Redeeming KrisFlyer miles for Singapore Airlines saver first class

As I wrote about a few days ago, Singapore Airlines is slowly starting to release saver business class award seats on aircraft equipped with their new product. We’re seeing them release a considerable amount of business class space on most of their routes out of the US last minute, though I can’t say I see all that many seats when looking far out.

I suspect this trend is part of a larger Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer program change as of March 8 for travel after April 1, whereby they’ve started releasing saver business and first class award space on flights equipped with their new products, which could previously only be redeemed for at the standard level (requiring double as many miles as a saver ticket).

So I’ve decided to do a bit of research about just how much first class award space Singapore Airlines is releasing for travel after April 1, and not only is availability excellent (even for two passengers in many instances), but the redemption prices are incredibly reasonable. Keep in mind that that you can transfer American Express Membership Rewards and Starwood Preferred Guest points at a 1:1 ratio to Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer.

To search Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer award availability you first need to sign up for a KrisFlyer account (notice just how many options they give you for a title, which always cracks me up). Once you have an account you can search for award availability on the home page by doing a flight search and ticking the “KrisFlyer Redemptions” box at the top left of the search page.

Once that’s complete knock yourself out and look at the great deals that can be had. Keep in mind that Singapore Airlines offers a 15% discount for award tickets booked online, so when you do the search, the first page will display the original price, while the purchase page will display the discounted price.

The surprising thing is that there are some truly great deals with the new award chart.

For example, San Francisco to Hong Kong is readily available.

And the total cost per person roundtrip in first class is 140,250 miles plus $339.30 in taxes and fuel surcharges.

San Francisco to Seoul is also readily available in first class.

The total cost per person roundtrip in first class is 148,750 miles plus $510.40 in taxes and fuel surcharges. It’s not quite as good of a deal as San Francisco to Hong Kong given that this flight is shorter yet costs more miles and has higher fuel surcharges.

But my favorite new first class redemption option of all has to be Singapore Airlines first class between Houston and Moscow. I’ve always wanted to visit Moscow, and flying Singapore Airlines there seems like the most comfortably way.

The total roundtrip cost is only 114,750 miles plus $434.50 in taxes and fuel surcharges.

It’s worth noting that all of the above redemptions are also available as one-ways. So for example if you wanted to fly first class one-way to Moscow, you’d pay only ~57,000 miles plus ~$200.

Now, you may notice that I’ve been speaking specifically about KrisFlyer redemptions. The hope was that when Singapore Airlines opened up saver first class award inventory, they’d open it up to Star Alliance partners as well (meaning you could book it with United Mileage Plus miles, US Airways Dividend Miles, Aeroplan miles, etc.). So far there are no signs of that for first class. That being said, I’d speculate that they’ll be opening up the first class award space to Star Alliance partners close to departure, though not more than a week or so out. Though to a large extent I really don’t care, since I consider transfers to KrisFlyer to now be one of the best new uses of Membership Rewards points. My next redemption with Membership Rewards points is going to be either a pair of first class tickets between San Francisco and Hong Kong or between Houston and Moscow.

And with this change, Singapore Airlines goes from offering one of the most unattainable first class products on an award ticket to being right in the middle of the pack…

Anyone else planning on redeeming their Membership Rewards points for Singapore Airlines first class?

Comments

  1. Can you book the positioning flight to SFO or IAH or whatever with Krisflyer online? Or then do you have to call and thus lose the bonus?

    What are the stopover rules, etc?

    (Also Canadians get shafted again since we can pretty much only transfer MR to Aeroplan :()

  2. @ Michael A — One stopover is allowed on a roundtrip saver award, though none are allowed on a one-way saver award. As far as positioning flights go, award rates are considerably higher on the Star Alliance award chart, so I suggest booking that flight separately.

    @ infamousdx — Thanks!

  3. Great post. It should also be noted that SPG transfers to Singapore at 1:1 as well, and the 5,000 mile bonus for every 20,000 points makes this an even more valuable find.

  4. Great to know! Wish that flight to Russia was from NYC rather than Houston, and hope you get a chance to visit Moscow, happy to give some recs since it was my home for a couple years 🙂

  5. I should have added a thank-you in my original post as well. Thanks Lucky, this was a good one.

  6. Thank you so much! Just last night I was thinking about what a shame it is that my biggest mileage balance (~200k MR points) weren’t going to be able to do much for me. But now a window has opened. It’s not exactly a door but hey, I’ll take it!

  7. I am seeing SQ C available through United’s website. Nearly booked ICN- SFO last night.

  8. Thanks, Ben–great post.

    Two quick questions:

    First, am I right in taking that you don’t need KrisFlyer status to book first-class awards?

    Second, even though they’re just “estimates,” are the “full” award prices serious (1 million miles plus)?! Those are worse than some of the more absurd results you get playing around with Delta’s (broken) website!

  9. I’ve been tracking this too, and while I don’t plan on using for first class I am interested in using to get to Maldives. While it sure is the long way around the world, it is nice to now be able to do EWR-SIN-MLE with just one stop all in business. And the SQ biz product certainly is not terrible, and it would be a lot of fun to do the longest flight in the world.

    I have not checked but my guess is they allow stopovers too?

