Thursday, August 29, 2019

I Flew Singapore Airlines First-Class (almost) For Free!

I hate to make the title sound like a clickbait marketing but I really did fly Singapore Airlines First Class and only paid $48 last year. Here’s how I did it..

I will write a more in-depth blog post about how to get free flights and hotels on another time but these are the 5 simple and easy steps I took to score my first ever first-class flight with Singapore Airlines..

First step: sign up for a frequent flyer program

A huge mistake that I made in my early days of traveling was that I did not sign up for any frequent flyer programs. If I did, I probably could have accumulated enough points to get a round trip ticket to Hawaii or New York. So this first step is really important. Sign up for a frequent flyer account with the airlines that you regularly fly with because believe me, it’s going to matter in a couple of years.

For this trip, I opened my KrisFlyer account about six months before the trip. I don’t fly Singapore Airlines often so I would not have enough points accumulated to earn a free flight.

Second step: get a travel credit card with huge sign up bonus

I signed up for the Chase Sapphire Reserve card about a year before this trip and at that time they were giving away 100,000 points as sign-up bonus after spending $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. I did not use my points after accrued, knowing that I wanted to use it for a free first-class ticket for my next international flight.

This credit card also gives you 3X points on travel and dining so it became super easy to earn more points after using it as my everyday card. In less than a year, I managed to accrue about 20,000+ more points on top of my 100,000 sign-up points - that put me at about 120,000 total Chase points.

Chase Sapphire Reserve card also offers a 1:1 point transfer to leading airline (Singapore Airlines being one of them) and hotel loyalty program, which means my 120,000 points would get me 120,000 Kris Flyer miles.

Third step: start searching for your flight early

I’ve done my research beforehand so I knew that a first-class ticket from San Francisco to Jakarta would cost me 118,000 miles*. Knowing that I had enough Chase points,  I quickly went to to look for an available ticket. It is crucial to book as early as possible because award flights go out really fast especially for certain flights with only 4 first-class seats. Because I was trying to book at about 5 months early from the flying date, I managed to find one first-class ticket on Singapore Airlines.

*As for this year, Singapore Airlines has jacked up the redemption price to 130,000 miles for a first-class ticket from San Francisco to Jakarta.

Fourth step: transfer points to miles

One thing that I’d advise you do is to transfer points only after you’re 100% sure that you’ll be able to get an award ticket with that airline because you can’t transfer it to another airline or back to your credit card reward account.

After seeing that there’s an available award ticket for my trip, I then quickly initiated a point transfer from my Chase account to my Kris Flyer account. Within a couple of days, I got exactly 118,000 Kris Flyer miles!

Here’s a screenshot of my recent point transfer from Chase to Kris Flyer:

Fifth step: book it

Once your points are in, wait no more and book that sweet first-class ticket! Here’s a screenshot of what I paid for my trip:

The day of the trip when I finally got my actual boarding pass, I was screaming internally. I usually get anxious before a long haul flight but this was definitely a good kind of anxious. 

So how was flying first-class on Singapore Airlines?

It was fan-freakin-tastic. The quality of service provided by the flight attendants was BEST OF THE BEST. As soon as I presented my boarding pass, I was escorted to my seat and my flight attendant immediately offered to hang my coat, help me put on my slippers which I politely declined and after I was settled, a glass of Dom PĂ©rignon was generously poured.

Because I was flying from San Francisco to Jakarta, I had to do two connecting flights before getting to my final destination. The whole trip took about 24 hours which I couldn’t complain when I was being treated like a royalty for the majority of those 24 hours!

Connecting flights also meant that I got to try two different lounges, one in Hong-Kong International Airport and another one in Changi Airport, Singapore. To my surprise, first-class passengers have access to first-class-only lounge in both airports. I had an awesome Wonton Noodle served at Hong Kong airport but the best highlight had to be the Private Room in Changi Airport, T3.

The seat

That was my first ever first-class experience so I couldn’t compare it with other airlines’ first-class. I picked a window seat on the right side of the cabin. The first-class seat at Singapore Airlines is really wide, to the point that you can probably fit in two people comfortably in there.

After finishing up my dinner and changing to the pajama provided by Singapore Airlines, my flight attendant noticed that I was ready for bed time, they magically turned my seat into a flat-bed while I went to change in the bathroom. I felt bad for sleeping in such a luxurious flight that I’d probably won’t get to experience for another couple of years but the bed was too damn comfortable! That was hands-down the best sleep I’ve ever had on a long haul flight.

The food

The meal service was outstanding. If you’re flying on business / first-class with Singapore Airlines, they have ‘Book the Cook’ program where passengers have the option to pre-book their meal days before the flight. Book the Cook has an extensive menu selections available which can only be booked online and not on flight. I highly recommend you doing it before your trip to elevate an already awesome flying experience with Singapore Airlines!

Here are some of the delicious meals I had the luxury to dine at 30,000 feet…

On the left was the infamous Boston Lobster Thermidor

You know you're in for a treat when the first dish they served is caviar

So glad that I decided to order mostly Japanese food on this flight because those dishes were some of the best ones I've had in my entire life. Also, I definitely ordered way too many cups of Jamaican Blue coffee during the trip!

The verdict

10/10 would fly again.

Thank you, Singapore Airlines, for making my long-haul trip back home a memorable one. I also just recently managed to snag a round-trip business-class award ticket to Jakarta for my brother's wedding in September and I did the exact same steps I mentioned above. I hope this blog post would be helpful for you!

Join the conversation!

  1. That's amazing! I look forward to the day I can fly Singapore Airlines' world famous first class and will definitely follow these steps!


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