Redeeming Miles with Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer - A Complete Guide

KrisFlyer is the frequent flyer program of Singapore Airlines. It is a transfer partner of Amex Membership Rewards, Chase Ultimate Rewards, and Citibank ThankYou Rewards.

Singapore Airlines has historically been known for being very restrictive when it comes to releasing award seats to its Star Alliance partners in First and Business Class on long-haul flights. If you can find them — and we’ll show you how — Singapore Airlines is a great source for redemption to Australia and India, as well as the Maldives. Not to mention, the elusive Suites on the airline’s Airbus A380 on long-haul flights.

We’ll break it all down for you in this article.

Decent award rates on a superior airline

While Singapore Airlines may be somewhat restrictive with the inventory released to its partners, they generally offer good availability to its own KrisFlyer program, making it a valuable transfer partner with its 1:1 transfer ratio from American Express points.

The award rates on KrisFlyer are decent but not as low as on Air Canada or ANA. A one-way business class ticket from San Francisco to Singapore will set you back 95,000 KrisFlyer miles, which is nearly the same price that ANA charges for a round-trip ticket. However, one of the major benefits of KrisFlyer is the fact that only airport taxes are charged on Singapore Airlines redemptions, no fuel surcharges or other carrier-imposed fees.

Additionally, Singapore Airlines allows a free stopover in Singapore on redemptions made through KrisFlyer, making it an ideal opportunity to maximize the value of your miles.

How about a stop in Singapore included in the ticket? Singapore Airlines allows a free stopover in Singapore on redemptions made through KrisFlyer.

We’ve identified redemptions between the US West Coast and Australia (zone 9) and India (zone 6) to be among the best redemption values that you can get from KrisFlyer:

  • A round-trip Business Class redemption from San Francisco to Auckland with a stopover in Singapore will set you back 242,000 KrisFlyer miles round-trip.
  • For comparison, a round-trip Business Class redemption from San Francisco to Singapore will set you back 190,000 miles. So, for an additional 52,000 miles, you get two 10-hour flights in Business Class added to the same itinerary.

Want to go to the Maldives?

The Maldives is also a great destination for those wishing to make an aspirational redemption, i.e. for the flying experience more than the destination. A round-trip Business Class redemption from San Francisco to Malé with a stopover in Singapore will set you back 218,000 miles and approximately $100 in airport taxes. Not a bad deal considering the distance flown.

Want a suite? Go for KrisFlyer

As far as aspirational redemptions go, Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer is the only frequent flyer program that can book the elusive Suites on the airline’s Airbus A380 on long-haul flights. Saver level award space is typically very hard to come by, but it’s not impossible. A Suites Class redemption from New York to Singapore (the only US destination that’s currently flown with the A380) will set you back 237,000 KrisFlyer miles one-way. For comparison, a Saver award for the same flight will cost you 132,000 KrisFlyer miles one-way.

Working out the cost of a KrisFlyer award redemption

3 award charts make it a complicated system

KrisFlyer has three separate award charts which, like Cathay Pacific, makes it quite a complicated program. The 3 charts cover:

  1. Saver awards for Singapore Airlines' own operated flights (found here),
  2. Advantage awards for Singapore Airlines' own operated flights (also found here), and
  3. The Star Alliance award chart (found here)

Here is an extract of award chart number 2 mentioned above:

KrisFlyer has 3 award charts; here is an extract of the Advantage Awards chart, more expensive than "Saver Awards" but with more availability.

This means it offers 2 award tiers for redemptions on Singapore Airlines' own operated flights; chart 1 and 2 above, Saver and Advantage. Saver awards are cheaper in terms of the number of miles required, but typically harder to find on popular redemptions such as New York and Los Angeles to Singapore.

The Star Alliance award chart is priced slightly above the Saver award chart but well below the Advantage award chart. For flights containing both Singapore Airlines and Star Alliance, it’s important to note that the Star Alliance pricing applies.

