You Can Fly Singapore Airlines’ New First Class Suites for (Almost) Free on This One Route (Video)
You don’t have to be rich to fly Singapore Airlines’ opulent first-class suites. You just need some airline miles and this simple strategy.
Singapore Airlines currently flies Airbus A380s with the new suites aboard certain flights from its hub at Singapore Changi to Hong Kong, London Heathrow, Shanghai Pudong, Sydney, and Zurich. Unfortunately, saver-level award tickets (those that cost the fewest amount of miles) are non-existent on almost all of these flights. Almost.
You’ll be hard-pressed to find award tickets on the longer-haul routes, like those to London and Sydney. Flights with the new suites do not even show up on most award searches. However, there is one route where you can find saver-level space nearly every day of the week.
That route is from Shanghai to Singapore. Singapore Airlines operates four flights in each direction on this route daily, so before you book, you need to make a note of the following flight numbers and times, which are the only ones with the new suites on them.
Singapore Airlines flight SQ830 departs Singapore Changi at 9:45am and arrives at Shanghai Pudong at 3:05pm. (Note: This flight’s scheduled time will shift slightly starting on October 28, but the flight number remains the same.)
Singapore Airlines flight SQ833 departs Shanghai Pudong at 4:50pm and arrives in Singapore at 10:20pm.
You will need 50,000 Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer miles to book a one-way award. Don’t let that number scare you, though, since there are plenty of ways to rack up those miles quickly.
How to Search and Book a Singapore Airlines Award Ticket
In order to book an award in a suite, you will need to use Singapore Airlines’ award search engine and its own KrisFlyer frequent-flier program miles. If you do not have a KrisFlyer account, sign up for one here. It only takes a minute.
You should sign up for KrisFlyer anyway because the program is a transfer partner of American Express Membership Rewards, Chase Ultimate Rewards, and Citi ThankYou Rewards. If you have any number of credit cards that earn these three types of points, you will be able to transfer them into your KrisFlyer account when you want to book an award on Singapore Airlines or its other airline partners.
When you are ready to search for awards, go to Singapore Airlines’ website and log into your account. Under the “Book a trip” tab, click “Redeem flights,” then enter your search airports and dates.
Some dates might not have any saver-level award availability on the specific flights with suites, and some might have only “Waitlist” space. Don’t get discouraged. I found plenty of awards in October-January, then in March and beyond. I suspect that February has less award availability on this specific route because of the Chinese New Year when many people tend to be traveling.
Interestingly enough, there is a lot more award availability in the direction from Shanghai to Singapore than from Singapore to Shanghai. So if you have plans that take you to China, or you want to take advantage of the country’s visa-free transit policy in Shanghai where you can stop over for up to 144 hours before continuing on to a third country, this might be just the opportunity you need to book a Singapore Airlines award.
KrisFlyer will charge you 50,000 miles in each direction plus 90 RMB ($13) from Shanghai, or $47 SGD ($34) from Singapore. That might seem like a lot of miles, but for this level of luxury on a flight that lasts over five hours, it’s an amazing value. Especially considering that paid airfares for the new suites currently range anywhere from $2,500-$7,500 one-way depending on the date and the route that you book.
If you do find an award that works for your travel schedule, you should transfer points from one of your linked accounts with Amex, Chase or Citi immediately since transfers can take 12-48 hours to go through.
Why You'll Want to Fly in Singapore's First Class Suites
Still having doubts? Here’s a reminder of what’s in store if you do end up booking a suite.
Singapore Airlines unveiled the new suites last November as part of a redesign of all the cabins aboard its Airbus A380s. Each jumbo jet has just six of these private sanctuaries total located in the front cabin of its upper deck. Suites are 50 square feet – palatial by in-flight standards – and have closing door for the utmost privacy. However, the first two suites in each row can be combined into doubles in case you are traveling with a companion.
The suites were designed by Pierrejean Design Studio, Paris, and contain not only sleek Poltrona Frau leather armchairs, but also separate twin-size beds (27 inches by 76 inches, to be exact) that stow into compartments when passengers are not using them.
Side consoles hide an oversize dining table that doubles as a work desk, a lit vanity mirror for primping pre-landing and a touchscreen tablet that passengers can use to adjust the suite’s lighting call for service. Those not working can enjoy a range of entertainment options on their own 32-inch, high-definition screen and linger over a leisurely meal created by the airline’s International Culinary Panel of celebrity chefs.
The amenities are provided by storied French luxury brand Lalique, including plush linens and duvets, pajamas, skincare products, and the cut-crystal glasses used for meal service, though the fine china is by Wedgwood.
Suites passengers have two large, spa-inspired lavatories to themselves, one of which has a sit-down vanity counter stocked with more Lalique products such as citrus-scented facial mist and body lotion.