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Should You Book Discounted Awards on Singapore Airlines?

Feb. 08, 2016
3 min read
Should You Book Discounted Awards on Singapore Airlines?
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Discounted award flights are often the best way to redeem your points and miles, although they all are usually limited-time opportunities. The latest is through Singapore Airlines' KrisFlyer program, which is offering a 30% discount on award travel in economy to Singapore from Los Angeles (LAX), San Francisco (SFO) and Houston (IAH). Typically these redemptions cost 70,000 KrisFlyer Miles round-trip (75,000 from Houston), but with the discounted rates it's 49,000 KrisFlyer Miles from LAX and SFO, while flights from Houston are 52,500 round-trip — plus a hefty surcharge of approximately $500, which really hurts the value of these redemptions. The promotional mileage rates for these award tickets are only available to book until February 14, however, travel dates are available from February 15 to May 26.

The good news is KrisFlyer Miles are among the easiest points to get from transfer partners. You can use cards like the Chase Sapphire Preferred or Ink Plus to transfer from Chase Ultimate Rewards, or a Membership Rewards Amex card like the Premier Rewards Gold Card from American Express. The airline is also partners with Citi ThankYou and Starwood Preferred Guest for additional transfer opportunities.

Fly to Singapore on discounted award tickets. Image courtesy of Shutterstock.
Fly to Singapore using discounted award tickets. Image courtesy of Shutterstock.

One thing to keep in mind while booking is whether or not you should actually use miles to book an award ticket rather than just paying cash — especially considering the low prices for travel to Asia recently. We value Singapore KrisFlyer Miles at 1.5 cents per mile, however, many travelers will transfer points from credit card programs like Chase Ultimate Rewards (2.1 cents per point) and Amex Membership Rewards (1.9 cents/mile). We assign these programs a much higher value, so it might be less lucrative to book award travel with these programs.

For many of these travel dates, flights to Singapore start at about $900 round-trip from the West Coast, so prices are already pretty low to begin with. Taking the surcharge into account, you'll get about 0.8 cents per mile in value from this redemption — a pretty poor option for the miles. Moreover, it's even worse if you're using points from a Chase or Amex card because we assign them a much higher value, as explained above. Conversely, the flights from Houston are usually a bit cheaper to book with cash but require more miles. Flights seem to start around $829 round-trip so you're getting even less value than redemptions from flights on the West Coast — in fact, you're getting about 0.6 cents per mile in value, making this a pretty terrible redemption.

Overall, it's probably best to skip this promotion unless your preferred flight is extremely expensive. You'd likely be better off booking a revenue ticket outright and using your points and miles elsewhere. Ultimately, we recommend you evaluate your own points situation and determine if it's worth using Amex Membership Rewards, Chase Ultimate Rewards or any other points and miles options before booking an award flight— while the prospect of booking an award ticket is appealing, it's possible to get more value elsewhere.

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Featured image by Not sure where to credit United flights? Consider Singapore's KrisFlyer program.

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