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Ultimate guide to Singapore KrisFlyer

June 05, 2020
22 min read
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Singapore Airlines' Krisflyer loyalty program is a must-learn for anyone who is new to the points and miles world. It's a transfer partner of all the transferrable points programs and the only way to book award tickets on Singapore Airlines' top-notch Suites first class product. Plus, its Star Alliance award chart has some hidden gems you should be aware of too.

Don't know where to start with Krisflyer? Don't fret — here, I'll give you an in-depth overview of how you can earn and burn Krisflyer miles.

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Program overview

Singapore Airlines A380 at ZRH
(Photo by Andrey Armyagov/Shutterstock)

Singapore Airlines is the flag carrier of Singapore, offering connections to major cities in Asia, Europe, North America and beyond. The airline has also beefed up its international presence by running a number of fifth-freedom routes, with some of the most well-known being New York-JFK to Frankfurt (FRA), Houston (IAH) to Manchester (MAN) and San Francisco (SFO) to Hong Kong (HKG).

Singapore Airlines' Krisflyer loyalty program has continued to publish an award chart, so you can redeem your miles at a predictable rate. One of the nuances of the program, however, is that it publishes a different award chart for flights flown by partners.

The program has also continued to award miles based on distance flown on flights operated by Singapore Airlines and its partners. This has made the program attractive to U.S.-based travelers that aren't onboard with United's switch to awarding miles based on the price of a ticket.

Finally, the airline has two basic elite status tiers, with the higher-end offering full Star Alliance Gold benefits to its members. In addition, Singapore Airlines has two special elite status tiers for big spenders. We'll take a closer look at how to earn Singapore Airlines elite status and give an overview of each tier's benefits later in the article.

Earning Singapore Airlines Krisflyer miles

There are a few ways to earn Krisflyer miles. For starters, you can earn by flying on Singapore Airlines and its Star Alliance partners, like United Airlines. In addition, you can transfer miles from different credit card programs and earn on everyday purchases when you shop through the Krisflyer shopping portal.

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Earn by flying with Singapore Airlines

Singapore Airlines awards miles based on distance flown and fare class. You can view a copy of the airline's most recent earnings chart for Singapore flights below.

CabinBonusFare class
Suites/First Class200%AF
Business Class150%C, J, Z
125%D, U
Premium Economy125%S, T
100%R, L P
Economy100%B, E, Y
75%H, M, W
50%K, N, Q, V

To calculate how many miles you'll earn on a flight, find the distance of your flight using a website like GCMap and then find your ticket's fare class on the e-ticket sent to you after you booked. Then, multiply the distance of your flight (in miles) by the percentage listed next to your booking class.

SIN-EWR Flight Map

For example, if you fly from Singapore (SIN) to Newark (EWR) on the world's longest flight, you'd earn 14,301 miles if you flew in C fare business class. The math looks like this: 9,534 miles * 1.5 = 14,301 miles.

Earning miles with partner flights

A Boeing 747-8 departs from the Tegel airport in Berlin, Germany, 8 February 2018. Lufthansa launches the redesign of their crane logo on the occasion of their 100th anniversary. Photo: Britta Pedersen/dpa (Photo by Britta Pedersen/picture alliance via Getty Images)
(Photo by Britta Pedersen/picture alliance via Getty Images)

Singapore Airlines is a member of the Star Alliance, so you can earn Krisflyer miles when you fly with any Star Alliance member. In addition, the airline has non-alliance partnerships with other carriers like Alaska Airlines, JetBlue and Virgin Atlantic.

Each of these airlines has its own Singapore Airlines earning chart. You can view the full Singapore Airlines partner-earning chart on the airlines' website (warning: PDF link). To calculate your earnings, find your fare class underneath your airline partner's name and multiply your flight's distance by the percentage listed.

For example, if you flew Lufthansa from Chicago-O'Hare (ORD) to Munich (MUC) in Q fare economy, you'd earn 2,265 redeemable miles. The Q fare class earns 50% miles flown and the flight is 4,530 miles in distance.

