Singapore Airlines’ award chart has some phenomenal sweet spots, which I’ve covered extensively:
- United States to Central America with free one ways to Hawaii
- United States to South America with free one ways to Hawaii
- Continental United States to Hawaii
Yesterday I published comparison tables of United’s award chart for United flights versus Singapore’s award chart for United flights.
While compiling those charts, I saw that Singapore has an incredible sweet spot from the United States to the Middle East. Look at these prices (economy/business/first one way):
- Singapore charges 27.5k/65k/85k to Europe
- Singapore charges 37.5k/57.5k/75k to the Middle East
- United charges 30k/57.5k/80k to Europe
- United charges 42.5k/70k/90k to the Middle East
In case you need to brush up on your geography, the Middle East is quite a bit farther away than Europe, but Singapore charges fewer miles for a Business Class or First Class award to the Middle East than to Europe.
United flies to four destinations in the Middle East:
- Washington-Dulles to Dubai to Doha
- Washington-Dulles to Kuwait to Bahrain
We can use the Singapore sweet spot to book United’s Middle East flights cheaply in Business Class or First Class or to save miles on awards between the United States and Europe.
Singapore miles are extremely easy to get since you can transfer all of the major transferable points to Singapore KrisFlyer miles, and Singapore doesn’t collect fuel surcharges on United flights.
The major transferable points are:
How do you book Singapore awards?
What are the out-of-pocket costs?
How can you use the cheap award price to the Middle East to save miles to Europe?
How can you add a one way in United First Class to Hawaii onto this award for only 2,500 miles?
I priced out a few awards by calling Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer redemption center at 213-404-0301.
First I priced out Washington-Dulles to Dubai in United Global First Class.
The flight costs 90,000 United miles + $7 in taxes (and another $75 if you book it within 21 days of departure, when the best award space is available.)
The same exact flight costs 75,000 Singapore miles + 8.50 Singapore Dollars (~$6.80.) Singapore does not charge extra to book within 21 days of departure.
Can you route through Europe and still pay the cheaper Middle East price?
For whatever reason, Singapore Airlines charges fewer miles in Business Class and First Class from the United States to the Middle East than it charges from the United States to Europe. I wanted to see what price I’d get from the United States to Europe to the Middle East on a single award.
I priced out an award that flies Washington-Dulles to Frankfurt in United Global First Class then Frankfurt to Dubai in Lufthansa Business Class.
United charges 90,000 miles + $43.80 in taxes (and another $75 if you book it within 21 days of departure, when the best award space is available.)
The same exact flights cost 75,000 Singapore miles + 302.50 Singapore Dollars (~$242.)
The reason for the big out-of-pocket cost on the Singapore award is that Singapore collects fuel surcharges on Lufthansa flights. The Lufthansa flight actually had a 210 euro fuel surcharge, so Singapore’s award had a lower out-of-pocket cost than I expected.
How to Take Advantage
I see two ways to take advantage of Singapore’s cheap award price to the Middle East and the fact that it allows routing through Europe for the same price.
1. Use Singapore Miles to Book United Flights to the Middle East
On a roundtrip award, you can enjoy one free stopover and up to three more for $100 each. You can add on almost free one ways to Hawaii for 2,500 miles each way on Business Class awards and 5,000 miles each way on First Class awards. Check out this post for more info on how.
2. Use Singapore Miles to Book United First Class Flights to Europe with a Dummy Leg to the Middle East You Don’t Fly
The cheapest way to book United Global First Class to Europe is as part of a Singapore award to the Middle East. You’ll need to add on another Star Alliance flight from where you want to go in Europe to the Middle East, which will include fuel surcharges, but it might still be worth paying them to save miles.
You want to fly from Washington-Dulles to Frankfurt in United Global First, so you book that as part of an award to Dubai and don’t fly from Frankfurt to Dubai.
Instead of paying 80,000 United miles + $5.60 for the flight to Frankfurt, you pay 75,000 Singapore miles + taxes + fuel surcharges for the award to Dubai. If you find connecting flights with low enough fuel surcharges, it could be worth the miles savings, but probably not. (Tip: make the dummy leg in economy for lower fuel surcharges.)
Also don’t forget that if you booked a roundtrip award from Washington DC to Dubai and skipped Frankfurt to Dubai, the return portion of the ticket would be cancelled among many possible complications for the strategy.
Singapore does not collect fuel surcharges on United flights.
Singapore charges fewer miles for Business and First Class awards to the Middle East than to Europe.
United flies to four destinations in Europe.
Singapore miles are easy to get.