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.

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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Larry D
Guest
Larry D

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)

Sam
Guest
Sam

Can you book one way using Singapore miles for Star Alliance or does it have to be round trip? Thanks

CaveDweller
Guest
CaveDweller

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 ..

encin
Guest
encin

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

Greg
Guest
Greg

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.

Al
Guest
Al

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.

encin
Guest
encin

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.

Greg
Guest
Greg

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.

Al
Guest
Al

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

Al
Guest
Al

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.)

Kelly
Guest
Kelly

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.

CaveDweller
Guest
CaveDweller

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

Torsten
Guest

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.

Gordon
Guest
Gordon

Great topic!
In step 1, is it ok to choose the 22.5k Saver Award option to conserve points?

Thanks in advance.

Michael
Guest
Michael

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!

Michael
Guest
Michael

Nvm. Business class. I missed that!

Michael
Guest
Michael

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.

CaveDweller
Guest
CaveDweller

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

Sophia
Guest
Sophia

Thanks for the reminder!

ENOTTY
Guest
ENOTTY

Can you book partner awards online too? Specifically asking about AS and VX.

CaveDweller
Guest
CaveDweller

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

trackback

[…] Book United flights online with Singapore miles […]

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[…] It appears booking United flights online with Singapore Airlines miles is a go now. […]

trackback

[…] 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! […]

Byron
Guest

Will Singapore hold a reservation for you?

Greg
Guest
Greg

Sometimes. You have to call in and hope to get a nice agent.

https://www.pointhacks.com.au/krisflyer-award-hold-question/

Greg
Guest
Greg

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.

CaveDweller
Guest
CaveDweller

I checked Chase & Citi @ my time was like 5 mins oh well another thing to worry about .
Thanks For Posting

trackback

[…] Hat tip Frequent Miler […]

tom mccall
Guest
tom mccall

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.

Milescollector
Guest
Milescollector

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?

Joel Jaeger
Guest
Joel Jaeger

Did you ever find a solution? I am unable to book anything wholly within the U.S. on United…it won’t even let me select 2 U.S. cities.

Barry
Guest
Barry

Hi Joel. I just noticed that the Singapore Air website won’t let me book anything wholly within the U.S. anymore either. This was working last week. Looks like it’s back to calling in to book flights to Hawaii.

Joel Jaeger
Guest
Joel Jaeger

Thanks for the confirmation. I called in and they told me the flight wasn’t released to KF yet, even though there was saver awards availability and to call back in 24 hours, which I have done both days since to no avail…frustrating to say the least with no warning…

Chris
Guest
Chris

I think I’m experiencing the same issue. Cannot search any routes to Hawaii with a US destination as origin. Has anyone talked to the desk about this?

Separate question – Must it be a 22.5K saver award on United or are there some 45K saver awards that can be booked using Singapore miles as well?

Thanks!

Nick Reyes
Editor

Yes, it must be a 22.5K saver award to book with any partner (Singapore, Air Canada, etc). That’s almost universally true when booking awards with partner airlines — partners generally only have access to the lowest level saver awards. Despite United’s effort to convince you that 45K is a “saver” award, it really isn’t.

CaveDweller
Guest
CaveDweller

Mine did that TOO (Nov) how far out are u looking ?? Maybe turn off ur VPN mine Mucks up some stuff Citi ect .. Yes try another browser .
Post how u fixed it ..

CHEERs

CC Ia
Guest
CC Ia

I found an award first on United, then in Singapore Air site for DSM-LIH July 11. When selecting the flight it shows 17,500, however in the booking summary it shows 30,000 miles. Anyone else seeing discrepancy such as this? Is it not possible to book the award flight on the website, we must call in to get the correct award chart rate?

Nick Reyes
Editor

Weird. I see what you mean.

Here’s the problem: the layover is more than 4 hours. See #2 in the “Things I don’t like” section of this post:

https://frequentmiler.boardingarea.com/2017/06/01/singapore-krisflyer-6-things-love-3-things-dont/

I’m just surprised that Singapore shows the itinerary since it can’t be booked like that as a single award. What’s happening on the price is that you’re being charged 12.5K for the one-way to DEN and then 17.5K for the one-way to Lihue. You need to find an itinerary with a layover under 4 hours.

CC Ia
Guest
CC Ia

Good catch, I missed the 4hr layover restriction. I found another award with a 41min layover and it is also showing different miles in booking summary 17,500 vs 30,000 (OMA – LIH June 27). The only one I found that the miles match is for a direct flights (one example LAX-LIH 28 June). I am wondering if it is something with total travel time. Singapore shows an incorrect high hr travel time, it may be automatically triggering as a layover and two awards. To check this theory I found on 1May2019 SFO-LAX-LIH shows 17,500, 21 hr travel time and also adds to 30,000 miles in the booking summary.

I appreciate the quick response Nick, I am trying to learn as much as I can about Singapore awards for travel to Hawaii. Right now i am “practice searching”, my goal is to book a economy roundtrip flight for 4 from DSM or OMA to LIH in June of 2019. Flights for June 2019 will be opening up shortly.

Nick Reyes
Editor

Weird. Call Singapore and see what it prices at on the phone. I’ve called Singapore a number of times. In my experience, most agents are competent and efficient. If you get one who isn’t, politely thank them and hang up and call again – don’t waste time beating your head against the wall with the small percentage who aren’t.

JBrown
Guest
JBrown

same problem here….trying to book United DEN-SFO-OGG (1 1/2 hour layover). Shows available on Singapore site for 17.5 but summary shows 30. I really don’t want to call but I’ve tried to make it work for a few days now.

Larry C.G.
Guest
Larry C.G.

Did you have success booking the flight for the correct miles? How far out are your booking? I’ve found bookings (2-4wks) seem to have better availability than 11 months. It seems more inventory is released closer to the flight?

Jerad
Guest
Jerad

I’m having the exact same issue from OGG to SFO to ORD. 45 minute layover. Site says 17.5, summary 30. And when I call, 30. Any suggestions?

HawaiiDreaming
Guest
HawaiiDreaming

Same for me. I told the rep that it should be 17,500 per person according to the award chart. i also mentioned that she could look in my account and see that I have booked this same itin several times for 17,500 per person. She put me on hold and came back and told me that they will work on it and get it booked. She called me back in an hour and it was ticketed correctly. IT must have broken something in regards to the econ united hawaii flights but they have the ability to override it somehow. Not ideal, but still the best value from alabama to hawaii. Heading to the grand hyatt kauai this Sunday. Yippee!