Greg wrote this post about Singapore award availability over two years ago, right before the pandemic started, and it didn’t get quite the attention it deserved…from me anyway. I stumbled across this again a couple of weeks ago and thought it was a new discovery, only to find out that I’d been scooped by the Frequent Miler by about two years. 🙂
Singapore is open to fully-vaccinated travelers and US-SIN in business class is wide-open from both the West and East Coast via Alaska, with good availability…even from NYC. The problem is the cost. But I’m still mighty tempted by that nearly 21 hour JFK-SIN leg.
Even if you don’t have AS miles to burn, you can use this as a helpful guide to suss out KrisFlyer availability. It’s a bizarre quirk of the Alaska/Singapore partnership and is worth revisiting. Enjoy! – Tim
I just stumbled upon something very interesting. If you’ve been eager to fly Singapore Airlines business or first class but have had trouble finding award availability, I may have the solution for you…
Singapore Airlines and Alaska Airlines are partners. And, as of October 2019, it has been possible to book Singapore Airlines awards with Alaska miles. Here’s the interesting part: It turns out that Alaska has much better access to award availability than Singapore’s other partners. Even more surprising is that Alaska sometimes has better award availability than Singapore itself! While this trick works for flights from/to the US, this does not appear to work for flights originating or ending in Europe.
Better Award Availability!
Much better award availability than Star Alliance partners
Singapore rarely releases business or first class award space to most partners. For example, I was trying to find business class flights from Seoul to Singapore for a specific day. Singapore offered 4 flights bookable with Singapore miles for 47K one-way:
Alaska Airlines had access to 3 of those four flights:
Meanwhile, United couldn’t see any of these flights — not on the particular day I needed nor on any other day I searched. I found the same thing with another Star Alliance partner, Avianca Lifemiles. Lifemiles also couldn’t see any award space at all.
Much better award availability than non-alliance partners
Like Alaska, Virgin Atlantic is a non-alliance partner with Singapore. I contacted Virgin Atlantic to see if I could book the Seoul to Singapore flight with them. Virgin Atlantic would have charged only 35,000 miles one-way for business class if the award was bookable (you can find Virgin’s Singapore award pricing here). Like United and Lifemiles, Virgin Atlantic couldn’t see any premium award space.
This, of course, doesn’t prove that Alaska is the only partner with better access to Singapore award space, but I haven’t yet found another partner that can see this award space.
Sometimes better award availability than Singapore itself
Here’s where things get crazy. I found plenty of examples where Alaska had better access to Singapore awards than Singapore itself. One example is the incredibly long nonstop flight from Newark to Singapore. There are some days where Alaska can see award space, but Singapore cannot:
And sometimes Alaska has access to saver awards when Singapore only has access to standard (Advantage) awards:
I found similar results on many other routes between the US and Asia. Sometimes Alaska has access to saver awards when Singapore does not!
Note: watch out for situations where Alaska shows two different colored seats next to the award price. This means that the flight is a mixed itinerary. An earlier version of this post erroneously showed this flight as all first class when it is in fact mixed coach and first class:
No love for Europe
Singapore Airlines flies many routes to Europe, but I haven’t been able to find any premium cabin award availability on these routes via the Alaska website even when Singapore itself offered multiple business class saver award seats.
The Downside: Alaska charges more for Singapore Airlines flights
Unfortunately, most of Alaska’s award prices for flying Singapore Airlines are very high, especially when you consider how cheap it is to book other airlines like JAL and Cathay Pacific with Alaska miles. You can find Alaska’s award charts here. For example, here are the prices to use Alaska miles to book Singapore Airlines between the US and Asia. Note that business class costs either 80,000 or 100,000 miles one-way and first class costs a whopping 110,000 or 130,000 miles one-way depending upon your route:
Compare the above prices to booking Cathay Pacific where you can fly business class for only 50K miles and first class for only 70K miles:
Similarly, you use Alaska miles to fly Japan Airlines (JAL) for only 60K or 65K business; or 70K or 75K first class:
One saving grace to Alaska’s high prices for Singapore awards is the fact that Alaska allows a free stop-over, even on a one-way award. This makes it possible to visit multiple cities on a single award. Keep in mind, though, that you can’t mix partners on one award. For example, you can’t fly Singapore Airlines from LA to Tokyo and then JAL onwards on a single award booking. However, you can add in Alaska’s own flights. So, you could book (for example), Detroit to Seattle on Alaska Airlines, then Singapore Airlines or JAL to Tokyo, all on one one-way award.
How to get Alaska Mileage Plan miles
Unfortunately, none of the transferable points programs offer point transfers to Alaska Mileage Plan miles. The only half decent transfer option I’m aware of is to convert Marriott Bonvoy points. You can convert 60,000 Marriott points to 25,000 Alaska miles. More here: Marriott Bonvoy Transfer Partners.
Another option for earning Alaska miles, of course, is to sign up for Alaska Airlines credit cards. Here are the current best offers:
|Card Offer and Details|
Of course, you can also earn Alaska miles by flying. Unlike most competitors, Alaska still awards miles based on the distance you fly. Look for inexpensive long distance flights on Alaska and its partners in order to maximize mileage earning. You can do especially well with discounted long-distance premium cabin flights.
Finally, Alaska offers it’s own shopping portal, dining program, and miscellaneous other partnerships for earning miles. Details about these options can be found on Alaska’s website here.
[…] airlines than the airlines’ alliance partners or even their own program members can see (notably Singapore and Aer […]
Alaska has Frankfurt to Singapore on Singapore Airlines in Business Class for only 110k. Thats a little more than I would want to pay but its nice that they have that available.
