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Which Rewards Cards Can Help Me Fly Singapore First Class?

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TPG reader Joe tweeted me with this question about Singapore Airlines:

@thepointsguy– “What would be the best card strategy to save up for Singapore first class?” 

I recently flew Singapore Airlines First Class SFO-ICN, and it was an awesome experience even though it wasn’t on their A380 Suites Class, which is rumored to be even more amazing. The only tough part of the flight was deciding which champagne I wanted!

Turn down service in the Singapore Airlines First Class suite (with Givenchy linens!)
Turndown service in the Singapore Airlines First Class suite (with Givenchy linens!)

Singapore Airlines typically only releases first class award availability to its own frequent flyers (KrisFlyer) even though the airline is a member of the Star Alliance. Luckily, Singapore KrisFlyer is a 1:1 direct transfer partner of the four main transferable points programs:

  • American Express Membership Rewards
  • Chase Ultimate Rewards
  • Citi ThankYou Rewards
  • Starwood Preferred Guest

Knowing this, a good card strategy would involve obtaining travel rewards credit cards that bank into these programs and offer high sign-up bonuses or category bonuses.

Right now, the Ink Plus Business Card is offering 60,000 bonus points after you spend $5,000 in purchases in the first 3 months. That bonus alone gives you more than enough points to fly in Singapore Suites Class from JFK to Frankfurt or vice versa. Citi is also offering some great sign-up bonuses: The Citi Prestige card and Citi ThankYou Premier card are both offering 50,000 ThankYou points after you make $3,000 in purchases in the first 3 months.

Beyond the sign-up bonuses, you’ll also want to think about which cards will give you the best earning rate for everyday spending. While you only earn 1 point per dollar spent on the Starwood Preferred Guest Amex, you can transfer 20,000 points over to 25,000 KrisFlyer miles. That’s like having a built-in 25% bonus, so that card is a good option for purchases that don’t earn a bonus otherwise.

Most of the other cards in these programs offer hefty category bonuses, including the ones mentioned above. The Chase Ink Plus card earns 5 points per dollar on office supplies (you can buy a lot of things at office stores besides pens and pencils), and you also earn 5 points per dollar spent on telecommunications services like cable and internet. There are also a lot of 3x categories on cards such as the Amex Premier Rewards Gold. Spending in these bonus categories can really help you rake in points and miles quickly!

As always, the TPG To Go App (available on Apple or Android) helps you maximize every dollar you spend by telling you which card offers the most valuable rewards, and the TPG Maximizer can give you some recommendations for which cards to get based on how you spend your money.

For more info on how to get into Singapore’s premium cabins, check out this post on How to Fly Singapore Airlines First Class (Almost) Free. Hopefully with these tips you’ll soon be flying in style!

If you have any other questions, please tweet me @thepointsguy, message me on Facebook, or send me an email at
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