Singapore Airlines Award Tickets Are About To Get Cheaper

Filed Under: Awards, Singapore
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With fuel prices plummeting, one common question has been why most airlines haven’t lowered fuel surcharges. After all, they’re super quick to raise these surcharges when oil prices go up, but when they go down they conveniently seem to forget about them.

While lowering fuel surcharges wouldn’t impact the actual cost of revenue tickets, it would impact the cost of award tickets for the airlines which do impose fuel surcharges on awards. Some airlines have been in the process of lowering fuel surcharges, including British Airways and Japan Airlines.

It looks like we can add another airline to the list — Singapore Airlines will be lowering fuel surcharges for tickets issued as of February 26, 2015.

Singapore-Airlines-A380-Business-Class-1
Singapore Airlines A380

With these changes, we’ll apparently see Singapore Airlines fuel surcharges drop between US$5 (S$6.80) and US$83 (S$113) per sector.

Why should you care?

Singapore-Suites-Class-2
Singapore Airlines A380 Suites Class

Singapore Airlines actually has fairly reasonable fuel surcharges to begin with, in the grand scheme of things. The European airlines are the worst when it comes to fuel surcharges, so by comparison Singapore is very reasonable.

How much are Singapore’s fuel surcharges?

A one-way Suites Class ticket between New York and Frankfurt has ~$211 in fuel surcharges:

Singapore-Fuel-Surcharges-2

Meanwhile a one-way Suites Class ticket between Los Angeles and Singapore has ~$323 in fuel surcharges:

Singapore-Fuel-Surcharges-1

The above are among the higher fuel surcharges that Singapore Airlines imposes, so I would expect those will probably decrease in price in the $60-83 range each way, which is exciting.

For further context, here are the redemption rates through Singapore’s KrisFlyer program (factoring in the 15% discount you receive for booking online):

RouteBusiness Class (One-Way)First Class (One-Way)Aircraft
San Francisco to Hong Kong63,750 miles + $112.40 70,125 miles + $112.40Boeing 777-300ER
San Francisco to Hong Kong to Singapore68,000 miles + $312.5091,375 miles + $325.50Boeing 777-300ER
San Francisco to Seoul65,875 miles + $205.5074,375 miles + $218.50Boeing 777-300ER
San Francisco to Seoul to Singapore68,000 miles + $312.5091,375 miles + $325.50Boeing 777-300ER
Los Angeles to Tokyo65,875 miles + $172.8074,375 miles + $172.80Airbus A380
Los Angeles to Tokyo to Singapore68,000 miles + $327.9691,375 miles + $340.96Airbus A380
New York to Frankfurt48,875 miles + $205.5057,375 miles + $218.50Airbus A380
New York to Frankfurt to Singapore72,250 miles + $340.8193,500 miles + $353.81Airbus A380
Houston to Moscow48,875 miles + $213.9057,375 miles + $226.90Boeing 777-300ER
Houston to Moscow to Singapore72,250 miles + $320.9093,500 miles + $333.90Boeing 777-300ER

There are a few things to note about accruing/redeeming KrisFlyer miles for Singapore Airlines Suites Class/First Class/Business Class redemptions:

  • Singapore will soon be reconfiguring their 777-300ERs, and the size of first class cabins will shrink from eight seats to four seats — I’d definitely redeem miles for Singapore Airlines first class sooner rather than later
  • Unfortunately Singapore Airlines hasn’t been very generous lately with releasing A380 Suites Class award availability to the US, though 777-300ER First Class award availability remains fairly open
  • Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer is transfer partners with American Express Membership Rewards, Chase Ultimate Rewards, Citi ThankYou Rewards, and Starwood Preferred Guest, so there are plenty of ways to rack up points that can be redeemed on Singapore

Here are some of the best ways to rack up those points through credit cards:

