Here’s the thing, Qantas Frequent Flyer points are easy to earn. Almost too easy… and there’s a catch, taxes on your outright reward ticket are astronomical in comparison to Singapore Airlines Kris Flyer program.
Sure it’s still amazing that you can redeem Qantas Points and fly Emirates first class for less than the price of an economy ticket but what if there’s a better way?? A cheaper way!
Introducing one of my favourite programs (for many reasons); Singapore Airlines Kris Flyer!
Earning Kris Flyer points in Australia is arguably a little bit harder, but with the added savings in taxes and points, it could definitely be worth it.
How to get started with Kris Flyer
- First of you will need to enrol to Kris Flyer (if you haven’t done so already). It’s the rewards program you will be using to redeem flights in either business, first-class or god forbid economy. Sign up here: https://www.singaporeair.com/en_UK/ppsclub-krisflyer/registration-form/
- The second step is to get a frequent flyer credit card that earns Singapore Airlines Kris Flyer. My personal favourite would be American Express with their flexible rewards program called “Membership Rewards”. However, I have made a FULL list of all the best Kris Flyer credit cards in Australia; and yes I’ve even listed the ones that don’t advertise with Flight Hacks yet, so you know this really is “the comprehensive list”.
- Step three is to start squirrelling away those reward points, it’s best to do this within a flexible rewards program. Send them over to Singapore Airlines when you’re ready to book, that is because Kris Flyer has a rolling expiry date. Kris Flyer miles expire on the last day of the month 36 months following the month in which they were first credited to your account.
- Step four is to also focus on earning Velocity Frequent Flyer points. Thanks to their partnership with Singapore Airlines, you can instantly transfer Velocity Points to Kris Flyer (keep in mind you will lose some during the transfer since it’s not 1:1). Since there are plenty of big sign up bonuses out there, earning Velocity Points is almost as easy as earning Qantas points.
- Step 5 is to burn those miles on a redemption in business or first class (this offers the best value proposition). In comparison to Qantas and many other airlines, Singapore Airlines has outstanding availability in Business and even First class. I always manage to find a flight for the dates I want.
If for some reason seats aren’t available, Singapore Airlines Kris Flyer has an excellent waitlist feature which lets you waitlist a number of flights with no down payment required. If one opens up before departure, you will be notified and prompted to make the redemption (it’s free to cancel).
Booking Singapore Airlines First Class From Australia
Flying Singapore Airlines first class is one of the best aviation experiences one can experience. Regardless of whether you’re on the brand new private suites, the older but fabulous suites or the B777 with its huge semi-private cabin, one thing is for sure: you’re going to have an exceptional flight.
First off you want to login to your Kris Flyer account:
Once logged in, click “Redeem Flights” and plug in your route and select the class of travel.
Here’s where things can become tricky. Let’s say you want to fly from Perth to Paris in first class, which isn’t possible because first class isn’t provided on the short Perth to Singapore route.
Because the itinerary contains a mix of cabin classes, it can’t be booked online. Instead, you need to search for the Perth to Singapore and Singapore to Paris separately.
Once you’ve found the flights you want, note them down and call the (very helpful!) Kris Flyer call centre. Explain you want to make a mixed class booking with points and they will quote you the correct price which is 142,500 Kris Flyer miles + around $90 in taxes one way. If you don’t, you will pay for 2 separate awards which will work out more expensive!
To work out the cost, you will need to refer to this award chart. Keep in mind that if you do a mixed cabin award, you will be charged the highest price (which is first class in our example). You also want to look out for the "Saver" price since this is what we aim for. The "Advantage" price offers more availability but at a much higher cost.
If you’re lucky and live in Sydney or Melbourne, you can do it all online for a total cost of 163,000 Kris Flyer miles + $101.79 in taxes.
What if flights aren’t available?
If your chosen flights aren’t available, you might need to be more flexible. First, I recommend playing around with each segment individually to find out which sector isn’t possible (worst case they both aren’t).
The best scenario is where the Singapore to Paris flight isn’t available. In this case, you can simply play around with other first-class destinations in Europe such as London, Frankfurt and Zurich. If that doesn’t work, try playing with the dates; maybe it’s worth taking a 1-night stopover in Singapore?
The Singapore Airlines First Class Experience
The best Singapore Airlines first-class experience is without a doubt on the A380. Both the old A380 and the new one are fantastic, and after having flown both multiple times, I think I prefer the old A380 suites.
In my opinion, it’s worth having a layover in Singapore, so you’re refreshed and ready to enjoy what’s to come! In Singapore, your first-class experience starts from the moment you arrive at the airport. Make sure to tell your taxi to drop you off at the exclusive Singapore Airlines First Class terminal which has a butler team on standby to assist you with luggage and a private check-in area complete with individual passport control before you enter Terminal 3, right in front of the escalators that lead to The Private room.
The Private Room is Singapore Airlines dedicated lounge reserved for those flying Singapore Airlines in first class. No status will get you into this lounge.
Once inside, you should proactively order a buggy to your aircraft. Yep, that’s a thing. Once you’ve taken care of this critical task, head to the dining room where it’s all about a-la-carte dining and table service.
The satay here is to die for, and lobster can be good as well. Wash it all down with a glass of Dom Perignon or request the also excellent Piper Heidsieck Extra Rare which is served in the regular first-class lounge.
When boarding is called, your buggy will zip you right to the gate where you will skip all the queues to go straight to your private suite.
Expect to be greeted by name and asked if you prefer Dom or Krug. If you can’t decide, ask the crew to set up a blind tasting for you.
If you’re traveling with a partner, the centre seats are prime real estate since they turn into a double bed. Personally, we prefer the window seat and the single beds are spacious and very comfortable.
If you’re sharing the experience, you can opt to dine together. On the old A380, the ottoman has a second seatbelt so you can join your partner/wife/husband/friend/family member for dinner and drinks.
Singapore Airlines has a program called “Book the Cook” where you can pre-select your meals beforehand. There’s a massive list of over 90 options you can choose from which won’t be on the regular menu. In case you change your mind onboard, that’s not a problem either.
After a few servings of caviar and a few glasses of excellent wine or champagne it’s time to change into the comfortable Lalique pyjamas and while you’re doing that, ask the crew if they could set up the bed for you.
On the old A380, the bed folds out from behind the seat and leaves you with enough space to stand up in your private cabin.
12 hours later, wake up refreshed (and hopefully no hangover) in Paris, ready for a day of exploring!
Overall I love Singapore Airlines, they are consistently excellent. I enjoy both their service and product in business and first-class; even in economy they can’t be faulted.
While collecting Qantas points is valuable, earning points in a flexible rewards program is a far better deal, especially when you can redeem them for experiences such as Singapore Airlines.