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Singapore Airlines has officially brought its famed new first-class Suites to the US. On Monday, March 28, the airline relaunched its double-decker Airbus A380 aircraft on its daily route from New York (JFK) to Singapore (SIN), stopping in Frankfurt, Germany (FRA) en route. CNN Underscored got a look inside the plane when it landed in New York on Monday.
Prior to the start of the pandemic, Singapore operated its A380 to the US, but never with the new first-class Suites. So, what’s so special about these suites? They’re widely considered to be one of the best first-class seats in the world, and it’s actually possible to fly in one of them for almost nothing, thanks to the airline’s top-notch frequent flyer program and any of several credit cards that you may already have in your purse or wallet — or can easily get.
A look inside the Singapore Suites cabin
What is it about the Singapore Suites first-class cabin that makes the A380 so amazing? It all comes down to the amenities and experience. Inside each of the exclusive six suites in first class, flyers will find both a swivel seat with full-grain leather upholstery by Poltrona Frau and a bed. You can plan on leaving your favorite travel neck pillow at home.
Perhaps best of all, if you’re traveling with someone, you can book a Double Suite, which allows you to connect the beds in neighboring suites to form a double bed. Yes, a double bed in the sky.
Each of the suites also features a sliding door for privacy, a 32-inch HD touchscreen in-flight entertainment system, Bang & Olufsen noise-canceling headphones and a slew of amenities like a set of Lalique pajamas made exclusively for Singapore Airlines. You won’t need your travel-approved power bank, either, as the suites have full power supply options for charging your electronics. Plus, all Singapore Suites passengers have access to complimentary in-flight Wi-Fi so you can stay connected with family and friends on the ground.
When it’s time to eat, you’ll be able to taste some of the best onboard catering you’ll find on any flight. In fact, Singapore Airlines’ famed dish on its flights in first class is a lobster thermidor.
The airline is taking an industry-leading approach to its food, too, by offering farm-fresh greens to passengers. On its flights from New York — including both JFK and Newark — Singapore Airlines is sourcing its greens from AeroFarms, a vertical farm in Newark, New Jersey.
AeroFarms grows environmentally sustainable greens year-round using 95% less water than traditional farming and zero pesticides. After a fraction of the time it takes to harvest greens on a traditional farm, fresh greens make their way across the Hudson and onboard Singapore’s A380 before being plated fresh for Suites passengers to enjoy in the sky. Plane food really doesn’t get fresher — or tastier — than that.
Additionally, with the reintroduction of the A380 to the US — which is the largest passenger plane in the world — flyers will also have access to the airline’s new and improved business-class cabin. Seats in business class can also be combined to form a double bed if you’re traveling with a partner, and each of the seats has direct aisle access.
Ultimately, the new Singapore Suites on the A380 is one of the best ways to travel. So, with the plane now flying in and out of the US on a regular basis, how can you book a Singapore Suite or Singapore business class nearly for free using points and miles?
How to earn Singapore Airlines miles
It’s possible to use Singapore Airlines miles — which are known as KrisFlyer miles — to secure a seat in Singapore Suites or business class for just the cost of the taxes and fees on the ticket, which are usually minimal. A one-way trip between New York and Frankfurt in Suites costs just 86,000 miles and $5.60 in taxes and fees, provided you can find award availability. (More on that in a moment.)
But perhaps you’ve never flown Singapore Airlines, so you don’t have any Singapore miles? Well, you’re in luck, because there are easy ways to get Singapore KrisFlyer miles through a number of US credit cards, even if you’ve never been on a Singapore Airlines plane. That’s because Singapore Airlines is a partner of all of the major credit card transferable points programs. In other words, you can transfer Chase Ultimate Rewards, American Express Membership Rewards, Capital One miles and Citi ThankYou Rewards to Singapore Airlines.
For example, if you’ve got Chase Ultimate Rewards points earned from a credit card like the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card or the Chase Sapphire Reserve®, you can transfer them at a 1-to-1 rate to Singapore Airlines, meaning 1,000 Chase points is equal to 1,000 Singapore KrisFlyer miles. Even better, if you don’t already have one of these two cards, the Sapphire Preferred currently comes with 60,000 bonus points when you spend $4,000 in the first three months after opening the account, putting you well on your way toward grabbing a Suites seat. Or, the Sapphire Reserve comes with 60,000 bonus points after spending $4,000 in the first three months, which is also a great head start on earning enough points to fly in Singapore Suites.
Similarly, if you’ve got a slew of American Express Membership Rewards points from the welcome bonus offers on The Platinum Card® from American Express or the American Express® Gold Card, you could be well on your way to a flight in Singapore Suites. The 100,000 bonus points you can earn after spending $6,000 on the Amex Platinum in the first six months of card membership could get you a one-way flight from New York to Europe in Singapore Suites all by itself. Alternatively, the 60,000 bonus points that come with the Amex Gold card when you spend $4,000 in the first six months after opening the account could put you well on your way to a one-way flight as well.
