Wednesday, April 22, 2015

The Ultimate Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer Miles Redemption Guide!

3rd March 2017 Update: Singapore Airlines has unfortunately carried out a devaluation exercise: mileage requirements for redemptions have increased, and the 15% discount for online bookings has been removed. So while previously a first class one-way redemption to Tokyo was 51,000 miles, it's now gone up to 65,000 miles: A hefty 27.5% increase. With the new redemption chart we've re-done the math, so head on over to our analysis of how much a KrisFlyer mile is worth!

Do you have a bunch (or couple thousand bunches) of Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer Miles which have been sitting around for a while? Or a bunch of various Credit Card points that could potentially be converted to KrisFlyer Miles? Have you also ever asked yourself "I wonder what I can do with these miles/points" or "I wonder what these miles/points" are worth? Well wonder no more, because today we're going to break it down for you with Look See Eat's Ultimate KrisFlyer Miles Redemption Guide!

First, a quick paragraph on the basics. Almost every single Singapore Airlines flight ticket has at least two components to the price - the Base Fare and one (or more) lines of various taxes, fees, and surcharges. Using your KrisFlyer Miles to redeem award tickets only offsets the Base Fare; everything else still needs to be paid in cash (or credit card). So in the example below, whatever number of miles you spent on the redemption would be only 'worth' $170, as you would need to pay the remaining $156.90 from your pocket.

The Ultimate Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer Miles Redemption Guide

So how do you find out how many miles you'd need for a particular redemption? The easiest way would be to just use SIA's KrisFlyer Mileage Calculator. Select your departure airport, class of carriage and one way / round trip from the drop downs and the site will re-calculate on the fly. Do note that SIA applies a 15% discount for bookings made online; so while a one-way Economy ticket to Adelaide shows 25,000 miles required, when actually making the booking you'll only need 21,250.

The Ultimate Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer Miles Redemption Guide

With the basics out of the way, let's get down to business! We took thirteen popular destinations originating from Singapore - a couple each from South East Asia, North East Asia, Australia, Europe, America and Africa. We then recorded the number of miles needed for a return journey redemption, the corresponding (base) air fare, calculated the monetary value and plotted it into a nice little graph:

The Ultimate Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer Miles Redemption Guide

Some quick conclusions:
- First Class redemptions are the best value, averaging 7.4¢ per KrisFlyer mile.
- Business Class redemptions come in a little lower, averaging 5.1¢ per mile.
- Economy Class redemptions are a relatively poor value 2.3¢ per mile.

Let's go into the details of First Class round-trip redemptions! We can see that in general, you get more value (cents) per KrisFlyer mile spent on longer trips that cost more money. Note that if you don't quite have enough miles for a round trip, you can book a one-way award for exactly half the number of miles listed in the table.

The Ultimate Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer Miles Redemption Guide

Moving on to Business class, the trend of higher value per KrisFlyer mile spent on longer trips that cost more money continues, except for the journey to/from Cape Town. The strangely low miles requirement for this trip (76,500, which is 40% less than required for a Singapore-London redemption) means a record-high 8.8¢ per mile value. One possible explanation here is that SIA flies older, smaller Boeing 777-200 ER's that don't have the same newer, comfortable seats as some of the other destinations.

The Ultimate Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer Miles Redemption Guide

Finally, Economy class. It isn't as straightforward here because for paid air tickets, SIA has four different booking types - Super Deals, Sweet Deals, Flexi Saver and Full Flexi, but the mileage redemption values remain the same. In fact at their cheapest fares, the Kuala Lumpur, Bangkok, Perth and London flights give you less than one cent a mile!

The Ultimate Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer Miles Redemption Guide

Now, you'll still need to adapt these calculations and figures for your own needs, your mileage accrual rate, and your personal valuation on how much SIA flights are worth. For example, Full Flexi economy fares give a seemingly respectable 3-4¢ per mile of value. But would you really pay $1,500+ for a full flex return ticket to Tokyo? Perhaps it would be better to just fly budget for a third the price, and keep the miles for a more aspirational redemption in the future.

Our recommendations for the best value redemptions are as follows:
- 10,000 - 25,000 Mile range: One Way Business Class to SE Asian destinations.
- 25,000 - 50,000 Mile range: One Way Business Class to Australia, Africa or NE Asia.
- 50,000 - 75,000 Mile range: One Way Business Class to the Americas, or one Way First Class to Australia, Africa or NE Asia.
- 75,000 - 100,000 Mile range: One Way First Class to the Americas.
- 100,000 Miles and above: First Class to wherever your miles can take you!

If you're new to the whole mileage game, you can actually fly in comfort for a remarkably low miles count: 15,000(ish) miles will take you to Bali in Business Class, and 30,000(ish) will take you to Hong Kong in the comfort of Singapore Airlines' flagship product, the Suites!

The Ultimate Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer Miles Redemption Guide
Image Courtesy of Singapore Airlines

We hope this post has given you a good idea of how far your miles can take you - and whether you get there in style. At a later date we'll write a follow-up on the different ways you can get KrisFlyer miles (it's easier and quicker than you might expect). In the meantime, if you've got any questions at all do leave a comment and we'll be sure to respond as best we can!

2 comments:

  1. Have you done any analysis of upgrades ? i.e. buy an economy ticket and upgrade to business or first using miles?

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    1. As of today a return upgrade from Changi to Sydney from Economy to Business is 30,000 air miles return on the 10th of October returning 17th. A very good deal and my wife has just booked it.

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