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In 2014, Citi’s ThankYou program finally added some transfer partners, which was fantastic news. This made them more competitive with American Express Membership Rewards and Chase Ultimate Rewards, which have long been my “go to” programs for transferrable points.
These cards offer among the best return on everyday spend, and also have some awesome perks:
- The Citi ThankYou® Premier Card offers 3x points on travel and gas, 2x points on dining and entertainment, and 1x point on all other purchases, making it one of the most rewarding cards for everyday spend
- The Citi Prestige® Card offers 3x points on airfare and hotels, 2x points on dining and entertainment, and 1x point on all other purchases; on top of that the card offers all kinds of great perks, including a $250 airline credit, fourth night free hotel benefit, Priority Pass membership, Global Entry fee credit, and more
There are several great partners you can transfer points to, including the following:
|Air France/KLM | Flying Blue||Garuda Indonesia | Frequent Flyer||Qantas | Frequent Flyer||Turkish Airways | Miles & Smiles|
|Cathay Pacific | Asia Miles||Jet Airways | JetPrivilege||Qatar Airways | Privilege Club||Virgin Atlantic | Flying Club|
|EVA Air | Infinity MileageLands||JetBlue | TrueBlue||Singapore Airlines | KrisFlyer||Hilton | HHonors|
|Etihad | Etihad Guest||Malaysia Airlines | Enrich||Thai Airways | Royal Orchid Plus|
My favorite transfer partner (and one of my all around favorite frequent flyer programs) is Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer, given that it’s a great way to redeem miles for Singapore Airlines Suites Class, First Class, and Business Class. You can convert points from Citi ThankYou to Singapore KrisFlyer at a 1:1 ratio, in 1,000 points increments. Points transfers from Citi ThankYou to Singapore KrisFlyer usually take about a day.
So I figured I’d write a post about why I like Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer so much, and some tips for redeeming miles with them.
Why you should consider Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer
Everyone knows that Singapore Airlines is one of the world’s best airlines, but them being a good airline doesn’t necessarily mean they have a good frequent flyer program (often it’s the opposite, actually).
Well, lots of airlines make the same award space available to members of their own frequent flyer program as they do to members of partner frequent flyer programs. Singapore Airlines isn’t one of those airlines. Singapore Airlines makes their longhaul first & business class award space available almost exclusively to KrisFlyer members, and not to members of their partner airlines’ programs.
So if you want to fly Singapore Airlines Suites Class, your best bet is to book through KrisFlyer.
And that’s not a bad thing, given that Singapore Airlines has reasonable redemption rates and is transfer partners with all four major transferrable points currencies.
Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer award charts
Singapore Airlines has separate award charts for travel on Singapore Airlines and travel on their Star Alliance partners:
- KrisFlyer award chart for travel on Singapore Airlines
- KrisFlyer award chart for travel on Star Alliance
If your itinerary includes any travel at all on a Star Alliance airline, you’ll be charged per the Star Alliance award chart (even if the most significant flight is on Singapore Airlines).
Furthermore, Singapore Airlines offers a 15% discount for booking awards through their website. You can only redeem miles for travel on Singapore Airlines through their website (and not for travel on their Star Alliance partners), so the above totals don’t reflect the 15% discount.
Singapore Airlines’ USA destinations
Singapore’s destinations in the US include Houston, Los Angeles, New York, and San Francisco, Given the distance between the US and Singapore, all of those flights stop somewhere along the way, including Frankfurt, Hong Kong, Moscow, Seoul Incheon, and Tokyo Narita.
Singapore Airlines hopes to relaunch nonstop flights between the US and Singapore in 2018, though that the details of that have yet to be announced.
In total, Singapore’s route network out of the US looks as follows (all of the below routes offer continuing service to Singapore):
- Houston to Moscow
- Los Angeles to Tokyo Narita
- New York JFK to Frankfurt
- San Francisco to Hong Kong
- San Francisco to Seoul Incheon
Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer award redemption costs
I posted a link above to the KrisFlyer award chart, though figured I’d make things a bit easier by providing a chart with the award costs as well as fuel surcharges for travel originating in the US in first & business class. Note that the below awards are for one-way prices and factor in the 15% online booking discount:
|Route||Business Class||First Class||Aircraft|
|San Francisco to Hong Kong||63,750 miles + $23.40||70,125 miles + $23.40||Boeing 777|
|San Francisco to Hong Kong to Singapore||68,000 miles + $253.40||91,375 miles + $263.40||Boeing 777|
|San Francisco to Seoul||65,875 miles + $193.40||74,375 miles + $203.40||Boeing 777|
|San Francisco to Seoul to Singapore||68,000 miles + $253.40||91,375 miles + $263.40||Boeing 777|
|Los Angeles to Tokyo||65,875 miles + $68.40||74,375 miles + $68.40||Airbus A380|
|Los Angeles to Tokyo to Singapore||68,000 miles + $267.30||91,375 miles + $277.30||Airbus A380|
|New York to Frankfurt||48,875 miles + $193.40||57,375 miles + $203.40||Airbus A380|
|New York to Frankfurt to Singapore||72,250 miles + $276.95||93,500 miles + $286.95||Airbus A380|
|Houston to Moscow||48,875 miles + $201.80||57,375 miles + $211.80||Boeing 777|
|Houston to Moscow to Singapore||72,250 miles + $262.09||93,500 miles + $272.09||Boeing 777|
While no one likes fuel surcharges, I tend to think they’re quite reasonable compared to what other airlines (like British Airways, Lufthansa, etc.) charge.
