The Best Points to Use for Singapore’s New A350 Flight to SFO

Oct 21, 2016

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In just a few days, Singapore Airlines will be launching a new nonstop flight between Singapore (SIN) and San Francisco (SFO). The carrier will use an A350-900 on the route, and the inaugural flight will actually be operated by the brand-new aircraft just delivered as Airbus’ 10,000th plane (TPG Editor-in-Chief Zach Honig was on the delivery flight from Toulouse to Singapore). The plane looks spectacular, and I’m guessing that many TPG readers are interested in testing it out. Today I want to discuss the best way to book this new nonstop flight using KrisFlyer miles.

This decision is a bit complicated in that Singapore’s KrisFlyer program is one of just three programs to partner with all four transferable point currencies (the other two are Air France/KLM Flying Blue and Virgin Atlantic Flying Club). This means that you can transfer points from the following four programs directly to KrisFlyer:

Each of these transfer at a rate of 1:1, though you’ll enjoy a 5,000-mile bonus for every 20,000 Starpoints transferred. This bonus may lead you to believe that SPG is the best option, since you’ll need to transfer fewer points to have enough miles to cover the redemption. However, this doesn’t take into account TPG’s valuations, as the bonus miles may not make up for the fact that Starpoints are among the most valuable out there.

This post will thus go through the redemption options for each of the three classes of service on Singapore’s A350 (business, premium economy and economy), looking at both straight-up award flights and upgrades on paid flights. We’ll first identify the number of KrisFlyer miles you’d need for a one-way award ticket (or one-way upgrade), remembering that booking online automatically gives a 15% discount. Then we’ll look at how many points you’d need to transfer from each of the above programs to cover the redemption, and we’ll also calculate the value of points you’d be transferring and give you an idea of how long the transfer would take. Note that each of these one-way awards require that you pay taxes and fees of about $250, in addition to the mileage requirement.

Let’s get started!


Business Class

Singapore A350 Tour Business Class Brian
The business-class seats on Singapore’s A350 are quite spacious, even for TPG’s 6’7″ frame!

As you hopefully saw from Zach’s review, business-class seats on Singapore’s A350 are very comfortable and include an array of amenities. A one-way award ticket will set you back 68,000 KrisFlyer miles. Here’s a chart that breaks down your transfer options:

Currency Points Needed Miles Earned Value of Transferred Points Transfer Time
Membership Rewards 68,000 68,000 $1,292 Less than 24 hours
Ultimate Rewards 68,000 68,000 $1,428 Same day
ThankYou Rewards 68,000 68,000 $1,088 2 days
Starpoints 58,000 68,000 $1,566 7 days

As you can see, even though you need the fewest number of Starpoints to unlock a one-way business-class award ticket from Singapore to San Francisco (or vice versa), you’d actually be “spending” the most in terms of the value of points you’d be forgoing. In addition, these transfers may take up to a week to post to your KrisFlyer account. That’s a long time to wait if you’re counting on award space! While Membership Rewards points and Ultimate Rewards points transfer more quickly, you’re giving up a lot of value with those options as well.

As a result, ThankYou Rewards points are the best option. Even though it’ll take a couple of days for the miles to appear, the points you’re transferring are worth far less than the other three currencies. In fact, you’d be essentially “purchasing” a round-trip business class flight for just over $2,000!

Premium Economy

Singapore A350 Delivery Flight
Premium economy is relatively new to Singapore Airlines and can be a great hybrid of value and comfort.

Singapore only started rolling out premium economy across its fleet last year, and you’re now able to use miles for award flights in premium economy on these aircraft. TPG Associate Editor Emily McNutt flew this class of service from New York (JFK) to Frankfurt (FRA) and had a good experience. It’s a great option if you can’t splurge on (or can’t find award seats in) business class. A one-way ticket on this new route costs 55,250 KrisFlyer miles, so here’s how that translates to transferable points:

Currency Points Needed Miles Earned Value of Transferred Points Transfer Time
Membership Rewards 56,000 56,000 $1,064 Less than 24 hours
Ultimate Rewards 56,000 56,000 $1,176 Same day
ThankYou Rewards 56,000 56,000 $896 2 days
Starpoints 45,250 55,250 $1,222 7 days

Not surprisingly, you see a similar result here. The one nice thing about transfers from SPG is that you aren’t forced to transfer in increments of 1,000 points, so you can transfer exactly the number of Starpoints you’d need for the redemption. However, it’s still the priciest option and has that week-long transfer period, so ThankYou Rewards is again the best, allowing you the spend less than $1,800 worth of points for a round-trip award flight in premium economy.


