Singapore Airlines now releasing business class award space from the US!

A few weeks ago I wrote about Singapore Airlines’ policy change, whereby they would start releasing saver award space to their KrisFlyer members for travel in their new first and business class products.

The history on that is that over five years ago Singapore Airlines launched a new first and business class product, which at the time was quite good. Therefore to “protect” the cabins and make them exclusive, they made the decision to not release saver award space on those flights in first and business class. This applied to their own KrisFlyer frequent flyer members, and therefore the same also applied to those trying to redeem miles with their partner airlines for travel on Singapore.

At first I could understand how they justified such a policy, though over the years their business class product was no longer “cutting edge” as the competition caught up, not to mention virtually all of their longhaul routes are now operated by the new business and first class products. Therefore the value of their frequent flyer program decreased quite a bit, since it became impossible to redeem miles for travel on Singapore at the “saver” level.

Last month they announced they would be changing this policy, and as of March they’d start releasing saver award space in business and first class for travel starting in April. Now, it’s worth clarifying that they only announced this as it concerns KrisFlyer members. This means it’s no guarantee that Air Canada, United, and US Airways flyers, for example, would have access to the same space, since Singapore is known for having different award inventory for those using KrisFlyer miles and those using miles from other airlines. So I’m not quite jumping into the “everyone’s going to be flying Singapore Airlines first class using US Airways miles” bandwagon just yet.

That being said, while the new policy isn’t supposed to kick in till next week (March 8) we’re already seeing promising signs relating to this change.

Singapore has now started readily releasing business class award space to their alliance partners for a majority of their flights to the US, all of which are operated by their new business class product. This includes their all business class services from Newark and Los Angeles to Singapore, which are operated by Airbus A340-500s featuring only 100 business class seats. Newark to Singapore is the longest flight in the world, while Los Angeles to Singapore is the second longest flight in the world, both clocking in at over 18 hours.

Anyway, while they’re only releasing award space last minute for these routes as of now, this is really exciting news, since I suspect there’s more where this came from. After all, they’re already releasing space for travel in March, which isn’t even part of the program change which is only supposed to kick in for travel starting April 1.


Business class award space on the world’s longest flight

As much as I’m all for flying first class whenever possible instead of “roughing it” in business class, I’m incredibly tempted by the world’s longest flight…

If you’re interested in reading a trip report about Singapore’s new business class, here’s one I wrote about my flight from Los Angeles to Tokyo to Singapore last year.

Comments

  1. @ Oliver2002 — Actually originally saw it posted on FlyerTalk, and didn’t till later see Seth posted it. I’ll always “tip the hat” when that’s the source at which I read something, though in this instance it wasn’t…

  2. in Oct 2007, on my way to SIN for the A-380 inaugural flight, i was lucky enough to swipe a seat on SQ’s SFO-SEO-SIN in their new Biz class and on the return, i was lucky enough to get a seal on the nonstop all biz class SIN-EWR. all this using 90K um miles !!!!! i tried many times to repeat this award but was not ever available. Best next award i managed to get was JFK-NRT-TPE in Box w NH and the return was SIN-NRT-SFO with NH and then UA’s PS BIZ class to JFK

  3. I really want to do the EWR-SIN flight. I’d have grabbed one of the current available flights but my March is already booked up. Hopefully more availability will open up in April.

  4. @ aussieflyer — As much as I’m a massive Airbus 380 fan, I’d go for the nonstop for two reasons. First, the novelty of an 18+ hour flight. Second, because I always recommend flying in the highest cabin of the plane if you can. For example, I’d much rather fly business class on a two cabin plane than business class on a three cabin plane. Maybe it’s psychological, but I feel like service is a bit better when you’re in the top cabin.

  5. Lucky,
    Did you notice that new United award search is flawed? I priced out NYC – DPS ticket on 3/8 and search engine showed a 3 segment flight all in first class… when i went to book it, it turned out that only nyc – fra was first, the rest were coach…

  6. The competition has caught up? who. Or is it that their entire fleet is now equipped and sheer numbers apply as well as the downturn in premium travel in Asia. Yeah Emirates is pretty good in First and Business Asiana on the A380. Class for class it’s “Book the Cook” still has the edge for me. They have been getting flak from other Alliance members over equal rights for equal members and some rather heated debate and threats made. CFO over lunch

  7. “Singapore Airlines (SIA) too reported that fuel prices had adversely affected its performance as net profit for third-quarter of FY2011 fell 64% from S$378 million to S$137m. Expenditure on fuel – which accounted for 40% of expenditure – went up by US$386 million or 33%. All three wholly-owned subsidiaries also recorded fall in operating profit: SIA Engineering, S$28 million down from S$34 million; SilkAir, S$32 million, down from S$45 million; and SIA Cargo, S$40 million from S$48 million. Looking ahead, SIA expects passenger yields to remain under pressure while cargo yields will continue to decline.”

  8. Very interesting…open SQ F segments on the 388 for SYD-SIN for 2 people. I had booked Qantas earlier, but may have to give this a try.

