Singapore Airlines Suites offer one of the best experiences in the sky. Not only is the plane they are offered on a really cool airliner (the A380), but the product offered on board is excellent. Put all of that together with the somewhat exclusive feeling you get flying in the Suites cabin and it can make for a memorable experience (you can read my review here).
Singapore Airlines Suites Class
But, the biggest problem with Singapore Airlines Suites class is the price. It is not a cheap ticket by any stretch! While the economy ticket on the same plane can be had for as little as $440 one-way from the US to Europe, a Suites Class ticket will cost you $6,800 for the same one-way ticket! The price goes even higher on the longer routes that Singapore flies their A380 on.
Even though the price is high, Suites Class is not out of the range of anyone who can get a single credit card! That’s right, with the points that you can get from one credit card and some spending, you will have enough points for a one-way Singapore Airlines Suites Class ticket. That is a lot less than what it would cost with money and, by picking the right route, you can book it cheaper with points than you would on Singapore routes.
Picking The Right Route
The Singapore Airlines A380 is flown on several routes with most of them having Singapore as either their destination or arrival city. However, there is one fifth freedom flight (a flight that takes place between two countries that are not the airline’s own country) that delivers a pretty good value and is convenient enough for people based in the US. It is the JFK <-> Frankfurt flight. That flight is actually a continuation of the Singapore to Frankfurt flight, but the Frankfurt to JFK (or vice versa) can be booked as a separate flight. The flight duration is around 8 hours (and believe me, you want to be delayed flying on this plane!).
Cost In Miles – A Good Deal
The cost in miles for that ticket is actually very good – it costs 67,500 miles for a one-way ticket. BUT, if you book that ticket online (which you will most certainly do unless you needed to book partner flights with it), it reduces the price by 15% to bring it to 57,375 miles one-way.
To put that in perspective, before United’s devastating devaluation on partner flights in premium cabins, it cost 67,500 United miles for a one-way first class ticket on a partner like Lufthansa for that same route. That is 10,000 more miles than Singapore charges now for their Suites Class redemption. With the new United rates in effect, it now takes 110,000 miles to fly on a Star Alliance partner in first class using United miles (for one-way). That is just 5,000 miles less than Singapore charges for a roundtrip in their Suites Class on that route!
Cost In Fees – A Bad Deal
The bad part comes in with the fuel surcharges for that redemption. If you depart from JFK, you will have to pay a price of $239 ($216 of which is fuel surcharges). If you depart from Frankfurt, the cost will be higher due to EU/German taxes and fees – 280 euro (which is around $356). A roundtrip award ticket will take $595 in taxes and fees for that award ticket. That is a lot of money, but still cheaper for an economy ticket on that route. So, just imagine you are buying a very cheap economy ticket and upgrading with miles to one of the sweetest cabins in the sky. 🙂
Of course, if you use a card like the Barclaycard Arrival Plus to pay those fees, you can wipe out as much of the cost of the fees as you have Arrival miles. The sign-up bonus of 40,000 miles would be enough to cover $400 of that roundtrip cost.
If you would rather fly a little longer or find California an easier departure, then you could consider the Los Angeles – Tokyo route (74,475 miles and $173) as a strong option as well. It will cost you an additional 17,000 miles, but you will pay $40 less and enjoy an extra 4 hours in the sky.
The biggest opponent to you flying in Suites class is actually not the cost in taxes – it is the availability. Singapore does not release many Suites Class saver award seats. There are some times that you can find two saver seats on the same flight, but it is almost always only one seat. With one flight per day, that does not give a lot of opportunity to book that one seat!
The good part is that it is completely possible to book at the saver level if you have a good amount of flexibility and begin checking daily. I have noticed availability opening up at times in the days leading up to one of the flights as well as many options for Fridays and Sundays (which is strange considering those are normally peak travel days).
If you want to know which days have a good chance of opening up later, look for dates where there is still availability under the Standard and Full categories. If there is not availability in either one or both of those, then chances are good that you will not find availability at the Saver level on that day.
Just know – there has to be availability at the level! You can select Waitlist but that does not get your a ticket and there is not guarantee that the seat will open up before departure!
The Booking Process
To start searching, join the Singapore KrisFlyer program – here. There is no fee to join and while you are at it, if you plan on booking travel for anyone else through your account, nominate them as travelers under your account (in your Profile). This way, you will be able to book tickets for others as well.
Next, plugin your departure airport (either JFK or FRA) and your arrival airport (the opposite of what you just chose for departure). Then select your dates, whether it will be one-way or not and that you want to Redeem Award Flights (not Pay with KrisFlyer miles).
Once you are at the next window, just keep clicking Next Day or Previous Day until you find a day with Saver availability. If you have the miles and don’t mind spending extra, you could go for the Standard level award, but that will cost you 110,500 miles for a one-way ticket!
Once you find the day with Saver availability, you can go ahead and go through the rest of the booking process to secure it.
Getting and Transferring the Miles
But what if you do not have any KrisFlyer miles?! Never fear because Singapore is the airline with the most flexible point transfer partners. You can transfer from any of the following to Singapore:
- American Express – Membership Reward points at a 1:1 ratio (it takes about 12 hours or so)
- Chase – Ultimate Rewards points at a 1:1 ratio (about a day)
- Citi – ThankYou points at a 1:1 ratio (must have the Citi ThankYou Premier, the Citi Prestige, or the Citi Chairman cards to transfer)
- SPG – Starpoints at a 1:1 ratio (with a 5,000 mile bonus for ever block of 20,000 points transferred for a 1:1.25 ratio)
As you can see, it is insanely easy to collect enough KrisFlyer miles through these various means. I prefer using Membership Reward points (Amex) because I use my Ultimate Reward points (Chase) for transfers to United and Hyatt, but you can basically pick whatever program you want and have the most points in! You can also mix-n-match, so transfer 10,000 miles from one program, 20,000 miles from another program – whatever you need to get the total amount for the trip.
With cards like the Chase Ink Plus (which just had the 70,000 point offer and currently sits at 50,000 points), you will get 50,000 points after meeting the $5,000 minimum spending. If half of that spending is done at office supply stores (for the 5X category bonus on that card), you will have enough points to book a one-way Singapore Airlines Suites Class from JFK – Frankfurt (or reverse). That is a really good deal to fly one of the most comfortable seats in the sky (for the public, anyway).
If you applied for the Chase Sapphire Preferred, that would give you a total of 44,000 points (after meeting the minimum spending). That would leave you 13,000 points away from this one-way award!
Is it worth it? It all depends. If you are able to, I think you should definitely give it a shot at least once in your life. My wife has not flown it yet (I have) and I just booked her a ticket in this incredible cabin for a trip she has to take. I think I am more excited for her than she is right now, but that will change – especially if she gets the double bed for her seat!