Reader Alex R. writes to ask about the status of award space on Singapore Airlines.
Just wanted to see if you knew why all the saver inventory seems to be dropped from Singapore First, even a year out?
..[New York JFK-Frankfurt] I checked every day from May to January. I less comprehensively searched [Tokyo Narita to Los Angeles] and [Houston – Moscow].
Singapore Airlines has been offering truly phenomenal award availability to members of its own KrisFlyer frequent flyer program over the past couple of years.
Premium cabin seats aren’t generally available to Star Alliance partner airline programs, but for someone with KrisFlyer miles, awards have been easier to come by than on most other airlines. Although I’ve noticed them harder to get from the US over the past week or two.
At one point you could find 2 first class awards on the San Francisco – Seoul – Singapore flights (SQ15 and 16) literally almost every day of the year! This was for their 777-300ER.
For Suites Class awards, even, out of New York and Los Angeles weren’t unheard of booked far in advance either in recent months.
Now, Singapore Suites have been one of the holy grails of frequent flyer redemptions. There was a time that Singapore charged about a million miles for Singapore – Los Angeles roundtrip.
They started making seats available to their own members for the A380 suites class at the saver level a couple of years ago.
A handful of routes started making two seats available to Singapore members only a year ago.
There’s even been one route with the Suites cabin wide open to partner airline members.
Something seems to have changed.
- I still see plenty of seats for SQ15/16, the 777 route via Seoul that’s always had plenty of space (and more than the San Francisco – Hong Kong – Singapore route ever did).
- There are still routes offering A380 Suites for advance booking, you can’t book a whole cabin Singapore – Delhi using Aeroplan miles any longer but Suites awards on that route do exist.
- But JFK – Frankfurt – Singapore and Los Angeles – Tokyo – Singapore really do seem to have dried up. I’m searching for months at a time and not seeing a single seat bookable with Singapore miles. The space was never great, but it’s far worse than I’ve seen it since the space first was made available.
One hypothesis would be that Singapore miles have become much more accessible to US-based members, so it’s not surprising that the very limited handful of seats that were available have been taken. In addition to American Express and Starwood, which have long transferred to Singapore, both Chase and Citi points now transfer to Singapore directly as well.
There are still Suites Class seats available on other routes, even pairs of seats like on Sydney – Singapore and Singapore-London. That would seem to bolster the theory of US-based members taking the small allocation of seats.
Nonetheless, there does seem to be at least a modest tightening with European A380 routes as well… though I’m still able to find paris of A380 seats.
The US flights have always been the toughest, they were the last to come online, so it’s not surprising that they’re the scarcest. They’re just a little bit scarcer than they seemed to be just a week ago. And transfer partners don’t at all explain the timing of this. And it’s not as though Chase transfers did anything to dry up the amazing award space open on Korean.