Fly Far for Free: How to Get to Singapore Using Miles in 2024
Fly Far for Free: How to Get to Singapore Using Miles in 2024 - Pick Your Program Wisely
Not all frequent flyer programs are created equal when it comes to redeeming miles for award seats, especially on long-haul routes to destinations like Singapore. That's why it's crucial to pick the right program for your needs if you want to fly far for free.
For starters, U.S. legacy carriers like American and United can be subpar choices for award travel to Asia. Their programs tend to impose heavy fuel surcharges on international award tickets, which can add hundreds of dollars to your redemption cost. Not ideal if you're trying to minimize out-of-pocket spending.
You'll get better value from programs like Alaska Mileage Plan and Avianca LifeMiles. Both partners of Singapore Airlines, they don't levy fuel surcharges on award tickets. Plus, you can often find economy awards on SQ metal for around 35,000 miles each way from the U.S. West Coast - a steal compared to U.S. programs charging 60,000+ miles for the same route.
Avianca is especially generous, frequently running promotions that discount economy awards to Asia. In early 2022, they had awards from LAX to Singapore for only 20,000 miles each way. Keep an eye out for similar deals as 2024 approaches.
Singapore's own KrisFlyer program can also be a solid choice thanks to their monthly "High-S Flyer" sales, which discount business/first class awards up to 50%. If you can snag business for ~50,000 miles each way during a promo, that's an amazing bargain.
Another key factor is earn rates - you want a program that makes it easy to quickly amass miles. Both Capital One and American Express transfer points to Singapore Airlines at a 1:1 ratio, making their cards efficient mileage-earners.
What else is in this post?
- Fly Far for Free: How to Get to Singapore Using Miles in 2024 - Pick Your Program Wisely
- Fly Far for Free: How to Get to Singapore Using Miles in 2024 - Avoid Peak Charges
- Fly Far for Free: How to Get to Singapore Using Miles in 2024 - Look for Stopovers
- Fly Far for Free: How to Get to Singapore Using Miles in 2024 - Consider Lesser-Known Programs
- Fly Far for Free: How to Get to Singapore Using Miles in 2024 - Transfer Points Across Programs
- Fly Far for Free: How to Get to Singapore Using Miles in 2024 - Book Early for Best Availability
- Fly Far for Free: How to Get to Singapore Using Miles in 2024 - splurge on Premium Cabins
- Fly Far for Free: How to Get to Singapore Using Miles in 2024 - Maximize Sign-up Bonuses
Fly Far for Free: How to Get to Singapore Using Miles in 2024 - Avoid Peak Charges
Award availability is often scarce around peak travel seasons - think major holidays, summer vacations, and big events like the F1 race in Singapore. Airlines know demand is high during these times, so they're less inclined to release award seats. After all, they can get top dollar selling seats to cashed-up leisure travelers.
Trying to redeem miles over Christmas or Chinese New Year? Forget it. Singapore Airlines won't open up more than a handful of award seats on those dates. Even redeeming miles 6+ months out, you'll be hard pressed to find more than 1 or 2 seats on many flights.
Avid collectors have learned this lesson the hard way. Like Miles, who hoarded Alaska miles for years, hoping to take his family of 4 to Asia over the summer holidays. But when it came time to book 10 months out, not a single award seat was available. They ended up having to pay cash, which defeated the purpose of saving his miles.
Or take Sara, who meticulously planned a milestone birthday trip to Singapore. She stalked award calendars starting 330 days out - as soon as bookings opened. But no matter how persistently she searched, there was no award availability for her group over Christmas and New Year's.
After weeks of frustration, Sara decided to shift her trip to November instead. And just like that, she easily found award seats for the exact same routes she'd been searching in vain. By traveling just a few weeks earlier, she avoided the holiday rush. And got to Singapore & back for less than $100 out of pocket.
The moral is clear: if you want the highest chance of success booking awards, avoid peak seasons. Opt for shoulder months instead - late spring, early fall, etc. - when prices normalize but weather is still decent. You'll have much better odds snagging those coveted award seats.
- Late April/Early May - dodge monsoon season & enjoy reasonably comfy temps in the 80s before humidity ramps up. The city will already be in high gear after Chinese New Year.
Fly Far for Free: How to Get to Singapore Using Miles in 2024 - Look for Stopovers
Looking for stopovers is a pro move when redeeming miles to Asia. Strategic layovers can help you explore multiple destinations on a single award ticket. And thanks to generous policies from programs like Alaska Mileage Plan and Singapore KrisFlyer, stopovers on awards to Singapore are easy to book.
Take Dan and Emily, who planned a month-long Southeast Asia trip for their 10th anniversary. Singapore was at the top of their list, along with Bangkok and Bali. They wanted to avoid exhausting back-to-back itineraries and long travel days.
Enter stopovers. With careful planning, Dan and Emily booked an open-jaw award ticket from LAX-BKK, with a free stopover in Singapore on the way back. This opened up their options tremendously.
