I wrote last week about wide open Singapore Airlines business class award space on the carrier’s ‘fifth freedom’ flights, like New York JFK – Frankfurt. Unexpectedly for many, there’s been a great opportunity to use your miles to bring a whole family to Europe in business class on Singapore Airlines.
So I thought I’d have a look at bringing a whole family in business class to Asia on Singapore Airlines. And right now San Francisco – Singapore non-stop has amazing award availability as well. There are numerous dates where there are 8 award seats available, when booking into the future. In fact there are days where both of Singapore’s daily A350-900 San Francisco non-stops have 8 award seats available.
This space is a nice jumping off point for travel throughout Southeast Asia, though visiting Singapore is great as well.
Singapore Airlines does a very nice job making premium cabin award seats available to its own members, often close to departure but almost certainly booked far into the future. The best availability for non-stop awards to Singapore from San Francisco is September – November right now.
Here’s a calendar of dates where two or more business class seats are available on the route:
Historically Singapore Airlines long haul premium cabin award space has only been available when booking with Singapore’s own miles. That’s no longer the case, as both Alaska Airlines and Air Canada have had access. However that inventory is not the same as what’s offered to Singapore’s members. In fact many of these dates are exclusive to Singapore’s KrisFlyer members, and certainly availability for 8 passengers is as well.
Singapore Airlines miles are some of the easiest to get for U.S. frequent flyers, since they participate as a partner of Chase, American Express, Capital One and Citi. The seats aren’t inexpensive by any measure. Singapore charges 107,000 KrisFlyer miles each way per person.
You can generally put seats on hold pending a transfer if you call – if you get told no hang up and call back – but transfers don’t take as long as they used to. In fact American Express Membership Rewards is now instant (a change in recent months, several sites purporting to show transfer times are not up to date on this).
Singapore Airlines is running a new campaign describing their product as ‘world class’ where all of the details are considered, top to bottom. You’ll get nice champagne, good (including pre-order “Book The Cook”) meals, and the carrier’s signature service. You can use United’s Polaris lounges where available from Singapore’s gateways in the U.S.
In my opinion they have a good but not great business class seat – it’s fully flat with direct aisle access, and the bulkhead offers amazing space, but you wind up angling your legs under the seat in front of you.
And since Singapore is a member of Star Alliance, it’s possible to include United Airlines domestic award seats to get to and from these flights in the U.S. using Singapore’s Star Alliance award chart if United saver space is available.
Funny enough, I just booked about 30 minutes ago.
107K miles? How in the world is this a deal??
How is the United positioning award flight to SFO added to the SFO-SIN itinerary? And are there additional KrisFlyer miles needed?
is it time to ‘book the cook’
Those award tickets won’t be available for long now that you’ve told the entire world! Lol!
It might last. 107k isn’t necessarily an amazing deal. The big positive is being able to book the entire family together.
107K x 2 = 214K round trip. For a couple that would be 428K! Not every body has that many points/miles lying around, and for those that do, not all of them will be willing to spend that many points/miles for 2 business class tickets if they are willing to fly economy or premium economy. An economy class ticket costs 84 K, so 428K would get 5 Round trip economy class tickets.
The cash price for round trip in October is around $4,500 – so 214K for $4,500 = 2.1 ppm which is not exciting, and thus SQ is happy to fill their plane with those rates.
Using the SQ milage calculator, if you paid cash you would get 21,000 Krisflyer miles. So the cash cost is $4,500 less the value of 21K Krisflyer miles. If Krisflyer miles are valued at 2.1 cpp, then the “effective cost” of paying cash is more around $4,060. At this cost, the “effective value” of the 214K award seat becomes around 1.89 cpp, which is not that much.
