Book United flights online with Singapore miles

In the comments of my recent post detailing “Best options for first class awards to Hawaii,” a reader reminded me that it is now possible to book United flights online at singaporeair.com (thanks Derek).  That’s great news!

In November 2017, Singapore Airlines had announced a new Star Alliance award chart (i.e. higher award prices) and their intention to make Star Alliance awards available online starting December 7 2017.  You can read more about these changes here.  Also note that Singapore’s award change fees will go up on March 1 2018 (details here).  Compared to many other airlines, their change fees will still be quite low though (e.g. $50 to change a Star Alliance award; $75 to cancel for a full refund).

I don’t know if partner award searches really became available on December 7, but I can confirm that at least the ability to book United flights is live now.  Their booking screen indicates that the ability to book partners online is “being rolled out progressively,” so I can’t promise that all partners are available yet (probably not).

Why this is interesting

The ability to book United (and other Star Alliance) flights with Singapore Airlines miles is great for a number of reasons:

One big disadvantage to using Singapore miles, though, is that Singapore will include fuel surcharges when you book an award whereas United never does.  On the other hand, if you use Singapore miles to book a carrier that doesn’t charge fuel surcharges (such as United!), then you won’t have to worry about that extra expense.

How to book awards online at singaporeair.com

1) Find award space on United.com

United.com’s award search capabilities aren’t perfect, but they’re way better than Singapore’s.  Without logging into your United account (because logging in can potentially show you more availability than what Singapore can see), search for the awards you want.  The key is to find “Saver Award” space as shown below:

Be careful about results that indicate “mixed cabin” because it may mean that part of your trip is in economy even if you were searching for business or first class.

Note that the prices you see here are not what you’ll pay at singaporeair.com.  The point of looking on United.com is just to find award availability.  Singapore has different award prices than United for many routes even if you use Singapore miles to fly United.

2) Search for the same flight on singaporeair.com

The first thing you’ll see when you browse to singaporeair.com, is the “Book a trip” tab.  Click “Redeem flights” to get started.  Enter all of your flight details based on the flight you found in step 1.

In this example, I searched for a United business class flight from Los Angeles to Maui on February 12th.  United would have charged 40,000 miles plus $80.60 (due to their close-in booking fee), but Singapore charges just 30,000 miles plus $5.60.

3) Transfer Points to Singapore Airlines

If you don’t have enough points in your Singapore Airlines account to book the flight, you’ll now have to transfer the needed points into your account.  You can expect the following transfer times (based on data points from this Flyertalk thread):

Unfortunately there’s always a chance that the award you found will be gone by the time you have the points to book it.  For that reason I’d recommend against transferring SPG points for a hard to get award.

Personally I prefer to use Citi ThankYou Rewards when transferring to Singapore since Amex, Chase, and SPG have other valuable partners that I’d rather use those points for when possible.  To transfer from Citi ThankYou Rewards you need a premium ThankYou card such as the Citi Premier or Citi Prestige card.

4) Book the award

Once you have enough miles in your account, you can redo the search as described above and book the award online.

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About Greg The Frequent Miler

Greg is the owner, founder, and primary author of the Frequent Miler. He earns millions of points and miles each year, mostly without flying, and dedicates this blog to teaching others how to do the same.

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  1. […] In November 2017, Singapore Airlines had announced a new Star Alliance award chart (i.e. higher award prices) and their intention to make Star Alliance awards available online starting December 7 2017. You can read more about these changes here. Also note that Singapore’s award change fees will go up on March 1 2018 (details here). Compared to many other airlines, their change fees will still be quite low though (e.g. $50 to change a Star Alliance award; $75 to cancel for a full refund). LEARN MORE! […]

Comments

  1. Great post. I am flying business class to Europe in a few weeks, and used United miles to book Lufthansa one-way, and Singapore miles to book United coming home.
    It’s ironic that United miles are best used with carriers other than United (that typically charge fuel charges) and other carriers’ miles are best used booking United. (with the Caveat that United now charges more miles when booking partner flights rather than their own)

  2. Thank U I have been looking since I got back from HNL to go Back .IF the United Flt doesn’t show up (I saw only one flt for that day) what do u do Call ??? I love online fast but @ 2am is fast to call in..
    Thank You Find website ..

  3. Is there anyway to take advantage of the free bag on united flights if you have the MPE card if you book through Singapore?

    • Booking through Singapore is an award ticket, so as long as you pay your award ticket fees with your MPE card, you should be able to get the free bag.

      • This is incorrect. United will charge you a bag fee because the ticket was not purchased from United. I was charged fees on an Aeroplan award ticket for travel on UA.

