KrisFlyer devaluing partner award charts in three weeks: what to do

An analysis of KrisFlyer's devaluation of its partner award charts in April 2019

Star Alliance Business Class Lounge Los Angeles overview | Point Hacks
GUIDE: Using Points
DIFFICULTY: Intermediate
TIME TO READ: 4 minutes
POSTED: March 26, 2019
UPDATED: May 15, 2019
ALLIANCE: Star Alliance
AIRLINES: Relevant to multiple airlines
LOYALTY PROGRAMS: Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer

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.

What’s changing?

  • 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
Flying ANA Business or First Class using KrisFlyer miles will become more expensive

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.

Pricing for Virgin Australia flights to Hong Kong is jumping by almost 20%—other routes are not affected

What isn’t changing?

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.

Examples of KrisFlyer partner routings to Europe
There are many different ways to get to Europe using KrisFlyer miles, but the best value comes from flying on Singapore Airlines itself with no fuel surcharges

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.

United’s product flying to/from Australia is not worth using KrisFlyer miles on anyway, in my opinion

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.)

Air New Zealand 777 Business Class

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).

THAI First Class is available from Sydney but not other Australian airports

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.

Lufthansa’s beautiful cabin, complete with a rose

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.

KrisFlyer Hawaii sweet spot map
United Economy Class flights between Hawaii and the US mainland cost only 17,500 KrisFlyer miles + US$5.60

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 apply fuel surcharges (KrisFlyer does for most partners).

How will this devaluation affect your travel plans? Share in the comments below.

KrisFlyer devaluing partner award charts in three weeks: what to do was last modified: May 15th, 2019 by Matt Moffitt