S7 Airlines, also known as Siberia Airlines, is headquartered in Novosibirsk, Russia. It has an extensive domestic and international network, flying to 106 destinations in Russia, the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), Europe, Asia and the Middle East. Although it doesn’t currently fly to the United States, the carrier is a member of the oneworld alliance.
If you fly with any frequency within Russia or between Russia and the CIS, you’ll probably want to join S7 Airlines’ frequent flyer program, S7 Priority. Domestic award flights are reasonably priced, and there are a number of sweet spots in the program’s award charts, including flights on oneworld members.
|POINTS TRANSFER PARTNERS|
- Domodedovo International Airport
- Tolmachevo Airport
S7 Priority is a relatively simple, region-based program with two award charts: one for S7 flights, and another for oneworld partners. There are good redemption deals to be found in both.
The airline adds fuel surcharges on many routes for both their own flights and on partners. Thankfully the charges are typically low (around $30).
- Reasonable award charts with a few excellent redemption options
- Infants up to two years old fly for 10 percent of the ticket cost in miles
- Full refund for cancellation due to medical emergency
- Low change fee of less than $25
- Must purchase a cash ticket before being able to redeem miles
- Many one-way award tickets are more than half the cost of round-trip tickets
- No stopovers
- Miles expire after two years
- Fuel surcharges on S7 and some partners
- Only changes to date and time are allowed on award flights that are longer than one zone
- Miles and fuel surcharges are not refundable after cancellation
Domestic awards in Russia and flights within the CIS are a great deal and start at 15,000 miles roundtrip. S7 breaks Russia into four regions, with Moscow in “Russia 1.”
S7 Airlines’ oneworld alliance award chart also offers some excellent redemption options. For example, a round-trip business class flight anywhere in the U.S. (except Hawaii) and Canada costs 40,000 miles. That’s 10,000 miles less than what you’d get through any of the major U.S. airlines.
Flights within Europe cost 15,000 miles in economy and 25,000 miles in business. Thanks to the airline’s generous definition of that region, you can fly as far as between Istanbul and Reykjavik at that rate.
Round-trip flights between North America and Europe cost 50,000 miles in economy, though the best deal is for business class seats at only 75,000 miles.
Another good business class redemption is on flights between North America and South America. Round-trip awards cost only 90,000 miles.
In general, you should book awards at what S7 refers to as the Optimum rate. Not surprisingly, it is capacity controlled. Avoid Priority fares, which are roughly three times more expensive.
If you’re getting the Optimum rate, it’s hard to find a bad redemption in the S7 Priority program, though flights between North America and Africa, India or the South Pacific are a little steep at 100,000 miles roundtrip.
You can use miles to upgrade cash tickets from economy to business, but it is expensive. A one-way upgrade from economy to business class costs 50 percent of the price in miles for that ticket if you purchased it at a standard fares. It’ll cost 100 percent of the price in miles for a ticket purchased at a discounted rate. Upgrades are not available for deeply discounted tickets.
For example, a business class ticket between Russia zone 2 and Tokyo or Seoul costs 45,000 miles. If you buy a full-price economy ticket, an upgrade costs 22,500 miles. If you buy a discounted ticket, which most people do, you will have to pay the full 45,000 miles for the upgrade. It would make more sense to buy an award ticket in the first place.
S7 Priority has a basic membership called Classic, and three elite status levels: Silver, Gold and Platinum. They correspond to oneworld Ruby, Sapphire and Emerald.
The number of miles or segments required for each level is relatively low compared to some programs:
- Silver: 20,000 miles or 20 segments
- Gold: 50,000 miles or 50 segments
- Platinum: 75,000 miles or 75 segments
Each level includes the perks of the previous level.
- Silver: 25 percent bonus miles on S7 flights; priority check-in and wait list; free seat assignment for member and up to two companions; priority rewards available for 200 percent of the Optimum fare
- Gold: 50 percent bonus miles; excess baggage allowance of one piece or 23 kg; priority boarding; business class lounge access for member and one companion
- Platinum: 75 bonus miles; excess baggage allowance of 32 kg; confirmed paid reservation guarantee 48 hours before departure; oneworld first class lounge access; fast track through security
S7 Airlines does not offer a co-branded credit card for U.S. residents.