Anyone had any luck in ph contact with Singapore to cancel award ticket ? In the last 6 months I emailed call 10x no luck. Just called we will call u back shortly Hmmmm.
Call the Singapore numbers. Yes u have to stay up late from US timezones.
I did once oop’s cost me $60.
I want to book JFK to FRA suites in a few days, but Singapore’s booking calendar is stuck @ March 26, 2023. Normally SIN is around 355 days in advance. Anyone know what is going on? I hate to wait forever on the phone to make a booking, but with no solution I guess that’s what it will take. Oh, prior to March 26, 2023, I was tracking every few days as the calendar advanced, no issues.
SIN-FCO has business class award space on July 17, 2022 via MileagePlan. I’m more surprised that the JFK-FRA-SIN itinerary shows up, given SQ isn’t an option on MileagePlan award charts between US and Europe.
[…] One problem is that they don’t release award space in first class suites to their partners (with the possible exception of Alaska), so it’s necessary to use Singapore’s own website to […]
Business class is kind of pricey for the LAX-SIN route, especially when Alaska is offering business on Cathay for half the points (50,000). Gotta book way out to get the best flights, seats, etc.
[…] not only is able to book premium cabin awards between the U.S. and Asia on Singapore Airlines but Frequent Miler found that Alaska seems to show availability soemtimes when Singapore isn’t offering the space to […]
It’s a known issue that SQ intr-asia doesnt show but you can call UA and book. Best way to find it is on Ana’s website.
Why would it not show on UA website?
Right now, I can I see SQ F on SIN-PVG for April 24 for example… totally bookable on UA website, no need to call.
You see a F reward seat or paid seat? I searched and all I see is J not F. Some flights shows others dont that’s why it’s always best to look at NH and then call if NH shows availability and UA doesnt. It’s been going on for years, it got better for a while but I still wouldnt trust it. Why it happens, would be a question best asked to UA IT department.
Like I said… go to united.com… search for SIN-PVG F AWARD on April 24.
You will see FIRST SAVER AWARD available on the non-stop…. 65k UA miles.
I don’t know how to explain this better.
Speaking of stumbling on awards on Alaska’s site, I just found and booked Qantas biz for 2 from MEL – LAX in early April! Still shocked to find that. Thank you FM!
Nice and enjoy! ^_^
is there any way to filter for direct flights? All I see using AK is mixed cabins.
Did you have Alaska miles to make the booking or qantas points?
I checked through the end of schedule but couldn’t find any SQ seats in first class JFK-FRA. What would you suggest to get that all in first class on Singapore?
That’s a tough one. As I wrote in the post, Europe seems to be a dead zone for premium cabin availability.
Thanks for the reply. I was hoping that I was missing something, perhaps involving married segments.
Greg – Would this be a valid J award for 100K AS miles? SFO-HKG (SQ) (layover for 23 hours), HKG-SIN (SQ) (stopover), followed with SIN-KUL (SQ)?
That sounds like it ought to work. Did you try to price it out via the multi-city tool on the Alaska site?
@Nick Reyes Reyes – I wasn’t sure how to get a third segment on a O/W given that the multi-city tool only allows searching 2 segments on the outbound. Might be a call-in situation after piecing the first two flights with the 3rd segment, theoretically.
Huh. That’s interesting. They’ve changed that. They always used to allow searching 4 routes (with possibly even more segments). Hmmm….
@Nick Reyes Reyes – This is what I’m seeing. https://imgur.com/a/SqPa4WS
“Beware the little blue seats next to the XXXK price”
I don’t think I have ever seen a search for a multi leg itin that didn’t have this. Alaska’s lack of O&D availability searching is very frustrating, especially for AA awards
I agree that the mixed-cabin thing is super annoying. It really makes me roll my eyes when I search something like SFO-SYD and see business class availability based on SFO-LAX in biz on Alaska and then LAX-SYD in economy on Qantas. Crazy that some folks will get fooled into booking a 55K business class award on that.
I always try to start by searching the long haul routes first — which is still a labored process given mixed-cabin results like the one I just mentioned, but that type of thing does vary based on route. Business class awards to Australia are particularly hard to come by, so I know I’m going to constantly run into that problem on a route like that. Similarly, AA makes such little premium cabin space available to partners that I know I’ll have the same problem when searching AA routes. On the other hand, if I’m looking from Seoul to Singapore like Greg was, I know that I’m much less likely to see mixed-cabin results. It varies based on what you’re looking for.
But, again, I share your frustration with Alaska’s mixed-cabin results.
You are missing the bigger point. AA does award availability based on O&D and AS can only search point to point so even if the grunts in AA RM open up award space on a connecting itin, AS can’t see it because they search point to point.
@Greg- Did you see any First Class Availability on any routes including JFK TO FRA etc? Thanks!
The AS ticket is a mixed class itinerary. The JFK to FRA segment in in coach. Moreover, the FRA to SIN segment is not the second leg of SQ 25 on the A380 but is instead a different flight leaving 12 hours later on the 777. The SQ booking you compare to is the A380 all the way. Not an apples to apples comparison.
Thanks for this! I’ve updated the post with a better example.
Did you verify these were actually bookable and Alaska was not merely showing phantom availability?
My thoughts exactly
Yes, I booked one.
Did you book an itinerary with availability shared across SQ and Alaska or with distinct availability on Alaska?
Good point. I booked shared availability. I’ll see if I can test one that is unique.
Nick Ewen@TPG showed that a flight that required wait list on SQ, but can be booked with Alaska miles. The specific example is SIN-AKL SQ285 first class. JT Genter did the test booking according to the article.
I booked on Alaska (DPS-SIN) a couple weeks ago. It’s real and didn’t have to speak to an agent at Alaska or Singapore.