Singapore Airlines introduces credit card surcharge in Australia

By Chris Chamberlin, November 8 2016
Singapore Airlines introduces credit card surcharge in Australia
Disclaimer

Executive Traveller may receive a commission when you apply for these credit cards via our links.

You should seek independent advice and consider your own personal circumstances before applying for any financial product.

Singapore Airlines passengers booking flights from Australia will now incur a surcharge when using a credit card to pay for their ticket.

Whether whipping out a Visa, MasterCard, American Express or Diners Club card, a 1.35% ‘service fee’ applies based on the total cost of your booking, capped at a maximum charge of $70 per passenger.

On a $4,500 ticket, that puts the surcharge at $60.75 per passenger, while all airfares of $5,185 or more will incur the fixed $70 fee.

However, passengers booking flights using their KrisFlyer miles will not incur any surcharge when using their plastic to cover any associated taxes and other charges, nor will the surcharge apply to added extras like preferred seat selection or pre-paid excess baggage on regular, fully-paid tickets.

The airline explains on its website that these quietly-introduced changes are to recover “costs relating to the acceptance of credit cards” on itineraries where the first flight departs from an Australian city.

No credit card fee applies to bookings originating in any other country – including New Zealand and Singapore – even if the passenger will be visiting Australia as part of their trip.

How to avoid Singapore Airlines’ credit card surcharge

Nobody likes being stung by credit card surcharges, so take note of these two sneaky ways to pay for your Singapore Airlines flight by credit card, but without incurring any extra fees.

One approach is to make your card payment via PayPal, instead of directly to the airline in the normal sense. It’s easily done by choosing PayPal instead of ‘credit / debit card’ on the payment screen:

For these payments, PayPal accepts Visa and MasterCard with no surcharge, although there’s no option to use AMEX here, as would usually be the case when shopping with PayPal.

Your other option is to select MasterPass, also with no surcharge applied. Despite being operated by MasterCard, you can also use Visa, American Express and Diners Club here by pre-registering for a MasterPass account with your chosen credit card prior to booking your flight.

Connect with other business travellers in our Singapore Airlines discussion group

Disclaimer

Executive Traveller may receive a commission when you apply for these credit cards via our links.

You should seek independent advice and consider your own personal circumstances before applying for any financial product.

Chris Chamberlin

Chris Chamberlin is the Associate Editor of Executive Traveller and lives by the motto that a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step, a great latte, a theatre ticket and a glass of wine!

28 Sep 2011

Total posts 5

Just for your knowledge, PayPal recently started taking Amex as well which is a big relief...so effectively we can use Amex via PayPal and earn the same points

PayPal certainly accepts AMEX for most payments, but not for payments made to airline merchants. That's why our article reads "there's no option to use AMEX here, as would usually be the case when shopping with PayPal". ;)


(Choose the PayPal option when paying an airline and the usual AMEX option disappears.)

21 Sep 2011

Total posts 65

It just goes to show how weak our government is to not ban credit card surcharges altogether. It's not like businesses outside of Australia do not need to recover their merchant fees. It's part of running a business. 

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

11 Nov 2014

Total posts 34

Don't you pay for using PayPal too?
Nope. As covered above, no surcharge for payments made to SQ via PayPal or MasterPass, including when funded by a credit card.

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

11 Nov 2014

Total posts 34

I mean when you put money in the paypal account, don't you get charged?
You don't deposit money into PayPal if paying by credit card - you simply link a credit card to your PayPal account, and when it comes time to pay for your Singapore Airlines flight, PayPal just charges your credit card and sends the money straight to the airline.

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

13 Jan 2015

Total posts 591

You dont put money in your paypal account...you just link your card and money comes directly out of the card

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

16 Dec 2015

Total posts 41

In all cases, whether or not a merchant accepts American Express via PayPal is decided by the merchant.

As for why Singapore Airlines have opted to not accept Amex via PayPal, it's likely related to their agreement with American Express.


Chris: That's incorrect - merchants only choose to accept or not to accept PayPal as a whole: they can't opt-in or opt-out of accepting specific cards via PayPal.

The exception here is because American Express as a card network doesn't permit payments to airlines via PayPal, so when paying for airfares with any airline, the option to use AMEX in PayPal disappears for that transaction only.

That's why the same thing happens when using PayPal with Virgin Australia, Emirates, Tigerair Australia etc.

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

16 Dec 2015

Total posts 41

Right you are - I've misread the API reference.

Interestingly, PayPal's terms and conditions do allow surcharges though.

05 Aug 2014

Total posts 9

Hi Chris,

Do you know if paying via PayPal, one would miss out on complimentary travel insurance, where applicable, offered by the respective credit card, e.g. Citibank Prestige?

Hi Gilbert, you'd need to contact the insurer attached to your particular credit card to discuss eligibility and any exclusions that may apply.

United Airlines - Mileage Plus

21 Feb 2014

Total posts 3

If I am not mistaken, airlines have negotiated global credit card rates with Visa and Mastercard due to the volumes they put through and these are well below the 1% level. If this is the case then SQ is using the crazy Australian laws to shaft the consumer and turn this charge into a profit centre. I would love to hear from SQ disputing this in writing. Lets see. BTW - QF and Virgin are no better in this respect either.  

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

21 Oct 2016

Total posts 2

Have just been through the process trying to use MasterPass & can confirm they are passing the payment method back to SQ who are adding the surcharge. Unfortunately.

I was wanting to use an Amex so the Paypal wasn't an option.


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