Guide: Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer Program for Indians

By | January 14, 2023
Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer guide

KrisFlyer by Singapore Airlines is one of the most popular International Frequent Flyer programme for Indians as you can transfer points from many of the Indian Credit Cards like HDFC, CITI, AXIS & HSBC to KrisFlyer.

While the attempt is to highlight some of the popular routes, they need not be the best of the redemptions for everyone, as one program doesn’t suit all and for all routes.

If you’re new here, please check out the Intro to airmiles article for better understanding. Here’s everything you need to know about the Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer program as an Indian,

Overview

Airline [Code]Singapore Airlines [SQ]
Home Country [Hub]Singapore [SIN]
Loyalty ProgramKrisFlyer
Airline Alliance Star Alliance
Validity3 Years
Value / mile~ 1 INR
Best forSE Asia Redemptions
USPFree Stopovers
Award AvailabilityDecent

Singapore Airlines is renowned for its luxurious Business and First class cabins and is an excellent choice for Indians traveling to Southeast Asian countries.

Why KrisFlyer?

There are two things that make for a great flight.

  1. The hard product, meaning the items that cannot be easily changed, such as the seat.
  2. The soft product, which is the food, amenities and service.

In the case of Singapore Airlines, both products are nice and rated one of the best products out in the sky.

Wide body planes are preferred for medium and long haul flights and what better airline to choose than SQ which is the “first” airline to fly the Airbus A380 and Boeing 787. It has a big fleet of wide body’s Boeing 777 & 787, Airbus 380 & 350, etc

Membership Tiers

KrisFlyer Membership Tiers

There are three membership tiers with KrisFlyer as above and the real benefit like lounge access kicks in only with Gold tier. Here’s the complete list of tier benefits.

While getting to Gold tier is quite tough, SQ recently ran one-of-a-kind promo that could get you to Gold/Silver tiers on transfer of X amount of KrisFlyer miles from credit card transfer partners.

Such promotions are rare and was possible before because of the Covid scene but we can expect some sort of “bonus points” offer instead.

Taxes & YQ

One of the most important factor when analysing a right airline loyalty program is the tax component.

Singapore airlines doesn’t pass on carrier-imposed fees, sometimes called fuel surcharges (YQ). The taxes on redemption are quite nominal on Singapore Airlines.

However, it should be noted that taxes for redeeming partner airline flights are steep, as the fuel surcharge (YQ) is passed on to the customer.

Earning KrisFlyer Miles

  1. Axis Credit Cards: Magnus, Reserve & Atlas are the most popular credit cards in the country at the moment to earn KrisFlyer miles.
  2. Citi Credit Cards: Premier Miles and Prestige are quite good as long as it lasts.
  3. HDFC Credit Cards: While Infinia & Diners black are good, it’s not wise to use these cards for miles transfers, as the earn rate is not that great as Axis cards.
  4. Amex Cards: While Amex allows transfers to SQ, earn rate is so poor and it’s usually better to avoid.
  5. HSBC Cards: While it’s mostly reserved for Taj (Neu Coins), it can as well be transferred to SQ.

While the list maybe big, most cardholders prefer the Axis Magnus Credit Card because of it’s attractive milestone benefits.

Redeeming KrisFlyer Miles

To use  KrisFlyer miles for award flights, you’ll need to login to your KrisFlyer account. Once logged in, go to the “book flights” tab. Make sure to select the “Redeem Flights” option to search for award flights.

Here’s a sample award seat search for your reference:

Redeem krisflyer miles
krisflyer miles redemption options

You will see two types for fares,

  1. Saver
  2. Advantage

Saver award fares require less number of miles compared to Advantage. Saver is also hard to come by unless you plan to book the flights in advance (at-least 1 month) on most of the popular routes.

Note: Singapore’s award chart is based on thirteen zones and each zone requires a different number of miles. Here is the chart for your reference.

Stop Overs

TicketSaver AwardsAdvantage Awards
One Way1
Round Trip12
  • Validity of award tickets: 12 months

Please refer to table for stop over requirements. Two separate redemption bookings will be required for stopovers of more than 30 days for award redemption tickets issued on or after 1 August 2022.

Many travellers visiting destinations like Bali will also be interested in exploring Singapore during their trip. In these cases, StopOvers can be a valuable option.

Upgrade Award Seats

SQ miles can also be put to good use by upgrading revenue ticket. Please note that one you can only upgrade to next cabin. The miles required for upgrade is based on the fare class booked.

Please refer to below SQ calculator for the route you wish to know.

That aside, we can’t upgrade a SQ Partner airline ticket using KrisFlyer miles.

