Airlines

Analyzing 17 months of KrisFlyer Spontaneous Escapes: which destinations are likely to feature?

KrisFlyer Spontaneous Escapes are a great way of saving miles...but how can we predict which destinations will be offered?

Spontaneous Escapes are now a permanent feature of the KrisFlyer program. As the name suggests, they’re discounted flight redemptions (usually 30% off, but sometimes as high as 50%) for those who can travel on short notice, typically the month after.

A common question many people ask is “will [insert destination here] be available for next month’s Spontaneous Escapes?”

Well, it’s important to understand that Spontaneous Escapes are a way to fill up flights that would otherwise go out empty. It’s why you only get one month’s notice- that’s about the time when the revenue management team is fairly confident about expected flight loads.

So unless you’re Singapore Airlines and know what the loads for a given month look like, there’s no way to know for sure. What we can do, however, is make an educated guess based on past data.

In this spreadsheet, I’ve compiled all the Spontaneous Escape promotions that have been released from September 2017 till May 2019. That’s 17 months (not every month had a promotion) worth of data, tagged by destination and colored by cabin class.

The sheet is best viewed on a desktop in the native Google Docs viewer. Click here to view

While it isn’t foolproof, we can use this data to predict which routes are and are not likely to go on sale.

Here’s what I’ve observed.

Certain cities are almost certain to appear in Spontaneous Escapes…

There are some cities which are almost nailed-on candidates for Spontaneous Escapes. Here’s the destinations which appeared the most frequently across the 17 month data set.

Ads

  1. Beijing (16 of 17)
  2. Dhaka (15 of 17)
  3. Shanghai (14 of 17)
  4. Ahmedabad (13 of 17)
  5. Kolkata (13 of 17)
  6. Jakarta (13 of 17)
  7. Yangon (13 of 17)
  8. Guangzhou (12 of 17)
  9. Hanoi (12 of 17)
  10. Ho Chi Minh City (12 of 17)
  11. Shenzhen (12 of 17)
  12. Seoul (11 of 17)
  13. Chennai (11 of 17)
  14. Manila (11 of 17)
  15. Sydney (11 of 17)
  16. Fuzhou (10 of 17)
  17. Hong Kong (10 of 17)
  18. Nagoya (10 of 17)

So if you’re heading to these cities then rejoice, because Spontaneous Escapes was made for you.

However, you won’t find other top travel destinations for Singaporeans like Tokyo (3 of 17), Taipei (4 of 17) and London (5 of 17). If you want to travel there, you should be prepared to pay regular award prices. On the plus side, Singaporean favorites Seoul (11 of 17), Sydney (11 of 17), Hong Kong (10 of 17) and Nagoya (10 of 17) appear surprisingly often.

…while others are much less likely

In contrast, here are the destinations which hardly feature on Spontaneous Escapes (that’s to say nothing of those which don’t appear at all, like IAH, ARN, DME, MAN, and JFK)

  1. Auckland (1 out of 17)
  2. Amsterdam (1 out of 17)
  3. Barcelona (1 out of 17)
  4. Christchurch (1 out of 17)
  5. Copenhagen (1 out of 17)
  6. Cape Town (1 out of 17)
  7. Rome (1 out of 17)
  8. Munich (1 out of 17)

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see that most of these are European cities. In fact, Europe as a whole is seldom seen on Spontaneous Escapes. Although Dusseldorf used to be a relatively staple fixture, it’s been completely MIA since July 2018 (with the exception of a lone March 2019 appearance).

Singapore Airlines A350-900 Business Class | Photo Credit: TPG

That’s a shame, because Dusseldorf can be a great gateway to the rest of Europe- fly in Business Class comfort on the A350-900 to DUS, then catch a cheap connecting flight for the final 1-3 hours of your journey.

The peak travel periods of June and December tend to feature fewer destinations

When it comes to Spontaneous Escapes, some months are bigger than others. In our 17 month period, the largest number of destinations on offer during any given Spontaneous Escapes was 71 (Jan 2018), and the smallest was 14 (Dec 2017). Note: There was no Spontaneous Escapes for Feb 2019, but Premium Economy awards to the USA offered in Jan 2019 were for travel in Feb 2019

June and December are peak travel periods for Singaporean, but unfortunately also tend to be slim pickings for Spontaneous Escapes offers. Therefore, families who intend to travel during this period shouldn’t leave their plans till the last minute in the hope of snagging a Spontaneous Escape to their destination of choice.

Come to think of it, February has also not seen any Spontaneous Escapes offers in either 2018 or 2019, so those looking to get away during CNY have historically been out of luck as well. One wonders what we’ll see in Feb 2020, now that these deals are monthly.

North Asia, South Asia and South East Asia destinations feature the most frequently

In addition to the quantity of destinations, we should also look at their geographical concentration.

Ads

The data suggests that if you’re looking to travel to the Middle East & Africa, Europe, or the USA then Spontaneous Escapes don’t hold much value for you. This is especially true for those hoping to travel in the June/Dec period.

  • USA destinations only became available in November 2018, and even then, only in the fairly load-poor Premium Economy
  • Jo’burg has only featured four times, Cape Town once
  • From August 2018 to Jan 2019, there were no European destinations offered on Spontaneous Escapes (except for a brief appearance of Economy class awards to London and Frankfurt in November 2018).

Another way of thinking about it is by distance. Although long and ultra long haul destinations are rare features in Spontaneous Escapes in general, they’re especially rare during June/December.

Short Haul= South East Asia, Medium Haul= South, North Asia, Long Haul= Middle East & Africa, South West Pacific, Ultra Long Haul= USA, Europe

One may be tempted to argue that the above charts are misleading, because Singapore Airlines serves more regional destinations to begin with, and therefore those would naturally be more prominent in the list of Spontaneous Escapes.

