October 20th, 2016 was a big day for me.
It marked the 7th anniversary of when I left my job to pursue this whole entrepreneurship thing.
I’d been traveling for the last few weeks, and was getting ready to leave Bangkok to head home – when I decided I wanted to do something special.
To celebrate my 7 year anniversary I was going to do one of the most baller things possible in the world of travel:
I was going to fly Singapore Air Suites Class.
Here’s the video of my experience:
What Is Singapore Suites Class?
Singapore Suites Class is one of the ultimate first class flying experiences.
It’s the first class product on their A380 double decker planes, and features an experience that is rivaled by only a couple other airlines out there (Etihad and Emirates are the two that come to mind).
Your flight features:
- An enclosed seat with sliding doors and blinds you can close
- A 23 inch screen
- Pajamas and an amenity kit with a full bottle of Ferragamo Cologne
- “Book the Cook” menu where you they will put a meal specifically on the plane for you (I chose the filet mignon and the lobster thermidor).
- Ultra Premium alcohol including unlimited Krug, Dom Perignon, and Johnny Walker Blue among others
- If in Singapore, entry into “The Private Room” – Quite possibly the most exclusive feeling airline lounge on earth.
The Backstory Behind My Decision to Fly Singapore Air Suites Class
So it wasn’t actually quite that impulsive of a decision.
A few months prior I realized I still needed to book my flight from Bangkok back to Portland, and I knew I wanted to use miles to at least go business class.
I started looking at all of my options, and realized if I’m going to spend in the neighborhood of 70k points to fly business, I might as well just go all out and spend the 91, 375 miles it took to book Suites Class ticket.
I’ve had this realization lately, where the the more I talk about or joke about doing something, the more likely it actually is to happen.
This being the perfect case study.
The flight didn’t confirm until about 10 days before my departure, but let’s just say I literally screamed when I got the email saying I could confirm the ticket.
In this post I’m going to share with you exactly how I was able to fly Singapore Air Suites Class for about $300, as well as what the experience was like.
The Easiest Way to Book a Singapore Suites Class Ticket
As we all know, not all airline miles are created equal.
For instance I’ve been sitting on about 100k Delta points for a long time now, and have had a nightmare time trying to use them.
Whereas United points (or anything within Star Alliance) I’ve routinely been able to book both coach and business class redemptions all over the world with relatively little hassle, for reasonable mileage numbers.
Including this trip to the Maldives last year.
So how do you book a trip on Singapore Suites Class?
You have two options that are going to be easiest:
- Chase Ultimate Rewards Points
- American Express Membership Rewards Points
Both of these transfer to Singapore Air KrisFlyer (their loyalty program) at a rate of 1 to 1.
For this flight I used American Express points because those have a tendency to be harder to use than Chase points, but for most people Chase points are easier to come by.
Step 1: Sign up for Credit Cards
So I should caveat this, by saying this will be more difficult if you’re not a US resident, so for that I apologize.
Also, many people hate the idea of credit cards – but when used properly and paid off in full every month they can be wonderful tools.
Also, the notion that applying for too many cards hurts your credit is mostly false.
I’ve applied for 5 new cards in the last year, and my credit score is an 820.
The absolute easiest way right now to get enough points for a Suites Class flight is by getting a Chase Sapphire Reserve card, which has a 100k point bonus.
Just this alone is enough for your Suites Class ticket.
It’s by far the best travel credit card out there right now, but it does have a hefty $450 annual fee. But if you travel a lot it’s worth it due to all the benefits. You can learn more about them here (not affiliate), but just know you automatically get $300 reimbursed for travel expenses each year.
If you don’t want the crazy fee, you can get a Chase Sapphire Preferred, which has a smaller fee and sometimes has signup bonuses as high as 70k.
In which case, you can still fly a shorter leg in Suites Class. More on that below.
I was able to also get a 100k point American Express Platinum sign up bonus, but for the large annual fee, the Reserve is a much better card for most people.
Step 2: Meet the Minimum Spend to Get Your Points
For the Reserve Card you need to spend $4,000 in the first 3 months to get your points. I’ve never had any issues meeting the spend, but worst case do this:
- Go to Rite Aid, Walgreens or similar store.
- Buy $500 Paypal gift cards
- Go home and put them back in your Paypal account.
- Transfer back to bank account.
It’ll cost you around $5-10 in fees per card, but if you really have issues with the spend, this is an easy way to rack up the dollars.
PLUS you’ll get points for the spend
Step 3: Decide What Route You Want to Fly
Singapore Suites are entirely limited to their A380 planes, so there are only a handful of flights that feature them.
You have to decide now that you have your points if it’s really worth it for you.
For the same amount of points, you could get 2-3 flights in coach. Or if done right a business class flight and a domestic coach flight.
But in terms of sheer experience, the Suites Class was worth every mile I spent.
The downside is, there’s a good chance you’ll have to fly to one of the cities where the A380s depart from, and pay for those flights separate.
These cities include:
- New York City
- Los Angeles
But here is the full list.
If I flew Singapore Business Class I could have included my flight from BKK to Singapore in my reward booking, but because I was Suites Class and there was no Suites Class flight from BKK to SIN, I had to do that separately.
The route that is the fewest points is the Frankfurt to JFK route, which is just under 60k points one way.
Step 4: Sign up and Transfer Your Points to KrisFlyer
When you book directly through the Singapore Air website, you get a 15% discount on your redemption.
