Guide to Booking United Flights to Hawaii with Singapore KrisFlyer Miles

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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.)

For a very similar example, look at this post about booking Delta flights to Hawaii with Korean, not Delta miles.

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, the best cards to earn Singapore miles fast are:

  • the Ink Business Preferred: 80,000 Ultimate Rewards after spending $5,000 in the first three months. Ultimate Rewards transfer 1:1 to Aer Lingus, United, British Airways, Iberia, Singapore, Korean, Southwest, Virgin Atlantic, Hyatt, and more.
  • the Chase Sapphire Preferred: 50,000 bonus Ultimate Rewards after $4,000 in purchases made with your card in the first 3 months, 5,000 more bonus points for adding an authorized user.
  • the Citi ThankYou Premier Card: 50,000 bonus ThankYou Points after $4,000 in purchases made with your card in the first 3 months the account is open.

Credit card links have been removed from posts and added to the menu bar at the top of every page of MileValue under the heading Top Credit Cards.

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

Update August 2016: This has changed slightly. Now a line represents Saver economy and dots represent Saver First Class.

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 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 2016-04-14 at 2.08.25 PM

How to Interpret the Itineraries

Once you select a date, the itineraries will be displayed from fewest miles in economy to most miles in economy. Most results will have three columns of award space. You can ignore the First Standard Award column. Singapore miles cannot book that space.
Screen Shot 2016-04-14 at 2.08.52 PM

We’re looking for award space in the Economy column that says “Saver Award 22.5k” and award space in the First Saver column. Singapore miles can book all such space.

For instance, Singapore miles can book this itinerary in economy and First Class because the economy column says “Saver Award 22.5k” and because there is space in the second column (First Saver.)

Screen Shot 2016-04-14 at 2.10.31 PMSingapore miles cannot book this award space because the economy column doesn’t say “Saver Award 22.5k.”

Screen Shot 2016-04-14 at 2.09.03 PM

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. And in fact, you should call the award space “Business Class” when talking with a Singapore agent.

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 three columns you’re used to seeing on the search results turn into five columns.

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?”

Screen Shot 2016-04-14 at 2.09.13 PM

Holding your cursor over “Mixed cabin” launches a pop up that says which cabin is available on each flight.
Screen Shot 2016-04-14 at 2.09.19 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 “My trips.” The Singapore Airlines confirmation number is the six letter/number code listed on your email attachment next to “Booking Reference.”

Screen Shot 2016-04-14 at 2.42.41 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.

Screen Shot 2015-07-31 at 2.04.58 PM

 

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 “Save to my Account” from the tiny links above “United Confirmation Number.”

Screen Shot 2016-08-02 at 4.49.59 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

April 2015

In April 2015, 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 Prestige® 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.

July 2015

I had to book myself a one way award from Houston to Honolulu.

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.

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.

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Editorial Disclaimer: The editorial content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuers. Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of the credit card issuers, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuers.

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159 COMMENTS

  1. Hi! I love your post every time. Can I use Singapore miles going to Europe via Asia. I have ultimate rewards and really been wanting to go Italy, but don’t know how. Live around Texarkana Texas. Thank you.

    • Yes, but you’ll pay big fuel surcharges. Better to use United miles for this trip. If you’re lost, hire my Award Booking Service: milevalue.com/award-booking-service

  2. Great post Scott. Seems as though Singapore and British Airways are 2 essential programs for domestic US trave – both Amex and Chase transfer partners too. Any suggestions on when best to use United miles if domestic travel is actually of poor value? Also, is Singapore generous on domestic stopovers? For example, JFK to LAX (stopover) to Hawaii (destination).

    • Does Singapore allow one way awards for United flights? I have enough Chase UR points fora O/W Hawaii flight in business/FC, but not enough for round trip. I do have Alaska miles, which can be used for O/W, to use for the return.

      • Yes. My family just returned from a trip to Hawaii where we booked using Singapore miles for the trip out on United and (off-peak) American miles for the trip back. When you call in, make sure to pay attention when they tell you the amount of taxes/surcharges, I was initially told it would be over $100 US per seat (I was in a bit of a panic, as this was AFTER I had transferred UR points to my Krisflyer account). I tried escalating, but the supervisor or rate desk was sure that that was right. I called again the next day and got the correct $5.60. If you’re checking bags and havea credit card that provides a free bag, go ahead and change the FF# on the reservation to your United FF#. I think it’s not “supposed” to give you a free bag in this situation, but it worked for me.

