The Ins and Outs – A guide to Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer/ PPS Club

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Frequent flyer programs are by far and away the most intricate, loved, widely used, and severely under-used parts of the entire airline industry. Each airline’s system varies in complexity and benefits. Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer is one of the industry’s most simple and straight forward systems, with incredible rewards within reach of most travellers.

The Singapore Airlines frequent flyer scheme is actually separated into two components: KrisFlyer and PPS Club. PPS Club is reserved only for the most frequent and premium travellers, and is a highly coveted status.

As aforementioned, it is also a system under-utilised by many leisure/ less-than-frequent flyers who are unaware of the system’s workings. Both this guide and our guide to the Qantas Frequent Flyer program will help you to better understand how the programs work, so that you can maximise every opportunity.


 Partnerships

Singapore Airlines is a proud member of the Star Alliance, the largest and most well-reputed airline group. Being part of this group, you can hold a Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer card and earn miles, use miles and experience elite benefits when travelling on any airline within the alliance. Officially, the Star Alliance provides universally recognised benefits to Silver and Gold members. These benefits are given to you regardless of your class of travel, airline of travel and frequent flyer program, as long as the latter two belong to Star Alliance.

Uniformed staff wave as they pose in LHR T2 check-in (1)
Photo: Heathrow Airport
starlogos-700x330_Nov15
Star Alliance member airlines

Silverwysiwyg

  • Priority reservation waitlist
  • Priority airport standby

Gold

  • Priority check-instar-gold-badge
  • Priority baggage handling
  • Additional baggage allowance
  • Priority security screening/ immigration (selected ports)
  • Business Class/ Gold Lounge access
  • Priority boarding
  • Priority reservation waitlist
  • Priority airport standby

Whilst each airline may offer extra benefits on top of this, these benefits will be accorded to you on any Star Alliance airline if you hold a Silver/ Gold Singapore Airlines card.

Singapore Airlines also partners with non-alliance airlines, including SilkAir, Scoot, Tigerair, JetBlue, Virgin America, Virgin Australia, Virgin Atlantic and Vistara.

All these partnerships mean that you can earn and redeem miles when flying any of these carriers (in an eligible fare class).

There is a long list of non-airline partners, including credit cards, financial institutions and hotels, all available here. These partners all serve as extra earning avenues,


 Earning Miles

KrisFlyer miles are accrued based on the distance flown and the class of travel. For non-airline partners, the accruals are highly specified.

Every time you book any airline ticket, your booking is associated a fare class code. By convention, the highest fare codes for Economy, Business and First are Y, J and F, respectively. Within each cabin class, however, there are different fare levels which accrue miles differently.

The system works in general by taking a percentage of the actual miles you fly. In Economy class, depending on the fare code, you will earn either 10%, 50% or 100% of the actual distance you fly. In Premium Economy, it is always 110%, in Business 125%, in First 150% and in full fare Suites (with code ‘R’), 300%. A breakdown of fare codes can be found here.

So, for example, if you fly Business class on a 4,000 mile flight, you will accrue 5,000 miles.

The system is similar for partner airlines, with a full breakdown here.

Miles are also earned through the enormous range of non-airline partners, particularly through credit cards such as American Express, which all act as excellent avenues for increasing your mileage balance.

A recent addition is KrisFlyer Spree, an online outlet providing incredibly earning rates for purchases at a range of online stores. You simply click on your desired store through the KrisFlyer Spree website, and a tracking link will take you to the merchant’s website. Then, any purchases you make will count for bonus KrisFlyer miles.

Elite Miles

Whilst other airlines have tier miles, status credits, whatever they wish to call them, Singapore Airlines has ‘Elite Miles’. These are used to upgrade your status to higher levels. Within KrisFlyer, these miles are accrued just as mentioned above. So, a 4,000 miles Business Class flight will earn 5,000 KrisFlyer miles as well as 5,000 Elite Miles. Whilst KrisFlyer miles can be redeemed, Elite miles are simply a way of tracking your loyalty to the airline. They are earned only when flying and can not be accrued from non-airline partners. They are also accrued on Star Alliance and partner airline flights.

The Elite mile balance is reset every 12 months. To qualify for Silver, you will need to accrue 25,000 miles in 12 months, whilst you will need 50,000 miles in 12 months for Gold.

