Singapore KrisFlyer Devaluing Star Alliance Award Chart As Of December 7, 2017

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This March Singapore KrisFlyer had an award chart devaluation. This devaluation only impacted travel on Singapore Airlines, and not travel on partner airlines. Specifically, KrisFlyer increased the number of miles required for many award tickets, though in the process they also eliminated the carrier imposed surcharges on those award tickets. So while it was a devaluation, it was a mild one.

Well, now changes have been announced to their partner awards, and it’s mostly bad news. These changes all kick in for bookings as of December 7, 2017.

Singapore KrisFlyer will allow Star Alliance award bookings online

While KrisFlyer has allowed award bookings on their own flights to be made online, up until now it hasn’t been possible to redeem miles on partner award tickets online. As of December 7, 2017, KrisFlyer will allow Star Alliance award bookings to be made through their website and app. While KrisFlyer has one of the more competent call centers out there, it’s still nice that it will no longer be necessary to book these tickets by phone.

Phone award bookings will incur service fees

Historically Singapore KrisFlyer hasn’t charged any booking fees for Star Alliance award tickets booked by phone, since it wasn’t possible to make them online. Now that it’s possible to make them online, there will be a 25USD or 2,500 KrisFlyer mile fee for booking Star Alliance award tickets by phone.

Singapore KrisFlyer is devaluing their Star Alliance award chart

And now the bad news. As of December 7, 2017, KrisFlyer will be devaluing their Star Alliance award chart. For reference, here’s their current Star Alliance award chart:

And here’s their new Star Alliance award chart:

With these changes we’re not seeing price decreases for any regions, though on the plus side at least not all regions are changing in price. Let’s take a look at just how substantial these award price increases are for some tickets originating in North America for one-way travel:

First class

  • North America to Europe: 80,000 miles to 95,000 miles
  • North America to Middle East/North Africa: 75,000 miles to 90,000 miles
  • North America to North Asia 1 & 2: 100,000 miles to 125,000 miles
  • North America to Central/South Africa: 110,00 miles to 132,000 miles
  • North America to Southeast Asia 1 & 2: 112,500 miles to 135,000 miles
  • North America to Southwest Pacific: 127,500 miles to 152,500 miles
  • North America to Central/South Asia: 132,500 miles to 145,000 miles


The cost of Lufthansa first class awards to Europe is increasing

Business class

  • North America to Middle East/North Africa: 57,500 miles to 69,000 miles
  • North America to Central/South Africa: 72,500 miles to 87,000 miles
  • North America to North Asia 1 & 2: 87,500 miles to 105,000 miles
  • North America to Central/South Asia: 97,500 miles to 105,000 miles
  • North America to Southwest Pacific: 97,500 miles to 117,00 miles


The cost of EVA Air business class awards to Asia is increasing

Economy class

  • North America to Middle East/North Africa: 37,500 miles to 45,000 miles
  • North America to North Asia 1: 45,000 miles to 48,000 miles
  • North America to Central/South Africa: 45,000 miles to 52,000 miles
  • North America to North Asia 2: 45,000 miles to 54,000 miles
  • North America to Central/South Asia: 52,500 miles to 55,000 miles
  • North America to Southwest Pacific: 55,000 miles to 60,000 miles


The cost of Air Canada economy awards to Australia is increasing

What I make of these changes

On the plus side, I appreciate that Singapore isn’t trying to spin this devaluation as an enhancement. In their email to members, they say that they’re adding the ability to book these awards online as “part of [their] ongoing efforts to give members greater convenience.” Then when they talk about the award price changes, they simply say they’ve made updates without any sort of justification. It’s oddly refreshing not to be told “based on member feedback we are enhancing the program by raising the cost of tickets.”

The ability to book Star Alliance awards online as of next month is certainly a positive development, though doesn’t undo the increased award costs we’re seeing here. The price increases in economy are minimal, and as usual, it’s premium cabins that are seeing the biggest price increases.

Unfortunately I’m not surprised to see this devaluation. When KrisFlyer devalued the award chart for travel on their own flights in March, there were some instances where there wasn’t much of a price difference anymore between the cost of a Singapore Airlines award and a partner award. That’s significant, since it made it more advantageous to book a Star Alliance award, where you can include positioning flights.