          • Flying United First Class means I get free bags.

            To add a frequent flyer number, you can always call the operating carrier.

        • I realize this is an old thread, however maybe others in this situation also have encountered this high tax fee. I am trying to book 4 tickets through Singapore on United flights, I am being quoted only 100,000 krisflyer points but 1408 singapore dollars – (1042 USD). I tried calling back and received the same quote.
          Any other data points on the abnormal high fees?

          • Bump. This is happening to me. Pricing out perfectly for miles, but ticket is $215 fee. I believe the trouble is coming form the sopovers on my ticket.

            GF’s ticket (correct): DEN-OGG | LIH – DEN 35,000 miles + $10

            My ticket (fees): RSW-DEN LIH | OGG-DEN-AUS 35,000 + $250

            There is only one flight per day from RSW to DEN and from DEN to OGG, so that connection has a 12 hour layover in Denver. The Den to Austin layover is 3 hours 45 minutes.

            Anyone know why one ticket is getting $240 more in fees? Thanks

  3. Another benefit is that you only need to wait less than 1 minutes on the phone to connect to a Singapore agent instead of of 1 day to connect to United agent (maybe a slight exaggeration on the 2nd part).

    • Yes, but you on’t usually need to talk to a United agent at all to book to Hawaii, so having to call up (it took me 17 minutes to book my award) is still a negative.

    • What number did you call to book? I have called Singapore Airlines twicw now to book FF trips and both times the hold time was more than 30 minutes!

        • Thanks. Just before seeing your response I got through in under a minute after saying I would give feedback (the other two times I said no) hmmm…don’t know if there is a connection there or not. Just booked a flight home for my son from Paris on UA metal. Very easy. Thanks for letting us know about this “trick”!

    • Sometimes AS availability is limited, UA may have better saver space (especially with connections from the East). And yes, we all know you meant 25,000 BA Avios for AS flights.

  4. […] a good deal. If you have Ultimate Rewards, do not transfer them to United miles to book this deal. You can always book roundtrip Saver award space on United to Hawaii for 35,000 Singapore miles, which is a transfer partner of Ultimate Rewards, Membership Rewards, ThankYou Points, and […]

  5. Hi, I’m trying to book a United award through Singapore and am having trouble. United.com shows a mixed cabin award, with DCA-IAH in coach, and IAH-HNL in first at the saver level of 40k miles. When I called Singapore to book, they insist they are only seeing economy space for both of these flights. I told the agent I would like economy for the first leg, and business for the second leg. Any tips? They say that they don’t have access to the same award space shown on United.

    • “They say that they don’t have access to the same award space shown on United.” This is a lie airlines always say.

      Did you log into united.com before searching? Do not do that. Logging in shows extra space reserved for elites or credit card holders than Singapore really can’t access. But if you didn’t log in, Singapore has access to the same space. Hang up and call again.

      Also you can always search like this for United flights on united.com –> http://www.milevalue.com/how-to-use-united-expert-mode/

      Singapore has access to X, I, and O (economy, business, and first Saver) but not buckets like XN and IN (which are extra space for elites.)

      • Thanks for the reply. I was not logged into United when I found the mixed cabin saver award space. I’ll try the old hang up and call again method.

      • Hey Scott, so I tried expert mode and found the following:

        United First (P)
        Available Cabins: F9, A9, JN9, C9, D9, Z9, ZN9, P9, PN9, R2, RN2, IN0, I0, Y9, YN9, B9, M9, E9, U9, H9, HN9, Q9, V9, W9, S9, T9, L9, K9, G9, N9, XN9, X9

        Clearly, I shows 0 space. However, when I search for award flights on united.com (while not logged in – I’m not elite anyway), the business class saver award space is available (40k miles). Any ideas about this discrepancy? I’m frustrated as I’ve transferred 120k miles to singapore :\

        • I’ve never seen that before though united.com has been known to show “phantom award space” on partner airlines. What is the flight and date?

