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One of the 18 tricks you should know about Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer is waitlisting awards. You can waitlist as many flights as you want, and decide once a waitlist clears whether or not to book the flight.
There’s a strategy for how to approach these and there’s a way to improve your chances of waitlisted flights clearing.
Singapore Airlines does occasionally make first class A380 Suites awards available from the U.S. but mostly if you want to fly Singapore Suites — and book them without waitlisting seats — then book Europe – Singapore, India – Singapore, or Australia – Singapore. Those flights are usually available.
Singapore Airlines makes much better award space available to their own members than to partners like United. Business class awards from the US are much easier than first class, and Singapore’s business class is excellent. Their miles are super easy to get, because Singapore Airlines Krisflyer is a transfer partner of:
- Chase Ultimate Rewards: Chase Sapphire Preferred Card offers 50,000 points after $4000 spend within 3 months of account opening and another 5000 points for adding a no fee authorized user to the account and making a purchase within the same timeframe. The card’s annual fee is $0 the first year then $95, and it earns double points on travel and dining. The new Chase Ink Business Preferred Card has a signup bonus of 80,000 points after $5000 spend within 3 months, and the card’s annual fee is $95.
- American Express Membership Rewards: Premier Rewards Gold Card from American Express.
- Citi ThankYou Rewards: Citi Prestige Card which earns triple points on air and hotel spending and double points on dining and entertainment.
- Starwood Preferred Guest: Starwood Preferred Guest Credit Card from American Express earns the the single most valuable points currency.
Key things to know about waitlisting:
- You have to have enough miles in your account to waitlist for an award
- You cannot waitlist for a flight and in the same class of service you are already confirmed on (eg waitlist for a saver award on a flight where you are booked standard in the same class of service)
- You can waitlist multiple flights. You do not need enough points to support booking everything you waitlist.
- You do not have to actually book what clears off the waitlist.
- I’ve seen waitlists clear far in advance, and I’ve seen them clear at the last minute. And I’ve seen them clear not at all. If a flight is filling up, there’s very little likelihood that it will clear. If a flight is wide open, there’s some chance but it is not guaranteed that the waitlist will clear.
Here’s a great waitlisting success story including a good strategy for how to approach waitlists and selective requests to Singapore to ask them to clear flights.
A waitlisted flight can open up at any time up to 3 hours before the flight, but data points from FT suggest it typically happens within a week or two prior if not long before that. Waitlisting requires you to have the miles available in your account, but still allows the miles to be used for other flights. We took advantage of this to waitlist several first class and business class flights from Saturday to Wednesday, THEN book business class seats for the Wednesday flight to ensure we had something.
…The next step in trying to get into Suites was to call in for what are called “chasers”. For SQ, a chaser is a request to open up more award space on a flight. Essentially, you call up SQ KrisFlyer Membership Services, tell them you have some flights waitlisted, and ask them to submit chasers for those flights.
…It seems that you can submit chasers for any number of bookings, but I’ve read you’re best served not being greedy and only submitting chasers for one or two bookings. I submitted chasers for my Saturday and Sunday Suites waitlists.
As our departure date approached, my other waitlisted flights started opening up one by one, until finally our Sunday Suites booking opened a little over a month out. I was satisfied with Sunday, but a week out, ExpertFlyer still showed only one seat occupied for Saturday, so I called SQ back and asked to resubmit a chaser. Not 24 hours later, my phone buzzed notifying me that the Saturday Suites were ready to be booked.
Currently Singapore Airlines is offering the Airbus A380 on only New York JFK – Frankfurt – Singapore from the U.S. Singapore is expected to launch a new A380 Suites product in 2017.