Singapore Airlines adds Promo Award Redemption

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Singapore Airlines has added a new category of KrisFlyer flight redemptions known as “Promo” awards, which are non-refundable and non-changeable – with the notion that you can save up to 50% off a Saver Award ticket.

Infact it is so new that there is no mention of it by way of an official announcement, and what’s more, there’s no direct way to book it yet. The only way to see the redemption is to visit the compare reward types pop-up and see the differences.

Once can take the cynical view and make comparisons to Lufthansa. For those unaware, Lufthansa has just gone / going through a massive restructure of their loyalty program on part due to the complexities around it. KrysFlyer seems to be going in that direction with Mile Stone Awards (which can only be accrued on Singapore Airlines Group aircraft) and then there is Promo Awards being introduced – adding further complexity to the program

That said, 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), the airline had scrapped Full awards back in 2016. If you search for an award ticket via Singapore Air, you’ll still see those two categories.

“The Promo award category is available from time to time when we roll out special redemption promotions for KrisFlyer members.”

SIA spokesperson

On the surface, this looks like bad news because the Promo category is much more restrictive than regular Singapore award tickets have historically been. According to the comparison chart, the “Promo” award tier will still include complimentary checked bags and seat selection. However, it will not include:

  • 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.

The good news is that Promo awards show in all classes of service, including premium economy where there’s historically been only one award type and more importantly, include Suites/First Class.

Examples of Promo Awards?

One of the early examples was the London to (select) Asian destinations.

Dates were locked to a set period – Book by 17th May 2021 for travel between 11th May and 31st December 2021.

And to book it you needed to:

  1. Log in to your KrisFlyer account with your KrisFlyer membership number and password at the top right corner of this page.
  2. Select ‘Book a Flight’ on your dashboard
  3. Click ‘Redeem flights’ and select your travel details
  4. Discounted redemption offer will be reflected in the ‘Promo from’ column and in the booking summary panel after you have selected the flights. Seats are limited, and redemption availability is on a first-come, first-served basis.

As you can see there were some good savings if you were able to lock in your travel dates. The good news is that It was open to all SQ flights – no restrictions there.

Numbers below are round trip figures.

Is This rebranded Spontaneous Escapes?

Not Really

Prior to Covid, Singapore Airlines would run a monthly promotion called Spontaneous Escapes, with a nominal discount of 30% off Economy, Premium Economy and Business Class awards to selected destinations. The awards required travellers to depart the following month, and could not be cancelled or changed for any reason and was a glaring way to move last-minute unsold inventory.

When comparing the two products, Spontaneous Escapes and the new promo rewards aren’t all that different it’s just that there is now a carved out section for it where previously it fell under the “Saver” category with more rules attached.

Its no denying that Promo Awards seem to be a more structured approach to spontaneous escapes with the added benefit of Suites as well as a long term approach (rather than the month after mentality of Spontaneous Escapes). What it looks like is when Singapore Airlines runs a promotion advertising low discounted awards to a select destination, it will likely throw it into this “Promo” award bucket.

Is Promo The New Norm?

It would seem quite a few airlines are jumping on the “Promo” bandwagon, notably Qatar Airways and Finnair, Promo seems like a quick way post covid to boost travel with rigid conditions but seems to be toying with the idea again having gone from a three to a two-tier system back in 2016. In fact, Cathay Pacific has acted in the opposite by making awards simpler. Recently the airline has scrapped the Choice and Tailored redemptions opting for a cash plus-miles-approach.

While motives are not clear as yet, Singapore airlines must have a reason to create a more ridged category which has yet to be shown

Summary

Parting with half the usual KrisFlyer miles Saver rate in Business Class for travel to and from a range of popular destinations means two of you can travel for the usual miles rate for one passenger.

Unfortunately, the downside of the Singapore Airlines ‘Promo’ award is that they are highly restrictive and it may not be a simple case of arguing you can’t go due to COVID-19, without a clear government edict at either end that states so (the T&C are a little fuzzy).

On the plus side this use of the new ‘Promo’ award category gives us more confidence in its future application as more of a ‘Spontaneous Escapes’ replacement than a sign of impending award chart changes, but as always – anything is possible!

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