Redeeming Krisflyer Miles for Star Alliance Partner Awards

Krisflyer partner awards can now be booked directly on the SQ website. The site is still buggy and doesn’t show all potential options, but the situation is gradually improving. There are three situations where I think the partner award chart is worth a gander:

When Saver awards are not available

Here are three charts that compare the prices of one-way SQ Saver, SQ Advantage and Star Alliance awards.

My observations:

(1) If an SQ Saver award is not available, it is always cheaper to see if a partner award ticket is available before settling for an SQ Advantage award

(2) However, you need to factor in possibility of making connections. From a time point of view I might be indifferent between flying SQ or ANA between SIN-NRT, but flying TG would mean routing SIN-BKK-NRT, adding time to my overall journey

(3) You also need to take into account product quality differentials- there are few who would argue that the EVA or ANA Business Class experience is any less worthy than SQ’s, but I might be somewhat less enthusiastic to swap SQ for say, Air India.

(4) Also remember that KrisFlyer does not charge fuel surcharges on SQ and MI flights, but will pass on fuel surcharges where they are levied on partner award tickets

I would advise that you always book two one-way awards on a partner airline instead of a round trip. One-way awards cost 50% the cost of a round trip, and remember that Krisflyer does not allow date changes on partially used partner tickets (it costs US$20 if you change before departure). Therefore it makes more sense to have these as separate tickets.

As mentioned in the intro, you can use the SQ website to search for partner award space, but a much better option is to use United.com, Aeroplan.com or ANA’s website to search for space, then (1) book it on the SQ website if it’s available (2) call up Krisflyer and ask them to book the award if it’s not. Emphasize that the award is not available on the SQ website and they will waive the booking fee.

When flying point to point outside of Singapore

There may be situations where you need to get around outside of Singapore, eg if you’re flying domestically in the USA or within Europe. In those cases, the Krisflyer partner award chart has some good value too.

round trip prices

Domestic flights within North America cost 12,500 and 20,000 miles one-way for economy and first class respectively. Remember that flights on United within the US are two cabin configured, so if you book business class you essentially fly first class. That can be great value, especially if you’re doing a transcontinental route like SFO/LAX-EWR/BOS. These routes get the much upgraded United long haul business class product, as I reviewed from BOS-SFO recently.

United transcontinental business class

Intra-Europe flights are 12,500 and 27,500 miles one-way for economy and business class respectively. I’m not really sold on business class, given the underwhelming intra-Europe business class experience (some exceptions!), but economy class may be good value if revenue tickets are coming out at very high prices during the period you’re looking at and you don’t fancy Easyjet or Ryanair.

Lufthansa Intra Europe business class. Hint, it’s the area in front of the curtain

Flights within South America can also be good value at 12,500 and 20,000 miles one-way for economy and business class respectively. South America is a big continent, and getting from, say, Bogota to Santiago is 5.5 hours by plane, about the same distance as flying from Los Angeles to New York. There is good value to be found by redeeming awards especially if you manage to get one of Avianca’s widebody A330s. I had the opportunity to review Avianca’s excellent A330 hard product between Sao Paulo and Santiago, which features full flat reverse herringbone seats in a 1-2-1 configuration.

Avianca Brasil A330 business class

The Europe to Middle East zone used to be one of the most amazing deals on the Krisflyer partner award chart at 35,000 miles for one-way First Class. That was insane, because it meant for a mere 35,000 miles you could enjoy the Lufthansa First Class Terminal (FCT) on your flights between FRA and RUH/DXB/wherever else in the Middle East Lufthansa offered First Class. That opportunity is now gone as the same route costs 60,000 miles, but if you twisted my arm I guess I could condone shelling out that amount of miles if it’s your only chance in life to try the FCT.

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Lufthansa A330 First Class

You want to try a new cabin product

Singapore Airlines has one of the best long haul business class products out there, whether you fly their old A380, their new A380, their old 77Ws or their new 77Ws. Now that their old regional business class is getting replaced by a new full flat product, there’s very little reason to doubt the claim that Singapore Airlines will soon have the best business class hard products in the world. The First Class ain’t too shabby too.

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ANA B77W First Class

That said, if you’re craving for something different, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t be trying other great business and first class products out there. I’ve found ANA’s First Class to be an excellent experience, and both ANA and EVA have excellent business class products as I mentioned earlier (you get Rimowa amenities kits on EVA). Heck, the new United Polaris is pretty decent too.

Award space between Singapore and West Coast USA is generally good on EVA and ANA, so if you’ve always wanted to try something different, why not start with that?

