I earn a commission for some links on this blog. Citi is a MileValue partner.

Singapore Airlines has two award charts when redeeming its KrisFlyer miles. There is one award chart to fly Singapore and its subsidiary SilkAir and one award chart to fly Star Alliance partners. This is a post about sweetspots on the Star Alliance chart. Here is the post about sweetspots on the Singapore/SilkAir chart.

Singapore KrisFlyer miles should have your attention. You can amass a huge stash since you can easily transfer Chase Ultimate Rewards, American Express Membership Rewards, Citi ThankYou Points, or SPG Starpoints to Singapore miles.

Singapore miles can book any Star Alliance partner.

Screen Shot 2015-05-20 at 9.14.50 PM

Singapore awards that fly Star Alliance partners have the following rules:

Singapore awards include fuel surcharges when an identical cash ticket would have fuel surcharges. The only exception is that Singapore does not collect fuel surcharges on United flights ever. If you want to avoid fuel surcharges, book United, Copa, Avianca, and TACA flights.

Search for all the award space for Star Alliance partners on united.com or aeroplan.com. Any Saver award space found there is bookable by calling Singapore Airlines. Here is an Anatomy of an Award post on the entire process of searching and booking.

Without further ado, here are some Star Alliance deals I particularly like:

  • Within the Continental United States, Alaska, and Canada: 20,000 miles in Business or First Class
  • Mainland to Hawaii: 17,500 miles in economy
  • Mainland to Hawaii: 30,000 miles in First Class
  • USA to South America: 50,000 miles in Business Class
  • USA to Europe: 27,500 miles in economy
  • USA to Middle East/North Africa: 57,500 miles in Business
  • USA to Middle East/North Africa: 75,000 miles in First
  • Hawaii to Central America: 17,500 miles in economy, 30,000 miles in Business
  • Hawaii to South America: 25,000 miles in economy, 40,000 miles in Business
  • Intra-South America: 20,000 miles in Business Class
Within the Continental United States, Alaska, and Canada: 20,000 miles in Business or First Class

Whatever United or Air Canada call the best cabin on their two cabin planes, you can book it for 20,000 miles within North America.

Normally domestic First Class on United and Business Class on Air Canada are nothing special, but this award really stands out if you book United’s flat bed p.s. service from Newark to Los Angeles or San Francisco.

This price is 5,000 miles cheaper than United charges for the same award space.

Mainland to Hawaii: 17,500 miles in economy
Mainland to Hawaii: 30,000 miles in First Class

United releases great economy award space to Hawaii and occasional First Class space. The best First Class space to snag is on routes that United operates with flat beds upfront.

These prices are about 1/4 cheaper than United charges for the same award space.

USA to South America: 50,000 miles in Business Class

Singapore puts all of South America into one region. This is a bad price to Northern South America, but a good price to Southern South America (Brazil, Argentina, Chile, Uruguay, Paraguay, Bolivia.)

United charges 55,000 miles each way.

Ideally you’d find award space on United’s flat beds, but realistically there is much more award space on Copa’s flights to South America via Panama. Those only feature recliners unfortunately.

USA to Europe: 27,500 miles in economy

If you find award space on a United flight to Europe, Singapore miles offer a cheaper way to book it than United miles. I booked the start of my current trip to Europe with Singapore miles and wrote this post on the booking.

USA to Middle East/North Africa: 57,500 miles in Business
USA to Middle East/North Africa: 75,000 miles in First

Look at these prices (economy/Business/First one way):

  • Singapore charges 27.5k/65k/85k to Europe
  • Singapore charges 37.5k/57.5k/75k to the Middle East
  • United charges 30k/57.5k/80k to Europe
  • United charges 42.5k/70k/90k to the Middle East

In case you need to brush up on your geography, the Middle East is quite a bit farther away than Europe, but Singapore charges fewer miles for a Business Class or First Class award to the Middle East than to Europe.

Screen Shot 2014-07-30 at 3.15.11 AM

United flies to three destinations in the Middle East:

  • Washington-Dulles to Dubai
  • Washington-Dulles to Kuwait to Bahrain

We can use the Singapore sweetspot to book United’s Middle East flights cheaply in Business Class or First Class or to save miles on awards between the United States and Europe.

We can also use Singapore miles to book a United flight to Europe plus a partner flight to the Middle East. Skip the flight to the Middle East and enjoy the miles saved from the hidden city ticketing. This will incur fuel surcharges on the flight from Europe to the Middle East.

More Info: Hidden City Ticketing on Singapore Awards to Europe and Middle East

Hawaii to Central America: 17,500 miles in economy, 30,000 miles in Business
Hawaii to South America: 25,000 miles in economy, 40,000 miles in Business

Singapore Airlines’ award chart has Hawaii and Central America are in the same region!

Screen Shot 2014-06-24 at 1.53.37 AM

That means Hawaii to Central or South America is cheaper than the mainland United States to those places. Take advantage with creative awards from your home airport to Hawaii and to Central/South America all on one super cheap award.

More Info: How non-Hawaiians Can Take Advantage of Hawaii to Central America and South America Awards

Intra-South America: 20,000 miles in Business Class

Considering all of South America to be one region has this big benefit. I’ve booked myself two awards from Colombia to Argentina for way too cheap.

More Info: Anatomy of an Award: Using Singapore Miles to Save 20,000 Miles within South America

Getting Singapore Miles

Ultimate Rewards, Membership Rewards, and ThankYou Points transfer 1:1 to Singapore miles with a 12-36 hour delay.

SPG points transfer 1:1 to Singapore miles, and for every 20,000 Starpoints transferred, you get 5,000 extra Singapore miles.

The best cards to rack up Singapore miles are the:

  • Citi ThankYou® Premier Card50,000 bonus ThankYou Points after $3,000 in purchases made with your card in the first 3 months the account is open. The card also earns 3x points on travel and gas and 2x points on dining and entertainment
  • Citi Prestige® Card: 50,000 bonus ThankYou Points after $3,000 in purchases made with your card in the first 3 months the account is open. The card also comes earns 3x points on airfare and hotels and has a host of benefits like lounge access and $250 in free airfare per year.
  • Sapphire Preferred: 40,000 bonus points after spending $4,000 in the first three months. 2x on dining and travel.
  • Ink Plus (business card): 50,000 bonus points after spending $5,000 in the first three months. 5x on office supplies and telecom bills.
  • Whichever Membership Rewards card (Platinum or Gold, personal or business) is offering a big 50,000, 75,000, or 100,000 point sign up bonus

Bottom Line

Singapore miles are excellent for booking awards on Star Alliance carriers when the award has no fuel surcharges and Singapore charges fewer miles than United for an identical award.

————————————————————————————————————
If you liked this post, sign up to receive one free daily email every morning with all of the day’s posts! You can also follow MileValue on Twitter and Facebook.

Earn 50,000 bonus points (worth $800 in American Airlines flights) after spending $3,000 in the first three months on the Citi Prestige® Card. Plus get an additional $500 in free airfare on any airline in the first 12 months plus free airport lounge access worldwide for only a $450 annual fee. Why I got the card.

9

I earn a commission for some links on this blog. Citi is a MileValue partner.

Singapore Airlines has two award charts when redeeming its KrisFlyer miles. There is one award chart to fly Singapore and its subsidiary SilkAir and one award chart to fly Star Alliance partners. This is a post about sweetspots on the Singapore/SilkAir chart. A second post will follow about sweetspots on the Star Alliance chart.

 

Singapore KrisFlyer miles should have your attention. You can amass a huge stash since you can easily transfer Chase Ultimate Rewards, American Express Membership Rewards, Citi ThankYou Points, or SPG Starpoints to Singapore miles.

Singapore’s A380s feature one of the world’s best First Class products that it calls Suites Class, and it is only bookable with Singapore miles. (Singapore releases no First or Suites Class space to partners.)

Singapore awards that fly Singapore/SilkAir have the following rules:

  • One way awards cost half the price of roundtrip awards
  • On Saver awards (the only ones that are reasonably priced), you get zero free stopovers on one way awards and one free stopover on roundtrip awards
  • Since you can book one way awards, a roundtrip can have two open jaws
  • You must fly a published route of Singapore/Silk Air
  • You can only redeem awards for yourself or or one of five nominated people (nomination is simple and free, changing nominees costs money)
  • All Singapore awards booked on singaporeair.com receive an automatic 15% discount

Singapore awards include fuel surcharges when an identical cash ticket would have fuel surcharges, and I believe that all Singapore flights except those leaving Brazil have fuel surcharges. These are noted in the post.

Almost all my choices will focus on flying Singapore Suites Class, since that is what’s special about using Singapore miles. Here is a list of routes that feature Singapore A380s (and thus Suites Class.) Most of these deals are really just fair prices, not exactly sweetspots, but since they are the only way to fly such a fantastic product, I consider a “fair price” to be a sweetspot.

Here are some deals I particularly like:

  • Sao Paulo to Barcelona: 17,425 miles in economy + $37
  • Sao Paulo to Barcelona: 58,225 miles in First Class + $37
  • Los Angeles to Tokyo: 74,375 miles in Suites Class + $113
  • Los Angeles to Tokyo to Singapore: 91,375 miles in Suites Class + $276
  • New York-JFK to Frankfurt: 57,375 miles in Suites Class + $203
  • New York-JFK to Frankfurt to Singapore: 93,500 miles in Suites Class + $286
  • Singapore to Hong Kong: 31,875 miles in Suites Class + $30
  • Singapore to Mumbai: 42,500 miles in Suites Class + $160
  • Singapore to Beijing: 42,500 miles in Suites Class + $160
  • Mumbai to Beijing: 61,625 miles in Suites Class + $322
  • Hong Kong to Sydney: 63,750 miles in Suites Class + $188
Sao Paulo to Barcelona: 17,425 miles in economy + $37
Sao Paulo to Barcelona: 58,225 miles in First Class + $37

Singapore flies from Sao Paulo to Barcelona to Singapore with no fuel surcharges because Brazil law prohibits fuel surcharges.

Economy and First Class tickets are absolute steals for 10.5 hours of flying, especially compared to how many miles competitors charge.

Screen Shot 2015-06-30 at 7.09.39 PM
One way from Sao Paulo to Barcelona in thousands of miles

Award space is wide open on the route in all cabins. Unfortunately Singapore flies a 777 with First Class instead of an A380 with Suites Class on the route. Here is my review of Singapore First Class.

Los Angeles to Tokyo: 74,375 miles in Suites Class + $113
Los Angeles to Tokyo to Singapore: 91,375 miles in Suites Class + $276

Singapore flies an A380 daily from Los Angeles to Singapore with a stop in Tokyo. You can fly the whole thing (19 hours in the air) or just to Tokyo (12 hours.) Both are decent deals with miles, though the fuel surcharges are much lower if you just go to Tokyo.

New York-JFK to Frankfurt: 57,375 miles in Suites Class + $203
New York-JFK to Frankfurt to Singapore: 93,500 miles in Suites Class + $286

The only other Singapore Suites experience from the United States similarly allows you to fly to Singapore with an intermediate stop. The flight to Frankfurt is just 7.5 hours (and a bit longer flying west), while flying all the way to Singapore would be 20 hours in the air.

