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Best Use of Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer Miles

Another new Citi transfer is Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer. It’s mostly noted for being the way of using miles to fly Singapore Airlines suites (with the double bed). But I tried to dig a little deeper and find some of the other highlights of the KrisFlyer miles.

There is a lot to go over, because Singapore has so many not yet talked about options and one of the only ways to redeem for Singapore Airlines “Suites” (which I broke down to routes by hours flown and cost in miles). Plus, I’ve seen some bad info out there because people don’t understand that there are two award charts. Plus, Singapore has a couple interesting partners to talk about too.

So I’ll briefly mention how to get Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer miles and then we’ll get started. Citi, Amex, Chase and SPG points all can be transferred to Singapore miles. I believe it’s the only airline to be able to transfer from all 4 of these programs.

  • Citi Thank You points transfer 1:1
  • Amex Membership Rewards points transfer 1:1
  • Starwood SPG points transfer 1:1
  • Chase Ultimate Rewards points transfer 1:1

Star Alliance Award Chart

I decided to put the Singapore Airlines Award chart in oneways from North America.

Singapore Airlines Award Chart

Singapore Airlines Award Chart from North America

View the original Singapore Airlines award chart for Star Alliance partners here.

Then I decided to compare it to AA’s award chart. I consider AA to be possibly the best all around award chart there is. This one doesn’t show “off-peak” season prices, but it’s just for comparing.

I completely expected AA’s award chart to dominate, and blow the Singapore Airlines award chart out of the water. But it wasn’t at all one winning across the board.

Here it is color coded. Prices where AA’s award chart is better are green. Prices where SQ KrisFlyer awards are better are red. And blocks where AA tied KrisFlyer are normal white.

Here’s AA’s award chart (compared to SQ):

Screen Shot 2014-08-05 at 7.40.08 PM

Wow.

Singapore Airlines beat AA on:

  • Business & First within the USA  (for 20k/30k)
  • Economy, Business & First to Hawaii  (for 17.5k/30k/40k)
  • Economy to Europe  (for 27.5k)
  • Economy, Business & First to the Middle East  (for 37.5k/57.5k/75k)
  • Business to Central/South Africa  (for 72.5k)

In general these are great deals. So great, that they are beating out possibly the best award chart out there. And they are blowing out other recently inflated award charts like United.

However, on the routes where they’re losing, they are really losing. For example, 97,500 miles to SE Asia in Business instead of AA’s 55,000. And that’s not even considering the fuel surcharges yet.

 

Southwest Pacific to Southwest Pacific for 12.5k/17.5k/22.5k

What is South Pacific?

Australia, Cook Islands, Fiji, New Zealand, Niue, Norfolk Island, Somoa, Tahiti, Tonga, Vanuatu

Anywhere in Australia to Tahiti for 12.5k/17.5k/22.5k? Oh my.

We haven’t gotten into fuel surcharges yet, but I’ll let the cat out early and say that Air New Zealand doesn’t have fuel surcharges to pass on. So this is a great redemption to any of these crazy islands.

Screen Shot 2014-08-05 at 9.32.59 PM

Some of these island, especially Tahiti, are harder to find award availability for, but if you look far enough in advance, you can find some.

Plus, you’re allowed a stopover yet (on a roundtrip). So a nice stopover in New Zealand on your way from Australia to Tahiti or Fiji.

And while New Zealand doesn’t have a first class, their business class is incredible. A great bed! So for the extra 5,000 points for that long flight, I would say it’s well worth it.

What makes this even better is not how the prices are better than everyone else’s, but how you could use Citi points, which are otherwise of low value. Blowing Citi points on a trip like this seems like a no brainer.

 

Stopovers

Basically, you get one stopover on international roundtrips. Open-jaw is allowed on origin or destination.

Star Alliance awards stopover details:

  • One complimentary en route stopover is permitted for round-trip awards, unless otherwise stated below. Up to three additional stopovers are also permitted at USD100 each, regardless of class of service.