If you bought your ticket via the AMEX Platinum International Airline Program, your cash cost would only be $4,373 and you would get the 21K Krisflyer miles plus 5x 4,373 = 21,865 AMEX points. Since you can transfer AMEX points 1.1 to Krisflyer, this is equivalent to getting 41,865 Krisflyer Miles. If Krisflyer miles are valued at 2.1 ccp, then the “effective cash cost” is around $4,373 – (41,865×2.1 = $879) = $3,494. At this cost, the “effective value” of the 214K award seat becomes around 1.63 cpp, which is a good deal for SQ but not great for points and miles enthusiasts.
I don’t like them charging so much but the silver lining is that it makes the business class award seats “easier” to get.
Apparently I’m not the only one who noticed you kind of buried the price. Of course if SQ actually opened its seats to *A partners (as they should be required to do, and as the partners do for others) then the price would be a more reasonable 77k on UA or maybe even less on others.
That said 107k isn’t bad if SIN is a convenient transfer point (i.e. for BKK) and 107k is more than reasonable if you are trying to get to Australia.
Kudos for not gushing over the SQ biz class experience. It is better than many but I did not find it all that special esp. compared to UA Polaris seats.
Gary is outdated regarding Krisflyer miles. Availability is sometimes better with other airlines (Aeroplan and Alaska). Milelion has an article about this.
@James – I’ve written about the phenomenon, but I also *CHECKED THIS ACTUAL AVAILABILITY* and found it was better with Krisflyer than with those other programs. So not outdated, just specific to the redemptions discussed in this article. And I’ve found frequently, of late, that this is true … also that when Alaska and Aeroplan have space it’s often for not AS MANY seats, either.
Great to do some math. By all means take the most negative position you can possibly muster (your choice). Please consider:
Whether somebody has miles and points lying around is moot – there are plenty of ways to boost such.
Each to their own, but, personally, I wouldn’t dream of flying coach or premium economy on a 16 hour plus flight. Surely that’s one reason that we engage in these loyalty programs in the fittest place – we don’t have to!
The equivalent cash fare is USD7750 on a return business class fare, when you take into account the same level of flexibility to cancel and change your flights on an SQ award ticket compared with the three business class fare types offered by SQ’s website. That’s 3.6 cpp redemption value (not 2.1cpp).
Let’s compare equivalent product feature sets?
The 25,320 points you would earn if paying cash for that airfare (business flex), works out to be an earn rate of just 3.27 points per USD.
Obviously, you can account for the lost opportunity of not earning those points on the redemption as you choose to do (and even factor in your credit card earn as you choose to do), but then you to make the valid and equivalent comparison you should also estimate the points you could earn by using that cash (that you saved by using a redemption instead of paying for an airfare) for a different expenditure, which could easily earn points at a much greater rate than 3.27 points per USD (plus the credit card earn).
Let’s compare both the upside and downside of the two scenarios, not conveniently omit the downside in your preferred scenario?
Buying the ticket through AMEX may offer a better cash cost, but it doesn’t shift the math that much (in fact on my AMEX card, I can only access the full J class fare anyway) – for example, a 10% saving on the flex fare still delivers over 3cpp (if you are going to fairly compare equivalent product sets).
Now the savvy frequent flyer might look for even greater “value” – for example, try to marry a one way itinerary from the USA to Singapore with a Singapore to USA via Europe redemption (an advantage award for 143,000 miles would allow stopover in Frankfurt or Manchester for up to 30 days) thus creating a round the world trip with a gateway in SE Asia and Europe….;)
You are welcome to follow the travel bloggers “valuations” of points if you want. But they are potentially very misleading. The obvious reason is that they only address highly subjective interpretation of redemption value.
Obviously, the above analysis completely ignores how “easily” you earned your Krisflyer miles in the first place.
And, it’s all very well debating redemption values (and how you ant to calculate them), but it is meaningless if the award availability isn’t there when we want to redeem our points.
Out of interest, what else you personally rather going to do with the odd 214,000 points sitting in a generic credit card loyalty account (if that’s your starting point)? Can you derive better value and are the awards available?
That could be the case in some instances.