For example, as of right now Singapore charges 76,000 KrisFlyer miles to book Suites from New York to Frankfurt, and they charge 80,000 miles for a Star Alliance first class ticket from North America to Europe. That means for just an extra 4,000 miles you could include positioning flights to New York, and tag flights from Frankfurt to anywhere else in Europe.

These changes are negative and in some cases the cost increases are significant, though unfortunately I’m not surprised to see this. Furthermore, given that KrisFlyer passes on carrier imposed surcharges on most award tickets, this makes the program pretty uncompetitive in many regions.

There are lots of ways to earn KrisFlyer miles

On one hand Singapore Airlines is one of the most protective airlines out there when it comes to premium cabins. They only make most premium cabin award space available to members of their own program. So in a way it’s surprising that they’re also one of the few airlines to partner with all four major transferable points currencies.

So KrisFlyer miles are super easy to accrue regardless of which points you collect, which is why many people book Star Alliance partner awards through them. You can earn KrisFlyer miles by:

Bottom line

It’s unfortunate that KrisFlyer is making a second negative devaluation this year. On the plus side, at least they’re adding online award bookings for Star Alliance award tickets. Furthermore, the cost of award tickets within North America isn’t increasing, so it’s a positive that you’ll be able to book those awards online without paying more.

As far as other awards go, this definitely puts KrisFlyer on the higher end of Star Alliance award pricing, and that’s not even factoring in their hefty carrier imposed surcharges. While it’s great that they partner with all major transferable points currencies, you’ll now find better values from many other partners. With Amex points you’ll find better value with ANA and Aeroplan, with Chase points you’ll often find better value with United, and with Citi points you’ll often find better value with LifeMiles and Turkish.

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Comments

  1. *Cue everyone calling Krisflyer reservations hotline to book awards on partners before the deadline.*

    About time they moved into the 21st century with online award bookings on partners when their competitors have had this for YEARS.

    One of the most annoying things was calling up the reservations number and trying to find award space on a partner…tons of guesswork. The agents were usually pretty good tempered though.

    At least the Singapore Airlines award chart hasn’t been devalued and there are still some “sweet spots” in that chart to be had.

  2. Is it just me or does this chart make no sense? London to Frankfurt in J is 55k, London to Frankfurt to Dubai in J is 50k ….!

  3. @ Raffles – That was true under the original scheme also. EU to ME was (and remains) a sweet spot for J redemptions. If you had thoughts of taking F though, then better get on it quick!

  4. Singapore Airlines is basically out for me. First they devalued their own, now Star Alliance. Totally not worth it. 95K miles for a one-way biz EU-North Asia? Haha yea. No.
    And flying on the SQ Biz seats is an impossibility when you wanna sleep AT ALL

  5. “and that’s not even factoring in their hefty carrier imposed surcharges ”
    Didn’t they get rid most of their fuel surcharges in March? There’s still some surcharges but nowhere near what it was prior to March.

  6. If I recall correctly, back in March when they increased redemption rates for tickets on their own metal, SQ eliminated fuel surcharges for those tickets. Is there any indication that they are doing the same for tickets and partner airlines?

  7. @ Mo — As far as I know they only cut them for travel on Singapore, and not for travel on partner airlines, no?

  8. @ snic — Nope, no indication that they’re eliminating them, so I would assume that they aren’t (or else they’d make a point of saying so).

  9. Star Alliance is upgrading their systems, you can expect more carriers to offer alliance-wide online bookings soon.

  10. Ben, any indication on what changes to a pre-existing booking will trigger a reprice to these new rates? I have an an F ticket home from Auckland to NYC with the FRA-NYC leg in Lufthansa business as of now – will upgrading it to F if and when Lufthansa releases space trigger a jump from 127.5k to 152.5k? I hope not!

  11. Anyone know how this will affect changes to current award tickets made after the changes go in effect. Currently have SQ F + LX J that I was hoping to switch to SQ F + LH F closer to departure …im guessing that’s sailed now

  12. This is a huge devaluation of the SQ program and comes right on the heels of their recent devaluation. When you add on the fuel surcharges, it might, in some cases, make more sense to use United miles after these changes and reduces pretty dramatically the value of SQ miles. Credit card transfers and online booking are coming at a really high cost. I’d prefer that it stay the way it is now and just call in.

