With international travel in full swing, now’s a great time to start contemplating your travel plans for the next year. KrisFlyer is the frequent flyer program of Singapore Airlines and a round the world (RTW) award booking is one of the best uses of KrisFlyer miles – especially if you’re looking to visit a few cities.
In fact, instead of just flying return to New York in Business Class, you can trek across the globe and stop in up to seven cities in Business with Star Alliance partner airlines, while saving 11,000 KrisFlyer miles! You could even do the trip in First Class for a reasonable rate. Today, we’re going to teach you how.
Of course, even if you’re not quite ready to venture abroad yet for whatever reason, all the info in our guide will still be relevant for when you’re ready to plan the trip of a lifetime. Reward seat availability might be in short supply right now, but hopefully that will stabilise when airlines can increase capacity.
How much does the Star Alliance RTW cost?
With a KrisFlyer Star Alliance RTW Award, you can circle the globe – visiting a maximum of seven cities and up to 35,000 miles over a 12-month period. The cost? Just 280,000 KrisFlyer miles in Business Class and 340,500 KrisFlyer miles in First Class.
That’s actually insanely cheap. Here’s a cost comparison of flying to New York or Europe return versus doing a RTW trip. Figures are for Business or First Class, in KrisFlyer miles (excluding tax).
|To New York return
|To Europe return
|From Sydney, Melbourne,
Canberra, Brisbane, Adelaide,
|From Perth, Darwin
While it may seem too good to be true, the numbers don’t lie. It costs fewer KrisFlyer miles to fly around the world in Business Class than it does to fly from Australia to New York return. For First Class, there is a moderate increase in miles needed, but it’s still amazing value.
Since March 2017, KrisFlyer no longer imposes fuel surcharges on Singapore Airlines award flights. However, we’ll be mixing other Star Alliance airlines on a RTW booking, so some surcharges may apply. You’ll still have to pay airport taxes for each leg.
Here are some approximate taxes and surcharges examples:
- Sydney to Frankfurt in Singapore Airlines First Class: $365
- Frankfurt to New York in Lufthansa Business: $272
- Tokyo to Los Angeles in ANA Business: $41.50
- Seoul to Chicago in Asiana Business: $7
You will need to pay the combined taxes and surcharges of each individual flight when booking your round-the-world adventure.
Why is the Star Alliance RTW award good value?
A paid round the world ticket on Singapore Airlines and Star Alliance partners for a similar journey booked with a travel agent will start from around $16,000 per person in Business Class. That jumps to a whopping $26,000 in First Class! That’s a huge wad of cash – which you can save by using KrisFlyer miles.
This RTW award is also better value than a simple award redemption with KrisFlyer miles, in terms of the distance travelled and the number of flights you can take.
An alternative miles-saving option is to maximise simple KrisFlyer redemptions by using free or additional stopovers.
What about KrisFlyer RTW redemptions in Economy?
A KrisFlyer RTW award in Economy Class costs 200,000 miles. In comparison, an Australia to New York return ticket is 132,000 miles from most cities or 121,000 KrisFlyer miles from Perth or Darwin.
What are the rules of the KrisFlyer RTW?
Unlike the Qantas Oneworld Classic Flight Reward, which lets you travel in all sorts of directions, the KrisFlyer RTW award follows more traditional rules. It goes without saying that you need to find award availability on all flights.
- You must travel in a continuous eastbound or westbound direction. That means no backtracking – and the journey must begin and end in the same country. However, you are allowed an origin open-jaw in the same country, so you can depart from Melbourne and return to Sydney, for example.
- You must make only one crossing of the Atlantic Ocean and only one crossing of the Pacific Ocean.
- Your total travel distance must not exceed 35,000 miles. You are allowed a maximum of 16 segments (meaning individual flights), and seven city stopovers. You can’t purchase additional stopovers.
- You may stopover only once in each city and no more than twice in any one country.
- Surface sectors are permitted but will count as stopovers. So if you land in Paris and take the train to London and fly from there, that is counted as two stopovers – be careful.
- No change of flight/date is allowed once your journey has started.
Where can I fly with the Star Alliance RTW?
Of course, there are hundreds of different combinations possible – depending on where you want to travel. But here are two examples that keep to the 35,000-mile maximum for your inspiration:
- Sydney – Los Angeles on United (stopover #1)
- Los Angeles – Toronto on Air Canada (stopover #2)
- Toronto – New York on Air Canada or United (stopover #3)
- New York – Rio de Janeiro on United (stopover #4)
- Rio de Janeiro – Lisbon on TAP Portugal (stopover #5)
- Lisbon – Istanbul on Turkish Airlines (stopover #6)
- Istanbul – Bangkok on Turkish Airlines (stopover #7)
- Bangkok – Sydney on THAI (end)
- Melbourne-Singapore on Singapore Airlines (stopover #1)
- Singapore-Johannesburg on Singapore Airlines (stopover #2)
- Johannesburg-Istanbul on Turkish Airlines (stopover #3)
- Istanbul-Vienna on Turkish Airlines (stopover #4)
- Vienna-Los Angeles on Austrian Airlines (stopover #5)
- Los Angeles-Honolulu on United (stopover #6)
- Honolulu-Sydney on United (end)
You can use the excellent Great Circle Mapper tool to calculate the total distance for your trip.