The price to Europe in Singapore Suites is undoubtedly a steal, though award space from JFK to Frankfurt in Suites Class is not great.

Singapore to Hong Kong: 31,875 miles in Suites Class + $30

The cheapest Suites Class route costs fewer than 32,000 miles, though unfortunately you’ll get less than four hours in the air.

Screen Shot 2015-09-02 at 1.33.27 PMScreen Shot 2015-09-02 at 1.33.40 PM

Singapore to Mumbai: 42,500 miles in Suites Class + $160

For an extra hour of flying time, head to Mumbai instead. Unfortunately the award is 10,000 miles and $120 more expensive, which is not a rate I would want to pay per hour of Suites Class.

Screen Shot 2015-09-02 at 1.37.30 PMScreen Shot 2015-09-02 at 1.37.41 PM

Singapore to Beijing: 42,500 miles in Suites Class + $160

I think six hours, if you don’t plan on sleeping more than about 90 minutes, is the minimum amount of time to fully enjoy the Suites Class experience. You can book such an award from Singapore to Beijing for less than the sign up bonus of one credit card, which is a pretty good deal.

Screen Shot 2015-09-02 at 1.38.21 PMScreen Shot 2015-09-02 at 1.38.39 PM

Mumbai to Beijing: 61,625 miles in Suites Class + $322

The Singapore award chart has some good options to fly Singapore Airlines A380s in Suites Class twice and enjoy the Private Room (lounge) in Singapore. Just make sure you get a longer layover than the 50 minutes on this itinerary.
Screen Shot 2015-09-02 at 1.41.53 PM

Almost 12 hours in the air for under 62,000 miles compares very favorably to the award prices from Singapore to Europe, which are over 90,000 miles for the same amount of flying.Screen Shot 2015-09-02 at 1.42.06 PM

Hong Kong to Sydney: 63,750 miles in Suites Class + $188

Similarly you can get two segments and 11.5 hours of flying by booking Hong Kong to Sydney.
Screen Shot 2015-09-02 at 1.59.00 PM

This is the only screen shot that shows “Waitlist” at the Saver level instead of “Available.” Here’s How Waitlisting Singapore Awards Works.Screen Shot 2015-09-02 at 1.59.22 PM

Product

Singapore Suites is a world-class fully enclosed suite.

The suites are laid out 1-2-1, and the middle two suites can have their divider removed to turn two suites into one double bed.

The food, alcohol, and service are legendary.

Getting Singapore Miles

Ultimate Rewards, Membership Rewards, and ThankYou Points transfer 1:1 to Singapore miles with a 12-36 hour delay.

SPG points transfer 1:1 to Singapore miles, and for every 20,000 Starpoints transferred, you get 5,000 extra Singapore miles.

The best cards to rack up Singapore miles are the

  • Citi ThankYou® Premier Card50,000 bonus ThankYou Points after $3,000 in purchases made with your card in the first 3 months the account is open. The card also earns 3x points on travel and gas and 2x points on dining and entertainment
  • Citi Prestige® Card: 50,000 bonus ThankYou Points after $3,000 in purchases made with your card in the first 3 months the account is open. The card also comes earns 3x points on airfare and hotels and has a host of benefits like lounge access and $250 in free airfare per year.
  • Sapphire Preferred: 40,000 bonus points after spending $4,000 in the first three months. 2x on dining and travel.
  • Ink Plus (business card): 50,000 bonus points after spending $5,000 in the first three months. 5x on office supplies and telecom bills.
  • Whichever Membership Rewards card (Platinum or Gold, personal or business) is offering a big 50,000, 75,000, or 100,000 point sign up bonus

Bottom Line

 

Singapore miles are excellent for booking flights on Singapore Airlines. Singapore has way-too-cheap awards from Sao Paulo to Barcelona in economy and First Class with no fuel surcharges.

Singapore has fair value awards from the United States to Europe and Asia in Suites Class, and Singapore offers some attractive intra-Asia redemptions in Suites Class, starting at 31,875 miles.

Singapore miles are easy to get as a transfer partner of every major transferable points program.

————————————————————————————————————
If you liked this post, sign up to receive one free daily email every morning with all of the day’s posts! You can also follow MileValue on Twitter and Facebook.

Earn 50,000 bonus points (worth $800 in American Airlines flights) after spending $3,000 in the first three months on the Citi Prestige® Card. Plus get an additional $500 in free airfare on any airline in the first 12 months plus free airport lounge access worldwide for only a $450 annual fee. Why I got the card.

0

I earn a commission for some links on this blog. Citi is a MileValue partner.

Reader Steven emailed to compliment my comprehensive series on redeeming American Airlines miles and to ask me to create a similar series for foreign programs that are transfer partners of:

  • Chase Ultimate Rewards
  • American Express Membership Rewards
  • Citi ThankYou Points
  • SPG Starpoints

I can’t say I’ll get through all of the dozens of transfer partners, but I will start with the most important ones and see how far I get. Here’s what I’ve done so far:

  1. Korean SkyPass parts 1, 2, and 3. Korean miles are so important because Korean First Class is the most available First Class product in the world (part 1), and Korean has some super cheap awards on partners (parts 2 and 3.)
  2. Singapore KrisFlyer parts 1 and 2 (starting today)

My overall take on foreign programs is that they are amazing and terrible at the same time.

Almost every foreign program is TERRIBLE if you were to use it as your only frequent flyer program because many awards are expensive and most foreign programs impose massive fuel surcharges on most awards. However each program is AMAZING for some redemptions that are much cheaper than you can book with American frequent flyer programs.

Since we can transfer points into foreign programs and only book these sweetspot awards, we can get some major value.

Screen Shot 2015-09-02 at 7.49.48 PM

The foreign programs’ sweetspots vary widely. With some foreign programs, the best deals are to fly American airlines within the United States. With some foreign programs, the best deals are to fly partner in economy. With some foreign programs, the best deal is to fly the carrier itself in First Class.

Do not overlook foreign transfer options if you want to travel more, better, and cheaper with your points and miles.

————————————————————————————————————
If you liked this post, sign up to receive one free daily email every morning with all of the day’s posts! You can also follow MileValue on Twitter and Facebook.

Earn 50,000 bonus points (worth $800 in American Airlines flights) after spending $3,000 in the first three months on the Citi Prestige® Card. Plus get an additional $500 in free airfare on any airline in the first 12 months plus free airport lounge access worldwide for only a $450 annual fee. Why I got the card.

9

I earn a commission for some links on this blog. Citi is a MileValue partner.

Singapore Airlines charges only 12,500 Singapore miles one way for awards within the Southwest Pacific, which includes Australia, New Zealand, and a bunch of island paradises.

Screen Shot 2015-07-01 at 2.54.39 PM

Singapore Airlines’, Star Alliance partner Air New Zealand, flies extensively in the region from its hub in Auckland. Here are its flights to tiny islands.

Screen Shot 2015-07-01 at 2.44.39 PM
Source: gcmap.com

And here is its route network from Australia.

Screen Shot 2015-07-01 at 2.50.13 PM
Source: gcmap.com

Air New Zealand also has an incredible route network within New Zealand. Any award that starts in Australia, New Zealand, or a Pacific Island, and ends in Australia, New Zealand, or a Pacific Island is only 12,500 Singapore miles. That’s a steal considering Fiji to Perth is nearly 11 hours of flying!

Singapore awards normally have fuel surcharges, but Air New Zealand flights do not have fuel surcharges, so you pay just the miles and the taxes on these Singapore awards.

  • What is the award space on Air New Zealand intra-South Pacific?
  • How do you search and book the award?
  • How do you get Singapore miles?
  • For people not in Australia or New Zealand, how do you combine these awards with other cheap awards as part of a big trip?

Award Space

Economy award space is fairly open on Air New Zealand flights throughout the South Pacific. Business Class award space is non-existent, which is a shame because some flights are long and Singapore charges only 17,500 miles one way intra-Southwest Pacific in Business Class. The following calendars come from united.com, and yellow dates have economy award space for one passenger.

Auckland to Perth

This is a nearly eight hour flight!

Screen Shot 2015-06-30 at 9.15.28 PM

Award space is fairly good in economy, even during peak summer season.

Screen Shot 2015-06-30 at 9.15.22 PM

Nadi to Perth

What about adding a connecting flight, so the award begins in Fiji? Award space on the two flights stays pretty good if you’re flexible.

Screen Shot 2015-06-30 at 9.16.49 PMThat’s almost 11 hours of flying, and still for 12,500 Singapore miles.
Screen Shot 2015-06-30 at 9.16.44 PM

There are way too many routes to look at, so search the routes that interest you on your own. I think you’ll find intra-New Zealand space is excellent and New Zealand to Australia space and New Zealand to Pacific Island space are good if you have flexibility +/- a few days. All that’s in economy. If you find any Business Class space at all, post it in the comments.

How to Search and Book the Award

Search the award on united.com

Singaporeair.com only displays Singapore Airlines award space, so search united.com, which displays nearly all of the Star Alliance, including Air New Zealand. Here’s how to search united.com.

Any Air New Zealand award space on united.com is bookable with Singapore miles. Note the date, cabin, and flight number of the award space to later give to a Singapore agent. Ignore the miles price on united.com. United charges more miles for the exact same flights, which is exactly why we’ll use Singapore miles to book the space.

Book by calling Singapore Airlines

Once you find space, transfer your Chase, AMEX, Citi, or SPG points to Singapore miles. The credit card points take 24-48 hours to post. The SPG points take longer.

To book the award, call Singapore Airlines at 213-404-0301 and give the agent the date, cabin, and flight number of the award space you found on united.com. There is no phone fee for booking Singapore Airlines partner awards.

Pay your award taxes with the Citi Prestige® Card. The first $250 in award taxes, fuel surcharges, airfare, or airline fees per calendar year are refunded to you as a statement credit. If you’ve already maxed out the statement credit, you will still earn 3x ThankYou Points on the award taxes.

Getting the Miles

Singapore miles are a 1:1 transfer partner of the major transferable points programs: Chase, AMEX, Citi, and SPG. Cards I like that earns points that transfer to Singapore miles:

After meeting the minimum spending requirement on one of those cards, you’ll have enough for four one-way tickets within the Southwest Pacific on the Singapore Airlines award chart.

Combing This Award Into a BIG Trip

In 2015, there are no good round-the-world awards. You construct your big trip from the cheapest awards on several award charts. Here are some cheap awards you can hook up to a Singapore intra-Southwest Pacific award (everything below comes from How to Book a RTW Trip in 2015. Use These Underpriced Awards):

From United States:

To Fiji

To Australia/New Zealand

From Southeast Asia

To Australia/New Zealand

  • with 17,500 United miles
  • in Business Class with 35,000 United miles
  • in First Class with 40,000 United miles, try for Thai First Class
From North Asia

To Oceania

Bottom Line

Singapore Airlines miles are the best miles to hop around between Australia, New Zealand, and Oceania at only 12,500 miles one way with no fuel surcharges and good award space in economy to many interesting places.