  13. @Lucky – I think it depends on the star alliance partner for the taxes and surcharges. Did a redemption in J on Thai using Krisflyer miles and the taxes and surcharges seemed to be close to what Singapore Airlines was charging on the same routing.

  14. ‘There are lots of ways to earn Krisflyermiles’….. Yeah, if you have one of your local american credit cards.
    Unfortunately the other 98% of global population mostly has to earn miles the normal way.

    I continue to be amazed that a blog with so many international followers is still so locally and domestically oriented.

  15. “based on member feedback we are enhancing the program by raising the cost of tickets” <– that's too much DL brainwashing lol

  16. is Dec 7th the travel date cutoff or booking date cutoff? e.g if i book now for travel after Dec 7, do i pay the new price?

  17. At first glance, the new prices match those in effect since March on SQ metal.

    SQ releases award space before United does, and saver Suites from SYD disappear fast, so I booked SYD-SIN-FRA-JFK a couple of weeks ago for 152.5k miles as soon as my travel date became available, even though I need to get to BOS, not JFK. I was hoping to call them and add EWR-BOS on United. The ultimate goal, of course, was to call them 14 days prior to departure and switch to FRA-BOS in LH F. Under current rules that would also mean a refund of 25k miles, which is quite ridiculous.

  18. Another FF program gets tossed onto the ‘who cares’ pile.

    The reason all we ever read about are the super exotic itineraries is because they are the only examples that can justify the hobby…

    All most people care about is domestic biz or first, Us to Hawaii and US to Europe up front. And in those groupings we are seeing cheaper 1st class and sub $2k to Europe in biz class. Meaning – its tough to justify using anything but a 2% back card.

    Now, if Cap 1 changes the terms of my Spark business card, then I panic and find a different card.

    The upside to all this is, if you’re not hub captured, you are untethered from the tyranny of obtaining status and can fly anyone you want. Which should rebalance competition at some point.

    Soon we will be looking back at this as ‘the good old days’

  19. Ive seen a rapid decline of service from Singapore Airlines over the last years but doing a devalue twice in one year is really bad.
    What I think is most frustrating, they do not honor Star Alliance Gold card . If you look at LuftHansa, Thai, SAS etc. , they honor any Star Alliance gold card as their own. Not so with SQ. When flying on an SQ ticket last week from KUL to SIN, I was even denied entrance to the SQ lounge as that flight was operated by Silk Air, even though it said clearly on my ticket that I had a ticket with Singapore Airlines. I have stopped flying SQ.

  20. If I read the new chart correctly, it appears that using Krys flyer to book United saver space in intra-North America business class is still a good deal (i.e., 40k RT, or 20k one-way). Am I right on this?

  21. So, I wonder if they’re adding the online capability in accordance with this and the other deval. Like, have they had this capability the whole time and just withheld it?

    My other problem is, who knows if this online system will even work. If it’s like Aeroplan, ok it’s decent, but I still have to call every time to maximize my miles. If it’s like UA, same deal. But if it’s like Avianca, its kinda insane, I don’t really do LifeMiles, but I’ve read some ridiculous stories about their online system and the searches when I have tried to use it were often unhelpful.

    My biggest issue with Krisflyer is that they can’t match the availability of the other programs. But at least now I should be able to find out without calling if the flights I want are actually available to Krisflyer members. I can imagine why other programs wouldn’t release their J space when SQ doesn’t release any reciprocally.

    I’ve got a paltry (by most of the blogger’s standards) 55,000 and change KF miles, just wanna burn them on a Y round trip to Europe or perhaps earn 5,000 more and go to south america since Argentina is lumped in with Colombia on their chart, whereas it’s more expensive everywhere else.

  22. Whelp, this only makes me jump ship to another *A program sooner rather than later. KrisFlyer just became a tad less competitive than other loyalty programs.

  23. Just got off the phone with SQ and was told that since *any change* to Star Alliance award tickets require the ticket to be re-issued, the prevailing conditions (i.e. award chart) at the time would apply. If anyone has heard any different, please chime in. The rep I spoke to sounded pretty certain about this.

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