PPS Value

As mentioned earlier, the frequent flyer scheme is separated into two branches. Qualifying for PPS club is entirely different, in that it is revenue based, rather than mileage based. The PPS Club site above KrisFlyer Gold. PPS Value is given in a Singapore Dollar (S$) number, and is calculated based on the amount of money you have paid for travel in Business Class, First Class or Suites, and excludes any airport taxes. This refers only to fully paid travel in these premium cabins. For example, a redemption upgrade from Economy to Business will not earn any PPS Value. If you pay with a combination of KrisFlyer miles and money, the value earned will be based on the proportion paid with money.

PPS Club is reached after earning S$25,000 within 12 months, whilst Solitaire PPS Club is attained after earning S$250,000 within 5 years (60 months).


 

Krisflyer-470
The 3 KrisFlyer Tiers (Photo: Singapore Airlines)

 Benefits – Bluewysiwyg

As the base and entry level of the system, KrisFlyer Blue equates to bronze, basic or whatever an airline chooses to call it. It is completely free to enrol, and a personalised card is delivered complimentary, so you may hand it over to check-in staff. There are no real privileges, besides having the ability to earn and redeem miles. Note that miles will expire 3 years after they are earned.


 Benefits – Elite Silverwysiwyg

Attained after accruing 25,000 elite miles within 12 months

The next level, Silver brings with it status recognised across all Star Alliance and partner airlines.

  • Star Alliance Silver – Priority airport standby and reservation waitlist
  • 25% bonus on miles earned when flying Singapore Airlines, SilkAir or Virgin Atlantic. Only applicable to bookings that earn 100% miles or above. Note that these bonus miles DO NOT provide elite miles.
  • Waived and reduced fees for KrisFlyer services. Includes a 50% saving to change a redemption nominee, as well as the ability to extend expiring miles for a longer time period (12 months)

 Benefits – Elite Goldstar-gold-badge

Attained after accruing 50,000 elite miles within 12 months

The highest level of KrisFlyer, Gold status brings with a wealth of benefits, bringing along an almost Business Class experience even when in Economy.

  • Star Alliance/ KrisFlyer Silver benefits
  • Star Alliance Gold benefits recognised across all Star Alliance carriers (view top for universal benefits)
  • 25% bonus on miles earned when flying Singapore Airlines, SilkAir or Virgin Atlantic. Only applicable to bookings that earn 100% miles or above. Note that these bonus miles DO NOT provide elite miles.
  • Complimentary access to the SilverKris Business Class lounges worldwide, applicable partner lounges where there is no SilverKris lounge, and the KrisFlyer Gold Lounge at Singapore Changi Airport.
  • Priority airport standby and reservation waitlist
  • Priority check-in (Business Class or Premium Economy)
  • Additional 20kg/ 1 piece of check-in luggage
  • Priority baggage handling
  • Priority boarding after Suites, First and Business Class

 

Screen Shot 2016-02-29 at 4.41.47 PM
The 3 PPS Club Tiers (Photo: Singapore Airlines)

 Benefits – PPS Clubstar-gold-badge

Attained after accruing S$25,000 of PPS Value within 12 month

PPSClub_branding1_700x396
Branding: Singapore Airlines 

Set aside above KrisFlyer Gold, and in its own category, the PPS Club is the lowest of the 3 PPS tiers, yet provides incredible perks for very frequent flyers.

  • KrisFlyer Gold benefits
  • Star Alliance Gold benefits recognised across all Star Alliance carriers (view top for universal benefits)
  • 25% bonus on miles earned when flying Singapore Airlines, SilkAir or Virgin Atlantic. Only applicable to bookings that earn 100% miles or above. Note that these bonus miles DO NOT provide elite miles.
  • Complimentary access to the SilverKris Business Class lounges worldwide, applicable partner lounges where there is no SilverKris lounge
  • Priority airport standby and reservation waitlist
  • Priority check-in (Business Class or Premium Economy)
  • 100% increase in standard baggage inclusion
  • Priority baggage handling
  • Priority boarding with Suites, First and Business Class
  • Membership renewal gift
  • Access to Priority magazine, as well as Lifestyle Privileges magazine, published exclusively for PPS Club members
  • Complimentary worldwide emergency phone assistance for medical, travel and legal issues
  • Complimentary medical and travel insurance outside country of residence
  • Dedicated PPS Club priority phone lines
  • PPS Connect service, involving a callback request
  • Invitations to special PPS Club events

