Book United Award Flights for Less Via Singapore KrisFlyer Online!

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Late last year, Singapore Airlines started displaying Star Alliance and other partner airline awards on their website for award bookings. This was tremendous news as previously you had to call to make award bookings with partners, which obviously adds a layer of complication to securing the flights you want. This was big news for most of us even if we don’t fly on Singapore with regularity because Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer miles are very easy to earn as they are a 1:1 transfer partner of Chase Ultimate Rewards, Amex Membership Rewards, and the Citi ThankYou program. However, at first, the number of partners they had as bookable online was less than impressive.

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That is now old news as there are more partners bookable online, including United! This is great news as the Singapore Airlines award chart is sometimes more generous for United operated flights than the United award chart. If you haven’t spent time learning these sweet spots before, check out the Singapore Star Alliance partner award chart when you get a chance.

Some example Singapore Airlines award prices for Star Alliance flights within North America are 25,000 for economy (same as United), 40,000 for business/domestic first (better than United), and 60,000 for first class on a three-cabin plane. It is easiest if you find the availability you want on United’s website first and then head on over to the Singapore website to book using the ‘redeem flights’ and ‘search star alliance partners’ options.

It’s best to look on United’s site first as you can view up to 30 days of award availability at once on United and the Singapore site just sort of errors you back to the main search page if it doesn’t find exactly what you are asking for in your search. Remember that on United’s site you are looking for United saver space that is not the expanded saver space for cardholders or elites. An easy way to be sure that is what you are seeing is to simply not log in the United site for your searches.

Singapore award prices to Hawaii are better than United’s at just 35,000 per round trip in economy (United wants 45,000) and just 60,000 miles round trip in first class on a two-cabin plane (United wants 80,000 – 100,000). Being able to fly to Hawaii in first class on United for just 60,000 miles is an incredible deal if you can find the availability. Even getting there for just 17,500 miles each way in economy is a solid deal for those of us in the middle and eastern part of the country.

However, I do want to mention that while booking United domestic first class seats via Singapore will be a better deal than via United, I am having zero luck this morning finding any bookable domestic United first class availability at the saver level on any route I have tested. I don’t know if this is entirely coincidental timing, but I’m just having exceedingly bad luck. I couldn’t even find a single example to use here even on a short route like Houston – Austin. Hopefully, that is some sort of glitch that resolves soon.

While I couldn’t find any United domestic first class examples to use this morning, I was able to find this Houston – Frankfurt flight in Lufthansa first class for 95,000 KrisFlyer miles + about $500 in taxes. For comparison, United would want 110,000 miles and $5.60 (plus any relevant last minute booking fees). Aeroplan would want 70,000 miles and roughly the same number of taxes as Singapore. Singapore isn’t the best option out there to book that route, but it is still worth noting that you can now book it online via Singapore if you wanted to.

Know that while you can transfer points to Singapore from Amex Membership Rewards, Chase Ultimate Rewards, and Citi ThankYou, none of the transfers are currently instantaneous. In my experience, Chase Ultimate Rewards has the shortest transfer time at sometimes less than a full day, but the others can take a day or two. This makes it very hard (or impossible) to transfer and know for sure that you are going to be able to lock in the award you want.

Will this new way to book United awards for less online help your family stretch your miles?

Thanks to The Frequent Miler for spotting this expanded search availability on Singapore’s site!

 

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Comments

  1. If transfers take this long, how is this doable? Sorry, but I’m not going to chance that I’m going to lose my miles because it takes longer to transfer and then the flight isn’t available. Perhaps those of you who don’t have 8-5 Mon-Fri jobs can make adjustments, the vast majority of us cannot.

    • It is a limiting factor for sure. You are right that the greatest benefit goes to those who could have some flexibility in travel plans, or they are booking something that has lots of availability. Frankly, if you are targeting economy I wouldn’t stress a ton about a day or two delay in booking most of the time as seats will still be there. If you are targeting one date with just two first class seats, that is a higher risk situation. Some folks are also okay moving X miles to Singapore knowing they will use them for something in the next few years. Not every pathway is perfect for everyone though. Thanks for reading!

  2. @S — I’ve booked many SQ awards without issue despite non-instantaneous points transfers — perhaps you should relax and simply appreciate the MP post

  3. Singapore said it will take 5-7 business days before my AMEX MR transfer appears in my KrisFlyer account. Of course I’m hoping my four seats on a Hawaii flight will still be there and that it doesn’t actually take that long. This is definitely the best option if it works!

    • I just did a transfer from Amex last week and they appeared within 48 hours. Maybe even less than than that, that is just when I checked.

      • Good news! Despite Singapore’s statement telling me that my AMEX MR would take 5-7 days, it was less than 24 hours and we got our Hawaii seats over the holidays. Phew! I input all of our info on their website but had to call Singapore to finalize/pay the taxes/fees for it, but there was no extra phone charge for that.

  4. I’m trying to book United award flights to Honolulu. Where is the ‘search alliance partners’ option on the Krisflyer site? When I select ‘Redeem Flights’ I can select a NYC airport for departure but does not show me Honolulu on the destination drop-down list.

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