A new way to sample Singapore Airlines’ A350 lie-flat business class on the cheap


As reported by Business Traveller, there’s a new way to wet your beak on Singapore Airlines’ A350 lie-flat business class without having to put down serious award (or actual) coin.  Starting January 17th, Singapore is adding a new fifth freedom route 3x weekly from Milan-MXP to Barcelona-BCN, leaving at 7:15am and returning to Milan at 11:10am.

Singapore A350 Business Class Window Seat

A fifth freedom route is when a long haul carrier operates a flight outside of its home network, primarily to utilize airplane downtime between long haul routes (in this case SIN-MXP).  The most sought after examples are Emirates’ NYC to Athens routes and Singapore’s NYC to Frankfurt route, which Nick recently wrote about.  It provides a terrific opportunity to sample a product that otherwise would be reserved strictly for long-haul flights to and from the airline’s home airport.

In this case, you get 90 minutes on Singapore Airlines’ A350-900, which is among the most desirable business class cabins out there.  The Long Haul A350-900 has one of widest lie-flat seats at 28″ and is in a nifty 1-2-1 configuration that makes the window seats feel more private and less like standard herringbone flat beds.  Both the economy and premium economy cabins have garnered positive reviews as well.

Seats for this route don’t yet appear to be bookable using miles via KrisFlyer, partners or any of the transferable points travel portals and are primarily being sold directly from Singapore Air.  Inaugural pricing is at $90/$190/$299 for economy/premium economy/business.  If you have a Chase Sapphire Reserve, then booking through Chase Travel and spending 20k Ultimate Rewards for business or 6k for economy could be mighty tempting.

Rewards ProgramAmex Transfer Ratio
(and transfer time)
Chase Transfer Ratio
(and transfer time)
Citi Transfer Ratio
(and transfer time)
Marriott Transfer Ratio
(and transfer time)
Capital One Transfer Ratio
(and transfer time)
Brex Transfer Ratio
(and transfer time)
Bilt Transfer Ratio
(and transfer time)
Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer1 to 1 (Instant)1 to 1 (~17 hours)1 to 1 (~1 day)60K to 25K (~1 day)1 to 1 (~7 hours)1 to 1 (Instant)

Singapore has multiple transfer partners making KrisFlyer Miles fairly easy to generate.  Saver award pricing, once available, will be 10k for economy and 30.5k business.  Until cash prices increase, however, it’s probably best to pay with points or pay cash.

(h/t: Business Insider via God Save the Points)

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My wife Erin and my first big journey together went around the world in 100 days for our honeymoon, a trip in which I had one car accident and got one speeding ticket in every country that we visited (I think that I may still have an arrest warrant in New Zealand for an unpaid ticket, but we’ll keep that between us). We currently live in one of the few corners of Washington State where you can still MS Staples Gift Cards at Safeway; we own a winery, ski after work and hike as much as our elderly knees will let us.
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Tim, it’s great to have you writing here. I have enjoyed your articles so far, and look forward to many more!

Mick Dodge

Quite honestly even in the very unlikely event that I will be traveling between MXP and BCN in this lifetime…….I do not think it is worth getting up early for a 7:30 AM flight that is little more than 1 hour of true flight time.


I flew in this throne from MAN to IAH in 2019 and it was great. The worst part was the jerk ICE agent insisting that I did NOT come from Manchester to the US on Singapore Air. I’m standing there explaining what a 5th Freedom route was. After he got done barking at me he just shrugged his shoulders and I walked away.


George/Buzz that was a fascinating story, not.


First article from Tim! Here’s to many more. I don’t know if I need lie-flat business seats for such a short flight, but it’s a good option for people who just want to experience the seats, I suppose.