Search united.com and book the award space by calling Singapore.

Hook up the award space to other cheap awards from the region to Southeast Asia, North Asia, or the United States to form a big trip.

————————————————————————————————————
If you liked this post, sign up to receive one free daily email every morning with all of the day’s posts! You can also follow MileValue on Twitter and Facebook.

Earn 50,000 bonus points (worth $800 in American Airlines flights) after spending $3,000 in the first three months on the Citi Prestige® Card. Plus get an additional $500 in free airfare on any airline in the first 12 months plus free airport lounge access worldwide for only a $450 annual fee. Why I got the card.

 

 

I earn a commission for some links on this blog. Citi is a MileValue partner.

United flies daily from Newark to Honolulu and weekly from Washington to Honolulu. Both routes have flat beds in First Class.

Screen Shot 2015-07-09 at 8.57.33 PM

The 767-400ERs plying the routes have five across First Class beds in a 2-1-2 pattern. I’ve flown both routes and recommend the middle seat for solo travelers and A & B for people traveling together.

Screen Shot 2015-07-09 at 6.49.08 AM

These 10+ hour flights are a great candidate for award redemptions because the miles cost of First Class awards is lower than you’d expect.

  • United charges 40,000 miles + $5.60 each way in First Class
  • Singapore charges 30,000 miles + $5.60 each way for the same seats/beds

But what is the award space?

You can get 100,000+ Singapore miles, almost enough for two roundtrips in First Class to Hawaii from opening two credit cards.

Award Space

The award prices quoted above are for United Saver award space, the only space that Singapore miles have access to. United Saver award space is almost completely absent between Washington and Honolulu, though it is much better between Newark and Honolulu.

Washington-Dulles <-> Honolulu

This route operates on Saturdays heading east and Sundays heading west. Award space is non-existent in First Class at the moment. Economy space is available most Sundays heading west, and about two Saturdays per month heading east.

Screen Shot 2015-08-24 at 2.51.28 PMScreen Shot 2015-08-24 at 2.53.20 PM

Newark <-> Honolulu

Space is better than it used to be from Newark to Honolulu.

Screen Shot 2015-08-24 at 2.41.05 PM

You have a real chance to fly this route in a flat bed. There are six days in the next five weeks with First Class award space.

Screen Shot 2015-08-24 at 2.40.50 PM

In 2016, the space really picks up. There are 14 days in April and May with First Class award space for two passengers.

Screen Shot 2015-08-24 at 2.42.04 PM

Unfortunately award space is definitely worse from Honolulu to Newark.

Screen Shot 2015-08-24 at 2.44.58 PM

You can plan your trip’s dates around the very rare space in First Class from Honolulu to Newark and book something like this.

Screen Shot 2015-08-24 at 2.46.43 PMThis award would cost 160,000 United miles or 120,000 Singapore miles for two passengers roundtrip.Screen Shot 2015-08-24 at 2.46.35 PM

Or you can book one way in direct First Class and the return from a different island in economy with a layover. I’d favor this strategy because you should see a new Hawaiian Island every 2-4 days.

Screen Shot 2015-08-24 at 2.50.04 PMFor two people, this award would cost 125,000 United miles or 95,000 Singapore miles.Screen Shot 2015-08-24 at 2.49.59 PM

How and Why to Book with Singapore Miles

Singapore Airlines is a Star Alliance partner with United, and it just happens to have a far cheaper award chart between the United States mainland and Hawaii than United does. Singapore charges:

  • 17,500 miles one way in United economy, United charges 22,500 miles
  • 30,000 miles one way in United First, United charges 40,000 miles

There is no way to transfer United miles to Singapore miles, but all transferable points (Chase, Citi, AMEX, and Starpoints) transfer to Singapore miles. Both of these 50,000 point offers can transfer to Singapore miles:

Search united.com for United award space to Hawaii. Singapore miles can only book space with a blue button in the Saver column, like this flight has in both cabins.

Screen Shot 2015-07-09 at 6.48.59 AM

Note the date, cabin, and flight number of the award space you want to book, then call Singapore at 213-404-0301 and give the agent that information. (Call United First Class “Business Class” on the phone.)

The Singapore agent will charge you according the Singapore chart, which is way cheaper. For instance a couple who flew roundtrip from Newark to Honolulu with one direction in United First Class would pay 125,000 United miles + $22.40.

Screen Shot 2015-07-09 at 6.51.50 AM Screen Shot 2015-07-09 at 6.51.59 AM

The same flights are 95,000 Singapore miles + $22.40.

Bottom Line

There is good award space in flat beds from Newark to Honolulu. There is much worse award space Honolulu to Newark and none in flat beds between Washington and Honolulu.

If some of the space works for you, book with Singapore miles, not United miles.

Both of these 50,000 point offers can transfer to Singapore miles:

————————————————————————————————————
If you liked this post, sign up to receive one free daily email every morning with all of the day’s posts! You can also follow MileValue on Twitter and Facebook.

Earn 50,000 bonus points (worth $800 in American Airlines flights) after spending $3,000 in the first three months on the Citi Prestige® Card. Plus get an additional $500 in free airfare on any airline in the first 12 months plus free airport lounge access worldwide for only a $450 annual fee. Why I got the card.

0

I earn a commission for some links on this blog. Citi is a MileValue partner.

I tweeted this deal first from @MileValueAlerts. Follow @MileValueAlerts on Twitter and follow these directions to get a text message every time I tweet from that account. I tweet from @MileValueAlerts only a few times a month because it is designed to be used only for the best and most limited-time deals–like mistake fares–so that you aren’t bombarded by text messages.

Travel from Houston (IAH) to Moscow (DME) nonstop for $399 roundtrip on Singapore Airlines. Book by Monday August 10 and start travel by December 1. This is an advertised sale.

Screen Shot 2015-07-14 at 5.43.26 PM

Contents:

  1. When are the $399 fares?
  2. Visas?
  3. Mileage Earning
  4. Best Credit Card to Buy the Ticket
  5. Singapore Baggage Policy

$399 Roundtrip from Houston to Moscow

This is part of Singapore’s Houston to Moscow to Singapore service on a 777-300ER. First and Business Class awards on the route are a great value.

Here are all the fare rules. Note that the route only flies five days a week, so there are no real restrictions except that you must start travel between 9/1 and 12/1 and stay less than one month.

Screen Shot 2015-07-14 at 5.23.56 PM

I pieced together a Friday outbound and Sunday return for $399.Screen Shot 2015-07-14 at 5.24.59 PM

To book, start on the fare’s promo page on singaporeair.com.

Visas

Americans traveling to Russia need a visa obtained in advance. Check out the State Department for more information.

Mileage Earning

These are K class fares from Singapore. If you want to credit miles to a partner, K fares earn zero miles with United and LifeMiles. With Singapore, they earn 10% of flown miles. That means you’ll earn about 1,187 Singapore miles from flying the trip.

Best Way to Buy the Ticket

You should definitely purchase your Singapore ticket with a credit card that imposes no foreign transaction fees. Your top choice should be the Citi Prestige® Card, since it comes with a $250 Air Travel Credit every calendar year that will apply to this ticket. If you haven’t used the credit yet, buy this fare with your Prestige, and you will receive an offsetting credit on your next statement for a net price of $149 for a roundtrip to Russia!

Even if you’ve already used your $250 credit for this year, the card offers 3x on all airfare purchases.

See my review of the Citi Prestige Card which explains its many benefits like it annual $250 Air Travel Credit, 50,000 point sign up bonus, access to the American Airlines Admirals Clubs and Priority Pass lounges, 3x points per dollar on air travel and hotels, and a $450 annual fee.

My second choice would be the Citi ThankYou® Premier Card, which offers 3x on all travel and gas purchases and also has no foreign transaction fees. The card comes with 50,000 bonus points after spending $3,000 in the first three months.

Screen Shot 2015-04-20 at 7.36.03 PM

Singapore Baggage Policy

You can take one carry on and one personal item for free. You can have two checked bags of up to 23 kg (50 pounds) each for free. (Full policy.)

Screen Shot 2015-07-14 at 5.39.27 PM

 

Hat Tip Secretly Flying

————————————————————————————————————
Never miss a post again! Follow MileValue on Twitter and Facebook. And sign up to receive one free daily email every morning with all of the day’s posts!

Earn 50,000 bonus points (worth $800 in American Airlines flights) after spending $3,000 in the first three months on the Citi Prestige® Card. Plus get an additional $500 in free airfare on any airline in the first 12 months plus free airport lounge access worldwide for only a $450 annual fee. Why I got the card.

4

I earn a commission for some links on this blog. Citi is a MileValue partner.

Last week I redeemed 20,000 Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer miles and $27 for a one way trip in Business Class from Bogota to Buenos Aires with an overnight in Lima. I will fly the award in a few months.

Screen Shot 2015-08-07 at 7.00.53 PM

That’s over seven hours of flying up front for only 20,000 miles. United would have charged 40,000 miles for me to book the exact same award space. American Airlines would have charged 32,500 miles to fly its partner LAN Airlines in Business Class.

I got the 20,000 Singapore miles by transferring Citi ThankYou Points 1:1 to Singapore miles, which took about 19 hours to post. (Chase Ultimate Rewards, American Express Membership Rewards, and Starwood Preferred Guest Starpoints also transfer to Singapore miles.)

I earn ThankYou Points with my Citi ThankYou® Premier Rewards Card and Citi Prestige® Card. Both cards come with 50,000 bonus ThankYou points after spending $3,000 in the first three months, and you can get both for 100,000 bonus points. Both cards also comes with 3x points per dollar on airlines and hotels and 2x on dining and entertainment.

Getting the miles and searching for award space were very easy, so I’ll focus a lot on award chart sweet spots and setting alerts when the exact space you want is not available.

  • How did I discover this sweet spot on the Singapore award chart?
  • How did I search for award space?
  • How did I book the award?
  • How did I set an alert for better award space?

Finding Sweet Spots

I always scour award charts for hidden value on awards that never touch the United States. That’s how I found:

It’s also how I found that Singapore Airlines only charges 12,500 miles for an award within South America and only 20,000 miles in Business Class.

(Singapore Award Chart)

Screen Shot 2014-11-17 at 4.22.40 PM
Roundtrip Singapore Award Chart. Divide by two for a one way award.

Singapore’s intra-South America awards are probably so cheap because it only has one region for all of South America. United and American both break South America into two regions, so my award would have been 40,000 United miles for the exact same Business Class flights or 32,500 American Airlines miles on partner LAN Airlines.

Fuel Surcharges

Singapore Airlines is a member of the Star Alliance, so its miles can be used to book awards on all 27 member airlines of the alliance.

Screen Shot 2015-05-20 at 9.14.50 PM

Singapore collects fuel surcharges on award flights, though, so you only want to use Singapore miles to book awards on United, Copa, TACA, and Avianca, since Singapore doesn’t collect fuel surcharges on these airlines’ flights.

(You might also want to use Singapore miles to book Singapore Suites with fuel surcharges.)

