If you have an upcoming Singapore Airlines flight, you may have received a mySQupgrade email inviting you to purchase an upgrade to a higher cabin. This can be the difference between squeezing in a middle seat, or stretching out on a full-flat bed with champagne on demand.
mySQupgrade used to be a black box, since you’d place a bid and cross your fingers that it’d be accepted. But ever since last year things have become a lot more straightforward: fixed price upgrades, fastest fingers first. If you like the price on offer, act quickly and that seat is yours.
Here’s a full guide to everything you need to know about mySQupgrade.
A brief history of mySQupgrade
Singapore Airlines launched its mySQupgrade programme in July 2016.
This was a surprising move for an airline that had been historically stingy with upgrades, and perhaps explained the extremely conservative implementation. Selected customers could place cash bids for upgrades from Economy to Premium Economy. That was it; the hallowed halls of Business Class were off-limits.
In 2017, however, the programme was expanded to cover upgrades to Business Class, and allow KrisFlyer members to bid with miles, albeit at a poor valuation (paying for an upgrade with miles is not the same as upgrading with miles).
But by far the biggest change came in 2022, when the bidding system was replaced with fixed cost upgrades, redemption tickets became eligible to participate, and upgrades to Suites and First Class were made available!
Sadly, 2023 has seen some cutbacks, with Suites and First Class upgrades removed, and mySQupgrade no longer available for redemption tickets and cheaper Economy Class fares.
Which tickets are eligible for mySQupgrade?
First of all, mySQupgrade invitations are not guaranteed; Singapore Airlines says they are made at the airline’s sole discretion, based on “certain criteria and a combination of factors, which are dynamic”.
If you do not receive an invitation, it could be because your ticket falls into one of the following categories:
- Flights are not ticketed by Singapore Airlines
- Flights are not operated by Singapore Airlines
- More than 9 passengers booking
- Infant(s) in booking
- Redemption award tickets
- Flight Pass bookings
- Bookings with Economy Lite or Economy Value fare types and Premium Economy Lite fare types
Note in particular the restrictions on infants (not children; you can purchase an upgrade even if there’s a child in your booking), redemption tickets, Economy Lite/Value and Premium Economy Lite fares.
Unfortunately, this means that only the more expensive Economy Standard/Flexi and Premium Economy Standard/Flexi can be upgraded, which puts mySQupgrade in line with SIA’s policy on upgrading with KrisFlyer miles.
When do mySQupgrade invitations go out?
mySQupgrade invitations should go out at the 72 hour mark to departure.
If you have not received an invitation, you can visit this page to manually enter your booking reference number and last name. An error message means you’re not eligible for an upgrade.
How are mySQupgrade invitations priced?
mySQupgrade will present you with a simple question: Upgrade to Premium Economy/Business Class for S$X. Yes or no?
The price quoted is always one-way, per passenger. If you are on a flight with multiple legs (e.g. SQ26 from SIN-FRA-JFK), read the offer carefully to see which leg(s) you’re being offered an upgrade for.
How many cabins can I upgrade?
Depending on your route and seat availability, you may be able to upgrade either one or two cabins.
- Economy Class to Premium Economy
- Economy Class to Business Class
- Premium Economy Class to Business Class
Remember that not every aircraft will have a Premium Economy cabin, or it may not be sold on your particular flight. For example, the long-haul A350-900 aircraft sometimes fly regional routes like Bangkok and Kuala Lumpur, but the Premium Economy cabin is not sold on these routes. Therefore, any mySQupgrade offers on these flights will be directly from Economy to Business Class.
Do note that upgrades to Suites and First Class are no longer possible through mySQupgrade.
What should I do when I get an invitation?
mySQupgrade is fastest fingers first. It’s entirely possible that you receive an invitation to upgrade, but get an error message when attempting to do so because someone else beat you to the punch.
Either way, you must make a decision at least nine hours before departure.
What if I have multiple passengers in my booking?
The mySQupgrade invitation will be sent to the main email address within the booking. The person who received the invitation will be purchasing on behalf of everyone in that booking.
It is possible to purchase an upgrade for some of the members in the booking but not others, though it’s a bit more complicated. You’ll need to contact your local SIA reservations office and request for the booking to be split so those passengers who want to upgrade are in one booking, and the rest in another.
How do I pay for my upgrade?
Upgrades can be paid for with credit cards, debit cards or KrisFlyer miles.
Please do not use KrisFlyer miles. Paying for an upgrade with KrisFlyer miles is not the same as redeeming an upgrade with KrisFlyer miles.
- When you pay for an upgrade with KrisFlyer miles, your miles are given a fixed value of 0.95 cents each, and the number of miles required depends on the cash price of the upgrade
- When you redeem an upgrade with KrisFlyer miles, the number of miles required follows this award cart. The number of seats available is dictated by award inventory (which will be a subset of how many seats are actually available)
Can I cancel an upgrade?
