KrisFlyer, the Singapore Airlines frequent flyer scheme, announced a devaluation of its Star Alliance rewards yesterday.
This is worth a mention because KrisFlyer is a UK American Express Membership Rewards transfer partner at 1:1, as well as a Starwood Preferred Guest and HSBC Premier partner.
I have used the scheme myself in the past to snag a Singapore Airlines First Class Suites redemption (reviewed here) which is only available to KrisFlyer members, as well as Business Class, where they make additional seats available to their own scheme.
The changes kick in from 7th December. They are not unexpected as KrisFlyer tweaked its redemption chart for Singapore Airlines flights earlier in the year. Some rewards had become cheaper when booked on Star Alliance partners rather than Singapore Airlines itself!
If you open both in separate windows, you can toggle between them and the changes jump out at you.
The good news is that KrisFlyer claims that ALL Star Alliance airline rewards will be bookable online from that date. This is a great result if it is correct and makes the scheme more attractive for me.
The other bit of good news is that some sweet spots from the UK are still there. Reward flights from the US seem to have been hit harder than flights from Europe – if you have seen grumbling on American frequent flyer sites, you shouldn’t automatically assume it applies to you too!
Almost all frequent flyer schemes have ‘sweet spots’. Sometimes this is driven by pricing, sometimes by zone definitions (eg if Israel is put into ‘Europe’ then that scheme becomes a bargain for anyone flying to Tel Aviv on a regular basis as it would be priced as a Europe to Europe flight).
The most bizarre Singapore Airlines sweet spot from the UK is the Middle East:
London to Frankfurt (as a ‘Europe to Europe’ redemption) on Lufthansa is a hilarious 55,000 miles return in Business
London to Dubai, which you could route as London to Frankfurt to Dubai on Lufthansa, is just 50,000 miles return in Business!
Madness, obviously, but that is how reward charts work. Compare 50,000 Singapore Airlines miles to 120,000 Avios for a peak day Avios return to Dubai …..
Focussing purely on Business Class redemptions from Europe:
South East Asia 1/2 – up from 160,000 to 170,000 miles return
North Asia 1/2 – up from 180,000 / 185,000 to 190,000 / 200,000 miles return
South West Pacific – up from 190,000 to 210,000 miles return (still a bargain for Australasia)
North America – remains at 130,000 miles return
Hawaii / Central America – remains at 140,000 miles return
South America – remains at 156,000 miles return
Europe – remains at 55,000 miles return (!)
Middle East – remains at 50,000 miles return
Central / South Africa – remains at 90,000 miles return
Central / South Asia – remains at 95,000 miles return
One way redemptions are available for half of the above price.
I should note that First Class reward flights have jumped a bit more in percentage terms than Business Class. It is worth remembering too that Lufthansa First Class is usually blocked to Star Alliance partners like KrisFlyer until a couple of weeks before departure, so if Lufthansa First is your goal then Miles & More remains a better Star programme – but M&M is not an Amex partner …..
All in all, there is still a lot to like (for UK residents) with the Singapore Airlines programme given that KrisFlyer miles are some of the easier – relatively speaking – miles to earn if you are based here.