Conclusion

Krisflyer devalued its Star Alliance partner award chart recently, which stung quite a bit. That said, there’s still some value to be found, especially if Saver awards on SQ metal aren’t available. There’s still an alarming number of people out there who have never redeemed their Krisflyer miles for a partner award, but hopefully as the online redemption engine improves we’ll see more members getting value out of the chart.

39 comments

  1. Hey there,

    I want to fly business from SIN to either Munich or Toulouse (latter being preferred) from June 29t 2016 until August 7th 2016. Do you have any magic fares lurking around? I will soon have 155k KrisFlyer miles and also still have 100k Aegean Miles&More miles. What would you suggest? I personally do not need any miles for keeping gold for next year as I am flying business at Christmas….my wife, who will only fly from the 29th of June until July 15th, will need miles though. Anyway, any help would be awesome.

    Cheers,

    Wolfgang

    1. sorry- totally missed this post. i would strongly suggest you don’t burn KF miles for star alliance redmeptions. Lifemiles is the answer! were you able to get in on the latest lifemiles sale? there should be another one around christmas

  2. Hi Aaron

    I am trying to redeem miles for a business class ticket to Europe in May, but am having no luck on available tickets. Am surprised as its more than 6 months later and it’s already on wait list. Care to share your tips on how to snag the business class tickets?

    Thanks

    1. hi cindy!

      need more details- what route? business saver is almost impossible to get for periods <9 months and >2 weeks to departure. it’s just like that sadly.
      i would suggest you look at cathay. you can waitlist without any miles in your account, if it clears transfer miles and book. have this as your backup option (hopefully you kept your miles in your dbs/uob account in point form so you can transfer to asiamiles at 1:1 ratio too). in fact you should count yourself lucky that business saver waitlist is open…for a lot of US flights business saver wont even be available. otherwise…lifemiles?

        1. I haven’t exactly fixed my routes yet as I really want to fly business with my mum as a surprise so it’s kind of dependent on which routes are available. London is a must and preferably Barcelona. I currently have 89k krisflyer points (22k which expires in nov) , 110k in Citibank, 50k in DBS (think it’s only krisflyer redeemable?) and $13k with Amex. Think I have just enough to scrap 2 business class on krisflyer. Appreciate your help!

  3. I wouldn’t say its not worth while in terms of mileage required but the surcharges they charge is atrocious. I have redeemed a flight on Turkish Airlines to Europe on business and they charge a whopping $300 for surcharges even though if you redeem the same ticket on United or with Turkish, surcharges are less than $50. I have written a feedback letter to them but I have not heard from them yet. Obviously the surcharges is going to them and not to Turkish and there is no justification for that. Interested to hear your thoughts on this.

    1. let me know what they say because i’m not clear on that too. i mean, lifemiles doesn’t charge any fuel surcharges on any award tickets but SQ does. does this mean that lifemiles eats the surcharges when customers redeem sq tickets? and similarly, for UA/ other ffps that don’t levy surcharges, who eats that? Unless the surcharges are really low and a good amount of that is a disguised fee to sq, which i wouldn’t put past them actually

  4. Hi Aaron,

    Would you happen to know how redemption can be done for Star Alliance flights, using Krisflyer miles?

    I happen to want to travel from Singapore to Sapporo, and SIA doesn’t serve the route, except during a niche period in the December.

    However, I can make a redemption with ANA, transiting in Tokyo, and be able to enjoy ANA Business/First Class, albeit at the cost of some miles.

    I found the routing using United Airlines search tool, and it states the number of miles and the taxes, however, is that indicative, or does Krisflyer charge an extra “fuel surcharge” or “tax for using other airlines”?

    It all seems to be a big black box…

  5. Hi Aaron

    Have u taken a domestic flight in US by redeeming ur miles on a star alliance flight?
    If so can u recommend a star alliance carrier with an acceptable business class product?
    Also, how do you go about redeeming with that carrier using Kris flyer miles?

    Thanks a bundle!!!

    1. yes i have. are you taking about domestic US? then you’re out of luck. unless you’re flying one of United’s PS routes (SFO/LAX-EWR), you can forget about a decent product. you’ll have recliner style first class seats (see my trip report from the RTW trip). if you’re able to get PS routes you’ll have a full flat seat. all aircraft are narrow body (some exceptions though, they may fly wide body now and then but is exception not the rule)
      on the plus side, KF has very good star alliance partner rates for domestic US (see this article)
      you need to call KF membership svcs to book.

  6. Any idea wat about air Canada from SFO/lax to any Canadian state? Read they got decent business class but unable to confirm the kind of seating for these particular routes

  7. Hi Aaron… I take it you visited the Virgin Atlantic JFK clubhouse before? The services like head massage and haircut is stated as complimentary or $20 if taken as an additional service? any idea what that means?
    Also, if flying out from JFK on business are SIA passengers allowed to access these services too? Thanks again! ?