Cancellation / Date Change

Charges for date change and cancellation are very reasonable for KrisFlyer program as shown below.

Fees for awards/upgradesSaver ($)Advantage ($)
Change of date on Singapore Airlines250
Change of route, cabin class, award type or add a stopover on Singapore Airlines2525
Change of date, route, flight or carrier on partner airlines50
Redeposit of miles for award / upgrades7550

Infant Ticket

Infant passengers are issued what is termed an ‘Infant-in-Lap’ or ‘Lap Infant’ ticket. This ticket must be tagged to a booking reference number of an adult (>18 years old) traveling on the same flight. An adult can only have one infant tagged to him/her.

If you are making your award redemption on the SQ website, you will not be able to buy an infant ticket online. Simply make your redemption booking as usual.

Once you’re done and have a confirmed ticket, call up SQ KrisFlyer and provide your booking reference number and explain that you would like to add on an Infant-in-Lap ticket to your booking.

Miles required are typically 10% of the miles required for adult booking. Its advisable to check with SQ upfront to know the actual miles requirement for adding infant.

Partner Redemptions

Singapore Airline is part of Star Alliance and it has tons of partners, however as mentioned before, it does pass on fuel charges while redeeming miles on partners.

So expect to pay high taxes on these redemption’s. However, some options are pretty good to explore as miles required is pretty decent. We’ll see some examples later in the article.

Family Pooling

This ‘family pooling’ feature allows parents to access the KrisFlyer miles of their children so that the parents can enjoy the miles earned on child’s account.

However, that’s not useful for most as the definition of family pooling with SQ is more between Parent-Child, wish it’s lot broader. Not sure how it’s useful in reality though.

Note that transferring other members CC points to your a/c is not allowed (transfer gets reversed and an alert email gets sent as well) and your KrisFlyer account might even get blocked if repeated attempts are done.

Redeeming for others

A member may nominate up to five individuals as nominees at any one time to be in his/her Redemption Group. A child or infant nominee is treated the same as an adult.

Members may replace or delete nominees in their Redemption Group for a flat fee, regardless of the number of changes or deletions.

Once a change or deletion has been carried out, further changes or deletions to the Redemption Group can only be carried out after six months.

There is no fee for adding new nominees to a Redemption Group

Waitlist

If you’re searching for award seats, you might as well come across the “waitlist” status. This means your booking goes to the queue and it may or may not get cleared.

The concept behind this is that award seats tend to open up closer to departure (1-2 weeks prior), and being on the waitlist saves you from having to keep checking.

Here are some key points:

  • You must have sufficient miles to add yourself to the waitlist
  • No miles are deducted when joining the waitlist
  • Waitlists are open up till three weeks before departure. All unfilled waitlists will be automatically cancelled two weeks before departure
  • Should the waitlist clear, you’ll usually have 72 hours to confirm your booking. There is no obligation to do so.
  • Waitlist clears within one month of departure
  • Elite status improves your chances of clearing the waitlist.

But generally waitlist on SQ is not a wise option for most.

Spontaneous Escapes

Singapore Airlines Spontaneous Escapes

Singapore Airlines offers Spontaneous Escapes promo every once in a while, wherein we can get significant savings (30%) on award tickets in select regions.

It’s a “Promo” fare and so it comes with it’s own disadvantages like: non-cancellable, non-changeable ticket. It also doesn’t allow stop-over even on roundtrip awards.

But it’s still the easiest way to reduce your miles requirement, useful for those with confirmed plans.

KrisShop, Vrooms & Pelago

KrisShop

There are times when you don’t have any plans or your miles are expiring, you can considering using the miles for shopping, booking hotel or experiences. Here’s a quick look into the same.

  • KrisShop: You can shop gadgets on KrisShop portal using Miles. Getting anything above 50ps per mile is usually hard.
  • Vrooms: This service helps to book hotel rooms using KrisFlyer miles. Try to use for hotels only if you get a value of 50ps per mile.
  • Pleago: This service helps to book local experiences like tours and more using KrisFlyer miles. While we did explore this in the past, its hard to get value more than 40ps per mile for the Pelago experiences.

During the pandemic, I was in a situation where I felt I need to burn some miles off and then I saw a sale on apple products. I went ahead and purchased apple SE watch which gave an approximate value of 65ps per point which I felt was a good deal.

I had this item shipped to US as there wasn’t any custom duty to USA below $800.

Redemption Ideas

SE Asia

CountryRouteEconomy (Miles)Business (Miles)Tax (INR)
SingaporeBOM-SIN20,00043,000~2200
VietnamBOM-SIN-SGN20,00043,000~2800

Note: You’re seeing points required for One way saver awards. Advantage awards are in the range of 37K (economy) & 65K (business) miles for the mentioned routes.