          • I know this reply is almost 9 months old but I thought it would be worth providing phantom examples.

            All of these are 2 seats in 2 cabin United First, I believe
            UA1288 OGG>SFO 5/20/16 14:50-09:28 (called 1/19/16)
            UA383 HNL>DEN 5/20/16 20:05-06:47 (called 1/19/16)
            UA15 EWR>HNL 08:05-13:21 called (1/14/16) & (1/16/16) – same flight showed as available May 9,10, & 11

            I successfully booked my way to Hawaii but haven’t figure out how to get home yet!

      • I called and experienced the same issue. When searching for united rewards flight, found a flight from chicago that I wanted: Chi-SFO (first class – I) – LIH (economy – X). I called singapore airlines to book, and they told me the only flights from Chicago to Hawaii (I asked them to search all the islands) were economy. I even gave him the specific flight numbers, and which legs were in first class and which, but still said no flights were available.

  6. Can I use Singapore miles to book for someone else?

    Id like to book tickets for both me and my girlfriend to Hawaii

  7. Just to be clear, when scanning the award calendars on United, you will assume that 40,000 listed miles on United really only costs 30,000 miles when you eventually go to book on Singapore correct? Thanks!

    • The UNITED AWARD CHART applied to using UNITED MILES. The SINGAPORE AWARD CHART applies to using SINGAPORE MILES. This is a post about using Singapore miles. The cost is 30k Singapore miles between the US mainland and Hawaii in United First Class.

  8. I must be an idiot. I know I’m new to this (first time trying to use Krisflyer), but I didn’t think I was a complete idiot. I did what I thought was sufficient research, but when I called Singapore, they said “nothing available.”

    Here’s the situation:
    1. I’m going to Lihue (LAX-LIH) for business, wanted to bring wife out, business/first class. Her dates are flexible within my bookends.
    2. Found Saver fares (wasn’t easy) while NOT logged into United.com. Noted all flight info for multiple selections.
    3. No direct flight Saver fares available. All UAL-only itineraries (I know Krisflyer can’t book Hawaiian Air via Star Alliance) had a stop. All were mixed cabin (LAX-SFO econ, SFO-LIH first).
    4. Called Krisflyer number (listed in article). I explained what I’m looking for (as per the article), but was told nothing was available for any of the flights I had researched.
    5. After hanging up, I went back and re-verified that Saver fares still existed, and they do.

    At this point, my frustration got to me and I gave up. We now have my wife on a split carrier itinerary using UAL and AA miles going directly through the airlines (DON’T HATE ME!). I know it cost us more miles (and $$) then it should, but wanted to make sure she got out there.

    My question is: What did I do wrong?

    The only possibilities I can think of (but have no definitive yes/no answer) are:
    1. We are within 21-days (today is 7/4, wanted to fly 7/22)
    2. We did not have miles in her account ready to book. We wanted INFORMATION first.

    Any pointers from people experienced with this would be appreciated. Please reduce my ignorance.

    Thank you.

    • 1. You can book within 21 days.
      2. Maybe the agent was lazy because you didn’t have miles, but probably just incompetent. Clearly explain to the next agent the date, cabin, and flight number of each segment. Note that the first is economy and the second is business class. (Always call United First on a two cabin plane Business Class.)

      • Is it really true that Hawaiian seats can’t be booked on Krisflyer? Flying LIH-HNL-LAX with the first leg on Hawaiian won’t be bookable on Singapore, only the HNL-LAX segment? Thanks!

  9. This is excellent. As a Hawaii resident, I was just thinking of how to best use my Membership Rewards and the Citi ThankYou points and now I found them

  10. fyi i just booked hnl-jac-hnl departing 7/19 and returning 7/22 and was charged 35k krisflyer miles and 200 sgd. the breakdown of the cash portion on united’s website shows 136 sgd for the ticket and 64 sgd in taxes/fees (21.60 sgd us flight segment tax, 15.20 sgd 9/11 security fee, and 27.20 sgd us transportation tax). has something changed?

    • Sometimes they do something like that and charge too much. Call back and try to get a refund, you should pay about $11.20 (the equivalent in SGD) for the trip.

