Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer program has announced that they will be amending their award chart and removing some key benefits. Worse, they’ve essentially given KrisFlyer members only three weeks to respond and plan under the old award chart. While this Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer Devaluation is not the end of the world, it is unfortunate.
Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer program is one of the easier programs to utilize, for a few reasons.
- They provide very reasonable amounts of award space to their own members for all cabins.
- Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer is a transfer partner of all major transferable point currencies (Ultimate Rewards, Membership Rewards, Citi Thank You, and Starwood Preferred Guest).
- Singapore Airlines operates flights to the US, both direct (SFO-SIN), and via 5th Freedom rights (SIN-NRT-LAX, SIN-FRA-JFK, etc), so you can in theory, fly entirely on Singapore Airlines metal.
Additionally, there hasn’t been a Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer Program Devaluation in quite some time. In fact, Singapore’s own announcement states:
We had last made adjustments to award levels in various zones in 2012
Its hard to fault them in this one. Mile Lion has a more complete history of Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer devaluations, if you are curious.
Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer Devaluation 2017
There are a few changes that Singapore Airlines is making in 2017. All are very much tied together, but I’ll try to parse them out below:
Award Chart Update: Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer award chart goes by zones (screenshot of old chart), and the fact is, some of those zones are going up. If you compare the old award chart to the new one (screenshot of new award chart), you’ll see that it doesn’t look materially horrible. I’d argue that if it stopped here, its not as bad as the American Airlines devaluation announced in 2015 and enacted in March 2016.
No More Fuel Surcharges for Awards on Singapore Airlines or Silk Air metal: This is excellent. Its needed. Fuel has been cheap for a while, and I suspect that since some airlines have already done away with the fuel surcharge, it is at least getting on the radar of folks. This is pure money in your pocket. Its not as meaningful as British Airways Avios fuel surcharges, but, its still meaningful. On a recent trip, I paid about $50 in fuel surcharges for a couple of regional business class flights in Asia. Every little bit helps.
So far, we’re looking pretty positive, right?
Wrong. Here’s the kicker:
No More 15% Discount on Mileage Required When Booked Online: Previously you could save 15% of the mileage required by booking online. In fact, if the itinerary was mixed (e.g. business for one leg and Suites for another, like my itinerary last year, you could still get the 15% even by calling, if you at least tried to do it online first). So that changes the math on the devaluation; essentially, the starting point is a 15% increase, rather than the previous award chart.
How big a deal are the changes? I did a brief analysis of traveling from Zone 13, which is the US East Coast and Houston, to Zone 9, which is Eastern Australia and New Zealand, and the difference is pretty drastic, take a look:
So, using this example above (which I took out the 15% discount from the old chart, mind you), each class of service jumped a bunch, double digits at least. You can look further by looking at the old award chart, and the new one.
The changes go into effect for awards ticketed on or after 23 March 2017 – So if you are looking for an award that you see availability for – do not delay.
No devaluation is good. This Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer devaluation and past ones seem to have been more reasonable over the years, as compared to some US based airline program award changes. But the fact remains, it hurts. At least Singapore tried to find something of a balance here. I would just argue that if you consider the impact, you must include that 15% discount going away as a comparison.
Of course, there are ways that these new developments can give you an opportunity for savings, you just have to look harder.