You Can Now Redeem Singapore KrisFlyer Miles For Premium Economy

In February 2015, Singapore Airlines announced that they would be introducing a new premium economy cabin. It seems to be a really solid product, and over the past year progressively more planes have been outfitted with the new cabin, so that it’s now available on quite a few routes.

Up until now it hasn’t been possible to redeem Singapore KrisFlyer miles for an upgrade or award in premium economy, though it looks like that’s finally changing. Along with it, a few other changes are being made to Singapore KrisFlyer, none of which are too bad.

Singapore-Premium-Economy

Here are the changes:

Redeem KrisFlyer miles for Singapore Airlines premium economy

As of May 24, 2016, it will be possible to redeem KrisFlyer miles for travel in premium economy.

Here’s the award chart which includes the cost of one-way travel in Singapore premium economy (the second row in each section represents the cost of premium economy awards):

Singapore-Premium-Economy-Redemptions
Singapore-Premium-Economy-Awards-1

The premium economy award redemption costs are roughly in line with what I was expecting. They’re (obviously) priced between economy and business class, but generally seem to be priced closer to business class than economy. So I still think business and first class redemptions represent a better value, pending availability. To me it always seems like premium economy should be priced closer to economy than business when redeeming miles, given that that’s how it is for revenue tickets.

It’s worth noting that you can only redeem KrisFlyer miles for premium economy on Singapore Airlines. On partner airlines you can still only redeem for economy, business, or first class.

Redeem KrisFlyer miles for premium economy upgrades

Now, here’s the bad news, which is probably the reason I’m most opposed to premium economy. Singapore Airlines has a one cabin upgrade policy, and they’re adding premium economy upgrades as of June 1, 2016. While you could previously upgrade from economy to business class, you can now only upgrade from economy to premium economy, or from premium economy to business class.

Here’s the KrisFlyer upgrade chart, which will show you the cost of upgrades from economy to premium economy, from premium economy to business, and from business to first.

I’d say the upgrade pricing is pretty reasonable. To give some examples of one-way upgrade costs between Los Angeles and Singapore:

  • Economy to premium economy will cost 32,500 miles
  • Premium economy to business will cost 45,000 miles
  • Economy to business presently costs 65,000 miles (though won’t be possible as of June 1)

So if you do want to upgrade to business class, you’ll ideally want to choose a flight without a premium economy cabin, so that you can upgrade from economy.

Singapore-Business-Class
Singapore Airlines Business Class

Other minor KrisFlyer changes

Singapore KrisFlyer is making some other minor changes to their award chart. As of May 24, 2016, Zones 11 & 12 will be consolidated. Previously KrisFlyer broke Europe into two zones, though now they’ll both be part of the same zone, and the higher rate zone will apply for all those flights. So that’s a negative change, but not a big deal in the grand scheme of things.

Furthermore, at the moment Singapore Airlines has three award tiers — Saver, Standard, and Full — and as of May 24, 2016, Singapore KrisFlyer will be eliminating the Full award level. Full awards had near last seat availability, meaning they were almost always available. They were also ridiculously expensive.

KrisFlyer-Award-Types

Instead Singapore KrisFlyer will just have Saver and Standard awards.

Contrary to popular belief, those Full level awards were likely the most costly to Singapore Airlines, which is probably why they eliminated them. That’s because people booking those awards were often booking the last seat in a cabin, and that seat could have otherwise sold for a significant amount. Conversely, Saver awards are typically only available when there would otherwise be empty seats, so the opportunity cost is much smaller.

What’s especially interesting is the following:

For members who have ticketed at Full award levels, flights departing from 24 May 2016 will be rebooked to a Standard award, and we will refund you the difference in KrisFlyer miles. We will process these transactions and contact affected members once the rebooking has been completed.

There’s potentially quite an opportunity, if you’re looking at traveling over a peak date and only a Full award is available. You can book it now, and then be refunded the price difference between it and a Standard award, even if the Standard award was never available.

Why I’m (ultimately) happy about these changes

I’ve written extensively about Singapore KrisFlyer, which is transfer partners with all four major transferrable points currencies, including Amex Membership Rewards, Chase Ultimate Rewards, Citi ThankYou, and Starwood Preferred Guest. I love the program because KrisFlyer is the only program through which you can consistently book premium cabin awards on Singapore Airlines, which is known to be one of the best carriers in the world.

Their award redemption rates are very attractive, so I’m happy to see that devaluing their premium cabin award chart isn’t otherwise part of this.

Singapore-Suites-1
Singapore Airlines Suites Class

Bottom line

Singapore Airlines’ new premium economy looks great, and now you can finally redeem miles for it or upgrade to it. While I’m a fan of airlines introducing premium economy, and totally understand the logic behind it, for frequent flyers it’s typically bad news.

American is also introducing premium economy, and in a recent post I shared my concerns about what it means for AAdvantage.

In the case of KrisFlyer upgrades from economy to business class are no longer possible on flights with a premium economy cabin. However, what I’m happiest about is that they’re not making other changes to their program, given how lucrative it is.

Could you see yourself redeeming miles for Singapore premium economy, either for an award or upgrade?