As you can see above, it requires same amount of miles to fly from India to Singapore (or) to other SE asian countries (REP/SGN/HAN/MNL).

So the best idea is usually to book a round-trip saver award and put one stop over in SIN so that you can explore 2 countries in a trip.

Note:

  • In the above example, you may replace BOM with any other city in India from where SQ flies, like MAA/BLR/HYD.
  • You may also replace SGN with other airports in SE asian countries like Vietnam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Philippines, etc.

SE asian routes are the preferred ones for most people exploring air-miles as a beginner, because its relatively easy to earn these many miles and it’s also best for family travellers as one can find upto 4 biz class award seats in these sectors, which is generally rare in the industry.

Australia / New Zealand

CountryRouteEconomy (Miles)Business (Miles)Tax(INR)
AustraliaBOM-SIN-SYD43,00092,000~4,500
New ZealandBOM-SIN-AKL43,00092,000~5,500

This is a great program to visit either of these countries and more so for New Zealand as there are no better options to visit New Zealand from India.

Good thing is you can find up to 3 award seats even in Business class for these routes. The availability for SYD is pretty good across the year but AKL is usually tough unless you book few months in advance.

UK

RegionRouteEconomy (Miles)Business (Miles)Tax(INR)
ZurichBOM-SIN-ZRH62,000146,000~1,800
GermanyBOM-SIN-FRA62,000146,000~1,800

While the options are decent, the problem is one needs to goto Singapore to take these flights, which feels like an unwanted roundtrip for most Indians.

So in such cases, partner redemptions are useful, some examples on that later.

USA

RegionRouteEconomy (Miles)Business (Miles)Taxes (INR)
New YorkBOM-SIN-JFK60,000136,5004K-6K
West CoastBOM-SIN-LAX51,000123,0004K-5K

SQ does operate a direct flight to New York (JFK) from its base in Singapore but finding availability is hard and you need to book in advance to really find saver awards. Miles required for west coast (LAX/SEA/SFO) is quite reasonable as well.

But generally it’s not easy to find more than 2 saver awards on the US routes.

Overall its a great way to travel to USA using KrisFlyer miles, I believe miles required are decent and the tax is very reasonable. Sooner you plan, chances of getting saver award is higher.

Personal Experience

Here are some personal experiences with SQ by Puneet,

Asia:

While I haven’t taken SQ flights to Asia, this program is one of the best and preferred ones for trips like Bali, Vietnam etc and doing a stopover in Singapore.

I have seen up to 4 business and economy award saver seats available for this route and it’s a great way to have a family trip with decent balance of miles accrued from card spends.

UK:

I have personally travelled to UK back in 2019 on Swiss air business class (partner) redeemed using Kris Flyer miles. The experience wasn’t great, and it was underwhelming.

Most of the star alliance partners like Lufthansa and Swiss air fly out of Delhi.

Miles required for Delhi to Zurich (partner redemptions),

  • Economy roundtrip  Saver award : 61,000 miles  +  INR 16,815
  • Business roundtrip  Saver award : 123,000 miles  +  INR 18,369

Another option to Europe is to take AirIndia direct flights which is also a Star Alliance partner.

Miles required for Bombay to London (partner redemptions),

  • Economy roundtrip  Saver award on AI: 61,000 miles  +  INR 16,729
  • Business roundtrip  Saver award on AI: 123,000 miles  +  INR 27,143

This is quite on the higher side and we have other Star Alliance programs which will cost less miles and tax for the same route and we will talk about this in the coming articles.

As the star alliance has a very big list of partners, the award redemptions covers almost the entire world, one can book intra Europe flights like Paris to Zurich or a Sydney or Auckland.

USA:

I have personally taken the long route to US along the east coast, Ahmedabad -> Singapore -> Frankfrut -> Newyork on business class.

While it’s not the optimal way to reach US with a long layover in Singapore, being my first experience with SQ I really enjoyed both the soft and hard product as well the “Book the Cook” option to prebook some of their signature dishes.

Singapore Airlines Business Class - A380 Old config
Singapore Airlines Business Class – on A380 Old config
Singapore Airlines Business Class Seat - A380 Old config
Singapore Airlines Business Class meals

For long haul, SQ mostly uses widebody planes, Boeing 777, Airbus A350 and A380 and its always a pleasant experience flying business class on these products.

We will stop here with some of the above examples which we believe will help most of the folks to get started and plan for most popular routes.

Support

You may connect with Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer team through below phone lines.

