Here’s a strange quirk of the KrisFlyer program.
Suppose you really need to fly on a particular day, but there are no Saver awards available for immediate confirmation, only Advantage. Now, no one wants to pay Advantage prices, but if you have no flexibility around dates then that’s just what it is.
But just because there are no Saver awards now doesn’t mean they won’t open up later. So what some people may do is waitlist themselves for a Saver award, while holding on to a confirmed Advantage award should the worst happen. If the waitlist clears, you can pay a small fee to change to Saver and get the difference in miles refunded right?
I found myself in a somewhat similar situation recently. The Milelioness and I are heading to Tokyo in November, and I really wanted to show her Suites. Unfortunately, there were only Advantage awards on the date she could travel, so I bit the bullet and paid 120,000 miles per person (I’m submitting my nomination for husband of the year early).
Later on, her travel dates opened up, and I spotted 2X Suite Savers (70,000 miles each) departing one day earlier. It was a no-brainer to change, so I called up KrisFlyer to make the switch.
All along I had assumed that in this situation, you could just pay a US$25 “change of award type” fee and switch to the cheaper Saver award. After all, that’s what it says on the Singapore Airlines website.
But when I called up KrisFlyer, I was told that although I could pay a US$25 fee to change from Advantage to Saver, I wouldn’t get any of the excess miles refunded! Instead, I’d have to cancel my Advantage award and book a separate Saver award.
“Then what’s the point of showing a US$25 change of award type fee on the website?” I asked.
“That fee can be paid if you wish to upgrade from a Saver to Advantage award,” came the response. “You can pay the additional miles plus a US$25 fee to upgrade. However, you will not get any miles back if you downgrade.”
Maybe it’s just me, but I really can’t think of anyone who, having secured a Saver award, would decide to upgrade to Advantage. And if award tickets can only be upgraded, then isn’t the “change of award type” fee is basically pointless?
I suppose another way of thinking about it is that the true change of award type fee is US$50, not US$25. That’s because it costs US$50 to cancel an Advantage award, which is what you’d have to do if you were in my situation.
From an administrative point of view, it seems like it would be easier if they could just charge US$50 and refund the mileage difference, rather than make the customer cancel one award (and wait for the taxes and miles to be refunded), and book a separate one. The CSO was adamant that his system would not let him do that, however, so that’s what I ended up doing.
Will Saver awards clear if I’m confirmed on Advantage?
Some people may be wondering whether there’s any point waitlisting for Saver if they’re already holding an Advantage award. After all, the airline has sussed out that you’re willing to pay full price- why would they offer you a discount?
In my experience, that’s not how the system works. I’ve never felt that holding an Advantage award had any discernible impact on whether or not my Saver waitlist cleared.
But there are others who say differently.
So frankly, I don’t know. I don’t think it’s something that should keep you up at night, but if I were the hyper paranoid sort, I’d get my traveling partner to waitlist on Saver while I held the confirmed Advantage booking.
Keep in mind, you can’t waitlist on Saver if you hold a confirmed Advantage award on a given flight. You can monitor Saver and see if it opens, but you can’t add it to the same PNR as your Advantage award. However, you can add yourself to the Saver waitlist on different flights on the same route.
That said, I’d love to hear what other people have experienced, so sound out if you’ve got any stories to share.
It would be so much simpler if KrisFlyer would just list a US$50 “change of award type” fee and allow award downgrades with a refund of miles. It’s not the fault of the CSOs of course, if that’s how the system was designed, but it seems like a roundabout way of achieving the same end.
I’ve update the award ticket fees section in the KrisFlyer Guide to reflect this new information.
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