Members of Singapore Airlines’ KrisFlyer scheme will need more miles to book business class and first class flights with Star Alliance airlines around the globe from next month, adding up to 30,000 miles to the cost of flight bookings with the likes of Air Canada, Thai Airways, United and more.
The revised rates apply to reservations made and changed from April 16 2019, with bookings made before that date attracting the current, more generous rates: even when traveling throughout 2019 and into 2020, providing a short window of opportunity for savvy flyers to lock-in their travel plans before the new rates kick in.
Bookings on Singapore Airlines flights are unaffected by this change as these were already revised in January, but here’s what Australian travellers need to know about KrisFlyer’s latest Star Alliance reward changes.
More miles needed to fly business class to every destination
Whether you’re taking a quick hop over to New Zealand with Star Alliance member Air New Zealand or are flying all the way to the US or Europe with KrisFlyer’s web of other partners, you’re going to need more miles to secure your ticket.
Here’s how the increase shapes up on a range of popular routes for Australian travellers, based on a return business class trip for one person:
|From Australia to (return)||Miles needed (today)||Miles needed (16/4-)||Increase in miles|
|Fiji, New Zealand, Tahiti, Vanuatu||56,000||62,000||6,000 miles (+11%)|
|Thailand||132,000||148,000||16,000 miles (+12%)|
|China, Japan, South Korea||166,000||189,000||23,000 miles (+14%)|
|India||174,000||200,000||26,000 miles (+15%)|
|Canada, USA||234,000||260,000||26,000 miles (+11%)|
|Europe||210,000||235,000||25,000 miles (+12%)|
|Middle East (incl. Turkey), Egypt||156,000||176,000||20,000 miles (+13%)|
|South America||221,000||235,000||14,000 miles (+6%)|
|South Africa||156,000||176,000||20,000 miles (+13%)|
While all these rates are increasing, it’s worth keeping in mind that the rates for Canada and the United States include travel to all destinations within those countries.
For example, you’d need the same number of miles to fly Sydney to Honolulu (via Auckland with AirNZ) as you would to fly Sydney-Los Angeles with United, or even Sydney-New York with one of several airlines, making KrisFlyer miles a better fit for longer journeys on these routes.
Similarly, you’d spend the same number of miles taking a quick hop from Australia to New Zealand as you’d need for a longer journey via New Zealand to places like Fiji or Vanuatu, or even Tahiti: almost five hours beyond Auckland in French Polynesia.
At 31,000 KrisFlyer miles one-way (62,000 return), that’s still a great use of miles for what is eight hours of business class travel in each direction: the same amount of time it would take to fly to Asia, but at a considerably lower cost.
First class journeys also command more miles
Although first class isn’t available on most Star Alliance flights, on journeys where first class service is indeed available, you’ll again need more miles to book your seat.
On the popular Sydney-Bangkok route with Thai Airways, the cost climbs from 180,000 to 196,000 KrisFlyer miles for a return flight, while travelling from anywhere in Australia to anywhere in Europe bumps from 296,000 to 326,000 miles for a return first class sojourn.
Flights operated by Singapore Airlines – including first class journeys from Sydney and Melbourne – aren’t affected by this change, as Singapore Airlines charges different rates when booking its own flights using KrisFlyer miles, and those rates were already changed in January 2019.
In all cases, payments for taxes, fees and charges are levied in addition to the number of miles needed.
Given that KrisFlyer points transfers from American Express Membership Rewards take a similar hit the day prior on April 15, travellers planning to book flights using points earned via AMEX are advised to convert and use those points before the second week of April, to make use of the current, more favourable conversion and redemption rates.