  11. Hi Scott
    Any tips on booking if you are a resident of Hawai booking a flight to Singaporei? I try to book but all I get are flights back to SF then connecting flights to Singapore running in the 28 to 30 hour time frame. I want to book biz class, but it just seems like even with the sleep too many hours.

    Thanks

    Tom

    • You should use United miles, not Singapore miles. Search on united.com. There should be options via Tokyo and Seoul.

  12. Hi Scott, while booking a one way flight from Hawaii to my home airport in Missouri i had a layover in SFO for 5 hours. I was told by the Singapore airlines agent that i will have to book as two separate award bookings because the layover is over 4 hours in USA and therefore considered a stop over. Is that correct? Could you please confirm?

    • If that’s what they say their policy is, I believe them with the caveat that you might want to call one more agent to see if you get the same story.

  13. We also will be flying to Hawaii on October 26 but to LIH and then onward to another island. I used my Delta miles I have had for 4 years saved up. I like this post on partner miles and will consider using some of our 250,000 thank you points one day.

    • All the destinations to which United flies: Honolulu, Kona, Kahului, Lihue, and Hilo. Kahului is on Maui.

  14. Hi Scott,

    Thanks for the detailed information. One quick question. If I call Singapore with no points in my account will they confirm eligibility for me before I transfer my UR points? I am willing to take the chance that availability would change within the day from when I confirm the availability and the transfer goes through, but I am hesitant to transfer them before I have a good sense of what I can book.

    Thanks for your help.

    • This article explains how to search for the award space Singapore can book. You do not need to call.

  15. This is a great resource. Thank you!!!
    I have 2 questions:
    First, is it hard to find 4 award seats in first class using Singapore miles on United?
    Second, I don’t think United flies nonstop to HNL from DFW, are the stopover rules on United as stingy as AA’s? It would be nice to break the trip up with a stop at Disneyland for the kiddies.

    • 1. Do a search for the route you want to fly to see. A general answer couldn’t be as helpful as seeing the search results.
      2. 1 stopover is allowed on roundtrip Singapore awards.

  16. Scott, could you please update the post with the domestic stopover rule for Singapore airlines, as I think this a critical piece of booking any award on UA with SA miles. If you are flying within the US, including Hawaii, you cannot have any layover more than 4 hours, or they call it a stopover and you will be charged an extra 100 dollars per ticket. This was really frustrating for me because there were no flights from LIH to BOI that had a stopover of less than 4 hours. I HUCAed and got the same answer both times. It is hard-coded into their system and you can’t get around it. Wish I had known this before transferring 70k MR points to SA. Guess I will need to find another place to go sometime. Thankfully I could book the outbound with SA miles and the return with UA miles.

  17. […] The big losses are Hawaiian’s flights from Las Vegas and New York-JFK to Honolulu. If you live in Las Vegas, substitute with cheap cash fares on Allegiant and consider upgrading to its First-Class-sized Giant Seat. If you live in New York, you can fly United’s direct flight from Newark to Honolulu, which features a flat bed in First Class (trip report), and costs only 30,000 Singapore miles one way. […]

  18. Could you update with the new United.com? Hard to see the saver availability without a bunch of search, change date, search again…

    • I still don’t see the new united.com here in Europe, but Saver prices on united.com are 22.5/40k in economy/First. If you see those prices on united.com, you can book it with Singapore miles.

  19. Can my husband and I both get the Citi Thank You Premier Card and each of us earn the 50,000 bonus points?

  20. Thanks for the detailed information.
    One question for you. Before I transfer my UR points to Singapore miles, can I book the United standard award to Hawaii or it has to be saver award?

  21. Great article- one issue I can’t find the answer to. I’m traveling with my family and I’ve found 3 economy saver award seats on United from OGG-LAX without logging in, but looking at the seat map the only 3 seats together that are available are in economy plus. I know when I book through Singapore that no seats are assigned and I have to choose the seats by logging into United’s website afterwards- but when I go to select my seats on United will I be able to pay the fee to choose 3 economy plus seats together or will I be stuck with whatever regular economy seats are available since I booked on Singapore miles? I don’t have any status with United, just the United Club Card.

    • You can buy the United Economy Plus seats after booking a Singapore award ticket. Or you can select regular economy seats for free or wait for assignment at check in for free.

