March 1, 2017
Singapore Air Increasing Award Rates & Eliminating Fuel Charges March 23
Featured Image Provided by Singapore Airlines
Straight to the Point
Singapore Airlines is increasing the award prices of flights between certain zones, eliminating the 15% online award booking discount, and eliminating taxes and fees on award tickets effective March 23, 2017.
Singapore Airlines is one of the best airlines in the world has a great frequent flyer program. You could book flights like my trip from Singapore to Johannesburg in business class on the brand new A350 for just 38,250 Singapore KrisFlyer miles or a first class suite in the sky from New York to Frankfurt for 57,375 miles. The frequent flyer program is also great because it’s pretty easy to acquire miles without flying. You can transfer points from Starwood, American Express, Citi, and Chase to KrisFlyer and then book your free flight! Well, today we got word that Singapore will be making some significant changes to their award chart on March 23.
First, Singapore is increasing the redemption rates for Saver Awards on Singapore and SilkAir operated flights between certain zones. There are no changes to Standard Awards, Upgrades, or Star Alliance partner awards. This is the first increase the airline has introduced since 2012, at a time when many of its competitors have been constantly increasing their award prices, so credit to Singapore on that. You can find the current award chart here and the new award chart here. It looks like most of the award prices are increasing by about 15%.
Singapore is also eliminated the terrific online discount it had for award bookings. You can currently get 15% off the award price of a ticket if you book it online as opposed to over the phone. Sadly this is disappearing on March 23. Combining the approximately 15% increase in award prices with the elimination of the 15% discount, we’re looking at about a 30% increase in the cost of award tickets.
Finally a bit of good news. Singapore is eliminating fuel and insurance surcharges on all award tickets for flights operated by Singapore Airlines or SilkAir effective March 23. This should save you about $200 each way on international award flights!
I realize all that information is a bit abstract and confusing, so here’s a couple examples of what these changes look like. These charts compare current saver level award rates, including the 15% online discount, with the new rates.
New York (JFK)-Frankfurt (FRA)
Europe (Frankfurt, Paris, Zurich, London)-Singapore (SIN)
Although award prices are going up, this is partially offset by the elimination of fuel surcharges that typically cost around $200 each way. Depending on how you value your miles, you could actually come out ahead in certain cases (if the cash savings is worth more to you than the increased mileage requirement). Overall I think this isn’t as bad of a devaluation as Singapore could have done. It’s a bummer that they’re raising their rates, but their award prices are still competitive with what other airlines are charging and the elimination of fuel charges helps soften the blow.
It’s also nice that Singapore is giving flyers three weeks notice about these changes and not just implementing them overnight like some airlines have done. If you want to book a flight at the cheaper rates, you have until March 23. Tick Tock.