Singapore Airlines premium economy upgrade guide [2023]

By Chris C., July 12 2016
Singapore Airlines premium economy upgrade guide [2023]

If you’re stuck flying in economy with Singapore Airlines, splurging a little cash or some KrisFlyer miles can wrangle you an upgrade to the more comfortable surroundings of premium economy.

That’s where you’ll enjoy not just more legroom, a steeper recline and a larger seat but also Singapore Airlines’ renowned Book the Cook meal service and a wider array of food and beverage choices than offered down the back.

Executive Traveller review: Singapore Airlines premium economy (Sydney-Singapore)

All that and more could be yours for as little as 22,500 KrisFlyer miles on shorter journeys like Sydney-Singapore or just 39,000 miles from Sydney right through to London Heathrow, while reduced-price paid upgrades are also occasionally available.

Here’s what you need to know to swing a premium economy upgrade on your next Singapore Airlines flight, and what you should look out for along the way.

SQ premium economy upgrades: the basics

For starters, you’ll find premium economy offered on Singapore Airlines Airbus A380 and Boeing 777 flights, and aboard some of the airline’s ‘long haul’ Airbus A350s – if you’re on another aircraft type such as the ‘regional’ Airbus A350 from Brisbane, you’ll find only economy and business class.

That can actually work in your favour as Singapore Airlines upgrades are all one-class, so from economy you could upgrade only to premium economy on flights where it’s available, but to business class on flights where it’s not.

Read: Singapore Airlines business class upgrade guide

Also take note that points-based upgrades can only be requested by passengers booked on Economy Standard fares (M, H and W ‘fare classes’) and Economy Flexi class tickets: those being the Y, B and E ‘fare classes’.

Reduced-price paid upgrades are only offered by invitation on a per-flight basis. Eligibility can be checked on Singapore Airlines’ website under ‘mySQupgrade’.

That provides a great opportunity to snag an upgrade if you’re booked on a less-expensive ticket or don’t have enough KrisFlyer miles in your account, but at the same time, it’s not a reliable option due to the invitation-only nature of the bidding process.


SQ premium economy upgrades: what they cost

To recap, the exact number of miles you’ll need for a premium economy upgrade depends on the length of your flight and where it’s flying to.

For Economy Flexi holders, Sydney-Singapore commands 22,500 miles for a one-way upgrade, Sydney-London a higher 39,000 miles when your flights are booked as an easy transit via Singapore, while a standalone Singapore-London flight requires a precise 33,500 miles.

Economy Standard passengers will notice a much higher premium to upgrade - 34,000 miles from Sydney to Singapore, a whopping 65,000 miles from Sydney to London, and 49,000 miles for just the Singapore to London leg.

Fly premium economy through to London for just 39,000 miles...
Fly premium economy through to London for just 39,000 miles...

(Naturally, it makes the most sense to request a single upgrade covering your entire journey rather than a separate upgrade request for each leg, requiring more miles.)

There’s no difference in upgrade rates when doing it online or over the phone.

Read: SQ premium economy upgrade chart

Requesting your SQ premium economy upgrade

Travellers wishing to upgrade using KrisFlyer miles can begin by retrieving their reservation via the ‘manage booking’ tool on the Singapore Airlines website.

Then, look for the ‘redeem an upgrade’ button. It’ll light up if you’re on an upgradeable (Y, B, E, M, H or W) fare, while it’ll be greyed out when booked on anything less:

Unlike some other Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer awards and upgrades, premium economy upgrade awards are only offered at the ‘Saver’ level – so if an upgrade is available on your flight you can secure it straight away, and if not, you’ll be given the option to join a ‘waitlist’.

That means your upgrade hasn’t yet gone through but may be granted closer to departure, in a similar style to how Qantas international flight upgrades are handled.

Out of options? Keep your eyes peeled to your email inbox roughly seven days before your flight’s departure, as occasionally, the airline provides discounted paid upgrades on a 'take it or leave it' basis.

This is different from the previous 'upgrade bidding' process that Singapore Airlines used to follow – it's strictly a 'yes' or 'no' affair, and upgrades will be confirmed immediately upon payment. 

Keep in mind, however, that these offers are first-come, first-served, so if other travellers are also invited to upgrade and beat you to it, you'll remain stuck in economy.

Also note, eligibility for these offers is strictly at Singapore Airlines’ discretion, and there's unfortunately no way to manually request one – other than to pay the full fare difference.

Singapore Airlines premium economy upgrade tips

Whether you upgrade to premium economy using KrisFlyer miles or real money, you’ll still earn KrisFlyer miles at the rate applicable to your original economy class ticket, not at the usual premium economy rates.

That also applies to travellers earning points via Singapore Airlines’ other partner airline frequent flyer programs including Virgin Australia Velocity Frequent Flyer, Virgin Atlantic Flying Club and those across the Star Alliance network.

Further, you’ll need to be booked on an SQ flight number in order to upgrade using miles – book a codeshare flight number and your upgrade chances stand between zip and zero.

Remember too that Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer and Virgin Australia Velocity are two entirely separate loyalty programs: you can’t use Velocity points to upgrade directly with Singapore Airlines, but you could convert Velocity points into KrisFlyer miles and then request your upgrade.

You may transfer your Virgin Australia Velocity Points to Krisflyer miles at a rate of 1.55:1 – a minimum of 5,000 Velocity Points applies per conversion. 

Read: How to convert Velocity frequent flyer points into KrisFlyer miles

Singapore Airlines premium economy upgrades: FAQs

Once upgraded to Singapore Airlines premium economy, will I get all the benefits of the upgraded cabin?

Yes! Once you have upgraded your booking you will be entitled to most of the perks of premium economy, including access to Singapore Airline’ Book the Cook meal service, additional baggage allowance and priority check-in, boarding and baggage handling.

Keep in mind, however, that accrual of Krisflyer miles and Elite miles will be based on your original ticket class.

Can I cancel a Singapore Airlines upgrade?

Yes, cancellation of an upgrade is possible with adherence to the same rules as a full redemption ticket. Specifically, a Saver upgrade cancellation incurs a fee of US$75, while an Advantage upgrade cancellation attracts a US$50 charge.

Can I choose to upgrade only part of the passengers in my Singapore Airlines booking?

No, it is not possible to have a ticket where passengers are split into two classes. All passengers included in a reservation must be upgraded simultaneously, and in order to do so, there must be enough available seats for all of them.

Read: Singapore Airlines A380 premium economy review

Chris C.

Chris is a a former contributor to Executive Traveller.


Emirates Airlines - Skywards

30 Nov 2015

Total posts 738

These seats look more comfortable than Business on QF 737's.

If i upgrade using Krisflyer miles am I then stuck with collecting Krisflyer miles & status credits? Or can i collect Virgin?


Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

15 Nov 2017

Total posts 56

"... and those across the Star Alliance network."

I took this to mean you can credit to other FF programs, but will receive the points inline with the original ticket. I hope to credit my upcoming flights to Asiana club, but wanted to double check if I upgrade one of the legs that this option would still be possible.

I've heard upgrades on other airlines can automatically default to that airline, so hopefully SQ isn't the same.

Chris, please correct me if I am wrong! :)

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