I’ve created comparison charts of how many mile a certain award costs with United MileagePlus miles versus the same award with Singapore KrisFlyer miles. Why?
- Singapore Airlines miles can be used to book all the same Saver award space that United releases to its non-elite members without any fuel surcharges. That makes it a relevant comparison.
- For many routes, the Singapore KrisFlyer program charges fewer miles to book a United flight than United charges to book the same flight. That makes it a profitable comparison.
- Singapore miles are extremely easy to get since you can transfer all of the major transferable points to Singapore KrisFlyer miles. That makes it a useful comparison.
The major transferable points are:
I’ve compiled three charts to show whether Singapore miles or United miles are cheaper to any given destination that United serves in economy, business, and first class.
- For which destinations are United miles cheaper?
- For which destinations are Singapore miles cheaper?
- What about fuel surcharges?
Singapore miles are useful to book Singapore Business Class, First Class, and Suites Class because Singapore doesn’t release all that award space to its partners. Singapore miles are also useful to book United Economy, Business, and First Class.
Awards booked with United miles never include fuel surcharges.
Awards booked with Singapore miles almost always include the fuel surcharges that would be present on a paid ticket. You can verify fuel surcharges by using the ITA Matrix.
The one exception is booking United flights with Singapore miles.
United flights to Asia, Europe, Africa, and Australia have fuel surcharges, but Singapore awards do not collect fuel surcharges on any United flights, not even these flights. We want to take advantage of this awesome loophole and book United flights with Singapore miles.
For this reason, all of the charts in this post compare using Singapore miles versus United miles to book United flights.
United awards and Singapore awards that only include United flights should have the exact same government taxes. You may notice a tiny variation because of currency conversions. United awards price in US dollars, and Singapore awards price in Singapore dollars.
Economy Award Charts
All award charts show the one way price in thousands of miles.
In economy, Singapore offers cheaper prices on flights from the continental United States to Alaska, Hawaii, Europe, the Middle East, and North Africa.
United offers cheaper prices on most other international routes, and the two offer the same price to several countries.
Business Class Award Charts
The United column shows the award price for awards booked on United planes. Premium-cabin United awards booked on partner planes cost more miles.
Singapore offers cheaper business class awards within the United States including to Alaska and Hawaii. On these routes, United markets the best cabin on its two cabin planes as “First Class,” but you are only charged the business class price to book it. This even includes the flat beds you can book to Hawaii.
Singapore also charges fewer miles to Brazil, Chile, Argentina, the Middle East, and North Africa on United flights than United does.
United awards cost fewer miles to most of the world, and both programs charge 30,000 miles each way in business class to the Caribbean, Mexico, and Central America.
United BusinessFirst as its international business class is known is an underrated fully flat bed I’ve enjoyed several times.
First Class Award Charts
The United column shows the award price for awards booked on United planes. Premium-cabin United awards booked on partner planes cost more miles. I believe these are the only regions to which United flies three-cabin planes other than the occasional domestic flight.
Singapore charges fewer miles in first class to the Middle East. Oddly, Singapore charges fewer miles in first class to the Middle East than to Europe. I’ll have more on this tomorrow.
United charges fewer miles to the rest of Asia and Australia. To Brazil and Europe, Singapore and United charge the same number of miles to fly United Global First.
United Global First is a solid business class product in my experience, but not a world class First Class.
Getting Singapore Miles
Getting Singapore miles is extremely easy now.
Citi ThankYou Points transfer 1:1 in 22-36 hours to Singapore miles. If I had all four types of points in this section, transferring ThankYou Points would be my first choice. This is the best ThankYou Points transfer partner, and the other options like redeeming the points for 1.25 cents each toward any flight aren’t nearly as valuable.
SPG Starpoints transfer 1:1 to Singapore miles in about a week. Like all SPG 1:1 transfer partners, for every 20,000 points transferred, you’ll get 5,000 bonus miles. Try to transfer in exact 20,000 Starpoint increments to maximize this 20,000:25,000 transfer ratio.
You can earn Starpoints from the Starwood Preferred Guest personal and business credit cards from American Express.
Chase Ultimate Rewards earned from the Ink Plus and Sapphire Preferred transfer to Singapore KrisFlyer miles in a day or two. Points from the Freedom can transfer to any of those three cards‘ accounts and from there on to Singapore.
Ultimate Rewards are the only one of the four points that also transfer 1:1 to United miles, so people with Ultimate Rewards should definitely bookmark this post.
American Express Membership Rewards transfer to Singapore KrisFlyer miles in a day or two. Any Gold, Platinum, Green, EveryDay, or corporate card will earn Membership Rewards.
Singapore KrisFlyer miles can book all the same Saver United award space open to non-elites with United miles. Singapore doesn’t collect fuel surcharges on United flights, so the out of pocket expense on Singapore and United awards should be the same when booking United flights.
To some destinations, Singapore miles are cheaper, including 25% cheaper in flat bed United First Class (priced as business class) to Hawaii. To others, United miles are cheaper, like premium cabins to East Asia. And to many destinations, the price is the same.
If you have Ultimate Rewards, which transfer to either United or Singapore miles, pick the cheaper award chart when you want to book a United flight.
You can also transfer Starpoints, Membership Rewards, and ThankYou Points to Singapore miles.