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Singapore’s new Business Class upgrade prices are really interesting

by on Tue May 17, 2016 • 2 Comments


Singapore KrisFlyer unveiled award charts that take into consideration its new Premium Economy cabin, which is gradually rolling out across its long haul fleet.

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.

  • First, any Premium Economy fare qualifies for an upgrade, and these fares are often cheaper than the expensive Y, B, and E coach fares that were upgrade eligible.
  • Second, the prices to upgrade from Premium Economy to Business are cheaper than the old prices from Economy to Business. For example, to upgrade from the West Coast to Singapore costs 45,000 miles each way for Premium Economy to Business versus 65,000 miles for Economy to Business.

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):

  • West Coast to Hong Kong: 45,000 miles Saver / 65,000 Standard
  • West Coast to Japan: 42,000 miles Saver / 60,000 Standard
  • West Coast to Singapore: 45,000 miles Saver / 65,000 Standard
  • West Coast to Australia: 52,000 miles Saver / 75,000 Standard
  • East Coast to Singapore: 47,000 miles Saver / 70,000 Standard

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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2 thoughts on Singapore’s new Business Class upgrade prices are really interesting

  1. Tina

    Hi –
    I’m new to using miles. My husband has 900,000 rewards points on chase sapphire. What is the most economical way for a family of 4 to travel from San Francisco to Vietnam, hoping to fly business class/first but economy or premium economy is fine too next winter (12/21/18-1/6/18)?


      @Tina – The winter holidays are pretty slim for award tickets to Asia – so don’t get your hopes up. If you get lucky, United MileagePlus has biz class prices of 75,000 – 90,000 miles one way. You can check availability on in a month, when flights get loaded.

      Your best bet might be to use your points to buy tickets outright on the Chase website. Those 900,000 points are worth $11,125 in tickets if he has a Sapphire Preferred, and $13,500 in tickets if he has a Sapphire Reserve.


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