Anatomy of an Award: Booking Singapore Suites

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I have wanted to fly Singapore Suites since seeing Tahsir’s trip report of a flying double bed. Singapore Suites is what Singapore Airlines calls First Class on its A380 aircraft, which serves routes from Singapore to London, Paris, Frankfurt, Zurich, Tokyo, Hong Kong, Melbourne, Sydney, Los Angeles, and San Francisco.

A few months ago, I came up with a plan to fly Singapore Suites, Cathay Pacific First Class, and Lufthansa First Class on the same round-the-world trip.

First I booked two Cathay Pacific First Class flights for the price of one. The next step was to book Singapore Suites Class from Singapore to Europe. (The last step will be to book Lufthansa First Class to the US, but I can’t do that until 15 days before the flight in March.)

How did I book Singapore Suites? Where did I get the miles? How is the award space picture?

Singapore Suites can only be booked with Singapore KrisFlyer miles. Like a growing number of ultra-premium products, the airline chooses not to release any award space to its partners.

As a US-based flyer, I don’t have any Singapore miles. I’ve never flown the airline, and if I did, I would credit the miles to United anyway.

Luckily, you can now transfer the following points to Singapore miles:

  • American Express Membership Rewards
  • Chase Ultimate Rewards
  • Citi ThankYou Points (get 50,000)
  • SPG Starpoints

Membership Rewards, Ultimate Rewards, and ThankYou Points transfer 1:1 to Singapore miles in 24-48 hours.

Starpoints transfer 1:1 to Singapore miles in about a week. As with every 1:1 Starpoints transfer partner, for every 20,000 Starpoints you transfer to Singapore miles, you get 5,000 bonus miles.

When I have a choice between transferring Membership Rewards or Starpoints, I’d conserve my Starpoints and spend my Membership Rewards. I want to use my Starpoints for Cash & Points, Nights & Flights, and American Airlines miles or US Airways miles.

Unfortunately I only had 55k Membership Rewards, and my award would cost 91,375 miles.

One of my favorite things about Membership Rewards, though, is that they can be transferred to anyone’s airline accounts. One friend sent 10k Membership Rewards to my KrisFlyer account. All she needed was my name and KrisFlyer account number. Another friend sent me 27,000 more to put me at 92,000.

(Note: This is no longer true as of 7/28/14. Now Membership Rewards can only be transferred to your own airline accounts.)

Incidentally, I’ve learned that Wyndham Rewards points can also be transferred to anyone’s airline accounts. Ultimate Rewards can only be transferred to yours or a spouse’s. Starpoints can only be transferred to your own, but you can transfer Starpoints to anyone you’ve shared an address with for 30 days.

With my 92,000 KrisFlyer miles, I started to search for an early March 2014 ticket from Singapore to Europe. I was open to any of the four destinations–London, Paris, Zurich, or Frankfurt–so I searched them all to suss out the award space picture.

Frankfurt

Singapore operates two daily flights to Frankfurt, one of which is on the A380. Award space was completely non-existent on the A380 flight at the Saver level for the week I was searching. And on broader searches, I haven’t found space on the route either.

Award space was available at the Standard and Full levels, but I didn’t have 200k or 500k Singapore miles to burn.

London

Singapore operates four daily flights to London, three of which are operated by A380s.

Award spaced was excellent on the route, and I found space on the 14+ hour flight every day I searched in early March, signified below by an “Available” in the left Saver column.

This was a strong contender, since I love London and have friends there to visit.

Paris

Singapore flies one daily flight to Paris on the A380. Award space was excellent on the days I searched. I liked the flight time, but I’ve spent quite a bit of time in Paris the last two years, so I preferred a different destination.

Zurich

Singapore also operated one daily redeye to Zurich with an A380. Award space was excellent on this route as well.

Unfortunately when I booked the award I believed I would be spending several days this August in Zurich, so I didn’t see a need for a repeat trip. My first Zurich trip fell through, so this probably would have been my best option, but I chose London.

Booking

Award booking at singaporeair.com is easy. After signing in, check “Redeem award flight(s)”, type in your cities, dates, and cabins. Do not check “Pay with KrisFlyer miles” which is actually a scheme where you get a fixed value for your KrisFlyer miles that would never put a Suites Class award within reach.

Select the flight you want at the Saver level. Although the Saver level is listed as 107,500 miles, there is a 15% miles discount for booking online.

You can see the online price by clicking the “Display total cost” button below and to the right of the flights. In this case, the total cost is 91,375 miles for flights from Singapore to Europe in First or Suites Class.