The Star Alliance Award Chart with KrisFlyer

Singapore Airlines also partners with some airlines outside of Star Alliance, namely Alaska Airlines, Virgin Australia, Virgin Atlantic, Vistara, and Juneyao Airlines. Each airline has its own separate chart but as you wouldn’t book these with KrisFlyer miles, they are not relevant to this article.

Keep an eye out for discounts of up to 50%

Occasionally, Singapore Airlines will offer discounts on the prices published in the chart, mainly through promotions such as Spontaneous Escapes which are limited in terms of time and destination. Discounts of upwards of 50% can be had to some destinations.

Calculating the cost in taxes, fees, and airline-imposed surcharges

Singapore Airlines only charges airport taxes on its own operated flights, which means that you should expect to pay roughly $50-$200 for a round-trip. For Star Alliance operated flights, carrier-imposed surcharges (also known as fuel surcharges) are imposed. These vary by airline and destination but they are typically around $300-$500 on top of the airport taxes. In certain instances, you can expect to pay upwards of $1,000 on Lufthansa Group flights departing from the United States.

Watch out for high surcharges with Star Alliance partners, for example on Lufthansa Group.

For Singapore Airlines redemptions, the tax amount will be displayed on the booking page. For Star Alliance redemptions, you will need to calculate the cost by locating the exact same flights in a GDS or on ITA Matrix and subtracting the base fare. These are tools used by professionals and enthusiasts. Need help? Download our app and have a chat with our award specialists.

Booking Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer awards

Hold award tickets while waiting for transfer of points

Mileage transfers from Amex Membership Rewards, Chase Ultimate Rewards, and Citibank ThankYou Rewards to Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer occur instantaneously, though in some cases it may take upwards of 48 hours. KrisFlyer does allow you to place a hold on an award ticket for up to 72 hours at a fee of $25 per person.

Star Alliance search is slow, use another search engine

KrisFlyer awards can be booked either via the website or via their call center, which applies both to Singapore Airlines own operated flights and Star Alliance. Be warned that the Star Alliance award functionality is slow and is not well suited for complex itineraries. Therefore, we recommend that you use a different Star Alliance search engine, such as United’s, make notes of the flight numbers, and book via the call center. No extra fee is charged for call center bookings.

Book Singapore Airlines redemptions online

Singapore Airlines flight redemptions are best booked online, simply because Singapore Airlines displays better inventory to its own members than it does to Star Alliance partners. We therefore advise you to only use the KrisFlyer search engine when searching for awards on flights operated by Singapore Airlines.

Flying Singapore Airlines? Then use the Singapore Airlines website. Star Alliance partners? Use United.

Waitlisting is possible

In some instances, if an award ticket is not available, KrisFlyer allows members the option to waitlist awards. Waitlisting is available up to 3 weeks in advance. It’s worth noting that you need to have the required number of miles in your account in order to waitlist an award ticket, and the waiting times can vary from a few hours to months in some cases. 

Routing Rules

Singapore Airlines, like most airlines, bases its routing rules on the most reasonable routing. This means that backtracking (taking a detour to maximize the time spent onboard) is generally not allowed unless certain conditions are met. For instance, itineraries from New York to the Maldives/India/Sri Lanka via Singapore involve a certain amount of backtracking, which is allowed.

One itinerary may include a maximum of 6 flight segments

If you wish to have more than 6 segments on an itinerary, the best option would be to split it up into two separate one-way flights as they are charged at 50% of the round-trip ticket cost. This comes at the expense of not being able to take a stopover as well as the fact that you may be subject to double penalties when making changes or cancellations.

One stopover is allowed on round-trip itineraries

This applies both to Star Alliance awards and Singapore Airlines operated awards. On itineraries wholly within the same award zone, such as Europe or North America/Caribbean, stopovers are not allowed.

Up next: Virgin Atlantic Flying Club - interesting partner redemptions recommended

If you’ve come this far in our series, we salute you. Only one more Blue Chip airline to go, namely Virgin Atlantic Flying Club, up next.

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