According to this Flyertalk thread, Continental isn’t fully linked up with Singapore Airlines yet. In order to book award tickets they have to do a ‘long sell’ where they manually request award availability. And it seems like more often than not, that availability is coming back confirmed.
Long-time readers of this blog know that Star Alliance members can look up award availability by signing up for an All Nippon Airways account and using their award search page. That gets you all except Air China, Shanghai Airlines, and Swiss.
It seems that Continental is somehow managing to confirm awards that the ANA website suggests are not otherwise being made available to Star Alliance members for redemption. I haven’t tested this myself, but one hypothesis might be that Singapore — which offers expanded award availability to its own members — could be confirming award inventory out of that larger pool of awards for Continental at this time.
One counter to that hypothesis, though, is that it seems some members are even redeeming for first class on Singapore’s 77W aircraft — their new long-haul first class, that as a matter of policy they usually do not make available to their partners, and even do not make available to their own members except at greatly inflated mileage pricing.
So if you have Continental miles, and have ever considered premium class awards to Asia, now appears to be the time to pounce.