How to Goose the Waitlist for Singapore Airlines Suites Awards

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One of the 18 tricks you should know about Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer is waitlisting awards. You can waitlist as many flights as you want, and decide once a waitlist clears whether or not to book the flight.

There’s a strategy for how to approach these and there’s a way to improve your chances of waitlisted flights clearing.

Singapore Airlines does occasionally make first class A380 Suites awards available from the U.S. but mostly if you want to fly Singapore Suites — and book them without waitlisting seats — then book Europe – Singapore, India – Singapore, or Australia – Singapore. Those flights are usually available.

Singapore Airlines makes much better award space available to their own members than to partners like United. Business class awards from the US are much easier than first class, and Singapore’s business class is excellent. Their miles are super easy to get, because Singapore Airlines Krisflyer is a transfer partner of:

  • Chase Ultimate Rewards: Chase Sapphire Preferred Card offers 50,000 points after $4000 spend within 3 months of account opening and another 5000 points for adding a no fee authorized user to the account and making a purchase within the same timeframe. The card’s annual fee is $0 the first year then $95, and it earns double points on travel and dining. The new Chase Ink Business Preferred Card has a signup bonus of 80,000 points after $5000 spend within 3 months, and the card’s annual fee is $95.

  • American Express Membership Rewards: Premier Rewards Gold Card from American Express. (Offer expired)

  • Citi ThankYou Rewards: Citi Prestige Card which earns triple points on air and hotel spending and double points on dining and entertainment.

  • Starwood Preferred Guest: Starwood Preferred Guest Credit Card from American Express earns the the single most valuable points currency.

Key things to know about waitlisting:

  • You have to have enough miles in your account to waitlist for an award
  • You cannot waitlist for a flight and in the same class of service you are already confirmed on (eg waitlist for a saver award on a flight where you are booked standard in the same class of service)
  • You can waitlist multiple flights. You do not need enough points to support booking everything you waitlist.
  • You do not have to actually book what clears off the waitlist.
  • I’ve seen waitlists clear far in advance, and I’ve seen them clear at the last minute. And I’ve seen them clear not at all. If a flight is filling up, there’s very little likelihood that it will clear. If a flight is wide open, there’s some chance but it is not guaranteed that the waitlist will clear.

Here’s a great waitlisting success story including a good strategy for how to approach waitlists and selective requests to Singapore to ask them to clear flights.

A waitlisted flight can open up at any time up to 3 hours before the flight, but data points from FT suggest it typically happens within a week or two prior if not long before that. Waitlisting requires you to have the miles available in your account, but still allows the miles to be used for other flights. We took advantage of this to waitlist several first class and business class flights from Saturday to Wednesday, THEN book business class seats for the Wednesday flight to ensure we had something.

…The next step in trying to get into Suites was to call in for what are called “chasers”. For SQ, a chaser is a request to open up more award space on a flight. Essentially, you call up SQ KrisFlyer Membership Services, tell them you have some flights waitlisted, and ask them to submit chasers for those flights.

…It seems that you can submit chasers for any number of bookings, but I’ve read you’re best served not being greedy and only submitting chasers for one or two bookings. I submitted chasers for my Saturday and Sunday Suites waitlists.

As our departure date approached, my other waitlisted flights started opening up one by one, until finally our Sunday Suites booking opened a little over a month out. I was satisfied with Sunday, but a week out, ExpertFlyer still showed only one seat occupied for Saturday, so I called SQ back and asked to resubmit a chaser. Not 24 hours later, my phone buzzed notifying me that the Saturday Suites were ready to be booked.

Currently Singapore Airlines is offering the Airbus A380 on only New York JFK – Frankfurt – Singapore from the U.S. Singapore is expected to launch a new A380 Suites product in 2017.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. How can you do this while also booking other travel-related necessities in advanced, like hotel reservations and connecting flights? Also seems risky to deposit ~60K miles into Singapore from a transfer partner and then only maybe be able to use them, and then having them stuck wit Singapore. I would love to fly Singapore between JFK and Frankfurt in August for my bar trip, but I can’t have my departure flight or return flight not confirmed while all my intra-Europe connections and hotels are…

  2. Haha. That’s my story! It was a bit surreal to start to read the excerpt and thinking….”hmmm, that sounds familiar.” 🙂

  3. Plus those miles expire eventually right?

    So transfer 136k for a J award and you NEVER find a saver award that clears the Waitlist.

    Every few months I check and there isn’t a segment out of SFO that isn’t a waitlist for Saver awards.

    That’s a lot of points to gamble with.

  4. @Mickey D I’ve booked suites awards twice. One trip was LAX-NRT round trip. The other one was NYC-FRA round trip. You need a great degree of flexibility. I think my frankfurt flight cleared less than a week out and I rushed around and moved my vacation to take the flight and booked my hotels at that point not to mention my connecting flights from FRA to greece which was my final destination. The LAX-NRT was a lot more painful because I needed a positioning flight from NYC to LAX, so I feel your pain. Its a good deal if you are really flexible, but you really need to be able to move on the spur of the moment. Sometimes you luck out and awards open up well in advance, but its not something you can bank on.

  5. I want to confirm that SQ availability has really dropped drastically out of SFO. Once across the Pacific for intra Asia, and also on the return flight to SFO there seems to be more availability.
    I think this might be due to the massive increase of the cost to fly CX that more people are choosing to fly SQ.
    And yes, Krisflyer Miles do expire!

  6. In our experience, booking SQ F in advance is also the key. Haven’t had any waitlists clear if booked 1-2 weeks out, even if cabin was nearly empty.

  7. I have an existing Saver round trip SQ itinerary in F: SFO-HKG-SIN with a stopover in HKG on the outbound. I want to change just the HKG-SIN flight segment. I am on the waitlist for that segment. The website shows availability in Saver but they won’t let me book it unless a seat opens on the SFO-HKG leg. Would the chaser strategy help here, or is there better approach to getting moved from the waitlist?

  8. I would die of anxiety with waitlist. Couldnt do it. Had a hard enough time breathing while waiting for UR points to transfer over to SQ. In the end I am flying UA E SFO-EWR, spending a couple nights in NYC, then nabbed a saver suites award for two: JFK-FRA-SIN-BOM. Continuing BOM to SEZ in E on Air Seychelles. Return is JNB-SIN-SFO with stopover in SIN on J.

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