Singapore KrisFlyer sweet spots
To be honest I think all of Singapore’s award redemption rates originating in the US are extremely reasonable. The premium for first class over business class is also minimal, so it’s almost always worth redeeming the additional miles, assuming there’s availability.
Factoring in the fuel surcharges and overall experience, I’d say the very best values are:
- San Francisco to Hong Kong First Class for 70,125 miles + $23.40
- Houston to Moscow First Class for 57,375 miles + $211.80
- Los Angeles to Tokyo Narita Suites Class for 74,375 miles + $68.40
- New York to Frankfurt to Singapore Suites Class for 93,500 miles + $203.40
How to search KrisFlyer award
You can search KrisFlyer award availability directly through Singapore Airlines’ website. You do need to log into your KrisFlyer account, and then you can search directly from the homepage.
Just click the “Redeem flights” button, and then enter your desired route, dates, and class of service.
The next page will show availability either at the Saver, Standard, or Full level. Obviously you want to book at the Saver level if you want the lowest price.
Singapore Airlines’ website is really clunky, and only lets you search availability for a day at a time. So if you want to search across a wide variety of dates you’ll have to click the “Previous day” and “Next day” buttons. Note that when you click “Edit search” it often resets the search, so you’ll have to again select the route, date, number of people, etc.
As stated above, Singapore Airlines offers a 15% discount for award booking through their website. This is only valid for travel on Singapore Airlines and SilkAir. The price shown in the actual search box won’t reflect that discount, but once you select a specific flight, you’ll see the updated price which reflects the 15% discount. The discount is instantly applied at the time of booking, so this isn’t some arduous process of getting points refunded, or anything.
You can get the online booking discount if you need to book by phone under certain circumstances, however this won’t work for Star Alliance awards.
KrisFlyer award change & cancellation fees
Not only does Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer have great redemption rates, but Singapore KrisFlyer also has very low change and cancellation fees. Specifically, KrisFlyer charges:
- No fee for changing the date or time of a Singapore Airlines award
- $12 to change an award type online
- $20 change an award type by phone
- $30 to redeposit an award ticket
Those are extremely low fees, and make it easy to lock in an award when the schedule opens and then later cancel in case you change your mind.
One other restriction to note is regarding KrisFlyer redemption nominees. While you can redeem KrisFlyer miles for anyone (meaning they don’t need to have the same last name or anything), you have to nominate the people you’re redeeming miles for to your account. You can nominate up to five people for your KrisFlyer account at any give point.
You can always add nominees at no extra cost, but once you reach your cap you have to pay to remove nominees. The cost is $50, and it can only be done at least six months after the last nominee change was made.
Other tips for redeeming KrisFlyer miles
I’ve written a lot of posts about Singapore KrisFlyer over the years, so figured I’d share a few top tips, and link to some old posts:
- Singapore KrisFlyer doesn’t allow award holds, so you have to transfer points before you can book an award ticket
- Singapore KrisFlyer allows award waitlists — here’s everything you have to know about waitlisting Singapore awards, though note sometimes these waitlists can be unreliable
- Singapore Airlines is inconsistent when it comes to releasing first & business class awards out of the US — here’s my most recent post about them making space available in advance; they also make a decent amount of award space available as the departure date approaches
- Singapore’s A380s have 12 Suites Class seats, while their 777-300ERs historically have eight First Class seats; unfortunately Singapore is in the process of cutting the number of 777-300ER First Class seats in half, from eight to four, so expect awards on the 777-300ER to get much more difficult
Singapore Airlines 777-300ER first class
Singapore Airlines trip reports
I’ve flown Singapore Airlines Suites Class and First Class many times before. For context, Suites Class is the name of Singapore’s top cabin on the A380, while First Class is the top cabin on the 777-300ER. So A380s don’t have both Suites Class and First Class, but rather have just the former.
With that in mind, here are some trip reports I’ve written about my flights on Singapore Airlines:
- Singapore Airlines Suites Class New York to Frankfurt
- Singapore Airlines Suites Class Frankfurt to New York
- Singapore Airlines Suites Class San Francisco to Hong Kong
- Singapore Airlines Suites Class Hong Kong to Singapore
- Singapore Airlines First Class Singapore to Melbourne
- Singapore Airlines First Class Singapore to Seoul Incheon
- Singapore Airlines First Class Seoul Incheon to San Francisco
- Singapore Airlines First Class Singapore to Frankfurt
- Singapore Airlines First Class Houston to Moscow
- Singapore Airlines First Class Moscow to Singapore
- Singapore Airlines First Class Singapore to Tokyo Narita
Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer is a fantastic frequent flyer program. Not to say it too loud, but it has been a while since KrisFlyer has had a major devaluation, so right now they’re a really great program through which to redeem miles.
Singapore KrisFlyer is transfer partners with American Express Membership Rewards, Chase Ultimate Rewards, Citi ThankYou, and Starwood Preferred Guest, so there’s no shortage of ways to redeem miles for travel on them.
While there are many ways to redeem points earned on the Citi Prestige® Card and Citi ThankYou® Premier Card, transferring them to Singapore KrisFlyer for premium cabin redemptions is one of my favorites.
Have you transferred Citi ThankYou points for travel on Singapore Airlines?