Airlines have always been looking for new revenue streams and one common trend we’ve seen in recent times is the offering of a “hold my fare” option.
How it works is simple. Suppose you see an airfare you like, but you’re not sure yet if you’ll be able to travel on those dates. You could
- Buy the fare now and make changes/cancellations later for a price (assuming the fare rules allow such things)
- Wait and hope that the fare doesn’t disappear or change in the period you’re deciding
Hold my fare gives you a third option- to pay a small fee to lock in the dates, flights and routes in question. Some airlines (like Lufthansa) even allow you to offset your holding fee from the final ticket price should you decide to go ahead and purchase.
SQ isn’t going to that extent, but they are offering a new “Secure My Fare” option that just popped up on the website. It currently covers only economy class and non-redemption bookings. Depending on the length of your flight, you can pay $5/$10 each way per passenger to hold a fare for up to 72 hours.
Flight Segment Length ‘Secure My Fare’ Fee
< 5 hours SGD 5.00 per passenger each way
≥ 5 hours SGD 10.00 per passenger each way
I say “up to” 72 hours because SQ mentions there may be shorter hold periods for promotional fares. In practice, though, it appears that for now all the hold periods are 72 hours regardless of booking class. I went to look at fares to Perth and regardless of which bucket of Economy I picked, I was offered a 72 hour hold time.
I would say this is a valuable service because it buys you more time- go sort out other logistical aspects of your trip and come back within 72 hours to secure your fare. There’s no obligation to buy the fare you have on hold, and your maximum loss is limited to the secure my fare fee you pay. I could easily see myself using this in the future, although it is interesting that they’ve only implemented this for economy class bookings for now. My guess is that they believe leisure travelers would value this service more than price-insensitive business travelers who are booking on company money.
A colleague asked me if I thought SQ should implement this feature for award flights, but really there’s no need to, because you can buy call options on award flights for US$15 (US$30 if you’re a regular Krisflyer member), the cost of cancelling an award booking that you don’t need. Award bookings are in any case flexible, so if you see something you like you should always lock it in, and make changes/cancellations later. If you’re averse to paying the cancellation fee, you can try out Jeriel’s nifty hacking the waitlist method to buy yourself more time to decide for free.
(HT: hclee01 on FT)