However, very I recently researched SIN-YVR business class (saver) awards on SQ:
– More availability on SQ Krisflyer miles
– Partial availability on AC Aeroplan
– No availability in UA MileagePlus and VA Velocity
I have sometimes come across business class award availability on AS Mileage Plan (e.g. BNE-SIN), which did not appear on SQ website. I have very occasionally seen business class award availability on UA MileagePlus (e.g. CNS-SIN), which did not appear on SQ website (it did subsequently a couple of days later).
In my overall experience, SQ continues to offer substantially more access to award space through its own Krisflyer program than partner airlines.
But don’t take my word for it, or some travel bloggers word for it! Go and find out for yourself! Particularly, if your intention is to call somebody out for being out of date!
Also, a gentle reminder that through Krisflyer, you ALSO get additional award space on SQ by redeeming an “advantage” level award rather than “saver” – sometimes the additional number of miles is not that great for the additional availability. You can’t do that through partner airlines.
I am pleased to report that I have upcoming Krisflyer redemptions for my wife and I for SIN-LHR in Suites (1A and 2A)…I couldn’t do that through UA, AS, VA, etc…..;)
” By all means take the most negative position you can possibly muster (your choice).” Uh, I didn’t write anything negative at all. I was just doing the calculations that I normally do when deciding whether to pay cash or use miles for a ticket. You must have a negative bias if you think what I wrote was negative.
“The equivalent cash fare is USD7750 on a return business class fare”. The amount of $4,500 that I used was what I got from the SQ website directly today when I was doing my calculations. The near term price is around $7,750, but the article was about availability in October, so I used prices from October since it is a better comparison.
“Each to their own, but, personally, I wouldn’t dream of flying coach or premium economy on a 16 hour plus flight.” I never said I would do it, but I know of others who would fly Economy or Premium Economy even though they had the points. In the past, when I was not financially secure, I would have done it, but not today, especially not with the large number of points and miles that I have. Within the coming few months I already have 3 RT SFO-SIN flights booked on SQ Business Class using Krisflyer miles (2 for a trip w/my wife and 1 by myself).
“Let’s compare both the upside and downside of the two scenarios, not conveniently omit the downside in your preferred scenario?” I never once mentioned in my post which one is my preferred scenario.
“Out of interest, what else you personally rather going to do with the odd 214,000 points sitting in a generic credit card loyalty account (if that’s your starting point)? Can you derive better value and are the awards available?” I used it to get Business Class seats on SQ, AND I’ve already done this 3 times for flights this year, AND still have enough left over to get another 6+ of these award seats if I wanted to.
It’s a great news for me.
Best wishes Singapore Airlines
@ Jacob says:
“Uh, I didn’t write anything negative at all. I was just doing the calculations that I normally do when deciding whether to pay cash or use miles for a ticket. You must have a negative bias if you think what I wrote was negative.”
Not at all. Your intention was to calculate the lowest redemption value possible.
‘The amount of $4,500 that I used was what I got from the SQ website directly today when I was doing my calculations. The near term price is around $7,750, but the article was about availability in October, so I used prices from October since it is a better comparison.”
So did I buddy. My data were taken from October. You chose to ignore the equivalence of product.
“but not today, especially not with the large number of points and miles that I have”
So you agree with me?!
“I never once mentioned in my post which one is my preferred scenario.”
Irregardless of your obvious intentions to take the lowest redemption rate that your could possibly calculate whilst ignoring the complete and analysis?!
“I used it to get Business Class seats on SQ, AND I’ve already done this 3 times for flights this year, AND still have enough left over to get another 6+ of these award seats if I wanted to.”
So why are you posting such drivel (aka you have failed to counter my rationale for an alternate mathematical analysis)?
do you think that once the award tickets are taken , Singapore airlines will release more award tickets for Aeroplan members? I am traveling end of June and I got one ticket in the SA for a group of 2, hence wondering if another one would open up to book using Aeroplan miles