Singapore Airlines offers the most award space for their own points program members, but you can also use your points to fly on a Star Alliance airline, Alaska Airlines, Virgin Atlantic, and Virgin Australia.
How Much It Will Cost
- Singapore/SilkAir (or you can use their online calculator)
- Star Alliance
- Alaska Airlines
- Virgin Atlantic
- Virgin Australia
Round the World
- Cost– Economy: 180,000, Business: 240,000, and First Class 360,000.
- Rules– Maximum of seven stopovers (2 in the same country), 16 flight segments, and 35,000 miles flown. Open-jaws are allowed but count as stopovers. Must travel in the same direction. No backtracking, which is strictly enforced (some programs allow backtracking within a region)
Points Promotions– Singapore has regular promotions called “Spontaneous Escapes” in which they offer large discounts for using your points for travel to Singapore. (e.g., a past promotion was Singapore to New York for only 40,000 points instead of 70,000 points in premium economy)
Airlines You Can Fly
Star Alliance Airlines: Adria, Aegean, Air Canada ($), Air China ($), Air India ($), Air New Zealand, ANA, Asiana, Austrian ($), Avianca, Brussels Airlines ($), Copa, Croatia Airlines, Egyptair ($), Ethiopian ($), EVA Air, LOT Polish ($), Lufthansa ($), SAS ($), Shenzhen Airlines, Singapore Airlines, South African Airways ($), Swiss ($), TAP Portugal ($), THAI, Turkish Airlines ($), and United.
- ($)= High fuel surcharges. You can combine multiple Star Alliance airlines, but you cannot combine Star Alliance plus Non-Alliance.
Non-Alliance Partners: Alaska Airlines, Virgin Atlantic, Virgin Australia, Vistara, and Juneyao (you cannot combine Star Alliance partner and non-alliance partner)
Fuel Surcharges: Singapore no longer charges fuel surcharges on their own flights, but they do pass on their partners surcharges.
Online Booking: Singapore shows the correct award space online for their owns flights and Silk Air. However, partner awards are supposed to be bookable online, but their system is far from perfect. Thus, you should (1) find award space using another system first such as United.com for Star Alliance airlines, (2) see if Singapore’s system shows the flight, and (3) if it does not show the award, call their call center at 1-800-742-3333.
Singapore First Class: You can only book their great first class using Singapore points.
New A380 Suites- Singapore will be updating their older A380s to the new and improved first class suites. Currently, the new suites are on the following routes to/from Singapore: London, Zurich, Sydney, Hong Kong, and Shanghai.
Published Routing: For any award routing you want, the airline you want to fly on must sell a cash ticket for that routing. You must fly on the most direct route with no backtracking. There is a maximum of six segments.
Singapore Airlines Stopovers: Depends on what level award that you book. One-way Saver awards don’t get free stopovers, but you can buy up to three for $100 each by calling 1-800-742-3333. Round-trip Saver awards can have one free stopover, and you can buy up to two additional stopovers for $100 each. For Advantage awards, one-ways can have one stopover and round-trip awards can have 2 stopovers.
Star Alliance Stopovers: One stopover is allowed for round-trip awards. You can also do three additional stopovers for $100 USD each by calling 1-800-742-3333. (Exception: Complimentary stopovers are not permitted if an itinerary contains only European cities, or is between the United States, Canada, Puerto Rico or U.S. Virgin Islands.)
One-ways: Require 50% of points for round-trip awards.
Fees: 25 USD or 2,500 points if an agent needs to help you with booking, ticket changes, redemption upgrades, updating your passport details, or changing redemption group nominees. $75 for no-show or late change fees. No charge for change of date on Singapore or SilkAir flights. $20 for a change of route, flight, cabin, or carrier. $30 to redeposit miles.
Award hold: Singapore will allow an award hold for a long time on their own flights, but you need at least 50% of the points in your account.
Multi-Class Awards: When searching for flights with connections, if your specified class of service is not available on a certain route, then the search engine will only show results for the lower class. (e.g. If Business was not available in one segment, then Singapore would show only economy). Therefore, it is best to search award space by segment and you can call to book a mixed award. Singapore will price the trip at the highest class you book, but you may be able to negotiate with the call center to offer a discount for the segment that is at a lower class. (e.g. if you are flying trans-pacific economy and then business for only 4 hours, then you shouldn’t be charged the number of points for business class the whole way)
Promotions- Singapore’s Spontaneous Escapes can be a great deal to fly in Premium Economy or Business for usually 25-40% off to Singapore or other South Asia destinations.
Flights on Alaska: Alaska has a great chart right now for Singapore. You could fly from the Midwest (zone 3) to Hawaii or Alaska for only 12,500 points one-way in Economy. You could also fly from the West Coast to Costa Rica for 12,000 points one-way in economy. Backtracking is not allowed, which limits some of the great opportunities due to Alaska’s all West Coast hubs.
- The fine print states “no transfers” are allowed, but that seems only to apply to transfers of airports and not to connections. (This rule could be subject to change. Singapore has yet to 100% figure out Alaska awards, which is shown by the misspellings on their award chart (“Alsaka” “Goergia” “Illionis”).
Intra-Regional Flights– If you find expensive cash flights within the same region, you could find some great awards. For example, fly Air New Zealand from Perth to Auckland (stopover) to Tahiti for only 25,000 points. That’s a $1,300 flight! Regions that offer good values are South America, North America, Southwest Pacific, North Asia 2 (if flying to Guam, Palau, or Micronesia), and Central/South Africa.
Europe to Middle East/North Africa: Singapore priced Europe to the Middle East and Africa for business class (50,000 points roundtrip) cheaper than intra-Europe business class (55,000 points roundtrip).
Other Good Deals: Europe to South Asia (95,000 round trip in business on Star Alliance partners); Business Class on Singapore from U.S. to Asia; JFK to Frankfurt in First Class Suite for 76,000 one-way; East Coast to Australia in First Class Suites the whole way for 154,000 one-way; or the U.S. to South America (100,000 points roundtrip on Star Alliance partners)
Singapore’s Region Definitions for Alaska Airlines
Note: “Zone 2” is all of Canada, but Alaska flies to those providences.