  • Complimentary stopovers are not permitted in a purely domestic itinerary , or within the country of departure in an international itinerary

  • Complimentary stopovers are not permitted if an itinerary contains only European cities, or is between the United States, Canada, Puerto Rico or U.S. Virgin Islands.

  • One origin or destination open-jaw is permitted for a round-trip award (e.g. fly Singapore to San Francisco, then LA to Singapore; or fly Seoul to Singapore, then take a return leg to Tokyo). Open-jaws are permitted across different award zones but the higher award level will apply. En route open-jaws are not permitted.

  • The original outbound departure point may not be used as a transfer point to the final destination on the return leg.

 

Avoiding Fuel Surcharges

According to the Master Chart for Avoiding Fuel Surcharges, there are a few Star Alliance options without fuel surcharges:

  • Air New Zealand
  • Avianca
  • Copa
  • TACA
  • Air Canada within the Americas
  • United within the Americas

As usual, there are plenty of options within the Americas and not so much everywhere else.

What’s really interesting though is that on Singapore’s website they list that you can also use your miles on the following airlines:

  • TAM Airlines
  • Virgin America
  • Virgin Atlantic
  • Virgin Australia
  • US Airways

I bolded TAM and US Airways because those are additional fuel surcharge free airlines within the Americas.

(TAM and US Airways awards fit into the Star Alliance award chart and the Virgin awards will be discussed towards the end).

 

Singapore Airlines Award Chart

Confusingly, Singapore Airlines has two award charts. One for partners, and one for just Singapore Airlines and SilkAir. Redeeming on partners would get you the rules above, and redeeming on AA would get you a whole new set of rules. And it’s the chart used for booking Singapore Airlines Suites.

View the Singapore award chart here.

What’s interesting is that the award chart of Singapore Airlines flights (instead of partners) has some better deals. The dilemma is that while you would be saving miles, the fuel surcharges would be guaranteed if you were to actually fly on Singapore Airlines.

Actually flying on Singapore to Singapore would save miles (and pay $292 in fuel surcharges for economy).

  • A oneway from USA westcoast to SIN would be 35k/80k/107.5k
  • A oneway from USA eastcoast to SIN would be 37.5k/85k/110k

But there are other Singapore Airlines flights not to/from Singapore that you could take advantage of and save miles.

Non-SIN routes on Singapore Airlines

  • JFK-FRA (daily)
  • IAH DME (5 days/week)
  • GRU-BCN
  • LAX-NRT
  • SFO-ICN

Prices

USA East to Europe = 20k/57.5k/67.5k

Which means since New York to Frankfurt and Houston to Moscow are available Singapore flights, either one of those would be 20,000 miles oneway. The other thing to consider is that you’re going to pay $179 in fuel surcharges on any oneway to/from Europe on Singapore… which surprisingly is better than some of the other Star Alliance airlines.

South America to Europe = 20.5k/59k/68.5k

Sao Paulo to Barcelona is purely a great deal because of a Brazilian law making it illegal to charge fuel surcharges on flights leaving Brazil. Booking a oneway back however would result in the $179 fuel surcharges again. But going from Brazil, on Singapore, is a great deal. Maybe a great chance to fly Singapore First for 11 hours, fuel surcharge free.

USA westcoast to Japan & South Korea = 32.5k/77.5k/87.5k

For the LA to Tokyo flight and the San Fran to Seoul flight, you’re looking at paying 32,500 miles and $170

Note that you pay more fuel surcharges for business and even more for first.

Singapore Airlines Stopover Rules

Saver Awards Standard and Full Awards
One-way No stopover 1 stopover
Round-trip 1 stopover 2 stopovers
Validity of award tickets 12 months 12 months

Of course, what you want are saver awards as the tickets are way cheaper, in which case the rules are really the same as above.

 

Singapore “Suites”

The only doublebed in the sky is the famous Singapore suites. But Singapore doesn’t release these award seats to their partners, so if you ever plan on booking a pair of these, you need to do it with KrisFlyer miles.