  • 1800 121212 (local calls)
  • +91 22 501 66046 (calls from outside India)

Bottom line

The Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer program is undoubtedly an amazing option for Indians exploring nearby foreign countries in style, as the points requirement for business class award seats are fair enough.

That said, it would be nice if we have some co-branded credit cards with Singapore Airlines in India just as they have a few in Japan, Malaysia and few other countries.

Have you flown Singapore Airlines or it’s partners? Feel free to share your experiences in the comments below.

Author: Siddharth

Helping Indians to choose right credit cards, pick right offers and enjoy luxury vacations for less. Day & night exploring the spiritual reality of our human existence.

20 thoughts on “Guide: Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer Program for Indians

  1. Gkcards

    This is great Sidd, I always hoped you start articles on airmiles some day. Thanks 🙂

    Reply
  2. Tejas Ghongadi

    Having studied Singapore Frequent Flyer program in detail, here are few Additions to the Article:

    Membership Tier – PPS Club & Solitaire PPS are the highest membership Tier but linked with a minimum amount of spends on Singapore Airlines too.

    Earning KrisFlyer Miles – HSBC Visa Platinum also has Singapore Airlines partner. Also, the whole game of Airmiles is to be able to combine reward points from different cards for a bigger goal. Infinia / DCB on Reward Multiplier has a higher Miles earning rate than Citi PM / PremierMiles

    Partner Redemptions – No separate Saver / Advantage Ticket Identification in Partner Redemptions

    Booked Three Business Class tickets from Mumbai to Bali in May-2022 for 203,500 Infinia Points + Rs. 13,440 Taxes. Was an amazing experience.

    Reply
    1. Siddharth Post author

      PPS is intentionally ignored as most wont need it in reality, as the focus is on redemption.

      HSBC, I felt is reserved for TIC redemptions by most. Updated though. Thanks!

      Reply
      1. Abhi

        True, hsbc platinum has been the dark horse, been transferring points 1:1 to tataNeu which works like cash. And at 6.25L annual spends they give over 20K points, which is over 3.2%

        Reply
      2. Ejo

        Unrelated question but how can I redeem HSBC reward points to Tata neu. I am not able to find 16 digit membership number anywhere in the Tata neu app

        Reply
        1. Abhi

          You can request via hsbc app chat support. Your mobile number linked to hsbc card and tataNeu account should be same.

          Reply
  3. M

    There is so much content on other niche websites but Sid’s and Puneet’s explanation is so simple and straight to the point. Great article.

    Reply
  4. Amit Thakur

    One Question : Does it require having flown on Singapore airlines at least once before making redemption?

    Reply
  5. arpan kumar

    @Siddharth,

    can we get kris flyer gold status by transferring 50k+ points from axis reward to kris flyer? or is it that we have to take so many flights and earn 50k kris flyer points to get gold status?

    Reply
  6. Sk

    Purely based on 2x pre-covid experiences:
    Apart from what most of you might already know by now (not going to repeat on SQ service/ontime stuff etc.), SQ is one of the best airlines to travel to SE Asia/Oceania/NZ regions IMHO. If you book SQ ticket (for travel beyond Singapore) then you’re most likely eligible for a free 72 hr transit visa to explore Singapore till your onward journey. The conditions for the free transit visa can be found on Singapore immigration site. (to the best of my knowledge this is applicable to other airline tickets as well, just that you need to have a onward journey boarding pass with you, i.e. single itenary tickets; so multi-city tickets most likely will not be eligible for this. Needless to say, you also need to have a valid visa for the onward destination. In case of e-visa, like AU, a printout was sufficient for me to get the transit visa)

    The transit visa was available on BOTH onwards and return journey.

    After getting (transit) visa you could explore Singapore using their free city tour buses that started and ended at Changi. The condition for it was that your onward journey departure must be 3hours after city tour ends. The best time for this is usually evening as at 9pm Gardens by the Bay had a immersive light/sound show and also Singapore weather becomes better in evening.

    Even, if you don’t get transit visa due to ineligibly or transit time being less (which I won’t recommend in the 1st place) you can easily spend 8-10 hours in Changi airport or use your CC for lounge access. In my experience, Ambassador lounge (just left of the gate where DEL-SIN passenger disembark) is one of nicest lounges along with a decent transit hotel where room start from 6hrs usage (nice way to get your back straight). On my last transit in Jan 2020, The Jewel at Changi had just been launched, so yet to try its lounge facilities.