Searching Award Space

I wanted to fly the direct Avianca flight from Bogota to Buenos Aires. I flew it last year (trip report), and it was a comfortable nearly-flat bed, in addition to being the quickest way between Bogota and Buenos Aires. Unfortunately award space is very rare on the direct flight, which you can search on united.com.
Screen Shot 2015-08-07 at 7.05.52 PM

Screen Shot 2015-08-07 at 7.05.30 PM

My back up plan was a connection in Lima. There are some itineraries with short layovers in Lima, but I decided to book an 18 hour layover instead. Peru is one of my favorite counties (my Peru Top Ten), and I haven’t been there in a few years. I will greatly enjoy my night out in Miraflores and possibly re-connecting with old friends.

Screen Shot 2015-08-07 at 7.07.07 PM

I noted the date, cabin, and flight numbers of the TACA flights I found on united.com. Here’s how to search united.com

Transferring ThankYou Points

Once I found award space, I transferred 20,000 ThankYou Points to Singapore miles. For the miles to arrive takes between 19 and 36 hours, and I detailed the process here.

Screen Shot 2014-11-17 at 4.20.42 PM

There is no way to hold the space while you wait for the miles to hit. Luckily space disappearing seemed nearly impossible in this case, since there is Business Class award space every day on the route if you are willing to connect.

Screen Shot 2015-08-07 at 10.04.16 PM

If space had disappeared, I would have used my new Singapore miles for something else. They are super valuable to me as you’ll see in the links at the end of this post.

Booking a Singapore Airlines Award

Once the Singapore miles posted, I checked united.com, and the space I wanted was still there, so I called Singapore.

Singapore Airlines only displays its own award space online, so to book a partner award, you have to call (800) 742-3333. Luckily there is no phone ticketing fee.

I gave the agent the date, cabin, and flight number of the award space I wanted. The award had 86.3 Singapore Dollars worth of taxes, about $62.

Screen Shot 2015-08-07 at 7.07.18 PM

From flying a similar award last year, and departing Colombia three times in the last year, I am expecting about $35 in taxes to be returned to me at the airport because I am not Colombian, and I was in the country for less than 90 days. That will make the total taxes only $27.

Setting an Alert to Move to the Direct Flight

If Avianca opens up award space on its direct flight from Bogota to Buenos Aires, I would like to switch to that flight. Singapore charges $20 for changes, which I would gladly pay!

I could frequently check united.com to see if space opens up on the direct Bogota to Buenos Aires flight, but there is an easier way. Set up an alert on Award Nexus.

Will space open up for me?

No one knows for sure, but I don’t think it will. I’d give my chances of flying directly from Bogota to Buenos Aires at about 10%.

As I said in “Will You Find Last Minute Space? Here’s How To Estimate Your Chances,” the best way to estimate is to look at space on the route for the next few weeks.

Space is terrible on the direct flight with award space on only one day in the next two months.

Screen Shot 2015-08-07 at 7.05.52 PM

Bottom Line

Seven hours of flying in Business Class for 20,000 miles + $27 is a steal.

You should always check the award charts of all the partners of your transferable points currency to see if there is a sweet spot on one of the charts for the award you want. I saved myself 20,000 miles by not blowing 40,000 United miles for these flights, which is what I think most Americans would have unknowingly done.

Singapore miles are extremely easy to get (with a 19-36 hour delay) because they are transfer partners of every transferable point. My favorite ways to rack up Singapore miles are with my Citi ThankYou® Premier Rewards Card and Citi Prestige® Card. Both cards come with 50,000 bonus ThankYou points after spending $3,000 in the first three months, and you can get both for 100,000 bonus points. Both cards also comes with 3x points per dollar on airlines and hotels and 2x on dining and entertainment.

Screen Shot 2015-04-20 at 7.36.03 PM

SEE ALSO

————————————————————————————————————
If you liked this post, sign up to receive one free daily email every morning with all of the day’s posts! You can also follow MileValue on Twitter and Facebook.

Earn 50,000 bonus points (worth $800 in American Airlines flights) after spending $3,000 in the first three months on the Citi Prestige® Card. Plus get an additional $500 in free airfare on any airline in the first 12 months plus free airport lounge access worldwide for only a $450 annual fee. Why I got the card.

12

I earn a commission for some links on this blog. Citi is a MileValue partner.

Update 8/5/15 at noon ET:

I totally messed this one up. Transfers are 1.35 Singapore miles to 1 Virgin Australia point or 1.35 Virgin Australia points to 1 Singapore mile. In both directions you lose about a quarter of your miles, so this is a terrible deal. I was fooled by this sentence on the Virgin Australia website:

“*The conversion rate of 1.35 Velocity Points to 1.00 KrisFlyer Miles will be available both ways when converting from Velocity Points to KrisFlyer Miles or vice versa.”

I would argue that sentence is flat wrong, but at the very least ambiguous, and I misinterpreted, which I shouldn’t have done because the Singapore website and one of the screenshots in my post were clear enough that 1.35 Singapore miles = 1 Virgin Australia point.

Thanks to @Money_Metagame for correcting me on Twitter. Sorry for the misinformation on my part.

————————————————————–

Since November 2014, you can transfer 1 Singapore KrisFlyer miles to 1.35 Virgin Australia Velocity Points or vice versa. I had no idea until Michael Kao let us know in the comments of yesterday’s post about which partners you can book with your miles.

Screen Shot 2015-08-04 at 8.53.52 PM

This has the potential to be very valuable information for Americans because:

  1. Singapore miles are very easy to get as a transfer partner of four transferable points’ programs.
  2. Virgin Australia has some cheap redemption options (and not just for trips to Australia) and doesn’t appear to charge fuel surcharges.

How the Transfers Work

Link your accounts on either site. I linked mine on the Virgin Australia site here.

Screen Shot 2015-08-04 at 8.50.03 PM

Screen Shot 2015-08-04 at 8.51.33 PM

Then convert there from Virgin Australia points to Singapore miles or here from Singapore miles to Virgin Australia points.

Since Americans have much easier access to Singapore miles, the likely transfer will be from Singapore to Virgin Australia. I went to the transfer page inside my Singapore account, and my accounts were linked from the link I had made on the Virgin Australia site a few minutes before.

Screen Shot 2015-08-04 at 8.50.36 PM

The minimum number of miles to transfer is 5,000, and you appear to be able to transfer any amount above that, even odd numbers.

Screen Shot 2015-08-04 at 8.52.52 PM

How to Get Singapore Miles

Singapore miles are a 1:1 transfer partner of Citi ThankYou Points, American Express Membership Rewards, Chase Ultimate Rewards, and SPG Starpoints. Transfers take about 24 hours.

Here’s a quick way to get 100,000 ThankYou Points from two cards:

Opening a Virgin Australia Account

You need to be a resident of Australia, New Zealand, or Pacific Islands to join Virgin Australia Velocity. If you’re comfortable giving an address there, you’ll have no problem signing up here.

Cheap Deals on the Virgin Australia Award Charts

Virgin Australia has two distance-based award charts. One for Virgin Australia, Virgin Atlantic, Virgin America, Virgin Samoa, Etihad, Delta, and trans-Tasman Air New Zealand flights.

Screen Shot 2015-08-04 at 9.31.41 PM The other is for Singapore, SilkAir, airberlin, Hawaiian Airlines, South African, and AIr New Zealand domestic and longhaul flights.Screen Shot 2015-08-04 at 9.31.49 PM

I gather from this table of popular redemptions that there are no fuel surcharges on awards because the dollar amounts listed are only taxes.

Screen Shot 2015-08-04 at 9.31.26 PM

Many of these are good deals, especially after you divide by 1.35 to account for the transfer bonus from Singapore miles.

  • Sydney to Melbourne for 5,112 Singapore miles
  • Sydney to Perth for 12,519 Singapore miles
  • Sydney to Los Angeles for 34,815 Singapore miles
  • Sydney to Fiji for 12,519 Singapore miles

I am going to figure out even more good deals and confirm the total taxes and fees on awards by doing dummy bookings over the phone in the coming days.

Many Virgins

There are four airlines with Virgin in the name: Atlantic, Australia, America, and Samoa. They are separate airlines. This article is about Virgin Australia.

Singapore miles do NOT convert to any other the other Virgins’ miles. Virgin Atlantic miles do NOT convert to the other Virgins’ miles. (However Virgin Australia miles can book awards on all the Virgins.)

Bonus

There’s one other reason you might care about Virgin Australia Velocity. 😉

Screen Shot 2015-08-04 at 8.39.43 PM

I’ve added my Velocity number to my next Delta award online. Let’s see if I get any miles.

Bottom Line

Singapore miles and Virgin Australia points can be freely converted from one to the other. This opens up great opportunities since Singapore miles are very easy to get, and Virgin Australia has a fair award chart and interesting partners.

————————————————————————————————————
If you liked this post, sign up to receive one free daily email every morning with all of the day’s posts! You can also follow MileValue on Twitter and Facebook.

Earn 50,000 bonus points (worth $800 in American Airlines flights) after spending $3,000 in the first three months on the Citi Prestige® Card. Plus get an additional $500 in free airfare on any airline in the first 12 months plus free airport lounge access worldwide for only a $450 annual fee. Why I got the card.

I earn a commission for some links on this blog. Citi is a MileValue partner.

Updated and expanded 7/31/15 because I booked myself another First Class award to Hawaii on United flights with Singapore miles this week.

It is cheaper to book the exact same United flights to Hawaii with Singapore KrisFlyer miles than with United miles.

  • United charges 22,500 miles each way in economy and 40,000 miles in First Class between the mainland and Hawaii
  • Singapore charges 17,500 miles each way in economy and 30,000 miles each way in First Class between the mainland and Hawaii

That’s a humongous difference. Instead of costing 90,000 United miles to get two people from your home airport to Hawaii and back, you could pay 70,000 Singapore miles. Instead of paying 160,000 United miles for two roundtrip First Class tickets, you could pay 120,000 Singapore miles–even occasionally for flat beds!

To reiterate, these are the exact same flights with vastly different prices depending on which miles you use. Singapore has access to all the same Saver award space United releases to people with United miles (except for some space set aside only for United elites and credit card holders.)

What’s the catch? For bookings to Hawaii, there really isn’t one.

  • Singapore awards cost fewer miles than United awards
  • Singapore awards are way cheaper to change or cancel than United awards if your plans change
  • Singapore awards do not have a fee for booking within three weeks of departure like United awards do (though here is how to get out of that fee on United awards)
  • Singapore awards of United flights do not have fuel surcharges, so both types of awards will just have identical taxes of around $11 roundtrip.
  • Singapore miles are easier to get than United miles, and even share a key transfer partner.

Getting Singapore Miles

Singapore miles are a partner of the four major transferable points program:

  1. Chase Ultimate Rewards, 1:1
  2. Citi ThankYou Points, 1:1
  3. American Express Membership Rewards, 1:1
  4. SPG Starpoints, 1:1 with a bonus. Every 20,000 Starpoints transferred earns a 5,000 mile bonus, so the ideal transfers are in exact increments of 20,000 Starpoints to 25,000 Singapore miles.

Right now, I carry the two best cards to earn Singapore miles:

To compare this to earning United miles, United has its own co-branded personal and business cards plus is a 1:1 transfer partner of Ultimate Rewards but not any of the other three transferable points programs.