That’s a fair point, so I also looked at the overall % of destinations from each zone featured during Spontaneous Escapes. For example, if SQ serves a total of 5 destinations in the USA, and 3 of them appear during a given Spontaneous Escapes, then there’s 60% representation.

When you average out the representation over the 17 months with Spontaneous Escape deals, the story is very similar: USA and Europe destinations are hard to come by. If it happens to come out in the month you want to travel, count yourself lucky, but otherwise it’s better to make other plans.

Note: The % is based on SQ’s route map as of May 2019. Technically speaking, the % for South, North and South East Asia is historically overstated as numerous destinations have been offloaded to Scoot

Putting it all together

If you’re the kind who believes that past performance is indicative of future returns, here’s an easy reference table showing all of Singapore Airline’s/SilkAir’s destinations and the frequency of their appearances in Spontaneous Escapes.

Destination% Featured
Beijing94%
Dhaka88%
Shanghai82%
Jakarta76%
Yangon76%
Ahmedabad76%
Kolkata76%
Hanoi71%
Ho Chi Minh City71%
Guangzhou71%
Shenzhen71%
Manila65%
Seoul65%
Chennai65%
Sydney65%
Fuzhou59%
Hong Kong59%
Nagoya59%
Kuala Lumpur53%
Phnom Penh53%
Hiroshima53%
Colombo53%
Mumbai53%
Brisbane53%
Balikpapan47%
Bangkok47%
Lombok47%
Makassar47%
Siem Reap47%
Surabaya47%
Chengdu47%
Xiamen47%
Delhi47%
Dusseldorf47%
Semarang41%
Wuhan41%
Bangalore41%
Male41%
Hyderabad35%
Trivandrum35%
Visakhapatnam35%
Dubai35%
Cairns35%
Darwin35%
Wellington35%
Los Angeles35%
Bandung29%
Chiang Mai29%
Bali29%
Manado29%
Phuket29%
Chongqing29%
Fukuoka29%
Kunming29%
Coimbatore29%
Kochi29%
Adelaide29%
Melbourne29%
Perth29%
London29%
Da Nang24%
Changsha24%
Osaka24%
Taipei24%
Kathmandu24%
Jo’burg24%
Canberra24%
Frankfurt24%
Paris24%
San Francisco24%
Koh Samui18%
Kota Kinabalu18%
Medan18%
Penang18%
Cebu12%
Davao12%
Yogyakarta12%
Tokyo Narita12%
Tokyo Haneda12%
Zurich12%
Newark12%
Brunei6%
Cape Town6%
Auckland6%
Christchurch6%
Amsterdam6%
Barcelona6%
Copenhagen6%
Munich6%
Rome6%
Istanbul0%
Manchester0%
Milan0%
Moscow0%
Stockholm0%
Houston0%
New York JFK0%

Istanbul, Manchester, Milan, Moscow and Stockholm have never featured in Spontaneous Escapes, nor have Houston or New York JFK. It could be that loads on these routes are so good that discounted awards aren’t needed, or it could simply be that capacity is restricted (especially in the case of non-daily services like Moscow, Manchester, Houston and Stockholm).

Conclusion

I’m just going to come out and say I’ve never booked a Spontaneous Escapes award before. It’s not that I don’t think they’re great value- they are, but I’ve just not been able to work it into my travel schedule. I imagine that those of you who can’t take leave on short notice find yourselves in the same boat.

Nonetheless, this data is helpful in suggesting which destinations I shouldn’t hold my breath to see in Spontaneous Escapes, and which I can legitimately cross my fingers for. Feel free to download and play around with the data to see what other insights you can find.


Ads

Signing up for cards or making purchases through the links in this article may generate a referral commission that supports the running of The Milelion. Found this post useful? Subscribe to our Telegram Channel to get these posts pushed directly to your phone, or our newsletter (on the right of your screen) for the latest deals and hacks delivered to your inbox.

9
Leave a Reply

avatar
6 Comment threads
3 Thread replies
0 Followers
 
Most reacted comment
Hottest comment thread
8 Comment authors
W HoDaniel NEDHYMike Virgin Recent comment authors
  Subscribe  
Notify of
Alian
Guest
Alian

You got a great analysis. Thanks Aaron

What I’m interested to know is what is the uptake? Like yourself I can’t find time to use these deals to fit in my plans and wonder how many people do actually?

Alvin
Guest
Alvin

I have done the SE to HK last Oct and sampled the new A380 J seats at 38,500 miles each so that was great!

I was told by SQ that if I have a current reservation to a destination and it shows up in the SE promotion, I can actually make another booking(confirmed or waitlist which have to clear) and then cancel the original booking at USD75. Whether it is worth it depends on how you value your miles.

Mike Virgin
Guest
Mike Virgin

I got a business class return to Adelaide for just 56000 miles (March 2019). Looking forward to this mints spontaneous escapes.

HY
Guest
HY

Great analysis there, I think you could have also added which months had 30%, 40% and 50% to chart out seasonality (you might have done it and there was no conclusive pattern?)

Daniel N
Guest
Daniel N

This is a seriously in-depth analysis. Nice work! I’m hoping they release another set of these for Sydney this month. Based on the award availability, there’s Saver space every day in business until late June.

W Ho
Guest
W Ho

Come to think of it, February has also not seen any Spontaneous Escapes offers in either 2018 or 2019, so those looking to get away during CNY have historically been out of luck as well. One wonders what we’ll see in Feb 2020, now that these deals are monthly.

I disagree – it’ll be nome for Jan. 2020.