Most of you should already know that your miles can be used to either redeem an award ticket in full, or to redeem an upgrade to the next cabin class. This post will be focusing on the latter mode of redemption on Star Alliance carriers.
Based on the Star Alliance upgrade chart (Singapore is classified under South Asia), you can redeem an upgrade from Economy to Business Class on any Star Alliance carrier for as low as 10000 miles, for flights between Singapore and South-East Asia. Note that Star Alliance allows upgrades on any partner carrier, using miles from any partner frequent flyer programme.
Compare this with the current Upgrade chart for KrisFlyer miles, and you will find that the lowest is 15000 miles for a Saver upgrade redemption.
Hence, you can expect savings for certain sectors if you choose to redeem your miles from other Star Alliance partners (eg Lifemiles) on Singapore Airlines flights for an upgrade from Economy to Business Class. For that, you’ll probably need a ‘sister’ frequent flyer programme where you have a separate repository of miles, other than your KrisFlyer miles with Singapore Airlines. For myself, since I wish to have the option of purchasing miles in bulk, my ‘sister’ frequent flyer programme is Lifemiles of Avianca.
Once you have booked a flight (eg Economy Flexi) with Singapore Airlines, you can then have the option to expend any surplus miles that you may have in your ‘sister’ frequent flyer programme. Here’s a screenshot of an upgrade redemption on Lifemiles.
You would have also noticed that the Star Alliance chart only has provisions for upgrades from Economy to Business, and Business to First. However, Singapore Airlines currently has an additional Premium Economy Class. So, is there a way to bypass Premium Economy, and be upgraded from Economy to Business Class? Theoretically yes, given that Star Alliance doesn’t consider Premium Economy class in their upgrade chart; but practically no, since partner carriers have the right to prescribe additional conditions for use of miles for upgrades.
In the case of Singapore Airlines, the use of miles from other Star Alliance partners to upgrade directly from Economy to Business Class is only applicable on all sectors operated by aircraft offering a two-class configuration only. This excludes all sectors operated by A380, A350 and B777-300ER aircraft, effectively excluding the latest cabin products from such redemptions, with the exception of B777-200ER aircraft, which features the 2006 Business Class seat.
You should know that Singapore Airlines deploys the B777-200ER aircraft on selected long-haul routes, such as between Singapore and the cities of Christchurch and Istanbul.
The alternative is the regional Business Class seat, which is offered on the A330 and selected B777-200/300 aircraft. These are mostly deployed on short-haul routes so having a fully flat bed may not be necessary.
Generally, securing an upgrade within the KrisFlyer system can already be tough, as seats eligible for upgrade are fairly limited to begin with. Using a ‘sister’ platform to perform such upgrades may prove to be tedious and difficult. However, if you already have a Star Alliance Gold status, this might be useful to expedite the process in order to secure your upgrade.