How to save tons of miles by using Krisflyer’s stopover feature

One little-known feature of Krisflyer awards is stopovers.  I’ll bet you the average Krisflyer member has never booked one before. But for power users like us, stopovers can be a great way of saving thousands of miles each year.

this table refers to the number of FREE stopovers you get with each type of award. You can add a stopover to a one-way saver award for US$100

A stopover refers to a break in a journey of at least 24 hours. You can add a stopover to a one-way Krisflyer saver award for US$100, or have a free stopover with a one-way standard award.

Here’s the deal- whenever you’re planning a vacation, book two one way awards instead of a round trip (one way awards cost half of a round trip). Then, think about your return flight like this-

Ending City of Previous Vacation (X)–> SIN Stopover (Y)–> Starting City of Next Vacation (Z)*

*For shorthand, we’ll refer to the ending city of previous vacation as X, Singapore as Y and starting city of next vacation as Z

When you do this, you end up saving miles because redeeming (X–>Y–>Z) costs fewer miles than redeeming (X–>Y) + (Y–>Z) separately.

An example to make things more clear: I’m heading to Tokyo in September to finish off the leftover SIN-HND JAL J segment from my RTW trip (I chose to start and end the trip in Tokyo because it represented a significant cost saving over starting and ending in Singapore, even after positioning to HND).

Image result for jal 767 business class
JAL 767 Business Class

When planning my flight back to Singapore, my initial thought was to book HND-SIN in SQ F.

Image result for sq new first class
SQ 77W New First Class

Then I remembered- I’m heading to SYD in December in F to hopefully get a chance to try SQ’s new Suites product (although with every day that passes with no announcement I’m starting to have doubts whether we’ll see it deployed by then)

Instead of buying two award tickets like this:

  • HND-SIN: 65,000 Miles + $33 taxes (X–>Y)
  • SIN-SYD: 80,000 Miles + $67 taxes (Y–>Z)

Why couldn’t I do this instead?

map

  • HND-SIN (stopover)-SYD: 105,000 Miles + $100 taxes + US$100 stopover fee ($136) (X–>Y–>Z)

I’ll do my HND-SIN in September, have a stopover of a few months in SIN, then proceed with SIN-SYD in December. All in all, I’ll save 40,000 miles for an incremental cost of $136. I don’t know about you, but I think that’s a good deal*

(*if you want to be technical about it my actual miles savings were a bit different because I booked SIN-SYD before the Krisflyer devaluation at 63,750 miles + $260. The figures I’ve shown above are post-devaluation figures. In other words I saved less miles and more money. But you get my point)

The maximum stopover duration is 1 year from the date of your first flight on the same ticket. That’s to say, if X–>Y is on September 1st 2017, I must fly Y–>Z by September 1st 2018.

Remember that date changes are free of charge with Krisflyer award tickets, so it doesn’t matter if your Y–>Z dates are a bit fuzzy. You can move it as often as you want (subject to there being saver award space) within the constraints of the 1 year period.

Points to note

  • You cannot book stopovers on a one-way saver award online. You will need to call Krisflyer membership services to get it done. Give them the date of your first leg and second leg, tell them you know there’ll be a US$100 fee and everything should run smoothly. Remember to call it a STOPOVER, not a layover (layover is 24 hours or less)
  • If you’re booking First Class from X–>Y but only Business Class is available from Y–>Z, you’ll pay the First Class price from X–>Z as shown on the award chart, regardless of the fact that you flew J from Y–>Z. This is often the case when your first vacation is to a long haul stop where F is available, but your second is to a regional destination where J is the highest cabin class available
  • Although date changes do not attract additional fees, route changes do. So, if having flown X–>Y you later decide to change Y–>Z to Y–>A, you’ll need to pay a fee
  • You may encounter a scenario where X–>Y is available and immediately confirmable but Y–>Z is waitlist only. If this happens, X–>Y–>Z cannot be ticketed immediately and you’ll have to waitlist. I’d recommend you be very flexible about the dates on Y–>Z and pick whichever one has saver space, even if it’s a random date, knowing that you can change the date later for free. It’s much better to lock in  X–>Y first, and can worry about negotiating the Y–>Z dates later
  • EDIT: An additional point came to mind- if you want to do this you have to be like a pendulum, swinging in one direction through Singapore and continuing to head the other way. In other words, I can’t do SYD-SIN-CHC because that’s a backtracking award. Nor could I do HKG-SIN-TPE, for example, or SFO-SIN-LHR Your next holiday has to be in a place where the East–>West / North–> South direction generally continues. It’s not a big deal for me per se, but if you’re the sort who likes to go to the same place all the time then this might not work for you. The Krisflyer award chart will tell you if it’s possible to fly between two regions.