Singapore A350 Tour Economy Class
Economy is a little tight, with 32 inches of pitch, but you’ll still have updated amenities like large in-flight entertainment screens.

While a long-haul flight like SIN-SFO in economy isn’t exactly luxurious, it’s an economical way to get across the Pacific, and for at least the next few months, you’d be flying on a relatively new aircraft. A one-way award ticket will set you back 29,750 miles, so here’s what it would take to book this redemption:

Currency Points Needed Miles Earned Value of Transferred Points Transfer Time
Membership Rewards 30,000 30,000 $570 Less than 24 hours
Ultimate Rewards 30,000 30,000 $630 Same day
ThankYou Rewards 30,000 30,000 $480 2 days
Starpoints 24,750 29,750 $668 7 days

You’re probably starting to see a pattern here, as ThankYou Rewards points again represent the best value, giving you a round-trip award ticket for less than $1,000 in Citi points, plus taxes and fees.


In addition to booking regular award flights using KrisFlyer miles, Singapore also allows you to redeem miles to upgrade your paid flights. Unfortunately, upgrades from economy require expensive fare classes (Y, B or E), so we’ll focus today solely on upgrading a paid premium economy ticket to business class. On this new flight from Singapore to San Francisco (or vice versa), you’ll need 38,250 miles. Here’s how you can get those miles from the four transferable point currencies:

Currency Points Needed Miles Earned Value of Transferred Points Transfer Time
Membership Rewards 39,000 39,000 $741 Less than 24 hours
Ultimate Rewards 39,000 39,000 $819 Same day
ThankYou Rewards 39,000 39,000 $624 2 days
Starpoints 33,250 38,250 $898 7 days

Once again, the ThankYou Rewards program comes out on top, as you’ll need to redeem just $1,248 worth of ThankYou points for this upgrade round-trip.

Boosting Your Account Balances

If you’re looking at these calculations and thinking that there’s no way you’d be able to afford these mileage amounts, think again. All four programs have credit card options with sign-up bonuses that would be enough (or close to enough) for many of the redemptions mentioned above. Here’s an example of one such card for each program:

  • American Express Membership Rewards: The Platinum Card from American Express is currently offering a sign-up bonus of 40,000 Membership Rewards points after you use your new card to make $3,000 in purchases in your first three months (though you may be targeted for higher offers on this card and the Premier Rewards Gold Card from American Express by using the CardMatch Tool)
  • Chase Ultimate Rewards: The Chase Sapphire Reserve Card is currently offering a sign-up bonus of 100,000 Ultimate Rewards points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months from account opening.
  • Citi ThankYou Rewards: The Citi Prestige Card is currently offering a sign-up bonus of 40,000 ThankYou points after $4,000 in purchases made with your card in the first three months the account is open.
  • Starwood Preferred Guest: The Starwood Preferred Guest Credit Card from American Express is currently offering a bonus of 25,000 Starpoints after you use your new card to make $3,000 in purchases within the first three months.

Bottom Line

Airbus 10000 Singapore Air A350
Singapore’s A350 is a great (new) option to get from the US to Asia.

Any new long-haul route from the US is exciting, but when it’s operated by one of the world’s most renowned carriers on a brand-new, fuel-efficient, comfortable aircraft, that’s cause for celebration. Singapore Airlines’ new nonstop flight from Singapore (SIN) to San Francisco (SFO) will launch in just a few days (stay tuned for TPG Travel Editor Kaeli Conforti’s review), and this represents a great new way to travel across the Pacific. Hopefully this post has shown you not only how to use transferable points to book this flight but also the best option for doing so: the Citi ThankYou Rewards program.

Have you transferred points to Singapore’s KrisFlyer program?


Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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