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Chase Ultimate Rewards are among the top travel points currencies, and they just got even more valuable. Chase just announced that it has added an 11th travel transfer partner: Singapore Airlines. That means that if you have a Sapphire Preferred, Ink Bold or Ink Plus card, you can now transfer to Singapore in addition to British Airways, Korean Air, Southwest, United and Virgin Atlantic, plus hotel partners Hyatt, Marriott, Ritz-Carlton and Priority Club, as well as Amtrak.
Like Chase’s other transfer partners, the transfer ratio is 1:1 and you can transfer in increments of 1,000 points. This is great news for cardholders, especially those that want to fly premium classes on Singapore, since the airline releases a lot more award space in business and first class – including those coveted first class suites – to members of its own KrisFlyer program.
Not only that, but since the United devaluation went into effect, driving the cost of partner awards through the roof, it’s worth looking into other Star Alliance programs like Krisflyer.
This move also means that Singapore is now a transfer partner of all three major transferable points programs: Chase Ultimate Rewards, American Express Membership Rewards, and Starwood Preferred Guest.
As with Amex and SPG transfers, your Singapore transfers might not post instantly. Ultimate Rewards has this to say on the transfer page: “Point Transfer Timing: Ultimate Rewards sends customers an email confirmation once requests are successfully placed. Most Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer point transfers process within 2 business days, so you can be on your way.”
That’s compared to this about United transfers: “Ultimate Rewards sends customers an email confirmation once requests are successfully placed. United MileagePlus point transfer requests will process instantly, so you can be on your way.” So you might need to plan ahead more with Singapore transfers than you do with other partners.
You can find the Singapore award chart here, but note that when you book online through Singapore’s website, you get a 15% discount on awards, which can mean some great values.
Currently, the Chase Ink Bold and Ink Plus cards are both offering sign-up bonuses of 60,000 Ultimate Rewards points when you spend $5,000 in 3 months. That’s more than enough to cover a one-way ticket in Singapore first class from New York JFK to Frankfurt (normally 67,500 miles, but only 57,375 with the 15% discount). You can also get a one-way business class ticket for just 48,875 miles on this route, which you could cover with the signup bonus on the Chase Sapphire Preferred (currently 40,000 points when you spend $3,000 in 3 months) and some judicious bonus category spending on travel and dining. Los Angeles to Tokyo aboard Singapore’s A380 would cost 65,875 in business and 74,375 in first class each way.
You can check out Singapore’s partner chart, but here are some valuable awards to note:
- Domestic North America first class on United: 40,000 miles roundtrip (again, you could earn that with the sign-up bonus alone on the Sapphire Preferred)
- North America to Hawaii in coach: 35,000 miles roundtrip, 60,000 in business class (which should get you first on United)
- North America to South America in business: 100,000 miles roundtrip
- North America to South Africa in business: 145,000 miles roundtrip
Beware that Singapore does impose fuel surcharges on awards the same as it does on paid tickets, so don’t be surprised if you get hit with hundreds of dollars in fees on some fares. Check out this post to see my comparison of these fees on Aeroplan, ANA and Singapore awards, but to give you a couple of examples, Singapore tends to charge about $600 on ANA awards from North America to Japan, as well as from North America to South Africa on South African Airlines, but charges only about $120 on United awards from the US to Australia and on Lufthansa awards from North America to Europe.
All in all, this is great news for Ultimate Rewards cardholders who want to put their points to use flying Star Alliance airlines and especially Singapore Airlines itself, which is one of the world’s premier carriers. I have personally had great experiences aboard flying from Newark to Singapore a couple years ago, as well as from Singapore to the Maldives this past November, so I’m looking forward to more travel on the airline in the future.
This is also a great bit of news since you can now top up your Krisflyer account from any of the three major transferable points programs – Chase, Amex and SPG – making it a really great option for pooling your points and having the flexibility to book the awards you want, and putting some of those Star Alliance first class awards back within reach for flyers most affected by the United devaluation.