Searching for Award Space, Transferring Miles, and Booking the Awards

You will have to search for award space on the United flights on united.com; then you will call Singapore Airlines at 213-404-0301 to book the awards.

Here’s how to search united.com. Make sure that you do NOT sign into united.com when searching for award space that you plan to book with another type of miles because signing in can cause award space set aside for elites or credit card holders to appear, and that space is not bookable with other types of miles like Singapore miles.

How to Interpret the Calendar

The first thing you’ll notice when you search for award space to Hawaii on united.com is that it’s widely available for much of the year. Here’s a calendar of the next two months from Houston to Honolulu. Yellow days have Saver economy award space; blue days have Saver First Class space; green days have Saver space in both cabins. Singapore miles can book all the Saver space that is depicted on these calendars.

Screen Shot 2015-07-31 at 2.02.57 PM

 

How to Interpret the Itineraries

Once you select a date, the itineraries will be displayed from shortest travel time to longest travel time. Most results will have four columns of award space. You can ignore the Economy Standard Award and First / BusinessFirst Standard Award columns. Singapore miles cannot book that space.
Screen Shot 2015-03-22 at 8.00.50 PM

We’re looking for a blue button in one of the Saver columns.Screen Shot 2015-03-22 at 8.01.08 PM

The “First / BusinessFirst” column is especially interesting and potentially confusing to people unfamiliar with award terminology.

Two vs. Three Cabin First Class

The vast majority of United’s domestic flights have two cabins that are sold as Economy and First. Internationally, United’s two cabin flights are sold as Economy and BusinessFirst. Whenever United operates a two-cabin plane, the premium cabin’s awards are priced at the Business Class award price by United and by Singapore.

Extremely rarely, you will encounter a plane on a domestic route with three cabins: Economy, Business, and First. Whenever any itinerary is available with any flight with three cabins, the four columns you’re used to seeing on the search results turn into six columns.

Screen Shot 2015-03-22 at 8.05.34 PM

United charges 50,000 miles if any of the segments is in First Class on a three cabin plane. Singapore would charge 40,000 miles. But again, these flights are rare, and you can get flat beds in two cabin planes for 30,000 Singapore miles.

Screen Shot 2015-03-22 at 8.05.53 PM

Flat Beds

Both Business and First Class on three cabin planes have flat beds.

On two cabin planes, you can occasionally find flat beds in First Class. To find out if your plane has flat beds, click View Seats on the itinerary. Regular seats look like squares with rounded edges.
Screen Shot 2015-03-22 at 8.01.21 PM

Beds look like little beds.Screen Shot 2015-03-22 at 8.02.26 PM

Some 777-200s feature flat beds, and all 767-400ERs feature flat beds. Flights from Newark and Washington-Dulles to Honolulu all feature flat beds, and some San Francisco and Houston flights feature flat beds.

Mixed Cabin Awards

Many awards on united.com in the premium cabin columns say “Mixed Cabin.” Holding your cursor over “Mixed Cabin” launches a pop up that says which cabin is available on each flight.

Screen Shot 2015-03-22 at 8.04.19 PM

You always have to pay the full price of the premium cabin award even though part of the award is an inferior cabin.

Singapore Airlines also lets you book mixed cabin awards for the full Business Class price.

In April, I booked myself a mixed cabin award to Hawaii because my first flight was about 2 hours in economy, and the next was 8.5 hours in a flat bed. That seemed worth paying 30,000 Singapore miles.

Transferring Miles

Transfers from Ultimate Rewards, Membership Rewards, and Citi ThankYou Points to Singapore miles all take about 19-48 hours. My most recent transfer in July, 2015 from Citi ThankYou Points to Singapore miles were in my Singapore account when I checked 19 hours after the transfer. SPG transfers take at least as long as the other three.

Once I find award space, I initiate the transfer.

Award space changes all the time, so in a worst case scenario, your award space could disappear before your miles posted. If you can’t handle this outcome, transfer Ultimate Rewards to United miles instantly instead, and pay the extra miles.

I can handle the small chance that my award space will disappear. Maybe it will reappear later. If not, I can always use Singapore miles in the future for a different high value award.

How to Book Singapore Awards

Once your miles post, you have to call Singapore Airlines to book the award. Call 213-404-0301 and be ready with your Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer account number and six digit PIN.

Feed the agent the date, flight number, and cabin of each flight you want.

For cabin, call United First Class on its two cabin planes “Business Class” because that is what the agent needs to search for.

The agent will charge you taxes denominated in Singapore dollars. If you convert that price to US dollars, it should be about $5.60 per person per direction, the standard taxes on domestic awards.

Within a few minutes, you should get an email from Singapore Airlines with an attachment like this.

Screen Shot 2015-03-23 at 3.13.16 AM

Picking Seats

To pick your seats and confirm that your reservation was ticketed correctly, head to united.com and input the Singapore Airlines confirmation number on the home page where it says “Find a Reservation by Confirmation Number.” The Singapore Airlines confirmation number is the six letter/number code listed on your email attachment next to “Booking Reference.”

Screen Shot 2015-07-31 at 2.03.44 PM

 

United.com will recognize the Singapore Airlines confirmation number. You can select your seats and note your United confirmation number, which will be a different six letter/number code. You can also permanently add this reservation to your united.com account, which will be convenient for checking in without having to search for it again. To do that, click “Add to Account” from the tiny links above “United Confirmation Number.” That option isn’t available in the screen shot below because I clicked it a few days ago.

Screen Shot 2015-07-31 at 2.04.58 PM

Other Benefits of Singapore Airlines Awards Over United Awards

  1. United charges $75 to book an award within 21 days of departure. Singapore charges no fee for such bookings.
  2. United charges $200 to cancel an award booking and get your miles back. Singapore charges $30.
  3. United charges $75 to $100 to change an award booking. Singapore charges $20.

My Experience Booking United to Hawaii with Singapore Miles

In April, I found out that my mainland plans had fallen through, so I could start my trip to Hawaii a few days later. Booking so late in the game is no problem because United offers excellent last minute award space to Hawaii.

I needed to book an award from Atlanta to Honolulu, so I searched united.com and found a mixed-cabin award with Atlanta to Houston in economy and Houston to Honolulu in a flat bed in United First Class on a two cabin plane.

A short hop in the back before a long flight in a bed
A short hop in the back before a long flight in a bed

The award would have cost 40,000 United miles and $80.60 to book including United’s $75 fee for booking within 21 days of departure. I noted the flight number, dates, and cabins plus my KrisFlyer number and PIN.

I already had 30,000 Singapore miles in my account because I transferred Citi ThankYou points and Chase Ultimate Rewards weeks earlier in anticipation of booking an award to Hawaii in First Class when I knew what date I wanted to fly.

I called Singapore Airlines and fed the agent the information and called the First Class cabin on my United flight “Business Class.”

He priced the award at 30,000 Singapore KrisFlyer miles + 7.8 Singapore dollars ($5.66.) I booked the ticket with my Citi ThankYou® Premier Card because it has no foreign transaction fees and earns 3x points for airfare purchases and got an email confirmation a few minutes later. I input the Singapore confirmation code into the United app on my phone and selected my seat and bed.

Just this week (July 2015), I booked myself another United First Class award to Hawaii for 30,000 Singapore miles. I will be in Houston for a wedding in a few months and then want to fly to Hawaii to see family.

From Houston to Honolulu, there is usually a lot of First Class award space if you connect in Los Angeles or San Francisco and a lot of economy space on the direct flight. If you want First Class on the direct flight, which some days features flat beds, you normally have to book within a few days or weeks of departure.

But I got super lucky!

When I searched for award space, the monthly calendar of the direct flight looked like this. There was literally one day with First Class award space, and it was the exact date I wanted to fly.

Screen Shot 2015-07-29 at 2.08.23 PM

I transferred my 30,000 ThankYou Points to Singapore miles, and they posted within 19 hours. Within 20 hours, I had ticketed the award for 30,000 Singapore miles + $6. I will get 8 hours in First Class to Hawaii. Unfortunately, it will not be flat bed First Class.

Bottom Line

Use Singapore miles instead of United miles to book economy and First Class awards to Hawaii on United flights. You’ll pay fewer miles, lower fees, and be able to book the exact same seats. Plus Singapore miles are so easy to get as a transfer partner of pretty much everyone.

————————————————————————————————————
If you liked this post, sign up to receive one free daily email every morning with all of the day’s posts! You can also follow MileValue on Twitter and Facebook.

Earn 50,000 bonus points (worth $800 in American Airlines flights) after spending $3,000 in the first three months on the Citi Prestige® Card. Plus get an additional $500 in free airfare on any airline in the first 12 months plus free airport lounge access worldwide for only a $450 annual fee. Why I got the card.

I earn a commission for some links on this blog. Citi is a MileValue partner.

United is offering tons of Business Class award space for the next 11 months on its flights to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil and Santiago, Chile.

Screen Shot 2015-07-31 at 1.39.01 AM

Both routes will soon be flown by United’s brand new 787-9 Dreamliners with flat beds in Business Class. You can book either route for as little as 35,000 miles one way.

United 787-9 Dreamliner

The United 787-9 Dreamliner has 48 beds in Business class in a 2-2-2 configuration. I would choose a middle seat, since both have direct aisle access. If you choose a seat on either side of the plane, you’ll either need to climb over your seatmate or be climbed over during the flight.

Screen Shot 2015-05-11 at 10.14.20 PM

Each seat converts to a fully flat bed with 6’6″ of sleeping space.

Screen Shot 2015-05-11 at 10.14.40 PM

Miles Price

Between the United States and Argentina, United charges 30,000 miles each way in economy and 55,000 miles in Business Class.

But you don’t have to book the United award space with United miles. You can book the space with miles from any Star Alliance partner. If you want to book with another partner, search united.com without signing in. Note the date, cabin, and flight number of any Star Alliance flights with a blue button in its Saver award space column; then call the airline whose miles you’re using to book the award.

Screen Shot 2015-05-07 at 12.13.14 AM

Here are the prices charged by some other Star Alliance partners (economy/Business one way) with their transfer partners in parentheses:

UR = Ultimate Rewards, MR = Membership Rewards, TY = ThankYou Points, SPG = Starpoints

  • Asiana (SPG) : 25k/35k
  • Air Canada Aeroplan (MR, SPG): 30k/47.5k
  • Singapore (UR, MR, TY, SPG): 30k/50k
  • Lufthansa Miles & More (SPG): 30k/52k
  • United (UR): 30k/55k
  • Avianca LifeMiles (none, must buy): 30k/60k

United flights to South America do not have fuel surcharges, so no matter what miles you use you’ll just pay taxes of $53 roundtrip to Chile and $60 roundtrip to Brazil.

Award Space Picture

All the calendars below are for direct flights to and from Houston for two people. It is zero extra miles to start your award anywhere else in the continental United States, Alaska, or Canada and connect to Houston as long as you find Saver award space on united.com for those connecting flights.

Yellow dates have Saver award space for two passengers in economy. Blue dates have Saver award space for two passengers in Business Class. Green dates have Saver award space for two passengers in both cabins.