The key to knowing what flight these suites are on is as simple as knowing what routes Singapore uses the Airbus 380, because that’s the plane with these suites.

Currently:

  • Singapore – Frankfurt  (12:30 hours and 107,500 miles)
  • Frankfurt – New York  (8:00 hours and 67,500 miles)
  • Singapore – Frankfurt – New York   (20:30 hours and 110,500 miles)
  • Singapore – Tokyo – Los Angeles  (18:30 hours and 107,500 miles)
  • Singapore – Zurich  (12:40 hours and 107,500 miles)
  • Singapore – Melbourne  (7:20 hours and 75,000 miles)
  • Singapore – Hong Kong  (3:45 hours and 37,500 miles)
  • Singapore – Paris  (13:30 hours and 107,500 miles)
  • Singapore – Tokyo  (7 hours and 60,00 miles)
  • Singapore – London  (13:30 hours and 107,500 miles)
  • Singapore – Sydney  (7:40 hours and 75,000 miles)

It’s hard to find two of these at the saver level, but it is totally possible. This hasn’t been my highest priority but I imagine it would be an incredible trip.

The 15% Discount

And all these prices are before the Singapore Airlines discount for booking online awards (only for Singapore).

Redeeming your KrisFlyer miles online for award tickets and upgrades is not only easy; it’s great value too, with a 15% discount on the usual number of miles required.

 

Virgin Redemptions

What’s interesting is that the Virgin Airlines also have their own award chart.

Virgin America Award Chart (Oneways):

Screen Shot 2014-08-05 at 9.52.14 PM

Two notable good uses would be; Seattle to Mexico for 16,000 miles, and within the westcoast for 9,000 miles. No fuel surcharges.

Virgin Atlantic (Roundtrips):

Screen Shot 2014-08-05 at 9.58.11 PM

North America to Europe (roundtrip) = 50k/65k/100k

Roundtrip to Europe for 50,000 miles, or 65,000 for business, sounds tempting to me! However, fuel surcharges each way will be $230, and $410 each way in business class. I would like to try Virgin sometime, but I don’t think I can justify the expense.

$230 is more than our last two mistake fares to Europe roundtrip. So… perspective.

Virgin Australia (Oneway):

Screen Shot 2014-08-05 at 10.03.32 PM

LAX to SYD is $340 oneway.

Over all, I’d say the prices aren’t as good as most airlines. With United you can do US to Australia for 70,000 miles roundtrip (with a trick).

That being said, if you’d like to hop around the Pacific and aren’t finding Air New Zealand availability, try Virgin. The award prices aren’t too much more and a flight from Sydney to Fiji is $10 in fuel surcharges. Now, the SYD airport has insane airport taxes, but that’s another story.

The Pacific Island region for Virgin would include: Cook Islands, Fiji Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, and Vanuatu.

 

While the stopover rules are individual to each award chart, and the rules were mostly the same, oddly enough it didn’t mention anything about needing to be an international ticket, nor having restriction of a domestic stopover. Doesn’t mean it’ll book though.

 

Conclusion

There are an insane amount of options for using Singapore Airlines miles… but not all of them are good options. In fact, they seem to be really good or really bad.

The better partner options again were:

  • Business & First within the USA  (for 20k/30k)
  • Economy, Business & First to Hawaii  (for 17.5k/30k/40k)
  • Economy to Europe  (for 27.5k)
  • Economy, Business & First to the Middle East  (for 37.5k/57.5k/75k)
  • Business to Central/South Africa  (for 72.5k)

Unfortunately, there are no good ways to do Europe, Middle East, and Africa without high fuel surcharges.

However, you can do different Pacific flights from Australia without fuel surcharges (or with very mild ones with Virgin) for stupid cheap. Like 12.5k/17.5k for econ/biz for a flight from anywhere in Australia to any Pacific island, including Tahiti.

