Singapore Airlines now offering instant cash upgrades (including First/Suites)

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SIA has overhauled its mySQupgrade programme, replacing bidding with instant cash upgrades- including to First and Suites!

Singapore Airlines launched its mySQupgrade programme back in July 2016, which allowed customers to make cash bids for upgrades from Economy to Premium Economy. 

This was eventually expanded to cover upgrades to Business Class, and allow KrisFlyer members to bid with miles (albeit at a miserable valuation; paying for an upgrade with miles is not the same as upgrading with miles).

Singapore Airlines has now made some significant changes to mySQupgrade, replacing bidding with fixed cost upgrades for a limited time. What’s more, even the hallowed First/Suites cabin is now fair game!

New Singapore Airlines upgrade system

mySQupgrade
Check Eligibility
 PreviousCurrent
ModelBid for upgradesFixed price upgrades
Award BookingsIneligibleEligible
PaymentCash or milesCash only
Bid/Purchase≥50 hours before departure ≤72 hours of departure
Results≥36 hours before departureInstant
Upgrade toPremium Economy or BusinessPremium Economy, Business or First/Suites

Under the old system, Singapore Airlines passengers were able to submit upgrade bids up to 50 hours before departure. A minimum bid applied, and either cash or KrisFlyer miles (but not a mixture of both) could be used for bidding. 

A five-colour meter would let you know the “strength” of your bid, though it was important to take this with a liberal pinch of salt, as the system was obviously designed to nudge you towards higher bids. 

Previous upgrade interface

Successful bids would be confirmed at least 36 hours before departure.

With the new system, there’s no more bidding. Within 72 hours of departure, passengers will be offered a take-it-or-leave-it price, and all upgrades are confirmed immediately upon payment. 

All upgrade can only be paid for with cash; paying with KrisFlyer miles is no longer available (not that you should in the first place!). Moreover, redemption bookings are now eligible for upgrades too, and upgrades to Suites/First Class are also possible. 

I received an invitation to upgrade my upcoming Business Class award flight to Los Angeles, though I’d be hard pressed to pay the S$4,560 asking price…

Do note that upgrades will not be available in the following scenarios: 

  • Flights are not ticketed by Singapore Airlines
  • Flights are not operated by Singapore Airlines
  • More than 9 passengers booking
  • Infant(s) in booking
  • Pay with miles bookings
  • Flight Pass bookings

No further upgrades can be applied to a segment that has already been upgraded via mySQupgrade, so you can’t pay for a Premium Economy Class upgrade, then subsequently upgrade to Business Class (however, as the above screenshot shows, it may be possible for an Economy Class passenger to buy a direct upgrade to Business Class).

Upgraded bookings will be eligible for lounge access, if in Business or First Class

Upgraded bookings enjoy all the entitlements of the higher cabin, including lounge access (where applicable), extra baggage, priority check-in and priority boarding. However, you will earn miles and status credits as per your original booking.

If you previously made payment for advanced seat selection or additional baggage, you will need to contact Singapore Airlines for a refund upon successfully upgrading. 

Upgrades are strictly non-refundable, although your ticket will retain its original conditions (and Singapore Airlines is waiving all change fees till at least 31 March 2022). In other words, should you later choose not to fly, you’ll forfeit the upgrade fee, but may be eligible for a refund of the underlying ticket depending on the fare conditions. 

Do also keep in mind there is no guarantee you’ll be seated together with your travelling companion. Once upgraded, you’ll need to select seats in the new cabin from the Manage My Booking function. 

What are the implications?

Fixed-price upgrades likely to be higher than previous minimum bids

The key question I have (and I can’t answer without more data points) is how much upgrades will cost under the fixed-price system.

While there have previously been reports of successful upgrades made at minimum bid, you can bet that the fixed price offered will be higher than what previous minimum bids were- but just how much is anyone’s guess.

I really can’t tell you whether it’s “worth it” to upgrade, because that boils down to an individual’s means and preferences. For me personally, I’d be more inclined to upgrade if it were a red-eye flight, an ultra long haul flight, or a special occasion. 

The second thing to note is that the new system makes upgrades time-sensitive affairs. While the previous system only assessed bids within 50 hours before departure, the new system is first-come-first-serve. If you see the upgrade email late, it’s entirely possible all seats will be gone by the time you try to buy one.

I do also wonder whether this will have any discernible impact on the number of seats made available for awards. For my SIN-LAX flight, even though one First Class seat was available for purchase/upgrade, I wasn’t able to book that seat with miles. We’ll have to see, although it’s also a function of how many people are willing to pay the asking price. 