Houston to Rio de Janeiro

The 787-9 Dreamliner starts flying on August 18, 2015.

Screen Shot 2015-07-31 at 1.19.28 AMBusiness Class award space is available over the whole schedule except Christmas, New Year, and Carnaval (February 5-9, 2016). Award space is particularly good in March and April , 2016.
Screen Shot 2015-07-31 at 1.19.15 AMScreen Shot 2015-07-31 at 1.20.08 AMScreen Shot 2015-07-31 at 1.20.27 AMScreen Shot 2015-07-31 at 1.20.49 AMScreen Shot 2015-07-31 at 1.21.05 AMScreen Shot 2015-07-31 at 1.21.23 AM

Rio de Janeiro to Houston

The northbound flight is a slightly longer redeye.

Screen Shot 2015-07-31 at 1.28.10 AM

Return dates show similarly excellent award space in Business Class.
Screen Shot 2015-07-31 at 1.27.47 AMScreen Shot 2015-07-31 at 1.28.19 AMScreen Shot 2015-07-31 at 1.28.32 AMScreen Shot 2015-07-31 at 1.28.46 AMScreen Shot 2015-07-31 at 1.29.00 AMScreen Shot 2015-07-31 at 1.29.13 AM

Houston to Santiago

The 787-9 Dreamliner takes over this route on January 5, 2016. Just like Rio de Janeiro, both directions are redeyes.

Screen Shot 2015-07-31 at 1.26.21 AM

Award space is fairly available in January, February, and March 2016, summer down there. April through June have plenty of economy award space.

Screen Shot 2015-07-31 at 1.26.09 AMScreen Shot 2015-07-31 at 1.26.32 AMScreen Shot 2015-07-31 at 1.26.45 AM

Return space is more widely available in Business Class.

Screen Shot 2015-07-31 at 1.31.39 AM

Screen Shot 2015-07-31 at 1.31.15 AMScreen Shot 2015-07-31 at 1.31.45 AMScreen Shot 2015-07-31 at 1.32.01 AM

More People

All the calendars above were for two people. I did one search for eight people from Houston to Rio in April and May 2016. Many of the dates have award space for eight people in flat beds!

Screen Shot 2015-07-31 at 1.33.45 AM

Other Houston Dreamliner Routes

United is also placing its 787-9 Dreamliner on several other routes from Houston over the coming year: Frankfurt, Amsterdam, Tokyo, and Buenos Aires. None have very good award space in Business Class with Buenos Aires space particularly abysmal.

Bottom Line

There is excellent award space for two people in economy and Business Class from Houston (or elsewhere in the United States) to Rio de Janeiro and Santiago. United puts its 787-9 Dreamliner on the Rio route in a few weeks and on the Santiago route in January.

Just because the space is on United planes doesn’t mean you should use United miles to book. You can use any Star Alliance miles.

  • Asiana charges only 35,000 miles one way in Business Class, compared to United’s 55,000 mile price. You can transfer SPG points to Asiana miles in about two weeks.
  • Promiscuous transfer partner Singapore Airlines, a transfer partner of Chase, AMEX, Citi, and SPG, offers the routes for 50,000 miles one way in Business Class.

The best cards to get Singapore miles?

The Citi ThankYou® Premier Card offers 50,000 bonus ThankYou Points after $3,000 in purchases made with your card in the first 3 months the account is open. The card also earns 3x points on travel and gas and 2x points on dining and entertainment. The Citi Prestige® Card also offers 50,000 bonus ThankYou Points after $3,000 in purchases made with your card in the first 3 months the account is open. The card also comes earns 3x points on airfare and hotels and has a host of benefits like lounge access and $250 in free airfare per year.

————————————————————————————————————
If you liked this post, sign up to receive one free daily email every morning with all of the day’s posts! You can also follow MileValue on Twitter and Facebook.

Earn 50,000 bonus points (worth $800 in American Airlines flights) after spending $3,000 in the first three months on the Citi Prestige® Card. Plus get an additional $500 in free airfare on any airline in the first 12 months plus free airport lounge access worldwide for only a $450 annual fee. Why I got the card.

I earn a commission for some links on this blog. Citi is a MileValue partner.

Singapore Suites on the Singapore A380 is one of the nicest products in the world. You get a fully enclosed suite, a fully flat bed, great food, expensive wines and liquors, and top notch personalized service. Plus if you have a companion or fly a cabin with empty seats, you can snag a double bed in the air.

Screen Shot 2015-06-03 at 1.46.33 PM

You can get the miles to fly Singapore Suites from opening a single credit card!

The cheapest Singapore Suites route from New York to Frankfurt costs only 57,375 Singapore miles + $203.30.

Screen Shot 2015-07-21 at 2.20.19 PM Screen Shot 2015-07-21 at 2.20.29 PM

Interesting Singapore First Class (the slightly different product on Singapore 777s) routes/prices:

  • Houston to Moscow-Domodedovo: 57,375 miles + $211.70 (10 hours flying)
  • Sao Paulo to Barcelona: 58,225 Singapore miles + $37.24 (10.5 hours flying)

Getting the Miles

Singapore miles are a partner of every transferable points program. The two quickest ways to earn Singapore miles are with the:

Getting the Miles with Premier

If you spend $3,000 on travel and gas in the first three months of getting the Citi ThankYou® Premier Card, you’d have 59,000 ThankYou Points: 50,000 bonus ThankYou Points plus 9,000 for the spending ($3,000 times 3 points per dollar.)

Screen Shot 2015-04-20 at 7.36.03 PM

If you spend $4,000 on dining and entertainment on the card, at least $3,000 of which is in the first three months, you’d have 58,000 ThankYou Points: 50,000 bonus ThankYou Points plus 8,000 for the spending ($4,000 times 2 points per dollar.)

The most you’d need to spend on the card is $8,000, at least $3,000 of which was in the first three months, to get to 58,000 ThankYou Points. And I really can’t imagine anyone reading this blog doesn’t spend heavily on travel, gas, dining, and entertainment, which are the card’s bonus categories.

Since the Citi ThankYou® Premier Card has no annual fee for the first year, and since you can get to 58,000 points with your normal spending, you’d have no out-of-pocket cost to fly Singapore Suites other than the ~$200 in taxes and fees on the award.

Getting the Miles with Prestige

The bonus, spending requirement, and category bonuses of the Citi Prestige® Card are identical except that the Prestige’s 3x category is narrower: just airlines and hotels instead of the Premier’s more expansive travel and gas.

Compared to the Premier, the Prestige has one other upside and downside when used to collect enough points to fly Singapore Suites.

  • Downside: The Citi Prestige® Card has a $450 annual fee the first year. I think the fee is worth it year after year because of benefits like free golf, free hotel nights, free lounge access, and a $250 Air Travel Credit per calendar year. Speaking of that $250 Air Travel Credit:
  • Upside: You can use the card’s $250 Air Travel Credit to pay the ~$200 in taxes and fees on your Singapore Suites award. That makes the out-of-pocket cost of the award zero. Plus you’d still have about $50 in free airfare or award taxes in 2015, and $250 in early 2016, before the next annual fee is due.

For a complete comparison of the strengths and weaknesses of the Prestige and Premier, see Comparison Table of Citi Preferred vs. Premier vs. Prestige.

Transfer

You can transfer ThankYou Points to Singapore Miles on thankyou.com. The transfer takes 24-48 hours in my experience and is free.

You must transfer in 1,000 point increments, so you need 58,000 ThankYou Points to fly from the United States to Europe in Singapore First or Suites Class and 59,000 ThankYou Points to fly Sao Paulo to Barcelona in Singapore First.

Booking

Once your Singapore miles post, book on singaporeair.com. Here’s how.

Bottom Line

Singapore Suites is one of the nicest products in the world. You can fly it by opening one credit card and meeting its minimum spending requirement while simultaneously maximizing its category bonuses.

For only 58,000 ThankYou Points transferred to Singapore miles, you can fly one way in Singapore Suites from New York to Frankfurt. Singapore First from Houston to Moscow or from Sao Paulo to Barcelona are also 58,000 or 59,000 ThankYou Points transferred to Singapore miles.

The two quickest ways to earn ThankYou Points are with the:

————————————————————————————————————
If you liked this post, sign up to receive one free daily email every morning with all of the day’s posts! You can also follow MileValue on Twitter and Facebook.

Earn 50,000 bonus points (worth $800 in American Airlines flights) after spending $3,000 in the first three months on the Citi Prestige® Card. Plus get an additional $500 in free airfare on any airline in the first 12 months plus free airport lounge access worldwide for only a $450 annual fee. Why I got the card.

0

I earn a commission for some links on this blog. Citi is a MileValue partner.

Fly between South America and Europe for 17,425 miles one way year round. Or for only 58,225, fly one of the world’s nicest First Classes. These are fantastic deals as part of your next BIG trip.

Screen Shot 2015-06-30 at 6.58.14 PM

Singapore Airlines flies from Singapore to Barcleona to Sao Paulo with one plane.

Screen Shot 2015-06-30 at 6.59.29 PM
Source: gcmap.com

You can book any part of the route separately, like just Sao Paulo to Barcelona.

Screen Shot 2015-06-30 at 6.59.07 PM
Source: gcmap.com

Singapore Airlines awards have fuel surcharges, but awards departing Brazil are legally forbidden from having fuel surcharges, so Singapore awards from Sao Paulo to Barcelona or Sao Paulo to Singapore have no fuel surcharges. Not only that, but Singapore way underprices its awards from Sao Paulo to Barcelona.

Check out the number of miles (in thousands) you’d need for a one way award from Sao Paulo to Barcelona with a few major mileage currencies:

Screen Shot 2015-06-30 at 7.09.39 PM

United awards could fly Lufthansa or TAP (or Singapore economy.) Those are fine products, especially Lufthansa First Class, but United miles are nearly triple the miles in economy and more than double the miles in First Class, so I’ll take a Singapore award every day.

American awards could fly British Airways, which has a very good Business and First Class product, but AA awards are nearly triple the miles in economy and 40% more miles in Business and First, so I’d much rather fly a Singapore award.

  • What is the Singapore First Class product?
  • What is the award space between Barcelona and Sao Paulo?
  • How much does the award cost?
  • How do you search and book the award?
  • How do you get Singapore miles?

Singapore First Class

I flew Singapore First Class on the 777-300ER, the exact plane that serves Sao Paulo to Barcelona, from Singapore to London last year. Here is my trip report.

Screen Shot 2015-06-01 at 1.57.30 AMThe comfort of the seat and bed is world class, and you can select your meal in advance for maximum control.

Screen Shot 2015-06-01 at 2.01.28 AM

Singapore First Class is clearly a top ten and possibly a top five commercial flying experience.

Award Space

Award space is wide open between Sao Paulo and Barcelona in First Class. I didn’t check Business or economy as extensively, but it is wide open also on the searches I did make.

