From 16 April, KrisFlyer will charge more for Business and First Class redemptions on airlines such as THAI and Virgin Australia.
The last time that KrisFlyer devalued the Star Alliance partner award chart was in December 2017. For Singapore Airlines and Silk Air flights, that (separate) award chart was devalued only two months ago.
In this guide, I outline what’s changing and what isn’t, explore a couple of examples and give my advice, especially to those with an American Express card.
- New pricing to come into effect on 16 April—you can lock in lower prices now even for travel after that date
- First and Business Class pricing increasing by 6-12% depending on the route
- Affects all Star Alliance partner airlines such as ANA, United and THAI
- Affects most non-alliance partners (Virgin Australia, Virgin Atlantic, Vistara and Juneyao Airlines) but not Alaska Airlines
- Affects any redemption which combines travel on Singapore Airlines and a partner airline
Here are the links for the Star Alliance award chart:
and the Star Alliance upgrade award chart:
Here is the Virgin Australia award chart:
Note that the only change to Virgin Australia pricing is that a one-way Business Class flight from Sydney or Melbourne to Hong Kong will jump 19% from 54,000 to 64,000 miles.
What isn’t changing?
- The award chart for redemptions on Singapore Airlines and SilkAir—that was devalued two months ago by ~10%
- The award chart
- Economy Class redemptions
- Premium Economy Class redemptions (you can’t use KrisFlyer miles for this cabin on partner airlines anyway)
- Fuel surcharges
- Spontaneous Escapes pricing
- Round-The-World Award pricing
How does this affect travellers in Australia?
Let’s look at five popular options for Australia-based frequent flyers.
Long-haul in Business
Firstly, the largest percentage increase is for Business Class flights to Europe, which will jump 12% from 105,000 KrisFlyer miles one-way to 117,500. Common carriers include THAI, Turkish Airlines, Air China and ANA.
Secondly, Business Class flights to North America will jump from 117,000 miles to 130,000. (Note that it is cheaper to fly to Europe than North America—go figure.) This means that travel on United flights from Sydney and Melbourne to Los Angeles, San Francisco and Houston will become 11% more expensive.
Across to New Zealand
If you want to fly Air New Zealand Business Class across The Tasman, then you’ll also fork out 11% more. Instead of paying 28,000 miles now, it’ll cost 31,000 from 16 April. (Note that Air New Zealand limits award availability on its flights, meaning it can be hard to book.)
First Class treats
Next, if you want to use your KrisFlyer miles for a First Class treat, you’ll be paying 9% more for a one-way ticket to Bangkok on THAI (98,000 miles instead of the current 90,000).
Similarly, a Lufthansa First Class flight from Singapore to Frankfurt will cost 140,500 miles (instead of the current 129,000)—that’s another 9% increase.
Economy Class sweet spot
One piece of good news? Economy Class redemptions are not increasing in price, meaning you can still take advantage of the following sweet spot.
For only 17,500 miles, you can fly between Hawaii and the mainland of the US on United. As cash tickets can be pricey, this can represent a good use of points, from five-hour flights to California to ten-hour flights to New York and Chicago. Plus, you’ll be charged only US$5.60 in taxes each way.
A special note to Amex Card Members
As most would know, American Express is devaluing their Membership Rewards program on 15 April (the day before KrisFlyer’s changes).
Points transfers from Amex to KrisFlyer average three business days. So, if you are thinking of making a redemption on a partner airline through KrisFlyer, then you will want to initiate the transfer your points from Amex to KrisFlyer no later than 9 April. Your points should land in your KrisFlyer account by 12 April, giving you enough time to lock in the cheaper pricing.
Summing up: my advice
Of course, any devaluation is negative, but this one is not unsurprising at all
Since KrisFlyer devalued its Singapore Airlines award chart two months ago, redemptions on partner airlines have been cheaper than travel on Singapore Airlines, which doesn’t make sense. That means that the sweet spot period to book partner redemptions started on 24 January and will end when these changes come into effect on 16 April.
If you are thinking of using your KrisFlyer miles to book a partner flight, you can lock in the cheaper pricing up until 15 April. After that, any new bookings—plus changes to existing bookings—will be subject to new pricing.
However, I don’t see this devaluation affecting many of our readers, given that KrisFlyer miles are best used for travel on Singapore Airlines itself. If you are looking to fly Star Alliance Business or First Class, I suggest buying United MileagePlus miles or Avianca LifeMiles during promotions as neither of these programs
How will this devaluation affect your travel plans? Share in the comments below.