Redeeming Redemption

Redeeming Redemption

Effective Feb. 1, KrisFlyer is implementing changes to the award redemption charts. The number of zones for flights on Singapore Airlines and SilkAir will be reduced from 23 to 14. The redemption levels of some of the routes are also being changed. For example, roundtrip coach flights between Singapore and South Africa are being reduced from 60,000 miles to 55,000; Adelaide flights are increasing from 40,000 to 55,000; Egypt, Middle Eastern (Saudi Arabia, Turkey and UAE) and Australia and New Zealand flights are increasing from 50,000 to 55,000 and Japan and Korea flights are increasing from 40,000 to 45,000. Redemption levels for other types of awards are being revised accordingly.

Unrestricted awards will be twice that of saver awards, across the chart. Currently, these awards were available for redemptions between 1.25 to two times those of saver awards. Companion awards are being discontinued and unrestricted upgrade awards are being introduced.

Mid-level members and those living on the fringe of the Singapore Airlines zone routes will be most hard hit by these changes. For those seeking upgrades, the changes to the 77W series upgrades will certainly be out of reach for most members — a one-way coach to first class upgrade on 77W aircraft will now cost 100,000 miles from San Francisco or Los Angeles to Singapore.

One InsideFlyer reader summed up the changes from his perspective: “The changes that impact me are the zone changes, changes to some award and upgrade costs, and the double cost for 77W awards and upgrades. The zone changes appear to be mainly neutral, but some trips that are now within the same zone have doubled in cost. The changes to levels for awards seem to be mainly upwards by say 10 percent. The biggie is the double cost on 77W awards, and this will really start to hurt as the 77W fleet expands and serves more and more destinations. The combined effect for my travel patterns is to devalue KrisFlyer miles by 30 percent, with the possibility of 50 percent devaluation if New Zealand is served by Singapore 77W in future.

The new upgrade cost from New Zealand to Europe on 77W flights (eg. to Paris) will be 110,000 miles each way. That is more than half a business award and very nearly the cost of a first class award on, for example, Miles & More — a program that is not exactly known for cheap awards. For me, it will no longer be worthwhile crediting miles to KrisFlyer as I will be able to get awards and upgrades cheaper using other frequent flyer programs. And these programs earn more miles than KrisFlyer for the same flights, so the uninformed flyer crediting to KrisFlyer loses on both sides of the equation.”

The changes to KrisFlyer are consistent with the new surcharges on round the world and other paid tickets. It is most disappointing that Singapore feels the new product is so much better than the competition that passengers will pay any price.”

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