CabinBonusFare class
First200%A, F
Business150%C, D, I
125%Z, P
Economy100%G, E, N (for international flights only)

B, Y

75%M, U, H
50%Q, V, W, S

Earn with credit cards

While Singapore Airlines doesn't offer a cobranded credit card in the U.S., the airline does partner with all of the major transferrable rewards programs. These include American Express Membership Rewards, Capital One Rewards, Citi ThankYou and Chase Ultimate Rewards. All of these programs transfer miles to Singapore Krisflyer at a 1:1 ratio, except for Capital One which transfers at a 2:1 transfer ratio.

Your best bet is to transfer from programs that offer a 1:1 transfer ratio like Chase Ultimate Rewards. You need a premium Ultimate Rewards card — like the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card or Chase Sapphire Reserve — to transfer points to travel partners. If you have a Chase Freedom (No longer open to new applicants) or Chase Freedom Unlimited, you can convert your cash back rewards to points if you also have one of the aforementioned premium cards.

Some of our favorite Chase Ultimate Rewards credit cards include:

  • Chase Sapphire Preferred Card: Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months from account opening. The card also lets you earn 2x Ultimate Rewards points on travel when booked through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and 3x on dining purchases.
  • Chase Sapphire Reserve: Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 in the first three months from account opening.
    The card also lets you earn 3x Ultimate Rewards points on travel (excluding the $300 travel credit) and dining purchases and includes various travel benefits like a $300 travel credit and a Priority Pass Select membership.
  • Ink Business Preferred Credit Card: Earn 100,000 bonus points after you spend $15,000 on purchases in the first three months after account opening. The card also lets you earn 3x Ultimate Rewards points on select business purchases (up to $150,000 in purchases per account anniversary year).

The information for the Chase Freedom has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

American Express Membership Rewards cards are another awesome bet for earning Singapore Airlines miles. Some American Express cards offer up to 4x points per dollar on everyday purchase categories like dining at restaurants and groceries at U.S. supermarkets and up to 5x points per dollar on airfare purchased direct from the airline.

Here's a look at some of American Express' best cards:

  • The Platinum Card® from American Express: Earn 100,000 Membership Rewards Points after you spend $6,000 on purchases within the first 6 months of account opening. Plus, the card earns 5x Membership Rewards points on airfare booked directly with the airline (starting Jan. 1, 2021, earn 5x points on up to $500,000 on these purchases per calendar year) and includes lounge access and other benefits; ($695 annual fee; see rates and fees). Enrollment required for select benefits.
  • American Express® Gold Card: Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months. The card also earns 4x Membership Rewards points per dollar spent at restaurants and groceries at U.S. supermarkets (up to $25,000 in purchases per calendar year; then 1x) and 3x on airfare booked directly with the airline; ($250 annual fee; see rates and fees)
  • American Express® Green Card: Earn 45,000 bonus points after you spend $2,000 on purchases in your first six months of card membership. The card also earns 3x Membership Rewards points per dollar spent on travel and restaurant purchases worldwide. ($150 annual fee; see rates and fees)

The information for the Amex Green Card has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

Earning points with one of these flexible rewards cards and transferring them to Singapore Airlines is by far the easiest way for most people to earn Krisflyer miles. However, we don't recommend transferring to Singapore Airlines without first finding the flight you'd like to book. That way, you're not stuck with a bunch of miles you can't use because of a lack of award space.

Point transfers to Singapore Airlines take at least a day to process, so you'll want to call and get Singapore Airlines to hold your award ticket before you initiate a transfer. Confused on how to do this? Don't worry — we'll cover that in the next section.

Earn with the Krisflyer Spree shopping portal

Singapore Airlines has its own shopping portal — dubbed Krisflyer Spree — that you can use to earn bonus miles when you shop online. The portal operates in Singapore, the U.S., Australia, and greater Asia, so make sure to select your country when you first load the shopping portal.