If you are willing to pay the fuel, hop a flight on Singapore Airlines from New York to Frankfurt or Houston to Moscow for only 20,000 miles. Or start in Brazil and avoid fuel surcharges and do Sao Paulo to Barcelona for 20,500 miles.

And anytime it’s a roundtrip, feel free to tack on a stopover.

Last but not least, I laid out pretty clearly the cost in miles and the hours for flights in Singapore Suites class.

This went on about 2,000 words, which is more than planned… so I’ll cut it off here. But for those of you with Citi points, I hope you find what you’re looking for. And for those of you already with Singapore KrisFlyer Miles, I hope you found some good ideas for your next trip.

Cheers,
Drew

 

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51 Comments

  1. Much hatred for Ultimate Rewards? :-)

    Reply
    • lol, oops!
      Thanks, adding that back in.

      Reply
  2. SQ (via my Aussie Amex MR) used to be my award of choice from BNE to Pacific Islands. In the last couple years, they haven’t been releasing J awards at all and even Y on the Australia-New Zealand and AKL to Pacific Islands has become really scarce. I had to resort to using AA to book QF/TN for our trip to PPT in June.

    Reply
    • I agree, ANZ availability can be a pain. Even looking months and months out to Fiji I only see a few days a month! and that’s the best availability.

      but wait… You’re an Aussie?

      Reply
    • Yes, actually I am both Aussie & US dual citizen (with credit cards from both countries) and I live in BNE. Australia has no domestic *A partner so we only have TG and sometimes BR to redeem on now. NZ used to have good availability up until 2012-ish. In 2011, we used SQ miles to book BNE-AKL-RAR-AKL-BNE in J which was awesome. NZ has a terrible revenue based program and their members don’t need X & I class so they rarely offer it to other *A members. I don’t know why *A allows them to get away with it.

      Reply
    • I should have clarified that I use UA to book *A awards now because SQ charges YQ on their own metal and TG & BR. Also, SQ tightened up on J award space to/from Australia unless it’s t-14 or something like that. I have an upcoming trip using USDM in a couple months that I got in just before they pulled this stunt so got SQ J for the last time. We will have to use VA next time we go to RAR or NAN but we do have a few VA credit cards!

      Reply
  3. I think you’ll find that no Star Alliance airline flies to Easter Island, which is why it isn’t mentioned…

    Interesting post though.

    Reply
    • but if you fly on US Air, which is OW, using your KF miles you can do it…you use the singapore partner chart, and it says 60K miles RT.

      haven’t actually tried this, but i think that’s the theory

      Reply
    • I have no KF miles, but I would love to see someone test this. 30K one-way to Easter Island would be fantastic.

      Reply
    • Craig is right, there is no way to get to Easter Island with Star Alliance. You can book on US Air, but US Air doesn’t fly there.
      Sorry about that.

      Reply
  4. I believe Singapore – Frankfurt – New York is 110,000 miles (Zone 1 => 14), not 107,500 as stated (which is Zone 1 => 13).

    Side note: incredible value, for an extra 2,500 miles add on FRA-JFK on the A380 (also add additional SGD$207.10 in taxes). 93,500 miles + SGD$515.70 if you book online with the 15% discount.

    Reply
    • Good catch.

      Right. A lot more hours with a little more money. If I were to do it, that’s what I would do.

      Reply
  5. Drew, great post.
    I’m pretty sure SQ doesn’t charge YQ on any UA flights.

    Reply
    • That would be great. I may try phoning in a UA ticket. Have you tried it?

      Reply
    • I’ve booked a UA ticket using SQ (Hawaii–BOS), no YQ. Any luck with the new comment follow up option Drew?

      Reply
    • Any conclusion on this? Does Singapore charge YQ when booking international (non-Americas) award travel on UA metal?

      Reply
  6. You get 15% miles discount for booking SQ only flights on their website. So they suddenly have some great values. For example ~50k + $250 for business between Amsterdam or Copenhagen and Singapore.