  8. Hi Aaron!

    Planning a trip to Japan in April / May and would like to experience the first class suites (prob can afford only 1 leg!). The trip plan is roughly to entire fly in to Tokyo and out Osaka or vice versa is also fine. My miles are mostly in Krisflyer at the moment but can transfer to Asiamiles via credit cards too.

    Are you able to recommend which flights are best to experience the first class suites? I recall one of your articles mentioning to be selective on redemption in case the hard earned miles get redeemed on a dud product.

    Btw, is there any websites to check what which are the “good” flights to redeem business and first class suites on? Loathe to keep asking you on this!

    1. sorry Cindy I totally missed your post.
      generally you might want to look for a daytime flight that features lunch or dinner service. supper services (I think these are the ones departing after 9pm although I’m sure there’s a proper cutoff time) don’t have the full meal service (i.e no caviar). I believe the A380 is operated both to KIX and NRT right now, so there’s no issue there.

      didn’t understand the second part of your question about good” flights, explain again?

      1. Thanks Aaron! Sorry… got to explain “Good” flights better. I was trying to ask which are the better planes to take business or first class flights on so as to get a better flight experience. For example, your recent Bkk trip was on an old model. How do we find this out especially if we are not as savvy as you are on plane models.

      2. Hi aaron, just saw your post regarding booking of daytime flights. Im booked on a 0130am flight Suites A380 to Auckland on A380. The original thought was that arriving in the morning in Auckland would save me one day of leave. (and hopefully eat some lobster thermidor). Should I reschedule in light of your advice (but I booked on the old system too….)

  9. Was thinking of flying biz to Montreal next year, anyone know if I redeem SA partner awards, can the 1st leg be by SQ, eg. SIN-Frankfurt by SQ biz and Frankfurt-Montreal by Air Canada?

  10. Hi Aaron, very interesting site with lots of great info thank you! We are long time residents of Singapore, since 1996. We will be repatriating to the US soon, and we have a large # of points from our citibank visa card that we need to transfer to one of their partners for future travel. The primary choices seem to be Kris Flyer or AsiaMiles. I am trying to research which choice would give us the most flexibility going forward, with US domestic travel and occasional overseas travel, but with the easiest logistics to execute the redemptions. Asia Miles and Star Alliance both have US carriers as partners, but I am n ot sure of the ongoing hassle-factor of redemption process through each of the programs with partner airlines, fees comparisons, mileage ‘cost’ of flights, etc. I would love any insight you can provide!

  11. Hey Aaron,
    Since SQ’s changes to the KF program to get rid of surcharge (while also getting rid of the online discount), would the analysis change? Would love to see a more updated assessment of where the sweet spots lie.

    Cheers
    AK

  12. Hi Aaron,

    Thank you so much for this website and telling us all the travel hacks.
    I made my mileage strategies/priorities clear to get award business class long haul flights with mileage thanks to many of your posts. Let me know your thoughts, if possible. I might be in the same situations as many of your readers who start realizing the potential of mileages.

    1, Krisflyer – Without thinking anything, I collected mileages to be qualified as a silver member. I will keep collecting the mileages using credit cards such as DBS Women or Altitude, UOB Preferred, and Sign up bonuses until being qualified as gold member as I want to have lounge access. Once I’m qualified gold member and can redeem a return business flights from one of Star Alliance partners. Will keep the gold membership till the expiry.

    2, Asia Miles and Lifemiles – Shifting the strategy to these 2 programs for more business and above award flights. Credit card spending to earn Asia Miles rather Krisflyer. Lifemiles to get Star Alliance mileages.

    Best regards,
    Sayaka

  13. Hi Aaron

    We’re going to fly to Canada for our wedding and i’m planning to use my Krisflyer miles (169k miles), but it seems like I don’t have enough miles for business class. Is there any hacks/tricks that i can use these 169k miles to use for business class?

    1. You’re shortfall for Star Alliance Redemption of 195k miles is 26k miles..

      1. Spend $6.5k @ 4mpd.. Citi Rewards, UOB PPV, UOB VS, DBS WWMC..

      2. Spend $3.25k @ 8mpd on Mileslife

      Congrats on your wedding and good luck..

  14. Hi

    Understand that Turkish Airline, Asiana Airline is Singapore Airline are all part of staralliance

    Hence isit possible for me to buy Turkish flight and claim the miles under Krisflyer or Asiana miles?

    Try looking everywhere but cant seem to find the answer. Able to guide me along?

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