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As you might remember, for my last birthday, I gave myself the present of taking the longest commercial flight in the world aboard Singapore Airlines’ all-business-class plane from Newark to Singapore. It was definitely one of my most memorable travel experiences, and a great use of Ultimate Rewards points since I used just 60,000 plus $2.50 in taxes and fees to pay for what would otherwise have been a $4,600 ticket.
Unfortunately, it looks like by late 2013, this flight will no longer be available. According this article, Singapore Airlines has been hurting due to fluctuating fuel prices and a weak global economy. It has hired freezing and is updating its fleet in the hopes of economizing through efficiency. Still, it’s got quite a few A380’s and A350’s on order as well as some Boeing 787’s. Looks like as part of its deal with Airbus, though, the airline will have to return some of its long-rage A340-500 craft, including the one that flies the EWR-SIN route, and that the non-stop flight between LA and Singapore will also be canceled at that time. Apparently it was uneconomical to operate the five craft that only serviced these two routes.
I’m all for cost-saving measures since maybe, just maybe, some of the savings will be passed along to consumers, but I’m sad to see the EWR-SIN service go, especially because I had such a great experience. For those of you looking to get in on the flight before it’s canceled, hopefully Singapore will be opening up some saver-level availability so you can use your United or US Airways miles (both Star Alliance partners of Singapore) to book an award ticket.
Otherwise, your best bet would be to join Krisflyer, Singapore’s frequent flyer program since it is a transfer partner of Amex Membership Rewards, and Singapore makes more award seats available to its members, so you could transfer points to the program and use them to book an award that way. Amex points transfer at a 1:1 ratio, though it takes 48 hours, so you’d have to keep your fingers crossed that award availability would remain open. It’ll cost you 85,000 Krisflyer miles one-way to fly the EWR-SIN route in business, which is expensive, but could be worth it for you to try out this unique service. You do get a 15% discount when you redeem Krisflyer miles online, so your requirement for this award would actually end up being 72,250 miles.
Ah well, on to the next interesting route – my flight between Seoul ICN and Madrid in a few weeks aboard Korean Air – also courtesy of my Ultimate Rewards points.