In late November of last year Singapore Airlines began making Suites Class on their Airbus 380 available using KrisFlyer miles at the saver level. Initially they only opened up space on a few routes, though within a week they also opened up space on their US routes.
Previously you could only redeem for Suites Class at an outrageously high level, something like a million KrisFlyer miles for a roundtrip flight between the US and Asia. And while I’m sure it’s a nice product, there’s no way it’s that much nicer than other first class products out there.
So while they are releasing saver Suites Class award space on the Airbus 380, they are only opening one seat at the saver level per flight. And it isn’t just that they’re releasing one seat at a time like some other airlines do (where they’ll open up more space closer to departure), but in my experience they’re actually only opening up one seat on a given flight no matter what.
What makes Singapore Suites so desirable for couples is that the center seats convert into a single bed, so it’s the only airline where you can “sleep” with someone else on a plane.
Now, it has only been possible to redeem for Suites Class at the saver level for a bit over a month so there aren’t that many data points yet and there’s a chance they may loosen up this policy in the future. I’ve been playing around with this a bit and have a few thoughts for the best strategies to get two Suites Class seats on the same flight.
Space for the second seat is usually available at the “full” level
Singapore has three award levels — saver, standard, and full. “Standard” is typically about double the price of “saver,” and “full” is typically more than triple the price of “standard.” So while I don’t think the premium for “full” is reasonable,” the premium for “standard” isn’t that bad. You’re basically paying the lowest rate for the first passenger and double that for the second passenger, so think of it as paying a 50% premium for two passengers to fly Suites Class.
Between San Francisco and Hong Kong one way in Suites Class, for example, you pay 70,125 miles for a “saver” award, and 136,000 miles for a “standard” award. So that’s just over 100,000 miles per person for a one-way in Suites Class, which I don’t think is bad. Keep in mind these rates reflect the 15% discount for booking through the KrisFlyer website, which aren’t reflected in the above screenshot. But that strategy hardly comes as a surprise to anyone, I’m sure.
Taking advantage of direct flights
I’ve had some luck with this. Singapore has plenty of “direct” flights, like SQ 1 from San Francisco to Singapore via Hong Kong and SQ11 from Los Angeles to Singapore via Tokyo.
What I’ve been noticing is that Singapore will only release one seat per “direct” flight, but will in some cases release another seat on the individual sectors of the flight.
For example, let’s say you want to fly from San Francisco to Hong Kong. You could book one passenger in saver first class from San Francisco to Hong Kong.
And once that’s complete there’s a good chance there’s award space in first class on the “direct” flight from San Francisco to Singapore via Hong Kong, which is the same flight from San Francisco to Hong Kong.
Now, there’s no guarantee the space will be there, though I’ve found that to be the case a good portion of the time based on some random bookings I’ve made.
Of course if you do use this method, be sure you’re checking bags in the name of the person that’s booked to the destination you actually intend to travel to, or else you’ll find yourself in trouble. You’re also paying a ~20,000 mile premium for the second ticket to Singapore, but that’s still substantially less than the second ticket being at the “full” level.
This gets a bit trickier if you’re trying to do the opposite, like flying to Singapore and booking one passenger on the “direct” flight and booking the individual segments for the other passenger. That’s because Singapore’s website won’t let you use the multi-city tool except for roundtrips, and it would count that connection as a stopover.
Trial and error isn’t expensive with KrisFlyer…
KrisFlyer has extremely reasonable change fees. They’ll let you change the date of your flight for free, and redepositing miles costs just $30. So there’s not that much of a cost to playing around with this and tweaking your itinerary to make it work, assuming you already have the KrisFlyer miles in your account. It certainly won’t be every time that there’s availability on both the “direct” flight and the individual segments, though if you’re flexible and willing to put some work into playing around with the itinerary, it’s not impossible to find two seats at the saver level.
Anyway, figured I’d share my observations. If anyone has any data points to share, I’m sure we’d all love to hear!