KrisFlyer devaluation hits NZ travellers hard but possible savings when travelling outside of our region

GUIDE: Using Points
DIFFICULTY: Intermediate
TIME TO READ: 3 minutes
POSTED: March 3, 2017
UPDATED: January 21, 2018
LOYALTY PROGRAMS: Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer

Singapore Airlines’ frequent flyer program KrisFlyer has announced its first change in award pricing in five years, affecting flights ticketed from 23 March 2017 onwards.

The elimination of fuel surcharges on award tickets on Singapore Airlines will have no tempering effect on the points increase for flights from New Zealand as those surcharges are not applied in NZ anyway.

Where savings are to be made are for travel between and within the eight award zones that were not affected by points increases and where fuel surcharges will now disappear.

What is changing?

  • Change 1 (negative): 15% online booking discount to disappear
  • Change 2 (positive): elimination of fuel surcharges on Singapore Airlines and SilkAir flights
  • Change 3 (mostly negative): increase in Saver award pricing on Singapore Airlines and SilkAir flights to/from New Zealand, North Asia, Europe, and the US East and West Coasts

What is staying the same?

  • Saver Awards for Premium Economy
  • The higher priced Advantage Awards for all sectors and cabin classes
  • Upgrade Awards for all sectors and cabin classes
  • Star Alliance award chart
  • Other partners’ award charts, e.g. Virgin Australia

Change 1 (negative): 15% online booking discount to disappear

A nifty feature of KrisFlyer was the ability to access a 15% discount on award flights when booking online or via the mobile app, and in cases where you had to phone the call centre because you could not complete an online booking and they would honour the discount.

The online booking discount currently reflected in the top right-hand corner will disappear

This discount will now be eliminated, bringing the program into line with most of its competitors.

Change 2 (positive): Elimination of fuel surcharges on Singapore Airlines and SilkAir flights

Even though KrisFlyer’s fuel surcharges were neither low like some US airlines nor extravagant like British Airways or Lufthansa, the elimination of these charges helps to temper the increase in award pricing on some routes and, in fact, reduces the real cost of awards to medium-haul destinations like much of Asia and the Middle East.

In welcome news, you’ll no longer be liable to pay fuel surcharges (YQ) on Singapore Airlines or SilkAir award flights

Change 3 (mixed): Increase in Saver award pricing on Singapore Airlines and SilkAir flights in 5 of 13 zones

I have analysed the change in points pricing on five routes from New Zealand, assuming:

  • Pricing is for one-way travel
  • ‘Old rate’ automatically includes the 15% online booking discount
RouteOld rateNew ratePoints change
Wellington - Canberra21,25028,000+32%
Auckland/Christchurch - Singapore27,62532,500+18%
Auckland/Christchurch - Mumbai61,62576,000+23%
Auckland/Christchurch - Tokyo65,875 (Business)
80,750 (First)
83,000 (Business)
105,000 (First)
+26% / +30%
Auckland/Christchurch - London80,750 (Business)
112,625 (First)
105,000 (Business)
148,000 (First)
+30% / +31%

That’s an average increase of 27%, which is quite substantial.

Here are the links to the old award chart and the new award chart.

Our take: how the changes will affect you

We did an analysis of the changes for Australia-based travellers and the results were substantially more mixed and that’s because of where fuel surcharges come into play.

In New Zealand, we’re lucky to be one of the few countries that has outlawed fuel surcharges.

But that means that the gains that travellers in markets where fuel surcharges do come into play will have the increase in points partly offset by savings in fuel surcharges, which is not the case in New Zealand.

For Singapore Airlines flights from New Zealand, it would be best to book in the next three weeks as all flights from this zone will increase in price, regardless of destination.

For Singapore Airlines flights coming into New Zealand, it would still be best to book in the next three weeks as the savings in fuel surcharges will still not offset the increase in points required.

However, the upside is that if you are booking a redemption between or within the eight award zones that were not affected by these changes, such as Cape Town to Singapore or Manila to Jakarta, you’ll probably see your overall cost go down, so it would be best to hold off on booking until after the changes.

These changes if you are currently waitlisted for a flight too, so try to get your flight ticketed before or after 23 March depending on if you want to take advantage of the old or new pricing structure.

What do you think of the changes? And how will they affect your travel plans?

Supplementary images courtesy Singapore Airlines and KrisFlyer.

KrisFlyer devaluation hits NZ travellers hard but possible savings when travelling outside of our region was last modified: January 21st, 2018 by Matt Moffitt