You'll earn miles based on how much you spend and each participating merchant offers a different number of points per dollar spent through Krisflyer Spree. Earning rates fluctuate frequently, so keep an eye on your favorite merchants for elevated earning rates during the holidays and other special promotions.

Singapore Airlines Krisflyer Spree Portal

To earn miles with the portal, head to the Krisflyer Spree website and select your location at the top of the screen. Then, log into your Krisflyer account, find the merchant you'd like to shop with and click the Shop Now button. Complete your purchase as normal and you should see the bonus points credit to your account within a few weeks of completing the purchase.

Related: Maximizing shopping portals for your online purchases

Earn miles with hotel partners

Singapore Airlines has partnerships with all the major hotel companies, including Marriott, IHG, Hilton and Hyatt. The airline also partners with a number of smaller hotel groups, like Shangri-La, Wharfhotels and World Hotels. You can view a full list of partners on the Singapore Airlines website.

How you earn miles depends on the partner. Some hotel companies will let you earn miles in lieu of hotel points, while others let you convert your hotel points to Krisflyer miles. For example, Marriott Bonvoy points transfer at a 3:1 ratio to Krisflyer miles, and you'll earn a 5,000-mile bonus for every 60,000 points transferred.

Earning with hotels can sometimes make sense, but not in all cases. So, run the numbers on your specific hotel stays and see if it makes sense to earn airline miles instead of hotel point — in many cases, you may get more value by earning hotel points if you'll earn them at a better rate and redeem for an expensive hotel stay.

Redeeming Singapore Airlines Krisflyer miles

Singapore Airlines A380 Business Class
(Photo by Agent Wolf/Shutterstock)

Now for the fun part: redeeming Krisflyer miles. You'll get the most value by redeeming your miles for flights on Singapore Airlines and its partners. I'll show you how to book these redemptions and discuss some of the airlines' most interesting award chart sweet spots below.

Redeeming miles for Singapore Airlines flights

Barring specific circumstances, Singapore Airlines only releases long-haul business and first class awards to Krisflyer members. So if you want to experience Singapore Suites on the airline's A380 or business class on the world's longest flight, you'll need to know how to maximize this award chart.

Singapore Airlines has two redemption tiers: Saver and Advantage. Saver award space is generally harder to come by but costs fewer miles to redeem. On the other hand, Advantage award space is more expensive but easier to come by and includes up to two free stopovers on a round-trip ticket.

You can view the Singapore Airlines award chart on the airline's website (PDF link). Note that all Singapore Airlines award space can be found and booked online, so there's no need to call in to book. Singapore usually offers free award ticket holds, but you need to call to get one. We've heard reports of Krisflyer members having award tickets held for weeks at a time, but this varies by phone agent.

Best Singapore Airlines redemptions from the U.S.

One of the best ways to redeem Singapore Airlines miles is on the carrier's fifth-freedom flights from the U.S. If you want to go to Europe, consider booking the airline's New York to Frankfurt or Houston to Manchester flights — these can be booked for 72,000 miles each way in business class or 86,000 miles in first.

Additionally, the airline operates flights from Los Angeles to Tokyo-Narita (NRT) and San Francisco to Hong Kong. Flights to Tokyo can be booked for 82,000 and 107,000 miles in business and first class, respectively. Meanwhile, flights to Hong Kong can be booked for 89,000 and 104,000 miles, respectively.

Finally, you can book a ticket on Singapore Airlines' ultra-long-haul flights from Newark to Singapore for 99,000 miles each way in business class. Unfortunately, first class is not operated on these routes, but Singapore's ultra-long-haul business class product doesn't disappoint.

Related: Ultimate guide to the new Singapore Suites

Stopovers on Singapore Airlines award tickets

One cool thing about redeeming Singapore Airlines miles is that you can add stopovers to all award tickets. Saver award tickets include one stopover on a round-trip ticket, or you can add a stopover to a one-way ticket for $100. Advantage award tickets include one stopover on a one-way ticket and two on a round-trip ticket, and you can add additional stopovers for $100. There's a catch, though: all flights must be operated by Singapore Airlines, so it's hard to go beyond two stopovers on a round-trip ticket.