  22. […] http://www.milevalue.com/guide-book-…isflyer-miles/ The above post should help – as previous poser suggested, you may want to look into using Singapore's KrisFlyer program for better redemption rates and you might already have enough miles to take care of a good chunk of things. If not, you still have time to earn some miles (Citi Premier card for KrisFlyer… CSP or the Chase United for United miles) The downside to using Avios to Hawaii in general is that it probably only makes sense if departing from the West Coast as it is distance-based. For most other areas from the US, you'd probably be better off going with AA miles. Either way, I think you're not in that bad a shape… and as others mentioned, you can certainly use your points this time. In the future, find a way to use their Avios for yourself. […]

  23. Call Singapore airlines and tried to book an award flight that shows availability on the United site yet they say no seats are available? Do I need to simply try another agent or am I stuck?

  24. I transferred 128K miles to Krisflyer to book a roundtrip to SFO. United (no login) shows plenty of award space on my dates on a variety of flights, and calling twice to Singapore Air yields the same answer twice…no awards available, economy or first, on any day I wanted to book. This is enormously frustrating. How do we determine what Singapore actually has for award space? Woman on phone says they only have a fraction of what is shown. Can you help?

    • The woman is lying. They don’t know what they’re talking about. This has never been my experience, so I would call back a few more times. You might be doing something wrong. Off the top of my head, domestic first class is “business class” when you are telling them what to search.

  25. I have booked 4 round trip flights to France in the past 8 months on United metal with KrisFlyer miles (learned about this on this site. Thanks Scott!)each time I was told that there was no availability but as soon as I fed them the exact flight numbers they “found”the space. Be prepared with all the information….better yet, have the united site open when you make that call.

    • Yes exactly, this is still the case in 2017. You need to feed them the flight numbers or else you’ll get nowhere. Additionally, be very careful what tax they charge you because now within 1 hour’s time I was told two different amounts of tax would be due – $76 each + $100 for a 4.5 hour layover. I plan on calling a third time. Reservations can be put on hold for 24 hours.

  26. Is the current transfer time still about 19 hours from Citi TYP to KrisFlyer miles?

    I’m looking to book 2 econ flights to OGG tomorrow.

    Also, has anyone had any luck with still getting the 15% discount with over the phone bookings?

    • The discount is for online redemptions flying Singapore. You definitely will NOT get one when booking a partner like United by phone. That is the latest info I have on transfer time.

      • Thank you for this. You’re right, they would not honor the 15% discount.

        As for my transfer times:

        Citi was about 9 hours
        Amex was about 19 hours

  27. Great post! — Another question regarding purchasing needed miles from Singapore. My plan is to use my SQ miles to fund a continental U.S. to Hawaii award on United at 35,000 miles. However, I only have 27,000 in the Krisflyer account. I understand I can purchase the additional 8,000 needed miles at the time I make the booking on SQ. However, the “fine print” on the mixing miles and cash on SQ’s website says “Valid for a booking on singaporeair.com only, on any flight operated by Singapore Airlines or SilkAir. Tickets paid with KrisFlyer miles cannot be used for travel on any other airline.” — Since the United award has to be called in (i.e. can’t use SQ website) and isn’t a flight operated by Singapore, do I understand that my original plan to mix miles and cash for a United award flight CAN’T be done? Any workaround?

    • I don’t see how to buy Singapore miles. If they can only be purchased at the time of an online booking, they are no good for United miles. Why can’t you get 8,000 more Singapore miles before the time you ticket the award. The miles are a transfer partner of Chase, Citi, AMEX, and SPG, so you could get any one of a dozen cards.

      • OK, thanks Scott. FWIW, I did figure out that you CAN buy Singapore miles, but its hidden on their website and you have to do so thru a downloadable PDF that you then email back to them. You have to identify the particular flight you wish to use the purchased miles for. The good news is that the form does indicate that it is not limited to Singapore flights, but can also be used for Star Alliance partners. Thanks!

  28. […] The Ultimate Rewards posted within 24 hours. The SPG points took three weeks to transfer. (More on that in a separate post.) Luckily, while I waited, the award space remained. If space had disappeared in First Class, my back up plan was to book economy, plan C was to book Business, and plans D through I were to book any cabin a few days earlier or later (the flight occurs three times per week.) If I had booked economy or Business, the extra miles would not have been orphaned; they would have been used to book a trip between the mainland United States and Hawaii on United in … […]

  29. So if I book a United Award Saver flight from EWR-HNL with SQ KrisFlyer points does my United Premier status still come into play? It’s still a United award flight technically correct?, just booked with partner points.

