How To Redeem Citi ThankYou Points On Singapore Airlines

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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.

Citi-ThankYou-Points

On top of that, Citi changed up the features of their cards which accrue ThankYou points, including the Citi Prestige® Card and Citi ThankYou® Premier Card.

These cards offer among the best return on everyday spend, and also have some awesome perks:

There are several great partners you can transfer points to, including the following:

Air France/KLM | Flying BlueGaruda Indonesia | Frequent FlyerQatar Airways | Privilege ClubHilton | HHonors
Cathay Pacific | Asia MilesJetBlue | TrueBlueSingapore Airlines | KrisFlyer
EVA Air | Infinity MileageLandsMalaysia Airlines | EnrichThai Airways | Royal Orchid Plus
Etihad | Etihad GuestQantas | Frequent FlyerVirgin Atlantic | Flying Club

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.

Citi-Singapore-Airlines

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-Suites-1
Singapore Airlines’ A380 Suites Class, including their double bed in the sky

Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer award charts

Singapore Airlines has separate award charts for travel on Singapore Airlines and travel on their Star Alliance partners:

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-USA-Route-Map

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-A380
Singapore Airlines A380

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:

RouteBusiness ClassFirst ClassAircraft
San Francisco to Hong Kong63,750 miles + $23.40 70,125 miles + $23.40Boeing 777
San Francisco to Hong Kong to Singapore68,000 miles + $253.4091,375 miles + $263.40Boeing 777
San Francisco to Seoul65,875 miles + $193.4074,375 miles + $203.40Boeing 777
San Francisco to Seoul to Singapore68,000 miles + $253.4091,375 miles + $263.40Boeing 777
Los Angeles to Tokyo65,875 miles + $68.4074,375 miles + $68.40 Airbus A380
Los Angeles to Tokyo to Singapore68,000 miles + $267.3091,375 miles + $277.30Airbus A380
New York to Frankfurt48,875 miles + $193.4057,375 miles + $203.40Airbus A380
New York to Frankfurt to Singapore72,250 miles + $276.9593,500 miles + $286.95Airbus A380
Houston to Moscow48,875 miles + $201.8057,375 miles + $211.80Boeing 777
Houston to Moscow to Singapore72,250 miles + $262.0993,500 miles + $272.09Boeing 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

Singapore-A380-Suites-Class-53
Caviar and Krug in Singapore Airlines Suites Class

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.

KrisFlyer-Award-Search

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.

KrisFlyer-Discount

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.

Singapore-Suites-2
Dom or Krug? The toughest decision you’ll have to make on Singapore Airlines

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.

KrisFlyer-Fees

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-Airlines-777-First-Class-01
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-Suites-A380
Singapore Airlines A380 Suites Class

Bottom line

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?

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Comments

  1. VERY helpful!! I thought you had to book round trip on Singapore? Did this recently change or am I confused with another program? Thanks for the help!

  2. Just used a combo of leftover MR points and TY points to book a one-way on United from Europe-US using Singapore miles. Also did the same thing using Aeroplan (from MR points) for the US-Europe leg. In terms of operations, Singapore was top notch, the phone call took maybe 10 minutes, everything went through perfectly, ticketed within a few minutes. Can see the reservation on their website, update API info, etc. Aeroplan has been a disaster. Just signing up online took weeks because every time I “signed up”, I got a website saying I had failed. Finally had to call, turned out the first time it worked and created an Aeroplan number for me, but the website is a disaster and an email was never generated either.

    Then booking went okay, but ticketing took 3 days, for no discernable reason. And when I look at the reservation on Air Canada’s site, it errors out every time I try to put in API information (passport, etc).

    I booked the outbound using Aeroplan because it is cheaper at that spot on the award charts (business US-Europe, 10,000 miles fewer per one-way), but I would have gone with Singapore in a second if the prices were closer. The super low change fee is a great feature also, although Aeroplan isn’t that bad at $90 CAD ($65 US).

  3. @Nick- you can book one-way awards on Singapore with no problem. The award chart states that one-way awards are booked at half the cost of roundtrip awards.

  4. thanks for the great write up! Do you also recommend using Krisflyer for Star Alliance flights? Any real sweet spots?

