Airlines

The KrisFlyer stopover guide (aka $100 stopover trick)

Stopovers help unlock some of the best value in KrisFlyer. Here's how they work.

Stopovers are one of KrisFlyer’s best kept secrets. Used properly, they can help save a ton of miles, which means more flights for you and your loved ones. But the SQ website gives precious little information on stopovers and what you can do with them. So where do you get started?

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In this guide, you’ll learn everything you need to know about stopovers on KrisFlyer awards: how they work, how they save miles and how to book one. We’ll also address numerous FAQs at the end.

What is a stopover?

Let’s first distinguish between two terms which are often used interchangeably:

  • A layover is a break in the journey of less than 24 hours
  • A stopover is a break in the journey of more than 24 hours

For example, SQ 2 from Singapore to San Francisco has a 1h 15min layover in Hong Kong where the plane is refueled and passengers embark/disembark. After this, SQ 2 continues its journey to San Francisco.

However, a passenger on SQ 2 could choose to fly from Singapore to Hong Kong, leave the airport for a stopover in Hong Kong to do some sightseeing, then continue his/her journey to San Francisco on another day.

Stopovers can be added to an award online by scrolling to the bottom of the screen and clicking the “proceed” button.

This brings up a dialogue box where you specify where you’d like to stop and when you’d like to continue your onward journey.

How many stopovers can I have?

Award tickets grant a certain number of free stopovers on a given itinerary. The number varies depending on:

  • One-way vs round-trip
  • Saver vs Advantage award

Here’s the breakdown.

Award TypeFree StopoversAdditional Stopover (Max 3)
One-way Saver0US$100
One-way Advantage1US$100
Round-trip Saver1US$100
Round-trip Advantage2US$100

The third column talks about “additional stopovers”. These can be added to awards for US$100 each, subject to a cap of three stopovers on any award ticket.

All award tickets are eligible for stopovers. The SIA website is unhelpful in this regard, because if you try to add a stopover to a one-way Saver award, you’ll be greeted with the error message “no stopover is available for a one-way Saver award flight.”

This is misleading. Rather, it’s more accurate to say “no free stopover is available on a one-way Saver award flight”. You can add a stopover for US$100 (and I’ll show you why you’d want to later on) by calling up KrisFlyer membership services; it’s just that the website lacks the ability to process this.

How long can a stopover be?

A stopover can be a maximum of 1 year.

Here’s where the SIA website is again unhelpful. If you attempt to add a stopover that’s longer than 30 days, you’ll get the error message “your stopover duration must be between 1 day and 30 days”

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This is likewise misleading. It’s more accurate to say that stopovers booked online must be between 1 and 30 days. If you book through the call centre, your stopover can be a maximum of one year.

What can you use a stopover for?

Why on earth would you want a one year stopover? Who has that much vacation time?

2 cities on 1 vacation

Most people traditionally think of a stopover as a way of visiting 2 cities on 1 vacation. For example, if my ultimate destination is San Francisco, I can spend a few days in Hong Kong on the way there/back and enjoy 2 cities on my trip.

In fact, given the number of cities that SQ uses as intermediate points, there are numerous stopover options possible.

Black box around city indicates stopover possibility

To summarize the possibilities (stopover city in red):

  • SIN-MEL-WLG
  • SIN-HKG-SFO
  • SIN-NRT-LAX
  • SIN-DME-ARN
  • SIN-FRA-JFK
  • SIN-MAN-IAH

*Even though SQ478 flies from Singapore to Cape Town via Johannesburg, you can’t do a stopover in Johannesburg because SIA does not have fifth freedom rights to carry passengers between CPT and JNB only. Ditto SQ378, which flies from Singapore to Barcelona via Milan. 

If you think about a stopover this way, one year is probably excessive. Unless you’ve got unlimited leave, you’re never going to need a stopover that long.

But while visiting 2 cities in 1 vacation is a perfectly valid way of thinking of stopovers, it’s not the best use of them. 

2 cities on 2 vacations

Suppose I’ve got two vacations planned this year. In June, I’ll travel to Tokyo, and in December, I’ll travel to Sydney. Most people would book these trips as two separate awards.

But consider this option: when I’m flying back from Tokyo to Singapore, instead of booking HND-SIN, why not book HND-SIN-SYD and pay US$100 for a stopover in Singapore? I’ll return to Singapore, spend the rest of June to November going about my regular business, and in December I’ll jet off to Sydney to “continue my journey”.

Confused? Look at the chart below.