    • No– the fare class is going to be X, I, or O using Singapore miles to book a United flight (Saver economy, Business, or First). So inputting your Untied Mileage Plus # will not earn United status credits nor United redeemable miles. In general you don’t earn any status credits nor redeemable miles ever on awards, no matter whose miles you’re using and what plane you’re flying.

      • You may be right with SQ mile redemptions, that’s why I asked, but with United award redemptions in the past w/ Silver Status or CC perks still applied when booked on X or XN fare. I still got my first free bags, able to upgrade to E+ seating free and still got Priority Boarding Group 2 / Premier Access. Why would Krisflyer redemptions be any different since it’s really just a United flight anyway? Thanks!

        • Ah ok I thought you were talking about earning PQMs/PQds/PQSs. In the case of status perks applying, I’m not sure, but yea they probably should just as if you were flying United with United miles.

  30. What other destinations can one use Singapore miles via United and Citi points? From Auckland to US or to Sydney from US?

  31. […] Instead, transfer 35,000 points per person for economy, 60,000 points per person for First Class, or 47,500 points per person for one way in economy and one way in First Class to Singapore miles. Singapore miles can book all the same Saver United award space you found, but for fewer miles. Look, I’m sure at this point your head is spinning, and this all sounds complicated, but this is easy as pie. Just read this post for the step-by-step process to do this all in 15 minutes. […]

  32. How to find out how many Singapore miles from Hawaii to Munich? With United I usually get Business/First Saver for 65,000 to 75,000 miles each way. Did that on my last 3 trips, never wanna go economy again.

  33. I’ve called twice now and for some reason they are really wanting to hit me with fuel surcharges. Trying to Book SLC-OGG and they have no problem getting the flights for me, but want to charge 150-$200 per person. They are also telling me both times its 25,000 per person instead of 35,000… Has something changed recently?

  34. I found saver award availability on a flight from HNL to ATL on United.com. I also called United to verify that there’s saver award availability. I was advised there was “plenty.” I have called Singapore twice and both agents have told me that they don’t have any flights from HNL to ATL available. They’re saying that United has not released any availability to them for that flight. How can that be? Could it be because the first segment of the flight is operated by Hawaiian Airlines? Or does no one at Singapore actually know what they’re doing? Should I ask for a supervisor?

    • Ding Ding Ding… “Could it be because the first segment of the flight is operated by Hawaiian Airlines”. ?✈️?

  35. A warning: It doesn’t appear Singapore Air is given, or still given, all of the available seats that United provides MileagePlus members. I spoke with three different Singapore Air agents last night to try to book a pair of one-way tickets to Hawaii. Although United showed multiple saver-award flights available (I wasn’t logged in to a MileagePlus account to avoid false-positives), none of those flights was available, all three Singapore Air agents said (tried HUCA). All of those flights were United-operated, so that wasn’t the issue. Two of the agents said United provides Singapore with a quota of available seats. And a MileagePlus agent I spoke with a moment ago confirmed that Star Alliance partners aren’t provided the same availability. So, unfortunately, the only way to try to book United with Singapore Air miles is to find availability on the United site, then to call Singapore Air to find out if any of the available flights can be booked, which is a lousy trial-and-error process. If I had known this, I wouldn’t have transferred 70K ThankYou points to Singapore Air for this booking.

    • Just wanted to share a similar experience… United really sucks now, which kind of ruins the benefit of the Singapore transfer. I had booked 3 RT CLE-SFO-Hawaii and back tickets in June for March 2018. It was tough, but I found the non stops to and from SFO/CLE. A few months later, I get an Email saying United has changed the flights…adding a stopover in Chicago each way and 2+ hours which will be great with a 2 year old. So I call United – They can’t help since it was booked with SQ. Call SQ – THEY can’t change the flight because EVERY Non stop now is ONLY for Chase United Card holders OR STANDARD award (NOT SAVER) – So they can’t book any of the more desirable routes…and I’m basically SOL. Eat it, United.