CardDetails
Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card• $95 Annual fee
• Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,000 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
American Express® Business Gold Card• $295 Annual Fee (Rates & Fees)
• Earn 4X Membership Rewards® points on the 2 select categories where your business spent the most each month. 4X points apply to the first $150,000 in combined purchases from these 2 categories each calendar year.* The bonus categories are as follows: Airfare purchased directly from airlines; U.S. purchases for advertising in select media; U.S. purchases at gas stations; U.S. purchases at restaurants; U.S. purchases for shipping; U.S. computer hardware, software, and cloud computing purchases made directly from select providers
The Platinum Card® from American Express• $550 Annual fee (Rates & Fees)
• No Foreign transaction fees
• 5X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel.
• 5X Membership Rewards® points on eligible hotels booked on amextravel.com.
$200 Airline Fee Credit, up to $200 per calendar year in baggage fees and more at one qualifying airline.
The Business Platinum Card® from American Express• Annual fee: $595 (Rates & Fees)
• No Foreign transaction fees
• Lounge access with Delta, Priority Pass Select, and others; access to American Express Fine Hotels & Resorts; a $200 annual airline fee credit
American Express® Gold Card• 3X points for flights booked directly with airlines. 4X points at restaurants, 4x at US supermarkets (up to $25,000/year and then 1x). 1X points on other purchases.
• No Foreign Transaction Fees.
• $250 Annual Fee (Rates & Fees)

Singapore-Airlines-A380-Business-Class-6
Singapore Airlines A380 Business Class

Bottom line

Kudos to Singapore Airlines for dropping fuel surcharges, and doing so in a pretty substantial way. A couple of weeks from now is certainly a “sweet spot” time to book those Singapore Airlines premium cabin tickets, before they start scheduling too many 777s with just four first class seats.

The following links will direct you to the rates and fees for mentioned American Express Cards. These include: American Express® Business Gold Card (Rates & Fees), American Express® Gold Card (Rates & Fees), The Business Platinum® Card from American Express (Rates & Fees), and The Platinum Card® from American Express (Rates & Fees).

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Comments
  1. Hi Ben, if I booked an award travel last month, would you suggest canceling and booking again when the fuel charges go down? I have 2X first class round trips so that’s about $1000 cheaper. Thanks!

  2. @ Mike — At best you’ll be able to redeposit awards and book again, but I don’t think that’s worth the hassle/risk.

  3. @ LL — That’s highly risky, given that Singapore isn’t releasing much Suites Class availability in advance anymore out of the US. Also not sure I follow how it would be a difference of $1,000?

  4. Thx @Ben. Agreed 100%, especially since I have the double bed booked. Not worth losing out one of the seats to someone else.
    @LL +1, not sure it will be over $1,000. I only paid about $600+ for two tickets on surcharges for mine.

  5. Thanks Ben / Mike. I have round trips SFO-SIN for 2 people. Since the fuel charges are about $325 each way, and going down to $83 each way, that’s about $250 X 4 = $1000 in savings. It’s not Suites, just first class. would you suggest gambling?

  6. @ LL — To clarify, the fuel surcharges are going down by at most $83 per direction, and not down TO $83 per direction.

  7. Lucky, how would you go about booking 2 segments flight from iah to hk via japan with a380 suite, do they sttill charge fuel with united as their partner award flight?

  8. @Lucky My guess is this is a bit too unique for you to be able to offer much advise, but right now I have 2 Suites on SQ 11. We’re going to be continuing on to MLE, but haven’t booked those yet since we were thinking of using miles that don’t pass on YR (SIN-MLE is $150 YR a ticket for 4 hr flight, and 1 of the 2 daily flights has partner J availability). If we were to modify our itinerary to add the SIN-MLE flight, do you think they would recalculate taxes & fees for the entire itinerary?

  9. @ Josh — If you modify the itinerary then yes, they should reprice the taxes/fees. That being said, since it’s a different award type, you may have to redeposit and start over, in which case the space may not go back into inventory.

