Singapore Award Space Returns To United.com

In December of 2013, with no notice, United removed Singapore award inventory from United.com. Singapore makes consistent award space available to all their Star Alliance partners, but the reimbursement rates can vary by airline.

Singapore awards have continued to be available over the phone (as part of a very onerous process that requires patience and paying a phone booking fee), so the speculation was that United was removing Singapore flights from their web interface to reduce the number of bookings without blocking Singapore awards all together.

Well, apparently that policy has changed, because overnight Singapore award space is now appearing on United.com.

Before you get too excited, this doesn’t reflect a change in Singapore’s policies or award availability. So you’re still not going to see long-haul premium cabin award inventory, or A380 inventory on any route — Singapore doesn’t make that space available for Star Alliance redemptions.

But economy space is generally bookable, and in the markets where Singapore does offer premium cabin redemptions to the Star Alliance, you can book business class as well.


Economy and business class award space on Singapore’s A350 to Brisbane


Routes served by both 777-200s and A380s will only offer business class space on the 777

This makes leveraging the Excursionist Perk much easier

Last year United eliminated stopovers and replaced them with the “Excursionist Perk.” At the same time, they tightened their website logic and made it more difficult for agents to manually price awards. This has made it very difficult to utilize Singapore flights for complicated awards – both for customers and phone agents.

Now that Singapore space is available online, routes that are primarily served by Singapore are much simpler to include as an Excursionist Perk. Say, for example, that you wanted to fly from New York to Bangkok via Taipei, spend some time in Singapore before traveling to Bali, then fly back to Los Angeles.


Flight map via gcmap.com

This is a perfectly legal award, and the Singapore to Denpasar segment should be included for no additional miles. And while you’ve been able to book this previously, it’s been a painful hassle.

Now, you can easily price it online:

So this seems like a customer-friendly change, and I hope it sticks.

Best cards for earning United Miles

Bottom line

This is a change that is good for y’all, and maybe less good for me (you know how I like spending time on the phone with airlines).

Singapore has a great business class product, and there are quite a few routes where they dominate the market, so it’s good to see United making it easier for their customers to book that space.

What do you think? Happy to see SQ space online, or sad about the increased visibility of awards?

Comments

  1. Do you get the sense UA did special stuff specific to SQ to block A380/773 premium cabins or it is just SQs normal stinginess with releasing partner awards?

  2. Bummer, they finally closed the loophole.

    Before, if you include a segment on SQ, you can call in and have them manually route your trip for you segment by segment like how you were able to do it before November 2016. Since the SQ segment isn’t bookable online, they would also waive the phone booking fee. I have done this twice with absolutely no pushback (although they would put me on a long hold because only supervisors can override this and book the trip using the old (before November 2016) system).

  3. Frequent flier programs who withhold availability from their online booking systems just to limit people’s ability to conveniently book those awards should be given swift and hard kicks in the ass.

  4. I do not think it changes anything from a miles perspective (although I might be wrong), however, in the example above, you booked JFK to BKK via TPE rather than JFK to SIN…

  5. Glad UA fixed this but SQ should just leave or be thrown out of Star Alliance for being such a bad partner and not sharing any premium award space. They don’t deserve the alliance designation based on this.

  6. It is no mystery what happened here. There was a standoff between UA and SQ after United went revenue-based and demanded that SQ not award 100% redeemable miles across its entire line of economy fares on flights that they operate but are credited to MileagePlus; SQ apparently refused so UA pulled SQ awards from united.com.

    The standoff is now suddenly over because SQ blinked. As @Lucky reported the other day in “Singapore KrisFlyer Cuts Mileage Earning Rates On United”, SQ finally decided to start awarding fewer award miles, down to no miles at all, for some economy fares on their flights that are credited to MileagePlus.

    As one who travels extensively across SE Asia every year, there was a time when I would have cheered this development. Now, I just feel lukewarm about it because the long UA-SQ standoff and my desire to be able to include SQ flights in my SE travels led me to a solution that I believe remains the best option even after today’s development: after the introduction of the Chase Sapphire Reserve (CSR) card, which enables loads of UR points that are transferable to SQ miles to be earned, I decided to join the SQ KrisFlyer FF program to bypass UA altogether if I desired to book award travel on SQ. I would just transfer UR points to SQ miles and book my award directly on the SQ website, and things have worked out beautifully.

    Illustratively, as part of my upcoming 2017 Year-end Asian Escapade(tm), one of the trips I’d wanted to take after arriving at SIN from the US to kickoff the Escapade was SIN-MNL. Without SQ, the ~3-hour SIN-MNL flight would have turn into a 6-9h trip because the only other *A carrier in the region would be TG, which would require that one first travel to the TG hub at BKK and then to MNL. With my KrisFlyer account, I was able to just search for availability of SIN-MNL awards directly on the SQ website, and found several business and firs-class awards. However, first-class awards could only be waitlisted. So, I booked a business class award and waitlisted myself for first-class. Coincidentally, just today I received notification that my waitisted first-class award had cleared:

    “We are pleased to inform you that the following waitlisted flight(s) is available for confirmation:

    Flight No.: SQ910
    From: SIN (Changi Intl)
    To: MNL (Ninoy Aquino Intl)
    Departing Date: xx Dec 2017
    Departing Time: 09:20

    If you have made a redemption booking, please visit singaporeair.com to confirm your booking. For other waitlisted flights or booking types, please contact your local Singapore Airlines office.

    Your waitlisted flight(s) will be cancelled if no confirmation is received by 06 Oct 2017, 10:00 (GMT +8).

    Thank you for choosing Singapore Airlines and we look forward to welcoming you on board our flight.”

    With things working so well, the return of SQ award availability to UA.com is, well, a big of a yawn…

  7. LOL: “a big of a yawn” — I seem to have contracted “a big yawn” with “a bit of yawn”! Either works… 😉

  8. @DCS, you have a very narcissistic behavior similar to our current President. You should have your head examined.
    The point of this news discussion is another opportunity for lot of folks who are locked out of Chase UR due to mainly 5/24 rules.

  9. @ff_lover — And that stupid remark is based on what? The comment I just wrote above about the UA-SQ standoff and how I resolved it for myself, which anyone with an ounce of gray matter between the ears would not find to be the least bit controversial or a manifestation of narcissism (if you even know what that means), and might even find useful?

    What the fuck is wrong with garbage like you who come in here and spew garbage and ad hominems simply because you have the cover of anonymity? I do study people like you for a living (they are usual insecure to boot), and actually examine their heads using advanced brain imaging. You’d be a excellent candidate for some of my studies…

    Go to hell.

  10. Have you noticed that the UA Award Search engine used to show which airline a ticket was with. Now you have to do an extra click on details to see which airline it is. It means that checking out a search takes much longer.

  11. Found Singapore Air A380 from PEK to SIN December 12 though United awards when booking roundtrip from EWR. Took a screen shot. Not sure how to share.

  12. Loophole closed. This is bad news. And SQ availability on united.com diminishes the value of a expertflyer subsciption.

  13. Sad, SQ closed all long-haul business class seats to partners and left some limited long-haul routes with the regional business class product, e.g. CBR, ADL, PER in Australia. CBR and ADL still have about 7-8hrs to SIN, but they only ‘enjoy’ 2-2-2 regional business class. Previously there was still some availability in BNE with A359 and B772 long-haul version, and they all disappeared. Sad

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