On the bright side, you can add stopovers to an open-jaw ticket. For example, you can book an Advantage award for Los Angeles-Tokyo-Singapore and then do a separate one for Singapore-Hong Kong-San Francisco.

There are times when you might want to spend $100 for an additional stopover too. For example, you can fly New York-Frankfurt- Singapore-Melbourne (MEL) for 167,000 miles on a first class Saver ticket and pay $100 each for stopovers in Frankfurt and Singapore. If you booked the ticket leg-by-leg, you'd pay 296,000 miles. The $200 in added fees is more than worth the 129,000 in mileage savings, worth $1,677 per TPG's most recent valuation of 1.3 cents per point.

Unfortunately, you can't book these stopovers on the Singapore Airlines website, so you'll need to call in to book your itinerary. In practice, though, this isn't too bad considering you'll want to get a hold on your itinerary before you transfer miles to Singapore Airlines anyway.

Redeeming miles on partner flights

You can redeem Krisflyer miles for flights with any partner airline, both inside and outside of Star Alliance. The airlines' Star Alliance award chart is posted on its website (PDF link) — all prices shown are for round-trip tickets, and one-way bookings cost half of the miles shown.

You can book Star Alliance awards on the carrier's website — just input your search on the homepage, check the "redeem flights" box and submit. Unfortunately, we've found Singapore's Star Alliance search results to be inaccurate at times, so it's in your best interest to use another Star Alliance search engine to verify all results. If you find something not listed on the Singapore website, call the airline to book your award ticket.

Non-alliance partners like Alaska Airlines each have their own award charts that you can find on Singapore Airlines' website. Always see if you can get a better deal by transferring miles to another airline before you transfer miles to Singapore Airlines.

Best Krisflyer Star Alliance bookings in the U.S.

United Polaris (Photo by Zach Griff/The Points Guy)
(Photo by Zach Griff/The Points Guy)

Krisflyer miles offer a great way to book premium domestic tickets with United Airlines. For example, you can book transcontinental business class flights for just 23,000 miles one-way, making it the best way to fly United Polaris business class from Newark to Los Angeles and San Francisco — this is especially true if you book a ticket on United's 787-10, which is frequently deployed on these routes.

Alternatively, you can use Krisflyer miles to fly to Hawaii on the cheap too. The airline charges just 17,500 for a one-way ticket from the Mainland U.S. to Hawaii in economy and 34,500 miles for first class. This is far cheaper than booking the same award with United miles and includes long-haul, nonstop flights from Newark and Chicago to Honolulu (HNL).

NOTE: Hawaii is currently under a 14-day quarantine for new arrivals to the islands and asks visitors to stay away for now. TPG doesn’t advise booking trips for travel until later this year — and even then, be mindful of cancellation policies.

Booking Alaska Airlines flights with Krisflyer miles

Another interesting way to use Krisflyer miles is by redeeming them for flights on Alaska Airlines. The airline offers great redemption rates on Alaska Airlines flights, but there's one major restriction to be aware of: you can't book connecting award tickets. Instead, you can only book nonstop Alaska Airlines flights with Krisflyer miles.

That said, there are still some great deals to be had. According to Singapore Airlines' Alaska Airlines award chart (PDF link), you can book a one-way economy class flight from the U.S. West Coast to Hawaii for just 12,000 Krisflyer miles. This is one of the cheapest ways to use miles to fly to Hawaii, and is an option to consider if you live in an Alaska hub city.

Related: Maximizing Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer partner awards

Singapore Airlines Krisflyer elite status

Singapore Airlines offers two tiers of elite status: Krisflyer Silver and Gold. These elite status tiers take 25,000 and 50,000 elite miles to earn respectively — you'll earn elite miles when flying on Singapore Airlines flights or flights operated by its partner airlines.

