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The Best Ways to Book Singapore Airlines First Class

Jan. 24, 2018
8 min read
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Singapore Airlines' first-class product has a well-deserved reputation as one of the best luxury experiences in the sky. Many in the points and miles world save up just for the chance to book this first class experience complete with Dom Perignon (and Krug) champagne and some of the best in-flight service out there.

Before we dive into how you can book your next first-class adventure on Singapore Airlines, let's take a look at what you can expect from the different aircraft types operated by the carrier.

The First-Class Cabins

Right now, Singapore operates aircraft with three different first-class layouts—the Boeing 777-300 and two versions of the Airbus A380. On its 777-300s, the first-class cabin is arranged in a 1-2-1 layout. Each seat has plenty of room and, of course, turns into a lie-flat bed. The seats are actually very similar to the business-class seats on this aircraft but the first-class service really sets it apart.

You'll find Singapore Airlines' famous Suites Class on its Airbus A380s. The airline's started to roll out the new version, which has taken an already amazing product to a new level. The new cabin will be on the upper deck, and each Suite has a bed separate from the seat.

The older version — don't worry, it's still amazing — is still on most A380s at this point and is a true suite complete with doors to ensure maximum privacy. Like the first-class product on the Boeing 777-300, the cabin has a 1-2-1 layout.

Singapore Suites on the A380.
Singapore Suites on the A380.

The new A380 cabin layout will only have six suites (compared to eight on the 777 and 12 on the older A380), which will mean much more space for each passenger. One aspect of the old suites that was maintained is the ability to form a double bed between two suites, ideal for couples.

Regardless of aircraft, you can count on some great champagne, a great meal — don't forget to "Book the Cook" — and plenty of hot towels to help you stay refreshed.

If you see a route operated by one of Singapore's new Airbus A350s, keep in mind that it doesn't have a first-class cabin on this aircraft but it does have a fantastic business class.

Now, let's dig into how you can book either first class or Suites Class with Singapore Airlines.

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Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer

Unlike most airlines, Singapore Airlines will only let you book its first class (and business class) award tickets on long-haul routes through its own KrisFlyer program. So, while United Airlines and Air Canada are both Star Alliance partners of Singapore Airlines, you won't be able to use MileagePlus or Aeroplan miles to book these premium-cabin awards.

Earn KrisFlyer Miles

Fortunately, Singapore Airlines partners with American Express Membership Rewards, Chase Ultimate Rewards, Citi ThankYou Rewards and Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG) so you have plenty of options when you need to transfer points to your KrisFlyer account.

Each of these programs transfer points to Singapore Airlines at a 1:1 ratio, and transfers of 20,000 Starpoints will also earn you a 5,000-mile bonus. You can transfer up to 79,000 Starpoints per 24 hours, though you shouldn't transfer more than 60,000 Starpoints to maximize the 5,000-mile bonus on each chunk of 20,000 Starpoints.

Singapore Airlines has two separate award charts: one for itineraries that only include flights it operates and one for itineraries that include flights on Star Alliance partners. This is important if you need to connect from your home airport to a gateway airport from which Singapore Airlines operates.

Suites Class Options

If you want to book Suites Class from the US, it's going to be a bit tough because Singapore only operates an A380 to/from New York (JFK). It can be quite difficult to find award space from JFK, so plan ahead. Returning to JFK can be a bit easier to find.

Here's a breakdown of the KrisFlyer miles required one-way for Suites Class on some routes to/from JFK:

RouteSingapore Airlines Award ChartStar Alliance Award Chart
New York (JFK) - Frankfurt (FRA)76,000 KrisFlyer miles95,000 KrisFlyer miles
New York (JFK) - Singapore (SIN)120,000 KrisFlyer miles135,000 KrisFlyer miles
New York (JFK) - Sydney (SYD)152,000 KrisFlyer miles152,500 KrisFlyer miles

As you can see, the Singapore Airlines award chart is significantly cheaper for flights to FRA and SIN, which means it might make more sense to book a separate award with another program to connect to JFK. However, if you're flying to SYD, a connecting flight on United Airlines to New York with a Star Alliance redemption would only cost 500 more KrisFlyer miles.

If you want to try the newest version of Suites Class and book with miles, you'll have to find award space on the SYD-SIN (SQ 232/SQ 221) route for now. This is the only route with an A380 that's outfitted with the new cabin layout, though it will soon be available on flights from Singapore to both London and Hong Kong. On top of that, saver-level award space is not yet available on these flights.

singapore airlines new suites class
The new Suites Class double bed on Singapore Airlines.

If you can't wait for saver-level award space, you might be able to find a standard level award, but it will require 150,000 KrisFlyer miles for a one-way award ticket. That's 70,000 miles more than a saver-level award, which would require 80,000 miles.

First-Class Options

Singapore Airlines flies a Boeing 777-300 from both Los Angeles (LAX) and San Francisco (SFO) if you want to try its first-class product from the US.

Too bad I didn't get a chance to try this seat out on this trip.
First class seats on the Boeing 777-300 have plenty of space.

While Singapore's Star Alliance award chart classifies North America as one region, the Singapore Airlines award chart splits the US into West Coast and East Coast & Houston. Let's take a look at some redemptions that start from the West Coast region:

RouteSingapore Airlines Award ChartStar Alliance Award Chart
West Coast - Japan/South Korea95,000 KrisFlyer miles125,000 KrisFlyer miles
West Coast - Hong Kong92,000 KrisFlyer miles125,000 KrisFlyer miles
West Coast - Singapore118,000 KrisFlyer miles135,000 KrisFlyer miles
West Coast - Australia and New Zealand (excluding Perth & Darwin)154,000 KrisFlyer miles152,500 KrisFlyer miles

As when departing from JFK on the East Coast, booking a first-class award on Singapore Airlines from the West Coast is generally much cheaper when you book Singapore-only awards.

You can find nonstop first-class flights on Singapore Airlines from SFO to Hong Kong (HKG) and from LAX to either Tokyo-Narita (NRT) or Seoul-Incheon (ICN).

If you choose to fly all the way to SYD, you'll actually save miles if you have a connection on United Airlines. You might even be able to get a seat on one of Singapore Airlines' A380s from SIN to SYD to try Suites Class on your journey as well.

Taxes And Fees on Award Tickets

Singapore Airlines devalued its award chart in March 2017 but removed carrier-imposed surcharges from award bookings on its own metal. However, you'll still be responsible for the surcharges required by Star Alliance partners. This won't be a problem if you're connecting in the US on United but could have an impact if you're connecting on a partner such as Lufthansa.

Bottom Line

At first glance, it might seem like only being able to book first-class awards on Singapore Airlines with its KrisFlyer program would be a problem. However, when you consider that Amex Membership Rewards, Chase Ultimate Rewards, Citi ThankYou Rewards and SPG Starpoints can all be transferred to your Singapore KrisFlyer account, it seems a lot more doable.

As with many premium-cabin awards, you'll want to start looking for award space as soon as you have an idea of your travel dates. First -class award space on Singapore Airlines is not always easy to find, so starting your search as early as 355 days prior to your desired departure date is advisable.

With a little planning, you'll be able to earn the required points and find the necessary award space to try one of the best first-class products in the world.

Featured image by (Photo by Zach Honig/The Points Guy)