Sweetspots with Singapore KrisFlyer Miles #2: Awards on United and Partner Flights

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This post is part of a series about how to maximize value when transferring your Citi ThankYou Points to airline partners.

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.

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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.

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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!

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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 Card40,000 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.


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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