This is the fourth post in a series about how I used Singapore miles to book United BusinessFirst between San Francisco and Buenos Aires, as well as a review of the product and travel experience.
- Trip Report Part I: United Clubs in San Francisco and Houston
- Trip Report Part II: United BusinessFirst Houston to Buenos Aires
- Anatomy of an Award: Booking United BusinessFirst with Singapore Miles
- Changing a Singapore Award (future post)
In the last post of this series, I explained why and how I went about booking United Business Class with Singapore Krisflyer miles from the United States to Southern South America. The itinerary I booked was acceptable but not ideal, with two (of the shorter legs) in economy and an extra unnecessary segment:
- San Francisco > Houston in United economy
- Houston > Santiago, Chile in United Business
- Santiago > Buenos Aires in Air Canada economy
The award I preferred which wasn’t available at the time of booking was San Francisco > Houston > Buenos Aires. In a perfect world all segments would be in Domestic First and Business Class, but realistically I was fine with the domestic leg in economy.
I booked the Singapore award a little more than two weeks before departure, and checked daily on united.com for my desired routing. Low and behold, nine days after booking, award space opened up on a one stop itinerary for the day after my booked departure: San Francisco to Houston was available only in economy, but Houston to Buenos Aires had space in United BusinessFirst.
Changing My Singapore Award
I’m typically a last minute planner/traveler, so I love that Singapore’s Krisflyer program has cheap award change fees close to the travel date.
With the award space I wanted displayed on the screen in front of me, I called Singapore Krisflyer’s customer service at 1-800-543-5333 to speak with a representative.
I fed the agent the new travel date, flight numbers, and routing, and they confirmed there was economy award space available between San Francisco and Houston, and Business class award space available between Houston and Buenos Aires.
For a reason unbeknownst to me, the agent made the changes to my current booking for free! I didn’t question the kindness (or should I say, the agent’s lack of knowledge?) and hung up a happy lady with a better itinerary at no extra cost. Shortly after I received confirmation via email.
I think it was just an anomaly that I was able to make the change for free–it should normally cost $20. Even so, a $20 change fee, that close to the travel departure date, is extremely fair compared to other loyalty programs. For example, United would charge at least $75 to change an award within 61 days of departure (United recently changed this policy and it remains to be seen what will happen with close-in change fees), and American Airlines would charge $75 to change an award within 21 days of departure.
Note that changes to a Singapore award made within 24 hours of your departure date will cost $75 as opposed to the normal $20 fee.
You can alter the date, flight, route, or carrier of a Singapore award for only $20 as long as it’s more than 24 hours in advance. If you’re flexible this is awesome because you can secure yourself economy space and swoop on premium cabin space in the event that it becomes available at the last minute, all for a nominal fee… or maybe free if you get the same agent I had.