Methodology

I searched one week periods in July, September, November, January, March, and May for 1 and 2 First Class award seats. This allowed me to see seasonal and time-before-departure variations in award space. The flight operates three times a week (M, Th, Sa from GRU-BCN), so I searched 18 dates in total. I found:

  • 16/18 dates had Saver award space for two passengers in First Class between Sao Paulo and Barcelona
  • 17/18 dates had Saver award space for one passenger in First Class between Sao Paulo and Barcelona

The only real constraint is flying a Monday, Thursday, or Saturday. If that works for you, odds are you’ll find award space in First Class.

Since First Class is such a small premium over Business Class (8,075 extra miles), I wouldn’t bother to fly Business Class unless I had to fly on a rare date with no First Class award space, and even then I’d try to waitlist the First Class award space before booking Business Class. For that reason, I didn’t search Business Class. Economy Class award space was open on all of the handful of days I searched it.

How Much Does the Award Cost

Singapore awards booked on singaporeair.com receive a 15% miles discount. Prices below are after that discount.

Sao Paulo to Barcelona (10:25 flying time)

  • First Class: 58,225 Singapore miles + $37.24
  • Business Class: 50,150 Singapore miles + $37.24
  • Economy: 17,425 Singapore miles + $37.24

Sao Paulo to Barcelona to Singapore (23:15 travel time)

  • Sao Paulo to Barcelona to Singapore in First Class: 95,625 Singapore miles + $37.24

Barcelona to Singapore (11:10 travel time)

  • Barcelona to Singapore in First Class: 58,225 Singapore miles + $206.52 (including $180 in fuel surcharges)

How to Search and Book the Award

Search and book the award on singaporeair.com. Here’s how to use singaporeair.com. Everything is pretty intuitive except that you check “Redeem award flight(s)”, and not “Pay with KrisFlyer miles.”

Screen Shot 2015-06-30 at 7.33.08 PM

Make sure you search a Monday, Thursday, or Saturday if you originate in Sao Paulo, or you will get an error.

On the search results, the Saver awards will be listed without their 15% discount. Once you select the space you want, the 15% discount will appear on the next screen.

Pay your award taxes with the Citi Prestige® Card. The first $250 in award taxes, fuel surcharges, airfare, or airline fees per calendar year are refunded to you as a statement credit. If you’ve already maxed out the statement credit, you will still earn 3x ThankYou Points on the award taxes.

Getting the Miles

Singapore miles are a 1:1 transfer partner of the major transferable points programs: Chase, AMEX, Citi, and SPG. Cards I like that earns points that transfer to Singapore miles:

After meeting the minimum spending requirement on one of those cards, you’ll have enough for three one-way tickets from Sao Paulo to Barcelona in economy or one in First Class.

Bottom Line

Singapore Airlines First Class is widely available between Sao Paulo and Barcelona and Singapore. Book it between Brazil and Spain on your next triangle trip to South America and Europe or modern round-the-world award.

Book Singapore First Class for only 58,225 miles and $37. Or fly in the back of the plane for 17,425 mile and $37.

————————————————————————————————————
If you liked this post, sign up to receive one free daily email every morning with all of the day’s posts! You can also follow MileValue on Twitter and Facebook.

Earn 50,000 bonus points (worth $800 in American Airlines flights) after spending $3,000 in the first three months on the Citi Prestige® Card. Plus get an additional $500 in free airfare on any airline in the first 12 months plus free airport lounge access worldwide for only a $450 annual fee. Why I got the card.

4

I earn a commission for some links on this blog. Citi is a MileValue partner.

Singapore Airlines offers an efficient and convenient way to waitlist Saver award space on any flight in any cabin when Saver space is unavailable.

What is Waitlisting?

Singapore Airlines has three prices for award space in each cabin on each route: Saver, Standard, and Full.

Screen Shot 2015-06-23 at 5.35.24 PM

Saver is the cheapest, around one-fifth to one-eighth of the price of Full. Saver is also the least likely level to have award space available, though there are some routes and times of year when Saver space in Singapore Suites Class is a gimme, even for two people.

When Saver space is not available, there will be an option to “Waitlist” it. If you waitlist the space, Singapore Airlines will give you priority in case they decide to open Saver award space.

Why Waitlist?

To get first crack at award space in one of the world’s nicest cabins: Singapore Suites.

Screen Shot 2015-06-03 at 1.46.33 PM

How To Waitlist Singapore Award Space

Perform an award search as usual.

Screen Shot 2015-06-23 at 5.33.50 PM

If your preferred flight has Saver award space like this flight, book it.

Screen Shot 2015-06-23 at 5.34.06 PM

On the payment page, you’ll get a 15% discount off the listed prices.

Screen Shot 2015-06-23 at 5.34.44 PM

If your desired flight doesn’t have Saver award space, like this flight from Frankfurt to New York next Spring, select “Waitlist” in the Saver column.

Screen Shot 2015-06-23 at 5.35.37 PM

If you have enough miles in your account to ticket a Saver award if one were available, you’ll be told what the price of the award will be and be given a Waitlist confirmation number. You will not have to enter your credit card information or have the miles debited from your account. For instance, to waitlist Frankfurt to New York in Suites Class, I’d need at least 57,375 miles in my account, but the miles wouldn’t be touched and I wouldn’t have to give a credit card for the 273 euros that the award costs.

Screen Shot 2015-06-23 at 5.35.53 PM

Right now I only have 125 Singapore miles, so I can’t waitlist anything.

Screen Shot 2015-06-23 at 5.32.53 PM

When I selected “Waitlist,” I got this error message.

Screen Shot 2015-06-23 at 5.35.47 PM

The bottom line is that to waitlist Singapore Award space, you need to have enough miles in your account to ticket the award you’d like to ticket, but those miles are not deducted from your account, nor are you charged any taxes at the time of waitlisting.

If the waitlist clears, and award space is opened up, you will receive an email notifying you and asking you to complete the booking within 24 hours. If you do not complete the booking, nothing happens. You still have your miles and never paid a penny. If you complete the booking, you pay the Saver price plus taxes and fuel surcharges and fly your dream award.

I should note that there is no point in checking the seat map or the inventory of paid seats for sale in the days leading to the flight you’ve waitlisted. Just because a seat is unsold does NOT mean the waitlist will clear. Sometimes airlines just don’t open up award space.

Doubling and Quintupling or x100’ing Your Chances

If flying Singapore Suites is a dream of yours, and the dates don’t matter so much, you can waitlist as many dates and flights as you’d like. You just have to have the number of miles in your account to ticket one award if the space opens up, but since those miles are never debited, you can waitlist as many segments as you’d like.

How Do You Get the Singapore Miles?

Singapore miles are a partner of every transferable points program, and points transfer in about 36 hours. Cards I like that earns points that transfer:

  • Citi ThankYou® Premier Card50,000 bonus ThankYou Points after $3,000 in purchases made with your card in the first 3 months the account is open. The card also earns 3x points on travel and gas and 2x points on dining and entertainment
  • Citi Prestige® Card: 50,000 bonus ThankYou Points after $3,000 in purchases made with your card in the first 3 months the account is open. The card also comes earns 3x points on airfare and hotels and has a host of benefits like lounge access and $250 in free airfare per year.
  • Sapphire Preferred: 40,000 bonus points after spending $4,000 in the first three months. 2x on dining and travel.
  • Ink Plus (business card): 50,000 bonus points after spending $5,000 in the first three months. 5x on office supplies and telecom bills.
  • Whichever Membership Rewards card (Platinum or Gold, personal or business) is offering a big 50,000, 75,000, or 100,000 point sign up bonus

I have a lot of ThankYou Points from my Citi ThankYou® Premier Card and Citi Prestige® Card, but I hold onto those as ThankYou Points instead of Singapore miles to maintain flexibility. Don’t transfer ThankYou Points until you are ready to book or waitlist an award.

What Is the Success Rate of Waitlisting?

Good, but not perfect, and sometimes the process doesn’t work as designed.

Here is an entire thread of FlyerTalkers reporting their successes and failures with waitlisting all cabins, but mainly First and Suites Class. There is no consensus time when award space is most likely to clear though it often happens in the month, week, or days before departure.

Be aware that sometimes Singapore messes up and opens award space on a flight without contacting people on the waitlist to give them first access. If you’ve got a lot of time or the waitlisted flight is especially important, you can search for award space every few days on your flight even after waitlisting it. If space opens, book it, and then if you’re ever contacted about the waitlist clearing in the future, ignore that email.

Also know that some people swear by calling Singapore every so often while on the waitlist to ask whether award space has opened, thinking that increases their chances of having the award space opened up. I’d say there’s insufficient data to prove the claim, but it can’t hurt if you’ve got the free time.

Because not all waitlists clear, I’d want to have a back up plan to get me from point A to point B. My back up plan would probably be United or American Airlines miles depending on the route because many of their partners, notable United, Lufthansa, and Cathay Pacific open up tons of award space right before departure if seats are unsold.

Bottom Line

If you have the Singapore miles in your account to book a Saver award on a route, but no Saver space is open, you can waitlist the award with no commitment. If space opens up, you’ll get an email to book the space if you’d like. This is a unique and awesome feature of Singapore KrisFlyer and increases our chances of Flying Singapore First Class or Suites Class.

————————————————————————————————————
If you liked this post, sign up to receive one free daily email every morning with all of the day’s posts! You can also follow MileValue on Twitter and Facebook.

Earn 50,000 bonus points (worth $800 in American Airlines flights) after spending $3,000 in the first three months on the Citi Prestige® Card. Plus get an additional $500 in free airfare on any airline in the first 12 months plus free airport lounge access worldwide for only a $450 annual fee. Why I got the card.

I earn a commission for some links on this blog. Citi is a MileValue partner.

Cash is great because it can buy everything from travel to your basic necessities. But sometimes miles are better. There are a lot of things I can easily do with miles that I would never do with cash (at least until my bank account had a few more zeroes.)

Dream big with your miles. Better yet, dream big before your miles. Then get the right miles to turn that dream into a reality. Here are five dreams, five things I can do with miles that I wouldn’t do with cash.

  1. Fly Singapore Suites, a double bed in the sky
  2. Fly Lufthansa First Class and access the First Class Terminal
  3. Fly Etihad First Class for its shower, couch, and bed
  4. Fly Virgin Atlantic Premium Economy to London for a big upgrade from economy
  5. Hop around South America to 11 cities on one award with Asia Miles

1. Singapore Suites Los Angeles to Singapore: $8,700 or 92,000 miles + $276

Singapore Suites is famous for its double bed. The two middle seats in the 1-2-1 configuration can have their divider lowered to form an enclosed double bed that no other First Class cabin matches.

Screen Shot 2015-06-03 at 1.46.33 PM

Singapore is also famous for its food and wine selections and service from the Singapore girls. I flew Singapore First Class and would love to fly Suites Class, but I wouldn’t pay $8,700 for the one way flight from Los Angeles to Singapore.

Screen Shot 2015-06-16 at 6.13.23 PM Instead I’d pay 91,375 Singapore miles + $276 (or less to fly Los Angeles to Tokyo or New York to Frankfurt.)Screen Shot 2015-06-16 at 6.14.22 PM

Singapore miles are a 1:1 transfer partner of Citi, Chase, AMEX, and SPG, so getting just two cards like the Citi Prestige and Citi ThankYou Premier with 50,000 ThankYou Points each after spending $3,000 in the first three months is enough to fly one way anywhere that Singapore Suites flies.

