Singapore Airlines Clarifies Its New Waitlisting Rules


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In February of this year, Singapore Airlines announced a series of changes to its KrisFlyer loyalty program and, as is usual nowadays, most of the changes were not good news for flyers. Amongst the changes announced was a mention that the airline would be making changes to how its waitlists work.

Today Singapore Airlines has added to the information provided in February and confirmed just how the changes it will be implementing will work.

Here’s what you need to know:

  • Singapore Airlines used to allow passengers to place an award request on a waitlist right up to the date of departure. From 14 August 2019 travelers will only be able to waitlist awards up to 3 weeks before departure.
  • From 14 August 2019, passengers who are successful in having a waitlisted award clear will be informed a minimum of 14 days before departure, while unsuccessful passengers will see their waitlist requests canceled at the same time.
  • Upgrade requests which have been waitlisted will continue to be available up to the point of departure.
  • With immediate effect, flyers can manage their waitlists online via the ‘manage my booking’ section of the Singapore Airlines website.
  • Singapore Airlines will now email flyers periodic email reminders showing the status of their various waitlist requests.

Singapore Airlines has posted an FAQ section on its website which may be helpful to anyone who is unsure of how these changes will affect them (link).

Thoughts

I think there’s good and bad news here.

If you’re a flyer who is happy to wait until the very last minute to see if an award you have waitlisted will clear then this isn’t going to be very good news for you – for everyone else, this isn’t a big deal.

The 14-day cut-off period is bad news for those of us who have been used to seeing awards clearing very close to departure but, in reality, the majority of travelers don’t usually make plans that can accommodate a last-minute award booking (or a last-minute award fail). In fact, this rule may just give them a bit more certainty and confidence to make alternative plans.

Considering a lot of other airlines tend to release awards within the two weeks leading up to the departure date, knowing that a Singapore Airlines waitlist request has failed two weeks away from departure will give people more confidence to book awards on other carriers as they become available….so there may be a positive buried in here.

The bit about all of this that I don’t understand is how Singapore Airlines thinks this will be beneficial for its business.

When awards clear at the last minute it means that the airline is almost 100% sure that the seat would otherwise go out empty and, as that seat would have a near-negligible cost to the airline if filled with an award booking, this can be a good way to get an airline’s miles out of circulation on the cheap.

With Singapore Airlines now adding a 14-day cut-off for waitlisted awards (i.e its awards cannot now clear at the last minute) it looks as if the airline has taken away its ability to reclaim some of its miles on the cheap – why would the airline do that?

Bottom Line

If you’ve been used to making the most of the ability to have Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer awards clear at the last minute then this isn’t the news you’ll have wanted to hear but, for everyone else, this is mostly a non-event.

The fact is that none of this is really ‘news’ as we were warned what was going to happen back in February, but I still don’t understand what Singapore Airlines is getting out of its decision to set a 14-day cut-off period for waitlisted awards – if anyone can shed any light on this I’d be very grateful.

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