Alaska Airlines Inks Frequent Flyer Partnership With Singapore Airlines Starting Next Month

Virgin America is set to lose is Singapore Airlines partnership on September 30 as part of the Alaska Airlines merger. The Virgin America Elevate frequent flyer program is winding down as it prepares to be integrated into Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan.

However news is out this morning that Alaska and Singapore have inked a partnership. Reciprocal mileage-earning starts September 27, with redemption to follow.

They plan to introduce codesharing as well, which will help Singapore in San Francisco and Los Angeles — cities where they compete aggressively against their Star Alliance partner United (which would normally be expected to provide Singapore with feed).

I noted that Singapore was perhaps closer to Virgin America than United back in 2014, and that they inked a mileage partnership with JetBlue (which helps with feed at New York JFK) in 2015.

They work better with partners outside of the Star Alliance than they do with United, which even intentionally removed Singapore Airlines award space from the United.com website in 2013 so members wouldn’t be able to see and book those flights online. Oh, and United lied about it too.

It’s great news for Singapore that they’ll retain a West Coast partner to help with their Los Angeles and San Francisco loads, and it’s great news for Alaska Airlines members that they’ll be able to redeem miles for travel on Singapore.

However Singapore Airlines rarely offers premium cabin award availability on long haul flights to their partners. That’s almost exclusively reserved for Singapore’s own KrisFlyer members (fortunately you can transfer points from American Express Membership Rewards, Chase Ultimate Rewards, and Citi ThankYou Rewards straight into KrisFlyer miles).

Singapore availability is better for short haul flights, but Alaska doesn’t offer the ability to mix partners on a single one way award (e.g. flying San Francisco – Hong Kong on partner Cathay Pacific and connecting to Singapore Airlines for Hong Kong – Singapore).

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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Comments

  1. Given the dearth of CX availability for AS members, problems with EK premium bookings, etc…, added to the non-combinability of partner awards makes me just shrug at this news.

  2. I don’t know how you could say United aggressively competes with Singapore. Maybe in the sense that they both fly the same routes BUT there is no comparison between the United product and the Singapore product. Singapore in economy, premium-economy, business and first-class is far better than United.

  3. When are the SQ A359Us arriving? Looking forward to re-commencement of NYC-SIN. I haven’t seen any SQ info about when in 2018 the LAX/NYC-SIN flights will start.

  4. i commute SIN – LAX twice a year- usually SQ/JAL or Eva, but just booked the UA LAX – SIN nonstop after a good experience on the UA SFO – SIN non-stop (the UA flight was $490 OW, SQ was over $1K).

    So certainly UA is taking the nonstop business, and SQ absolutely hates that. Rank up there with the most competitive partners in an alliance (along with Turkish – Aegean)

  5. As an AS 75K, this is pretty huge as Singapore is a better connecting airport than HKG for many Asian destinations.

  6. I’m with @ZO on this one. It’s nice, I suppose, but without access to the good seats, the main benefit seems to be another earning partner to accrue Alaska miles.

  7. Count me as another who agrees with @ZO, with the frustrations and lack of ability on CX, and EK issues. As always, nice to have another partner to earn miles on, but with the lack of premium award space and ability to mix partners, this will probably be not as exciting as it sounds.

  8. This really means nothing. Do people really pay to fly SQ? So many redemption options. The connection options to the west coast make flying SQ, even in first, less cool for me. ICN lounge, lame. NRT first lounge fair, but I’d rather fly through straight.

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