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After Mileage Devaluation, Singapore Announces Positive Changes to Upgrades and More

Jan. 04, 2019
4 min read
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Yesterday Singapore Airlines announced a devaluation of its award chart that would go into effect on Jan. 24. While rates for redeeming miles for economy flights would mostly stay the same, the number of miles it takes to fly in Singapore's premium cabins went up on most routes by about 10% to 15%.

Late last night, Singapore sent out another email detailing more changes to its KrisFlyer program, including modifications to milage upgrades and its award search feature tool.

Better Upgrade Policy

Until yesterday, when upgrading with miles on Singapore, you could only upgrade one cabin at a time. If you had an economy ticket and wanted to upgrade to business class, but were flying on an aircraft with a premium economy cabin, you'd only be able to upgrade to premium economy. Effective immediately, you can now upgrade from economy to business regardless of if there's a premium economy cabin. This is a welcome change, since you'll no longer have to buy a premium economy ticket (which can still be quite expensive) to upgrade to business.

Singapore Airlines' A350-900ULR Business Class Cabin. Image by Zach Honig / The Points Guy.

Enhanced Search Capability

Starting on Jan. 31, Singapore will introduce an improved award search option where you'll be able to "view available redemption options across a seven-day window." You'll just select the flexible travel dates box and after searching, you'll see the cheapest award option for flights on your preferred date, plus three days before and after.

With award availability sometimes hard to come by, a flexible date search tool is always welcome and can make it much easier to book travel at the cheapest rate — especially if your travel dates aren't constricted to specific days. This is especially useful on Singapore's site since they release more award seats on their own metal when booking through the KrisFlyer program, versus limiting inventory when searching through other Star Alliance partners like Lufthansa or Avianca.

Award Waitlists Changes

If you can't find saver award availability on Singapore Airlines, KrisFlyer lets you go on a waitlist if a saver award opens up — a unique aspect to the frequent flyer program.

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Instead of the waitlist clearing just a few days before the flight, flyers will now know at least 14 days before their trip if they were able to redeem miles for a saver award. Singapore says the change will go into effect in the second quarter of 2019, and waitlists for upgrades using miles will continue to be available up to the point of departure.

Singapore's new first class suites on the Airbus A380. Image by Zach Honig / The Points Guy.

It's still somewhat unclear if this is a negative or positive change. Singapore says it will bring more clarity and allow travelers to make alternative travel plans if they aren't removed from the waitlist, while both One Mile At A Time and View From The Wing believe it will lead to less flyers getting a premium seat at the saver level, probably the more likely situation.

Discounts on Award Flights Here to Stay

Over the last few months Singapore has been running semi-frequent award sales on US and international routes. Singapore says that come February, the Spontaneous Escape sales will become a permanent program feature. However, it will only apply to last minute travel — so sales will be announced one month and the discounted rates will only be available for travel during the following month. It's nice to see this stay, but it'd be much better if it weren't for travel so close to departure.

This page will serve as a permanent home for the details of each sale, and new deals will be available on Feb. 15, 2019.

Bottom Line

While most of these changes are positive, they are mostly marginal and don't really make up for the award chart devaluation. Hopefully the reworking of award waitlists aren't as bad as expected, and KrisFlyer members will still get cleared off the waitlists more often than not.