    Further, when flying from India, transiting via Singapore helps you in managing jet lag better if your journey is to AU/NZ. Especially if your transit is longer and you get to rest on a flat bed (say even in a transit hotel just for 6hrs). I tried resting in a lounge but in no way it could come closer to the rest I got on a flat bed with pin drop silence and darkness in a transit hotel. (I used Ambassador and Aerotel transit hotels in Changi on different trips)

    Unfortunately, due to heavy demand in other sectors, (singaporeair.com/en_UK/in/media-centre/press-release/article/?q=en_UK/2022/October-December/ne0822-221122
    ) SQ has replaced their beloved A380 from 2155IST slot with 777 in DEL (787-10 continues to operate DEL-SIN @ 0900IST). Also, pre-covid earlier versions of A380 used to fly to DEL with economy in UPPER deck in 2-4-2 at the rear (along with the 3-4-3 economy in lower deck)! Now, these older A380s have been retired/mothballed and the newer A380s have economy in 3-4-3 in lower deck only.(BOM-SIN gets this equipment daily)

    The smooth touchdowns of A380s can only be experienced along with its lower NVH levels in air compared to some other equipment. The difference is stark when compared to “older” 777 of SQ. This might make a difference to some kids/infants as their ears have higher decibel range.

    Last but not the least, the background music of their flight safety video is AMAZING! (esp the 1st 10secs and last 15secs)

    Reply
    1. Siddharth Post author

      Thanks for sharing the wealth of information on Transit Visa!

      Reply
      1. Sk

        Thanks Sid for so many amazing tips and info on credit card hacks/rewards.

        Btw, my bad, here’s the link for Singapore transit visa requirements. Turns out its quite restrictive (Indian passport holders need to have a valid visa of at least 1 month from Au/NZ/UK/US/Canada/Germany/Switzerland/Japan from the date of entry into Singapore; essentially none of the SE Asian country visas qualify)
        ica.gov.sg/enter-transit-depart/entering-singapore/visa-free-transit-facility

        Also, KrisFlyer recently announced points transfer to Marriott Bonvoy, though the conversion rate is quite dismal.

        Reply
  7. Sohel

    I know we can redeem Krisflyer miles for Vistara Airlines, have you figured a way to transfer miles from Krisflyer to Club Vistara miles? and is it also worth it? I saw redemption for the same source and destination on Vistara miles is cheaper than in Krisflyer.

    Reply
  8. Deepak Jagga

    Can we book an award ticket for someone else without adding them as nominee?

    Reply
  9. Farrukh

    The current conversion from AMEX to Krisflyer is a dismal 2:1. However, there is a way to change that to 5:4. The trick to convert to Marriot Bonvoy in 1:1 and then change the Bonvoy points to Krisflyer.

    Reply
    1. Siddharth Post author

      But MB:KF is 3:1 right?
      I wonder how do you say it as 5:4

      Reply
  10. hari

    Siddarth, We can transfer krisflyer miles to Marriott Bonvoy @ 2:1 ratio.

    Reply
  11. Arjun

    Bangalorean here. I had accumulated 250k miles after 5 US trips through SQ in 2019 and also supplemented from Infinia transfers 1:1. SQ was going to start expiring them in Jul 2023, after some auto-extensions, so I just used KrisShop to get an iPhone 14 Pro Max for free. Not a bad way to burn it off. However, Bangalore customs is still sniffing the shipment for the last few days, so let us see how long they take to clear it. DHL asked for various docs via email, so lesson learnt is that importing electronics into India is a chore. 250k miles would’ve been just enough for Phuket & Bangkok via Singapore on economy class for two people, not counting one domestic leg using Thai Smile. Maybe one-leg could’ve been upgraded to business. Meh, not that great.

    Secondly, unless you do a lot of US travel from India, making the whole miles thing work is not that easy. Better to have a simple cashback card, am playing around with Stanchart Smart. Then you don’t have to think about how to redeem, when to redeem, managing expiry etc. Just pay for a regular ticket, and get on with life. SQ to Europe is a non-starter for me, just take Lufthansa or KLM or Emirates, all cheaper and faster. For Sydney, Qantas now has direct from Bangalore. Same with JAL for Tokyo, you can even go on to Hawaii from there. US east coast is better done via Europe, its shorter and evenly spaced. Only for Bali or US West Coast (SF or Seattle) is SQ compelling for the higher cost vs. Air India direct. To visit Singapore itself, most of the flights are red-eye, only one day flight from Bangalore, leaves at 12, reaches at 7, so that day is gone but you can sleep fine, and your hotel room will be ready when you land. Thailand you have Go First direct to Phuket and Thai to Bangkok.

    So overall, if you travel to US West Coast a lot via Singapore, sure Krisflyer is fine. Otherwise, bit tough to meet the thresholds to make it compelling.

    Reply

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