In light of the growing concern over the Wuhan coronavirus, airlines have started to issue fee waivers for travel to and from China.
Singapore Airlines and Scoot have just announced that they will be waiving all cancellation and change fees for customers with tickets issued on or before 28 January 2020, for travel to and from Mainland China up to and including 29 February 2020.
Singapore Airlines and SilkAir passengers can contact the Singapore Airlines hotline at +65 6223 8888 before departure to cancel or change their plans. Scoot passengers can contact the airline via social media or the hotline at +65 3157 6434.
Waiver covers award travel too
The press release does not explicitly mention this, but the waiver also covers award travel, including Spontaneous Escapes tickets which normally cannot be cancelled.
I can imagine more than a few people jumped on the fantastic 51% off deals we saw earlier this month, before the true extent of the outbreak was known, so if you happened to pick a China destination rest assured that your miles are still recoverable.
However, based on discussions with customer service, if part or all of your booking was made with miles which have expired, you won’t get them back despite the waiver of the refund fee.
|“How can my miles have expired if my ticket is still valid?” It’s a confusing concept for sure, but tl;dr, there’s a difference between the validity of your ticket and the validity of your miles. If you redeemed your miles very close to expiry, it’s possible that they may not be recoverable by the time you decide to cancel your award ticket. For a full explanation, read this post.|
In that case, you’ll want to see if your travel insurance covers the loss of frequent flyer miles and points. To my knowledge, Chubb, Sompo, and Aviva are the only three policies in the market to offer such coverage.
Alternatively, if you want to avoid forfeiting your expired miles you can push your travel dates out into the future. Remember that award tickets are valid for 1 year from the date of issuance, so if for example I redeemed an award ticket on 10 January 2020 to Shanghai with a travel date of 24 February 2020, I can push the travel date up to 9 January 2021.
You can also ask the agent to “open date” the ticket, which cancels the existing flight and lets you decide on the revised travel date later on.
What are the SIA-group’s Mainland China destinations?
Singapore Airlines, SilkAir and Scoot serve the following destinations in Mainland China.
Do note that Hong Kong, Kaohsiung, Macau and Taipei are not included under “Mainland China”.
My personal opinion is that travelling to China now isn’t worth the potential risk, so if I were scheduled to go there I’d be giving those plans some serious thought right now.
Otherwise, I’m still comfortable with flying in general, and I don’t see any reason to change that barring some new developments.