Both elite status tiers earn 25% bonus miles on flights operated by Singapore Airlines and SilkAir, the airline's regional subsidiary. In addition, both members can select seats for free on all flights operated by the two airlines.

Krisflyer Gold, however, is far more valuable. The status tier includes all the benefits mentioned above plus:

  • Priority check-in, boarding and baggage handling
  • Complimentary Forward Zone seat selection on Singapore Airlines and SilkAir flights
  • Star Alliance Gold status which includes worldwide Star Alliance lounge access

Elite Gold Rewards

Krisflyer Gold members earn Elite Gold Rewards perks after earning 60,000, 75,000 and 100,000 elite miles. Here's a quick look at the Elite Gold Rewards perks you can earn:

  • 60,000 elite miles: A voucher that lets you earn double Krisflyer miles on a flight segment of your choosing. We recommend using this voucher on a long-haul, premium cabin segment if possible.
  • 75,000 elite miles: A voucher that you can use for a one-cabin confirmed upgrade on a short-haul Singapore Airlines flight of your choice.
  • 100,000 elite miles: A voucher that you can use to upgrade from economy to premium economy on all eligible Singapore Airlines bookings. This is best used on long-haul flights.

These elite status perks aren't as grand as what's offered by the major U.S. airlines, but they can still come in handy if you're a Singapore Airlines loyalist. For Singapore Airlines elites based in the U.S., one of the best features of Krisflyer Gold is that you can access United Club lounges when traveling domestically within the U.S.

PPS Club status

Singapore Airlines Sign
(Photo by Sorbis/Shutterstock)

Singapore Airlines' special elite status program, dubbed PPS Club, can only be earned by travelers who earn at least 25,000 PPS points per year. PPS points are earned based on how much you spend on Singapore Airlines and SilkAir flights, with $1 Singapore Dollar (~$0.71 USD) equaling 1 PPS point.

But there's a catch: you can only earn PPS points when you fly Singapore Airlines or SilkAir premium cabins, so economy flights don't count. Additionally, airport taxes do not count towards PPS Club status — per the Singapore Airlines website, only the actual airfare and "applicable surcharges" count at this time.

When you reach PPS Club status, you can enjoy all the perks of Krisflyer Gold as well as other perks like access to Virgin Atlantic Clubhouses when flying Virgin Atlantic and guaranteed seats in economy class and free Wi-Fi on all Singapore Airlines flights, amongst other benefits.

You can also earn PPS Club Solitare status when you earn 50,000 PPS points. Additional benefits include special check-in lanes at Singapore airport, first class check-in at all other airports, first class lounge access and access to the to the Plaza Premium Lounge upon arrival at London-Heathrow (LHR).

Additionally, PPS Club members earn additional PPS Rewards perks after hitting specific PPS point goals — here's a quick look at everything you can earn:

  • 30,000 PPS Club points: Receive two vouchers that let you earn double Krisflyer miles on a flight segment of your choosing. As discussed, we recommend using these vouchers on a long-haul, premium cabin segments if possible.
  • 40,000 PPS Club points: Get a 50,000-mile discount on an award booking of your choice.
  • 60,000, 75,000 and 100,000 PPS Club points: Receive a voucher that you can use for a one-cabin confirmed upgrade on a Singapore Airlines flight of your choice.

Botton line

In this article, we showed you everything you need to know about earning and redeeming Singapore Airlines Krisflyer miles and gave you a crash-course on Singapore Airlines' elite status program.

Krisflyer is the only way to redeem miles on long-haul premium cabin awards on Singapore Airlines, and is a great option for redeeming miles for transcontinental flights and flights to Hawaii on United Airlines. If you're interested in these redemptions, you can transfer points from all of the major transferrable points currencies to Singapore Krisflyer.

For rates and fees of the Platinum Card, please click here.
For rates and fees of the Amex Gold Card, please click here.
For rates and fees of the Amex Green card, please click here.

Featured image by NurPhoto via Getty Images
Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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