2. Lufthansa First Frankfurt to Washington: $8,700 or 40,000 points + $300

Lufthansa First Class is the most widely available excellent product between the United States and Europe.

Screen Shot 2015-06-16 at 5.44.36 PM

Within two weeks of departure, Lufthansa releases a lot of First Class award space to partners. If you can only fly Lufthansa First Class one way, fly it home from Europe via Frankfurt, where Lufthansa has an entire First Class Terminal. Spend a few hours at the buffet, a la carte restaurant, cigar room, and in the bathtubs with your own Lufthansa rubber ducky.

I flew Lufthansa First Class from Frankfurt to Washington DC once. I never would have done that if my only option were to pay $8,730 one way.

Screen Shot 2015-06-16 at 6.22.19 PM

Luckily you can book the same flight for 50,000 Asiana miles (40,000 SPG points transfer to 50,000 Asiana miles) + ~$300 in taxes and fuel surcharges.

3. Etihad A380 First Class New York to Abu Dhabi: $16,700 or 90,000 miles + $6

Etihad begins flying its A380 from New York to Abu Dhabi on December 1, 2015. Award space has been intermittently very good and completely non-existent on the route. (Right now, it is non-existent.)

When space was very good last month, I booked myself an award from India to Los Angeles with the longest part in First Class on the Etihad A380. I am eager to fly in am enclosed suite with a couch/bed and seat. The amount of space is unreal. Plus the cabin features a shower, only the second airline that offers that.

Screen Shot 2015-01-14 at 12.27.11 PM

I’m not an oil sheik, so I can’t pay the $16,653 one way fare from New York to Abu Dhabi.

Screen Shot 2015-06-16 at 6.27.45 PM

But the same flight can be had for 90,000 American Airlines miles + $5.60, what you can get from two credit cards. Or you can connect anywhere in the Middle East or Indian Subcontinent for zero extra miles.

4. Virgin Atlantic Premium Economy Washington DC to London: $2,800 or 22,000 points + $235

Flying Virgin Atlantic Premium Economy from the United States to London is like flying domestic First Class within the United States. You get the bigger seat with more leg room and more recline, better food, free drinks, and better service.

Virgin Atlantic charges quite a premium, though, at $2,764 one way.

Screen Shot 2015-06-16 at 6.34.47 PM

Why pay that when the seat can be booked with 27,500 Virgin Atlantic miles + $234.60? Especially right now when Citi ThankYou Points have a 25% transfer bonus that makes the award cost 22,000 ThankYou Points + $234.60.

You can get enough points for two people by opening either the Citi Prestige or Citi ThankYou Premier with 50,000 ThankYou Points each after spending $3,000 in the first three months.

5. 11 City Tour of South America: thousands of dollars or 85,000 miles + a few hundred dollars

Yesterday I broke down the Asia Miles award chart and rules. Asia Miles allows you to book 11 city awards. I recommend going to South America to avoid the fuel surcharges you’d normally pay on Asia Miles awards.

Screen Shot 2015-06-14 at 6.56.24 PMWhile booking a trip like this with cash would cost thousands of dollars–I’d estimate around $5,000–the same trip would cost 85,000 Asia Miles + taxes–I’d estimate around $300.

Asia Miles are a 1:1 transfer partner of Citi, AMEX, and SPG, so getting just two cards like the Citi Prestige and Citi ThankYou Premier with 50,000 ThankYou Points each after spending $3,000 in the first three months is enough to fly an Asia Miles award with up to 20,000 miles of flying!

Bottom Line

Everything is bookable with cash, but sometimes the price is so outrageous that only multi-millionaires would consider the ticket a good value.

With miles, the premium cabins and the mega-awards are democratized. Open one or two credit cards and enjoy the nicest cabins in the world like Singapore Suites, Etihad First Class, and Lufthansa First Class; the biggest adventures in the world like an 11 city trip in South America; or the simple pleasure of a little more space and comfort in Virgin Atlantic Premium Economy.

What’s an amazing thing you’ve done with miles that you wouldn’t have done with cash?

————————————————————————————————————
Never miss a post again! Follow MileValue on Twitter and Facebook. And sign up to receive one free daily email every morning with all of the day’s posts!

Earn 50,000 bonus points (worth $800 in American Airlines flights) after spending $3,000 in the first three months on the Citi Prestige® Card. Plus get an additional $500 in free airfare on any airline in the first 12 months plus free airport lounge access worldwide for only a $450 annual fee. Why I got the card.

I earn a commission for some links on this blog. Citi is a MileValue partner.

Yesterday, I looked at How to Fly Singapore First Class and Suites Class from the United States to Europe or Asia. Today, I will look at the actual award space for 1-3 people in Suites Class. Here are the possible awards in First/Suites Class from the United States:

  • San Francisco to Hong Kong: 70,125 miles + $49.60 (15 hours flying)
  • San Francisco to Hong Kong to Singapore: 91,375 miles + $263.30 (17:45 flying)
  • San Francisco to Seoul: 74,375 miles + $203.30 (12:50 flying)
  • San Francisco to Seoul to Singapore: 91,375 miles + $263.30 (19:20 flying)
  • Houston to Moscow-Domodedovo: 57,375 miles + $211.70 (10 hours flying)
  • Houston to Moscow-Domodedovo to Singapore: 93,500 miles + $271.70 (21:15 flying)
  • Los Angeles to Tokyo-Narita: 74,375 miles + $113.30 (11:45 flying)
  • Los Angeles to Tokyo-Narita to Singapore: 91,375 miles + $275.97 (19:20 flying)
  • New York-JFK to Frankfurt: 57,375 miles + $203.30 (7:35 flying)
  • New York-JFK to Frankfurt to Singapore: 93,500 miles + $285.85 (20:05 flying)

Singapore First Class on its 777-300ER is world class, but Suites Class on the A380 is a whole ‘nother level with enclosed suites and the possibility of combining two beds into one double bed. Above, the two A380 routes are in bold.

Screen Shot 2015-06-04 at 12.41.28 PM
The two Suites Class routes to the United States. LAX-NRT-SIN and JFK-FRA-SIN. Source: gcmap.com

As I mentioned yesterday, Singapore flights to the United States all have an intermediate stop, and you can fly any single segment of the trip as an award. Today, I am mainly going to look at award space from Frankfurt to New York and from Tokyo to Los Angeles.

Frankfurt to New York

Award space is very rare on this route, and the only space I found is this week. Unfortunately Singapore Airlines doesn’t show a calendar of award space, so you have to manually search day-by-day. Because of that, I searched the following dates to give you a good idea of award space at different times of the year:

  • June 5-11 (this week)
  • September 11-17
  • December 19-25
  • February 1-7
  • May 13-23 (last day of schedule)

I only found award space on June 7 and June 10 at the Saver price. This is what that looks like online.

Screen Shot 2015-06-04 at 11.50.22 AM

Days without award space say “Waitlist” instead of “Available.” More on waitlisting Singapore awards in a future post.
Screen Shot 2015-06-04 at 11.51.52 AM

I searched for award space for only one passenger initially, but I went back and looked at June 7 and 10 to see if there was award space for more passengers those days. I found three award seats at the Saver level in Suites Class both days.
Screen Shot 2015-06-04 at 12.00.35 PMAlthough the price on the search screen is 67,500 miles, there is a 15% discount for booking Singapore awards online. The total price for one passenger one way from Frankfurt to New York is 57,375 Singapore miles + $314, about 60% of which is fuel surcharges.
Screen Shot 2015-06-04 at 12.01.48 PM

In my searches from New York to Frankfurt and continuing on to Singapore, I see similarly dismal award availability. I believe New York <-> Frankfurt <-> Singapore and each individual segment are the hardest Suites Class awards.

Tokyo to Los Angeles

Tokyo to Los Angeles, by contrast, has great award availability for parts of the year for two passengers in Suites Class at the Saver level. I searched the same dates:

  • June 4-11 (this week)
  • September 11-17
  • December 19-25
  • February 1-7
  • May 13-23 (last day of schedule)

I found award space at the Saver price for at least one person in Suites Class:

  • June 4, 6
  • February 3, 4, 7
  • May 13-15 and 17-23

On all of those days except February 7, there is award space for two passengers. Today, June 4, there is award space for three passengers.

Screen Shot 2015-06-04 at 12.11.59 PM

I didn’t find award space the week I searched in September or the week before Christmas.

The price is listed at 87,500 miles per passenger on the search screen, but the payment screen incorporates a 15% miles discount, so the total award price is 74,375 Singapore miles + $129, which is a little more than half fuel surcharges.

Screen Shot 2015-06-04 at 12.14.35 PM

Many of the days with award space from Tokyo to Los Angeles have award space on the entire trip from Singapore to Los Angeles, but not all days. For instance, February 3 has award space at the Saver level for the whole trip as do a lot of the May dates.

Screen Shot 2015-06-04 at 12.16.28 PM

The full journey from Singapore to Los Angeles in Suites Class costs 91,375 Singapore miles + $315, which is more than 75% fuel surcharges.
Screen Shot 2015-06-04 at 12.16.40 PM

Getting the Miles & Booking the Awards

Right now, the Citi Prestige and Citi ThankYou Premier have each increased their sign up bonuses to 50,000 ThankYou Points after spending $3,000 in the first three months. ThankYou Points transfer 1:1 to Singapore miles (and 10 other miles.) You can get both cards as long as you apply 8+ days apart. I’d get one if you want to book Frankfurt to New York and both if you want to book Tokyo or Singapore to the United States.

Screen Shot 2015-04-20 at 7.36.03 PM

Search for award space on singaporeair.com, transfer your points and wait about 36 hours for them to post, and book your award.

 

Pay your award taxes and fuel surcharges with the Citi Prestige® Card. The first $250 in award taxes, fuel surcharges, airfare, or airline fees per calendar year are refunded to you as a statement credit. If you’ve already maxed out the statement credit, you will still earn 3x ThankYou Points on the award taxes.

Bottom Line

Award space is very tight on the New York <-> Frankfurt <-> Singapore route. The only award space I see on that route is within a week of departure.

Award space is much more open on the Los Angeles <-> Tokyo <-> Singapore route. There is award space this week but also in February and May. Almost every day with award space has space for two passengers.

You can search and book the award space on singaporeair.com. You can get the miles you need by transferring ThankYou Points from the Citi Prestige and Citi ThankYou Premier. The Prestige is also valuable to pay the award taxes and fuel surcharges, since it has a $250 Air Travel Credit each calendar year to offset that stuff.

Key Links:

————————————————————————————————————
Never miss a post again! Follow MileValue on Twitter and Facebook. And sign up to receive one free daily email every morning with all of the day’s posts!

Earn 50,000 bonus points (worth $800 in American Airlines flights) after spending $3,000 in the first three months on the Citi Prestige® Card. Plus get an additional $500 in free airfare on any airline in the first 12 months plus free airport lounge access worldwide for only a $450 annual fee. Why I got the card.

Follow Me