Clearer? Yes. Better? No.
Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer loyalty program has differentiated itself from most others by allowing select flights to be waitlisted when you wish to use credit card points or airline miles to book. If the flight wasn’t immediately available for a confirmed booking, you could put your name down to register interest and if “revenue management” decided to make a seat available to people using points, you’d be given a chance to book.
Per a communication directly from Singapore Airlines, that’s all changing as of today. The way you waitlist flights using miles and how you manage these requests is taking a stark new turn, so here’s everything you need.
As I recently witnessed first hand, waitlisting for Singapore Airlines flights using miles was often a great way to save on last minute cash fares by using points instead. That opportunity is now gone.
Effective for flights with departure dates from August 14th onward, all waitlist requests will cancel if they are not cleared 14 days before departure. In addition, you won’t be able to waitlist at all within 3 weeks of departure. If you do waitlist at the 3 week and 1 day mark, your request will be cancelled or confirmed at the 14 day mark.
If a seat opens up 15 days before your desired flight, you’re good – but if you enjoyed waitlisting a bunch of last minute flights hoping to avoid last minute cash fares, you’ll no longer be able to do that. You’d only be able to book a flight that’s instantly confirmable with miles. Basically: spontaneous getaways using KrisFlyer miles are no longer possible in any cabin.
Effective immediately, you can now manage your waitlist requests online. In theory, you’ll also be shown alternative options which are instantly confirmable – if any are available at the time. If you no longer wish to waitlist for a certain flight, you’d be able to cancel that waitlist online, which is good since it may allow someone else to jump up the waitlist queue in time. It’s a courteous thing to do.
Singapore Airlines also notes that it will send out periodic reminders about all waitlists you have in pending status, with the hopes of pushing KrisFlyer members to cancel their request if it’s no longer of use. In general, this does add better hope for those who may be waitlisted on a flight where a traveller who cannot use the flight is ahead of them, but it doesn’t bring all that much else to the table.
While all the above centres around specifically redeeming KrisFlyer miles for a ticket, if you plan to book a cash fare and upgrade using KrisFlyer miles, waitlists will still be available up until the day of travel. In other words, if you buy cash tickets and then use your miles to upgrade to the next cabin, you’ll still be able to waitlist and that request won’t get cancelled 14 days before travel.
This should, fingers crossed, help to clear more upgrade requests, since all other pending requests for a seat will already be erased from the system. Only time will tell.
Final Thoughts On Singapore Airlines Waitlist Changes
All in all, this is a fairly negative change from Singapore Airlines, given that it takes away a valuable element to KrisFlyer miles. People will now struggle to find last minute value for their miles, which is arguably one of the best times to use them. This may add “clarity” as Singapore’s marketing communications suggest, but it takes away flexibility, which it fails to note.