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You don’t want to use your miles to book a Premium Economy ticket – it’s a pretty bad deal all around.
But upgrades to Business Class are getting interesting.
As of June 1st, you can’t upgrade from Economy to Business Class on flights with Premium Economy cabins.
Not that you really wanted to, since the only Economy fares eligible for upgrades were Y, B, and E fares, which are the highest Economy fares.
Instead, you’ll need to buy a Premium Economy fare if you want to sit in Business.
And that’s actually a good thing on two fronts.
Where things get really cheap are Singapore’s flights from the U.S. to Europe (New York JFK to Frankfurt and Houston to Moscow).
Those flights can be upgraded for just 21,000 miles each way at the ‘Saver’ price (18,000 miles with the Singapore 15% online booking discount).
And Premium Economy fares on New York to Frankfurt are running about $1,100 roundtrip.
That makes this one of the cheapest reliable ways to get into the big seat across the Atlantic.
And if you want wide open availability, Singapore’s ‘Standard’ upgrade price (which is available on most flights) is just 31,000 miles each way (27,000 miles with the discount).
Singapore lets you waitlist awards and upgrades, so you have a decent shot of getting the cheaper ‘Saver’ price.
Other Premium Economy to Business Class upgrade award prices from the U.S. (all before the 15% online booking discount):
A typical Premium Economy fare from New York to Singapore is under $1,500 roundtrip, making an upgrade a decent value proposition considering you earn 110% of your flown miles back.
You’ll pay 79,900 miles for the roundtrip upgrade (including the 15% online discount), but earn 22,500 miles in the process, as Singapore Premium Economy fares earn 110% of the miles flown.
So you pay a net of just 57,400 miles for the roundtrip upgrade. That’s a savings of almost 100,000 miles from the 144,500 mile cost of a roundtrip KrisFlyer Saver award in Business Class (which also gets hit with about $400 fuel surcharges).
Using United MileagePlus to book a Business Class award (which is nearly impossible given Singapore’s stingy partner award availability) would set you back 160,000 miles roundtrip.
As long as Singapore keeps offering cheap Premium Economy fares, you’re paying about $1,100 – $1,500 to save around 100,000 miles for a Business Class seat, so this is like buying miles at about 1 to 1.5 cents each, which isn’t a bad deal.
It’s also a good deal if you’re a business traveler who can only book Premium Economy fares. These upgrade prices are a great reason to choose Singapore and fly in Business at Premium Economy prices.
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