April 24, 2016

How to Book Singapore Airlines Award Tickets

Last week I posted on how to book Cathay Pacific First Class award tickets.  Today we're going to focus on booking award tickets on another of my favorite Asian carries.

As I eluded to this morning, I'm going to Asia later in the year.  While I had a couple of days to play with, my schedule isn't that flexible.  I generally want to fly home on Saturday or Sunday and for my specific dates, that left with only a couple of options.

Singapore Airlines offers non-stop service from Tokyo to Los Angeles as a continuation of their flight from Singapore.  This would give me another opportunity to fly the flagship Suites Class on the A380.  You can read more about previous Suites Class flights here and here.

Singapore Airlines Lobster Thermidor
The best place to search and book Singapore Airlines awards is on their own website.  For purposes of this post, I'm going to assume you have a Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer account.  If you don't already have an account, sign-up for one here.

The great thing about Singapore Airlines is that they partner with nearly all of the flexible point currencies on the market.  You can transfer points at a 1:1 ratio:

1)  Chase Ultimate Rewards
2)  American Express Membership Rewards
3)  Citi Thank You Points
4)  Starwood Preferred Guess Points (1.25:1)

In my experience, points transfers from Chase are nearly instant.  Starwood transfers several (2-5) days.  Amex and Citi points generally post within a couple of days.  For example, I transferred points from Amex and Citi on Friday evening.  They posted into my account this morning (36 hours).

To search and make a booking, login to your KrisFlyer account and click on "book a flight."

You'll be taken to the search screen where you can enter routing, class of service, dates, and number of passengers.  Make sure the "Redeem flights" radio button is selected.

The results screen is easy to navigate.  You'll be shown availability in three classes (saver, standard, full).  I've been able to book saver award availability a few times over the years but it is becoming challenging even for one seat.  You can see that there is only standard award availability for 1 first class seat between Tokyo and LAX.  The price shows at 170,000 miles per award but you actually receive a 15% discount for booking online.  That drops the price to 144,500 miles.  That is a lot of miles but given the relative ease of acquiring KrisFlyer points (given the transfer partners) I'm okay with "spending a bit more."

Note that you can click on the "Previous Day" or "Next Day" links to quickly scroll through availability.  Unfortunately, there isn't a calendar to really speed things up.  It is fairly easy to find economy availability and the price is certainly right!  27,625 miles and around $57 in taxes from Tokyo to LAX.  United would charge 35,000 miles for the same routing.

Once you've confirmed availability, transfer in any required points from Chase, Amex, Citi, or SPG.  And wait.  Once the miles have posted, you can resume the booking process.  From the screens able, click "next" where you'll be able to select seats and ultimately complete the booking process.

You can cancel an award with Singapore for a industry low $30 fee.  So my strategy is to lock in an award and see if anything "better" or "cheaper" opens up prior to departure.

Singapore Airlines offers one of the world's best first class experiences.  Booking a first class award is actually pretty easy and compiling sufficient miles is even easier thanks to multiple point transfer partner.

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