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  • Note the red box where Zone 9 (Sydney) intersects with Zone 7 (Tokyo): a HND-SIN-SYD award costs 91K miles
  • Compare that to the sum of the green boxes: a HND-SIN award (47K) and a SIN-SYD award (62K) collectively cost 109K miles.

By paying US$100, I save 18K miles, a pretty good tradeoff in my opinion. The savings can be bigger depending on the route and cabin class. For example, had I opted to fly HND-SIN-SYD in First Class, that US$100 would have saved me 40K miles, an even better deal.

Some other examples of stopover savings include

  • SYD-SIN-LHR (38K miles saved in Business/47K miles saved in First Class)
  • DXB-SIN-HND (18K/35K)
  • PVG-SIN-FRA-JFK (17K/25K)
  • BOM-SIN-HKG-SFO (25K/30K)
To generalize the approach: we are leveraging the fact that A–>B–>C costs less than A–>B + B–>C.

In case you were wondering, it doesn’t matter if you haven’t confirmed the dates of your second vacation just yet. So long as you know where you want to go, when doesn’t really matter. All you need to do is pick an estimated date in December with open award space, and if you subsequently need to change it, you pay a US$25 change fee.

Not all destination combinations are possible- you can’t fly any route that involves backtracking. For example, CDG-SIN-LHR is not a valid stopover option, because you’re “bouncing off” Singapore. On the other hand, JNB-SIN-NRT is a valid stopover option, because you’re “swinging through” Singapore.

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“Bouncing off” vs “swinging through” is a helpful way of visualizing what is and isn’t possible, but you can also refer to the KrisFlyer award chart.

If you see a numeric figure published between two zones, it means that particular combination is most likely possible. Be sure to refer to the footnotes too, however, because not all city combinations within those zones may be possible.

The best way of checking is still to do a dummy award booking online and see if the system allows that particular routing to be booked.

Now, let’s look at some FAQ about stopovers.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

How far can my second leg be from the first?

Singapore Airlines award space can be booked 355 days in advance. Therefore, the second leg can be a maximum of 355 days from the date you book the award. 

For example, if on 4 June 2019 I book a HND-SIN-SYD stopover award, the latest date I can put SIN-SYD is on 24 May 2020 (355 days from now).

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However, once I’ve completed my first leg, the second leg can be moved up to 355 days from the first leg.

For example, if I originally schedule my travel like this:

  • HND-SIN: 20 December 2019
  • SIN-SYD: 24 May 2020

Once I fly HND-SIN, I will be able to move SIN-SYD up to 9 December 2020 (355 days from 20 December 2019)

Must award space on both legs be available when I book the stopover?

Yes. It is not possible to have one confirmed and one waitlisted leg on a stopover itinerary. My advice is to pick an estimated date for your second leg based on whichever dates have immediately confirmable award space. You can move it later for US$25.

Presumably, a lot of the value of the stopover trick is lost if you keep moving your second leg date (this was much better in the days when it was free to change Saver awards), so don’t move it too often!

Can I change my mind about where I visit on my second leg?

If you haven’t flown the first leg, you can change your routing as you please, subject to the usual change fees.

However, if you’ve already flown the first leg back to Singapore, you cannot change the destination of second leg. You can change the date of your flight, but the destination is fixed.

That’s the so-called catch of this trick- you’re committing to travel to a specific destination. That said, if you’re the sort who plans your vacations in advance, I don’t see why this would be an issue.

Can I cancel and refund my ticket after I’ve flown the first leg?

No. This counts as a partially-used ticket and cannot be refunded.

Can I travel out of Singapore when I’m on my “stopover”?

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Er yes, of course you can. There’s nothing stopping you from redeeming another flight on Singapore Airlines even during your Singapore “stopover”. It’s not as if SQ is monitoring the movements of all its members, waiting to say “Aha! Not a real stopover!”

Can I use a Spontaneous Escapes award in conjunction with the stopover trick?

No. Spontaneous Escapes rates are only valid for bookings made on singaporeair.com. Since you can’t book the stopover trick online, Spontaneous Escapes rates do not apply.

Does this trick work on Star Alliance/partner awards?

Yes and no.