Ideas and potential sweet spots

Some close study of the Krisflyer award chart will reap dividends, but if you need ideas for potential routings, here are some sweet spots I think are good deals.

(the + in the brackets refers to the incremental cost over ending your journey in Singapore)

  • Zone 9 to Zone 1-4 (Same Cost) or Zone 8 (+25K in F/J)
  • Zone 5 to Zone 8 (+15K in F/J)
  • Zone 11 to Zone 7 (+23/15K in F/J- this is incredible value to me, 15K more miles +US$100 for a second trip to Tokyo!) or Zone 9 (+33/20K in F/J- this is also great, 33K more miles + US$100 for First Class to Sydney, anyone?)
  • Zone 7 to Zone 8 (+10K in J)- build in a trip to Perth in Business Class?
  • Anywhere to Zones 1-3 (Same Cost)*

*I’ve touched on this topic before when I wrote about the $100 Bangkok Trip, but needless to say regardless of wherever you’re flying back from it almost always costs the same to end your journey in Singapore vs Zone 2 and 3, so if you feel $100 is worth it you can always tag on another flight later on in the year

This is obviously not a complete list so feel free to chime in.

What I love about this opportunity is that it’s a good way for those of us based in Singapore to really stretch our miles. We may not earn them as easily as folks in the USA, but they won’t be able to take advantage of this unless their home base is Singapore.

So, always think one step ahead, and you’ll be saving a lot more miles.

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61 thoughts on “How to save tons of miles by using Krisflyer’s stopover feature”

  1. Question: Between your HND-SIN and SIN-SYD, will you still be able to book a SQ flight between these two, i.e. last minute business trip etc.?

    1. You mean a separate ticket? Yes, sq doesnt “track” where you are. The system looks at things on a ticket basis. So I’m perfectly free to redeem whatever other kf tickets I want while I’m on my stopover

  2. Can you elaborate on what you’re going to do (or did) with the SIN-SYD you already booked? Are you able to keep it, while adding HND-SIN to it? Or you decided to cancel it and rebook for a different date?

    1. i couldn’t add HND-SIN to it as it would count as a whole new ticket. fortunately suite saver was still available. so i booked HND-SIN-SYD first, then cancelled SIN-SYD (and they waived the fee for me!)

        1. that’s something on my mind…basically you have to be a pendulum with this, always with singapore as the pivot point. i realised another implication (and i’ll add this in the article above) is that you have to alternate your vacations so that there’s no backtracking. in other words, I can’t book SYD-SIN-CHC, or TPE-SIN-HKG. if I go to australia, my next holiday has to be somewhere north of australia. if I go to the US, my next holiday can’t be in Europe.

          1. I have an idea. Why not run a contest in your blog – see who is able to cover all zones on the KF chart without overlapping and with the least number of miles.

  3. It would be worth to note that if you cannot use the remaining leg of the itinerary for any reason, no refunds for both miles and taxes. (But you have 1 year to use the ticket.)

  4. I just tried this on the SW app and it says stop over must be between 1 and 30 days…this only works for phone booking?

  5. Hi, just wondering since Sydney is in Zone 9:

    “Zone 11 to Zone 7 (+23/15K in F/J- this is incredible value to me, 15K more miles +US$100 for a second trip to Tokyo!) or Zone 8 (+23/20K in F/J- this is also great, 23K more miles + US$100 for First Class to Sydney, anyone?)”

    should read

    “Zone 11 to Zone 7 (+23/15K in F/J- this is incredible value to me, 15K more miles +US$100 for a second trip to Tokyo!) or Zone 9 (+33/20K in F/J- this is also great, 33K more miles + US$100 for First Class to Sydney, anyone?)”

    thanks!

      1. you’re welcome. remember to change the miles required for F/J to +33/20K too. if i read the chart correctly that is.

  6. The schema only works from south-to-Singapore-to-north setup or other way around with requirement to have Singapore in the middle.

    I for example am planning to book award ticket from Europe to South Africa and from Europe to Singapore later. Above schema is not going to work in this case

  7. Wished you came up with this article earlier, didn’t know we could save miles this way.

    I’ve currently got a return suites ticket to Auckland this Dec and a return business class ticket to TPE in Jun 2018. Would it still be possible to “split” up the return tickets into one ways and make use of this trick?

    Also, would it make a difference if one of the legs is on a partner flight and not on SQ? My departure leg to TPE is on EVA.

    1. Looking at the chart, it seems I could save 27500 (SIN-TPE) miles in my trip since Auckland – TPE is the same number of miles as Auckland – SIN. But not sure how to split my return tickets….

