Singapore Airlines tweaks business class reward flights, upgrades

By Chris C., May 18 2016
Singapore Airlines tweaks business class reward flights, upgrades

Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer members will soon be unable to upgrade from economy to business class on selected flights, and when travelling to certain European destinations, the number of miles needed to book a reward flight or to upgrade will also increase.

The most significant change kicks in from June 1 2016, from which time passengers booked on Singapore Airlines aircraft fitted with a premium economy cabin will only be able to upgrade from economy to premium economy – not economy to business class as is possible now.

Among the affected flights, Airbus A350, A380 and Boeing 777-300ER services with premium economy between Singapore and Sydney, London, Paris, Frankfurt, Zurich, Beijing, Shanghai, Johannesburg and more.

From that date, travellers hoping for a business class upgrade using miles will need to be travelling on a paid premium economy fare before submitting their request, with the number of miles needed based on Singapore Airlines’ new upgrade rates.

Guests booked on flights that don’t offer premium economy, such as Singapore Airlines’ Boeing 777 flights between Sydney and Singapore, can continue to upgrade from economy straight to business class.

Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer: other changes

From May 24 2016, KrisFlyer’s existing two European reward categories will be merged together at the higher rate, increasing the number of miles needed to book business class flights to Amsterdam, Copenhagen and Rome by 25,500 KrisFlyer miles per return journey from Australia.

It’s a similar scenario for Saver-level upgrades to business class on these routes which too face a 25,500-mile increase on the return journey, including KrisFlyer’s 15% online booking discount and on flights which don’t offer a premium economy service, as above.

KrisFlyer’s trio of reward types – currently Saver, Standard and Full – will also be trimmed to just two options: Saver and Standard, already the most popular choices for points-savvy members as Full-level rewards presently command 4-5x as many miles as a Saver reward on the same flight.

If you’ve already booked a Full reward for a departure on or after May 24 2016, there’s some good news: you’ll be getting some miles back into your account and your flight re-booked as a Standard award, even if a Full reward was the only option when you booked.

At the top end of the scale, a return first class sojourn from Sydney to London booked at as Full reward via the SQ website would see a whopping 476,000 KrisFlyer miles returned to your account when your ticket is re-priced at the Standard level.

Also read: KrisFlyer unlocks premium economy flight bookings, upgrades

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Chris C.

Chris is a a former contributor to Executive Traveller.

Wow Singapore Airlines is becoming more and more unappealing by the day...What a shame.

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

10 Nov 2011

Total posts 133

Crikey - it was already much harder to get upgrades on SQ than on other carriers, with having to be on the full economy fare AND having to often stump up the full number of points as saver upgrades are often so elusive. I've been only flying VA and SQ and transfering all my points to Krisflyer but will reconsider this now.


12 Apr 2013

Total posts 1501

I been thinking to go away from QFF and thinking considering KrisFlyer, but it looks like other program even worse than QFF despite the fact that QFF getting worse each year. And they call it “loyalty” program – such a shame.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

26 Sep 2011

Total posts 77

You're forgetting serf that it's about your loyalty to them - they have no loyalty to you

Air China - Phoenix Miles

05 Jun 2015

Total posts 9

I was with Krisflyer for almost 10 years, even after I relocated to Beijing. They are getting worse and worse, it was becoming increasingly difficult to justify being loyal to them when their point-to-dollar value was pretty bad and getting worse. I finally made the switch from SQ to CA last year. Wish I had done that earlier, with the amount of travel I do every year, if I had made that switch as soon as I moved here to Beijing, I would have gotten their life platinum by now! I know CA is not in the same league as SQ, but their point-to-cash value is pretty decent, on selected domestic routes, a single CA FFP is worth AUD0.032 or higher.

Might cancel the Westpac KrisFlyer Amex card. The value of the gold card, with an annual fee of $125 is looking like a poor value proposition. 

It's annoying that in Australia your choices for direct FF earning is limited (not doing the SPG shuffle).

Having said that Bankwest's no forex fee platinum cards are proving to provide exceedingly good value. I hadn't realised how much I wasted on the 3% forex fees with other cards. 

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