Singapore adds “promo” award category (no changes / stopovers)

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Singapore Krisflyer has added a new “Promo” award category that can be accessed when searching for Singapore KrisFlyer award tickets. While some will be concerned that this is a signal of a coming devaluation, at this point it looks like this is just a way of breaking out short-time promotional awards that they long offered under the name “Spontaneous Escapes” in pre-COVID times. I think their timing on this is bad from an optics standpoint, but ultimately this looks to me like “no big deal”. Probably. Hopefully.

Singapore KrisFlyer has long offered two types of awards for travel on Singapore Airlines: “Saver” awards and “Advantage” awards (Advantage is like an “anytime” award). If you search for an award ticket via Singapore Air, you’ll still see those two categories.

However, Mile Lion points out that if you click where it says “compare award types at the top of the right column, it now shows the policy details for three types of awards: Promo, Saver, and Advantage.

On the surface, this looks like bad news because the Promo category is much more restrictive than regular Singapore award tickets have historically been. These promo awards feature:

  • No free stopovers
  • No cancellation (in other words, no way to get miles back if you cancel)
  • No date changes
  • No routing changes
  • No cabin class changes
  • No award type changes

Contrast that with $25 date and routing changes on Saver and Advantage awards and it sounds pretty awful, particularly in a time when people are valuing flexibility more than ever before (and most airlines are accommodating that).

However, those who were familiar with Singapore’s Spontaneous Escapes recognize that the restrictions here or more less match those last-minute deals that Singapore used to publish monthly for travel in the following calendar month. Those awards long featured no changes / cancellations but significantly discounted award pricing. For instance, in fall of 2019, I booked promo award tickets for my family to fly from Brisbane, Australia to Singapore in business class for just 43,400 miles each one-way. We had the entire mini-cabin to ourselves.

The five of us traveling together had this entire mini cabin to ourselves on a Spontaneous Escapes deal.

That award was totally inflexible. In pre-COVID times with what felt like very certain plans, I didn’t flinch at booking the award. Obviously things would be different today.

All that is to say is that my bet here would be that this is simply going to be a way for Singapore to display promotional fares like Spontaneous Escapes separately. In fact, if I remember correctly, I don’t recall having a choice between a Spontaneous Escapes fare and a full Saver fare at times when your city pair was available as a discounted Spontaneous Escapes option. In other words, if booking online, I think you had to book the Spontaneous Escapes ticket or the anytime “Advantage” rate (perhaps you could have booked Saver over the phone or perhaps I am misremembering an option to choose the Saver fare after all). I think that this display change will likely be better for travelers because it will make the restrictions on the promo awards clearer and give people the choice not to book the promo award. To me, that’s probably a good thing in times when people need more flexibility.

However, since Singapore has not yet loaded fares in the promo rewards on most routes, we likely won’t know for a while whether this will become a covert devaluation a la AA web savers or Delta flash sales. Time will tell.

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