Recently I’ve covered amazing Singapore Airlines award space, both to Asia and on their ‘fifth freedom’ routes between the U.S. and Europe.
I’m highlighting this again because there’s even better availability than before on the New York JFK – Frankfurt route in business class. There’s award space for a whole family, not just for a couple, and in some cases for an entire homeowner’s association.
And I’m highlighting it because the availability underscores some principles about Singapore Airlines award space that are worth understanding.
Here’s a calendar showing dates where there’s availability for 4 or more business class awards, New York JFK – Frankfurt, in December for either 81,000 or 87,500 points per seat.
- Which programs can access award space? 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, and not the same in each other’s programs!
For instance, I’m seeing dates where (4) business award seats are available to Singapore Airlines members, (2) business award seats to Air Canada members, and (0) to Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan members [and, naturally, 0 to partners like United – I did not check Lufthansa Miles & More availability, Lufthansa also sometimes has access to Singapore space that United does not].
You’d expect to see a discrepancy between availability when Singapore is charging 87,500 miles but I’m seeing it when they’re charging 81,000 as well.
- When is space made available? Singapore Airlines tends to make business class awards available both close-in and at the end of schedule. So it’s not surprising to see good availability in February and March on this route (and we do!), and also in December. However the standard is to be able to find two business class award seats, what’s remarkable now is that there are four so often and even a lot more on some dates.
- Reasonable upcharge for greater availability. The Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer program has multiple award levels, and their price points aren’t always a lot higher to get a whole lot more availability. A saver award on the New York JFK – Frankfurt route is 81,000 KrisFlyer miles each way in business class. However some flights will have space at the 87,500 mile level. That extra 6500 miles means more availability. Sometimes it means a lot more availability – 9 or more business awards, even.
- Award holds and transfer times. 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. 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 generally has 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. The soft product is excellent – food (including “Book the Cook” where you choose in advance what the airline will have for you to eat on board if you wish), service, and the KrisWorld entertainment system. You can use United’s Polaris lounges where available from Singapore’s gateways in the U.S.
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. That holds true when redeeming through Air Canada Aeroplan as well. It’s also possible to book onward connections in Europe and Asia.
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