Comments

  1. FYI, I believe only three European cities shad lower rates (AMS, CPH, FCO), so it’s not the worst thing in the world that they combined Europe into one zone.

    Premium Economy seems overpriced on the chart to me.

    Not being able to upgrade from Y to J if there’s Y+ is probably a downer for more frequent SQ fliers but, frankly, due to fare class restrictions on what tickets could be upgraded, it’s usually cheaper to get a full award seat as opposed to an upgrade.

  2. Terrible terrible terrible rates for Premium economy awards. Basically it’s 2X of the price of Economy awards and just about 20-25% less than Business class awards. This doesn’t correspond the quality of the products at all. Premium economy is a little bit better economy and absolutely not comparable with business class product. Now they offer us to pay double price for this “a little better” economy.
    You can pay 68000 miles and fly from LAX to SIN in arguably world best business class, sleeping on the world most spacious biz class seat (for 18 hours). Alternatively you can pay 55250 miles and keep seating in a slitty better economy seat for those lovely 18 hours.

  3. @dan,

    You can only do that if the plane you are flying hasn’t got a premium economy cabin.

    Separately, I was just thinking about upgrading from premium economy to business and actually it isn’t that bad because you pay less miles, and the difference in cost between a full economy ticket and a premium economy ticket isn’t that high to start with

  4. @Dan, that chart is only for aircraft that do not have Premium Economy. If PE is available, that’s the highest class of service you can upgrade to from regular economy.

  5. Redeeming Premium Economy at 80% of the Business class prices seems like madness. It really isn’t that good compared to SQ’s rather good J product.

  6. It is an interesting product, which I tried last Dec between DEL-SIN for business trips. A solid premium economy hard product with the key being around more space, more comfortable seats and a slightly more refined dining experience. However, the entire experience was marred starting with the serving of drinks in plastic cups and meals in plastic containers which felt more chintzy than premium. This was an upgraded award and frankly, I would rather spend a little more to take benefit of the biz class. However, for those on a budget, I would add that the experience on board SQ’s A380 is significantly better than that on board their 777s and the extra room may be worth the award for longer flights. Bottom line – go for a biz upgrade if you can.

  7. Not a big deal? I guess your not based in amsterdam and was planning a trip in Q1 from AMS to SIN and beyond. Any idea what the Singapore policy is? My plans are not yet solid, so I was thinking would it make sense to go ahead and book the flights I want now and then change them later? Will the date change incur a reprice to the new higher amounts? Is there fees involved? I have tons of MR and TYP I was planning to use, any idea on the transfer time to Singapore? Thanks for any advice in advance!!

  8. With respect to the change in European zoning,up until recently all the lower business class class redemption entry points into Europe (eg AMS,CPH) were flown on older 777 with poorer business hard products ,ie angled flat seats.Over the last few years this fleet has been retrofitted,and in the case of AMS, now operated by an A350, all with better seating .The change in zoning now simply reflects the ( relatively) uniform product of the fleet into Europe and was bound to happen sooner rather than later.

  9. Ben O.,
    You would better go ahead and book your award now under the lower rate. Most probably you’ll be able to change a date without repricing (and it’s free with SQ). However it’s only about date change. If you later decide to change a destination or routing – this will involve repricing (they will redeposit your award and issue a new one).

  10. While its good that you can book PremEco with miles, i think it is overpriced. I’d rather pay the extra miles for a full-flat bed.
    Same is true on cash rates: PremEco is almost the same price as Business Class on other carriers. I love SQ, but I’d rather have a flat bed on an ME airline than a slightly bigger Eco seat on SQ…

  11. @Rupert
    Well it depends as J is only available some of the time at those prices and I prefer a nonstop over a one stop in the ME.

  12. @Ben O.

    Spoke to SQ last night since I was waitlisted on a SIN-AMS J award. They let me know that if the wait-list clears after the change in price, the price at the time of ticketing would apply (I.e. higher price). I told them (nicely) that it was unfair to do that and if they could open up seats but the agent couldn’t do that (hey, gotta try everything!). Eventually, shifted around my dates for a couple of days and booked 2 seats in J on the A350 🙂

    TY and MR should take between 12-48hrs to transfer into your KF account (MR is usually on the quicker side).

  13. Economy Class tickets purchased on Singapore Airlines or SilkAir must be in
    Y, B or E booking classes to be eligible for the upgrade redemption award.

    Usually these fares are unreasonably expensive. These miles upgrade awards are as useless as partner mileage upgrades for the 3 alliances.

  14. Have we all lost our minds , step back for a moment – breathe and then (perhaps) realise how misguided and myopic this obsession is .
    Why not pay to get a room in a splendid hotel ?

    Why is sleeping on a very small bed with in the air with a few glasses of Krug ! (you could buy a bottle for £120) and not so great altitude food at 35.000 feet so important ?

    Ive done this many times over the past 10 years but still feel ……….exactly like you …….

    Have we all lost our sense of self value that it boils down to this to make us feel valid agian

    £25000 per return suite gets me a month at the Ritz Suites (with concierge) in London. Crazy obession.Re-focus and prioritise.

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