        • This is what I know to be true as well. I did however see someone post on Reddit that they were able to pull up a reservation at a kiosk using their noe credit card and weren’t charged a bag fee. I was not able tobtry this yet but will give it a try later in April where I have a UA booked via SQ.

      • United’s Terms explicitly allow for free checked bags on United-operated award flights:
        “Primary Cardmember is eligible to receive applicable standard checked bag(s) free when they use their miles to book award travel on United-operated flights, as long as they pay for their award ticket taxes and service charges with their qualifying Card and include their MileagePlus account number in their reservation.”
        https://www.united.com/ual/en/us/fly/travel/baggage/chasebag.html

        Note that the Terms are not limited to award tickets booked through United – just limited to United-operated flights.

        I’ve had experience when United’s systems didn’t associate the free checked bag at the time of check-in. I called in, and the representative told me to go ahead and pay for the bag, then submit a refund request after the fact, and include a comment that I’m a card holder. I did so, and the refund came through without incident.

        • Here is my reply from United regarding the bag fee on an Aeroplan ticket:

          I am responding to your complaint to the U.S. Department of Transportation regarding your travel experience on United Express flight 6296 from Vancouver to Los Angeles on April 26th.

          I regret that you were charged a fee of$26.25 CAD for checking your bag in Vancouver. You mentioned that you used a United MileagePlus Chase credit card to pay for the charges on your award ticket and, as a benefit of doing so; you are entitled to have the charge waived. The
          award ticket was redeemed using your Aerplan miles which is an Air Canada mileage program and not United Airlines.

          United ended up refunding the bag fee as a “one time exception”, but officially you owe the fee and who wants to go through that each time

  4. Here is one flaw I’ve discovered with Singapore’s booking engine. I tried booking an award flight on Copa. Because Copa doesn’t apply a surcharge, no US tax is payable. And indeed this is the case when booking a Copa flight through Copa, United, Aeroplan etc., However, Singapore is charging $24SGD ($18USD) each way. It is not distinguishing this situation from those where a surcharge would make the U.S. international arrival/departure tax payable (eg. Lufthansa flights to/from the U.S.)

  5. I think this is common knowledge, but United doesn’t make all their flights available to Singapore, even if you check not logged in on United. For example Aeroplan shows united flights that aren’t available on Singapore. I called too and in my case it was the same results as those shown online. So definitely don’t skip a step and transfer miles after looking at United.

    • Thanks I got a ton of points (Thank You) ,I have known about the Kris deals till right now I just paid more on United . But I need to learn the smart way to do this .All airlines keep the best Stuff on their sites or why would anyone go there .

      CHEERs

  6. When did they add the Star Alliance online booking option? I only saw that yesterday the first time. Saving $75 on domestic legs is the biggest selling point I feel.

  7. What award chart do you look at? The Star Alliance award chart? Because when I look at it, it says 35k from North America to Hawaii/Central America. Is there another award chart for United that prices North America to Hawaii at 30k? Thanks!

  8. I’ve usually saved my Krisflyer miles specifically for use in Singapore premium cabins, as I thought Singapore didn’t usually offer much premium cabin award space to Star Alliance partners. While it may be nice to save some United miles and cash, note that if one wants an aspirational award on Singapore, Krisflyer may be the only source of those awards.

    • Good 4 U I love it when someone ” Gets a Deal ” I got First Class on United for Cheap class But it was 25 years ago on a Cruise charter Flt..HaHa..I want to Save the AA points I like u can change the dates 4 FREE..

      CHEERs

    • Go look get use to the site and call center BEFORE u need to Book .If my flts aren’t THERE then I will call and ask early am .
      Remember AA u can change dates AND u get a 10% rebate in points in about 10 seconds too. i got an ORD>HNL RT for 40K then a 4K rebate = 36K+$11 be there in 10/20..

      CHEERs

  9. Note that the award transfer times are not guaranteed, and can vary widely. I’ve successfully transferred TY points to Singapore in less than 24 hours. But last week (2/8) I transferred TY points to Singapore, and they still haven’t posted to Singapore (by 2/12). Called Citi and they said the terms technically state transfers can take up to 14 days, even though they’re typically faster. Just have to keep waiting and hope the United availability sticks around.

  10. On a side note, don’t forget to have your Untied flights credited to your Kriss flyer account to get actual miles flown versa revenue miles. You can go to your profile and changed it.

  11. I am trying to book a RT flight on singapore using redeem flight option from ATL OGG. But it comes back with an error message “There is no ZONE info defined for this itinerary.”. Not sure what this means. Is there a way to book this itinerary?

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