Singapore Airlines has built an image as service oriented luxury airline over the last 40 years. It is willing to put money to that statement and it is usually able to recoup the investment through higher fare prices especially in Business and First Class. Unfortunately this also means SQ is not having a very strong incentive to release any award inventory to partner airlines for Business or First class cabins.
There was a glitch, discovered by Lucky in July, which allowed many of us to fly SQ in First Class on the 777. I have since taken 4 such flights and while I will write a more detailed report at soon – let me say this – most flights were great. It is certainly one of the best First Class products out there.
Now there are a couple of ways to fly Singapore Airlines in business class.
Fly Singapore Airlines 777-200 planes from Asia to Europe or Australia/ New Zealand in Business Class
Singapore Airlines just announced that they will upgrade all 777-200 aircraft to their latest business class product until mid-2014. For now most aircraft feature their Spacebed. While it's not a top-notch seat it still gets pretty good reviews. Plus it comes with SQ's top-notch service and food.
SQ releases Business award inventory to partners (United/ US Airways/ Lufthansa/ Aeroplan etc.) for business class seats. It does so on the following routes (sorted by number of award seats released, highest first):
777-200 also ply SIN-AMS and SIN-FCO but I had a hard time finding business inventory on these routes.
The ANA search tool blocks out searches for SQ business class so do not use it. Use United.com or Aeroplan.
Routes such as SIN-IST can come in very handy as United/ US Airways allow you to go to Asia via Europe, giving you a free stop in Europe.
I just redeemed on SIN-IST as I wanted to burn my last remaining Aeroplan miles. Aeroplan does NOT charge a fuel surcharge on SQ so I was looking for a way to connect my Mini-RTW from Asia to Europe.
Use KrisFlyer to book Business and First Class
American Express Membership Rewards points have seen quite some devaluation as there are fewer partners available charging no/low fuel surcharges. However Krisflyer, a 1:1 transfer partner, has dramatically increased competitiveness as they first introduced saver rewards and extended them to suites in December last year.
Krisflyer fuel surcharges are quite reasonable and they also allow for a 15% discount for online bookings. SFO-HKG is probably the sweet spot as it get's you farthest into Asia with the smallest fuel surcharges. The other major US-Asia route to ICN has a higher fuel surcharge (for a shorter flight).