    US to Europe seems to be 130k miles round trip in biz, which isn’t terrible. What are surcharges like on those flights?

  5. @ Ever — It’s actually two separate Suites Class seats, so you need to book two seats to be sure you get it. If the cabin is empty and you booked just one seat they’ll typically gladly prepare the two middle seats for you.

  6. if needing to book 2 suite class award spaces would you recommend on booking together on same reservation or separate award reservation for better clearance ?

  7. Transferred 36000 TY points to Krisflyer about a month ago, but they never arrived. Citi says they sent them long ago, Krisflyer says they did not receive them. Nobody seems to be able or willing to do anything. Any advice?

  8. @ Jung — Better chance of clearance if booking separately, but downside is that it could be that one clears and the other doesn’t, so there’s some risk. But given low change or cancellation fees, that seems worthwhile.

  9. SQ’s mobile app will let you see availability (in the form of lowest number of miles required each day) for 7 days at a time, which is much more convenient than the website.

  10. @Lucky: Yes, I actually made a second transfer that day which went through without any problems in 1-2 days (I had miscalculated the number of points that I needed for a redemption).

  11. Question…looking for a suite for 2 for SFO-HKG…82500 miles but it says Waitlist. How it works? When you know if you get the seats that you want?

    Thanks!

  12. @Ben is there any word that the website will ever support Star Alliance and partner airlines bookings? Wish I didn’t have to call in for those awards.

  13. Ben, what is the taxes/yq fees going from sin>nrt>sfo? Is it the same or more? Planning a RWT with singapore and emirates so that will help deciding which way to start.

  14. I just fear transferring the points and then availability disappearing before the points get there, especially if they are delayed or lost as Chris reported! No way to send them back or somewhere else if something goes wrong, right?

  15. @dmodemd, that’s part of the SQ game. No way around it, all of us sweat bullets (and refresh the award search page every 30 seconds to check the avail space) waiting for the points to arrive 😛

  16. I suppose that if you’re a hammer, everything looks like a nail. Since you focus mostly only on Int’l F/J you’ve left out one of my primary ways to spend TYPs. For regular americans, the best use of KrisFlyer miles might just be to fly United J at 20k domestic/30k to Hawai’i.

  17. Lucky, I love your trip reviews and posts.

    I have one question on American Express Member Reward points and SPG points. I understand when you transfer SPG points into airline accounts for award booking, SPG will give you a bonus 5K points for every 20K points transferring. Should I transfer my American Express Member Reward points to SPG account first and then transferring points from SPG account to airline account for award booking? This is to take advantage of the 5K bonus per 20K points transferring. Can you comment on this? Thank you. CN.

  18. @CN – MR transfers to SPG at a 3:1 ratio, so you’d be losing most of the value of MR points that way. You’d be much better off just transferring MR directly to whichever airline you want.

  19. Ben do you have any experience with SQ and their RTW business and 1st award tix. Maybe not you personally, but have your booked it for anyone through your award booking service? (Which I have used and for others is a great service) Was thinking of one day doing that and wondered if it would be worth it.

  20. Note that there is currently a technical problem moving Citi TYP to SQ KrisFlyer.

    I had to wait through the 2 week expected timeframe they gave for the transfer (even though they have previously taken a few days at most) and then they had to escalate and expect resolution in 5 business days.

  21. @qasr – I transferred TYP to SQ last week without issue. Posted in less than 24 hours. Sorry to hear about your trouble; just providing another datapoint.

  22. @qasr: Had the same issue. At first nobody seemed to know what was going on (see my earlier comments), but now they acknowledged a technical mistake on their side and promised to fix the issue within a week.

  23. Ben- Thanks for all your previous posts on how to redeem SQ suites class tickets by transferring TY points! Because of those posts, I applied for both Citi cards and then I was able to book LAX-NRT-SIN-MEL in suites class with a stopover in SIN for this upcoming Dec!!

  24. Hi – Thank you for the detailed post.
    The number of points needed to travel one way from LAX to Tokyo is great, but does everyone not come back? Every article I read has this great deal for one way trips only. How does everyone come back? Is there some other way people book return flights…am I missing something?
    Thanks

  25. I can not transfer my rewards points to Krisflyer miles…when I try to click redeem…just not respond…

    What do I need to do?

    Parviz

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