Stopovers on Star Alliance/partner awards can only be booked on round-trip itineraries. It’s therefore possible to do the 2 cities on 1 vacation approach, e.g. flying SIN-DXB-FRA and doing a stopover in Dubai before going on to Frankfurt. Stopovers are not allowed

  • On domestic tickets (e.g. SFO-IAH-EWR)
  • On intra-Europe itineraries (e.g. LHR-FRA-VIE)
  • Within the country of departure (e.g HKT-BKK-PVG)

Since stopovers cannot be added to one-way Star Alliance/partner awards, the 2 cities on 2 vacations approach will not work. Remember: as long as your itinerary features at least one non-SQ/MI flight, the entire itinerary is considered a Star Alliance/partner award.

What do I say when I call up KrisFlyer?

The most important thing to make sure is that the KrisFlyer agent does not charge you for two separate one-way awards. This is rare, but has been known to happen.

Before you call, check the award chart so you know how much the award should cost. Also, check and see that award space is available on both legs, because you cannot have one confirmed and one waitlisted leg.

A sample script follows:

“Hi, I’d like to book X-SIN-Y with a stopover in Singapore. I want to fly X-SIN on (DATE) and SIN-Y on (DATE). I’m aware I’ll need to pay a US$100 stopover fee. Can you please check the award space for me?”

The agent will be deduct the miles and charge you the taxes plus a US$100 fee over the phone.

What about mixed cabin awards?

Suppose you want to use the stopover trick to fly SYD-SIN-BCN in First Class. The problem is that although SYD-SIN has First Class, SIN-BCN (operated by an A350) does not. You’d still pay the First Class rate for the entire SYD-SIN-BCN journey, notwithstanding the fact that SIN-BCN will be in Business Class.

This is obviously a bad deal, and if your goal is to fly First Class, make sure it’s available on both the legs you want to fly.

Can I combine the 2 cities on 2 vacations and 2 cities on 1 vacation trick?

Why not? There’s nothing stopping you from getting creative with this. Consider the routing below, where I fly SYD-SIN-DME-ARN. I can do Stopover 1 in Singapore, and Stopover 2 in Moscow. In that sense, my first vacation has 1 city (Sydney), and my second vacation has 2 cities (Moscow and Stockholm).

3 cities on 2 vacations. Your head hurt yet?

Conclusion

What I love about the stopover trick is that it’s kind of a game-leveler for us in Singapore. We may not earn miles as easily as residents of other countries, but the stopover trick only really works if you’re based in Singapore.

If you’re not currently on a stopover in Singapore, you’re not making full use of your miles. Try a little advance planning, and stretch your miles even further!


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kai
Guest
kai

If you’re paranoid about sending over your credit card details over the phone like me, or want to double confirm your booking, you can let the service agent know you want to make payment via offline method, and proceed to pay at the ion customer service center. They will hold the booking for you for three days iirc.

kai
Guest
kai

Forget to add that after the call they will send you an itinerary, so you’ll get a black and white indicating your flight, etc. Can use that to double confirm your booking.

Ken
Guest
Ken

Go to Ion to pay, can do paywave?

Chief mummeh
Guest
Chief mummeh

Was just thinking about this and you wrote an article on it again! Now just gotta figure out how to book with 2 adults, 1 child and 1 infant..

M
Guest
M

Hi, do we have to follow the sequence?

E.g. if I have Hong Kong trip in July and a Tokyo trip in Nov and in between I do stopovers at Bali (SIN-HKG-SIN-DPS & DPS-SIN-HND-SIN), do I need to make the Bali trip in between July-Nov? Or can I drag the SIN-DPS-SIN portion beyond Dec?

SQ Flyer
Guest
SQ Flyer

You can’t stopover in DPS on an SQ award booking. You’ll have to book one-way SIN-HKG and HKG-SIN-DPS awards separately. And then DPS-SIN-XYZ and XYZ-SIN separately. Or XYZ-SIN-ABC to continue, if you wish.

M
Guest
M

I may have worded wrongly, it’s stopover in SIN but a free trip to DPS. Well $270 in Business.

Anyone can answer my question on sequence?

Jeff
Guest
Jeff

The answer is no — you can’t do DPS after HND because you’re booking it as DPS-SIN-HND. Miss the first leg and the remaining ticket is not valid

M
Guest
M

Thanks for the clarity!

Jack
Guest
Jack

Which card would you recommend to use to pay the usd100 plus taxes?
Since payment is through phone, you will not get 4mpd from womans card or 3mpd from dbs altitude (tnc states sq online transactions etc). – let me know if i am wrong here

Kia choon Koh
Guest
Kia choon Koh

Hi
Assuming I have a SYD-SIN-FRA and I book 2 business saver . 1st June 2020 Depart Sydney and 1st May 2019 depart Sin for FRA .
Come June 2020 I wish to change my departure date for Fra to Dec 2020 but there are no more saver awards and only advantage awards left. What happens ? Can I just top up? Or I need to definitely choose a date that have saver awards ?

alian
Guest
alian

Another non stop over is SQ378 to BCN you can’t stop over at MXP. FYI

Kelvin
Guest
Kelvin

So much love for this article. In fact I came looking for the old version this evening – and guess what, the new version is right on top.