  9. That’s great news Ben. I’ve booked JFK-FRA ticket a while back for travel the end of this month (3/24), unfortunately, only Y was available, so I paid C and reserved Y in hoping that C will be available last minute. Does SQ consistently releasing their premium cabin seats a couple days out? Since, I’m not seeing anything for this weekend, I’m getting worried. I hope that’s not the trend in 2 weeks. It would be a bummer to pay C and ride in Y.

  10. On Saturday was able to book two C seats HKG-SIN and SIN-LAX for travel on 3/22, using DM. Surprised to find that, but happy!

  11. A month ago, I’d be jumping on this as SQ’s all business class flight from LAX-SIN was the best flight I had taken (about 5 years ago).

    However, I just came back from flying Cathay Pacific in F, and all I can say is WOW! CX F is the way to go! It’s only 135k miles on AA and I get a couple of NYC-LAX one ways thrown in for free!

    Are there any great SQ F routes from the West Coast?

  12. @ FFlyer — Yes, in the past it would have listed “Mixed Cabins,” though for whatever reason that disclaimer is gone.

    @ Duncan — Singapore business class isn’t *that* great. I’d say the new products that Swiss, Asiana, and ANA have, for example, are just as good as Singapore’s.

    @ David — The A380 doesn’t even have first class (only “Suites”), so if you do see that available, please let us know the dates!

    @ JeffISU — Right, they changed that a while back, though keep in mind that bookings through Singapore are still subject to fuel surcharges and typically higher mileage rates as well.

    @ Pegasus — It wasn’t the case in the past, though it seems to be a trend as of now, so it wouldn’t surprise me. Good luck!

    @ Joe — Congrats!

    @ beachfan — They fly from SFO to SIN via ICN as well as SFO to SIN via HKG, though I do love Cathay Pacific first class as well…

  13. Ben – it shows available on the CO site on multiple dates. But when you click through it shows X class. Since the pss integration, the Mixed Cabin flag has been messed up.

  14. @ sjs — Thanks. Saw the “mixed cabin” issue, though seems to be an even worse glitch if it shows up when searching individually.

  15. I did the JFK-BKK TG flight back in the day when it was the longest flight. Premium economy outbound and upgraded to C for the return. I’m sure the SQ C experience is much different though. It is a loooooong time in an airplane. These days I think I prefer a connection in the middle to break up the trip a little. And since I am in DC it is a connection anyway to go to JFK or EWR. Better to go 2 legs out of IAD via PEK or NRT when possible. Of course UA F isn’t the same as Asian carrier F though either.

  16. @ Apu — Absolutely, it should show through KVS, assuming you’re searching through the Continental or Aeroplan tools (ANA may not show them since their systems block Singapore’s new premium cabins).

  17. Thanks for the tip, I was searching through ANA and no wonder it is not showing up there!

    But I still do not understand… can I or cannot I book SQ C class using DM? Please clarify.

    Thanks again!

  18. Sorry for a newbie question. Where is the best place to search for the singapore award seats? Also, is this available only from US meaning outbound has to start from US?

    Thanks

  19. @ Apu — You absolutely can.

    @ Jenny — I would suggest using united.com’s search tool.

  20. Interesting… like someone else also reported, only see some availability in March but no further months… wonder if its a mistake or will they open little at a time!

  21. @ Apu — I suspect it’s the first step in the right direction and not a glitch. The fact that the timing of this falls around the same time as the change was supposed to be instituted suggests to me that this is intentional.

  22. I’d LOVE to believe you Ben, guess we should wait and watch… I need an SQ BIZ award ticket for sometime in Aug so I am waiting for it to open up and I will grab that 1 seat (or bed?) with both hands, and legs 😀 ….

  23. Lucky,
    I don’t do Business unless First is full of paying passengers. That’s in my contract and nothing pleases me more than bumping a points flyer further down the plane, in fact I have introduced this strategy to some of my clients and after a bad day it can make you feel better. In fact if I am feeling nasty I try and find out who was bumped and invite them up the front for a meal, few accept. Paying passengers rule!

  24. That’s not quite right some times it’s the route, the time or the aircraft (A380, A330, 777 in that order)that is important and not all airlines do first any more so yes then it’s business and on long haul the A380 is best for the body any flight over 14hrs I try to break (stopover). Very soon one of the great routes is about to finish Qantas EZE-Syd right hand side of the aircraft day flight down the coast of Argentina and across Antartica, stunning. Then some clients won’t fly at night. So if I have had a seafood lunch I will probably want an aged steak for diner, “Book the Cook” works fro me.

  25. Duncan, great comments. How can I reach you directly? What other such routes would you recommend like the EZE-SYD?

  26. Has anyone found any saver first SQ availability on a plane with the updated first? I’ve searched and searched and have not found anything yet. I’m wondering if only business is possible.

  27. Hi Lucky,

    Looks like the party is over? Most of the SQ availability thru UA has vanished for the business and first class awards.

  28. @ samir — They were never releasing first class space to Star partners, though I do still see business class space.

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