Singapore Airlines overhauls fares, fees, upgrades, award flights

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Singapore Airlines is revamping its line-up of fare types – including how many miles you’ll earn when booking those tickets – while also introducing general seat selection fees, tweaking baggage allowances and renaming KrisFlyer award types, with award bookings attracting new fees as well.

The airline is also broadening the number of economy fare types which can be upgraded to premium economy or business class using KrisFlyer miles, but at the same time, cutting back the number of economy fares that can accrue HighFlyer miles for businesses when their employees travel.

Here’s what changing, and how it affects you, the traveller.

New KrisFlyer earning rates on Singapore Airlines, SilkAir flights

For flights booked or changed from January 20 2018, many Singapore Airlines and SilkAir fare types will award more miles than before, while some will accrue less and others stay the same.

Up the front in first class and Suites Class, all paid tickets will earn mileage at a 200% rate – that’s two KrisFlyer miles per one mile flown in the sky – up from 150% previously (1.5 KrisFlyer miles per one mile flown), covering fare types F and A.

In business class, higher-priced tickets corresponding to the J, C and Z fare letters increase from 125% to 150%, with no change to other paid business class fare types.

It’s a mixed bag for premium economy flyers, with the more expensive flexible fares (S, T fare letters) rising from 110% to 125% earn, with the most affordable P-type fares cut from 110% to a 100% earn rate (one KrisFlyer mile per mile flown).

Economy brings similar news, where mid-range M, H and W tickets decrease from earning 100% of the miles flown to 75%, although the lowest-cost K and V fares increase five-fold, from earning 10% to 50%, with all other fares remaining unchanged.

All flights booked and ticketed prior to January 20 2018 will earn miles at the ‘old’ rates in the KrisFlyer scheme, with no changes currently announced to earning rates in the Virgin Australia Velocity program.

More economy fares eligible for premium economy, business class upgrades

Stuck down the back in economy? You’ll soon be able to use KrisFlyer miles to upgrade from a wider range of fares, with mid-range Economy Standard (M, H, W) tickets becoming eligible for mileage-based upgrades on flights booked from January 20 2018.

As KrisFlyer upgrades are all one-class, that means you can upgrade from economy to premium economy on flights with both cabins, or from economy straight to business class on aircraft which don’t feature premium economy, subject to availability.

On these tickets, upgrading a one-way flight from Australia’s east coast to Singapore commands 34,000 KrisFlyer miles to move forward into premium economy, or 55,000 miles to upgrade to business class when travelling on an Economy Standard fare.

Between Singapore and Europe/UK, the asking price for an upgrade is 47,500 KrisFlyer miles for premium economy and 80,000 miles for business class, although connecting journeys from Australia through to Europe/UK can be upgraded for 63,000 miles in total for premium economy or 95,000 miles for business class.

Upgrade rates for all other fares remain unchanged, although note that if you book your M, H or W class ticket prior to January 20 2018, your fare won’t be upgradeable. You’ll earn more miles, as covered further above, but only Economy Standard tickets booked from January 20 are upgradeable.

KrisFlyer award flights get a new name, baggage allowance

When using KrisFlyer miles to book flights with Singapore Airlines and SilkAir, passengers can currently choose between either a Saver award or a Standard award. The former requires fewer miles but has less availability, while the latter commands more miles but with better availability.

From January 20 2018, Standard awards will be renamed Advantage awards, although the number of miles needed to book these – or Saver awards, which retain their name – won’t change.

Instead, Advantage awards booked in economy will offer a higher baggage allowance of 35kg versus the standard 30kg of most other passengers, with some differences to advance seat selection as well, covered below.

New fees for seat selection in premium economy, economy

Today, seat selection on Singapore Airlines flights is complimentary for all travellers, with fees only applying to those pre-selecting seats with additional legroom such as at the emergency exit rows.

However, for flights booked from January 20 2018, premium economy and economy flyers may face new fees to select their preferred seat, depending on the fare type booked and their KrisFlyer status.

