Singapore Airlines Award Holds
Like other airlines, Singapore Airlines will place an award on hold if you call and ask for them to do so. This is helpful when you need to confirm your plans or need to wait for your points to transfer to that airline. With Singapore, this is particularly helpful since points transfers to Singapore typically take a few days. Recently, we had a number of members in our Facebook group mention being told by Singapore phone agents that they could not place award seats on hold. One or two reports are one thing, but when we see a trend emerging, we start to get worried. So we decided to dig around and figure out where things stand with Singapore Airlines award holds.
Why You Would Want to Hold Awards with Singapore Airlines
Singapore Airlines' KrisFlyer program is quite common in the Travel on Point(s) community. The airline offers a great flight experience across all of its cabins. They fly to many popular destinations. Singapore partners with all the major banks. And they tend to have pretty good availability even for their premium cabin seats.
Unfortunately, points transfers to Singapore Airlines aren't always instant. In fact, with Chase, which typically offers instant transfers to its partners, transfers to Singapore Airlines can take up to 3 days. Transfers from Citi usually aren't instant either. Amex is usually the fastest one here, but even then it can still take a few hours. The problem with these transfer times is that the award seat(s) you want might not be available by the time your points actual post to your Singapore KrisFlyer account.
Singapore Reps Not Putting Awards on Hold
Over the last several days, we saw a number of data points in our Facebook group share that they were unable to place awards on hold. In each case, Singapore phone reps indicated that they do not place awards on hold. This would mark a departure from Singapore's existing practice.
Thankfully, other helpful group members started to chime in with their own experiences. We ended up with plenty of data points of folks successfully holding awards with Singapore airlines and then completing their bookings once the points posted. With some of these DPs, members explained that they also faced reps who were unwilling or unable to put awards on hold, and instead were transferred to a supervisor or just to another agent who was able to help.
Members also confirmed that the toll-free number on Singapore's website was the one they called to place their awards on hold: +1 (833) 727-0118.
Testing It Out Ourselves
I decided to call Singapore Airlines myself to try to put an award on hold. My experience was quite eye-opening.
On my first try, the rep couldn't see the availability I was seeing on Singapore's website. I searched a simple non-stop flight from New York (JFK) to Frankfurt (FRA) on Singapore metal. I gave the rep the date, airports, and flight number and she couldn't find it. I tried another date that also showed availability. Strike two. I tried a third date. Strike three. Time to hang up and call again.
On my second call, the rep found availability. When I asked about holding the award, she didn't understand what I was asking. I had to explain that I wanted to book this flight, but didn't have miles in my KrisFlyer account, and that I wanted to transfer points from my credit card and place the award on hold while the points transferred. I clarified that I would call back later to complete the booking. The rep had to place me on hold for some time.
When the rep came back, she said we could proceed. She took down my name, KrisFlyer account number, and email address. After a couple of minutes, the agent asked me to check my email and to confirm that the itinerary was correct. The flight information was indeed correct and I asked her to proceed with the holding.
After hanging up, I typed the record locator into Singapore's website and the flight was there. As expected, it showed as confirmed instead of ticketed.
Why Are Singapore Agents Giving The Wrong Information?
Given this firsthand experience in successfully placing an award on hold, we can confirm that Singapore indeed still does this. But why is it so difficult nowadays?
I suspect the airline has hired a large number of new phone reps (or maybe even opened a new call center) and the new agents just aren't up to speed. Singapore agents were never among the best, but they could get simple things done. The reps I spoke with represent a new low, unfortunately.
Singapore Airlines Award Holds: ToP Thoughts
Holding awards can be helpful with any airline. But it's even mor helpful with an airline like Singapore for which points transfers usually don't go through instantly. Losing the ability to hold award flights with Singapore would have been scary. Thankfully, that isn't the case here. Instead, it looks like Singapore's phone reps have been having a hard time. Maybe they've had a bunch of new hires? At the end of the day, we wish that every airline's call center was more like Virgin Atlantic's.
Have you tried to place an award on hold with Singapore Airlines recently? Come share your experience in our Facebook group!