  • Change of flight, date, route, or carrier: $20
  • Redepositing an unused tickets: $30
  • Changing your ticket within 24 hours of departure or no showing: $75

It’s worth noting there are no phone ticketing fees and no close-in ticketing fees, so at least you’ll save a bit of money there.

How to search Star Alliance award space for KrisFlyer award

Singapore’s website doesn’t display award space for travel on partner airlines. So you can either inquire about Star Alliance award space by calling KrisFlyer (which I wouldn’t recommend), or by using another Star Alliance airline’s website to search space.

In particular I would recommend:

Do keep in mind that none will accurately display award space for travel on Singapore Airlines. So as frustrating as Singapore’s website can be for searching Singapore Airlines award space, it’s the only place to accurately do so.

Bottom line

The greatest value you’ll get out of KrisFlyer miles is for travel on Singapore Airlines. Which is a good thing, since their premium cabin products are otherwise pretty unattainable of miles.

The real “value add” here for travel on partner airlines are their great domestic business class award rates of 20,000 miles one-way for travel within the lower 48 (5,000 miles cheaper each way than United) and 30,000 miles one-way for travel between the lower 48 and Hawaii (10,000 miles cheaper each way than United).

(In the interest of full disclosure, I earn a referral bonus for anyone approved through some of the above links. All are for the best available offers. Thanks for your support!)

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Comments

  1. Hey Lucky,

    I transferred UR points to Singapore on Thursday and they still haven’t posted. I’m sure the award I wanted is gone by now… anything I can do to expedite the points transfer. This is taking forever!!!

  2. I think the five founding airlines of *A are Air Canada, SAS, Thai, United, and Lufthansa. I don’t think “Singapore Airlines is also one of the founding members of the Star Alliance.”

  3. David,
    It warns you that it could take 2 business days–given you sent it Friday, that means you are looking at Monday or even possibly Tuesday. I doubt you can expedite because it appears that they are batching transactions.

  4. @ David — Based on my experience with two AMEX MR transfers to SQ, they appear to be manually processed during Singapore business hours. A transfer requested late Thursday or Friday may not post until Monday. A transfer requested Monday – Wednesday may post in 2-3 hours.

  5. What exactly is the difference between redepositing an unused ticket and a no show?
    Thank you.

  6. @ Marie — It shows Singapore award space available to Star Alliance members, but KrisFlyer members have access to more award space.

  7. @ Lantean — Well a no show means you just don’t show up. Redepositing a ticket means you actually cancel it and have the miles put back in your account.

  8. Hey Lucky, my points finally transferred from UR and I booked the JFK – FRA suites class for me and my brother in August. So excited! Thanks for all your help!

  9. So lets say you wanted to use SQ for a long haul flight connecting to a short domestic flight on another *A carrier (like LAX-NRT connecting to intra-Japan flight on NH) or (JFK-FRA connecting to intra Europe flight on LH) unlike say, United where you would pay the same amount of miles for the longhaul + domestic flight, on SQ you would have to pay their Star Alliance fare for the entire itinerary.

    Basically trying to figure this out since they charge 80K one way for *Alliance F JFK-Europe and 57k one way if you just pay for the SQ flight so it seems like it would make more sense to just book the SQ flight separately and book the intra-europe ticket in Y separately.

  10. I think backtracking May be subject to the good old HUCA rule. Was able to put IAH-DME-VIE on hold just fine and then paid for it a few days later with no problems.

    The main reason I did it this way was because I don’t think there was a way for me to combine IAH-DME with separately purchased DME-VIE ticket so I wouldn’t be able to check luggage through to VIE and would have had to deals with customs and re-checking onto 2nd flight.

    Right now have two NRT-LAX suites booked on SQ but have not figured out how to get back to IAH. But that’s the easy part compared to locking down suite awards 🙂

  11. So, let’s say you wanted to fly WAS-HKG in first, with the SFO-HKG leg on Singapore. Why would you pay the “Star Alliance Award” amount of 112,500 miles, when you could buy one ticket for the WAS-HKG segment on Singapore (using that award chart) for 70,125 miles and then another ticket for WAS-SFO using the Star Alliance Award for 20K in United First (or using 25K United miles for that segment)?

