Your best chance at scoring two Singapore Suites award tickets

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!

Comments

  1. Carl says

    what happens when passenger is no-show on HKG-SIN segment especially after they have already checked in for it in SFO?

  2. lucky says

    @ Carl — As a courtesy I’d tell them you’re not feeling well or changed your mind, and it shouldn’t be a problem.

  3. MEOW says

    Great info Ben! Say I make one booking as LAX-SIN and a second booking as LAX-NRT and NRT-SIN will the second person be able to check in on the NRT-SIN flight at LAX or would this cause problems.

  4. lucky says

    @ MEOW — Yep, that wouldn’t be a problem at all and you could check-in at LAX without issue.

  5. Mike says

    70,125+136,000 is over 200k.
    Not following you in regards to “under 100k per person”.

    Not trying to be an ass. I just want to clearly understand. Just in case Im not “getting it”

  6. lucky says

    @ Lantean — These are the only two routes I can think of that are operated by direct flights with Airbus 380s. I suppose there could be a case where there’s only one saver first seat on a 777 but there’s also space on the individual flights, but those are less in high demand.

  7. CatJo says

    This is timely as I was just looking at getting two of us to Bali (DPS) from New York (in Business, or maybe First) at the end of June. I have 180k Delta, 500k MR and 300k UR.

    My preference is to use the Delta and/or MR before the UR, so I think I’ll just transfer MR to KrisFlyer and book these. Any better option?

  8. lucky says

    @ CatJo — I’d certainly say so. You might be best off snagging two business class seats, as those are pretty readily available.

  9. jeniffer says

    it seems that HKG to SFO changed to 777-300 since Apr. 2013. There is no A380 after March 2013?

  10. lucky says

    @ jeniffer — Right, for now the A380 is only temporary on that route. After that it’s going back to SQ25/26 from New York to Singapore via Frankfurt.

  11. Kirby A says

    This post is a little unclear at the beginning. You should edit it to reflect saver, standard, and full levels (as reflected in the screenshot), as opposed to saver, full, and flex–which does not appear to exist.

  12. Simon says

    I made a Saver award booking this morning – Suites LAX-SIN for Sept ’13.

    I just checked again and there is Suites award availability LAX-NRT, and NRT-SIN (same dates/flights) – Saver.

    But the LAX-SIN is now Waitlist for Saver.

  13. BFrankley says

    Ben, you’re a mad points genius! I’m really happy to see this option because my wife and I are set to fly Singapore Suites next week (glitch booking) and I feared it would be our one and only occasion. So you’re telling me there’s a chance!?…

  14. Vastgotta says

    I had luck booking 2 saver suites on an A380 from Sydney to Singapore for me and my wife. Flew on 21st of December. Ive heard that availability might be different per level of the frequent flyer member.

  15. lucky says

    @ Vastgotta — Wow, awesome! How far apart did you book the seats, and what’s your status with Singapore?

    @ mark — Only the center set of seats convert into a double bed.

  16. RakSiam says

    I was playing around with this a bit. When it says “waitlist” for the saver award what does that usually mean? Does that mean you are probably out of luck or that you will probably get the seat?

  17. lucky says

    @ RakSiam — It’s a nice way of saying “you have no chance in hell of getting the seat.”

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