We’re headed back for the second time to the Maldives later this spring. It will be our first flight on the A380. We booked with Singapore, because of our past experience flying with them. All airlines should have an in-flight experience like this. It also didn’t hurt that booking a full fare “Y/B” coach ticket was a $1000 less than a combo ticket on United and Singapore. Why book the higher fare? So that we could have the possibility to use our United miles to upgrade on Singapore from Economy to Business on the flights.
When we booked our ticket, the Singapore agent told us we’d be eligible to use our United miles for an upgrade with the higher fare ticket. Of course, that’s all subject to availability We decided to take the chance by paying $400 over the lowest available fare. For the chance to upgrade on a 12,500 mile flight on Singapore, it was a worthwhile gamble. Unfortunately what we weren’t told by the folks at Singapore Air, is that you can’t get mileage upgrades on any of their A380 flights (unless you’re a member of Kris Flyer, Singapore’s own mileage program). Had they told us, we would have booked the less expensive fare, knowing that we didn’t even have a chance.
All Star Alliance member airlines love to brag and advertise that you can use your frequent flier miles on “any” partner airline, subject of course, to seat availability. First, let me say, using your FF miles across Star Alliance member airlines is not easy nor for the faint of heart. You have to go with “faith” and book a “full-fare” economy ticket with the partner airline before your “home” Star Alliance airline can see if they’re are any upgrades on the partner airline available. You would think they could tell you if their were any upgradeable seats before you book. Absolutely not.
Next, there is no waitlisting and seat availability changes daily. So, if there aren’t any upgrades available today, there may be in the future. But, there is no waitlisting. You have to keep calling for one or two upgradeable seats that may be available sometime between when you book your ticket and when you fly. And, if not? Well, you may get an extra thank you for putting more money in their pocket, because you won’t get a refund on the fare difference if you don’t get the upgrade.
Plus, make sure when you book on the partner airline, your name is exactly as it is in your home airlines FF account. And, I mean EXACT. If you use a middle name on one and just a middle initial on the other……the airline can’t check for upgrades because your name doesn’t exactly match. That’s even if your first and last name are exact as well as your ticket number matching. How many identical pieces of information must match before you can check? You don’t need that much matching information when you call your bank for account information.
No one said dealing with airlines is easy. We know that after years of flying with United. But they want you to believe it is. It’s insane that airlines who have been members of an alliance that’s over 10 years old, can’t tell you if they have upgradeable seats on a partner airline before you book. It’s even worse, that Singapore Air, who has a stellar reputation in the industry, is being deceptive and not telling fliers that mileage upgrades are not available on A380 flights. At a minimum, they should note that on their website when booking an “upgradeable” airfare. Please, Singapore, be honest with your fliers. You’re too good of an airline to be so deceptive.
Last modified: December 30, 2013