Is Waitlisting Singapore KrisFlyer Awards Reliable?

Filed Under: Awards, Singapore

There are lots of things to love about the Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer program:

  • KrisFlyer is transfer partners with all four major transferrable points currencies, including American Express Membership Rewards, Chase Ultimate Rewards, Citi ThankYou, and Starwood Preferred Guest, making the points quite easy to accrue
  • Singapore Airlines doesn’t make most premium cabin award seats available to members of their partner programs — if you want to fly Singapore Airlines Suites/First Class, you have to book directly through KrisFlyer
  • KrisFlyer lets you add stopovers on one-way awards for $100 each, meaning you can potentially have multiple stopovers on a one-way award for a fairly low cost
  • KrisFlyer lets you waitlist awards, so if there’s not award space available you can add yourself to the waitlist, and have fairly good odds of clearing


Regarding the last point, I’ve written extensively in the past about how KrisFlyer award waitlisting works, and how it has fairly good odds of clearing.

You waitlist an award, and then if/when the space opens up you’ll get an email from KrisFlyer, and you’ll typically have about 24 hours to decide if you want the award or not.

To clarify, the space is supposed to go to a waitlisted passenger before it goes into award inventory. In other words, if someone is waitlisted it “reserves” the seat for you for about 24 hours to complete ticketing, and then if you deny the space it would go into award inventory.

I’m trying to get my parents to Frankfurt soon (it’s my mom’s birthday, and she wants to spend it in Germany). And if there’s one thing I love more than flying in style, it’s making sure that my parents fly in style. So naturally I was committed to getting them seats in Singapore Airlines Suites Class between New York and Frankfurt, given the great onboard experience and how much I love the Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse in New York, which Singapore uses there.


I waitlisted them for several days, expecting that would do the trick. I’ve still periodically been monitoring space, just to be on the safe side. You should never blindly trust technology, after all.

Well today I looked at award space, and was surprised to find saver level award space on the exact flight they wanted. So I quickly confirmed it.


My philosophy with tickets is “book now, ask questions later.” So once I had those seats locked in I went back to the KrisFlyer account summary page, and noticed that I had indeed waitlisted that exact flight, as I expected… and it still showed as “waitlisted.”


I don’t really have an explanation here, though I do think it’s worth point out, if nothing else. Even if you waitlist a Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer award, be sure to check whether space is available. The waitlists don’t seem to always work.

Has anyone else had issues with KrisFlyer waitlists clearing when there is in fact award space?

  1. The one time I waitlisted I called periodically to check the status. I think I read that that was needed on FlyterTalk. The waitlist never cleared and the cabin was full, but I used the second level award so I was in the cabin.

  2. i think this is a pretty well known issue… i believe if you see the seats and your wait-list has not cleared you can call them and they will clear it manually.
    in any case, continue checking, the technology seems flawed.

  3. Exact same thing happened to me, 2 seats JFK-FRA. Had the space waitlisted, kept checking.

    Called Singapore (only three seats were taken in suites on the flight) and they said they couldn’t change the waitlist status.

    One random day not long after, the space showed as available and I booked it. Waitlist reservation never went anywhere.

  4. last month I was waitlisted for a SQ business class BKK-SIN-JFK award ticket. 24 hours before the flight I called in and they manually cleared the flight for me.

  5. Scary but you folks get it. Flying FC Suites in August and connecting LH to Edinburgh. One week in Scotland and then off to England for a Transatlantic on the Queen Mary 2. That said, I’m more excited about the Singapore flight than anything else on the itinerary! Sick.

  6. Lucky – can you use the JFK Clubhouse as an Arrivals Lounge if coming in on FRA-JFK SQ Suites?

  7. @SPC – I’ve asked this before, he said no.

    Lucky – I want to book MLE-SIN-NRT in first class, but the MLE-SIN leg only has business class (2 cabin). Can I book MLE-SIN-NRT in Business class at 53,125 miles per person and then upgrade the SIN-NRT leg to suites? I was hoping it’d be less than the 70,125 it would’ve cost me to fly both legs since I’m only be flying the second part of my itinerary in the suites. Hopefully you’ve come across this issue.

  8. It seems this is a common technological issue with airlines that allow waitlisting for awards. I’ve had the same experience when waitlisting to use Asiamiles with Cathay Pacific, and there are several threads on the CX flyertalk forum about how these waitlists don’t clear in real time. It seems the problem is waitlists are stored in a master list that is separate from the award reservations. I’m only guessing but this might be partly because for CX at least (and I think SQ as well), there are several different waitlists depending on what (if any) elite status you hold. So when another award seat is released into the inventory by revenue control, the reservations computer doesn’t immediately know there is someone waitlisting for it. That only happens the next time the system does a periodic sweep, and compares its master list of waitlisted passengers against available seats. And, of course, if someone sees the seat and grabs it before that sweep, it’ll be gone before the system knows to allocate it to the waitlisted passenger. In short, there’s no harm waitlisting for an award seat where that option exists. But don’t rely on it. You need to keep checking for availability yourself (does Awardnexus do automated checks for SQ?)

