As many of you know, Singapore Airlines Suites is one of the best First Class products out there….as well as one of the toughest award redemptions! Is there any doubt why? Flyertalk and the miles and points blogosphere has multiple trip reports for this cabin.
Suites can only be booked with Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer miles. When Singapore Airlines first introduced Suites on their A380, it wasn’t bookable with miles. Soon, SQ allowed KrisFlyer redemptions for Suites for millions of miles one-way, eventually requiring a realistic number of miles to fly in the Suites cabin.
Singapore Airlines features Suites exclusively on their A380s; routes from North America include LAX-NRT-SIN and JFK-FRA-SIN. Online KrisFlyer redemptions qualify for a 15% discount in the number of miles required. For example, JFK-FRA in Suites requires 57,375 KrisFlyer miles; JFK-FRA-SIN requires 93,500 miles. Similarly, LAX-NRT requires 74,375 miles, while LAX-NRT-SIN requires 91,375 miles. KrisFlyer miles can now be transferred from all 4 major flexible points currencies: Chase Ultimate Rewards, American Express Membership Rewards, Starwood Preferred Guest points, and Citi ThankYou points. As you can imagine, with so many ways to accumulate KF miles, Suites award seats have become difficult to come by even 11 months out.
Well, I am delighted to say that after obsessively tracking availability, I have booked 2 Suites seats from LAX to SIN via NRT for Summer 2016!! It required wait-listing one of the seats and a few phone calls but we got it! I know a lot of people struggle with wait-listing Suites and the opacity of the process involved in getting cleared off the wait-list. I thought it would be helpful to write up my experience and it might help some readers.
When the date that we needed first opened up, I could see availability for 2 seats in Suites. I was, understandably, ecstatic! Since I had enough miles for only 1 ticket in my account, and my wife had enough for 1 ticket in her KF account, I logged into both our accounts from 2 separate browsers and searched for 1 seat each. I found the space and simultaneously started going through the booking process on both browsers. This is when things started to go wrong…. My ticket went through to the payment page with no issues; but midway through the booking process for R’s ticket, the site went to a ‘Waitlist’ page. Apparently, we lost the seat as we were booking it! 😦
I started thinking on my feet and paid the taxes and fees for my ticket (a steep US$276!), and waitlisted Suites for R and started looking for Business class availability on the same flight. We were in luck! Business Class was available on LAX-NRT-SIN and before anything else could go wrong, I booked it for R and paid the taxes and fees (a princely US$266). The plan from here was to call SQ and see if they could open up space for R, considering I was already confirmed in Suites. From Flyertalk, I had read that requesting SQ to clear your ticket from the waitlist might help; the success rate is thought to be better if your travel companion is confirmed in Suites. Well…it was worth a shot!!
I called the KrisFlyer desk at 213-404-0301. The agent I got connected to was very nice. She understood the issue, was apologetic, and said she would send a “chaser” inquiring if the waitlisted seat could be cleared. I still have no idea what a “chaser” is but it worked! A week later, we received an email stating that R’s ticket had been cleared to book and that we need to call within 48 hours to get the ticket issued. At this point, I was out of the doghouse and very, very happy (also amazed that this strategy worked)!
You’d think that it was pretty straightforward from here on – ummmmm, NO!
We called the next morning and the agent was able to confirm that the seat was available and she would be happy to issue the ticket and cancel the Business class seat. Unfortunately, SQ’s reservation system was down; however, she was able to exempt the time limit on calling to issue the Suites ticket for R. I called back a couple of days later and got another helpful agent who agreed to send the reservation request to the Ticketing Office and let me know that it would cost SG$17.00 (~US$12) to change the award from Business to Suites, and SG$13.90 (~US$10) for difference in taxes. I agreed, gave my credit card info, and was told it would take 3-5 days to issue the ticket. But it doesn’t end there….
I noticed a couple of weeks later, that while my wife seemed to be ticketed in Suites per the “Manage Booking” page, and she could select a seat, the downloadable e-ticket was still for Business Class. So I called in again (Ugh!!). The agent again apologized (for another issue on SQ’s end) and assured me that the ticket would be issued in 3-5 days. This time, I got the confirmation email in 48 hours, and my wife and I are now in seats 3C and 3D (double bed! woot! woot!) for Summer of 2016! 🙂
Also, I paid SQ’s taxes and fees with my new Citi Prestige card (with a $250 airfare credit per calendar year), bringing down the total out-of-pocket cost to US$324 and the total number of KrisFlyer miles to 182,750. Not bad for approximately 18 hours in one of the most coveted First Class cabins in the world!