Alaska Airlines and Singapore Airlines (SIA) are now partners. Is it just a coincidence that Singapore devalued earnings on United Airlines flights…without notice?
I give the Singapore Airlines’ KrisFlyer loyalty program a mixed review. If you want to fly Singapore Airlines in a premium cabin, this is the only reward program for you. The Star Alliance redemption chart is decent, but not extraordinary, with no distinct sweet spots. Miles expire after three years, no matter how much account activity you have. Fuel surcharges are added on most partner awards.
But there was one very valuable part of the KrisFlyer program on the earning side — all United fare earned 100%, even deeply discounted economy class fares.
That has changed. View from the Wing notes that Singapore has drastically cut earnings on United Airlines flights. Basic Economy fares earn nothing while the two lowest fare buckets will now only 25%. That should make you reconsider crediting to Alaska. I’ll have a post later on where to credit United flights to now.
Is Alaska to Blame?
With the new Alaska – Singapore partnership, SIA now has a new domestic feeder airline that competes head-to-head with United on many West Coast routes. Most Alaska economy class fares earn 100%.
Could it be that Singapore did this simply to discourage people from booking on United?
I tend to think the answer is NO.
I’m just speculating at this point, but I think Singapore just realized that it was the only Star Alliance carrier awarding full mileage on cheap economy class tickets on United and adjusted its chart accordingly. It was a competitive advantage to KrisFlyer, but an unnecessary one.
I do note the relationship between Singapore and United has been rocky. United blocked Singapore Airlines award space on united.com while Singapore thumbed its nose at Star Alliance lounge rules by denying United Airlines passengers in its now-closed San Francisco lounge.
I suppose Singapore may have just been vindictive toward United, another chapter in their stormy relationship. But the truth is probably not that nefarious.
On a different note, there is some confusion over how redemptions on Alaska Airlines work under the new Singapore Airlines partnership. We will explore that next week.