Because Citi ThankYou Rewards also transfer to Singapore miles at a 1-to-1 rate, you have options there as well. For example, the Citi Premier® Card is offering 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 within the first three months of opening the account. That’s well on your way toward a Singapore Suites redemption, especially considering that you’ll earn 3 points for every dollar you spend at restaurants, supermarkets, gas stations, air travel and hotels with the card, plus 1 point per dollar on all other purchases.
Capital One miles transfer to Singapore at a 1-to-1 rate as well, so miles earned from cards like the Capital One Venture X, Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card and Capital One VentureOne Rewards Credit Card can all be redeemed to fly in Singapore Suites.
One final option to consider: business credit cards. Many of the above issuers offer cards with impressive welcome bonus offers specifically for small business owners. For example, the Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card comes with a 100,000-point sign-up bonus after spending $15,000 in the first three months, and The Business Platinum Card® from American Express currently offers new card members 120,000 bonus points after spending $15,000 within the first three months of opening the account.
The points earned from any of these cards can be transferred into Singapore KrisFlyer miles, putting you well on your way to a once-in-a-lifetime flight. Just keep in mind that points don’t always transfer instantly to Singapore Airlines — it can take up to 48 hours in some cases. So you’ll want to plan ahead if you’re thinking of transferring into your Singapore account.
How to book Singapore Suites using miles
Before starting your search to redeem miles for this first-class experience, you’ll want to make sure that you have a Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer frequent flyer account. Memberships are free and require just your basic personal information.
After you’ve got a membership, you can begin looking at how you want to fly. To search for award availability, you’ll want to head to Singapore’s website, click “Redeem flights” on the home page and enter your account credentials. Set your departure airport as New York (JFK) and your destination as either Singapore (SIN) if you want to travel the full distance of the flight, or Frankfurt (FRA) if you want to hop off the plane in Europe instead.
Ensure that you select the class as “First/Suites” and then your date — or dates — of travel. Finally, select “Search” to see if and when there’s award availability. It’s often easiest to search in one direction at a time and then put two flights together at the end to book a round-trip. Or, you can use cash to fly a different airline home if you only have enough miles to fly one way.
For a one-way flight from New York to Frankfurt, you can expect to pay 86,000 miles for a seat in Suites at the lowest “Saver” level, but only when Singapore has released award space at that level for the day you want to travel. Otherwise, you’ll need to book at the higher “Advantage” level, which costs 140,000 miles. Of course, you’ll need more if you plan on traveling all the way to Singapore versus stopping in Frankfurt.
In our searches, we didn’t find any Saver award availability for Suites throughout 2022 and into 2023, but it’s possible that some will become available down the line. In the meantime, we did find many days with Advantage availability, as well as the ability to waitlist for a lower-priced Saver award.
As you may guess, waitlisting a Saver award means you’ll be able to lock in the lower mileage cost, but you’re not actually confirmed on the flight. You’ll find out at least two weeks before your scheduled departure date if your waitlist booking clears or not. If you’ve got flexible travel plans, this could be a good option. However, if you’ve got concrete plans, you may not want to risk missing your flight if the waitlist booking doesn’t clear.
In the below example, you’ll see the pricing available on this one-way flight from New York to Frankfurt. At the Saver level, you’ll have to pay just 86,000 Singapore miles and $5.60 in taxes in fees for a Suites seat. As a point of comparison, this same flight on the same date currently costs $9,227 in Suites if you buy it with cash.
If you want to travel all the way to Singapore from New York, you’ll have to stop for nearly two hours in Frankfurt, but will then continue on the same plane to Singapore. Similar to our searches from JFK to Frankfurt, we didn’t find any Saver-level availability for JFK to Singapore, but the option to waitlist was available on a number of days.
A one-way flight from New York to Singapore costs 132,000 miles at the Saver level or 237,000 miles at the Advantage level. In terms of taxes and fees, you can expect to pay just $30.40 for this flight. The normal cash price of this one-way flight from NYC to Singapore in Suites is currently $10,460, representing terrific value for your points and miles for an experience that might otherwise be unattainable.
Now, if you’re looking at redeeming miles to fly in business class on the A380, which is also a fantastic experience, it’ll cost you 72,000 miles at the Saver level (85,000 at the Advantage level) to Frankfurt, or 99,000 miles at the Saver level (140,000 at the Advantage level) all the way to Singapore. In our searches, we found more award availability in the business-class cabin without having to waitlist for it. So if you can’t find any dates with Suites availability, consider booking in business for a still-terrific premium flying experience.
Ultimately, the reintroduction of the A380 on flights to the US is a promising sign from Singapore Airlines for the return of travel. And, better yet, one of the world’s best first-class products is making its way stateside on a regular basis for the first time ever. So if you’ve got the chance, this is a great way to put your travel rewards to use.
Looking for a travel credit card? Find out which cards CNN Underscored chose as our best travel credit cards of 2022.
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