So if a redemption costs 100k points, if you book it through Singapore’s website you only pay 85k points.
This step had me nervous, because there’s a good chance your preferred Suites Class flight won’t be available right away, and you’ll have to add yourself to the waitlist.
BUT in order to book the flight (or even get on the waitlist) the points have to be in your account, and they can take a day or two to transfer.
The last thing I wanted was to take my hard earned points and have them stuck as Kris Flyer points and not be able to use them at all.
Don’t worry, we can work around that.
If for some reason your flight isn’t available, you can still use your now Kris Flyer points to book on any reward flight thats on United.com.
United has the best website for viewing and redeeming redemptions, so you can login, check out what’s available and then call them and tell them what reservation you want to make.
My backup options if my Suites Class ticket didn’t work out were Business Class from BKK to PDX on either EVA Air or All Nipon Airways.
Step 5: Get on Waitlist or Book Flight
Once you’ve got your points in Singapore, then it’s just a matter of booking your flight.
The more flexible you can be the better.
Keep in mind, I was willing to get myself to Singapore, and willing to fly just about anywhere in order to make it work.
I waitlisted myself for two dates on the Singapore –> Tokyo –> Los Angeles flight, and both of them cleared from the waitlist. Fellow travel hacker Chris Guillebeau told me, he usually sees 60-70% of his waitlisted flights go through.
What to Do Once Confirmed on Suites Class
Once your flight gets confirmed, congratulations! You’re about to have one of the coolest travel experiences possible.
Here are a few things I’d recommend doing:
Row 3 is the Best Seat on Singapore Suites Class Flights
Unfortunately, this wasn’t available. Why is it best? Because it’s away from both the galley/lavatory and the stairs – but more importantly because it has 3 windows compared to other rows which only have two.
The caveat to this is if you’re on a flight that isn’t crowded. The middle seats can be combined to form a double bed. Having your own double bed in the sky? That’s pretty damn cool, so decide what’s more important to you.
Don’t forget to book your meal
Login to their website beforehand and select the meals you want on the flight. There are a few dozen delicious sounding options. I personally went for the Filet Mignon and the Lobster Thermidor.
Watch the video above for more on the selections.
If in Singapore, check out The Private Room
So, if I were being honest, I was slightly disappointed in The Private Room. This is the special lounge specifically for Singapore Air Suites Passengers, or people departing from Singapore in first class.
What makes it so private?
Well first you have to go through the Business Class lounge.
Then from there you walk through the First Class lounge.
And only then, can you enter The Private Room.
Yes, it makes you feel just as important as it sounds.
The food in The Private Room is excellent and made to order. I had some of the best eggs benedict I’ve ever had, and a few glasses of their champagne on offer the Charles Heidsieck Blanc des Millenaires 1995 (it’s as expensive as it sounds).
But other than that, it was a pretty regular (albeit roomy, and very fancy) lounge.
A Few Other Thoughts from My Singapore Suites Class Experience
While my Suites experience wasn’t necessarily the most seamless (I had to fly separately from BKK –> SIN and from LAX –> PDX), it was 100% absolutely worth it.
Here are a few notes on the whole experience:
Unbelievable flight attendants
It was clear that Singapore Air saves the best of the best for their Suites Class passengers. They were incredibly attentive and there was someone who walked by every few minutes. But not in a creepy or annoying way, in a legitimately useful way.
They also felt like mind readers. Seriously the moment I wanted something it was there.
More champagne? A cup of coffee? A little snack? They were on top of it.
And not only that, they made me feel very cultured.
When ordering a glass of each the Krug and the Dom (I mean hey, I had to know which was better!) he remarked “Sir, you have excellent taste and truly know the perfect way to begin a flight.”
Yeah, damn right I do. And you can plan on me drinking a full bottle (each) on this flight
I’ve never had so much room on a plane before. I had plenty of room to store all my stuff, stretch out, get work done – whatever. You literally could have fit a family of 4 in my Suite if you really wanted to.
A Real Place to Sleep
Sure those lie flat business class beds are nice, but compared to this? Might as well be on a concrete floor.
While I only ended up sleeping for about 4 hours of the flight, it was an extremely comfortable 4 hours. The bed was as comfy as some hotel beds I’ve been on, and when I left to put on my pajamas (yes, they give you pajamas), it was made up and ready for me by the time I returned.
The food lived up to expectations
I knew the food would be good, but it was truly restaurant quality.
I had lobster 3 different ways on my flight, and it was honestly some of the best lobster I’ve ever had.
The steak was also quite nice, but even better than that was the Penfolds RWT 2012 Shiraz that they recommended I enjoy with it.
Wow, what a wine.
Was disappointed to search online and see that it was $150 a bottle
The only mildly disappoint part was the desserts which I felt were a little uninspired.
I used to be strongly in the camp of, I’d rather have two economy class flights for the same number of miles as one business class flight.
I used to brag that I didn’t want to fly business, because I knew it would ruin me for life.
After our honeymoon, it did.
And now after this experience, wow, I’m gonna burn through those miles much quicker I think…
But in all honesty, that’s one of the things I love about this lifestyle.
I can go from a $15/night bungalow on a beach to a 5 star hotel. Sleeping on an airport floor, to flying first class.
It’s all part of the adventure, and if you want a truly unique and one of a kind adventure? I can’t recommend flying Singapore Air Suites Class highly enough.