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Singapore's Increasing Redemption Rates, Scrapping Online Booking Discount

March 01, 2017
4 min read
Singapore's Increasing Redemption Rates, Scrapping Online Booking Discount
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Well, this is a huge bummer. Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer, the only Asia-based frequent flyer program to accept points from all four transferrable currencies (Amex Membership Rewards, Chase Ultimate Rewards, Citi ThankYou and Starwood Preferred Guest), will be undergoing a big devaluation on March 23. That gives you roughly three weeks to reserve flights at the current rates, and with the beloved 15% online booking discount.

According to an email sent to members this morning (including myself), the following will change as of March 23:

  • Award rates will increase in various zones
  • The 15% online booking discount will be discontinued — you'll pay the same online as you will over the phone
  • Fuel surcharges will be discontinued for flights operated by Singapore and SilkAir

Obviously that last bullet is an improvement, but not all routes have been subjected to huge surcharges in the past.

As for award redemption rates, they're definitely increasing significantly — especially when you factor in the extra 15% you'll need to redeem once the online discount is gone. For example, TPG's Singapore Suites redemption from LAX to Tokyo (now first class on the 777-300ER), ran him 74,375 miles, or 87,500 miles before the online discount. That same award will cost 95,000 miles come March 23, representing a 28% increase over the current online rates.

Here's how the new vs. old Saver rates break down for flights from the West Coast (LAX and SFO) to Singapore:

ClassCurrent RateAfter 15% DiscountNew RateIncrease (Incl. Online Discount)
First 107,500 91,375 118,000 29%
Business 80,000 68,000 88,000 29%
Premium Economy 65,00055,250 65,000 18%
Economy 35,000 29,750 38,000 28%

Meanwhile, here's the new vs. old rates for flights from NYC and Houston to Singapore:

ClassCurrent RateAfter 15% DiscountNew RateIncrease (Incl. Online Discount)
First 110,000 93,500 120,000 28%
Business 85,000 72,250 92,000 27%
Premium Economy 70,000 59,500 70,000 18%
Economy 37,500 31,875 40,000 25%

For other destinations, check out Singapore's old vs. new charts here.

Now the other part of the story here is the elimination of fuel surcharges. While none applied to TPG's booking example above (LAX to Tokyo), you will pay a hefty sum on some flights to and from Singapore.

Here's an example of the cash co-pay (fuel surcharges and taxes/fees) for a flight from New York-JFK to Singapore:

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 Class Current Cash Co-Pay (USD) New Cash Co-Pay (USD)Award Rate IncreaseTPG Value of Extra Miles Used (1.5 cents each)
Suites (First) $240 + $46.22 $46.22 26,500 $397.50
Business $230 + $46.22 $46.22 19,750 $296.25
Premium Economy $220 + $46.22 $46.22 10,500 $157.50
Economy $220 + $46.22 $46.22 8,125 $121.88

Assuming you value KrisFlyer miles at 1.5 cents each (as TPG does), you'll actually come out ahead in some cases. For example, the value of the increased mileage required for a one-way flight from New York-JFK to Singapore as of March 23 is less than the current cost of fuel surcharges for Premium Economy and coach awards. So if you're booking those two cabins and you value your miles at 1.5 cents apiece, it actually makes sense to book under the new rates.

Passengers booking business and first class will still come out ahead under the current chart, but it's still great to see that the eliminated surcharges do go a long way to offsetting this increase. So, if you're booking business or first class, it makes sense to get your tickets issued now. Meanwhile, if you're be traveling in Premium Economy or coach, you may come out ahead on or after the change kicks in on March 23.

Note that Singapore did not announce any changes to standard awards, upgrade rates, partner bookings or Premium Economy Saver awards (though the loss of the 15% online discount does impact all KrisFlyer redemption rates).