Singapore Changes As Of March 23: Award Devaluation & No More Fuel Surcharges

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REMINDER: The changes outlined in this post kick in March 23 (this coming Thursday). If you want to book a Singapore award flying Singapore or Silk Air before the changes, remember to book by Wednesday, March 22. Also keep in mind if you are transferring points to Singapore that not all transfers are instant.

There are three big changes coming to Singapore’s loyalty program effective March 23, 2017:

  1. Saver level award prices for flights on Singapore/SilkAir planes are increasing.
  2. The 15% discount for booking awards online is going away.
  3. Fuel surcharges on awards flying Singapore/SilkAir planes are being removed.

Standard level award prices and Premium economy awards flying Singapore/SilkAir will remain the same.

You have until March 22, 2017 to lock in old rates flying Singapore/SilkAir (here’s the old chart) before the new rates kick in March 23 (here’s the new chart). Award chart devaluations are inevitable. With five years since the last devaluation this isn’t shocking news, but it certainly isn’t welcome news either.

Singapore First Class on a Boeing 777
Singapore First Class on a Boeing 777

No More Fuel Surcharges on Singapore/SilkAir Awards

Let’s start with the good news: Fuel surcharges on awards flying Singapore and SilkAir planes are disappearing come March 23.

Award Price Devaluations

Star Alliance partner award prices aren’t changing, but the 15% discount for booking online is ending for all awards. While you could never book Singapore partner awards online, you could often get the agent to honor the 15% discount since they can’t be booked online one way or the other, so I see the eradication of the discount as a devaluation of partner awards as well.

Prices for Singapore awards flying Singapore planes are increasing in various increments. The 15% discount for booking these awards online is also going away, so that has to be factored into the devaluation as well. This is a big bummer as Singapore miles are pretty much the only viable way to book premium cabin Singapore award space as the majority of Singapore award space is released to Krisflyer members. Very little is allotted to those redeeming miles from partner programs.

Singapore Suites on an A380
Singapore Suites on an A380

Singapore current routes that touch the United States are as follows:

  • San Francisco to Singapore on the A350-900
  • San Francisco to Hong Kong to Singapore on the new 777-300ER
  • Los Angeles to Tokyo (NRT) to Singapore on the new 777-300ER
  • Los Angeles to Seoul (ICN) to Singapore on the new 777-300ER
  • Houston to Manchester to Singapore on the new 777-300ER
  • New York (JFK) to Frankfurt to Singapore on the A380

Screen Shot 2016-07-27 at 8.55.04 PM

New Premium Cabin Award Prices

The following chart shows each Singapore flight you could take originating in the United States, the current (soon to be old) price of each with fuel surcharges that might apply, the new price of each as of March 23 , and the difference in value of the two prices.

Allow me to explain the Increase in Award Price w/Adjustment for Fuel Surcharges column. We value Singapore miles at 1.75 cents each. To figure out the difference in value between pre and post devaluation prices, I took the pre-devaluation fuel surcharge cost and divided it by .0175 to see what the equivalent is in Singapore miles, and then added that to the pre-devaluation mileage price. I then found the difference between that number and the post-devaluation mileage price, which is reflected in the fourth column. The last column is the percent increase between the prices, also adjusted for fuel surcharges.

I left the out of pocket cost of taxes out of the chart completely as those, of course, remain the same across the board.

All of the awards above–despite the eradication of fuel surcharges–are increasing in overall price, albeit some more drastically than others.

What About Economy Awards?

I did not include economy prices in the chart as I’m assuming the majority of you use your Singapore miles to book Singapore premium cabin award space.

We can, however, find a bit of a silver lining in the changes when we take a look at some of the Saver level economy award prices. As One Mile at a Time pointed out, Houston to Singapore in economy currently costs 31,875 miles with the 15% discount and $220 in fuel surcharges. If we use the same math as we did in the table above to adjust for fuel surcharges, the new price of 40,000 miles “post-devaluation” is actually 4,446 miles cheaper than the “pre-devaluation” price ($220 / .0175 = 12,571; 31,875 + 12,571 = 44,446). I imagine the same math may apply to other economy awards as well (those with pricey fuel surcharges).

Deadlines

All of these new changes will come into effect March 23, 2017 so you have until March 22 to book awards at current pre-devaluation prices.

You can book Singapore awards 355 days in advance, so if you waited until March 22 to book, you could book an award at pre-devaluation award chart prices as far in advance as early March, 2018. That is to say you could book an award at the cheaper price for flights that depart as late as the beginning of March, 2018.

Bottom Line

As of March 23, 2017, the Singapore Krisflyer program will undergo three big changes. The 15% discount for booking awards online is going away. Award prices flying Singapore or SilkAir planes are changing; those that touch the United States in Business/First Class are all increasing in price by anywhere from 7 to 24%. Finally, fuel surcharges on all Singapore/SilkAir awards are going away, although that doesn’t matter as much when you consider that all premium cabin Singapore awards that touch the United States are still increasing in overall price. It’s positive for a few economy awards that are actually decreasing as a result of these changes.

This is not great news, but at least we got some notice. Act now if you want to lock in a premium cabin Singapore award at pre-devaluation prices. If you’re looking at booking an economy award, compare pre and post-devaluation prices and remember to adjust for the fuel surcharges to see which is more advantageous–booking now or after March 23.


Editorial Disclaimer: The editorial content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuers. Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of the credit card issuers, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuers.

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8 COMMENTS

  1. Hi. Thank you so much for this post. I am trying to book an award before the devaluation. I know that you could not book the partner award on-line. So if I am flying out of Austin, what will be the one way price flying from AUS-IAH-MAN assuming I will be taking United from AUS-IAH then Singapore on IAH-MAN. Thanks!

  2. Thanks for breaking this down easily. Can you tell me which routes still have Suites class on the 380 on Singapore metal (not necessarily touching the US as delineated in the article)?

  3. This is pretty abstract but any idea if you book NYC-SIN now and then next year when they start the proposed A350 direct flight from NYC-SIN if you would be able to switch it and not pay the difference?

  4. I booked some awards last night. 5 bookings. Even though I had 2 under 12, they made me partially book myself and spouse while on the phone with them since I had to call in for child. They wouldn’t give me the 15% discount even though I had to call. We had miles in 5 accounts. So… I booked while agent booked and attached rez . Lol… I was planning on Singapore Suites flight, but always a waitlist and I need a better plan. It will be my 1st SA flight. Earned miles from United. Yes!

  5. Are the flights that don’t touch the U.S showing any award devaluations?
    And can those flights be booked on SIN website or do you have to call?

    thanks, Rod

  6. Are the flights that don’t touch the U.S showing any award devaluations?
    And can those flights be booked on SIN website or do you have to call?

    thanks, Rod

  7. I don’t have tons of Singapore miles for booking premium tickets, which aren’t a priority to me anyway. I use the program for niche bookings like my Queenstown/Tonga/Wellington itinerary in economy last year. Looks like the new rules will open up lots of new “fuel” surcharge free routings in many parts of the world, making the Singapore program considerably more interesting to me.

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