Yahoo Travel’s Bizarre Singapore Suites Class Story

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Late last month a Singapore Airlines Suites Class trip report went viral, whereby a guy redeemed miles to fly from Singapore to Frankfurt to New York, which the guy claimed retailed for $23,000.

Singapore-Suites-Class-2

It’s amazing how viral the trip report went, and equally amazing how few people grasp the concept of miles. I seem to mostly hang around people that understand at least something about miles, but shortly after that report was published I heard from so many acquaintances I hadn’t spoken to in a long time, and they all just didn’t seem to “get it.”

After that trip report went viral I wrote a post outlining just how easily you can earn enough miles to redeem for Singapore Airlines Suites Class.

In trying to keep the momentum going, it seems like premium cabin “wowzers look at this” style reviews have been more mainstream lately.

One of the most bizarre has to be the one published by Yahoo Travel yesterday, entitled “Flying Singapore Airlines in First Class for an Hour Ruined My Life.”

In it the editor recounts how she begged Singapore Airlines for a free upgrade (which seems like an awfully strange way to tell the story):

So in August, after I cemented plans to go to Myanmar, I called the Singapore Airlines press guy, “J,” and did some wheedling.

Me: I’d like to film inside the suites…

J: I don’t know about that.

Me: Oh, come on. It’ll be awesome, really amazing. People have read about the suites, but have they really experienced them? No! You can only really do that with video…

It was a hell of a negotiation. He just wasn’t having it. After all, a first-class flight from New York City’s JFK to Frankfurt ranges from $9,000 to $14,000 (depending on whether you get a single or double bed and how full the flight is). Or, according to J, I could blow through at least 220,000 miles (which I don’t have).

It took a while (and a few drinks) for J to get on board. He eventually succumbed to a compromise. I would fly from JFK in business and have an hour or so to film in the suites. During the filming, I would have a blind Champagne taste test — am I a Krug girl or a Dom Girl? Apparently, I’m #TeamKrug. — take a nap in a full-on bed, have some caviar, and then be booted. Whatever. I was down. I JUST WANTED IN.

Odd. The only thing I’ll give her credit for is that she’s on #TeamKrug, which simply confirms that she has taste buds…

Here’s the video she made:

Two initial thoughts:

  • While talking about how great the bathroom is, clearly she missed the combs they usually stock in there 😉
  • In that “preview” picture she’s using for the YouTube video she looks like she’s getting a lot more than an, ahem, “upgrade”

But here’s the part that’s puzzling:

I am now left with the problem that now I know. I know how the 1 percent travels. Like really know. I am on a plane on average three times a week, and this experience has ruined flying for me. It was that good.

If you fly three times per week and the way you usually travel is bent over in an economy seat (as the picture suggests), then you’re doing it wrong.

Not only should she be earning a lot of miles from flying (and getting upgraded, for that matter), but if it’s specifically Singapore Suites she were after, earning enough points for a Suites Class ticket from New York to Frankfurt is so easy. It costs just 57,375 miles one-way, so applying for a credit card and completing a minimal amount of spend will do the trick in and of itself.

Singapore-Suites-Class

Here are a few cards that can earn you points towards Singapore Airlines Suites Class travel, since they’re all Singapore KrisFlyer transfer partners:

