Singapore Airlines Updates KrisFlyer Award Waitlist Policy
Remember at the start of the year when Singapore Airlines announced various changes to their frequent flyer program? Well, effective August 2019 the airline will follow through on one of their promised adjustments by sending word to members of changes to the KrisFlyer award waitlist system.
The KrisFlyer Award Waitlist System
What is the waitlist? The more engaged KrisFlyer members would be very familiar with the waitlist as it is the way for you to reserve a spot for award space when none is immediately available. And more often than not, it’s difficult to find even one seat bookable right away, especially for premium cabin on long-haul flights.
In order to waitlist for an award, however, the account must have the enough number of miles for that itinerary (based on the posted redemption tables). The system does not limit the number of itinerary waitlists you book, though. Say you have 150,000 miles in your account; with that you can book one, ten or a hundred of 70,000- or 125,000-mile itineraries.
This allowed you to reserve as many possible itineraries as you need right until departure day. This meant that members could waitlist for a seat months in advance only to clear (or be rejected) mere hours before the flight. This is obviously unpredictable and quite undesirable.
Changes to the Waitlisting Game
Partly thanks to the prior KrisFlyer announcement, the slight changes to the rules aren’t exactly new.
Starting August 14th, you can no longer waitlist for award redemptions less than three weeks from the flight date. Also, any waitlist request will either be confirmed or denied two weeks prior to departure. Waitlist for a seat upgrade, however, will continue to be processed up to the time of the flight.
Also, the Singapore Airlines website now allows you to select alternative flights for your waitlist bookings. This gives you a slightly more convenient way, from your account page, to switch to another itinerary for immediate ticketing.
And for good measure, members will start receiving periodic waitlist email reminders from July 18th. These reminders will come nine, six and three months, and then four and three weeks before the departure date.
Singapore Airlines are billing these changes as “enhancements” to the KrisFlyer program. TPG sees them as slight improvements. View from the Wing, however, feels much more negatively about them. OMAAT and Milelion, meanwhile, say that there’s nothing substantially new these changes bring to the table.
We agree that these waitlist policy tweaks do not really do much to improve the waitlist system as a whole. If nothing else, it prods members to regularly check and better manage their waitlist requests. This may slightly improve the awards ecosystem from the demand side (i.e. members) but we don’t foresee better award supply.
Does Singapore Airlines expect more members to drop or swap waitlists for certain bookings? By the looks of it, yes. But that doesn’t mean KrisFlyer members will stop requesting as much as they can… and if the situation doesn’t improve this may put off members from the program. Ultimately, we’ll all just have to wait and see whether these waitlist changes will have an impact on overall award space availability (and ticketing success).