I recently booked myself in United economy to fly back to the United States from Buenos Aires for Christmas. Why would I torture myself in economy? Well, a few reasons…
- It’s the holidays. Holidays = not much premium cabin award space, and economy cash tickets are pricey.
- There aren’t too many Business Class product options between Buenos Aires and the United States, and the one that has the most award space tends to be United. United’s Business Class is OK, but nothing to write home about. Sometimes I don’t feel like using more miles for it. I’ve flown between BA and the United States so many times now I’m pretty accustomed to it and not bothered by economy. The flights I take are almost always red-eyes, so I board, eat my meal, drink a glass of wine, take a sleeping pill, and wake up in Buenos Aires a little stiff and tired but not too worse for wear.
- And here’s the big reason: I’m taking my dog. United is one of the only pet friendly options that allows me to travel with my boston terrier in the cabin to the United States from Argentina (pictured above). Got a little buddy you want to bring along too? Read more pet policies in Airline Regulations for Traveling With Your Pet.
So I used 30,000 Singapore miles to book United economy from Buenos Aires to Baltimore via Newark, departing mid December. That is probably the farthest ahead of time I’ve booked a flight in years! But since it’s the holidays I wanted to go ahead and lock in my award as space tends to get eaten up pretty quickly.
Of course, life happens. Circumstances changed and I wanted to push the flight forward a week. But guess what? It’s no biggie because I booked with Singapore miles. Singapore Krisflyer has one of the cheapest change fees around, not to mention no close-in booking or change fee which can be hugely valuable.
Changing My Singapore Award
I’m typically a last minute planner/traveler, and am also prone to changing my mind, so I love that Singapore’s Krisflyer program has cheap award change fees even 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 1-312-843-533 to speak to a representative.
I fed the agent the new travel date, flight numbers, and routing, and they confirmed there was economy award space available between Baltimore and Houston, as well as between Houston and Buenos Aires.
It cost $20 to make the change. A $20 change fee (and thats just for partner bookings, on Singapore awards flying Singapore it’s even cheaper) is extremely fair compared to other loyalty programs. For example, for those without status, United would charge at least $75 to change an award within 61 or more days before departure. If you were even closer to the travel date, within 60 days or less, you’d have to pay $125! Note that the close-in booking for for United awards is avoidable, though.
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–so make up your mind before then if possible!
Top Cards For Earning Singapore Miles
Another perk to Singapore miles is that they’re extremely easy to earn, as they transfer 1:1 from all the major transferrable point currencies:
- Ultimate Rewards
- Membership Rewards
- ThankYou Points
- Starwood Preferred Guest Starpoints (from SPG they transfer 1: 1.25 if you transfer in 20k increments)
Two of the top cards for earning heaps of points to transfer to Singapore right now are the:
- Chase Ink Business Preferred: Get 80,000 Ultimate Rewards for spending $5,000 on your new card within three months of opening it
- American Express Platinum: Get 60,000 Membership Rewards for spending $5,000 on our new card within three months of opening it
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. To me, that adds value to Singapore miles as you’re allowed much more flexibility.
The cheap change fee is extra 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 (and only pay the difference in miles Business costs versus economy + the $20 fee), which I’ve done before with success.