SIA's KrisFlyer and PPS club fall prey to data breach

Approximately 580,000 Singapore Airlines' (SIA) KrisFlyer and PPS programme customers are impacted due to a data breach from an external air transport information technology company. In a statement to MARKETING-INTERACTIVE, a spokesperson from SIA said details such as membership number, tier status and membership names were revealed. Credit card information, passwords, travel itineraries, passport details and email addresses were however not compromised. 

In a statement to The Straits Times, a spokesperson said that it would not be possible for any individual to “to access any confidential customer data or their miles” with the leaked information and a verification process has been put in place prior to any transaction of access to data. The breach originated from the passenger service system of SITA, an air transport information technology company. While SIA is not a direct client of SITA’s, the breach did affect members of SIA. According to SIA, all Star Alliance member airlines are required to provide a set of frequent flier programme data to the alliance. This is then sent to other member airlines to reside in their respective passenger service systems.

"One of the Star Alliance member airlines is a SITA passenger service system customer. As a result, SITA has access to the restricted set of frequent flyer programme data for all 26 Star Alliance member airlines including Singapore Airlines," SIA said in its media statement.

SIA also reassured all customers that none of SIA’s IT systems have been affected by this incident. "The protection of our customers' personal data is of utmost importance to Singapore Airlines, and we sincerely regret the incident and apologise for the inconvenience caused," SIA added.

Like most players in the aviation industry, the past year has not been an easy one for the SIA brand. Most recently it merged the SilkAir brand into its parent airline. In a Facebook post, SilkAir bid farewell to its consumers through an ad while announcing the integration of the two airlines. Meanwhile, in June last year, SIA launched "KrisPay It Forward", a new project that enabled KrisFlyer members to donate their miles via the KrisPay app to buy edible treats for 100,000 healthcare workers, conservancy workers, public transport operators, taxi drivers and migrant workers in Singapore. This campaign is part of the airline's #SIAcares initiative which encourages KrisFlyer members to show appreciation for the frontliners in the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic, as well as other unsung heroes in the community.

Meanwhile, in a bid to diversify its revenue streams, last year SIA also rolled out a new app named Kris+, which will bring payment, lifestyle and rewards services together in one platform for its customers. Building on the strengths and popularity of the KrisPay app, Kris+ is a loyalty wallet that combines dining, retail and entertainment discounts. It also offers customers the option to earn miles from everyday spend, or pay for purchases and experiences with these miles. Additionally, SIA will use Kris+ to personalise offers for its global customer base via location-based or interest-based recommendations, offer discounts, miles-back, instant rewards and exclusive birthday and privileges for its loyalty platform PPS.

Kris+ will integrate KrisPay, SIA's loyalty digital wallet, into its platform. According to SIA, it will also be including other in-app payment options moving forward, which will allow users to simultaneously earn more miles with each purchase. Kris+ has already been downloaded over 130,000 times at the App Store and Play Store on Google Play. In efforts to promote Kris+, SIA unveiled a social ad on its Facebook page. The ad is accompanied by the caption "See the plus in everything with Kris+".