Am I eligible for a refund? A guide to Singapore Airlines’ Covid-19 Travel Waiver Policy

If you hold a Singapore Airlines ticket, you may be eligible for a full refund or bonus flight credits. Here's how to navigate the policy.

Singapore Airlines recently published its Covid-19 Travel Waiver Policy, which lays out the conditions under which refunds will be granted. Eligible passengers can receive a 100% cash refund, or up to a S$500 bonus if they opt for flight credits instead.

Although it’s great that refund eligibility is now spelled out in black and white, there’s quite a few permutations to deal with, namely around travel dates, when the ticket was issued, and who initiated the cancellation. To provide some clarity, I’ve attempted to summarise the scenarios in the flowchart below:

Click to enlarge

I’ve also listed a few FAQs below that may be helpful. These should be read in conjunction with the ones that SQ has already published on its website.

When will I know if my flight is cancelled?

Singapore Airlines has currently published its flight schedules for up till 30 June 2020. We can expect them to publish July’s schedule soon, so sit tight.

There’s no benefit to cancelling early. If you cancel your flight before an updated waiver policy is announced, you’ll bear the related costs. This is the case even if your flight is subsequently cancelled anyway!

How do I know when my ticket was issued?

If you’ve forgotten the date your ticket was issued, simply pull up your e-ticket. On the top right hand corner, you’ll see the date of issue.

date of issue

Your e-ticket can be found in your inbox, or on the Singapore Airlines website under “Manage My Booking”.

manage my booking

If you’re relying on the copy in your inbox, be sure you’re referring to the latest version. Subsequent changes after purchase (e.g a routing change) may have resulted in a re-issuance of the ticket, and the safest option is always to check the Singapore Airlines website. 

Does it matter if I bought my ticket through a travel agent?

Yes and no.

Yes in the sense that you’ll need to reach out to the agency to cancel or make changes to your existing booking.

Do note that certain OTAs (e.g Expedia) are triaging calls, and may not be willing to deal with your case until closer to departure.

No in the sense that your entitlements are the same as someone who bought direct, and you’ll follow the flowchart above in determining your eligibility for a refund/flight credits.

How long will it take to get a refund?

All change and refund requests should be submitted through this form.

Singapore Airlines has told customers to expect wait times of 4-6 weeks, as they are prioritising the processing of refunds based on travel dates.

How do flight credits work?

CabinBonus Flight Credits*
EconomyS$75
Premium EconomyS$100
BusinessS$200
First/SuitesS$500
*If your ticket contains a combination of cabin classes, bonus flight credits will be based on the higher cabin class

Flight credits are basically an IOU from Singapore Airlines that allow you to retain the full value of your unused fare and taxes. Once you’ve decided on your new travel plans, your credits can be used to book a new flight itinerary, which must be completed by 31 December 2021. 

There’s no need for your rebooked flight to be to the same destination, or in the same cabin. These flight credits are basically a kind of captive cash, and can be used to offset the fare of any subsequent itinerary. Do note that although change fees are waived, you will still need to pay fare differences, if any.

If your new itinerary costs less than the existing one, the excess flight credits can be used towards booking a second trip. However, flight credits can only be used for a maximum of two itineraries.

For example, John holds a S$1,000 flight credit from a cancelled flight to San Francisco. He chooses to rebook another itinerary to Perth (S$500), and another itinerary to Bangkok (S$200). The remaining S$300 will be forfeited.

How does Singapore Airlines calculate the value of a partial refund?

If your ticket is partially used, you get a refund of the remaining value. For example, on a one-way MEL-SIN-LHR ticket with the first leg flown, you’ll receive back the taxes and fare in respect of the SIN-LHR leg.

How is this calculated? Only Singapore Airlines knows. Internally, their pricing algorithm has a way of allocating the total fare to individual legs for the purposes of revenue recognition. Keep in mind that a MEL-SIN-LHR ticket will price very differently from the sum of a MEL-SIN ticket and a SIN-LHR ticket, so it’s not possible to decompose the figure by pro-rating the legs accordingly.

What happens if I redeemed my ticket with miles?

Redemption tickets are not eligible for bonus flight credits, only for a full refund with the applicable fees waived. This applies to any award booking with travel up till 31 July 2020. 

If your booking contains miles which have expired or are due to expire up till May 2021, these will be extended till 30 June 2021.

Miles Expiry MonthMiles Extended Till
On/before March 202030 June 2021^
April 2020 to May 202130 June 2021
June 2021 and afterOriginal miles expiry date
^Miles cannot be further extended

If you refunded a ticket before the travel waiver policy came into effect (9 April) and forfeited expired miles in the process, those miles will not be retroactively returned to you. Likewise, if you paid a service fee to cancel a redemption booking before 9 April, you won’t get a  refund of that fee.

What if I relied on the ticket spending to hit a sign-up bonus?

By default, Singapore Airlines will issue a refund to your original mode of payment. This can be an problem if you used the amount to hit a credit card sign-up bonus.

After all, a refund means that amount was never spent, and the bank may claw back any miles (base or bonus) issued in respect of that spending. While I’ve seen base miles clawed back many times, I haven’t heard so many stories about bonus miles being clawed back. That’s not to say it doesn’t happen, though, and the T&Cs clearly give the bank the right to do so.

If you’re in this situation, it’s advisable you opt for flight credits instead. However, if you insist on getting a cash refund, it’s better to transfer the points out and close the credit card in question before doing so. Mention to customer service that the original credit card has been cancelled, and they may be able to arrange for a different mode of refund.

Conclusion

As far as possible, use this form to contact Singapore Airlines and avoid long wait times on the phone. The ION service centre is anyways closed due to the circuit breaker, so these are your only two options.

If your travel dates are still some ways to go, don’t panic just yet. Singapore Airlines will doubtless extend the coverage of their travel waiver policy if the situation hasn’t cleared up by the time you’re due to fly. In the meantime, keep abreast of developments in the country you’re intending to travel to, and monitor the Singapore Airlines Facebook page for updates.

Aaron Wong
Aaron Wong
Aaron founded The Milelion to help people travel better for less and impress chiobu. He was 50% successful.

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UK_Ship

One issue I had is that a ticket was bought in foreign currency (issued in Oz) and as such they could not give me flight credits (system could not process the value) – so I had to take the refund.

bluepanda

Are you able to write a similar article for Asia Miles?

Joe

For partially used ticket, do note that if you decide to opt for refund in cash, amount will be determined by SIA. No one knows how this is calculated. I’ve got a refund for a partial used ticket, and the refunded amount is 15% of original ticket price!

Han

Does anyone know what happens to partially used award tickets (ie stopover trick)? I have used the first leg but not the second leg yet.

Sune Chao Ren

Hi Aaron or other ML team/reader. Any advice on how to escalate “poor customer service” during rebooking of SIA ticket booked directly with SIA to more senior within Customer service ([email protected])? I had booked in Feb for SIN-KIX-SIN on Y-class at 646 SGD each for 4 tickets for a trip end March which got cancelled. Day prior to departure I get on phone with call center and agree to reschedule trip 6 month. From here things go pear shape. Agent ask me to pay fare difference of +10 SGD while I say that at that very moment on SIA own… Read more »

W Ho

Your flow diagram/chart is cute!

Just got my refund for a cancelled LAX trip late last month, it was booked on 16 Mar.

The refund amount is $60 less than what I paid – so I wrote to SQ support & OCBC card center.

Didn’t feel like calling & being put on hold .. so stay tuned for the update!

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