    2. no, you can’t split up a round trip ticket. you have to cancel and rebook.

      also you cannot do this on an outbound ticket. it will only work for a one way back to singapore. it does not work for star alliance partner tickets which have no stopover provisions

      1. I wonder if you already have, say, AKL-SIN booked, can you add e.g. SIN-HND? Or they may have more sympathy with SIN-BKK coz it’s the same number of miles?

          1. But if I’m already sitting on the AKL-SIN award, and there are no more award space, then it’s GG?

            So perhaps another point to note is that this “trick” can only be applied for those awards that are usually easily available. For those unicorns, we usually have to book when schedule opens, leaving no gap for even a dummy stopover.

            1. Yes, practically you need to make up your mind on the next vacation before you book the ‘unicorn’ and preferably the second vacation has to be in a place that has good availability.

      2. I was originally thinking I could split up my return SIN-AKL return ticket into 2 one ways so the AKL-SIN would count as the “one way” back to Singapore. Then split my return SIN-TPE so the outbound SIN-TPE counts as the 2nd leg after stopover to SIN.

        But now seeing your comment at Star Alliance doesn’t count – does that apply if my particular flight SIN-TPE under BR226 is actually bookable (as revenue) on SQ website itself and is contained in the same ticket…does this count as “code share” or something such that it still qualifies? or once its not on SQ plane, it won’t count anymore?

        Assuming it no longer qualifies for the stopover trick, then should I still split up my SIN-TPE-SIN return (inbound leg is still on SQ) so that I could possibly add SIN-??? later on? I was thinking of SIN-somewhere in europe after that but how do I know if it still satisfies the no double back route?

      3. Hi,

        Just managed to do this on an outbound ticket. Original itinerary SIN-CHC-SIN. Added a CAN-SIN sector before that. Final itinerary CAN-SIN-CHC-SIN. No additional miles required since Zones 1/2/3/4 to 9 only requires 58000 miles.

        Spoke to SQ and what is most important is NO BACKTRACKING ALLOWED. So, CHC-SIN-LAX with stopover will be computed as 58000+88000=146000 (no saving). However, CHC-SIN-JFK will be computed as 118000 (instead of 58000+92000), a saving of 32000 miles if you use the stopover feature.

        *all classes of travel above in Business

        Hope this helps!

        1. Not sure I understand what you’ve done. So you’ve basically added a stopover in singapore so can-sin (stopover) chc? If you booked can-sin(stopover)-chc-sin it means you need to start your next trip over again and will end up paying more. Why not just book can-sin-chc, then chc-sin- next vacation?

          1. Hi,

            Yes the final itinerary is CAN-SIN (stopover)-CHC, and CHC-SIN. Essentially, the original itinerary was SIN-CHC and CHC-SIN (booked under the same reference), and I managed to add the CAN-SIN sector prior to the SIN-CHC for no extra miles. So it’s like adding a holiday prior to a planned one. The only thing I’ve gotta do is to position myself to CAN to fly back to SIN that’s all. Hope this clarifies!

          2. And yes, I still have not decided on where my next vacation is after CHC-SIN. But I will definitely use the stopover feature for that.

    1. The only ‘stopover’ place is SIN. In the above examples, only SIN can be the ‘Y’. Of course FRA and HKG can technically be stopover places, but unless you actually live in those cities, it makes no sense.

        1. I think a lot of people are misunderstanding this article. This is talking about stopovers in singapore, inbetween trip 1 and 2. If you are flying to sfo via hkg you can stopover in HK if you want. But that’s a completely separate topic and has nothing to do with saving miles on your next vacation. This only works on your return leg to singapore, not your outbound. The other poster who wrote about can-sin-chc was already overseas, hence his can-sin is his return leg, sin is his stopover and chc is 2nd vacation

          But if he flies chc-sin then stops, he will need to start the cycle again when he flies next

          1. No, Aaron (NOT the milelion) successfully added CAN-SIN to SIN-CHC. Aaron (THE milelion) wanted to add HND-SIN to SIN-SYD but couldn’t. This is the mystery.

            1. not so much a mystery. i think what happened is they just agreed to waive the change fees involved. see, HND-SIN-SYD is considered a different routing from HND-SIN. So for me to add SIN-SYD to that is like requesting a routing change, which can be done for US$20. Rather than do that I just asked them to cancel HND-SIN and SIN-SYD and rebook HND-SIN-SYD, which they did and waived the usual US$15*2 cancellation fee I’d have otherwise incurred. so they can definitely do this for you, but it’s considered an exception and not a routine thing.

