Cash Refunds And Vouchers: Singapore Airlines, Scoot Extend COVID-19 Travel Waiver Policies

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Back in April, Singapore Airlines and Scoot published their COVID-19 travel waiver policy, which laid out how they would deal with refunds arising from flight cancellations or changes to travel plans caused by COVID-19. 

The initial policy covered all flights with departure dates up till 30 June 2020. Since the pandemic has not yet been fully contained and travel advisories remain in place, both airlines have extended the policy to all flights with departure dates up till 31 July 2020.

Here’s what you need to know. 

Singapore Airlines’ COVID-19 travel waiver policy

To be eligible for a refund, your ticket must be:

  1. Issued on/before 15 March 2020
  2. With original unutilised flight sector(s) commencing on or between 24 January 2020 and 31 July 2020; and
  3. Booked for travel on SIA, SilkAir or codeshare partner airlines flights

If your ticket is eligible, you can choose between a 100% cash refund or a 100% refund in flight credits plus a bonus of $75-500.

Read the terms of the policy here

100% Cash Refund

If you opt for a cash refund, you’ll receive 100% of the value refunded to your original method of payment. 

  • If your ticket is fully unused, you’ll receive back the total fare and taxes paid.
  • If your ticket is partially unused (e.g SIN-HKG-SFO, where you’ve already flown SIN-HKG), you’ll receive the total fare and taxes less the fare of the flight sectors that have been utilised. This calculation is at Singapore Airlines’ discretion.

Singapore Airlines is asking customers to expect processing times of 4-6 weeks, as they’re prioritising refunds based on travel dates. 

100% Flight Credits + Bonus

If you opt for flight credits, Singapore Airlines will award you an additional bonus depending on the cabin you’re flying in:

  • Economy Class: $75
  • Premium Economy Class: $100
  • Business Class: $200
  • First/Suites: $500

Do bear in mind that if your ticket contains a combination of fare classes, the bonus flight credit will be based on the higher cabin class.

For passengers who have booked tickets in a currency other than Singapore dollars, the flight credits will be awarded based on the exchange rates in this table. All flight credits are valid for use up till 31 December 2021 (extended from 30 June 2021).  

What’s interesting to me is that the bonus flight credit is not a percentage of your ticket value; it’s a fixed amount based on cabin. This implies that the cheaper your ticket, the more attractive you’ll find the bonus flight credits option — a $75 bonus on a $200 ticket is much more attractive than on a $1,000 ticket, for example. 

Scoot’s COVID-19 travel waiver policy

To be eligible for a refund, your ticket must be:

  1. Issued on/before 15 March 2020
  2. Scheduled to depart between 23 January 2020 and 31 July 2020

If your ticket is eligible, you can choose between a 100% cash refund, or a 120% refund in Scoot vouchers. 

Find the terms of the policy here

100% Cash Refund

Just like with Singapore Airlines, a 100% cash refund can be requested to your original mode of payment. Scoot is quoting much higher processing times of up to 14 weeks, so it could be a while before you get your money back. 

120% Voucher Refund

If you opt for Scoot vouchers, you’ll receive an additional 20% bonus based on your original itinerary value. These vouchers have a 12-month validity, and you’ll use them at check-out when paying for a new Scoot trip. Do note that multiple vouchers can be used in a single booking. 

Who do I contact?

This depends on where you purchased your ticket from. 

If you bought your ticket directly from Singapore Airlines or Scoot, you can get in touch with them directly to process your refund. Note that neither airline requires you to call in. Singapore Airlines passengers can fill out this form, and Scoot passengers can select the refund option under Manage My Booking

If you bought your ticket from a third-party platform like Expedia, you’ll need to get in touch with the latter to handle all claims.

Should I take a cash refund or travel credits/vouchers?

Those who have immediate liquidity needs should definitely go for the cash refund. A small amount of bonus credits/vouchers is no reason to give the airline an otherwise interest-free loan.

When taking a refund, however, do be careful if you’ve used that amount to hit a credit card sign-up bonus. Despite the ‘cash’ moniker, refunds are processed to your original mode of payment. This means the bank has the right to claw back any base (and bonus) points awarded in respect of the transaction — particularly painful if it means losing a huge sign-up bonus like the SCB X Card’s. 

Bonus travel credits and vouchers are meant to help cover any fare differences at the time of rebooking. This may or may not be adequate, depending on what the prevailing airfares are at the time. 

Let’s assume that John cancels his $200 Singapore to Bali Economy Class ticket. He opts for flight credits, and receives $275 in total ($200 + $75 bonus). Six months down the road, he decides to book a different flight to Bangkok, but this ticket costs $350. He will have to top-up the difference of $75. 

Of course, there’s no way for us to be certain about what will happen to airfares after COVID-19. It’s also possible that airlines will need to slash fares to convince nervous travellers to take to the skies again, so you’ll need to weigh the odds carefully.

Conclusion

Singapore Airlines and Scoot’s extension of their COVID-19 travel waivers is good news for those with confirmed tickets, but no intention of traveling. With the Singapore government still imposing a mandatory 14-day SHN for all returning Singaporeans, plus the prospect of having to pay for your own unsubsidised medical treatment, should you contract COVID-19 overseas, it’s just not the time to head out yet. 

Read these next:
Singapore Airlines’ Expanded June-July Schedule: All You Need To Know
How Different Will Travel Be Post COVID-19?
If I Get COVID-19, What Will I Need To Pay?
How Does COVID-19 Change Your Miles Strategy?
From Travel Insurance to Flight Hygiene: 5 Questions About Post-COVID-19 Travel


By Aaron Wong
Aaron started The MileLion to help people travel better for less and impress “chiobu”. He was 50% successful. This is his story.