Sunday, September 04, 2016

Bad experience with SIA mileage awards

Although I had flown on Singapore Airlines for a few decades, I did not keep track of the mileage points. I found the system to be too complicated. In most years, I allowed to mileage to expire.

Recently, I earned 60,000 mileage points from placing a fixed deposit with a bank. I spent a few hours to learn how to use the points. It was complicated.

I wish to share my experience.

1. I spent a lot of time finding out how many miles are required to buy an "award ticket". I must have clicked on a few dozen links just to get this information.

2. Someone showed me a PDF that contain the required miles to fly from one zone to another and also to carry out an upgrade from one fare to another. It gave the required information but was quite complicated. SIA did not make this available from their website.

3. I logged in to buy the Economy Flexi ticket that allowd me to upgrade to Business Class. SIA offered this ticket only for the outbound sector but did not make it available for the return sector. The have a regulation that the most restrictive condition apply when the itinerary contain different fares. I find this to be very complicated. I spent 1 hour to understand this convoluted arrangement.

Later, I learned that the best way to use my miles was to use it to pay for my ticket. They offer a conversion value of $0.01 for each mile.

I guessed that SIA found the "award tickets" and "upgrade tickets" cause them to lose revenue on some sectors. Instead of being frank about it, they used a convoluted system to deny the benefit to their Krisflyer member. This caused the member to waste a lot of time.

A few weeks ago, I called their hotline to ask the staff to give me the information. The hotline staff did not know. He checked and called me back later, but gave me the wrong information. If the SIA system could confuse their staff, what about their customers?

It is better for SIA to streamline and simplify their system, rather than cause this kind of confustion to their customers and their front line staff. This experience left me the impression that SIA is inefficient and wasteful in supporting bad business practices and processes.

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