  8. On the date change issue, i was told that after the first sector is flown, u cannot change the 2nd sector (dates included).

    so if u have flown HND-SIN, u cannot chamge the date of SIN-SYD.

    unless i understand wrongly…

    1. that can’t be right, because this is conceptually similar to a regular date change. i can understand no refunds, but definitely not no date changes. i’ll find out soon enough I’m sure, but based on my conversation with the CSO i’m very certain dates can be subsequently changed.

    2. I can confirm based on my own conversation with the CSO that the 2nd sector dates can still be changed (up to 1 year from 1st sector flight)

  9. Hi Aaron

    So are these the correct steps to do this:

    1. Book HND-SYD with any date
    2. Call the call centre and tell them to add SIN step over for $100.
    3. Fly HND-SIN
    4. Change the SIN-SYD date to the date you want to actually fly (as long under 1 year from HND-SYD)

    is this correct ?

    1. Not sure if this can be done. The first step, as Aaron mentioned, is to call the call centre to book it. Cannot be done online.

      1. Hmm… so step 1 and 2 need to be done at the same time?

        As in you need to call the call centre to book a HND-SIN-SYD, then you can resechedule the SIN-SYD to another date?

  10. Cancellation fees – I suppose if you cancel the booking, you do not get back this $100 (on top of cancellation fees to be paid)?

  11. Cool tip 🙂

    Can you book X-Y-Z with Y as a transit online first and call to add the stopover after? Reason being some of the saver awards can sometimes disappear while calling in and waiting to speak to an agent.

    Also in your post it’s mentioned that it is possible to change Y-Z even after flying X-Y. The added flexibility is great but are there any restrictions on changing Z after flying the first sector? I suppose you will have to pay USD 20 fee for the routing change and top up miles if the award will require more miles. Probably also means that any change requiring fewer miles will not be redeposited to your KF account.

    1. to answer the 2nd part of your question- what you described is correct. You can change the date of Y–>Z for free. Changing from Y–>Z to Y–>A would incur a rerouting fee + whatever the incremental mileage is.

      X–>Y is conceptually different from X–>Y–>Z. Note that the only possible places for Y are those where SQ has stops (eg FRA, HKG) or Singapore itself. I’m not sure what you mean by the first part of your question, but if you mean can I book X–>Y first then add on Y–>Z, the answer is yes, sort of, but you’ll conceptually be cancelling X–>y and booking X–>Y–>z in that case (i.e X to Z via Y). so it doesn’t matter, you need to be able to confirm award space on both x to y and y to z

      1. Ah I realized the intention in the first part of my question wasn’t clear.

        I was wondering if it’s possible to book the intended routing first online example HKG-SIN-SYD so that I locked in the saver availability for the HKG-SIN sector and then just call in to add the stopover to move the SIN-SYD sector to the actual date I want to fly. Thinking that booking just HKG-SIN first and calling them could be interpreted as a routing change with the additional USD 20 fee whereas booking the exact routing from the start I could explain that I would need their help with adding the stopover because I am not able to book that myself online.

        1. ok i got it. yes, you can absolutely do that, assuming you can find a date with available sin-syd space as well. i’ve often found it simpler to just call up the hotline where they can lock you in on hkg-sin and waitlist you on sin-syd concurrently. simpler for me.

          1. Thanks! Any chance you know the answer to my second question on whether it s possible to redeem an open jaw award as a round trip that allows a free stopover? 🙂

  12. Have another question regarding a stopover but not entirely related to adding an additional one way trip from SIN.

    A round trip saver award actually comes with a free stopover. Does anyone know if you can book an open jaw itinerary as a round trip? Example SIN-LHR (open jaw) / LAX-NRT (use free stopover) -SIN. Are there restrictions on the open jaw like it has to be cities within the same country to count as a round trip redemption? This would save the USD 100 fee to add the stopover if you book it as 2 one way trips.

  13. Hi Aaron, does this work if we upgrade our flights using miles? E.g. I have a premium economy flight booked SIN-HKD-SIN and I want to upgrade to business class. How and where can I do a stopover and when must I utilise this by?

    1. SQ does not fly to HKD. I think you may not have understood the article properly- upgrading a flight is conceptually a totally different thing from what we’re talking about here.

  14. Hi Aaron,

    Thanks for the nice tips! You reckon this works for RTW trips too?

    Assuming I start in Tokyo, circle around in Asia pacific, pitstop in Singapore. Few months down the road I continue from Singapore Westwards and complete the RTW trip to end in Tokyo.

  15. if I book NRT-SIN-MEL and subsequently change MEL to new Zealand before I fly the NRT-SIN leg, will there be a fee for the change in the final destination? given that the miles requirement is the same

    1. by the letter of the law, yes. this counts as a routing change. however, you can always try asking for a “one time exception”. depends on your status with SQ.

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