Airlines

Singapore Airlines’ strange award change policy

Holding an Advantage award but hoping that a Saver clears? Here's something you might like to know.

Here’s a strange quirk of the KrisFlyer program.

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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?

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).

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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.”

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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.

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But there are others who say differently.

Source: Flyertalk

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.

Conclusion

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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lifeonthego_k
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lifeonthego_k

This sounds bizarre. Back in Nov last year I had an advantage award ticket for SIN-EWR. A couple of days prior to departure Saver availability opened up. When I called in to make the change, the CSO charged me $25 to change the ticket and refunded me the excess miles.

mrpotato
Guest
mrpotato

Could it be that lifeonthego_k’s change is for the same flight but in Aaron’s case it is not?

R
Guest
R

did you HUCA?

Other Phill
Guest
Other Phill

Was told this as well when I wanted to downgrade from business to economy. Was told you could only upgrade, since the miles would not be refunded.

yar
Guest
yar

Just tried to wait list for a Saver ticket for an Advantage ticket I bought, and noticed now SA requires you to have enough miles in to cover the Saver ticket before you can even wait. Before they don’t check miles when waitlisting. This is a big downgrade, it mean I need almost twice the amount of miles in account to do the Adv -> Saver strategy.

“You don’t have enough KrisFlyer miles in your account. You need another xxxxx miles.”

freedom
Guest
freedom

That’s why you waitlist 1st, then confirm the advantage ticket. Waitlist does not cost miles or hold miles. So you can use all your miles to confirm the advantage ticket without any mile left, but still waitlist on another ticket.

soaraway
Guest
soaraway

Wow still, what a deal though. How did you manage to get 70,000 miles on this flight. Rn it is 140,000 miles per way!

Andy
Guest
Andy

Aaron, I’m not sure if your case was different from mine, I called the cso before book my advantage ticket. JCL to HKG, I told her that I booked for my family 3 saver tickets for (Eg. SQ866) and when it’s my turn, there is no more saver but I do see an advantage flight available , so I called and ask if it’s possible for me to waitlist SQ 866 and booked the Advantage, she said it’s not possible because I can’t waitlist and have a firm ticket on the same flight, my waitlist won’t clear so she suggested… Read more »

freedom
Guest
freedom

Why do you need pay $25? I recently waitlisted on a saver award and reserves another saver award on a later flight at the same time. It did not cost any miles or money. A few days later, I received email from SQ that I have to confirm and pay fo the later flight. I call Krisflyer member service and the CSO extended the hold on the award for later flight so that I don’t have to confirm it til much later(half year). A while later, my waitlisted flight was available and I confirmed it. I only paid the miles… Read more »

DXBFlyer
Guest
DXBFlyer

I was once confirmed in first saver SIN-DXB. Few days prior to travel, business saver became available, and I called to make the switch. Only AFTER making the $25 payment and processing the ticket reissue did the CSO advise that excess miles will not be refunded! Naturally, I made a big hoo-ha, and the call centre supervisor approved an op-up to first so that I ‘will not lose out’. What a massive waste of time and effort!

Dave
Guest
Dave

Upon learning Delta would end its NRT service, I blew my last 80k SkyMiles on two J tickets in their B767 (featuring their legendary 2004 IFE incl a pre-historic touchscreen along with their well-known customer friendly service attitude) for me and the wife. Needless to add this requires us to reach Changi at 4am on Saturday.

I am herewith withdrawing my husband of the year application.

Thank you.

KG
Guest

How did it show you 70k for saver to Tokyo on first class? It’s 140k for saver and 240k for advantage. Sounds like you got a very good deal!

Jamie
Guest
Jamie

I think u reissue the standard to saver award instead of refund ur saver tkt and issue new tkt on standard award. If reissue, higher to lower, miles will not be refunded. And also, if ur miles have expired whether is it refund or reissue, it won be refunded as well.

Jamie
Guest
Jamie

And the reason why u need to waitlist on a new PNR is because of refund is easier then reissue.

Jamie
Guest
Jamie

Svc fees for refunding miles n taxes is higher than reissue fees.

Kelvin
Guest
Kelvin

Hi Aaron,

I think it ‘kind of’ make sense though. So everyone who are willing to go on advantage and went on to book a flight -will be a no brainer to automatically just waitlist of saver.

There’s a cost to pay for each award: for saver, you enjoy lower miles but risks of not getting the flight if they don’t open up more slots. Whereas for advantage, you pay more miles, but higher chance of securing a seat.

CCY
Guest
CCY

This is not entirely the same situation, but also related to redemption. We don’t have enough miles to redeem 3 tickets SIN-LAX so we decided to buy PY and upgrade. Before booking, I checked the availability for saver redemption for 3 business tickets for SIN-LAX. They were available. So I went ahead and bought the tickets. Then I tried to upgrade using the website. The website allowed me to upgrade, but screwed up the itinerary (it put in an extra leg). So I logged out and login again. The itinerary was right this time, but only advantage award was available!… Read more »