Redeeming Singapore Miles On Alaska May Not Be Quite As Good As We Had Hoped

A couple of days ago I wrote about how Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer published award redemption rates for travel on Alaska Airlines. That might not sound terribly exciting on the surface, since I’d rather fly Singapore than Alaska. However, the two airlines don’t exactly compete directly. There are two things that make this new partnership especially lucrative:

However, there are a few things to be aware of, as I’ve been digging deeper into this:

Alaska awards aren’t yet bookable with KrisFlyer miles

Singapore KrisFlyer published their award chart for travel on Alaska on September 27, and you need to book by phone. The catch is that I’ve called Singapore four times, and every time I’ve been told that Alaska awards aren’t yet bookable with KrisFlyer miles. Twice I was told that Alaska wasn’t a partner, and twice I was told that they knew of the partnership, but that Alaska availability hasn’t yet been loaded into Singapore’s system.

I’m working on figuring out what exactly is going on, but in the meantime you won’t yet want to transfer points to KrisFlyer for the purposes of Alaska redemptions.

Award redemption rates are only for nonstop travel?!

KrisFlyer redemption rates on Alaska are really good, in many cases even lower than through British Airways Executive Club, which otherwise has among the best rates on Alaska.

However, if you look at the footnotes of the chart, you’ll see the following listed:

Transfers and stopovers are not permitted

Okay, fair enough that stopovers aren’t permitted, but no “transfers?” Assuming this refers to connections, this is definitely something to be aware of, and takes away one of the benefits of booking through KrisFlyer rather than British Airways Executive Club.

I’m still not convinced they actually don’t allow connections, or that it will be enforced in practice. So for now we’ll mark this one as “developing.”

No matter what, the chart doesn’t make sense

Regardless of whether KrisFlyer intends to allow connections on Alaska awards or not, the award chart doesn’t make a whole lot of sense.

If they do intend to allow connections, why do they publish award costs between Hawaii (Zone 5) and Texas (Zone 3), but not between Hawaii and New York (Zone 4)? It could be that they intend to just have additive pricing, but then you’d think they could at least list the cost of a Zone 4 to a Zone 1, plus a Zone 1 to a Zone 5.

If they don’t intend to allow connections, why do they even publish award costs between markets where Alaska doesn’t operate nonstop flights, like Zone 5 to Zone 3?

Bottom line

No matter what, the ability to redeem KrisFlyer miles on Alaska is a fantastic new option, given how attractive the redemption rates are, and how many transfer partners Singapore has. Whether this is a really really really great opportunity or just a great opportunity depends on the connection situation, which I hope to have an update on soon.

Comments

  1. I detest Singapore Airlines FF program because the cash fees to redeem an award ticket can be as much as a paid fare on other airlines. Also, they take away your miles if you don’t redeem them promptly even if you are a regular flier. I dropped out of their FF program and stopped flying SQ because the general quality of the airline has diminished.

  2. Alaska has a nonstop flight ANC to ORD, so that is zone 5 to zone 3. No nonstops some 5 to zone 4 I’m aware of.

  3. There is a non-stop between Chicago (Zone 3) and Anchorage (Zone 5) which would be why they include that pairing, even if transfers are in fact not permitted.

  4. @JZ

    Singapore has reduced the fees for flights on their own metal, but they still pass along fuel surcharges for their partners. For someone used to a program like United’s (or even Aeroplan’s, if you’re booking on partners that don’t have YQ) it can be jarring.

  5. Yeah.. I agree with you, their T&C are a bit contradictory. Just under “Transfers and stopovers are not permitted” it says “If an award itinerary includes different classes of service, the award
    level corresponding to the highest class will apply”. So it seems they might allow connections after all…

  6. Thanks for looking into this. It’s definitely possible that it’s too good to be true that I could buy a cheap United ticket, credit it to Singapore at 100%, and then use those miles to get cheap Alaska Air tickets to Hawaii. But a man can dream…

  7. As great as Singapore Airlines is product wise, they are also incredibly notorious for not fully thinking some things through and what the optics look like. Anyone remember when the current version of their website launched about six years ago? It was a complete disaster, plagued by issues that resulted in double bookings, double charges, and many many irate customers. Totally embarrassing for such a prestigious airline.

    I highly doubt Alaska is behind the decisions of this award chart and the wacky nature of it; the culprit here is likely someone within KrisFlyer that just didn’t think through implementation and execution, which, wouldn’t be surprising given their track record on some things.

  8. @Lucky they seemed to have gotten rid of the verbiage of “transfers and stopovers are not permitted.”

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