  10. @ Jung — You’d have to book per their partner award chart, which isn’t eligible for the online booking discount and would have a more expensive award chart. Generally in almost all cases it makes more sense to just book Singapore segments separately online, and then figure out your other segments separately, in my opinion.

  11. thanks lucky, what about fuel surcharge on their partners? and any tricks on finding availabilities or convert waiting list for available saver suite award flight.

  12. Hey Lucky,

    Thoughts on when I should start looking for 2 FRA-JFK F seats for late October? To your point it doesn’t seem like they are releasing a ton of space and would love to get 2 minutes of my life back every day haha. Obviously there’s no way to know definitively when they will or will not release space, but general guidance would be greatly appreciated.

  13. If I waitlist a few consecutive days for 1 Suite on JFK-FRA, what do you think are my chances of one of them actually clearing?

  14. It’s strange that SFO to Hong Kong is a longer distance than SFO to Seoul, but the fuel surcharges are lower for SFO to Hong Kong.

  15. How would this affect revenue ticket? Will SQ make up the difference in fare price or it will be cheaper overall?

  16. @Brandon, fuel surcharges are regulated by market in some cases. To/From HKG, it’s cheaper than most other markets in Asia, except for ex-Phils, where there are no surcharges.

  17. Most companies are hedging fuel. It may take time for the fuel price to change for a company. When the price of oil changes, some companies will lose, some will win, relative to their competitors.

    An example: Norwegian hedged only 25% of their fuel, so the drop in the price of oil was almost instant gain for the company. One of their competitors, SAS, hedged much more and for longer time frame, so they are still paying a lot for fuel, almost as the price of oil was $100 a barrel. Even this long time after the price went down. And they will be paying that price for a lot of their fuel for quite some time to go.

  18. i think korean air also lowered their surcharges .
    i will be paying a surcharge of $270 (based on yesterday’s f/x) r/t from jfk to hkg for my upcoming j class flight.
    i paid $323 for a similar trip that took place la month ago.

  19. Ben, How many award F/J seats do you typically see on the 777-300ERs to/from the USA?

    Looking to book 3 seats almost a year out either HKG-SFO or ICN-SFO. Business would be fine but First would be awesome to get too.

    Any thoughts from when your searching for awards for people? Any general pattern?

    Thank you.

  20. @ Lanny — All depends on the route, but not generally more than two first class seats. You have a decent shot at three seats in business, though. Otherwise you can ticket two in first and confirm the third in business, and then waitlist them for first class.

  21. @ Will — Presumably base fare will increase in the same amount the fuel surcharges are lowered, since airlines now have to advertise “all in” pricing. It’s a technicality.

  22. @ ESharp12 — Reasonably good. There’s really no way to give a good estimate since there aren’t enough data points. But waitlists do often clear.

  23. Lucky, how long does it take for the Chase points transfer to show up in SQ account? I just saw F availability and transferred the points, officially it says taking up to 2 business days, but I wonder if it’ll take longer or shorter based on your experience.

    Also for Chase Business credit card account, is it ok to transfer to a Business partner/additional account holder? The fine prints seem to say so but when you actually perform the point transfer at Chase website, only option is “self” or “spouse/dp”.

    Btw, the fuel surcharge seems to be $40 lower for traveling next week already compared to what you listed above.

  24. Hello Lucky! I see these redemptions are all departing from the US. May I be able to book a trip to the US on one-way First Class of Singapore Airlines? For e.g., can I book a one-way first class from Singapore to Los Angeles? If so, what are the miles and tax and fees if or not I have a stopover in Tokyo? Thank you very much!

  25. @ Kira — Yes, you can. Fees are roughly the same as in the other direction, while the mileage requirement is the same.

  26. I’m new to Singapore Airlines award booking. I have enough points to transfer for 2 suites class tickets one way from US to Singapore. Is there a faster way to search for the award. I can only find day by day search which is very time consuming. I transferred 1,000 points so I have an account. Thanks for your help

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