Singapore Airlines Award Availability Is Awesome — If You Are a Singapore Krisflyer Member
Singapore Airlines makes much better award space available to its own KrisFlyer members than they do to their partners. Sure, some partners (like Avianca’s LifeMiles) seem to have access to more space than others do (like United, US Airways). But the award availability Singapore offers its own members is really quite amazing.
Singapore Airlines Krisflyer is a partner of American Express Membership Rewards, and also of Starwood Preferred Guest. That means plenty of people in the US have points that can be transferred, if Singapore Airlines premium cabin awards are the goal.
I’ve written in the past about how Singapore opens up two first class (saver) award seats pretty much every day on their San Francisco – Seoul – Singapore flight (SQ flights 15 and 16).
That’s the first class on board their 777-300ER (“77W”) which isn’t suites. It’s a good seat and an even better bed. But the seats have no doors.
Until recently the ‘suites’ class seats were protected, if you wanted to spend Singapore miles for the seats it could cost nearly 1 million miles roundtrip for a single seat between the US and Singapore at the ‘full’ level.
Singapore Usually Only Releases One ‘Saver’ Suite Per Flight To/From the US
Singapore now releases those suite seats as awards. From the US, though, they generally release just one saver seat per flight. So if you want to book two, you have to book one saver and one double miles seat.
That can be worth it, if you really want that product, think of it as paying about a 50% premium for each of the two seats. That’s a premium off a not inexpensive award, and with fuel surcharges, so you’re still paying about 300,000 miles roundtrip per person(!).
But it’s what you’d have to do, and it’s better than a million miles!
Most Other Routes Offer More Than One Seat
If you want to fly Singapore Suites – two people – without spending so many miles the way to do it is fly routes that do not begin or end in the United States. Singapore releases two suites saver award seats per flights on many of their other routes.
- There’s great availability flying Singapore – Sydney, Melbourne
- Intra-Asia there’s good availability for Singapore – Shanghai. Hong Kong. Not as much Tokyo – there’s only 1 A380 on the route per day, and it’s the continuing flight from Los Angeles
- There’s good availability flying Singapore – London, Paris, Frankfurt, Zurich
It actually amazes me how much more generous Singapore Airlines has gotten in releasing premium cabin award space for their own members. It wasn’t that long ago that even first class on the 777-300ER was considered ‘new first’ (while they still had ‘old’ first on the since-retired 747 fleet) and you had to spend double miles to get it.
Pricing Isn’t Cheap — But It Isn’t Crazy, Either
Their award chart isn’t cheap, and they do add fuel surcharges, but it remains less expensive than United’s partner international first class awards will be come February… and you get much much better availability, and access to a product that Star Alliance partner United cannot access.
Here’s the pricing for Singapore – Sydney one-way.
Remember that Singapore offers a 15% discount for awards booked on its website, so the price is lower than what’s listed on the award chart. Instead of 75,000 miles one-way for suites or first class, it’s 63,750 miles.
Taxes and fuel surcharges/fees on a one-way Singapore-Sydney suites booking run ~ US$210.
You cannot combine airline partners this way, though, since Singapore doesn’t offer access to any partner seats online. And you cannot booked mixed-cabin itineraries online either (at least I’ve never been able to book long haul first class and a short haul business class segment together on the website).
So when would you use this?
Most of my readers are in the U.S. Does it help that Singapore offers 2 ‘suites class’ seats on routes outside the U.S.? Most probably won’t fly to Europe to start their trips. The Europe-Singapore flights are likely less useful to many readers than the intra-Asia and Singapore-Australia flights. Here’s why those could be useful.
Say you’re booking US-China and back from Southeast Asia using American Airlines miles. You don’t get to make a stopover in Asia (unless using American’s distance-based oneworld award, but you’d need to have 2 oneworld airlines other than American on the itinerary – e.g. finding space on both Cathay Pacific and Japan Airlines). So you book a one-way award on Cathay Pacific to Singapore, and back on American from Shanghai. Connect those with a one-way Singapore Airlines suites award!
Similarly, book an open jaw to Asia and back from Australia, the Singapore-Australia flights could be really handy.
Those of you flush with miles might even book Emirates first class awards New York to Bangkok via Dubai (quite reasonable, as it’s less than 20,000 miles, when booking via Japan Airlines with miles transferred there from Starwood). Then book Singapore Airlines to and from Australia.
There are plenty of times I’ve wanted to connect Bangkok – Hong Kong or Singapore Hong Kong with one-way tickets.
So definitely one for the arsenal!