At NerdWallet, we strive to help you make financial decisions with confidence. To do this, many or all of the products featured here are from our partners. However, this doesn’t influence our evaluations. Our opinions are our own.
Singapore Airlines joined the Alaska family of partners over two years ago, and many Alaska loyalists have been (im)patiently waiting for the day when Singapore flights could be booked with Alaska miles.
Looks like that day has finally arrived. And it’s even better than expected… for now. Most surprisingly, Singapore’s coveted first class suites can be booked on certain routes using Alaska miles. Singapore is famously close-fisted with their suites, so this is a great opportunity (for now) to check them off your bucket list.
Although the rest of the award chart is lackluster, sweet spots combined with astonishingly open award availability make it a compelling option for Alaska Mileage Plan members.
» Learn more: Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan: Your complete guide
How to book
Singapore flights are now populated directly into Alaska award search results, so you can book online.
In fact, Alaska’s award search tool is much faster and easier to navigate than Singapore’s own sluggish mess, and it might serve better for finding award availability even if you’re planning to use another program’s miles.
And since Alaska allows free stopovers on award flights, you can add a stop in Singapore — or even book a completely separate flight from Singapore that is technically on the same itinerary.
Alaska Mileage Plan members can use their miles to book Singapore flights to or from Asia, as well as within Asia.
You’ll notice that Alaska distinguishes between “North Asia,” “Southeast Asia” and “South Asia and India” for Singapore awards. It’s an odd distinction that we explore below in the “Quirks and sweet spots” section.
Here is the award chart for flights between the contiguous U.S. and Asia:
U.S. to North Asia
Miles each way
U.S. to Southeast Asia
These offer a good deal compared to how much cash you’d spend on a trans-Pacific flight, but are underwhelming compared to redemptions with other Alaska partners. For example, JAL first class flights to Southeast Asia are only 75,000 miles each way, which is a 55,000 miles less than Singapore. Fuel surcharges are low for most Alaska partners, so that isn’t much of a consideration.
The real value lies in award flights within Southeast Asia.
Southeast Asia to North Asia
Miles each way
Southeast Asia to Southeast Asia
The top half of the chart provides some more underwhelming options, but as for the bottom half…
Quirks and sweet spots
Alaska doesn’t outline which countries fall into the “North Asia” and “Southeast Asia” buckets, so we dug around with the award search tool to find out.
As expected, a business class flight between Tokyo (North Asia) and Singapore (Southeast Asia) cost 60,000 miles each way when booked using Singapore Airlines miles. But business class flights between Beijing and Singapore cost only 25,000 miles each way.
Paying 25,000 miles for a six-hour flight in a terrific business class product is a great deal. But it gets even better: Since Singapore Airlines’ hub lies within Southeast Asia, you can fly even farther for the same price. For example, a flight from Beijing to Bali, stopping in Singapore, still costs only 25,000 miles.
That’s an extraordinary value for within-Asia travel, and it stands out as an obvious sweet spot in an otherwise lackluster award chart.
We suspect that including mainland China in “Southeast Asia” may have been an error, so you might want to jump on these fares while they last.
Singapore award availability was astonishingly open when we searched, with availability on nearly every date and in every applicable class of service for within-Asia routes.
This matched the availability on the Singapore search too, so it’s good to see that Singapore isn’t limiting the availability they send to Alaska.
To our surprise, we even found award availability on two of Singapore’s “Suites” routes. This is one of the most sought-after cabins in the points and miles world and one of the most difficult to nab. In fact, this availability might be an error as well, so we’d recommend jumping on them quickly.
Beijing (PEK) to Singapore (SIN) for 35k miles + $26
Singapore (SIN) to Auckland (AKL) for 90k miles + $71
In fact, you can even combine these itineraries with a stopover in Singapore.
Important: Click on the “1 Stop” link on each itinerary to see which aircraft fly the route. You’ll see this:
Look for flights on the A380 to ensure your first class ticket will be in Suites.
The bottom line
At last, Singapore awards have come around to Alaska. You may not be able to use your Alaska miles to book Singapore’s ultra-premium first class suites with Alaska miles, and the award chart is not the most competitive among Alaska partners.
Still, more options are always good, and Alaska flyers have gained a valuable award travel choice.
How to Maximize Your Rewards
You want a travel credit card that prioritizes what’s important to you. Here are our picks for the best travel credit cards of 2019, including those best for:
Airline miles and a large bonus: Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
No annual fee: Wells Fargo Propel American Express® card
Flat-rate rewards with no annual fee: Bank of America® Travel Rewards Visa® credit card
Premium travel rewards: Chase Sapphire Reserve®
Luxury perks: The Platinum Card® from American Express
Business travelers: Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card
Planning a trip? Check out these articles for more inspiration and advice: Find the best airline credit card for you How to earn miles with Alaska Airlines Earn more points and miles with these 6 strategies