 Benefits – Solitaire PPS Clubstar-gold-badge

Attained after accruing S$250,000 of PPS Value within 5 consecutive years (60 months)

PPSClub_branding2_700x396
Branding: Singapore Airlines

This is the highest frequent flyer status you can currently achieve. There is one just above it, but it is no longer open to new members. At this level, you’re treated better than a First Class passenger regardless of your class of travel. Solitaire PPS is a very significant achievement, however is not as far fetched as you’d imagine. Many business travellers doing at least 2-3 long haul premium trips each year will be well on track to receiving Solitaire PPS Club membership. Whilst the actual number of enrolled members is confidential, the number is higher than you’d expect. Take a look around next time you travel, and you may notice that the number of passengers you see with a “Solitaire PPS Club” luggage tag is surprisingly high!

  • KrisFlyer Gold benefits
  • Star Alliance Gold benefits recognised across all Star Alliance carriers (view top for universal benefits)
  • 25% bonus on miles earned when flying Singapore Airlines, SilkAir or Virgin Atlantic. Only applicable to bookings that earn 100% miles or above. Note that these bonus miles DO NOT provide elite miles.
  • Complimentary access to the SilverKris First Class lounges worldwide, applicable partner lounges where there is no SilverKris lounge

    gs-firstclasscheckin-3
    First Class Check-In, Changi T3 (Photo: Singapore Airlines)
  • Complimentary access to the SilverKris First Class lounge in Singapore for arrivals as well as departures.
  • Complimentary access to the London Plaza Premium arrivals lounge when arriving on SQ306 or SQ322
  • Priority airport standby and reservation waitlist
  • Priority check-in (First Class and First Class reception lounge in Singapore)
  • 100% increase in standard baggage inclusion
  • Priority baggage handling
  • Priority boarding with Suites, First and Business Class
  • Membership renewal gift
  • Access to Priority magazine, as well as Lifestyle Privileges magazine, published exclusively for PPS Club members
  • Complimentary worldwide emergency phone assistance for medical, travel and legal issues
  • Complimentary medical and travel insurance outside country of residence
  • Dedicated PPS Club priority phone lines
  • PPS Connect service, involving a callback request
  • Supplementary card for a spouse
  • Priority access to Economy Class Saver redemption tickets
  • Invitations to special PPS Club events

Lifetime Solitaire PPS Clubstar-gold-badge

4 T
Branding: Singapore Airlines

This highly exclusive tier was aimed for by premium travellers many years ago. SIA stopped accepting new Lifetime members over 10 years ago, following a complete revamp and restructure of the PPS Club system. Back when miles were the method of qualification, Lifetime status was attained after earning 1,875,000 miles in Business or First Class. This was a far more relaxed time, when those miles were counted from the day you started flying and would not expire, so it could take a passenger any number of years to attain the status. Even if it was to take 10-20 years to reach that number, the plan was that status would be granted when the number was reached.

During the PPS Club restructure, Lifetime membership was closed, meaning that no new members could join. Existing members, however, still have benefits honoured today. The restructure angered and disappointed a number of people who had come incredibly close to Lifetime qualification just as the program was closed. However, despite persistent arguments and even a potential court case, SIA did not budge, and those who were just shy of the number were left to continue to fly and retain the status.

The number of Lifetime members would most likely sit in just the double-digits, with those members receiving quite special treatment. Perhaps they are treated the same as Solitaire PPS, or perhaps they are treated as royalty. Who knows?