    What am I missing? I know it’s best to have the entire trip on one ticket, but that’s not worth the ~22K mile difference!

  12. I sent 150,000 miles over two Sundays ago from Citi to Krisflyer. They turned on on Tuesday evening(2 days later). I was however 1000 miles short so sent another 10,000 miles last Wednesday. It is now a week later and nothing! I called Citi and they said the points had been sent as usual etc.. Beats me how this process works. Seems inconsistent

  13. @Marko – Why were you calling Citi? You must mean Chase, right?

    Also, if you were 1,000 miles short, why did you send 10,000?

  14. Hi Daniel
    Citibank in Australia. You have to send points in lots of 15,000 which equates to 10,000 Krisflyer miles.

    I have sent points over several times over the years. Always took 2-3 days. This time is the first it has taken over a week. It is also the smallest number of points I have sent.

  15. We are planning on flying SFO-JFK on United award. Then, JFK-FRA-CDG on SQ award. Is there a way to get a both boarding passes at SFO to avoid recheck-in at JFK? I know it’s better to get a single reservation, but United is showing no availability far in advance. However, I do see JFK-FRA far in advance.

  16. @ Andre — Nope, they can’t check you in for your Singapore flight, though you may be able to do online check-in.

  17. Thank you so much, Lucky.

    I’m wondering when I arrive at SFO, can I check-in at United for SFO-JFK segment and then head over to Singapore Airlines, I believe they are both in Terminal 3, get my boarding passes for JFK-FRA?

  18. @ Andre — I don’t think they can check you in at a different station, but I could be wrong.

  19. Not a problem Lucky. I do appreciate all your help in all things mileage. Anyway, I’ll give Singapore Airlines a call at SFO. I’ll report my findings here.

  20. You’re correct Lucky. I would have to check-in at JFK, go through security and recheck baggage all over again. No thank you.

  21. Lucky! For BUD-SYD am I able to book feeder BUD-FRA on LH and then FRA-SYD on SQ as per Star Allianz award chart?

  22. Thanks for the ANA search engine pointer! Using that I was able to spot an opening on CDG-BLR business class that a KrisFlyer phone booking agent could not see just a few minutes prior!

  23. Lucky,
    Can I do one way Star Alliance award using SQ miles @112,500?
    Phx-Ord ,UA C
    Ord-Fra ,LH F
    Fra-Sin ,SQ F
    Sin-Bkk, SQ C or TG C
    Would these routing would be legal with SQ?
    Thanks,

  24. @ Royalfirst — That would be considered backtracking, and therefore wouldn’t be allowed, unfortunately.

  25. Lucky,
    Thanks for the reply.
    Do you think if I cut the Phx-Ord segment,would it be ok?
    Well I have to depart from PHX and end my trip in BKK. Can you please suggest which routing is legal, mainly I like to combine SQ & LH together in one award.
    Otherwise, my other option would be JFK-FRA-SIN-BKK all in SQ (would these be a legal routing and still be 93,500 miles oneway award in F?)

    Again, Thank you!

  26. Would flying SIN-FRA (SQ) then FRA-JFK on LH be considered backtracking? Mileage wise its still less almost 1000 miles less t than lets say going SIN via LAX/SFO-JFK

  27. @Lucky

    Thanks Lucky. So the SQ 26 SIN-JFK flight can be broken up using LH as the 2nd carrier from FRA and it will still cost 112,500 and not be the cost of 2 awards?

  28. Lucky,

    Thanks for all the great info.

    Question about changes – do we lose the 15% online discount if I want to rebook the ticket away from the available SYD-SIN-(DME)-IAH to my desired SYD-SIN-SFO? Seats to SFO are non-existant on the dates I can travel, but there’s one to Houston. I transferred in my AmEx points when there WAS a seat to SFO, but of course in the overnight transfer delay, it was gone. Now I’m stuck with 119,000 SQ miles and am locked into flying them and trying to keep the value there for 1st class and not dropping down to ‘full’ business class.