CardCurrent BonusDetails
Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card50,000 Ultimate Rewards points after spending $4,000 within three months, plus an additional 5,000 points when you add an authorized user and they make their first purchase within three months• $95 annual fee, waived the first year
• No foreign transaction fees
• 2x points on travel and dining
Ink Plus® Business Credit Card Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $5,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. • $0 intro annual fee for the first year, then $95
• No foreign transaction fees
• 5x points on the first $50,000 spent annually at office supply stores, and on cellular phone, landline, internet, and cable TV services; 2x points on the first $50,000 spent annually at gas stations and on hotels
The Amex EveryDay® Credit Card and Amex EveryDay® Preferred Credit Card from American ExpressAmex EveryDay:Earn 10,000 Membership Rewards® points after you make $1,000 in purchases with your new Card in the first three months.
Amex EveryDay Preferred: Earn 15,000 Membership Rewards® points after you make $1,000 in purchases with your new Card in the first three months.
Terms and Conditions apply
Amex EveryDay:
• Get 2x points at U.S. supermarkets, on up to $6,000 per year in purchases (then 1X). Earn 1X points on other purchases.
• Use your Card 20 or more times on purchases in a billing period and get 20% more points on those purchases less returns and credits.
Amex EveryDay Preferred:
• Earn 3X points at U.S. supermarkets on up to $6,000 per year in purchases (then 1X). Earn 2X points at U.S. gas stations. Earn 1X points on other purchases.
• Use your Card 30 or more times on purchases in a billing period and get 50% more points on those purchases less returns and credits.
Premier Rewards Gold Card from American Express25,000 Membership Rewards® points after spending $2,000 within three months
Terms and Conditions apply
• $0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $195
• Earn 3X points for flights booked directly with airlines. 2X points at US restaurants, US gas stations, and US supermarkets. 1X points on other purchases
The Business Gold Rewards Card from American Express OPEN50,000 Membership Rewards® points after spending $5,000 within three months
Terms and Conditions apply
• $0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $175
• 3X points on one category of your choice from the following: Airfare purchased directly from airlines; U.S. purchases for advertising in select media; U.S. purchases at gas stations; U.S. purchases for shipping; U.S. computer hardware, software, and cloud computing purchases made directly from select providers. 2X points on the 4 remaining categories. 1Xpoints on other purchases. Terms and limitations apply. 3X and 2X apply to the first $100,000 in purchases in each of the 5 categories per year, 1X point per dollar thereafter.
Mercedes Benz Platinum Card from American Express50,000 Membership Rewards® points after spending $3,000 within three months
Terms and Conditions apply
Annual fee: $475
• No Foreign transaction fees
• Lounge access with Delta, Priority Pass Select, and others; access to American Express Fine Hotels & Resorts; a $200 annual airline fee credit, 20% Travel Bonus when using Membership Rewards® Pay with Points
The Platinum Card® from American Express40,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $3,000 on purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months
Terms and Conditions apply
Annual fee: $450
• No Foreign transaction fees
• Lounge access with Delta, Priority Pass Select, and others; access to American Express Fine Hotels & Resorts; a $200 annual airline fee credit, 20% Travel Bonus when using Membership Rewards® Pay with Points
The Business Platinum® Card from American Express OPEN40,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $5,000 in purchases on the Card within your first 3 months
Terms and Conditions apply
• Annual fee: $450
• No Foreign transaction fees
• Lounge access with Delta, Priority Pass Select, and others; access to American Express Fine Hotels & Resorts; a $200 annual airline fee credit
Citi ThankYou® Premier CardCurrently expired
40,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after $3,000 in purchases made with your card in the first three months the account is open.
• $95 annual, waived the first year
• No Foreign transaction fees
• Earn 3 ThankYou Points per dollar spent on Travel including Gas, 2 ThankYou Points per dollar spent on Dining Out and Entertainment, and 1 Point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
Citi Prestige® Card40,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after $4,000 in purchases made with your card in the first three months the account is open.• Annual Fee: $450
• No Foreign transaction fees
• 3x points on air travel and hotels; 2x points on dining at restaurants and entertainment; and one point for all other purchases
Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express30,000 bonus Starpoints after you use your new Card to make $3,000 in purchases within the first 3 months• $0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $95
• Get a 25% bonus when transferring 20,000 points to an airline partner
Starwood Preferred Guest® Business Card from American Express30,000 bonus Starpoints after you use your new Card to make $5,000 in purchases within the first 3 months• $0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $95
• Get a 25% bonus when transferring 20,000 points to an airline partner

But most people just don’t get it, eh?

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Comments

  1. Hi Lucky,

    First off I really like your blog.

    You write so much about applying for fredit cards in order to receive miles. Do you have any recommendations regarding credit cards that are worth applying for in (continental) Europe. So far I have the Master Card M&M but it is quite laborious to earn free flights. Any tips?

    Thanks so much,

    Rob

  2. Just this summer, I was one of those people that just didn’t get it. I knew I have always wanted to fly first class, and I was even considering just buying a $4000 ticket with Virgin Atlantic (I didn’t even know Upper Class was business class). Then I stumbled upon this blog, and Ben, you have literally made my dreams come true. Because of you, this winter I will be flying roundtrip business class on BA, flying from JFK to HKG in Cathay Pacific’s first class, flying on Qatar’s Business class from HKG to LON, and then trying BA’s first class A380 LON-IAD. Not only that, but I know all about the game. Next year, I’ll do my next round of credit applications and I’ll be trying even more first class products.
    All I can say is thank you!

  3. It’s true, most people don’t get it. But I don’t know why you would expect them to or why you are surprised by this. If everyone knew what we knew, it would be downright impossible to redeem anything. In fact, I’m not even sure what’s so strange about this story. I don’t expect people to know the first thing about miles or redeeming – it’s something most of us have spent countless hours reading about and researching.

    Also, it’s a good thing most people don’t know anything about it, because it’s already pretty difficult to redeem Singapore Suites, even with a relatively flexible schedule. This is probably because everyone has added them as a transfer partner. And most people are pretty inflexible when it comes to booking international travel, so this only makes it more difficult.

    With that in mind, your post only addresses the easy half of the issue – earning miles – and ignores the redemption half. Probably so you can pimp credit cards, but I’m not sure. Seems kind of disingenuous to suggest that you can just easily earn the miles and fly suites, while leaving out that it still takes countless hours of planning/getting lucky/having a relatively flexible schedule.

  4. I’ve flown a few dozen times in intl premium cabins including about a dozen between LH/TG F and SQ Suites and I still love flying, even in economy, just as much as I did before I got into the miles game.

    Fwiw I’m sitting in an economy seat right now.

  5. I actually thought it was a fun video if you think of it more of an entertainment piece than a proper travel report/review. In that respect, it’s a lot less annoying that the other report (which also featured plagiarized text and photos).