Using Miles

When it comes to using your hard earned miles, there aren’t too many options available. Essentially your choices include (in descending order of value):

  1. Redeeming an award upgrade on Singapore Airlines/ SilkAir
  2. Redeeming an award flight on Singapore Airlines/ SilkAir
  3. Redeeming an award upgrade on Star Alliance partners
  4. Redeeming an award flight on Star Alliance partners
  5. Converting miles to Virgin Australia Velocity
  6. Purchasing vouchers for Scoot/ Tigerair
  7. Converting miles to PAssion TapForMore 
  8. As a combination in a miles+pay commercial booking

Upgrades

Others may disagree, but I believe

pdt-b777-JCL2
Upgrade from Economy to SQ’s famous Business Class (Photo: Singapore Airlines)

that miles are best used for upgrades to Business Class, First Class or Suites. This situation enables you to fly a premium cabin for a ridiculously low price, but still earn KrisFlyer miles/ PPS dollars. To upgrade to Business, you’ll need to be booked in a Fully Flexi economy fare (Premium Economy is not eligible as yet). You’re then able to process a redemption upgrade at a fairly reasonable cost (often discounted 15% if done online) and with no extra cash fees. The downside is that the upgrade cost is often only slightly less than the full award cost. So, a one-way Economy – Business upgrade may be just 8-10,000 miles less than a straight out Business Class award redemption. The miles are less, but bear in mind you have already spent a significant amount on the original Economy ticket. However, you will continue to earn miles on that sector. Many people would never consider paying cash for a Business/ First Class fare because of the incredible cost. This way, you’re technically able to experience it for an Economy/ Business fare,and still earn miles for the booking (based on original fare class). All Business class fares are upgradeable to First/ Suites. The same is available for Star Alliance airlines, however the rates are higher and no 15% discount is honoured.

Award Seats

pdt-b777-PCL2
You’ll get incredible value using miles to purchase a seat in First Class/ Suites (Photo: Singapore Airlines)

Redemption tickets are the most commonly used awards. They involve using miles to purchase a ticket in any class aside from Premium Economy. For a start, I would never recommend using miles for an Economy ticket, as the marginal cost between a redemption Economy seat and a redemption Business seat is often very low, especially when compared to the cash difference. Miles are there, not necessarily to save you money, but to let you travel in a way you wouldn’t otherwise be able to. The biggest downside with award tickets is that hefty airport and fuel taxes/ surcharges still apply in cash. Depending on the sector, you end up paying several hundreds of dollars in taxes, plus your many tens of thousands of miles and you are not earning any miles for the flight itself. The costs are, however, very, very reasonable, and can be discounted 15%. The same carries for Star Alliance partners, however the redemption process is more expensive, harder to carry out and doesn’t come with a 15% discount.

Conversion

This new addition to KrisFlyer enable you to swap miles to and from Virgin Australia Velocity and PAssion TapForMore. This is useful if you heavily use those programs and have a significant amount of points, however is not ideal due to the relatively poor conversion rates.

Scoot/ Tigerair Vouchers

Currently, you are able to redeem 3200, 5300 or 10500 miles for S$30, S$50 or S$100 vouchers for Scoot or Tigerair. It is beneficial for those who have very few miles and wish to use them up for a quick cash saving when flying budget carriers. On a value/ premium level, it doesn’t offer the greatest benefits.

scoot-tiger

Paying for flights (miles+cash)

Many people don’t quite understand this concept. Essentially, for every flight, there are certain amounts of seats destined to be sold for redemptions and for commercial (paid) tickets. Commercial tickets are obviously far more available, as the airline will earn more from them. Paying with miles involves using miles to essentially convert to cash and either in part or in full pay for a commercial seat rather than a redemption seat. This is useful when no redemption seats are available. The problem is that the rate is so incredibly poor, that it should only be used as a last resort to save cash. Whilst 75,000 miles can buy you a one-way Suites flight from Sydney to Hong Kong, the same amount of points when paying for a commercial ticket won’t even cover half an Economy class fare. This is hence why it is at the bottom of the list.


 

Like what you see? Singapore Airlines’ KrisFlyer/ PPS Club systems are incredibly simple and straight forward, with usually great availability and pricing. It’s one of the more preferred systems out there, and has benefits across many, many carriers. Sign up now for free!

2 Comments Add yours

  1. Dear sir
    Your foods are not attractive to the guest. Please change the food style.
    As I am your trusted regular basis customer and pps card holder.
    Tomorrow Inshallah i am going to Dhaka at 11 am . SQ232.
    Regards
    Chief Editor
    Global News network Limited http://Www.globalnews.com.bd

    Like

    1. Ashan says:

      Hi there. We are not directly affiliated with Singapore Airlines. We advise you to provide feedback directly to SIA via this link: https://www.singaporeair.com/showFeedbackForm.form
      Have a pleasant flight.

      Like

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