Conclusion

Does a Suites upgrade await you in the near future?

Singapore Airlines has replaced its bid-to-upgrade system with a fixed-price model, in what it describes as a “limited time only” arrangement. I assume they’re running a trial and want to see whether this model proves to be a better revenue generator than the previous one. 

Long-time SIA veterans will know how zealously the airline guards its premium cabins, so it may come as something of a shock to know that First Class/Suites upgrades are now on the table- although still steep, if my one data point is anything to go by. 

I’ve reached out to Singapore Airlines for further comment on this, and will update the article if/when I get a response. 

Update: A Singapore Airlines spokesperson provided the following response:

SIA has changed its mySQupgrade system from bidding model to fixed fee instant purchase on 15th February 2022. It is a permanent switch.

Have you received any upgrade invitations? Do share your data points (route, original cabin, date, upgrade amount)!

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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Sam

Upgrade offer from Economy to Business. 400 SGD for a 2h flight (Cambodia).

Don’t immediately see the use case on why I would pay this out of pocket…

anon

company pays your economy class ticket, you pay a little for comfort.. tho i guess you need at least a 12 hour flight to make it worth..

Last edited 8 months ago by anon
Kenneth

$430 one-way to BKK – from Economy Lite to Business. If I include the cost of the economy ticket, that’s higher than buying a one-way Business from the get go.

Tan

These are almost guaranteed to be poor value. Every single airline I’ve seen this on sells fixed price upgrades at unappealing prices. Combine that with SQ’s protection of its premium cabins and there’s not much chance for outsized value.

Siyuan

I bid a business class upgrade from Seoul to Singapore for $599, and got it. Day time flight so the time passed effortlessly.

Then on my recent trip Singapore-Brisbane, which is roughly the same time span, they were offering $1,600+… I like the old way more. 😀

Siyuan

It was great. I had 6 glasses of champagne 😀

Ho Xu

Bought the cheapest economy fare. Offered SYD to SIN upgrade, business class 1600+, or premium economy 750 AUD

Geoff

Sounds more expensive than if you had bought bus to begin with.

Alex

I’ve tried this numerous times with other airlines (and cruises) and found that you need to bid close to the actual business class fare to get the upgrade and then, of course, you’ve only actually upgraded one of the two legs. I’ve found this very bad value. Might as alway pay the J fare and get both legs and the points.

Matrix.RX1

fully agree, on Swiss I never once even considered it. Near to same pricing as fare difference and no miles.

ZYX

Etihad SIN=AUH. 7h flight. got SIN-AUH for US$365. Will try US$325 for AUH-SIN

ian

I paid for an upgrade yesterday, Seoul to Singapore, SGD864 for economy saver to business, 6 hour-ish flight

paid as the flight was absolutely full, health+safety reasons. i found the pricing quite steep

anon

sucks that you only get the original miles for the flight..

Rahmath Ali

Yes, I managed to upgrade to Biz on SQ 708 14 Feb 22 and return SQ 709 19 Feb SIN-BKK.

I bid minimum of SGD300 each way and was accepted by SQ.

Matrix.RX1

do I understand correctly that if one would accept the 4’560 SGD upgrade offer listed in the article that said passenger would not only NOT get any miles (possibly also no PPS value) and also NOT be refunded if there is a change (which is quite the likelihood for C and above bookings in these times?).

Matrix.RX1

ps. I have a question re: upgrades. I book my own tickets, the company pays C but on occasion I’d like to fly F. Booking F and asking only for the C part is not a possibility and if I book C and then upgrade to F I need to pay the SQ booking fee on top. Is there any other method you would suggest? Thanks

CLR

I book through our corporate travel agent. They issue the invoice for C class fare which is reimbursed by the company. I make separate payment for the top up to F class. There is no extra booking fee.

Chris

SIN – SYD Offered upgrade to F on A380 – $2100. Cancelled the trip 24 hrs before but probably would have upgraded if I flew.

Stevie Chew

early March SQ877 TPE-SIN ECO-BIZ USD254

W L

Received an email inviting to “upgrade” for my SIN-SFO only to then be told “your booking is not eligible”. Getting picky, huh?

Nat

Same thing happened to me and within 30 mins of getting the email? Confused

Razeen

The new system doesn’t make any sense at all. I purchased an Economy Saver ticket for $424 and the Business Saver for the same route is $1134, meaning to upgrade by paying the fare difference would be $1134-424=$710. However, mysqupgrade is setting the price at $840 for the “instant upgrade” feature. LOL okay sure.