In premium economy, general seat selection will remain complimentary for all passengers, although extra legroom seats (formerly known as ‘Preferred Seats’) will attract a seat selection fee from US$25 per flight segment.

Extra legroom fees will continue to apply on all economy fare types, although passengers booked on the most expensive Economy Flexi fares – and those booked on KrisFlyer Advantage economy reward flights – will retain complimentary seat selection throughout the remainder of the cabin, including ‘forward zone’ seats.

Economy Standard tickets will include free standard seat selection, as will KrisFlyer Saver economy reward flights, but fees will apply when choosing seats closer to the front of the cabin – beginning at US$8 per flight – or when opting for an extra legroom seat.

The lowest-cost Economy Lite fares won’t include complimentary seat selection: this can be purchased from US$5 per passenger per flight for standard seats, from US$8 for ‘forward zone’ seats and from US$25 for extra legroom seats, as other economy fares.

Standard seat selection fees for KrisFlyer Silver members booked on Economy Lite fares will be waived, with KrisFlyer Gold members enjoying fee waivers on both standard and ‘forward zone’ seat assignments: useful on Economy Standard, Economy Lite and KrisFlyer Saver tickets.

PPS Club and Solitaire PPS Club cardholders can choose any available seat in the cabin at no cost, including extra legroom seating in both premium economy and economy on all fare types.

Passengers travelling with a child or infant will also be able to select standard seats at no charge regardless of fare type, and once each flight opens for online check-in (within 48 hours of departure), all passengers can choose from any remaining standard seats fee-free.

Bigger baggage allowance for some passengers

Booked on the highest-priced Economy Flexi (Y, B and E) fares? For flights ticketed from January 20 2018, your baggage allowances rises to 35kg: 5kg more than offered on all other economy fares.

PPS Club frequent flyers continue to receive a doubled baggage allowance on most fare types – 60kg in economy where the normal allowance is 30kg, for example – except on these Economy Flexi fares where the PPS Club allowance is 65kg: still higher than 60kg at present, but not ‘double’ as with other fares.

There’s also no change for KrisFlyer Gold members who’ll continue to get 20kg more than the ticketed allowance on all fare types.

New fees attached to KrisFlyer mileage bookings

Passengers making changes or cancellations to flights secured using KrisFlyer miles will soon face new fees, which apply to flights booked on and from March 1 2018.

Flights booked before this date will have the old fees attached – including for cancellations or the first change made after March 1 – but any subsequent changes or cancellations will then attract fees as below.

To change the dates of travel on Singapore Airlines and SilkAir flights, a new fee of US$25 will be introduced on KrisFlyer Saver awards (waived on KrisFlyer Advantage awards).

Changing your route, cabin class or award type for a Singapore Airlines or SilkAir flight sees the current fee of US$20 increased to US$25 on both Saver and Advantage awards – while on partner airline award bookings, the same changes, as well as date changes, will cost you US$50, up from US$20.

When cancelling a KrisFlyer award flight or upgrade booked using KrisFlyer miles, the current fee of US$30 to get those miles back rises to US$50 on Advantage tickets and US$75 on Saver tickets: and if making that request after failing to show up for the flight, a ‘no show fee’ is charged as well.

In first class and business class, that’s an extra US$300 – being a total of US$375 on Saver tickets or US$350 on Advantage tickets to get your miles back after missing a flight – with no show fees of US$200 in premium economy and US$100 in economy, compared to US$75 across the board at present.

Some fares will no longer earn HighFlyer points

Members of Singapore Airlines’ HighFlyer rewards program for businesses currently earn five HighFlyer points per SGD$1 spent on airfares with Singapore Airlines and SilkAir, when the traveller is also a KrisFlyer member and has their membership number attached to the ticket.

For tickets booked from January 20 2018, economy class fare types Q, N, V, K and L will no longer accrue HighFlyer miles – these corresponding to the Economy Lite fare category on the booking screen.

Business travellers will continue to earn miles on these fare types, but the business itself will need to shell out for a higher-priced Economy Standard or Economy Flexi ticket in order to accrue HighFlyer points for the business.

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