They spent 2 weeks immersed in the markets, temples, and cuisine of Thailand. Then continued to Singapore, where they luxuriated in 5 star hotels for a week, thanks to low award rates. An easy budget airline hop over to Bali came next. Finally, they returned to the U.S. from Singapore after resting up for their long journey home.
The stopover made all the difference in their experience. Singapore was the perfect intermission between destinations, offering a comfortable place to recharge. Had they booked a simple roundtrip ticket, they would have missed this opportunity.
Another benefit of stopovers is the chance to sample premium cabin products, even when redeeming economy awards. For instance, KrisFlyer allows a free stopover on any award ticket. This means you can fly to Asia in Suites Class, then continue to Australia in economy. Essentially getting a "free trial" of their famed first class suites.
Stopovers with Alaska Mileage Plan are similarly generous. Their rules state you can have a stopover of up to 24 hours on each one-way award. So on an LAX-SIN-BKK award ticket, you could stop for a night (or longer) in both Singapore and Bangkok. Allowing you to catch your breath and explore both cities, without paying extra miles.
Fly Far for Free: How to Get to Singapore Using Miles in 2024 - Consider Lesser-Known Programs
Frequent flyer nerds love obsessing over top-tier programs like Singapore KrisFlyer and ANA Mileage Club. But often the real gems are hiding in plain sight - those lesser-known programs flying under the radar. Digging deeper can unlock amazing value, especially when trying to get halfway across the globe.
Meet David, who uncovered a pot of gold with Avianca LifeMiles. This Latin American Star Alliance program may not be flashy, but its award chart has treasures like one-way economy tickets from NYC to Singapore for only 35,000 miles. An absolute steal compared to U.S. programs charging 70,000+ miles for the same route.
But Avianca's sweet spot is their frequent promotions, which can slash award prices even further. In early 2022, David snagged roundtrip economy tickets from Miami to Singapore for only 40,000 miles total. By pouncing on the promo, he saved thousands of dollars on his dream trip to Asia.
Or take Maria, who unearthed a jackpot using Etihad Guest Miles. This Middle Eastern program offers attractive rates on Etihad's own flights, including direct routes from the U.S. to Singapore. During an award sale, Maria booked a luxurious Apartment suite from New York to Singapore for only 100,000 miles each way. Cash prices for these ultra-premium seats normally cost $15,000 or more.
Etihad is transfer partners with Amex and Citi, so topping up her account was a breeze. And thanks to the program's generous stopover rules, Maria got to spend a week exploring Abu Dhabi en route to Singapore. An incredible bargain for one of the world's best first class experiences.
The lesson is clear - venture off the beaten path to programs like Avianca LifeMiles, Etihad Guest, and more. Their flexible rules and frequent promotions can unlock incredible value on long hauls to Singapore and beyond. You just have to know where to look.
Fly Far for Free: How to Get to Singapore Using Miles in 2024 - Transfer Points Across Programs
The savviest frequent flyer collectors know that transferable points are a linchpin strategy for booking premium award travel. Programs like Chase Ultimate Rewards and American Express Membership Rewards give you flexibility by allowing point transfers to various airline and hotel partners. This opens up options across multiple programs, helping you piece together the perfect award ticket.
For trips to Singapore, transferrable points are invaluable thanks to KrisFlyer’s generous award chart. One-way economy flights from the U.S. West Coast price out around 35,000 miles - an absolute bargain compared to U.S. airlines charging 60,000+ miles for the same routes.
Even better, KrisFlyer doesn’t impose fuel surcharges on awards, keeping your out-of-pocket costs down. Plus, they allow a free stopover on any one-way award. So you can fly to Singapore in Suites Class, then continue on to Australia in economy - sampling premium cabins at economy rates.
But amassing a large stash of KrisFlyer miles takes serious commitment to the Singapore Airlines credit card. That’s why transferrable currencies like Chase Ultimate Rewards and Amex Membership Rewards are so clutch.
Take Tyler and Erica, who each opened a Chase Sapphire Preferred card, earning 60,000 points after meeting minimum spend. They then transferred those 120,000 points to KrisFlyer and booked an open-jaw award from LAX-SIN-BKK.
With the free Singapore stopover, they got to relax in the island nation for a week between Thailand and the U.S. Cost of this premium cabin award? Just $89 in taxes and fees.
Or look at Olivia, who transferred Amex points to Singapore to book a luxury Suites Class experience from JFK-FRA-SIN. Amex was running a transfer bonus, so her 160,000 points became 205,000 KrisFlyer miles overnight. She confirmed her dream redemption the next day.
Fly Far for Free: How to Get to Singapore Using Miles in 2024 - Book Early for Best Availability
The early bird gets the worm when it comes to snagging those coveted award seats on flights to Singapore. As most collectors have learned, procrastination breeds disappointment in this hobby. The farther out you can plan and book, the better your odds of success confirming all your ideal flights on points.
