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Singapore Airlines has announced some significant changes to the cost of its awards and, in an attempt to soften the blow of the award chart devaluation, it has also announced that it will no longer levy fuel surcharges on award bookings.
Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer Changes
Headline changes for bookings made on or after 23 March 2017:
- 15% discount that has been available for online and mobile award bookings is being discontinued. The award costs shown on the award charts will be what you pay irrespective of how an award is booked.
- The costs of KrisFlyer Saver Awards (the ones most people book) will be increasing
- The costs of Standard awards are being left unchanged
- Fuel surcharges are being eliminated but airport fees and taxes remain in place
How Are KrisFlyer Award Prices Changing?
The biggest effect on the cost of awards will be the elimination of the 15% online/mobile booking discount which just about everyone could take advantage of (if you had a complicated itinerary which required an agent to complete the booking you would still get the discount because it wasn’t bookable online).
Here’s how the award changes look across some of the more popular Singapore Airlines routes (the “old cost” figures include the 15% online discount):
Note: The costs shown below are for one way travel. For roundtrip travel the costs double.
Premium Economy Class
As you can see, the majority of awards are increasing by 25% – 32% and while that is nowhere near as bad as some of the devaluations we’ve seen (*cough* American Airlines) it’s not insignificant.
What Are The Savings On Fuel Surcharges?
Singapore Airlines has provided a couple of examples.
Singapore – Bangkok one way:
- Economy Class – saving of $51
- Business Class – saving of $71
Singapore – Europe one way:
- Economy Class – saving of $222
- Business Class – saving of $241
Other Examples (taken from Singaporeair.com):
USA – Singapore:
- Economy Class – saving of $220
- Business Class – saving of $230
- First Class – saving of $240
USA – Europe:
Economy Class – saving of $156
Business Class – saving of $170
First Class – saving of $180
Ok, let’s get the obvious out of the way first – this could have been a lot worse.
Right, now that that’s been said it’s also worth mentioning that this isn’t as insignificant as some people already seem to be implying.
If your local restaurant/grocery store/gas station/bookstore/clothes store suddenly announced that prices would be increasing by 25% – 30% in a few weeks time I doubt you would be too happy…so why give airlines a break when they increase award costs by that amount?
I can already hear some arguing that Singapore Airlines hasn’t increased award costs for a few years and that this makes the increase perfectly ok…but that doesn’t wash with me because the cost of issuing awards and flying passengers around hasn’t increased. If anything, thanks to what’s happened with fuel prices, the cost of flying passengers has decreased since the last major award chart changes in 2012.
I have also seen some arguing that the savings on fuel surcharges make up for a lot of the increase in the award cost….but I don’t agree with that either.
Let’s take a one way Business Class saver award between Los Angeles and Singapore as an example:
As of 23 March this award will cost 20,000 miles more than before but passengers will save $230 on the fuel surcharges they no longer have to pay.
Sure, $230 is a nice saving to have and if you’re traveling as a family it will quickly add up…. but most people can generate $230 a lot easier and quicker than they can generate 20,000 KrisFlyer miles.
It’s all very well saying that, hypothetically speaking, KrisFlyer miles are worth 1.4 cents each and so the nest cost increase is only $50 or a little over 3,500 miles….but that doesn’t take into account how hard it is to actually accumulate 20,000 miles in the first place.
Even if you have a Chase Sapphire Reserve credit card (which effectively earns 3 KrisFlyer miles per dollar spent on travel and dining out) you would still have to spend over $6,600 (at a minimum) to earn the extra miles you will now need to book this award.
For most people that is neither easy or insignificant…and that’s just for one award and in one direction. Just think how those wishing to travel as a couple (or a family) and fly roundtrip are going to feel.
We were due a devaluation to the Singapore Airlines award chart so this isn’t exactly a surprise. I would have preferred more than 3 weeks from the airline notice but some notice is better than none.
The increased award costs are by no means a disaster or heinous but they also aren’t insignificant. They are going to have a significant effect on a lot of people’s plans and this is why you don’t hoard miles for use further down the line. Miles always devalue.
If you have the miles make sure you book what awards you can before 23 March 2017 and, if you don’t quite have the miles you need, see if you can bring forward some spending to generate the miles before the changes hit.