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Today I received an unfortunate email from Singapore Airlines announcing some changes to the KrisFlyer program. The details were as follows:
- Revisions to Saver Award levels in the Singapore Airlines and SilkAir Award Chart have been made to ensure that flight rewards remain sustainable yet competitive. We had last made adjustments to award levels in various zones in 2012.
- The 15% discount for redemption and redemption upgrade bookings made through our website and mobile channels will be discontinued, and the same redemption fare will be applied across all channels.
- Fuel and insurance surcharges will be removed from all redemption award tickets on Singapore Airlines and SilkAir operated flights.
How this hurts
The 15% discount on award ticket prices when booking online was one of the best things offered by the KrisFlyer program. For example, the normal saver price for Suites class on the ever-popular JFK-FRA route has been 67,500 miles one-way, but this is slashed to only 57,375 miles when you include the online booking discount.
The effect of this devaluation is that prices are increasing at minimum 15% on all Singapore routes. Very unfortunate.
Even worse, some routes have been hit with a double whammy: the online booking discount has been nixed and prices have increased. Example U.S. routes affected:
- West Coast US to Southeast Asia in business – increased from 80,000 to 88,000 miles
- West Coast US to Southeast Asia in first -increased from 107,500 to 118,000 miles
- East Coast US to Europe in business -increased from 57,500 to 65,000 miles
- East Coast US to Europe in first -increased from 67,500 to 76,000 miles
Combined with the loss of the 15% online booking discount, this really hurts. The effective price jump on the popular JFK-FRA suites route is 32%!
You can find the new KrisFlyer award chart here. A lot of routes are unaffected, but many other routes (including basically all the U.S. prices) have fairly significant increases.
The good news
While the 15% devaluation across the board is a pretty awful development, there is actually one bright spot. Singapore Airlines is eliminating fuel surcharges on awards on Singapore and Silk Air flights.
Personally, I vastly prefer redeeming miles for flights without fuel surcharges. This is one reason I am a huge fan of collecting United miles. This news is great for Singapore awards. All things considered, the elimination of fuel surcharges may actually make this a win for some people. I have been turned off by the fairly high fuel surcharges on Singapore award flights, and I bet others have, too.
Combined with the other devaluation, though, my reaction is very mixed. A price jump of ~30% on several routes is huge.
If you want to book and travel under the old prices, you must do ASAP. The prices are effective March 23. This gives flyers only 3 weeks to take advantage of the old prices!