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Singapore Airlines adds new 'fifth freedom' route from Los Angeles

Aug. 11, 2021
4 min read
Singapore Airlines A350-900
Singapore Airlines adds new 'fifth freedom' route from Los Angeles
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Singapore Airlines is expanding its footprint in the U.S., announcing a new “fifth freedom” route from Los Angeles to the Taiwanese capital of Taipei.

The flights will begin Aug. 25, with Singapore operating a schedule of three weekly flights on Airbus A350-900 aircraft. The 253-seat jets are configured in a three-cabin layout that includes 42 seats in business class and 24 in premium economy. The flight schedule will be as follows:

  • SQ 35 from LAX to TPE. Departs 12:40 a.m. and arrives 6:10 a.m. the next morning, all times local. Flight departs LAX each Monday, Thursday and Saturday.
  • SQ 36 from TPE to LAX. Departs 5:50 p.m. and arrives 3:20 p.m. the same day, all times local. Flight departs TPE each Wednesday, Friday and Sunday.

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The flights will operate what’s known in the industry as a fifth-freedom route, or one that allows an airline to fly and sell tickets between two countries — neither of which is its home base – as long as the flight continues to or from the carrier’s home nation.

Singapore’s LAX-TPE service – technically a resumption of a route the airline last flew in 2008 – will give it a total of five fifth-freedom routes from the United States. Its others are:

  • Los Angeles (LAX)-Tokyo Narita (NRT).
  • San Francisco (SFO)-Hong Kong (HKG).
  • Houston Bush Intercontinental (IAH)-Manchester, England (MAN).
  • New York (JFK)-Frankfurt, Germany (FRA).

Fifth-freedom routes: Flying top international airlines without setting foot in their home countries

Of those, however, only the LAX-NRT route has resumed since being grounded earlier in the pandemic. The other three have yet to restart, though Singapore Airlines says it remains committed to doing so.

A number of international carriers offered fifth-freedom flights from the U.S. prior to the pandemic, but Singapore’s were among the most coveted by both aviation and points and miles enthusiasts.

Singapore Airlines is noted for its high-end service, especially in its premium first- and business-class cabins. Prior to the pandemic, Singapore operated aircraft featuring its posh first-class seats on its fifth-freedom routes from LAX, SFO and JFK. The JFK-FRA service also gave U.S. travelers a chance to fly on the carrier’s high-profile Airbus A380 superjumbos, which are outfitted with its highly regarded Singapore Suites first-class cabin.

World class: A review of Singapore Airlines Suites on the A380 from Frankfurt to New York

More: Ultimate guide to the new Singapore Suites

Those looking to use miles to fly in economy have a choice of Star Alliance partners with which to book, including United MileagePlus and Aeroplan. For those looking to fly upfront, Singapore doesn't release premium-cabin award space to their partners, so you'll have to book through Singapore's KrisFlyer program.

Related: What are the five freedoms of aviation, and how do they affect you?

Fortunately, these miles are easy to earn since KrisFlyer is a partner of all five major transferable points currencies: Chase Ultimate Rewards, American Express Membership Rewards, Citi ThankYou Rewards, Capital One and Marriott Bonvoy. One-way saver awards cost the following amounts:

RouteEconomyPremium economyBusinessFirst
U.S.-Europe22,500 miles47,000 miles72,000 miles86,000 miles
 U.S.-Tokyo35,000 miles66,000 miles92,000 miles107,000 miles
U.S.-Hong Kong33,000 miles63,000 miles89,000 miles104,000 miles

Remember that booking through Krisflyer allows you to waitlist for awards if your desired flight or class of service isn't available at the time of booking.

Related: Watch TPG UK review all four classes on Singapore Airlines' A380 from Frankfurt to New York

Additional reporting by TPG's Benji Stawski.

Featured image by (Photo by Fasttailwind/Shutterstock)
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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3XEarn 3 Points per $1 spent at Gas Stations, Air Travel and Hotels
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    For a limited time, earn 80,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening

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Why We Chose It

The Citi Premier’s 3 points per dollar spent across a wide range of popular categories is one of the more lucrative offerings in the world of points and miles. The Citi Premier comes with a $95 annual fee and is currently offering a solid sign up bonus of 80,000 points after you spend $4,000 on purchases within the first three months. It also has some valuable transfer partners to make the most of your rewards. Add in access to Citi Entertainment plus a $100 hotel credit for any single-stay hotel booking that exceeds $500 or more, excluding taxes and fees, booked through the Citi travel website, there are few reasons why the Citi Premier should not be in every traveler’s wallet.

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  • Lacks travel protections that other travel rewards cards come with
  • For a limited time, earn 80,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening
  • Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Restaurants and Supermarkets
  • Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Gas Stations, Air Travel and Hotels
  • Earn 1 Point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Annual Hotel Savings Benefit
  • 80,000 Points are redeemable for $800 in gift cards when redeemed at thankyou.com
  • No expiration and no limit to the amount of points you can earn with this card
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees on purchases