    Reply
    • Thanks! Totally forgot to add that. I put in a small note about booking SQ flights online for the discount!
      Drew

      Reply
  7. Fantastic post. Assume fuel surcharges quoted are always for economy one way unless otherwise stated, right?

    Reply
    • Thanks.
      Correct!

      Reply
    • They’re always the same for other cabins, at least I haven’t seen a difference in my 20-30 searches. You do get raped double or triple at Heathrow by the departure tax for flying premium.

      Reply
  8. Doesn’t a SQ award from North America (West) to Africa/MiddleEast/Turkey cost 47.5k/95k/130k? I’m not seeing your 37.5k/57.5k/75k numbers on their chart.

    Reply
    • There are two different award charts. So that first award chart I did is for Star Alliance awards.

      Reply
    • Does this mean I can redeem an award in First one-way for 75k from North America to the Middle East if I redeem on Star Alliance carriers instead of SQ? Do I have to call SQ to redeem this? Thanks!

      Reply
  9. What a great post! Thanks for all of your work that went into this. This is really what sets you apart from most other blogs.

    Reply
    • Thanks Jonathan, I appreciate it!
      Drew

      Reply
  10. Meh, the Alaska and AA charts cover every place I can imagine going and for less than others. I mean, really, 50-55K miles for business to Asia? That’s good even looking back for years. And the various charges tacked on by Singapore is a turnoff for a cheapskate like me. Using the bad United miles will get you a stopover when needed. Maybe it’s just me, but I can’t see the value in bothering with Singapore.

    Reply
  11. Thank you for this post! Great job!
    Let’s say I book a 1 way today, do you know if you can add additional segments at a later time which will make it a round trip?
    Also do you know if they allow infants < 2 in Suites? Can I assume that if we're bringing him as a lap child, it's the same policy as most carriers: we need to pay taxes on the actual air fare?

    Reply
  12. How hard is it to book/change/cancel, using the website, when calling in or when dealing in person with Singapore Airlines staff?

    Having experienced lots of trouble with TK in Istanbul when a flight went mechanical, and more trouble that only came to light when we were trying to connect in the states because they messed up the legs they rebooked us on, I have become very leary of some carriers.

    I imagine Singapore is just fine if not better than most, but can you confirm that? I have no miles and indeed no account as yet to try myself. But I do have lots of UR points 😉 ! Thanks.

    Reply
  13. I’ve been searching for availability on J on the JFK-FRA flight for November of this year and all the flights are waitlisted all the way until next year! For every date that I plug in it comes up waitlisted at the saver award level. However if say I look for the same fly for next week there’s availability. What’s up with that? I mean I do not want to wait last minute to book the flights but How frequent do these waitlist clear if they ever clear? There seems to be better availability on the suites than business!

    Reply
  14. Great stuff as always, Drew – thanks!

    Really impressed you found the GRU-BCN steal. No one else has mentioned it that I have found on the interwebs. I’m based in GRU, so am looking forward for an opportunity to that that flight.

    Thanks for another great post!

    Reply
  15. Is the best way to search for Star alliance availability on the united website and then book by calling? Just trying to book a basic economy class to Hawaii.

    Also, do you know what Singapore Airline’s policy is for infants <2?

    Reply
  16. Drew, are you ever going to do anymore video posts? Just wondering.

    Reply
  17. I think you forgot HKG-SFO as a non-SIN route. It’s a 777-300ER. prices with 15% online discount are 25,500/63,750/70,125

    Reply
  18. For Air New Zealand award space, am I just looking for tickets pricing at the “Economy Saver” level?

    Reply
    • I would only pay at saver level, or the entire ticket is basically at double the price.

      Reply
    • Was reading SQs website for redemptions.

      Reply
  19. You said that one of the better partner options is Economy to Europe (for 27.5k). How is that?
    Because, don’t you think the AA sAAver award for offpeak US-Europe is much better? Nothing can beat 20k miles one way.