Which airlines can I fly on?
You can choose from more than 1300 destinations in over 190 countries covered by the Star Alliance network, which is made up of 26 partner airlines. These include Singapore Airlines, Air Canada, ANA, SAS and United.
We’re leaving Lufthansa and SWISS out of that list because they only release First Class award seats to their partners 14 days before departure. For this award, you’ll need to book further in advance.
Also, note that Air New Zealand is notorious for having poor award availability, so don’t count on them for any long-haul Business Class legs in your planning.
How do I book a KrisFlyer Star Alliance RTW Award?
You can’t book this award online, but you can certainly get all the research done in advance.
- Search for award seat availability. If you want to fly on Singapore Airlines, especially in First Class Suites, search on the KrisFlyer website. For all other partners, use United’s search engine.
- Write down the dates, flight number and cabin class for any award seat availability that fits your itinerary.
- Call KrisFlyer (recommended) or fill in this Partner Reservation Request Form [PDF], as an RTW ticket cannot be booked online. Staff will check your routing to ensure it fits within the published rules.
We have further details in our guide on how to search for award space most efficiently.
Like other award redemptions, seats are subject to Saver-level availability. There’s a chance you won’t be able to fly on the date you desire, so you need to be flexible. Because you are flying RTW, you don’t need to search for all the flights at the same time.
It is best to search one flight at a time as if it were a one-way journey, e.g. Sydney to Singapore, Singapore to Tokyo, Tokyo to Toronto.
Note that in order to redeem the award for the purpose of the RTW redemption, the availability must be classified as a Saver Award. Seat availability under Advantage Award categories cannot be booked under the RTW.
Details to tell the agent when booking a KrisFlyer RTW
Have a notepad handy because when you find the available flights, you have to provide the information to the Singapore Airlines agent on the phone. Not all agents are knowledgeable about this award, so you may have to hold their hand through this process.
Speaking from personal experience, these five handy tips will save you a lot of hassle. So write down the following (taken from the example screenshot above):
- Date/s with available seats: e.g. 5 July 2023
- Origin and destination airports: e.g. Sydney to Singapore
- Operating airline: e.g. Singapore Airlines
- Flight number: e.g. SQ212
- Departure and arrival times: e.g. 7:55 am to 2:15 pm
You could also try filling in the Partner Airline Reservation Request Form online, which is a PDF you enter with your desired flight details and then email or fax off. However, it only has room for six flight legs, so it’s probably not useful for most people booking a RTW trip. Plus, with manual email processing, your desired reward seats could be booked out when KrisFlyer responds.
How do I contact KrisFlyer?
To get in touch with KrisFlyer about a membership enquiry or flight redemption, try:
- Calling +61 2 8228 1188 from anywhere, anytime.
- Sending them a direct message on Twitter or Facebook.
- Submitting an online enquiry.
The call centre is the best point of contact, as you’ll need a trained redemption agent to complete the booking. Agents on social media channels probably won’t be able to help you with new tickets. Note that there may be long wait times for calling KrisFlyer at the moment.
How do I earn KrisFlyer miles?
Transferring Velocity Points to KrisFlyer miles
Many Virgin Australia Velocity readers asked us how they can use their Velocity Points to make a similar round the world award redemption. The answer is: not quite.
Velocity doesn’t have its own round the world award. But you can transfer your Velocity points to KrisFlyer miles. This unique partnership gives you one KrisFlyer mile for every 1.55 Velocity Points you send across (minimum transfer applies).
But you could transfer 434,000 Velocity Points to fly Business Class or 627,750 to fly First Class round the world, booked through Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer. These rates are much higher than what you’d pay in Qantas Points for the equivalent Oneworld Classic Flight Reward, so bear that in mind.
The KrisFlyer Star Alliance round the world award represents great value compared to both cash tickets and simple one-way or return routings. In some cases, it’s even cheaper than a return ticket from Australia to New York!
You will need to put in quite a bit of work to get this plan off the ground. This includes collecting enough miles for the number of people travelling, finding the right award seat availability on the dates you want, and then calling up Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer to book the journey one leg at a time.
But if you can pull it off, it’s all worth it. Go ahead and relax during your extended trip, knowing you’ve successfully booked one of the hardest awards to book in the frequent flyer world.
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