  10. I was looking at this the past few days and found the same thing. This is great news for MR points, which I feel took a pretty significant hit in value last year. This brings a lot of that value back and maybe adds more.

  11. lucky, just curious, when did you do this search? i just searched just now and they are showing 215K

  12. Great info lucky. If one wanted to do an IAH-SIN via Moscow(with Moscow stop), how many miles would it be in SQ F?

  13. @ John — I haven’t seen any in the past couple of years, though I can’t say I’ve paid that much attention to them since in the past it was never a good value.

    @ Levi — Right, they’re releasing some business class space to Star partners, but not first class as far as I can tell.

    @ Brad — That’s correct, no status required to book first class. Hah, yes, the full award prices are serious, and certifiably nuts.

  14. This SIGNIFICANTLY helps redeem value out of Membership Rewards (though indirectly). SQ has a great product that I don’t mind paying surcharges for, especially for those ultra-long-hauls.

  15. @ Phil — They allow one stopover on a roundtrip saver award.

    @ oneeyejack — I searched this morning. You might want to try different dates, since I suspect some people snagged up the original dates.

    @ Carl — Sure, allowed as well, though it’s quite a few more miles, so for my tastes I’d rather just do Moscow.

    @ chitownflyer — It should be 220,000 miles, minus the 15% discount for booking online.

  16. @lucky – yes, so far I have only seen business class, not first. Shoult out if you see it arriving. After not seeing any business until now this is at least a step in the right direction.

  17. @ Phil – the problem with the EWR-SIN-MLE route is that, in addition to the miles (~200k before 15% discount), there would be about $1,000 in YQ. Boo.

  18. @Lucky: I’ve gone a long time without much flying in recent years and my legacy balances have either been used or expired, so I’m essentially starting over from scratch at this point. I have a trip on SQ planned for later this year routed IAH-DME-SIN-BKK on a cancelable revenue coach ticket in a miles earning bucket. This is my first trip on SQ in any class. I understand that they supposedly have great service up front, but their route network seems pretty small compared to the real behemoths that have resulted from all the mergers in recent years. Do you think it is best to put the resulting miles straight into KF or should I put them into something else like UA’s MP instead? The only other earning I have so far is around 60,000 UR points at the end of my first CSP statement. Thanks-in-advance!

  19. @ Dax — Assuming you would earn 100% miles regardless of the program you credit to (which you’d want to double check), I’d say United miles are still more valuable than Singapore Airlines miles. So I’d go with that in your shoes.

  20. @AJ – ouch you are right. Guess I won’t be doing that one then. Fortunately with Etihad and Qatar there are other options

  21. Great find. I hope they open some seats in June so I can take advantage of this. I call myself an airline aficionado and yet I’ve never flown SQ–time to right that. Do we have any idea what change/refund policies are like on saver award tickets?

  22. Hi Lucky,

    I’m thinking of doing a round trip on saver award from SIN to EWR. I know that SQ allows one stopover on saver award. Can I do a stopover in other city like LHR other than FRA? What about a stopover in FRA with a open-jaw. For instance:

    SIN-FRA-LON-EWR-FRA-SIN

    I can’t seem to find the rule on SQ website.

  23. @ MrT — Well then you’d be going from a saver first class award on Singapore to a saver first class award on Star Alliance, which would be substantially more expensive. So you’d be a lot better laying over at a city in which Singapore connects so that you could claim the cheaper award off the Singapore chart.

  24. is the SIN availability for their members more than for *A?
    LH keeps the same class O for F awards but opens up more seats for their own members.
    Also How can we look for award on SQ? KVS tool or ANA tool for saver *A space only or is there another fare bucket on them?

  25. @ ffi — Yes, they have a lot more availability for their own members than for partners. You would want to sign up for a KrisFlyer account to search for space on their flights using KrisFlyer miles.

  26. Hi, thanks for all your info here! I am planning on a trip to sydney (from ny) for august, and have plenty of USair miles which i would love to use for businesss or first class airfare, but even the business class which is wide open from sfo/lax, I cant get even 1 seat for the *alliance availability. Any news on that changing? or should i just bust some amex and get all 4 of us in j or F using krisflyer? would love to hear your opinions. Also, with krisflyer, i would have to get seperate tickets to the west coast, as the ewr flights arent avail….one last question, do you know if the seats in busineess OR first on the a380, if its any nicer than the 777s and 345s? Thanks!

  27. Thanks to Lucky I just was able to book SQ16 from SIN to SFO in First Class. Took about 12 hours to transfer the MR points to SQ, went back in and bingo, was able to book the seat! My MR points had been sitting pretty stagnent for a few years, a good use of them!

  28. I tried looking at NRT-SIN and then SIN-MLE separately (for February of 2014). Each flight showed availability when I looked them up one at a time (including the a380 suites class on the Tokyo flight; One saver and one standard). However, when I try to look at NRT-MLE under one search it shoes no first class, even on the a380 route. Is it not bookable because the Male flight does not have a first class? Will I have to do each flight separately?

  29. @ Matt — Singapore’s website is horrible and can’t book mixed cabin awards (when one flight is in first class and another in business, for example). If you call them they should be able to book it all on one ticket, and if you get a good agent they should even be able to give you the 15% online booking discount. Good luck!

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