    Reply
    • Drew, I appreciate if you can please reply….
      I have been waiting for your reply….

      Reply
    • I mean in context of using Singapore Air miles. When using Singapore Airline miles for flights on partner airlines, Europe for 27.5k is a good use.

      AA is off-peak using AA miles might be a better redemption but you definitely don’t have that option using Singapore miles.

      Reply
  20. Keep in mind that award space for many Singapore Airlines routes is negligible. FRA-JFK has no single premium award seat in the next 6 months using Krisflyer :(

    Reply
  21. Hi Drew,

    Thanks for this great post! Do you know if KrisFlyer rules allow you to fly to South Africa via Asia on Star Alliance parter or (Thai airlines) or SK metal? Also can you fly via Latin America to get to Africa? I’d love to be able to access the wide-open SAA award availability in business from Johannesburg to Sao Paolo if this is an option.

    Thank you in advance for your reply!

    Reply
  22. Does US->Hawaii count as “Domestic” for purposes of the stopover rules? If not, how long of a layover is allowed? I’m trying to plan NYC->Hawaii and back with ~24 hour stopovers in SFO each way.

    Reply
    • Someone once told me to ‘go west young man’. I wasn’t sure how far to go so i booked a nonstop first-class saver from BWI to Denver to see my kid for a few days. When she got tired of me flew first nonstop to Kona for 6 weeks, then back to BWI through SFO.

      I was sitting when the SQ rep told me how many points it would cost…40K RT First Class Saver. The United supervisor who tried to tell me I wasn’t able to carry 70 lbs free was not sitting when I presented my ticket, but he fell over soon after. Then I told him what it cost and he was dumfounded.

      Reply
  23. 1. Are the domestic connections limited to 4 hours or do they allow longer or even 24 hours?
    2. I was told the flights need to be operated by United and not something like United operated by Skywest dba’. Is this true? There are no DFW non stop out of usa. Are there any?
    3. Is only one open jaw allowed or do they allow more than one?
    Thanks

    Reply
    • Limited, probably to 4 hours. Not clear on Hawaii (separate region).

      Reply
  24. Thoughts on how to find award space availability on Virgin America using Singapore Krisflyer miles?

    Reply
  25. Hi Drew,

    Is it possible to use Krisflyer miles for round trip that different direction each way ex :

    Singapore-Barcelona(stopover)-Sao Paulo (destination)-Lima (stopover using Avianca)-Houston (using United)-Singapore.

    I will buy saver award so i will pay for 2 additional stopover. What do you think ?

    Reply
  26. Thanks for the great article. Greatly appreciated.

    A few quick questions:

    1. Do you know when the non-peak periods are?
    I would like to redeem a First Class Suites for my mother from Singapore to LAX sometime next year. Totally flexible in terms of the travel. Could be in Feb 2016. Or Sep 2016.

    Looking online for 15 minutes, there doesn’t seem to be any availability either in the next few days (supposedly the load factor is clearer) or in 10 to 12 mths out.

    2. Do higher status KrisFlyer members see inventory that others don’t see?
    Currently I have no status with Singapore Airlines/SQ, but should have status in the next few months.

    At United, upgrades or award seats are sometimes not available to “regular” Mileage Plus members, but Silver, Gold, Platinum, 1K and Global Service status members could see availability.

    Is this the same with KF Silver, KF Gold, PPS, PPS Solitaire and PPS lifetime members? I might be able to hit KF Gold in a few months.
    3
    1. What is the difference Wait Listed vs. Not Offered?
    I assume the latter means all sold out or NIL chance of getting a spot. While the former means there is a chance?

    Thanks for all the insights!

    Reply
  27. Hi,

    Can you fly on United suing Singapore miles to Europe from USA adding in one stoppover (in Europe) and one open jaw (in Europe) ? for example

    RDU-Amsterdam (stop over) ->Barcelona Spain (destination)
    Venice (Italy) to RDU ?

    please advise, thank you

    Reply

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