      • Another similar experience here. Booked 4 round trip from DSM – DEN – OGG, return OGG – SFO – ORD – DSM in Oct 2017 for travel in March. Got a call from Singapore
        on 1/15/18 saying United changed the flights, my new flights now dont even include the segment to get me from SFO – ORD, which is a pretty big problem. I called Krisflyer number to resolve, they say nothing available so as of now im also SOL. No award space from OGG to DSM +/- 3 days of targeted departure. United does currently show saver award space -1 day. Singapore did find one flight eventually, but it was with an 18 min connection at SFO which isn’t going to work.

        I think the common thread among the comments is award availability on United.com is definitely not what is available from Singapore. My original flights had a 4+ hr stopover which came with the additional $100/ticket charge. I was only charged 25,000 per ticket instead of 35,000, fees totaled around $640. I considered that a wash for savings of 40,000 points.

        I am going to try a call back a few times. If that doesn’t work I am looking for alternatives.
        Any reader success stories in this situation?

        • Update on my post. I ended up having to cancel altogether. Singapore refunded all miles and money, but now I have 100,000 points expiring on the 3yr timeframe. One thing I think I found it is seems the 22,500 flight segments all have to be “X” class in order for Singapore to see them. I’m looking to book another flight for June 2019 on Singapore miles. Its still a month out from flights/awards being opened up for that time. I’ve been re-reading the blog to see if there are any other tips to successfully book this award.

          • Like other people have mentioned, you have to give them the details of each segment of your desired flight, from United.com. They claimed multiple times that they had no availability for my dates (which was the next day!) but when I fed them the segment details they magically found it. I almost flipped my table when I called at first, but I’m glad I found comments above that gave this tip. The author really should update the post to mention that, unless I missed that detail in the article.

          • In the section about booking, the post reads, “Feed the agent the date, flight number, and cabin of each flight you want.”

          • I did use the feeding the flight numbers trick to get the flight booked initially. After United changed the flight schedules and made my itinerary invalid, there were no award flights from United available to make one that fit anywhere close to my original flight dates. United was unable or unwilling to open up any new award space to Singapore, and Singapore was also unable to help. Over the course of 3 days I spent 5-6 hours on the phone with at least 4 different Singapore agents, and a supervisor. I also phoned United several times as well.

  36. It would appear to me that the closer you are to a desired departure there seems to be more business class availability. As I move out in the UA chart into 2018, the 40K fares disappear. I think for one to be able to have some confidence in this, one would need to check every couple of weeks to see if this holds true. In other words, look to see if those 75k and 80k awards are being replaced with 40k awards. I am guessing you might get one end of your trip with cheaper Singapore miles, but probably not both unless you have lots of flexibility and someone to stay with in Hawaii. Or, just continue your Hawaii trip to somewhere else nice.

  37. Not sure if even “close-in” availability is possible. EWR-HNL FC doesn’t even show availability for the rest of the year 2017. Has anyone actually found FC space EWR-HNL recently?

  38. Miles quoted (17500 one-way pp) are still valid as of 12/20/17. I booked PHL-ORD-HNL for August-September 2018 and the flights available to book were definitely limited despite there being several 22.5k mile options available according to United. Be prepared to be flexible with your dates.

  39. Thank you for all this good information Scott!! But how did you know that transferring points to Singapore miles and booking thru them would give you better use of your points, rather than booking directly with United website? For future trips for any destination, how would I know where to transfer the points to or book directly? Is there a guide or chart out there that has all these information?

    • You need to compare award chart prices. Look up the award price of using a specific kind of mile (in this case, Singapore miles) to the award price of using another type of mile (in this case, United miles) and then transfer your points to program that costs less miles. You also will need to consider possible fuel surcharges and any routing rules of the specific mileage program that might affect the price or your ability to book the award you want. That same logic applies to any future trip you want to book. Google is your friend!

  40. Can you still transfer 70k miles from Chase to Singapore and book award travel by looking at the United site for saver award? I’m looking to fly my wife and I from Ohare to Maui and I read that it should only be 35k miles for each round trip ticket when calling Singapore. But on some sites it’s saying that it’s now 40k miles per flight.

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