Double Checking Accrual due to Fare and Earning Changes

Airlines can change mileage earning and redemption rates anytime with little to no warning. US airlines, and especially Delta Air Lines, can frequently tweak these rates much to the detriment of the loyalty program and its members.

Last month, Singapore Airlines¬†introduced new fare types, which also included changes to earning rates on some fare classes (Economy Lite which earned you 10% miles, for example, now gives 50%). Miles earning rates for bookings prior to January 20th weren’t affected. So far so good.

Except it doesn’t necessarily apply when you credit the miles to another partner.

So in early January I’ve made an economy W-class booking for the upcoming Chinese New Year holiday from and to the US. This earns you full distance miles under the old Singapore Airlines accrual chart, but only 75% under the new. The old rates applied when crediting the miles to KriFlyer, but for the purposes of my travel strategy I’ve registered my Asiana Club number.

And that’s where the issues begin to arise.


Effects of the Changes

Just to reconfirm everything before I fly Asiana Club updated its Star Alliance partner accumulation rates for Singapore Airlines as well. Lo and behold, effective February, the same W-class booking will now only earn me 75% miles. Even for the same price.

I urgently called Asiana Club customer support to raise my concerns, but sadly they only confirmed my fears: rates apply on the date the partner flight is flown and credited, not when it is booked. There goes that idea.

I thought of re-assigning my KrisFlyer elite account to the booking to at least give me 25% more miles, but doing so means updating the booking and having the new rates apply.

I can still refund my booking and look for a better earning mileage run itinerary, but I doubt I can find one before my scheduled departure date. As a last resort, I could always look out for another transpacific United flight deal


Takeaway Thoughts

Most of the time mileage chart and fare rule changes only mean devaluations or trouble. Unfortunately due to the timing I’ve ended up in a situation that’s less favorable than I hoped it to be. So at times like these, there’s always a few things to keep in mind:

  • Re-check your itinerary before you finally set out to fly. This is especially true if fare and earnings rules have changed.
  • Confirm with customer support about your situation. Be proactive in trying to do something about your situation. And be polite about it, if you’re hoping for a favorable outcome.
  • Weigh your options. Can you refund your fare? Can you credit it to another program?
  • Most importantly, keep your travel strategy in mind. Just because you’re worried about coming out less for this flight doesn’t mean you should lose sight of your long-term travel goals.

For now I’m sticking to the itinerary, mostly because it’s already travel peak season and the fares on the same route are unlikely to get cheaper. I’ll be more vigilant and plan better trips in the future.