    Moreover, I think we’d all prefer that people continue to think that SQ Suites are unobtainable — less competition for us 🙂

    I do have an issue with her statement that SQ R is $20,000 for JFK-FRA. It’s $11,600 round-trip and $6,844 one-way. It’s also not particularly “new” anymore (her A380 was still an older design) but that may be asking too much.

    @ Lucky — as much as we all love SQ, don’t you find it a bit hilarious that this whole fuss is over a rather not-feature-packed First product? Emirates people must be going green with envy over the publicity and wondering why no one is publishing viral articles about their suites with real gold, showers, and a bar! 😛

  6. @ Rob — Unfortunately not really an expert on credit cards in Europe, and for that matter they’re unfortunately not usually as rewarding as in the US. Sorry. 🙁

  7. That’ll be the last video I watch of her. Just not a fan of her style I suppose. She makes the suites to be brand new but they’ve been out awhile. Also if she really wanted to blow people’s mind, she should have shown the double bed.

    and thanks to your blog, I helped my mom burn some of her 400k MR and booked her and my stepdad in the suites from LAX-NRT next March. She’s excited!

  8. Putting the Suites aside, I am amazed how many folks that have a good deal of work travel really have very little idea how to play this game to win. Putting aside credit cards, just making minor tweaks to their travel providers would make a big difference, but they are clueless. Don’t even get me started on their redemptions…

  9. Some people don’t just “not get it”, but they don’t want to get it!

    I have a friend, who is always in the delusion that airline will somehow have a “ridiculous sale” on the last minute as a desperate attempt to fill the seats, despite it is the complete opposite in reality. So he paid $3000 to fly coach from Sydney to New York. He then was so proud that he was on the world’s best coach with Asiana, but would not credit any of those miles (over 20,000 in total as it was full economy fare) to any program. (He refuse to join). I tried to talk him into join one, he just said “shut up!”

    Recently he received a tax bill totaling $80000, I adviced him to apply for a Krisflyer co-branded amex credit card (with 20000 KF miles sign up bonus as well) and pay tax with it, he would score a total of 140000 KF miles. He refused because the annual fee was $200, so he paid $80000 in cash.

    Overall, he threw away more than 160000 KF miles! I told him that he just threw away 2 business class round trip to Europe from Australia, his reply was “shut up”!

    He actually has some miles in his pocket. He used to fly Qantas a lot so he racked 80000 miles there, but he has changed his preference to Star Alliance now after experiencing the “world’s best coach”. So he just sat on those 80000 miles and let it expire as he no longer keep his Qantas account active. I told him he just threw away another round trip intercontinental business class away. His reply was “shut up”!

    Some people are just not made to play the mile/points game!

  10. “How many more permutations of this post are you going to write?”

    Dude, he can keep maximizing his bank by posting the links to the credit cards offers he gets $$$ from the companies for each referral from his blog, doncha know? So expect a couple more, maybe.

  11. Yeah, my father once spent approx. 800.000 M&M miles on a Rimowa suitcase set…unfortunately, to that time, I was not yet interested in miles. Now, I get sick every time I think about it 🙁

  12. She flies 3 times a week in economy? Don’t tell her anything! She deserves to be where she is.

    Ditto for Michael’s friend. For some, ignorance is bliss.

  13. I can’t decide which is sillier: “civilians” who don’t Get It about miles and points, or…

    …Lucky, who Doesn’t Get It, that that is a Good Thing.

    Don’t give all the Dom away, Lucky. The more “they” want it, the more “they” believe it’s just out of reach, the more “we” get.

    It’s terribly, tragically unfair. Hand me a tissue.

  14. “You’re doing it wrong”

    Wow Ben, you’ve really disconnected yourself from reality haven’t you?

    Not all of us have “travel blogger” as the only section in our resume and actually have jobs that do require travel yet don’t allow us to fly up front every single time.

    Way to generalize an entire community of business travelers. I guess the only saving grace about this post is that it didn’t include a gif you found on some random tumblr (even though you did find a way to personally insult the writer).

  15. Guys – I think he’s purposely trying to bait us into replying. No way he’s serious with those ten affiliate links at the end of the post.

  16. This is the same lady who posted a gushing report about Carnivore, one of the most disgusting restaurants in (well…near) Johannesburg. Like, seriously? NEVER GO TO CARNIVORE.

    @Michael Kao

    That’s a truly depressing story. Next time your friend has an 80,000 tax bill, see if he’d be willing to let you open an Amex KF account and put it on the card. Then, you’ll pay the $200 and you’ll get all the points.

  17. @TravelinWilly

    I already offered to pay tax for him. His reply was “shut up!”

    Both of us are planning a trip to Hakuba Japan for a ski trip next Feb. I already grabbed myself a first class rt on JAL SYD-NRT when the F award seats were wide open. I advised him to purchase USDM during the promotion so he can travel first class with me (I already checked, the dates we are traveling has 3-4 F award seats!) He told me to shut up and said I was rich. He is still waiting for that delusional last minute sale, even tho the ticket price on coach has gone up to $2000 now (the dates are during Chinese New Year holiday season in Asia!)

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