    Thanks
    theBOAT

  29. Can’t edit my question above, sorry…. should have been ‘non-existent’ and not ‘non-existant’ — although the irony of this isn’t lost on me…

    I’m flustered!

    theBOAT

  30. I am currently booked on LAX-NRT-SIN in Suites but am considering switching to JFK-FRA-SIN and trying to book LH F JFK-FRA and SQ R FRA-SIN if I can get it to experience both products. Plus, I can spend a night at the Park Hyatt NY and surprise my wife since we were engaged in NY almost 5 years ago to the day.

    Anyways, my question is (and I haven’t seen this clarified anywhere), but when mixing SQ and another Star Alliance carrier (in this case LH) on a Star Alliance KrisFlyer award does the SQ flight need to have saver availability? Or would standard work? I would assume saver, but hadn’t seen it clarified so thought I would ask.

  31. @Lucky

    Going back to my changing over to LH question on the 2nd leg. Is there a married segment rule that is involved here with SQ that maybe doesn’t allow for these change even for the 112,500 miles?

  32. Hi Lucky,

    Thanks for very informative post. Would like to clarify, I am looking for redeeming return flight from SFO to SIN. Here is what I see from SingaporeAir SQ and United UA website.

    SQ: 70000 miles, surcharge/tax about $500
    UA: 80000 miles, surcharge/tax about $50

    Questions:
    – If I claim a SQ miles on SQ flight, I will need 70000 miles and $500. But if I claim a UA miles on SQ flight, I will pay 70000 miles and $50?

    – If I claim a SQ miles on UA flight, I will need 80000 miles and $50?

  33. For East Coast USA/South Africa travel. How miles is it in J and F respectively? Am I reading it right that its 75K and 110K each way? Also would SQ allow a J connection in Europe or even S America even though its not the most direct routing since there are SA service to NY and WAS. Let’s say I went for an F ticket though with the direct routing not apply since SA has no F service and you could lets say do LH?

  34. @Alibaba – I’m assuming you are looking for a RT ticket in Economy from SFO-SIN based on what you have said above. If so, yes the posted price for a KrisFlyer award from SFO-SIN on all SQ metal (either SQ from SFO-HKG-SIN or SFO-ICN-SIN) is 70,000. However, if you book on the Singapore KrisFlyer website, there is actually a 15% discount, so it would be 59,500 miles. I’m not sure on the fuel surcharges for economy, but that seems about right for a RT ticket.

    UA MileagePlus rate is 80,000 round trip. However, you cannot book an SQ flight using UA miles on the UA website, you need to call. I’m not sure how much Economy space SQ releases to UA, but for Business it is only on certain flights. At a minimum, you would want to make sure there is “Saver” space available on the flights you want on the Singapore website before calling UA.

    A Star Alliance KrisFlyer award (which you would need to book UA flights using SQ miles) is 110,000 miles round trip, since you need to book a Star Alliance award vs. KrisFlyer award when on all SQ metal. You also do not get the 15% discount. I’m not sure why you would want to book UA flights on SQ miles, as not only is the UA product inferior to SQ, it would be more miles.

    IMO, the best option is using 59,500 KF miles and paying the fuel surcharges. If you do not want to pay the fuel surcharges, you could see if SQ has released space to UA for the flights you want and try to book those using UA miles. If that doesn’t work and you really want to use UA miles to save on the fuel surcharges, you could search for availability on UA, Asiana or ANA all on the United website. Hope that helps.

  35. @Don I’m assuming you are looking at booking a Star Alliance award using KF miles vs. an all-SQ metal award. If so, the one-way rates from the US East Coast to Central/S Africa are 72.5K in J and 110K in F. Going through Europe should be a valid routing, as the SQ rules on KF *A awards are that there needs to be a published fare (which there would be for that route) and no back-tracking (which I’ve found to be somewhat inconsistent). My initial thought on going through S America is no, but I could be wrong there.

    The other thing to keep in mind if you are trying to book using LH. You will likely need to book in J and then look to change to F if space becomes available within 15 days of departure (SQ’s change fees are fairly nominal at only $20). You will need to pay fuel charges on the award.

