Singapore Airlines (SIA) attracted a lot of online criticism recently when news broke of their refusal to acknowledge business-class bookings at economy class prices from tour agencies in Australia. Finally, everything is settled after SIA announced on 8 Dec 14 that they will honour all bookings. (Straits Times article here)
Well, we might have missed the opportunity for a cheap business class ticket. But how about getting one for free? (well…almost)
If you are not already aware, Singapore Airlines is part of the Star Alliance group, and most credit card programmes in Singapore will earn Krisflyer Miles. We will teach you how to make the best use of your hard-earned miles and fly for free.
A. Earn your Krisflyer miles first
1. Earn Krisflyer miles from credit card renewals
We all know that credit cards can earn you tons of miles, but do you know what’s the easiest and fastest way to accrue miles?
That’s right! Even though you can always call up the friendly customer service officers to waive off your annual credit card fees, think about before you waive off for the above credit cards! The “earn rates” for these miles are extremely high – more than 50 miles per $1 – where else can you find them?
The annual fees for the Citibank Prestige are rather steep for 25k KF miles, so I would not recommend that, but any of the other 4 cards are pretty reasonable. If you have all 5, you would have accrued 55k worth of KF miles for $1045.30 in one year – more than enough to redeem your ticket right away!
2. Earn Krisflyer Miles from your hotel stays
Hotels have always been long-time partners with airline miles programs. Even if you booked your hotel through online travel agents like Agoda or even your own corporate programme, you are still entitled to Krisflyer miles! Most of the big brands like Fairmont, Raffles, Swisshotel, Hyatt, Global Hotel Alliance, Intercontinental give you 500 miles per qualifying stay. That means a minimum of 1 night’s stay. If you are interested in checking out a few different hotels during your stay, then you will earn multiples of 500 miles. Check out the full list here
3. Earn Krisflyer Miles from car rentals
Sixt gives 500 miles with every car rental worldwide, and others like Hertz also give 500 miles for every rental outside Asia. If you are not already aware of this and did not accrue the miles to your Krisflyer account, then learn from your mistake and check out the list here.
4. Earn Krisflyer Miles from online shopping
Krisflyer spree is a new programme launched recently that rewards Krisflyer members with miles for spending on participating online merchants. Big names include Apple, Microsoft, Net-a-porter, Mr Porter, Macy’s, Bloomingdales etc. This holiday season, earn bonus miles up to 69 miles per 10USD at these participating outlets (check out the full list here) Apple lovers, please make use of this great opportunity to buy your Mac items online and earn your miles!
5. Watch out for special promotions like 2500 Miles for Forbes Asia
From time to time, there will be special promotions found on this page. How does earning 2500 Miles for a 2 year subscription to Forbes Asia at USD 140 appeal to you?
B. Make your redemption
1. Book saver tickets
If you have a place in mind to spend your miles, refer to the Krisflyer award chart here. The miles published are for one-way ticket. If you refer to the PDF document, there are 3 different charts featuring Saver, Standard and Full fares. Saver is the cheapest group of tickets for redemptions and are always the first to go. As such, plan ahead and start booking early to secure a seat. A one way ticket to Europe (Zone 11) is 60k for Business Saver and 110k for Business Standard. Business full is 270K!!! Why waste the 50k or 210k miles for nothing? However, do note that you can only book up to 1 year in advance, and even then, sometimes you may be on waitlist as Singapore Airlines is very very popular.
2. Book online
Booking online actually gives you a 15% discount on the number of miles required, so a 60k one way ticket to Europe is actually 51k miles.
C. Pay your taxes
Well, if you have managed to secure a booking for a flight to Europe, congratulations! However, do be aware that there will be taxes and carrier surcharges imposed which is around $300 per way.
There you go.. finally a chance to fly to Europe on the famed Singapore Airlines Business Class, where you are pampered by the service, champagne and a nice flatbed during the long flight to another continent. Of course, there’s no free meal in this world, not to mention a free airticket. However, through proper accrual of your miles and an early planning of your upcoming trip, you will be able to secure a business class ticket on the Saver class, and a small fee on taxes and surcharges is definitely worth it (Do remember to use the best credit card when you pay for these taxes! – if not sure please refer to my previous guide here)