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Singapore Airlines' KrisFlyer members will need more miles to book flights with Star Alliance partner airlines from December, but as a trade-off, will be able to search for Star Alliance reward availability and make these bookings online rather than over the phone.
Online reward bookings with KrisFlyer's other airline partners outside of the Star Alliance family will also become available via the Singapore Airlines website and its mobile app, including with Virgin Australia, Virgin Atlantic and Alaska Airlines, among others.
With most bookings to be possible via the KrisFlyer website, an ‘offline service fee’ is also being introduced for reward bookings made via the call centre: but this fee will be waived if the booking could not be made online.
Here’s what’s changing, and how it affects you.
More miles needed to book Star Alliance reward flights
Using your KrisFlyer miles to travel with Singapore Airlines’ Star Alliance partners like Air Canada, ANA, Thai Airways and United? From December 7 2017, you’ll generally need more miles to book those flights than you do today, especially in business class and first class, where available.
For example, you can currently fly from anywhere in Australia to anywhere in the UK and Europe for 132,500 KrisFlyer miles in first class, 95,000 miles in business class and 50,000 miles in economy, one-way, on SQ’s Star Alliance partners.
As of December 7, that increases to 148,000 miles in first class, 105,000 miles in business class and 51,500 miles in economy class, one-way.
Flights from Australia to Canada and the USA (except Hawaii) are also increasing from 97,500 to 117,000 miles in business class and from 55,000 to 60,000 miles in economy class, each way.
Closer to home, journeys between Australia and KrisFlyer’s ‘South East Asia’ region (covering Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand, among others, plus indirect flights to Singapore on Star Alliance partners) also lift from 75,000 to 90,000 miles in first class and from 55,000 to 66,000 miles in business class, one-way, with economy travel remaining at 32,500 miles.
Travel to the program’s ‘North Asia 2’ region – including to China with Air China, Japan with ANA and South Korea with Asiana – sees first class rising from 95,000 to 105,000 miles and business class from 77,500 to 83,000 miles, each way, with economy remaining at 45,000 miles for a one-way ticket.
The number of miles needed to book journeys solely with Singapore Airlines is unchanged, as those figures were already adjusted back in March: and given that fewer KrisFlyer miles were needed to travel with Star Alliance partners as opposed to SQ under those changes, this week’s news was to be expected.
However, if your ticket does involve flights with both Singapore Airlines and a Star Alliance partner as part of the one journey – such as flying Singapore Airlines to Singapore and then Turkish Airlines to Istanbul – the ‘Star Alliance’ rates will apply to the whole journey.
Bookings with airline partners outside of the Star Alliance family, such as with Virgin Australia, are also unchanged.
Online reward bookings introduced for all partner airlines
As of December 7, KrisFlyer members can book reward flights online with all of the program’s Star Alliance partners, and all of its other airline partners, too. Currently, only Singapore Airlines and SilkAir reward flights appear on the KrisFlyer website, and you have to call for everything else.
This will make it significantly easier to use miles for travel far and wide, with 33 more airlines joining the ‘online booking’ fold, including Singapore Airlines’ 27 other Star Alliance partners, as below:
Adria, Aegean, Air Canada, Air China, Air India, AirNZ, ANA, Asiana, Austrian, Avianca, Avianca Brazil, Brussels Airlines, Copa Airlines, Croatia Airlines, EgyptAir, Ethiopian Airlines, EVA Air, LOT Polish Airlines, Lufthansa, SAS Scandinavian Airlines, Shenzhen Airlines, South African Airlines, Swiss, TAP, Thai Airways, Turkish Airlines and United.
Added to that are KrisFlyer’s five non-alliance partner airlines in Virgin Australia, Virgin Atlantic, Alaska Airlines, Virgin America and India’s Vistara, plus one Star Alliance ‘connecting partner’, Juneyao Airlines.
There’s a new fee if you call to book
Once online reward bookings become available across the program’s web of partner airlines in early December, a new ‘offline service fee’ of US$25 (A$32.90) or 2,500 KrisFlyer miles will be payable for reward bookings and changes made over the phone.
The same fee will also apply when using miles to upgrade over the phone, or when asking telephone staff to update your personal contact details or ‘redemption group nominees’, being the people you’ve chosen who can fly or be upgraded using your miles.
However, the airline confirms that “this service fee will be waived for transactions that cannot be performed online” – so if you encounter any difficulties online or you have a complex booking that the website can’t handle, you won’t need to pay.