Selecting a flight takes one to the pricing screen. All Suites Class flights from Singapore to Europe have taxes of 34 Singapore Dollars and fuel surcharges of 281.40 Singapore Dollars.

That works out to $248 out of pocket, which is far from ideal, but a price I’m willing to pay one time for a dream flight.

I purchased my flight, and I got a confirmation email in a few minutes. Next March I’ll be flying Singapore Suites for 14 hours.

I selected the 1 AM takeoff time. I figure I can get to the airport to have a late dinner in the lounge, then board the flight and get a full night sleep. When I wake up, I’ll still have 6-8 hours to test out the food and service before landing in London.

Recap

Booking Singapore Suites is very easy. Transfer in your Membership Rewards or those of a friend and book online in minutes. Award space is excellent between Singapore and Europe next spring.


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50 COMMENTS

  1. Thanks for sharing, Scott. I’ve had some trouble finding award space for two — do you know if they ever release two suites at the saver level for the same flight?

  2. When I search for 1 person it shows space available in saver but when I search for 2 people it changes to waitlist for saver. What does that mean? When do you find out if the second person is ticketed? Does it make sense to waitlist or is it better to just book one saver and one standard award?

    • It means that your on a waitlist! 🙂 If SQ opens the seat for a saver redemption, you’ll be on the list to get it. “Better” is subjective. If you’re worried you won’t clear the waitlist (which absolutely happens), and you must get on the flight, then book one at Saver and one at Standard. If you have a bit more flexibility, ride it out.

      • Haha. Love the sarcasm. Thanks for the input. I’m not sure if I can wait out the saver space, it seems like the double-bed would be much less fun without my wife 😉

        • Fair enough 🙂 — try finding a date with two Saver awards. They exist, though not very often to/from JFK and SINFRA.

  3. Scott, so who you’ll have to share this double-bed with 🙂

    What does the waiting list mean in reality? I searched for some flights from JFK to FRA and got such answer.

  4. If one must pick a one-way, is it a better ground-experience flying into Singapore or out of Singapore in the First Suites?

    • Ex-SIN. That way you get access to the Private Room (though it’s a bit underwhelming… and can’t compare to the ground service of the LH FCT in FRA, TG F Spa in BKK, etc).

  5. Good stuff Scott. had no idea about all those other a380 routings. I’m tempted to fly the HKG-SIN route for 23.5K miles. 4 hours might be worth it!

    • 110,000 in Suites from East Coast and 107,500 in Suites from the West Coast (both before the 15% discount if booked online).

  6. Question – are there ever 3 suite seat awards together on the same flight? I imagine probably not, but thought I’d check. Thanks!!

  7. I hope they have a full service on the 1am departure — the SFO-SIN flight via HKG leaves a bit past midnight and only has a “supper” service (even when it is A380).

    I’m doing LAX-NRT-SIN in a few months, can’t wait.

  8. any routes that have more availability than others for 2 suites seats? I’ve been coming up short on SFO-SIN & LAX

  9. […] Instead of redeeming the points like cash, you can transfer your ThankYou Points to one of the 12 airline and hotel partners. The best partner is Singapore Airlines. In the last few months, I’ve transferred ThankYou Points to Singapore miles to fly United First Class to Hawaii, United economy to Madrid, and Avianca Business Class to Buenos Aires. Or you can use Singapore miles to book Singapore Suites. […]

  10. […] Instead of redeeming the points like cash, you can transfer your ThankYou Points to one of the 12 airline and hotel partners. The best partner is Singapore Airlines. In the last few months, I’ve transferred ThankYou Points to Singapore miles to fly United First Class to Hawaii, United economy to Madrid, and Avianca Business Class to Buenos Aires. Or you can use Singapore miles to book Singapore Suites. […]

  11. […] Instead of redeeming the points like cash, you can transfer your ThankYou Points to one of the 13 airline partners and one hotel partner. The best partner tends to be Singapore Airlines, although that will vary slightly depending on your travel goals. In 2015 Scott transferred ThankYou Points to Singapore miles to fly United First Class to Hawaii, United economy to Madrid, and Avianca Business Class to Buenos Aires, and in 2016 he used them to fly Singapore First Class from Sao Paulo to Barcelona. I used Singapore miles to book United Business Class to Buenos Aires this year, as well as an economy flight on United from Madrid to the United States (which is a 2.5k miles cheaper than the standard 30k price). Singapore miles are also the only miles you can use to book Singapore Suites. […]

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