  9. From what I can tell there is no arrivals lounge for SQ suites passengers with no status arriving in FRA as final destination. Anyone know differently?

  10. Hi guys,

    I am waitlisted on a flight from LAX-SIN in July. Not sure I’ll ever see myself get off the waitlist.

    How are you guys checking seat availability? Experflyer?


  11. I have had mixed experiences with the SQ waitlist, unless I waitlist 2-3 days before departure with the F cabin showing several open seats and level to inventory available, in which case I waitlist the saver fare and within an hour the waitlist clears. I’ve booked saver waitlist weeks in advance only to cancel and rebook per the above. Now I just have to bring myself to be ok flying in their J cabin since I have yet to try that product… :-/

  12. @lucky
    Is it possible to transfer United MileagePlus miles to a Singapore KrisFlyer account to redeem for Suites class? And if so, what is the transfer ratio?

  13. @ Jack S. — Nope, unfortunately not. While they are partners, you can’t transfer miles between programs.

  14. Hi Ben

    I was trying to book an award on singapore’s site at exactly 350 days and I got the following error, have you ever gotten this?

    “We are sorry that we are not able to issue your ticket(s) because of a technical problem.”
    No payment has been charged to your card but your available credit has been reduced by the total ticket price. We have sent a request to your bank to reverse this reduction. This is expected to take a few days. Our staff will contact you to complete your transaction. Alternatively, you may contact your nearest Singapore Airlines office for further assistance.
    We apologise for any inconvenience caused.”

  15. Hi @seatlink

    I’m a bit of a rookie at this so please can you explain this for me as if you’re talking to a 12 year old 🙂

    I have had mixed experiences with the SQ waitlist, unless I waitlist 2-3 days before departure with the F cabin showing several open seats and level to inventory available, in which case I waitlist the saver fare and within an hour the waitlist clears. I’ve booked saver waitlist weeks in advance only to cancel and rebook per the above. Now I just have to bring myself to be ok flying in their J cabin since I have yet to try that product… :-/


  16. I’m waitlisted on several SIN-LAX Suites hoping that I one clears within a week time span…. I’ll be hanging out in KL until I can get on a flight, I’m wondering how much notice you typically get for a cleared flight? Day before or can it be day of? I would prefer to stay in KL until I’m cleared but don’t want to cut it too close. Any advice? Also how do you check exact inventory on suites? Thanks 🙂

  17. Just an update, I was confirmed basically within 48hrs of waitlisting on most of my waitlisted flights about 10 days out. I will be flying in a suite cabin SIN-LAX… Probably the most exciting birthday present for my 33 Bday 🙂

  18. I just waitlist for 4 passengers…when I did for 2 it showed availability but I didn’t want to book it because what if the other 2 can’t get cleared on waitlist…is that wrong to do? should i just book the available ones first and wait to clear the other 2? also, how do you check inventory? you mean by going on as a paying customer and check the seat availability? Thanks! I’m trying to fly from either JFK-BKK or SFO-BKK for June of 2017.

  19. @Melissa I recently had the same problem for me and my husband, I was able to clear one but couldn’t clear both of us. I learned a little trick that might work for you. Book the two available seats then call Singapore Airlines and ask them to request the other two seats clear. They can request your waitlist to be approved. This last time it didn’t clear for my husband after waiting about a week so I decided to just go myself and canceled his waitlist so I’m not sure if it would have eventually cleared or not but you can cancel and rebook the other “confirmed” passengers for free if they don’t clear as long as you do it more then 24hrs before the flight. I have asked them to clear waitlists in the past and it usually clears fairly quickly with this method. There is no sure thing with waitlisting but I don’t think you have anything to loose if you book the two available seats 🙂 This is all just personal experience but t make sure I’m giving you correct info call SQ and double check, I would hate to have given you bad advice. I hope this helps 🙂 Good Luck!

  20. @applejax I just realized you left a message what…3 months later lol…I wish I saw this and booked it because now I am still on waitlist lol…I call SQ every month to check on status and one manager was really nice to put a “chaser” on my waitlist after I keep using my children as an excuse to approve my waitlist right away, but I feel still is no use at the moment because I’m scared to book my returning flight if I can’t even book the flight going…sigh…

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