Update: In January 2019, Singapore Airlines slightly increased the cost of Singapore Airlines and SilkAir redemptions, and the rate at which miles can be transferred to/from Velocity has increased to 1.55:1. In April 2019, Singapore Airlines is also increasing the cost of Star Alliance awards.
Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer is one of the world’s best frequent flyer programs. The loyalty scheme of Singapore Airlines, KrisFlyer is both great value and easily accessible to Australians.
If you’re not already familiar with the Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer program, it’s worth taking a few minutes to learn more about it. With excellent award availability, no fuel surcharges and a range of ways to earn KrisFlyer miles in Australia, there’s a lot to like!
In this article, we show you 10 reasons to love the Singapore Airlines’ KrisFlyer program… as well as some catches to be aware of.
1. Excellent Award Availability (even in Business and First Class)
One of the biggest frustrations with frequent flyer programs is the lack of award availability. Many people save up points, only to find they can’t redeem them to fly where they want at a time that suits! Singapore Airlines actually releases plenty of award availability – including in premium cabins – to KrisFlyer members. In fact, premium cabin award seats on long-haul flights are reserved for KrisFlyer members – so you’re not competing with members of other Star Alliance programs.
Award availability is not perfect and you won’t always find the flight you want. But the chances are higher compared to most other frequent flyer programs. And if you can’t find any seats on Singapore Airlines, you often will on a Star Alliance partner.
Plus, Singapore Airlines flies direct to Singapore from most major Australian cities. (Darwin and Cairns are served by its subsidiary SilkAir.) From Singapore, you can get almost anywhere in the world with Singapore Airlines or a Star Alliance partner.
2. No Fuel Surcharges
There are no fuel surcharges when redeeming KrisFlyer miles for Singapore Airlines flights. (Fuel surcharges are a common complaint about the Qantas Frequent Flyer program and can add as much as $1,080 to the cost of a round-trip Qantas award booking!)
Note that when redeeming KrisFlyer miles to fly with other Star Alliance partner airlines, KrisFlyer may still pass on any surcharges imposed by those airlines.
3. Award Flights are Inexpensive
The number of miles required for most award flights is also very competitive. It costs 58,000 KrisFlyer miles to fly Business Class to most destinations in Asia. Flights to Europe cost 105,000 KrisFlyer miles in Business Class or 148,000 miles in First Class. And flights to the Middle East, Turkey and Morocco cost just 78,000 KrisFlyer miles in Business Class. If you live in Darwin or Perth, the prices are even lower.
All of these redemptions are cheaper than equivalent awards booked using Qantas or Velocity points.
To give you an idea of the value of KrisFlyer miles, it costs 105,000 miles and just $100.83 in taxes to fly Singapore Airlines Business Class from Sydney to London… and award seats are generally available.
By comparison, an equivalent Qantas Frequent Flyer redemption would cost 128,000 Qantas points and a whopping $636 in additional charges. But even if you wanted to pay that, Qantas does not release any Business Class award seats on its flights to London anyway!
4. KrisFlyer has Round-the-World Awards
You can also use KrisFlyer miles to book a trip around the world with up to 7 stopovers! It costs 240,000 KrisFlyer miles to book a KrisFlyer Star Alliance Round-the-World Award in Business Class.
5. Free Stopovers on Award Bookings
KrisFlyer allows one free stopover on round-trip Saver award bookings. You can also purchase up to 3 additional stopovers on round-trip bookings for USD100 each. In addition to this, a free open-jaw (surface sector) at either the destination or origin is permitted.
6. Large Network of Partner Airlines
As Singapore Airlines is in Star Alliance, you can earn and redeem KrisFlyer miles across all 27 member airlines. KrisFlyer also partners with Virgin Australia, Virgin Atlantic, Alaska Airlines, Vistara, jetBlue and Scoot.
7. It’s Easy to Earn KrisFlyer Miles in Australia
Many Australians earn Qantas or Velocity points using credit cards. It’s also possible to earn KrisFlyer miles with many Australian credit cards as KrisFlyer is a transfer partner of most Australian credit card reward programs. You can earn up to 1.5 KrisFlyer miles per dollar spent, for example, with the Amex Explorer credit card.
Of course, you can also earn KrisFlyer miles when flying with Virgin Australia or any Star Alliance airline. Other ways to earn KrisFlyer miles include with hotel bookings, car rentals and via the KrisFlyer Spree online mall.
8. Transfer Velocity Points to/from KrisFlyer Miles
You can also transfer Velocity points to KrisFlyer, and vice versa. This creates more opportunities to spend Velocity points. Alternatively, if you prefer to collect Velocity points, it also means you can earn Velocity points indirectly whenever you fly with a Star Alliance airline. Simply credit the flights to Singapore Airlines and then convert those miles to Velocity points. (Using this method, you could continue to earn Velocity points when flying with Air New Zealand after it cuts ties with Virgin Australia on 28 October.)
9. KrisFlyer Spontaneous Escapes Promotions
In the second half of every month, Singapore Airlines offers 30% off the KrisFlyer miles required for award flights on selected routes, for travel during the following month. Australian cities are regularly included in these promotions. These KrisFlyer Spontaneous Escapes deals are great for cheap last-minute flights to Singapore!
10. Excellent Service
Singapore Airlines was recently ranked the world’s best airline by Skytrax. But the excellent service doesn’t stop in the air. You’ll rarely wait more than a few minutes if you need to call the Singapore Airlines call centre, and the staff are usually helpful. Just make sure that you call the Singapore-based call centre!
If you’ve had to call Qantas lately, you’ll know how long the wait times are and how poor the service can be nowadays. You’ll rarely have these problems with Singapore Airlines.
Things we don’t love about KrisFlyer
Overall, KrisFlyer is an excellent frequent flyer program. But it’s not perfect. Here are a few catches to look out for:
- Elite Miles (which count towards status) are NOT earned on Virgin Australia flights, unless you’re booked on an “SQ” codeshare
- KrisFlyer miles expire after 3 years
- It is not possible to transfer KrisFlyer miles between accounts (but you can redeem your miles for up to 5 other people known as “redemption nominees”)
- Upgrades using KrisFlyer mile are one-class only, and are also relatively poor value compared to redeeming for an outright award seat.
While KrisFlyer is great for earning and redeeming miles, there are other Star Alliance programs that make it easier to earn status. If your main goal is to earn Star Alliance Silver or Gold status, you should consider enrolling in the Asiana Club program instead.
You can discuss anything to do with Singapore Airlines and the KrisFlyer program on the Australian Frequent Flyer forum: Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer