Singapore KrisFlyer Sweet Spot

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Singapore Airlines’ award chart has an amazing sweet spot: Hawaii and Central America are in the same region!

Screen Shot 2014-06-24 at 1.53.37 AM

Flights “within” the Hawaii/Central America region are only 35,000 Singapore miles roundtrip in economy and 60,000 miles roundtrip in business class.

That 35,000-Singapore-miles award would cost 80,000 United miles. That 60,000-Singapore-miles award would cost 140,000 United miles.

One Region!?

One Region!?

Singapore is a Star Alliance member, so you can fly United flights on these awards, and Singapore never collects fuel surcharges on United flights.

Singapore miles are easy to get, since Singapore is a 1:1 transfer partner of Ultimate Rewards and Membership Rewards.

You Don’t Live in Singapore, Hawaii, or Central America. So What?

The primary beneficiaries of the Hawaii/Central America mega-region on the Singapore award chart are people who live in the continental United States. Mainlanders can use this sweet spot to get all the flights for one trip and half the flights for two other trips for a bargain price.

I priced out what amounts to a roundtrip from Denver to Honolulu plus two one ways between Central America and Denver for 35,000 total Singapore miles and about $177. That’s one complete roundtrip and halves of two others for less than what United charges for just the roundtrip to Hawaii.

The award is 80,000-United-miles-worth of flights for 35,000 Singapore miles.

singapore trip

  • How does this award fit together?
  • Who can take advantage of this trick routing?
  • What are the routing rules for Singapore awards?
  • How can you get Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer miles?
  • How can you book a Singapore award?

Singapore Routing Rules

Full Singapore Award Routing Rules

Relevant rules:

  • Singapore Airlines allows six segments per award.
  • Singapore allows one free stopover per roundtrip award and up to three additional stopovers for $100 each.
  • Singapore does not allow a stopover on one way awards.
  • Singapore allows one open jaw per roundtrip award.

The Five Parts of This Award

This award between Central America and Hawaii can go in either direction. The award has five parts and four to six segments.

Option 1–Two Central America Vacations, One Hawaii Vacation:

  1. One way from Central America to your home airport.
  2. Stopover at your home airport.
  3. Roundtrip from your home airport to Hawaii.
  4. Stopover at your home airport.
  5. One way from your home airport to Central America.

Option 2–Two Hawaii Vacations, One Central America Vacation:

  1. One way from Hawaii to your home airport.
  2. Stopover at your home airport.
  3. Roundtrip from your home airport to Central America.
  4. Stopover at your home airport.
  5. One way from your home airport to Hawaii.

In either case, the stopovers at your home airport which separate the three trips can be as long as you’d like as long as all the flights are flown within 331 days of ticketing.

Also in either case, the award includes two half trips. You have to fill in the rest of the airfare with separate awards or cash tickets.

Variation on Option 1 to Save $100 but Lose a One Way to Central America

  1. One way from Central America to your home airport.
  2. Stopover at your home airport.
  3. Roundtrip from your home airport to Hawaii.
  4. Have the award continue from your home airport to Central America within 24 hours of landing at your home airport. Do not fly these dummy legs.

This saves $100 by cutting out the second stopover. You must add on the unflown dummy legs to Central America to get the cheaper price for awards “within” the Hawaii/Central America region.

A similar variation is possible on Option 2 to save $100 but lose a one way to Hawaii.

Where Can You Live and Take Advantage?

You only get three segments in each direction between Central America and Hawaii and your home airport has to be on the path of those three segments.

All United hubs in North America fit that rule as do all the cities with direct Avianca or Copa flights to Central America. Full list:

  • Newark
  • Chicago
  • Houston
  • Denver
  • Los Angeles
  • San Francisco
  • Washington-Dulles
  • Boston
  • Fort Lauderdale
  • Miami
  • Las Vegas
  • New York-JFK
  • Tampa
  • Dallas/Fort Worth
  • Orlando

How to Book the Award

You’ll be using Singapore Airline miles to book flights on its Star Alliance partners, United, Avianca, and Copa. The easiest place to search for United flights is united.com. Singapore phone agents will have access to all Saver award space you see when searching united.com without signing in to your United account. (Logging in will show extra Saver space that is available only to people with a United credit card or elite status. Singapore can’t book that space.)

Like always, write down the flight numbers, dates, and cabins, so you can feed them to the Singapore customer service representative when you call to book your ticket.

Example Award

To illustrate the award booking process, I priced out the following economy award, assuming a home airport of Denver:

  1. San Jose, Costa Rica to Denver in July 2014
  2. Denver to Honolulu in September 2014
  3. Honolulu to Denver in September 2014
  4. Denver to Panama City in April 2015

(Not included: the flights to San Jose to start the Costa Rican vacation and the flights home from the Panamanian vacation. Those must be booked separately.)

That works out to a ten day vacation to Hawaii and two trips to Central America nine months apart.

I learned from Wikipedia that Denver to Honolulu and Panama City can be flown as direct flights, but San Jose to Denver requires two segments. That means that my award will use at least five out of the six allowed segments on a Singapore award.

The Search

I started searching in chronological order because all sections of the award seemed equally easy to find.

Award space was available next month from Costa Rica to Denver in economy on a few dates.

Screen Shot 2014-06-24 at 1.33.21 AM

Interestingly United has a single flight number from San Jose to Denver, so even though this is actually two takeoffs, landings, and planes, Singapore would count it as only one of the six possible segments.

Screen Shot 2014-06-24 at 1.33.14 AM

For the other three parts of the award, I specifically searched for nonstop flights by checking the appropriate box on the search screen.

Denver to Honolulu has widely available economy award space in September.

Screen Shot 2014-06-24 at 1.34.12 AM Screen Shot 2014-06-24 at 1.34.19 AM

The return was equally easy, so I quickly had the ten day vacation to Honolulu in the middle of the award.

Screen Shot 2014-06-24 at 1.34.49 AM Screen Shot 2014-06-24 at 1.34.58 AM

The last part of the award was an April 2015 one way from Denver to Panama City. Award space is open in April and widely available in May.

Screen Shot 2014-06-24 at 1.35.30 AM Screen Shot 2014-06-24 at 1.35.37 AM

For each flight I found on united.com, I noted the date, flight number, and cabin.

Calling Singapore

We’re flying United and we’re searching united.com, but we have to call Singapore to book since we’re using Singapore miles.

Singapore’s US call center is open 24 hours a day. The number is: (213) 404-0301. There is no telephone booking fee. Always clarify with the agent whether she’s quoting a price in US dollars or Singapore dollars.

As always, if an agent cannot book a flight for you or prices it at a higher price then you are expecting, simply hang up and call back for another representative.

After feeding the agent the flights I’d found, she quoted a price of 35,000 Singapore miles plus $177. That represented $77 in government taxes and $100 for the second stopover. Singapore does not collect fuel surcharges on United flights.

Value of the Award

United charges 22,500 miles each way between the mainland and Hawaii and 17,500 miles each way between the mainland and Central America. The award I priced out for 35,000 Singapore miles is therefore “worth” 80,000 United miles. (You could actually book it for fewer than 80,000 United miles with free one way techniques.)

Singapore Airlines charges 17,500 miles each way between the mainland and Hawaii or Central America. That makes the above award “worth” 70,000 Singapore miles, and we got it for half that.

How to get Singapore KrisFlyer Miles

Singapore is a 1:1 transfer partner of Ultimate Rewards and Membership Rewards.

You can transfer Ultimate Rewards from Chase at a 1:1 ratio in 1,000 point increments. The Sapphire Preferred, Ink Plus, and Ink Bold all have a big enough sign up bonus to book the awards in this post.

Be aware that this point transfer may take up to two business days, unlike the normal instant transfer to other Ultimate Rewards partners.

2) You can earn Membership Rewards on any Platinum, Gold, or EveryDay card from American Express. The Platinum Card from American Express for Mercedes-Benz is offering 50,000 bonus points after spending $3k in three months.

Membership Rewards transfer at a 1:1 ratio in increments of 1,000. FlyerTalkers report the transfer taking 12-48 hours for them to post. I’ve noticed if you transfer points before 10 AM Pacific Time, the points post at exactly midnight that night.

Recap

Singapore Airlines has placed Hawaii and Central America in one region.

If you live in the continental United States, you can use this fact to combine Hawaiian and Central American vacations onto a single award for the same price as booking either vacation separately.

Singapore miles are easy to rack up since the airline is a 1:1 transfer partner of Chase and American Express.

Hopefully booking a similar award to the one laid out in this post will be easy for you. If not, hire the MileValue Award Booking Service to book your dream trip (or trips in this case!) for you.

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27 Responses to Singapore KrisFlyer Sweet Spot

  1. this is pretty cool but i am surprised they don’t have any max milage rules? i would think that going from Hawaii to central america via EWR is a major detour…

  2. Does Singapore charge close in booking fees? And can you make changes to dates of later flights both before and after the trip is underway? Are there fees for that? Thanks!

  3. I was wondering if this also works within the US.
    For example, MCO-DEN(home airport. stopover)-HNL-DEN?

    • Scott Grimmer

      Awards within the United States cannot have stopovers according to the rules on Singapore’s website. However, it’s possible you can get a stopover like that since Hawaii is a separate region. Test it out for us.

  4. Hey Scott, what is the best way to take advantage of this if you live in Mexico or Central America and want to make a stop or stops in the US on the way to Hawaii

  5. Hi Scott, how would one get a first class routing considering that probably not all segments would be available in first class but would open up at later dates. Can this be done? Would it require paying a bunch of change fees? I’m interested in your thoughts on this…

    • Scott Grimmer

      First of all, all the premium cabin flights will be in recliners (with a few exceptions of flat beds to Hawaii.) The flights to Hawaii will be called First and the flights to Central America will be called Business even though both are in the best cabin on a two-cabin flight.

      With the semantics out of the way, you will pay the Business Class price of 60,000 Singapore miles roundtrip if even a single leg is in Business or First. Every time you make a change to a cabin will cost $20.

  6. Great job. Southwest w/ companion pass to Mexico city starting November 2nd! Bam!

  7. Scott, is all of Mexico considered Central America on their chart? Just want to double check as your circle doesn’t include Cabo. I too have the companion pass and would love to use it beginning and end. Can all the legs be flown on United product for this price? Is there any way for me to confirm availability before transferring my UR points?

  8. It looks like they classify the Caribbean as part of Hawaii/Central America too, so could you do this with trips including the Caribbean and Hawaii instead of Central America and Hawaii? Like AUA>ORD / ORD>HNL>ORD/ ORD>STT?

  9. I am all sorts of confused now. I called to make an award booking and it did not price out at all as imagined. Basically did MSP-AUA-MSP with a oneway later to SFO and it priced out at 25,000 miles per ticket. The agent also said the cap was 8 segments.

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  12. Another awesome award setup Scott. I’m trying to figure out a way to take advantage of it.

    I’d love to fly the to/from HNL legs through IAD or EWR in their awesome business class product, but there is no business availability anytime in Dec/Jan/Feb, the months we’d like to go to Hawaii. Have you looked at those routes much in the past? Any chance the availability will open up?

    • Scott Grimmer

      Those routes have been barren in First Class for a long time. They tend to open up space within one week of departure.

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  15. It sounds like this will work very easily with for someone that lives in Chicago, correct? You need to just start and end your trip in the Caribbean/Mexico/Central America?

    Is it possible to add an additional stopover in the United States in Florida as a vacation destination somehow? If so, would the total price of the ticket cost?

    For example, can you use this method for the following itineraries? What would the cost be as a result of the stopovers?

    Option 1 – home is Chicago
    -Cancun to Chicago (extended stopover at home)
    -Chicago to Hawaii (1 week in Hawaii)
    -Hawaii to Chicago (extended stopover at home)
    -Chicago to Florida (additional stopover added)
    -Florida to Jamaica (final destination)

    Option 2 – home is Chicago.
    -Bahamas to Florida (vacation in Florida)
    -Florida to Chicago (extended stopover at home)
    -Chicago to Hawaii (vacation)
    -Hawaii to Chicago (extended stopover at home)
    -Chicago to Cancun (final destination or dummy leg)

  16. Or would the following itinerary work? (extension of my last post)

    Option 3 – home is Chicago.
    -Bahamas to Chicago (extended stopover at home)
    -Chicago to Hawaii (vacation)
    -Hawaii to Florida (vacation)
    -Florida to Cancun (final destination or dummy leg)

  17. Scott–can the open jaw be at the stopover? I have a vague recollection of Singapore not allowing that. So could you do HNL-BOS-stopover-CUN-BOS?

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