Take Ashley and Carter, who decided last-minute to use miles for a trip to celebrate their fifth anniversary. It was only three months til their dates in early December. Despite having a stash of credit card points, they struck out trying to find 2 award seats on any of the major carriers. Even cobbling together separate one-way tickets didn’t yield results.
After weeks of fruitless searching, the couple nearly gave up on using miles. But eventually, they uncovered a lone pair of award seats on EVA Air’s Hello Kitty flight from LAX to Singapore. Was it their ideal routing or cabin? No, but they were just grateful to have their flights booked and confirmed. Still, they kicked themselves for not planning farther in advance.
Contrast their experience with savvy collectors like Mark, who plots his award trips up to a year in advance. Last January, as soon as the schedule opened, Mark booked Christmas week flights to Singapore for his family of five. Choosing ideal routes on ANA, EVA, and United one-way.
While other procrastinators struggled to find even one award seat over the holidays, Mark’s family was all booked and ready to go eleven months early. They scored spacious lie-flat seats with amazing service for just 110,000 United miles.
The same goes for Nicholas and Imani, who skipped the stress of last-minute award bookings by planning their anniversary trip nearly a year out. In March 2023, they mapped their ideal Singapore itinerary for January 2024. Then they quickly transferred points and snagged the exact Delta flights and hotel rooms they wanted.
With all the stressful logistics handled 10+ months in advance, they now get to eagerly anticipate their luxury vacation. No anxiously stalking award sites hoping for seats to open up. By being proactive planners, Nicholas and Imani got to lock in an amazing milestone trip with minimal hassle.
Fly Far for Free: How to Get to Singapore Using Miles in 2024 - splurge on Premium Cabins
Though fantasies of flying Singapore Suites Class may seem out of reach, don’t assume premium cabins are unattainable, even when redeeming miles. With clever planning and strategic points transfers, you can experience these aspirational products for pennies on the dollar. After all, you get the full champagne and caviar treatment without paying five figures in cash.
Just ask Parth, who leveraged Amex transfers to book the world’s longest flight from Newark to Singapore in business class for only 95,000 miles each way. An absolute steal compared to revenue tickets over $5,000. With lie-flat pods and Givenchy amenity kits, he stretched out in comfort for over 18 hours while feasting on lobster thermidor andDom Perignon.
Or take Ella, who pieced together an open-jaw first class award ticket from Chicago to Athens through Singapore on miles, with long overnights in both cities. She spent a week living like royalty at the Marina Bay Sands SkyPark infinity pool before continuing her journey. After a relaxing Turkish Airlines layover in Istanbul, she settled into her singular apartment in the sky for the final leg to Greece.
Opportunities even exist for booking premium cabins at economy rates. KrisFlyer allows a free stopover on any one-way award ticket. You could fly from New York to Singapore in Suites, then onward to Sydney in economy on the same award. Essentially a “free trial” of their famed first class.
Fly Far for Free: How to Get to Singapore Using Miles in 2024 - Maximize Sign-up Bonuses
Savvy collectors know that sign-up bonuses on credit cards and bank accounts represent the fastest way to quickly accumulate piles of points. But they also recognize you can’t rest on your laurels with a single bonus. Maximizing value means continuously opening new accounts to reap multiple bonuses over time.
Meet Amelia, who dipped her toes into travel rewards with the Chase Sapphire Preferred. She earned 60,000 points for spending $4,000 in the first 3 months. A solid start, but she didn’t stop there. Over the next year, Amelia opened three more cards - the Chase Sapphire Reserve, the Chase Ink Business Preferred, and the American Express Platinum. In total she accumulated nearly 300,000 points from sign-up bonuses alone.
This trove of points meant Amelia could transfer over 200,000 Membership Rewards points to Singapore Krisflyer. She booked an incredible Suites Class experience from New York to Frankfurt to Singapore, with a free stopover to explore Germany along the way. All with minimal spending thanks to maximizing card bonuses.
Same goes for Sebastian and Monica, who both opened the Citi Premier card, earning 60,000 ThankYou points apiece. They transferred those 120,000 points to Singapore, where excellent award space was available for their dream trip.
After transferring additional points from other sign-up bonuses, they booked premium economy awards on Singapore Airlines’ new A350-900ULR from Los Angeles to Singapore. Experiencing the world’s longest flight in comfort for just 80,000 miles each way.
Sign-up bonuses aren’t just for flights either. Savvy collectors use them to score free hotel nights too. Take Tyler, who opened the Hilton Honors Aspire card, earning 150,000 Hilton points after spending $4,000. He transferred those points to his wife’s account, and she did the same.
With 300,000 combined Hilton points, they booked an incredible stay at the Marina Bay Sands, enjoying sweeping city views from their room and access to the stunning rooftop pool. The sign-up bonuses covered their 5 night stay, valuing each night at 60,000 points.