With just one week to go, the mad scramble has started. Many long-haul flights to Europe and USA (both J and F) are either ‘Not Available’ or ‘Waitlist’. There are still seats available to Europe and even less seats to USA but one needs to be diligent in looking. Keep searching and you may get lucky (this include CPT/JNB too).
For those who wants to redeem regional flights (North Asia, Australia), availability is slightly better.
All is not doom after March 23. The removal of YQ softens the blow, although it is still more expensive to redeem a ticket than before March 23. Few conclusions I can draw with the new revision:
Taking into account of YQ, devaluation is certainly less than 30%.
Take for instance SQ26 (SIN-FRA-JFK) :
currently, redemption cost 93,500 miles + $468.9 (tax $129.6 + YQ $339.3)
after 23/3, redemption will cost 120,000 miles + $129.6 (approx)
Without taking into consideration the YQ, the devaluation works out to be 28.3%
Assuming a value of 3c per mile, the additional 26,500 miles work out to be $795. However, you save $339.3 as you no longer pay YQ. This works out to be an extra $455.7 (or 15,190 miles extra based on 3c per mile). That means the devaluation is only about 16% (vs. 28%)
If the changes come with much better availability, this is something that I am still willing to accept.
Flights to/from Hong Kong and Japan however will not benefit from this devaluation as these routes do not carry any YQ.
Y redemption will become more attractive
In the past, Y redemption is something to avoid due to the high YQ.
SIN-LHR in Y will cost $254.4 currently (Tax $34 + YQ $220.5). One can occasionally get promo fare for < $800 on competing airlines. Without YQ, the cost of SIN-LHR will be only $34.
The value will be even better when you get a ticket nearer to departure date (subjected to availability) as revenue Y ticket near departure dates are usually full flex fare.
Star Alliance partner redemption is worth a look
Star Alliance rate has always been more expensive than that of Singapore Airline’s (for the same sector) by virtue of the 15% discount one gets when using Singapore Airlines website. There were some sweet spots on the Star Alliance chart (e.g. 20k for one way J within North America). Without the 15% (unless the chart gets changed), Star Alliance redemption has become more attractive overnight.
For example, North America for Star Alliance is 112.5k miles (vs 118k / 120k after 23 March). Not only will it be cheaper to fly with partner airline, one can connect to a domestic flight to get to a location that is not served by Singapore Airlines (e.g. Orlando, Chicago or any of the major European cities not covered by Singapore Airlines).
The disadvantages are:
- the need to call Krisflyer hotline to make the booking. It can be very cumbersome if you are not based in Singapore
- availability – generally, it is harder to get premium seats on a partner airline. One needs to be even more flexible with your travel date.
- cost – you may need to use more cash for partner redemption
Its time to save up for that Round The World Ticket
Why not make full use of the 7 flight allowance with a Star Alliance Round-The-World Ticket at 240,000 (in J) and 360,000 (in F)!
To make full use of this ticket, make sure you have at least 1.5 to 2 months of leave 🙂
Revenue Ticket on competing airlines / departing from cities outside of Singapore
Try looking out for flights ex-KUL, BKK and CMB for good deals. SQ is currently having a promo ex-CMB to SFO with 4 FOC stopovers at only 2.1k! (2 in Singapore and 2 in Hong Kong). One can easily configure this ticket into multiple segment tickets with the FOC stopovers 🙂
Going forward, it will be hard to redeem a ticket (especially long haul premium class ticket) and even harder to accumulate the miles needed! More earning avenues are closing and award tickets are getting more expensive. I do hope that after March 23 the seat availability will improve with the devaluation.
For now, I have gotten my last 2 F tickets out of Singapore and am waiting for the return tickets on J to open (final redemption using the old rate). After March 23, it is time for me to plan again.