Just got off the phone for my very first stopover redemption – New Year from Hong Kong, Chinese New Year to Perth is booked and for 36,5k miles using a 787/350 combination that feels like a steal!

Thank you, Sir!

Raymond Wee
Guest

For 2 cities on 1 vacation, there’s also SIN-SYD-CBR which was something I went on last year but for some reasons maybe because the route was rather new then, I cannot book it online and had to go through the customer service to get the tickets. But then again even though CBR is the capital, it is a super under-the-radar destination.

Alvin K.
Guest
Alvin K.

If I were to do HKG-SIN-DPS..would it be better to do redemption online and add a stopover for free and choose a date within 30 days? After that call in to change the 2nd leg SIN-DPS to a later date and pay the USD100?

Or just call in Krisflyer straight away to do the USD100 stopover booking and choose a date for 2nd leg(which is undecided yet)?

I suppose either way I have to pay USD25 to change the date for 2nd leg SIN-DPS..am I right?

Also is the USD100 per person or per booking(all pax in booking)?

El_Noob
Guest
El_Noob

Sorry for the super noob question but I am only given the option of multi city/stopovers when trying to book a flight on SQ website. This then leads me to the page which allows me to add more flights instead of stopovers. What are the conditions to be able to add free stopovers, what’s the link, do I need to have enough KF miles for stopovers option to appear?

A
Guest
A

Same here, no option to add a stopover. Not sure where the screenshot in the article came from.

Roy
Guest
Roy

if iredeem nrt-sin-dps and then dont take the sin-dps leg. Will i be penalized ? reason is Nrt-Sin-Dps have availability while Nrt-Sin is WL

Aaron
Guest
Aaron

Hi, does this stopover trick work for revenue tickets? DEL – SIN (stop over) – TPE then TPE-SIN-DEL

freedom
Guest
freedom

For revenue ticket, you need refer to the fare rule. Some tickets allow 12 months free stopover.

T
Guest
T

If I have plan to go South Korea and Tokyo in one year.
Can we do Seoul – SIN – Tokyo with stopping over in Singapore?

Aaron
Guest
Aaron

Nope, that’s backtracking (literally “bouncing off” Singapore).

Liew Pei Geng
Guest
Liew Pei Geng

how if we are based in Singapore and we want to redeem saver tickets? as round saver will only entitles to one stopover.how to maximise stopover in this case?

Dave
Guest
Dave

Start somewhere else.

E.g. BKK-SIN-SYD-SIN-SYD

Use the free stopover after your first BKK-SIN flight and fly to SYD months later. Use a $100 stopover after the SYD-SIN flight and fly to BKK again months later.

Danny
Guest
Danny

Im looking to use the Stop-over trick for Melbourne > Singapore > New York (via Frankfurt) return. Would something like that work? Doing it on biz class.

Sin (oct) – Nyc
Sin (dec) – Mel

With the above, should i book:
a) One-way: NYC-SIN (stop-over)-MEL + MEL-SIN + SIN-NYC
b) Return: Mel-SIN (stop-over)-NYC (but Mel is my 2nd leg)

Thank you

Jason
Guest
Jason

Instead of calling Krisflyer over phone to redeem stopover award, can it be done at SQ ION customer svc centre ?

Jen
Guest
Jen

Hi Aaron, thanks for the tips, though my old brain can’t seem to digest the info.. :-O I’m planning to redeem tix from Spore to Osaka this Nov and Spore to Dusseldorf or Frankfurt next May. Can I do stopover for this? Thank you!

Joanna
Guest
Joanna

Is this possible if I’m based in JKT, and going FCO- JKT in Sep then swinging down to TUL in Dec?

Richard
Guest
Richard

Hi Aaron, can you advise the following:
I have booked this in 1 return ticket, ie round trip with 1 free stopover and 1 paid stopover:
1. Nov 2018 hkg->sin (already used)
2. Aug 2019 sin->london
3. Aug 2019 amsterdam->sin
4. Nov 2019 sin->hkg

My question, for leg #4, can i change to a later date, say in 2020?