I’ve always been wired to transfer my Ultimate Rewards points to United miles, Southwest Rapid Rewards, and Hyatt points, but with all the hype around the newest Ultimate Rewards partner, Singapore Airlines, I decided to dive in and learn how I could truly maximize the transfer.
The newest Ultimate Rewards partner, Singapore KrisFlyer miles, has an incredible award program for flights to Hawaii, and to Central America, South America, and the Caribbean. Plus Singapore Airlines has the world’s nicest First Class, and Singapore miles are the only way to book it.
I had a chance to experience Singapore first class suites last year thanks to a lucky mistake. A United glitch temporary released all available Singapore Airlines first class inventory, so I quickly snagged myself a trip to Sydney, originally on a 777.
A few months after booking, I got the greatest schedule-change email ever: my aircraft was now going to be an A380!
I had an incredible flight in an enclosed suite, a flatbed with designer bedding, gourmet meals, and exquisite service – I didn’t want the flight to end!
Last year, I spent 80,000 United miles to experience that aspirational flight in first class, but with the recent mega-devalulation, it no longer makes sense to even attempt to use United miles for an award like that again (and I don’t think I’ll get that lucky again, either!).
So that’s when I decided to look into the Singapore KrisFlyer miles option.
Here are the basics you need to know to transfer your Ultimate Rewards to Singapore miles and book like a pro.
Transferring Ultimate Rewards to Singapore Miles
Sign up for the Singapore KrisFlyer program here.
Inside your chase.com account, initiate the transfer to KrisFlyer. Just like other Ultimate Rewards transfers, you can transfer in increments of 1,000 miles. Unlike most transfers, this transfer takes 24-48 hours to appear in your Singapore account.
Do not make the transfer until you are sure Singapore miles are your best option for the trip you have in mind. Do not make the transfer until you verify there is award space on the flights you wants.
Two Reasons to Transfer to Singapore Miles
- To book United flights within the United States and Canada, to Hawaii, to the Middle East, to Central America, to the Caribbean, and to South America.
- To book Singapore Suites Class.
For all other awards, United miles are better than Singapore miles. United and Singapore both transfer partners of Ultimate Rewards and both members of the Star Alliance. You can use either type of miles almost interchangeably on the 27 Star Alliance members. The reasons to choose one mile over the other is a cheap award chart or lack of fuel surcharges.
1. Use Singapore Miles on United Flights to Certain Regions
Singapore KrisFlyer awards include fuel surcharges on all partners except United, Copa, TACA, and Avianca flights.
Any time you can fly one of those four airlines, you will pay only government taxes. The exact same government taxes you would pay on a United award.
That means if you can find an award on the Singapore award chart that costs fewer miles than the United award chart, you save miles by using Singapore miles. Here is the Singapore award chart. There are a number of cheaper or equivalent award prices compared to the United award chart.
- Singapore charges 17.5k/30k miles each way to Hawaii in economy/First versus 22.5k/40k that United charges
- Singapore charges 20k for the best cabin on United domestic flights. United charges 25k for the same flight.
- Singapore charges 37.5k/57.5k miles each way to the Middle East in economy/business versus 42.5k/70k that United charges
- Singapore charges 27.5k miles each way to Europe in economy versus 30k that United charges
There are also several regions–like Central America, South America, and the Caribbean–to which United and Singapore charge the same price in miles. Even to these regions, awards with Singapore miles are a better deal if you can avoid fuel surcharges.
United allows only one free stopover on roundtrip awards. Singapore allows one free stopover on roundtrip awards plus up to three more for only $100 each. Paying only $100 to see a new place is an incredible deal.
For instance, you could see Bogota, Santiago, and Buenos Aires on a single award in economy for only 60,000 Singapore miles + taxes + $100. (One city is your free destination, one is your free stopover, and one is a $100 stopover.)
On a United award, you’d have to cut one of the destinations.
Unfortunately while United awards can have 8 segments per roundtrip, Singapore awards can only have 6.
2. Use Singapore Miles to book Singapore Suites
Singapore Suites is widely regarded as one of the best First Class products in the world. The huge fully flat beds in fully enclosed suites on Singapore’s A380s are the ultimate in airborne luxury.
The cabin’s claim to fame is that the middle two seats in each row can have their divider removed and two people can fly in a double bed together.
Singapore flies its A380s to Los Angeles, New York, Hong Kong, Tokyo, Paris, London, Zurich, and Frankfurt. Singapore only releases award space in Suites Class to its own KrisFlyer members. No other type of miles can book the cabin.
Award space is open if you are flexible, and you can book the space online for a 15% miles discount. There are mild fuel surcharges on the awards, so the all in prices are:
- New York to Frankfurt: 57,375 and $239
- New York to Tokyo to Singapore: 91,375 and $361
Getting Singapore Miles
The following miles transfer 1:1 to Singapore miles:
- Chase Ultimate Rewards
- American Express Membership Rewards
- Citi ThankYou Points
- Starwood Starpoints (plus a 5,000 mile bonus for every 20,000 points transferred)
Chase Ultimate Rewards are the easiest to rack up.
The Ink Plus is a business card. The Ink Plus currently has an offer with a signup bonus of 50,000 Ultimate Rewards points after spending $5,000 within first 3 months. The card also comes with 5X points per $1 on the first $50,000 spent in combined purchases at office supply stores and on cellular phone, landline, internet and cable TV services each account anniversary year.
The Sapphire Preferred is a personal card. It comes with 40,000 bonus Ultimate Rewards after spending $4,000 in the first 3 months. It earns 2X points per $1 on all dining and travel expenses.
Singapore miles are amazing for awards where the Singapore chart is cheaper than the United chart and you can fly Singapore partners with no fuel surcharges like United, Avianca, and Copa.
Singapore miles are also the only way to get into Singapore Suites Class, which starts at 58,000 miles and $239 from New York to Frankfurt.
Getting Singapore miles is easy because it is a transfer partner of Ultimate Rewards and three other types of transferable points. To rack up Ultimate Rewards, open Ink Plus and/or Sapphire Preferred.
Have you made a Singapore KrisFlyer redemption yet? If so, what award did you book?