Maximizing Singapore Airlines Krisflyer Awards

Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer has been a center of my attention since the generous KrisFlyer Spree shopping mall deal in June this year where you could buy 17,077 KrisFlyer miles for just $9.95.

Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer is also a transfer partner of Ultimate Rewards, American Express Membership Rewards and Thank You Points and is therefore THE most easily-available mileage currency when you have a US-issued credit card.

Airline Credit Cards

Best value redemptions – Singapore Airlines

Singapore Airlines has some of the best business and first class products. Their long-haul business and first class cabins can't be accessed with most Star Alliance award programs.

Singapore Airlines does charge fuel surcharges but they are low – count on about ~$100 per segment. SFO-HKG is cheaper than SFO-ICN or LAX-NRT.

If you book online (there is no reason why not) you will only pay 85% of the mileage required. The A380 with the first class suites runs between LAX and NRT as well as New York, JFK to Frankfurt, FRA. Most A380s are in service between Singapore and Sydney as well as London, Frankfurt to Singapore.

While Singapore Airlines bookings are segment based, you can search for several segments together. The miles required will be LOWER while the fuel surcharges will be HIGHER.

I'm not sure how the calculation works. Note that you can only book all segments in the same class of service (like with LifeMiles).

Also great value is the 58,225 miles in first class from Sao Paulo to Barcelona with NO fuel surcharges.

If you like traveling in first class with Singapore Airlines, nothing can beat this 16,617-mile (or about 30 hours) journey for 119,850 miles and ~$75.

Best value redemptions – Star Alliance Partners

As noted earlier, Singapore Airlines does charge fuel surcharges, so it's a good idea to find Star Alliance partners with low or no fuel surcharges. These have become a rare breed. Here is the award chart.

Here are my favorites:

1) Domestic redemptions incl. Canada/Alaska for 12,500 miles in economy

Since neither United Airlines nor Air Canada charge fuel surcharges for domestic travel, these can be a steal. Miami to Anchorage or Nova Scotia to San Diego all price for the same award. There will be no stopovers allowed though!

2) 35,000 miles for the round trip from the US/CA to Central America

Nova Scotia to Panama City is just 35,000 in economy and here you will get a free stopover.

Airline Credit Cards

Even more interesting – Hawaii is grouped as Central America, so a trip to Hawaii with a stop-over in, say, California, will also just cost you 35,000 miles. This is basically two vacations and outstanding value!

3) Economy/Business Class in Asia/Russia Far East for just 22,500 KrisFlyer miles

Many award charts allow you to go to Eastern Russia (Siberia) at the same price as Europe. And Singapore Airlines gets you back in style. 22,500 will get you from Vladivostok to Hong Kong, or to Palau or any Star Alliance-served airport in Micronesia.

Stopovers/Open-Jaws/One-Ways

You can book one-ways for half the mileage – no problem.

Awards that go through at least two zones will give you a free stopover and as many additional as you want for $100.

One open-jaw is allowed per round trip in addition to a stopover.

Book your Krisflyer award

Singapore Airlines bookings can all be done online and there is no need to talk to an agent.

For Star Alliance or other bookings, you will need to call in, though.

The call center in Singapore can be reached at +1 (213) 404-0301 24 hours a day. Hold times varied a lot for me – from almost none to 30+ minutes. It's important to input your KrisFlyer number at the prompt as you will otherwise be forwarded to the revenue tickets department (which usually has longer hold times).

Krisflyer Fees

What is outstanding from an American perspective are the low service fees KrisFlyer charges. Date changes for Singapore Airline/SilkAir are free of charge!

Changing the route for Singapore Airlines flights is just $12 (!) or $20 for Star Alliance bookings. You can cancel a Star Alliance award itinerary for just $30.

There is something I haven't seen before… If you are a no-show for your flight, you can still get ALL the miles and fees back by calling in after the fact and paying $75. It does not get more customer-friendly than this!

Given such low fees, we may see lots of speculative bookings.

What's your experience with KrisFlyer bookings?

Picture courtesy of http://www.samchuiphotos.com/

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