Geoff

I think Siyuan above is the same. Not sure how they think charging more will appeal.

Afiq

My upcoming SIA VTL flight from KL to SG eligible for upgrade from economy to business for RM535.

Company buy economy standard ticket for RM1200 two ways

Afiq

Flight back to KL was offered to business class for RM683

rogerina

SIN to LAX, early Apr
Eco to Prem Eco = SGD 900
Eco to Biz = SGD 2500

Ken

SIN > ZRH, Business, 19 Apr, $3410

Peppermint2521

Barcelona to SG:
Econ to Premium Econ: S$724
Econ to Biz: S$1,800

Nate

Has anyone received an offer lax – sin . If so , how much ?

C L

Offered PE to Biz , lax-sin USD1244

Bharat Poria

PE to Biz >> $1250 lax-sin august 2022

Last edited 3 months ago by Bharat Poria
Nicole Bot

March 2022 offered econ-bus upgrade sun-Syd. $1800. Was an overnight flight with a long layover. Still deciding. The lounge access for 8hrs may be worth it.

Yw Yw

Offered $430 from Econ to Business. But my friend on the same flight got offered $250 for her upgrade. (Bangkok). wonder why…

C L

Received upgrade invite to LAX-SG leg from Premium Economy, USD1244 for May flight.

C L

Prem Econ to Business

anon

late apr. sin-cdg. paid abt sgd700 for econ lite. upgrade fee to biz priced at sgd 1.8k.

Rev

Just got an offer this morning. Trip from SIN to SYD (7 hrs 40 mins), from Economy to:
– Premium Economy: $800
– Business: $1990

Not sure whether if I should upgrade but I think I’ll consider and it’s more worth it to get an upgrade in my return trip, longer duration and all. Just wondering if I’ll be offered an upgrade for my return trip to Singapore.

anony

Did u get to find out if it included return?

Jon

Did anyone fly from Copenhagen to Singapore and was offered an upgrade? If so, how much did it cost?

mw

Received an upgrade offer from Premium Economy to Business Class for JFK to Frankfurt for $260 USD. Insanely good deal.

Jon

Yes that was indeed a great deal. Hope I get something similar from CPH to SIN.

LXY

Upgrade offer from SIN to ICN. Economy to Biz at $1040

Laura

Upgrade offer from cheapest possible Economy to Premium Economy for IAH – MAN (10 hour flight) for $565 USD per person, Economy to Business for $2010 (I think) per person. I splurged for the Premium Economy and still got seats together for the two of us on the reservation.

Sam Woo

Got offered $1899 for FRA – JFK Business to Suites 8.5 hour flight on the A380

Jem

It would be odd that they only offered one leg, I assumed that you flew from SIN to FRA first

Paco

Offered €1800 J to F SYD-SIN
and €2400 J to F SIN-FRA

Ridiculous considering I paid €2700return in J FRA-SIN-SYD-SIN-FRA

Lawrence

Hi guys, is Singapore airline economy value ticket usually eligible for bid to upgrade? Many thanks

Ann

Incheon to Singapore. Just got option today S$540 for upgrade to Biz class (originally on economy). Departure from Incheon is 31 Aug Wed.

hihi

$540 sounds pretty decent, I hope I’ll get a similar offer in Dec. Do you recall what was the fare class of your ticket?

Jon

I got an offer now. It’s over $1000 for CPH-SIN and another $330 for SIN-BKK (2 hour flight). Will pass, I really don’t think it’s good value.

Brian

SQ 22
SIN-EWR
Premium Economy (R) to Business
1291 USD

Len

SIN-BKK
SGD 430 to upgrade to Business

BTYY

I paid $1786 on top of $900 (original fare) for a business class upgrade for my return trip from Rome to SG (transiting at Copenhagen) in late April.

Economy there, business class back.

Alex

Offered upgrade from Economy to Business, for Kathmandu to Singapore. AUD $181.

Jumped on it ! 😀

Vincent

Received an upgrade for a second leg of my wife’s flight, SIN – CGK for MYR 1,172 (SGD 350). Postpone the decision to upgrade or not by 1 hour and it’s gone 😀

TKC

Osaka KIX to Singapore 2 weeks ago. Offered S$730 per pax for an upgrade from Economy to Business. Original economy return tics at $1K.

AfmP

Sg to Male.. eco to biz for 800+. Original two way eco was at 900+. Worth it?

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