Derek Low’s post about his Singapore Airlines Suites Class experience went viral and made tens of thousands of people envious. Funny how that works.
Stop the envy. You and I can have the same experience for about $414.
See, the thing that Derek didn’t emphasize is that while Singapore Airlines Suites Class would have cost $23,000 in cash if he was to buy it outright, he didn’t buy it with cash. There are people out there who can afford these outrageous sums but they are few and far between.
The reason you see young, 20-something guys (and 94% of the time it’s guys) doing this isn’t because they’re billionaires (although they could be), but because they’ve learned to play the frequent flyer miles game, the same way that you can too. You can play the frequent flyer game too as well as anyone else out there if you’re willing to learn and try.
There’s no reason the person in this picture can’t be you or me. In fact, I’m saving up (miles) to do this myself. Not cash. I would never blow $23,000 or even $2,300 to do this because like I’m an ordinary bloke and I don’t have that kind of cash to throw away so I can post a few pictures and make people jealous.
So what I’m going to here is to tell you the back story of how Derek pulled his Singapore Airlines Suites Class stunt, and how you can do it too. All you need is a good credit score, some discipline and patience.
Here’s some important facts to keep in mind:
- You can only book Singapore Airlines Suites Class with Singapore KrisFlyer Miles (their own frequent flyer program)
- You can get KrisFlyer Miles by transferring points from credit cards (more on this later)
- You can get enough KrisFlyer miles to fly most of their routes by opening one or two new credit cards
How to get Singapore Airlines Suites Class for $414
1. Pick a route to fly
Singapore flies the Airbus A380 (with Suites Class) on a number of different routes. I’m assuming that you want the same check-in and lounge experience as Derek, so you’ll want to book Singapore Airlines Suites Class departing Singapore, which is what he did.
- Certain routes are easier to book with miles than others
- The European and Asian routes tend to be easier to book than routes going all the way to the USA
- All routes have award space if you’re flexible and book far in advance (up to one year ahead)
If you want to see how many miles a certain route will cost, here’s Singapore Airlines’ award chart. Be warned, it’s a very confusing chart and you’ll get 15% off the prices in that chart by booking online (and why wouldn’t you?)
The goal is to redeem at the “Saver” award level. Unfortunately you’ll often find only one seat at the “Saver” level. So you’ll have to choose between flying alone (like Derek did), or paying for a “Standard” award for your companion.[table id=1 /]
2. Sign up for a KrisFlyer account
You’ll need to join Singapore’s KrisFlyer frequent flyer program (free)!
3. Get some KrisFlyer miles!!!
Great, how do you get KrisFlyer miles? If you live in the US and have good credit, it’s easy. There’s so many banks out there ready to hand you miles if you apply for their credit cards and spend a certain amount of money. Here are just a few examples:
- Chase Sapphire Preferred Visa* – get 40,000 points. 2x points on dining and travel.
- Chase Ink Plus Visa* – get 70,000 points until 10/10/2014. 5x points at office supply stores. It’s a business card, but you can have a business too… “John Doe Consulting” 😉
- American Express Gold and Platinum cards – anywhere from 25,000 to 100,000 points depending on the promotions they’re running
- Starwood Preferred Guest American Express – get 25,000 points that can also be used on hotels
- Citi Thank You Premier Visa – get 50,000 points
*I get a few bonus points if you apply with my * links. You get the same great offer that’s available to the public. Thanks for your support! For cards with no link above, Google the name of the card and look for the best offer you can get.
All of the above points can be transferred to Singapore KrisFlyer at a 1:1 ratio. Starwood Preferred Guest often runs promos where you can transfer at 1:1.25 if you transfer 20,000 points at a time.
What’s the best strategy to get enough miles for Singapore Airlines Suites Class?
If I had to tell my mom what to do, I’d say to go for one of the Chase Sapphire or Ink Plus. If you don’t have a business and don’t feel comfortable creating one on the spot, then get the Sapphire instead of the Ink Plus. It’s a great all around card for the dining/travel bonus and there’s no foreign transaction fees when you’re abroad. I’d apply for the Sapphire or Ink Plus and then wait a month or two and apply for the Citi Thank You Premier. That offer of 50,000 points is around all the time.
Whether you choose the Sapphire or Ink Plus, the combination of that plus the Citi Thank You will get you enough miles for Singapore Airlines Suites Class to LA or New York (91,375/93,500 miles).
KrisFlyer miles expire 36 months after being transferred to your account, so don’t transfer your credit card points to KrisFlyer until you’re ready to book.
4. Search for your flight!
As your points start accumulating, find the flight you want to book. Head over to Singapore’s website. As an example, we’ll look for a seat on the Singapore-Tokyo-Los Angeles route.
Next, click continue. You’ll get to the final stage of booking where you’ll see the total miles and taxes it’ll cost you.
And there you have it. Your own Singapore Airlines Suites Class flight from Singapore to Los Angeles via Tokyo, for 91,375 miles and $414 USD (exchange rate will vary). It takes a bit more work and planning to book with miles but in the end, you save over $22,500 and get the same experience Princess Derek was bragging about.
Singapore Airlines Suites Class One-Way?
But wait, you say… “This is only a one way ticket! I have to get to Singapore first! And what about getting back home from Los Angeles?”
Now you’re asking the right questions. If you want to fly this round-trip, you’ll double the miles and taxes you’ll need to pay. Otherwise, you can “position” to Singapore by using other airline miles or buying a one-way ticket. And as for getting home from Los Angeles, it’s probably best just to buy a cheap ticket.
See, Derek only flew this flight one way, and there’s no telling if New York is where he wanted to end up. I suspect he spent other airline miles to get to Singapore in the first place.
“This is a lot of hassle,” you say. And it is. This is what frequent flyer travel hackers do all the time to fly in the exact planes and seats that they want. You only see the jealousy-inducing pictures but not the complicated positioning involved in getting there, not to mention having to fly on a certain date because that’s the only day you could find availability.
Still jealous? Don’t be. You can have what Derek had if you’re willing to jump through the hoops and pay the price. But I promise you, it won’t cost anywhere near $23,000. 🙂