4 sweet spots on the Krisflyer partner award chart

When I first reviewed the Krisflyer partner award chart a year or so ago, my conclusion was “don’t bother”. Then I thought about it a bit more, and issued a piece of revised guidance- “bother, in very limited situations

Today I want to issue a 3rd revision to the previous guidance. I’ll put links on the other 2 articles so everyone who reads them will get redirected here.

Generally speaking, you are still better off redeeming Krisflyer miles for Singapore Airlines/ Silkair flights IF you can get saver space. 

You get a 15% miles discount for redeeming online, and SQ makes it so much easier to book their own awards (you can do it online, versus having to call in to book partner awards).

BUT

But there are selected situations where the Krisflyer partner award chart can come in useful, because SQ doesn’t fly to (or operate between) a particular destination (or set of destinations), or SQ doesn’t have saver availability, or SQ has very high surcharges.

I’m going to write about some examples I’ve found useful.

(1) USA domestic flights/ flights between USA and Canada

one way prices Economy Business First
Partner: North America (Canada, USA ex Hawaii) -North America 12,500 20,000 30,000
SQ; Not applicable

Domestic airfares in the US can be surprisingly expensive depending on which airport you want to fly from. Getting a direct flight can be super expensive if you’re flying on a route with little competition. Consider San Francisco to Medford, for example. A direct flight here is less than 90 minutes, but because SFO and MFR are United strongholds they’re the only direct option available. A direct flight runs you S$436, versus S$154 if you’re willing to take a 5 hour flight instead.

The SQ partner award chart prices domestic economy at 12,500 miles for a one-way ticket, plus US$10 of surcharges in this case. That values your miles at around 3.3 Singapore cents each. You could obviously get higher in another scenario, but I’d be happy to settle for this.

Or suppose you have a transcontinental flight from New York to San Francisco coming up. These flights are roughly 6 hours long, and the idea of 6 hours in a cramped narrowbody jet isn’t particularly appealing.

Recognising the long flight duration and the importance of this market, United offers its ps Service on this route. This means you’ll get full flat seating instead of the usual recliner style seats on domestic first class

But that’ll cost you. You can expect to spend upwards of S$800 for that flat seat (S$200 for economy, all prices one way)

If you use your Krisflyer miles, you can get this route for 20,000 miles + US$7.60 in taxes (I’ve just booked this to get me from EWR to SFO on the return segment of my trip to New York).

For avoidance of confusion, domestic first class in the USA is priced as business class on the Krisflyer partner award chart. This gives you roughly 4 Singapore cents of value per mile plus a really nice seat for a long US domestic flight (to put it in perspective it’s longer than a flight from Singapore to Shanghai)

(2) Singapore to Europe flights

one way prices Economy Business First
Partner: SIN- Europe 45,000 80,000 107,500
SQ: SIN-Europe  29,750 68,000 91,375

I’ve written about this previously but I’ll repeat it again. Suppose you want to go from Singapore to a place in Europe not served by SQ, like Austria, or Belgium, or Croatia, or (insert random Europe destination here).

You have 2 options

  1. Fly from Singapore to one of SQ’s European destinations (LHR, BCN, FRA, CPH, AMS, MUC, CDG, ZRH), buy a separate ticket and fly from there. If you do this you may need to collect your baggage and check in again meaning you need to budget more time for your connection and you won’t be covered in the event of IRROPS resulting in your flight arriving late
  2. Redeem an award ticket from SIN straight to your final destination. Given the relative strength of Star Alliance carriers in Europe you’re almost certainly going to be able to find something that works with you (SAS, Lufthansa, TAP, Croatia Airlines etc)

Option 2 means that you can check through your bag from SIN to your final destination, you don’t need to pay money for a separate ticket, and in the event that your first flight is delayed for whatever reason the carrier will get you on another flight to your final destination. I think that’s well worth the additional 12,000 miles.

This also may be an option if you want to redeem business class on a route where SQ business saver availability is notoriously hard to come by (eg SIN-LHR)

(3) Singapore to Thailand flights

one way prices Economy Business First
Partner: SIN- South East Asia 2 (Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Philippines, Thailand, Vietnam) 12,500 20,000 30,000
SQ: 10,625  17,000 35,000

Why would I want to do this? You might ask.

