Partner Award Redemptions on Singapore Airlines Will No Longer Have Fuel Surcharges Either

Singapore Airlines Krisflyer is eliminating fuel surcharges on Singapore Airlines award redemptions effective March 23, along with increasing the price of some awards and ending the 15% online booking discount.

They’re doing this, it turns out, ahead of eliminating fuel surcharges as an airline.

  • This will happen gradually by region between March 28 and end of May.

  • Since fuel surcharges on paid tickets are really just ‘part of the price’ this change shouldn’t affect the cost of Singapore Airlines tickets.

Fuel surcharges are pretty disingenuous, it’s like a franchise fee charged by McDonalds or a rent fee charged by your dry cleaner. For paid tickets they gave the airline the ability to raise or lower all fares in a market by adjusting a single fee, rather than having to re-file all fares.

Once the price of fuel dropped about in half, some airlines stopped calling them fuel surcharges and called them a junk fee — “carrier-imposed surcharges.”

They affect corporate deals that provide a percentage discount on base fare. And they affect frequent flyers the most in programs that add fuel surcharges where there’s a fuel surcharge as part of a paid ticket (the idea being the miles cover only the base fare and neither taxes nor junk fee add-ons).

From the perspective of the Krisflyer program, they likely see themselves as breaking even or being made whole from the increased mileage costs offsetting the loss of fuel surcharges. From a consumer perspective overall I see the elimination of fuel surcharges making up about 60% of the devaluation.

One interesting result of the change, of course, is that since there will be no more fuel surcharge as part of the base fare there will be no fuel surcharge imposed by partner frequent flyer programs which would otherwise collect them.

  • United doesn’t collect fuel surcharges anyway, though of course United removed Singapore Airlines awards from its website to obscure the ability of members to book them.
  • Avianca LifeMiles doesn’t collect fuel surcharges.
  • But other Star Alliance programs — like Aegean, ANA, Asiana — did add them onto Singapore Airlines awards.

Getting Singapore Airlines long haul premium cabin space is not a common occurrence through most partner programs. Availability on routes like San Francisco – Singapore, Los Angeles – Tokyo, and London – Singapore is mostly limited to Singapore’s own members. The exception here used to be that Virgin Australia had access to more Singapore Airlines award space though I haven’t seen it of late.

However partner programs generally can book intra-Asia business class awards like Singapore – Bangkok or Singapore – Shanghai. And those won’t incur fuel surcharges.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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Comments

  1. Gary – does this mean fuel surcharges on Star Alliance awards booked with SQ miles will also go away?

  2. SUUUUUUUUUUUUPER misleading headline …. nobody is really using other program miles to book SQ to begin with (or shouldn’t be), so this is a non-event. The headline makes it sound like partner awards using SQ Miles (Star Alliance awards) won’t have fuel surcharges, which would be a HUGE benefit.

  3. Yea, @Gary, I have to agree with @Matt E. here. I read the headline thinking SQ was eliminating fuel surcharges on other partner awards. The point of a headline is to correctly summarize the article, not mislead into reading. Please be more diligent on this front since I really do like the information contained in your blog.

  4. “But other Star Alliance programs — like Aeroplan, ANA, Asiana — did add them onto Singapore Airlines awards.”

    Aeroplan does NOT add fuel surcharges to award tickets on SQ, AFAIK. NH does. This change will make NH miles more valuable.

  5. I intended the title to be really clear here — what will have no fuel surcharges going forward are indeed partner award redemptions *on Singapore Airlines*. What it sounds like you expected was that Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer would no longer collect fuel surcharges on its partner redemptions.

    I get that there are reasonable criticisms of headlines, this seems like nit-picking especially when the title seems *accurate*, I find this extremely interesting and an opportunity to explain fuel surcharges, why they’re so scammy but what they were used for, how it affects the economics of the offerings and noteworthy due to where we are in the cycle… seems harder for programs to be adding these when others are eliminating.

    But the content here matches exactly what’s in the title, whether or not a given reader finds that content useful or not.

  6. Well, I sort of figure if the title is accurate, and people can manage to make it down to the comments, they can also read and clearly get the point here.

  7. I have a question here: I have a one way business class LAX-SIN-MLE ticket booked for next December. Have paid my “fuel surcharge” on it + 90,000 SG miles. If I re-book, or if I change the date, who believes that there will be a refund of the fuel surcharge coming my way? And conversely, how much is an LAX-SIN-MLE fare likely to rise in miles? Any details on this offsetting downside?

  8. A non-misleading headline would be: “Now no FFP will impose fuel surcharges when redeeming for SQ (cuz they’re no longer there!)” Many of us got excited about “either” because we had read in blogs that redeeming Krisflyer miles for *A partners would still incur fuel surcharges.

  9. Aeroplan has never charged surcharges on Singapore airlines. Any YQ on an itinerary is due to a different airline. Please correct article

  10. While I agree that the title is factually correct, it would be less likely to be misconstrued if you inserted the word ‘metal’ after Singapore Airlines.

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