    Best thing to do is confirm LH space on UA and ANA websites, then call SQ to book.

    Hope that helps.

  36. Thanks Josh.. I was thinking to save some surcharge, but looks like booking SQ with SQ miles makes the most sense.

    Cheers.

  37. @Currently have a SQ ticket from SIN-JFK and want to fly to PHL instead. Would changing the ticket SIN-ZRH-FRA-PHL be permitted within SQ’s routing rules?

  38. That is a YMMV situation in my experience. If there is availability at the Saver level on the SQ flights, then you should be fine.

    I just flew ORD-FRA-ZRH-SIN last month on an SQ award. I was originally booked MSP-EWR-FRA-MUC-SIN, but SQ took 3 days to process the ticket and in the meantime United pulled back the MSP-EWR availability. I literally got a call from SQ 48 hours before my flight stating this had happened. As a result, I switched to the ORD-FRA flight in LH F (easier to get a cheap ticket from MSP-ORD on short notice than MSP-EWR). I had been wanting to switch from the MUC-SIN flight to the ZRH-SIN flight due to the A380 vs 777. ZRH-SIN had been showing as “Waitlist” the whole time and I basically guilted them into opening 2 seats on the route as compensation for their screw up on my booking. Thankfully, they obliged :).

    The reason I say YMMV is because I had called a few days earlier before all this had happened to see if they would open up space on ZRH-SIN. At that time, I was told that this routing wasn’t allowed due to backtracking. However, part of me thinks that’s an excuse for not wanting to open up the wait listed space. That’s why I say if you’ve identified flights with Saver space available and aren’t trying to get them to open up a wait listed flight, you should be able to book it.

    Hope that helps.

  39. @Josh Thanks for the info, The Saver is available to ZRH but obviously have the SIN-JFK flight already and thats why there isn’t space for the SIN-FRA segment I would rather just fly to FRA and go to PHL from there to avoid the extra flight but the SQ SIN-ZRH is available and SIN-FRA is waitlisted so I guess I will wait for that LH award to become available and see what they say but its nice to have options!

  40. Hi Lucky,

    Is there a reason why Singapore Airlines will not allow an award flight for United at the economy saver availability? I’m seeing lots of availability at the economy saver on the united.com site for EWR to LAX on 1/29, but when I call Singapore to redeem Krisflyer miles for the United partner award, they see no availability. This has happened numerous times on other dates and cities for united when attempting to call Singapore Airlines to book an award using my Krisflyer miles. United economy saver space shows, but Singapore has nothing for me.

    Thanks!

    Clint

  41. Update: I called again and this time just gave the exact flight / date / time for the flight I wanted. I was able to book the award at the saver level.

    So note to those who want to use their Krisflyer miles for UA: have the exact itinerary in hand, and make sure that you search using the UA website but are NOT logged in.

  42. Question re backtracking: Can you route from Hong Kong through India to NYC? Or, if departing from either of the North Asia zones do you have to route over the Pacific and not Atlantic? I see availability on the BOM-EWR AI flight, but am starting my trip in HK.

  43. I want to book using SA miles (transferred from Amex) a flight from IAH to HNL (United Flight) On the SA website it will not allow me to chose HNL as a destination for using award miles from IAH. The flight has UA Saver availability based on the United website. Would I call SA to book this flight. I don’t want to transfer the miles to SA until I know for sure I can book this flight.

  44. You cannot book Star Alliance awards on the SQ website. You will need to call the KrisFlyer office to confirm availability and book

  45. Does anyone know if using KF miles to redeem miles a Star Alliance flight, can you still utilize benefits from Star Alliance Gold account from another Star Alliance Airline, such as United? I.e. if you use KF miles to book a United flight, and also have United Mileage Plus Gold Status, will I be able to add the UA FF to my intin to get benefits such as additional luggage, lounge, or preferred seating?

  46. I have quite a few KF miles that I’d like to use for a trip to Montreal (outbound) and Quebec City (inbound). I know SQ doesn’t charge fuel surcharges for reward flights on United within the U.S., but what about on United from the U.S. to Canada? If so, do you know how much the fuel surcharges might be (in economy)?

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