Regular airline and hotel program devaluations are becoming the norm, and recently Singapore Airlines has announced program changes without giving us a whole lot of warning. Effective December 7, 2017, many flights booked on Star Alliance partners will be changing in price and there are a few non-price related changes as well. All in all this is a pretty big deal. Singapore Airlines has a pretty good Star Alliance partner award chart right now, and Singapore miles are insanely easy to get ahold of considering that they are 1:1 transfer partners of American Express Membership Rewards, Chase Ultimate Rewards, Citi ThankYou Points, and Starwood Preferred Guest Starpoints. Fortunately, not all awards were affected by this change.
First, let’s take a look with how this negatively affects award prices to various different regions of the world.
The awards that were hit with this program change are:
- Flights from the Continental U.S. to Oceania
- 55,000 miles to 60,000 miles in economy class
- 97,500 miles to 117,000 miles in business class
- 127,500 miles to 152,000 miles in first class
- Flights from the Continental U.S. to Southeast Asia 1
- 112,500 miles to 135,000 miles in first class
- Flights from the Continental U.S. to Southeast Asia 2
- 110,000 miles to 135,000 miles in first class
- Flights from the Continental U.S. to North Asia 1
- 45,000 miles to 48,000 miles in economy class
- 87,500 miles to 105,000 miles in business class
- 100,000 miles to 125,000 miles in first class
- Flights from the Continental U.S. to North Asia 2
- 45,000 miles to 54,000 miles in economy class
- 87,500 miles to 105,000 miles in business class
- 110,000 miles to 125,000 miles in first class
- Flights from the Continental U.S. to Central and South Asia
- 52,500 miles to 55,000 miles in economy class
- 97,500 miles to 110,000 miles in business class
- 110,000 to 132,000 miles in first class
- Flights from the Continental U.S. to North Africa and the Middle East
- 37,500 miles to 45,000 miles in economy class
- 57,500 miles to 69,000 miles in business class
- 75,000 miles to 90,000 miles in first class
- Flights from the Continental U.S. to Central and South Africa
- 45,000 miles to 52,000 miles in economy class
- 72,500 miles to 87,000 miles in business class
- 110,000 miles to 132,000 miles in first class
- Flights from the Continental U.S. to Europe
- 80,000 miles to 95,000 miles in first class
Come December 7, the above awards will all be increasing in price, though some were much harder hit than others. If you were considering using Singapore miles to book a trip that falls into one of the categories above, you should try to use your miles before December 7th.
Some of the awards that aren’t affected with this program change are:
- Fly within the Continental U.S. or Canada for 12,500 miles in economy or 20,000 miles in first. This beats United’s domestic first class prices by 5,000 miles each way.
- Flights from the Continental U.S. to Hawaii in economy for 17,500 miles or business class for 30,000 miles.
- Flights from the Continental U.S. to South America for 30,000 miles in economy or 50,000 miles in business class.
- Flights from the Continental U.S. to Europe for 27,500 miles in economy.</
If you’re planning to book one of the awards that aren’t changing in price, there’s no reason to rush to book it before December 7th, because the prices aren’t going up (at least this time).
In addition to the award price changes, there are a few other changes that were announced at the same time — in this case, more positive than negative. It will be possible to make partner award bookings online going forward. Previously, if you wanted to book a Star Alliance partner, it was necessary to call in to Singapore Airlines in order to book. Being able to search and book online should save a lot of time. The small negative that comes along with this part of the change is that phone bookings now will have a $25 fee (or 2,500 KrisFlyer mile fee), unless the booking is not possible to do online. This fee also applies to ticket changes and cancellations.
Overall, the changes Singapore announced are more negative than positive, especially for people who prefer to fly in premium cabins and use Singapore Airlines miles to travel to Asia, Africa, and Europe. Economy flights were not very affected overall, nor were flights in North America and South America. It’s not really a surprise that this devaluation has come around, because Singapore Airlines has offered some of the lowest prices available for many award regions for a while now, and they also increased prices for Singapore-operated flights earlier this year. In some cases, it was even cheaper to include a partner flight paired with a Singapore Airlines flight in order to save miles! While Singapore hasn’t given us a lot of notice, they fortunately, have provided some notice before the changes take effect.
With the increase of price, especially in premium cabins, there are many cases where it will no longer make sense to use Singapore Airlines miles, especially because Singapore passes on carrier-imposed surcharges that can add hundreds of dollars to your ticket.
Many programs have announced devaluations this year, but at least Singapore Airlines isn’t trying to spin this change as an improvement. While the overall changes are negative, the ability to search and book partner awards online will be nice.