People are traveling in record numbers so airlines have few reasons to feel generous. With a load factor of 84%, the carriers are constantly tweaking the cost of award flights by either raising redemption levels or reducing the saver award inventory, especially in first and business classes. Airlines are increasingly unwilling to give away seats they are hoping to sell for cash.
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When airlines reduce their lowest-priced awards, there is nothing one can do to get around that. If a saver flight is not available to the airline’s own frequent flyers, it’s not available to the partners either. But when an airline sets its redemption levels higher, there are often alternatives. In many cases, going with a foreign airline’s program can save you a lot of miles vs. using American, United or Delta programs.
Since Singapore, just like United, is a Star Alliance member, one can use Singapore KrisFlyer miles to book the same flights that are bookable with United miles (and even some that aren’t). And the KrisFlyer award chart has some excellent values on United in first and business classes that beat United’s own award levels, so you can see why using Singapore rather United may make perfect sense.
Singapore Miles Are Easy to Get
If you don’t have Singapore KrisFlyer miles and don’t know how to get them, don’t worry – they are very easy to collect. Singapore doesn’t have a co-branded credit card in the U.S., but you don’t need one because Singapore is a transfer partner with all the popular U.S. credit card programs:
- American Express Membership Rewards
- Chase Ultimate Rewards
- Citi ThankYou
- Starwood Preferred Guest (25% bonus for transferring 20,000 points or more)
So, as long as you collect points from one or several of these major credit card programs, you can get Singapore miles without breaking a sweat.
Best Singapore Redemptions: First Class Suite on A380
Some Singapore award levels are better than United, while others are simply not. However, one of the most aspirational premium class award in the world – the Singapore First Class suite on the A380 is not even available on United. In fact, Singapore almost never opens first class availability on its North American routes to any of its partners, so if you want that suite, you’ll have to use Singapore miles.
Flying in a suite on A380 is an incredible experience. The beautiful enclosed spacious suites feature leather extra-wide leather seats. Adjacent seats in the middle can be turned into a double suite. And while any true lie-flat seat in the sky is a definition of luxury, Singapore went above and beyond and installed real beds in their suites – separate from your seat. Add true gourmet food and impeccable service and you will begin to see why many flyers consider a Singapore A380 first class suite the best first class product in the world.
There are only two North American routes served by A380: Los-Angeles–Singapore via Tokyo and New York– Singapore via Frankfurt. Availability is very fluid, but it’s been quite decent lately, even for two people (especially from New York) if you can book 11-12 months in advance. Singapore offers a 15% discount for booking award flights online.
A one-way first class suite on A380 costs:
- From New York – 93,500 miles (after the internet discount)
- From Los Angeles – 91,375 miles (after the internet discount)
A business class award seat cost 72,250 miles and 68,000 miles from New York and L.A. respectively, so the difference is not that big. Try to get first class for an unforgettable experience. Keep in mind, though, that since Singapore adds fuel surcharges, you will have to pay a nearly $300 fuel surcharge for one-way travel.
Best Singapore Redemptions: Business and First Class Awards on United Domestic Flights
Redeeming for a business or first class seat on United transcontinental flight between New York (Newark) and Los Angeles or San Francisco is another great use of Singapore KrisFlyer miles vs. United MileagePlus miles. You will save 5,000 miles each way whether you fly in business or first. Read more about searching United business and first class award inventory.
Cost in United miles (one-way):
- 25,000 for business
- 35,000 for first
Cost in Singapore miles:
- 20,000 for business
- 30,000 for first
Best Singapore redemptions: Business Class Awards to Hawaii
Book your business class award seat to Hawaii with Singapore miles instead of United, and you will save a whopping 10,000 miles per one-way flight. United flies its modern lie-flat business class cabin to Hawaii from New York (Newark), Washington, and San Francisco (with the NYC—Honolulu flight clocking at over 11 hours, it’s almost as long as between the East Coast and Asia).
- Cost in United miles: 40,000 (one-way).
- Cost in Singapore miles: 30,000 (one-way).
Here are more tips and options for searching United business class awards to Hawaii.