MileValue is part of an affiliate sales network and receives compensation for sending traffic to partner sites, such as This compensation may impact how and where links appear on this site. This site does not include all financial companies or all available financial offers. Terms apply to American Express benefits and offers. Enrollment may be required for select American Express benefits and offers. Visit to learn more.

Note: Some of the offers mentioned below may have changed or are no longer be available. You can view current offers here.

I recently redeemed 20,000 Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer miles and $45 for a one way trip in Business Class from Medellin, Colombia to Buenos Aires.

Screen Shot 2014-12-01 at 8.13.23 PM
Avianca Business Class, not flat, but much better than coach

That’s over seven hours of flying up front for only 20,000 miles. United would have charged 40,000 for me to book the exact same award space. American Airlines would have charged 32,500 to fly its partner LAN Airlines in Business Class.

I got the 20,000 Singapore miles by transferring Citi ThankYou Points 1:1 to Singapore miles in about 24 hours. (Chase Ultimate Rewards, American Express Membership Rewards, and Starwood Preferred Guest Starpoints also transfer to Singapore miles.)

I earn ThankYou Points with my Citi Premier® Card.

Getting the miles and searching for award space were very easy, but something very surprising happened while booking that got me an even better award than I was expecting.

  • How did I discover this sweet spot on the Singapore award chart?
  • How did I search for award space?
  • How did I book the award?
  • What weird thing happened during the award booking?

Finding Sweet Spots

I always scour award charts for hidden value on awards that never touch the United States. That’s how I found:

It’s also how I found that Singapore Airlines only charges 12,500 miles for an award within South America and only 20,000 miles in Business Class.

(Singapore Award Chart)

Screen Shot 2014-11-17 at 4.22.40 PM
Roundtrip Singapore Award Chart. Divide by two for a one way award.

United and American both break South America into two regions, so my award would have been 40,000 United miles for the exact same Business Class flights or 32,500 American Airlines miles on partner LAN Airlines.

Fuel Surcharges

Singapore Airlines is a member of the Star Alliance, so its miles can be used to book awards on all 27 member airlines of the alliance.

Singapore collects fuel surcharges on award flights, though, so you only want to use Singapore miles to book awards on United, Copa, TACA, and Avianca, since Singapore doesn’t collect fuel surcharges on these airlines’ flights.

(You might also want to use Singapore miles to book Singapore Suites with fuel surcharges.)

Searching Award Space

I knew I would be flying Avianca or TACA Peru (they’re actually one company) from Medellin to Buenos Aires. The two most direct routings are via Bogota or Lima.

Screen Shot 2014-12-01 at 8.37.43 PM

I searched because (I thought) it accurately displayed all TACA and Avianca award space. Any award space on these airlines visible at should be bookable by calling Singapore Airlines.

I found an award like this vis Lima. I didn’t like getting in at 4:30 AM, but it was all I saw.

Screen Shot 2014-12-01 at 8.07.31 PM

I noted the date, cabin, and flight numbers then transferred my points.

Transferring ThankYou Points

Once I found award space, I transferred 19,000 ThankYou Points to Singapore miles. This takes between 22 and 36 hours, and I detailed the process here.

Screen Shot 2014-11-17 at 4.20.42 PM

Booking a Singapore Airlines Award

Once the points hit, I checked, and the space I wanted was still there, so I called Singapore.

Singapore Airlines only displays its own award space online, so to book a partner award, you have to call (800) 742-3333. Luckily there is no phone ticketing fee.

I told the agent that I wanted to fly on December 1 from Medellin to Buenos Aires in Business Class. I didn’t read him the flights because I figured he would find them easily.

Much to my surprise, he started naming other departure times than I was expecting. It turned out he found award space in Business Class from Medellin to Bogota to Buenos Aires.

This was far preferable to the award space I had found because it left later, got in at 6:30 AM instead of 4:30 AM, and featured one short and one long flight instead of two medium flights. I figure I’ll get more sleep on this itinerary.

I was very surprised he saw award space that hadn’t displayed, but I booked it without hesitation.

Screen Shot 2014-12-01 at 8.08.42 PM

The award had 100.20 Singapore Dollars worth of taxes. That’s about $80. There were no fees of any kind for the booking because Singapore doesn’t charge a phone-booking fee or a fee for booking within 21 days of departure like many airlines do. At the airport, I had 71,000 Colombian pesos ($35) returned to me because I am not Colombian, and I was in the country for less than 90 days. That made the total taxes only $45.

Double Checking

I was a little nervous about whether I really had a ticket. I mean, where had that space come from?

I called Avianca to select seats. They saw my ticket, so I knew I was good to go.

It is always a good idea to contact the operating carrier to select seats on an award ticket to confirm that they see your reservation and to get the seats you want.

Why Didn’t Show the Space?

I have no idea. does see the Bogota to Buenos Aires flight some days.

Screen Shot 2014-12-01 at 8.03.21 PM

I really have no guess why didn’t show Avianca award space that existed for tonight’s flight, but I will be searching ANA from now on for Avianca award space.

Bottom Line

Seven hours of flying in Business Class for 20,000 miles + $45 is a steal.

You should always check the award charts of all the partners of your transferable points currency to see if there is a sweet spot on one of the charts for the award you want. I saved myself 20,000 miles by not blowing 40,000 United miles for these flights, which is what I think most Americans would have unknowingly done.

Singapore miles are extremely easy to get (with about 36 hour delay) because they are transfer partners of every transferable point.

See Also

Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.

Just getting started in the world of points and miles? The Chase Sapphire Preferred is the best card for you to start with.

With a bonus of 60,000 points after $4,000 spend in the first 3 months, 5x points on travel booked through the Chase Travel Portal and 3x points on restaurants, streaming services, and online groceries (excluding Target, Walmart, and wholesale clubs), this card truly cannot be beat for getting started!

Editorial Disclaimer: The editorial content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuers. Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of the credit card issuers, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuers.

The comments section below is not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all questions are answered.