One of the great benefits of accumulating KrisFlyer miles is not only for redemption on Singapore Airlines and SilkAir flights, but also the option to secure award seats on other Star Alliance airline flights and those of SIA partner airlines.
|Star Alliance Airlines|
|SIA Partner Airlines|
In this article we’ll take a look at the Star Alliance options and leave partner airline redemptions for a later date.
Star Alliance Devaluation
Cast your minds back to November last year when we were reporting on the devaluation of the KrisFlyer Star Alliance redemption chart. At the time we promised ourselves to have a good look at the new chart to check if there were any ‘sweet spots’ and good value options left and we’ve finally got round to it!
Remember the chart pricing is for round-trip awards, a one-way ticket requires half the stated mileage.
Why do a Star Alliance redemption?
Singapore Airlines undoubtedly has some of the best cabin products and service in the business, pretty much whichever class you’re flying in, so why would you use your KrisFlyer miles to fly on a Star Alliance airline instead?
To us there are three key reasons:
- When a saver award is not available on Singapore Airlines for the route and date of your choice.
- When your routing or destination is not served by Singapore Airlines, or is better served with another carrier.
- When the miles rate is simply much better value, the so-called ‘sweet spots’.
There’s another reason some people may justify it too:
- To try out the cabin product of another airline.
Do remember for the latter category though to make sure you are still getting good value for your redemption. For example if you want to try out Lufthansa First Class then flying from Singapore to Frankfurt for 129,000 miles is not a good redemption. The Middle East to Europe for 60,000 miles, Europe to South Africa for 70,000 miles or even Europe to the USA for 90,000 miles represent much better value.
Are there any ‘sweet spots’ left?
Yes there certainly are, though not all are terribly useful for those based in Asia. We found a number of excellent deals if your travels take you to Europe, the Middle East, Africa or the USA / Hawaii.
A few things surprised us too. For example almost everyone knows it now costs 85,000 KrisFlyer miles to fly in Business Class from Singapore to Zurich. Not many people realise though that you can take advantage of a ‘sweet spot’ between the Middle East and Europe to reach Zurich for 70,000 KrisFlyer miles in Business Class.
That’s because the Business Class Star Alliance redemption rate between the Middle East and Europe is only 25,000 KrisFlyer miles. The Singapore Airlines site won’t let you book this itinerary as a single ticket for 70,000 miles because it is an invalid routing but you are free to book the two legs separately. Just remember to build in suitable contingency, or perhaps plan a night or two in Dubai to break up the journey.
In another example not many people realise you can take a cheap Scoot flight from Singapore to the Maldives (S$191) for a couple of days in paradise then continue your journey to Europe from there on Turkish Airlines in Business Class for 47,500 KrisFlyer miles.
That’s a significant saving on the 85,000 miles a Singapore Airlines or Star Alliance Business Class saver redemption to Europe would cost you and potentially opens up a much wider choice of European destinations than SIA offer given the extensive Turkish network. It’ll also buy you some time in the excellently rated Turkish lounge in Istanbul.
‘Sweet spot’ vs ‘Good value’
It’s important to note that we haven’t specifically assigned all the examples shown into one of these two categories – it’s fairly obvious where a definite ‘sweet spot’ exists but many other routings would probably be best called a ‘good value’ redemption.
15 hours in Lufthansa First Class for 90,000 KrisFlyer miles is a ‘sweet spot’, 20,000 KrisFlyer miles to fly East to West Coast USA in Business Class is probably better described as ‘good value’.
Taxes and fees may be higher
Remember that since Singapore Airlines no longer applies a fuel surcharge on award tickets you may find yourself paying quite a bit more cash than you would normally expect on top of the KrisFlyer miles rate to secure Star Alliance redemptions.
Lufthansa for example still apply a steep fuel surcharge, in some cases adding hundreds of dollars to your miles cost.
It’s not all bad news though – United redemptions within North America and Hawaii carry only US$5.60 of additional cost on top of the miles rate, and during our searches we also found that Ethiopian Airlines does not add a fuel surcharge to award tickets.
Between Singapore and Europe
- Economy: 45,000 miles
- Business: 85,000 miles
- First: 129,000 miles
Poor value in Economy Class or First Class where the mileage rates are higher than a saver award ticket with Singapore Airlines (38,000 and 115,000 miles respectively), however the Business Class redemption rate matches the SIA saver award rate at 85,000 miles one-way.
That means there’s an opportunity here to redeem on another airline like Lufthansa, Swiss, Turkish or Thai to Europe when a saver redemption on SIA is not available or you’re flying somewhere a bit more obscure.
There are no Business saver awards with Singapore Airlines to London this coming Thursday, so why not book this Thai Airways / EVA Air routing via Bangkok?
|Route: Singapore – Bangkok – London Heathrow|
|Airline(s): Thai Airways / EVA Air||
Click to Enlarge
|KrisFlyer Cost: 85,000 Miles + S$205.20|
|Flight Duration: 13:55|
|Total Duration: 18:45|
When you’re heading to London don’t forget to check flights to and from London Gatwick – Turkish provide a good option here.
|Route: Singapore – Istanbul – London Gatwick|
|Airline(s): Turkish Airlines||Click to Enlarge|
|KrisFlyer Cost: 85,000 Miles + S$356.50|
|Flight Duration: 15:00|
|Total Duration: 17:00|
Heading slightly off the beaten track doesn’t mean ditching Singapore Airlines either, you can combine an SIA and Star Alliance award flight if you wish. The Star Alliance redemption rate then takes precedence, but to Europe it’s the same in Business Class anyway.