Well, I was recently in a situation where I needed to get the first flight out of Bangkok, but SQ’s 0940 BKK-SIN flight was only on saver waitlist and I didn’t want to take my chances. The SQ ticket would have cost me 10,625 miles and S$77.50. I ended up booking a BKK-SIN flight on TG that departed at 0800, spending 12,500 miles and S$28.10.

Note the difference not just in miles, but in surcharges too. Spending 1,875 miles saved me $49.40. That gave me a value of about 2.5 cents a mile, plus I got a timing that worked for me.

So if you’re in that sort of situation where the mileage difference between SQ’s award chart and the partner chart is very small, it might make sense to see whether you can find a better flight timing or a flight available for immediate confirmation with Star Alliance partners. You’ll also likely to save a bit on the surcharges (which more than anything reflects how ridiculous SQ’s surcharges really are)

Note that I only say Thailand here (instead of the other destinations in South East Asia 2) because of the possibility of a direct flight with TG. If you wanted to go to Laos/Philippines etc on a Star Alliance carrier you’d probably lose a lot of time transferring in Bangkok which would make it not worth it.

(4) Europe to Middle East flights

one way prices Economy Business First
Partner: Europe- Middle East/North Africa 17,500 25,000 35,000
SQ; Not applicable
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Lufthansa First Class for 35,000 miles?

I discussed this in my review of the Lufthansa First Class Terminal, but it bears repeating. If experiencing the FCT is on your bucket list, one of the cheapest ways of doing it is by getting a one-way first class award redemption from FRA-DXB. This will set you back 35,000 Krisflyer miles and S$100 of taxes. I think that’s a fantastic opportunity to try the FCT.

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Lufthansa FCT bar

Lufthansa usually releases first class seats to Star Alliance partners 2 weeks before departure.

So how do I book?

Your first step is to find out whether or not availability exists in the first place. You can use the Lifemiles booking engine to check Star Alliance award space, although United and Air Canada’s Aeroplan will also show you this.

Once you’ve confirmed space is available, give the Krisflyer membership hotline a call and tell the agent where you want to go and the flight numbers.

You’ll then have to enter your credit card details over a phone system and the ticket will be issued to you immediately. All my experiences so far have been smooth sailing (although I am aware there may be strange situations where the agent cannot see the award space you’re seeing online).

Let me know if you guys are aware of any other sweet spots to consider!

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17 Comments on "4 sweet spots on the Krisflyer partner award chart"

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Thanks! Great advice esp when I have a few sectors to clear coking up and SQ doesn’t fly there. May I ask what site did you use to check on the ticket price? The one you shown in this article with the screenshots?

Thanks for this. By calling Krisflyer we won’t get the 15% discount but for a solo trip of approx 20k miles or so there isn’t a significant difference. Perhaps we can also use SQ website via revenue booking to see all the routes that are not shown under the list of redemption award routes. SQ does not allow redemption if at least 1 of the sectors is not on their own planes which is perhaps policy but a bit strange. I have read that typically an airline pays a partner a very small amount to fly their passengers with their partner airlines. I flew from SIN to Tasmania via Melbourne and because there was some miles left that were expiring, I wanted to redeem through a partial payment with miles but I couldn’t because of the leg from Melbourne to Launceston. Virgin australia showed up on a full revenue ticket… Read more »

35k miles for EU-ME in F is definitely a sweet spot — even cheaper than AA’s award chart pre-devaluation (40k one way)!

That domestic flight sweet spot is really awesome. Good thing there’s availability! Saved me from my mom emergency. And only paid SGD 7 in taxes vs a huge SGD 500+ for a one-way flight.

I discovered LifeMiles requires the same amount of miles.

Domestic flights in US cost 20000 miles for business? I checked the award chart and it says 40000… Am I reading it wrongly?

thanks! But I dun quite get how using your life miles account can see, say, United airlines availability… Life miles is another airline’s reward program right?

Hello Aaron, out of curiosity how did you secure your domestic US flight? Trying to fly my parents from Vancouver to New Ark but they have no business class redemptions available (according to the SQ call line). There are some flights available for economy but those too are quite limited.

Hi Aaron, thank you for the talk earlier. Just wanted to ask: to redeem on United, how far ahead should we call SQ? thanks.

hi aaron, would you know whether one can redeem partner award ticket using his kf miles for another friend/nominee? thanks

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