A Difficult Award: Singapore Airlines Suites

There is more than 1 way to pick a destination. Sometimes you just feel like going to a certain country and sometimes a flight deal appears for a place you’ve never been to and want to check out. This time, I picked a destination based on airline’s flight cabin. And it was Singapore Airline’s suites class. If you haven’t heard of it before, it’s basically Singapore Airline’s first class on certain routes aboard their Airbus A380. You get your own fully enclosed suite from floor to almost the ceiling for maximum privacy. My initial impression of it after hearing about it was that it was out of my reach. But after learning that it can be booked on miles, I realized that it was no longer unattainable and I went to work to figure out how I can book a flight in the suites class.

Saver award tickets are usually notoriously hard to get. For those of you that don’t know what a saver award is, it is the lowest cost tier of award in terms of number of miles. Availability is very limited because airlines would rather sell those premium seats to paying customers, so they release very few seats that can be redeemed at the saver award level. You are also competing with other people that also want to redeem their miles for that award. Singapore Airlines is part of the Star Alliance network which United Airlines is also a part of, which means you can redeem United Airlines miles for this flight. However, Singapore Airlines release even fewer seats for redemption on partner airlines. They probably release just one suites class seat every once in a while. Meanwhile, I’m trying to get 2 seats. However, they do release more seats for members of their own frequent flyer program. So I needed to join their program, which is called KrisFlyer.

It costs 110k miles plus ~$290 in taxes and fees for a one-way saver award flight from New York to Singapore. When booking on their site, you get a 15% discount in miles. So that comes out 93.5k miles per ticket or a total of 187k miles + ~$580 in taxes and fees for 2 one-way tickets. Even for their own frequent flyer program, availability was very limited for the route I wanted to fly. Luckily, I was pretty flexible with the timing of the trip. I wanted to avoid rainy season, so I started my search at the beginning of May. There was maybe 1 or 2 days in May in the middle week that had availability. I decided to search a few days before May and found 2 seats available on April 29th and we would land in Singapore on May 1st.

Having never flown Singapore Airlines before, where was I going to get 187k miles? I employed a strategy I used on a previous trip to fly Korean Airlines first class as described in a previous post. Singapore Airlines’ frequent flyer program (KrisFlyer) is a transfer partner of Chase Ultimate Rewards as well as Citi ThankYou Rewards. Since I had points in both programs, I was able to transfer a combination of points from both these programs into my KrisFlyer account to attain the number of miles needed to book this flight. The cost of one ticket, if I had paid for it, would have been over $8,000. So I’m getting great value from my points, despite the high cost of taxes and fees.

Singapore Airlines allows you to add stopovers to a one-way saver award flight for $100 per stopover, so I decided to make Singapore a stopover and make Bali our final destination. Stopovers are a great way visit multiple countries without having to book extra flights, so I try to take advantage of them whenever possible. The flight from Singapore to Bali will be in business class because that is the highest class available for that route, which is unfortunate since it would’ve been first class if it was available.



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