No. Once you’ve paid for an upgrade via mySQupgrade, any amount paid is strictly non-refundable.
Keep in mind, you can still change or cancel your flight depending on the fare conditions of the original booking, but the upgrade will be forfeited. You cannot transfer your upgrade from Flight A to Flight B.
Consider the example of John, who buys an Economy Flexi round-trip ticket from Singapore to Bangkok for S$607, plus a S$200 mySQupgrade to Business Class from Singapore to Bangkok.
If John decides to change his flight date, he will pay a S$30 fee (plus any fare differences), and his revised flight will be back in Economy; the S$200 mySQupgrade to Business Class is forfeited.
If John decides to cancel his flight, he will pay a S$130 booking cancellation fee and receive a refund of S$477. The S$200 mySQupgrade to Business Class is forfeited.
tl;dr: if you’re buying an upgrade, be sure you’re going to travel!
What if I’ve purchased paid services?
If you’re a Premium Economy or Economy Class passenger, you may have purchased certain add-ons such as advanced seat selection.
Should you upgrade to a higher cabin, you’re eligible for a refund of such fees. Contact Singapore Airlines to have the refund processed.
What benefits are upgraded tickets eligible for?
Tickets upgraded through mySQupgrade are eligible for all the standard benefits that come with that cabin class.
For example, if you upgrade to Business Class, you will be entitled to visit the lounge, as well as order Book the Cook (BTC) items where available (BTC requires a minimum notice of 24 hours, however, so if you buy your upgrade late you might not make the cut-off). Your luggage allowance will also be upsized.
|Adv. Seat Selection
|May be chargeable
|Book The Cook
|*Fees apply for extra legroom seats
However, the fare conditions of your booking will not change, and any accrual of KrisFlyer miles, Elite miles, PPS Value will be based on your original booking.
Can I further upgrade my ticket?
No. Upgraded tickets cannot be upgraded any further, whether with miles or cash.
Any gotchas I should look out for?
Yes. While all Premium Economy seats are pretty much the same, the Business Class seat that appears in the invitation email is for illustration only.
All images used in the upgrade invitation email and offer pages are for illustration purposes only. Actual product depends on aircraft type and the aircraft for any flight may be changed last-minute due to operational requirements.
This means you need to be aware of the different Business Class seats you could potentially get. Singapore Airlines currently has five different types, summarised in the table below.
|2013 Business Class
|2014 Regional Business Class
|2017 Business Class
|2018 Regional Business Class
|2021 Regional Business Class
To know which seat you’ll be getting, you need to know what aircraft you’re on. This can be found under Manage Booking, just below the fare class.
The only potential ambiguity here is the A350-900, because Singapore Airlines has three variants:
- A350-900 Medium Haul (MH, used for medium-haul flights)
- A350-900 Long Haul (LH, used for long-haul flights)
- A350-900 Ultra Long Range (ULR, used for non-stop flights to the USA)
All three are labelled the same on SIA’s website.
Fortunately, it’s fairly easy to identify which one you’re on, based on the seat map alone. You can view the seat map by making a dummy booking (i.e. attempt to book a Business Class seat for your flight; you can view the seat map just before making payment).
If you ask me, the only aircraft type you need to actively avoid is the B737-800NG. These former SilkAir jets feature recliner-style Business Class seats, a far cry from the flat-beds you’ll find on other Singapore Airlines aircraft.
These aircraft currently ply the Kuala Lumpur, Penang, Phuket and Kathmandu routes, though this is subject to change.
What’s a good price to pay for an upgrade?
This is a much harder question to answer, because it really depends. Only you can decide for yourself how much you value the extra comfort and amenities.
That said, my general principles would be:
- I’m more inclined to upgrade a red-eye or long/ultra-long haul flight, or if it were a special occasion
- I’m more inclined to upgrade a flight departing from Singapore, since that lets me enjoy the SilverKris Lounge on departure from Changi (overseas lounge quality can be hit or miss)
- I would check what the current cash price is for a seat in the upgraded cabin, then deduct the fare I’ve already paid to see what the upgrade “should” cost
- Look for data points shared on FlyerTalk or in the comments section of this post to get a sense of how much people normally pay
mySQupgrade allows Singapore Airlines passengers to purchase an instant upgrade to Premium Economy or Business Class. Depending on the offer price and your pain threshold, this could either be a good deal or a waste of money- you have to decide!
For what it’s worth, I have purchased some rather excellent upgrades before, like a S$168 upgrade from Economy to Premium Economy from Narita to Singapore. It’s all about the luck of the draw sometimes.